Still Waiting on my Books

It seems that I’m the only person who doesn’t have a physical copy of ‘Lament for the Living’, and with only three days to the estimated delivery date of the box of books I ordered it feels like it’s never going to happen.

When I ordered the proof copy, which is now in the hands of someone who truly deserves it, it arrived about five days short of the estimate.  I was very pleased.

As the delivery date edges closer and closer I have some nightmare scenarios flying around, mainly involving UK Customs & Excise.

These range from them drilling a hole through every book because they think they’re being used to smuggle drugs, to slapping a massive amount of import duty on them because….. they can.

These scenarios are caused by one issue alone: the UK is shit for entrepeneurial endeavours.  Services are expensive and service providers think we’re all ignorant dolts who enjoy paying money for old rope.  And any time someone says “But why is service X 50-75% more in the UK than the US?”  The answer can pretty much be guaranteed to be: “Well, it costs more to do business in the UK.”

Now that may, or may not be true.  But that doesn’t explain why even if the cost of doing business is more expensive the range of services is still lacking, and the level of customer service frankly appalling.

I’d love to buy British, but it’s not possible.  PoD services operating from the UK charge so much for copies that I’d either need to charge about £30 per book, or move my family and furniture out of the house to accommodate the boxes of copies that I’d need to buy to make them affordable (and then not have the retail network to shift them).

And when I do buy British I find the service slow, and the customer service incredibly dire (and then I won’t use those companies again).  Now this simple post about waiting for my books has become a sort of British business rant so I suppose I had better qualify my statements about British Business, especially customer service.

I’ve worked for nearly twenty years in customer facing and customer service roles.  I’ve worked for some of the best companies in Britain, a handful of the worst, and some that tried their best, but didn’t quite understand the nature of customer service.

And the thing that most companies fail to realise is that giving excellent customer service doesn’t cost anything.

Anyway, where are my books?

And while we’re at it – BUY MY BOOKS: http://www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography

Have a nice day, and y’all come back now real soon.

Nook – I R Disappoint

My wife has a Kindle. When I wrote my first stories I formatted them for the .mobi scheme used by Kindle. But I was keen to branch out so at Christmas Santa brought me a Nook (from the Barnes&Noble stable) and my mother had a Kobo from …. erm, not sure where they come from but they’re kind of affiliated with WHSmith here in the UK.

Anyhoo, Kindle = .mobi. Kobo, Nook and pretty much everything else is .epub. They’re fairly similar, but the .epub format needs extra tags and things that at the time were too much work for me to get my head around.

Now, on the brink of releasing ‘Lament for the Living’ I had intended to publish it to Kindle, and also to the Nook via pubit/nookpress. That was until I discovered that I can’t.

Why? WHY!? Why can’t I publish to these other services? Because I’m not American, or rather, because I don’t live in the USA.

I contacted Nook UK customer support asking them when/if they would be allowing UK authors to use their service but the speedy (but unhelpful) reply was to contact B&N directly. So I emailed them…. no reply so far.

So it looks like Amazon are cornering the market in more ways than one, and for UK authors they seem to be the only real option (except for publishing through Smashwords and having them propagate through to B&N and others – but why should we?!).

On a side note, so far I have bought zero books for the Nook. Yes, that nada, nil, not a sausage, and while they continue to exploit and ignore the UK market I’ll not be buying any for it either.

Should have bought a Kindle 😦