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Date Posted: 17:53:55 01/13/03 Mon
Author: CR Vets Research Item
Subject: E-books

Our apologies if you have already received this months newsletter. We had a small hiccup with the address book, but all seems in order now. If you previously unsubscribed and have received this months publication, we apologize and suggest you send us a message again. We had to revert to a backed up mailing list.


Ebookland Newsletter

Help save our trees! Read an e-book!

January 2003

Author Profiles

Christina Hamlett


From the editor:

Welcome to News and Views for January 2003...yes, this is the new year and we hope that it will be peaceful and that everyone who reads this will enjoy a happy and healthy life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported Ebookland during the past year. We have a growing customer base and an excellent range of ebooks with some really top authors. The year ahead will see growth and prosperity for all and e-books coming more into their own as people look for something different to compliment their busy lifestyles.

Special Events: As a further service to our readers, we offer a column in this Newsletter for coming events...no matter where you are, let us know via email about your special event and we will place information about it here.

"International eBook Association Launched in Europe"

New Association Plans Continued Support for eBook Industry
Microsoft Corp. announced the launch of the International eBook Association (IeBA), a new eBook organization based in Europe that will support the worldwide eBook community and promote the growing opportunities and promise of eBooks.
Microsoft Corp. announced the launch of the International eBook Association (IeBA), a new eBook organization based in Europe that will support the worldwide eBook community and promote the growing opportunities and promise of eBooks.

The new association follows the pioneering work done by the International eBook Award Foundation (IeBAF), which will cease operations at the end of the month. While the new International eBook Association plans to announce its own set of eBook awards, the focus of the new associationÕs work will be to address critical issues facing the electronic publishing community. Its principal goal will be to facilitate and accelerate the adoption of eBooks.

"The directors and staff of the IeBAF are to be thanked for their hard work promoting the possibilities of electronic reading. Alberto Vitale was a splendid and energetic chairman, and the Frankfurt eBook awards served a very important role," said Dick Brass, vice president of Technology Development at Microsoft. "But as the eBooks industry evolves past its first critical years, the need for large monetary awards to attract interest and attention has been replaced by the need to address commercial and technological issues.

"eBook sales are expanding, and some publishers report double-digit year-to-year growth," Brass continued. "However, we must work hard if the industry is to see eBooks that regularly sell hundreds of thousands of copies, as Stephen KingÕs ÔRiding the BulletÕ did two years ago. At this stage, we believe creating an ongoing force aimed at eliminating barriers to acceptance will help the industry move forward faster than putting these resources into big prizes. We still believe itÕs valuable to recognize excellence in eBook publishing, and I believe the IeBA will continue to promote awards in the United States and Europe. But the focus of the new association will be on policy and industry progress, not prizes per se."

The tasks facing the new association include commercial initiatives, including working with the European Union and member countries to rationalize widely varying taxation and regulatory policies that are slowing the diffusion of eBooks. There are also important technology issues, such as readability and display quality, that can be addressed by a broader understanding of the ergonomic requirements for immersive, book-length reading. To improve the acceptance of eBooks, the new organization will work toward improving the electronic reading experience itself.

Although Microsoft has taken the lead in organizing the new group, as it did in 1998 with the Open eBook organization that championed publishing standards and in 1999 with the IeBAF Frankfurt prize, the newly formed IeBA aims to be a neutral representative of the electronic publishing industry and its issues. As an inclusive focal point for a diverse, international group, the IeBA is open to interested members of the publishing industry, both electronic and print.

The Future of eBooks

By Stephen Cole,

CEO Ebooks.Com

The key issues for industry development are range and functionality.

The available range is limited by two things, security and commercial imperatives.

With the advent of digital distribution, book publishers looked on with horror at what happened to music and software. Unlike music and software however, books are not already out there in digital form. It takes an act of will on the part of a book publisher to enter this realm. Obviously, caution is appropriate.

Adobe and Microsoft have worked tirelessly to develop and sustain the integrity of their digital rights management platforms, and this has given comfort and confidence to our publisher partners. Nevertheless, they are cautious. Who can blame them?

Furthermore, publishers have operated a very successful and orderly economic model for about 500 years now. You need a compelling commercial story to woo them into a different model. The slower-than-expected adoption of ebooks hasn't helped this transition. Publishers are very busy managing the exigencies of their businesses, in a climate of shrinking margins and fierce competition. To ask them to divert scarce internal resources into an unproven business model -- a model that carries a heightened risk of piracy -- is not trivial.

But until publishers fully embrace the medium and commit all of their new books to digital editions, the value proposition for the digital shopper is diluted.

It is happening, though. From where we stand the future is great.

Functionality is the second key driver of ebook adoption. There are many benefits in using ebooks -- you can search 500 pages in a few seconds, you can carry a thousand books in a lightweight laptop; ebooks are typically cheaper than printed books, you can buy an ebook any time of the night or day and have it almost immediately, and so on.

