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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is The Book Automat Coming Soon?


A few years ago I saw the unveiling of a book espresso machine. It was shown at Book Expo America but it has not quite caught fire. The machine can print any book in a matter of minutes.  Given the print-on-demand market is a growing area, it made sense that such a machine can fill a need. It eliminates the delay and shipping cost associated with POD. But the machines are very expensive and seem to be in limited use. I have never seen one in action in a store but I wouldn’t rule out their potential for growth.

I just read an article in The New York Times about the 100-year anniversary of when New York opened its first Automat (July 9, 1912). These machines ushered in a new era, serving fresh food for cheap, barely touching human hands. They become popular and 40 Automats or similar cafeterias opened in New York City. I started to wonder if the Automat concept could be applied to a book.

Imagine a book vending machine. Perhaps it would house a dozen or so titles. They can be placed in areas underserved by bookstores or in busy locations, such as supermarkets, airports, train stations, etc.

One machine can print books on the spot. Another can dispense best-selling paperbacks. Perhaps a third can sell e-books that get downloaded to whatever device you are holding – cell phone, tablet, lap top, e-reader, etc. There will be less human contact involved with the sale of books, and fewer stores, printers and sales people. There will just be a connection between the author and a reader.

Is such a scenario likely? Time will tell.


Interview With Author Basimah Khulusi M.D.

1.      What is your new book about?  My book has been selected as the 2012 IRDA WINNER IN THE SELF-HELP CATEGORY.  IRDA Verdict:  The Way Things Work In Life is not for the reader seeking religious answers. It is a delightful brain twister for the person who is scientifically aware and likes to take controversial thought outside of the proverbial box. For more information, please see: http://indiereader.com/2012/06/the-way-things-work-in-life/

Why does life seem to be so unfair? Or is it? Is there a God? And if there is a God, how come God can be so unjust, and why do bad things happen to good people? Religious people and philosophers have tried to answer these questions about life in the past using the metaphors of their day and age, as well as of their professions. Old metaphor might have resonated with people back then and might still make sense to some today, but that is leaving out a multitude of others who are finding it difficult to relate to this language; especially the young. This book explains how things in life work using the language and the metaphors of mathematics, chemistry and physics that everybody has been acquiring in school. Here are some of the answers to how things work in life: • The word God is a metaphor. God is “everything,” and God is fair. • The world is "thoughts," but that does not mean that you just sit there and think about becoming great to achieve greatness! • Good and bad are relative quantities. • War is necessary to keep the balance of power between good and bad, but it doesn’t have to result in bloodshed. • Sex is a commodity and it has a sublime value that has to be implemented. • Love is a binding force. Lust and Dependency belong on the opposite ends of the spectrum of love. • Like does not belong on the spectrum of love. • We do have a choice, and our choice does make a difference. • Our reaction is the only variable that can change every equation in our life. • There are different degrees of only two religions in the world: Conservative and Liberal. And more…

2.      What inspired you to write it? I am a single mother, a rehabilitation physician and an inventor. I am a Lebanese American who came from the Mideast to the Midwest thirty years ago, spending seven years in Egypt, North Africa on the way. As a teenager, I started noticing patterns of behavior dictating events and happenings. When in college, I wrote about some of my observations for the American University of Beirut's publication, and received high acclaim. I have always wanted to be a writer, but the fifteen years of civil war in Lebanon steered my path in another direction. I have lived through, and witnessed a lot of heartache and pain and suffering. Having lived in three different continents and been exposed to different cultures from around the world, I couldn't help but notice the universality of the patterns dictating human behaviors. I kept trying to figure out the mechanism of action of things hoping that might help in fixing them. I found the answers in mathematics, chemistry and physics, and decided to fulfill what has been my mission all along: to write a book explaining my findings to everybody. Here's hoping for a better life for all.