But the functionality of the reading platform is another matter. There is a convoluted chain of interdependencies that falls between the time when the consumer forms the desire to buy an ebook and their finally being able to settle down and read their ebook. Support issues can arise at almost every link in this chain. And they do. Each technical hoop that a consumer has to jump through represents a disincentive to their coming back again.

The process of acquiring a book (and getting the thing to work once you've downloaded it) can be daunting. The Microsoft solution does not currently handle images and tables well. These rudimentary design elements are critical in publishing professional and educational books.

It's early days, quite clearly. The downloading process needs to be simplified. The reading platforms have to be stable. Oddly, consumers don't voluntarily repeat disappointing shopping experiences. And it's repeat customers that the industry needs, in order to grow and be real.

I have been involved in the ebook space for 5 years and have seen a great deal of courage, brilliance, hubris and chaos. Out of all of this, the simple fact remains that ebooks are, and will continue to be, cheaper and more useful for specific applications. They will not replace paper books. Nobody claimed they would. The cell phone didn't replace the home phone. People have car radios and Walkmans (Walkmen?), but they still have a radio on the bedside table or the kitchen bench. So it is with ebooks.

As the range grows and the buying and reading experiences improve, the low-cost channel will come into its own.

Author Profiles:



This book is about love; life, immortality and peeing over ones own feet.

It is Zen; irreverence, a rant and a beautifully told story all rolled into one.

Nick Moran was born in Bosnia, but has lived in Australia since 1965. He works as a business consultant with an international organization as well as writing and working as a life coach. Choices is his second book to be published.

A Sample of Choices:

Tired, ancient eyes scanned the inhospitable vista.
Before him lay endless miles of scorched sand and earth. Above, a glaring, cloudless sky cruelly crushed any hope of rain, giving no hint of reprieve from the relentless sun sucking dry whatever moisture remained. Indifferent to the scene, he scrutinized the forbidding landscape, no longer affected by it, or the night-cold, or a cool breeze or the fresh scent of spring. Hunger was the only sensation still driving him, and that, he surmised, was because beyond it stood Death, and Death was the end.
There was no bargaining, no doing a deal with Death. When the Grim Reaper came to one’s door; there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no compromise to offer. Death was to be feared beyond all else; Death stood beyond all. ‘Yet, everyone kowtows to and fears Satan,” he would find himself musing. It made no sense to him. Satan did not obliterate souls. To be sure, ending up in Satan’s domain was not a fate to be desired. However, at least one’s soul remained conscious, existing. Death extinguished it; Death, he concluded, was God. Nothing stirred, his stomach rumbled. The branch on which he stood trembled violently as he spread his mighty wings and pushed off into the azure sky. Lazily, he climbed. High above the ground he caught the rising thermals and began to circle. His piercing gaze never left the earth below. Glorious bronze black wings spanning nine feet, held him aloft like an angel in the sky.
Suddenly, he noticed a movement directly below him. Only his eyes shifted, locking onto the object like laser beams. Languidly adjusting his soaring, he watched the small shape falling to earth. Gliding lower, he realised it was a small bird wildly, futilely, flapping its wings.
The predator smiled to himself. Lunch was at hand.

Read more at:




Part 2

By Christina Hamlett

The legalese of option agreements can often be baffling to the first-time screenwriter. In this continuation of the interview with Bruce David Eisen, Executive Vice President of CinemaNow, Inc. (http://www.cinemanow.com) we take a look at what an option agreement should entail and how it behooves the author to read the fine print before making a commitment.

“There are a few key provisions that must be in any option agreement. The first is the Option Payment. That is, how much is the producer paying the writer for the option? This can be anything from one dollar to hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars. The typical amount is ten percent of the total Purchase Price.

Another question is whether or not the Option Payment is applicable against the Purchase Price. That is, if the Purchase Price is $1,000 and the Option Payment is $100, when the producer exercises the option, does the producer owe the writer an additional $1,000 (not applicable) or only an additional $900 (the Option Payment is applicable against the Purchase Price). It goes both ways and is a matter of negotiation.

Which brings us to the second key provision, the Purchase Price. The Purchase Price is the amount that the Producer must pay the writer to acquire the script. This must be specified. It cannot state that it will be an amount that the parties agree to later. The reason is that an option is basically a promise by the writer to sell the script to the producer at a later date for a specified amount of money. If the amount of money is not specified, what is the promise worth? Using the example of selling a car, would you pay me $100 for me to promise to sell you my vehicle without knowing how much I would sell it to you for? What if I decided that I wanted $1 million for my beat-up 1975 Dodge? Not a very good deal for you. You just wasted $100.

The option agreement must also specify the time that the producer has in which to exercise the option. That is, how long will the writer keep it off the market? Any amount of time is possible but 1 year is typical. Often times the producer will have the right to extend the option for an additional amount of time by paying an additional option payment. Often times the Option Payment for the first part of the term is applicable against the Purchase Price (that is, the Purchase Price is reduced by the amount of the Option Payment that the writer has already received) but the second Purchase Price is not reduced by the Option Payment for the second period.

Another aspect that the option must specify is what rights is the producer getting if he exercises the option? You wouldn’t pay me $100 for me to promise to sell you something in the future without knowing what it was I was going to sell you. If you thought you were getting the right to buy my 1999 Honda Accord for $5,000 you would be very upset to find out that I thought you wanted to buy my 1999 Honda motorcycle. Therefore, the option agreement must specify exactly what rights to the script that the producer is getting. Is it all rights to the script? Is it the right to make one motion picture? What about a television program? Live stage? Internet rights? It all must be specified. All rights is typical but it is certainly possible for the writer to hold-back (that is, not sell and keep for himself), certain rights. If a book is being optioned, it is common for the writer to hold-back the book publishing rights as well as the book sequel rights.

Lastly, it is necessary that the option agreement be in writing and signed by the writer. A verbal agreement by the writer to option the script is not legally binding. Under US federal copyright law, any exclusive transfer of a right under copyright must be in writing and signed by the party granting the rights. That said, it need not be a formal document written by a lawyer but it must be in writing and signed.

One other aspect that should be mentioned is exclusivity. From the producer’s point of view, the option should state that the producer is getting the exclusive rights. For obvious reasons, the producer certainly doesn’t want to have someone else acquiring the same rights that he is getting. In negotiating an option agreement, the writer needs to think about the likelihood of someone else wanting to buy the script, book, etc. If it is a “hot” property with several or many people interested in acquiring it, then the writer might not want to option the property but rather, sell it out-right. And, if that is not possible, then the writer might be able to negotiate either a higher Purchase Price and/or an Option Payment that is greater than the typical 10% of the Purchase Price and/or an Option Period that is shorter than the typical 12 months. Conversely, if the writer has a property that has been on the market for a while with no interest but from a single producer, then it might make sense for the writer to option the property to that producer for an Option Price of one dollar to give the producer a chance to see if he can set-up a movie based upon the property.”

Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is the author of 17 books, 98 plays and musicals, and over 250 magazine and newspaper articles on a wide range of subjects.

* * * * * * * * *

Christina’s book ‘It all begins with the script’ (Ebookland) is available from our site. http://www.ebookland.net/itallbegins.html

Questions? Comments? Topics for future articles? Christina can be reached at christinalhamlett@compuserve.com


(your contribution is welcome) From Jill Smith:

Hello again E-bookland newsletter readers. Hope Santa brought you all you wished for and that you saw in the New Year safely. May 2003 bring you all happiness and good results in whatever you pursue.

I'm continuing last months article with the book review of 'The Tiger Chase.' Please go to Andys' web site and see what he has to offer first hand.


TITLE: The Tiger Chase

AUTHOR: Andrew McDermott

PUBLISHER: The American Book Co.

Andy is a member of Gold Coast Writers and as part of his learning curve tasks set by his editor he addressed a GCW meeting earlier this year. As he said then putting his book into a genre category is difficult. On the back cover of his book it is called Fiction/Thriller, it could just have easily read Mystic/Action/Conservation. It is a very entertaining read with underlying facts presented in an enthralling way.

The plot revolves around the plight of the South China Tiger population that is on the brink of extinction. Our heroine Doctor Beth Smith is a Tiger specialist in American Zoos and is invited to China to set up a programme to address the Tigers battle for survival. Our hero John Dean, meanwhile, is a tough almost psychotic police officer who is obsessed with apprehending two Chinese expat villains who plan to conquer America in crime.

Beth and John find their lives intertwined a a result of ancient Yin and Yang destiny in their past lives as they travel across America with Zhu Zhu a 6 foot long 254 pound female tiger. The tiger Zhu Zhu known as the Little Princess, which is a translation of the Chinese name, is semi tame in the hands of Beth who rescued her as a cub in China. The strange dreams that plague Beth and John give them foresight into what is happening around them. Their childhood connection is only made clear near the end of the book.

The villains Tony Lee, rich in America due to his Chinese mafia connections and drug dealings, hooks up with Raymond Brown the half American Indian half Cantonese martial arts expert who is truly evil. Brown calls himself the Tiger and sports a tiger shape tattoo on the side of his head and uses his martial arts to kill for sport.

As mentioned in the Email interview that is also in this issue of Writeabout, the book is POD (print on demand) and available by ordering on the website. The cover is brilliant and the story is quick and action packed. I recommend our members visit the site and order a copy, it would make a great present for any reader.

You can visit Andy’s Website at: www.andymcdermott.com

Happy reading, writing and living till next month!

Jill Smith

Author of Dual Visions & Living Tales
email: jillsmith57@hotmail.com

We welcome contributions to News and Views. E-mail us with any information you would like included in this newsletter and we will credit you with having supplied it to us.

If you like what we are doing, let us know. Feel free to download this information and pass it on to others.

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