3.      What are the rewards/challenges to the writing process? The biggest challenge for me was to write using my computer rather than with a pen and paper! I also would get enthralled by the writing process on some days, and keep going till 3 or 4 in the morning, then make myself stop and sleep 2 to 3 hours before getting up in the morning to go take care of my patients. So I missed a lot of sleep. The rewards are worth all that though. The biggest reward for me was being able to put down the thoughts that I had been formulating for many years. It was such a big relief! Second, with all the advances in technology, I was able to self-publish using the Create Space service from Amazon. It was a daunting task that the Createspace people made easier and I would even dare to say enjoyable! I just recently was able to use the free promotion for my ebook that Amazon provides for their Kindle owning Prime members, and I was very happy that over 400 users downloaded my book, and I might achieve that many readers! Winning the 2012 IRDA IN THE SELF-HELP CATEGORY was very fulfilling because they said that my "title was judged by top industry professionals—not as merely a great indie book—but as great book, period."

4.      Any advice for a struggling writer? All writers are struggling writers because to write a book is by no means an easy task. Then after the book has been written, you need to do something so that the readers can become aware that it exists. But there are a lot of venues available to writers these days that can help achieve that goal. After that, for the book to make it, the book itself will have to carry its own weight if the material in it is fulfilling some kind of a need for readers. The writer needs to also have a job that pays the bills.

5.      Where do you see book publishing heading? With all the technological progresses, what has been happening in the publishing world was bound to happen, and it seems that Amazon have been paving the new way. Now, anybody with enough knowhow and time can self publish a book. But not everybody has enough knowhow or enough time to self publish a book, and because of that, there might be room for a third party to provide editors for the book who will have the knowhow and time to help with the publishing process using the Amazon services.


Interview With Author Jan Bain

1.      What type of books do you write? My books to date follow two distinct streams: Hard Science Fiction (aptly named “the literature of ideas” by Wikipedia as writers explore the consequences of innovation) which takes a great deal of research making it doubly great fun to write about, and Paranormal Romance, my first love, writing of vampires, Dhampyre, Lhampyre, angels, dragons and demons. Both genres require using your imagination in different ways and I really enjoy writing one of each type of novel at a time.

2.      What is your latest or upcoming book about? My first book being published July 2, 2012 is the first in The Forever Series and is titled; Forever Man. Champagne Books is my publisher and has been incredibly supportive in the journey from acceptance to the actual publication date.  PLOT:From Bluewater California to Nome Alaska, Ellie Hightower had made the journey looking for a fresh start, and the last thing she was expecting was to fall in love with Mike Stone, her new boss and the owner of Fast Eddies. Mike is the town catch and seems to be too good to be true with his dedication to family, friends and community. Their amazing love story has only just begun when along comes Katrianna, a beautiful vampire that has been asleep since the Russian whaling ships exploited the Bering Sea. She is looking to have Mike all to herself and destroy their new found happiness, and only Ellie’s gift of healing may save the day. The Forever Series has five books: Forever Man, Forever Woman, Forever Clan, Forever Angel and Forever Love. (There is a high probability of more future books in this series.)

3.      What inspired you to write it? The journey began with one book. I was watching the movie, The Green Mile with Tom Hanks and I was mesmerized by the idea that a person could literally heal another of a life-threatening condition. It had been a difficult year having lost two dear brothers to cancer and I so envied the protagonist, a gentle giant of a man who had the power within him of being able to heal another. It got me to thinking how inspirational the idea was and that twigged me to writing about a heroine, namely Ellie Hightower, coming into this gift in her early twenties and how this would affect her life.  Then, having had a lifelong interest in vampires since the days of Dracula, I found my antagonist in a gorgeous old soul that was bored of existing too long on this planet who comes to Nome, Alaska to wreck her special brand of havoc on the unsuspecting townspeople…  

4.      What did you do before you became an author? I still do it! I teach at our local high school the fun subjects of Computer Science, Business courses and English. How does it feel to be a published author?  Like I need to work harder!

5.      Any advice for struggling writers? Work hard! Stay focused! Work hard, oh yeah, I said that… Honestly, working hard is the key. I write every spare moment I have.

6.      Where do you see book publishing heading? Looks like e-books will conquer the world! No, actually I think there is room for paper books as well. But the dynamic is changing so quickly now that it’s very hard to predict.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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