Monthly Archives: November 2010

Availability of Lumix LX5 Book is Improving; a Good Review on Amazon

Today the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera was listed as “In Stock” at Amazon.com, and not with the “shipping in 1 to 3 weeks” language — just “In Stock,” though the listing does say the item takes longer than other items to ship. But at least it’s not listed as “Temporarily Unavailable,” as it was for a week or so before now.

Also, at Amazon.co.uk, things have now improved so the book is listed there as “Temporarily Unavailable,” but they are taking orders, which is a considerable improvement over “Unavailable,” with the added language that they had no idea when or if it would ever be in stock!  I have listed some copies on Amazon.co.uk as a third-party seller, but none of them have sold, maybe because Amazon now says it will take orders.

Also, I received a very nice five-star review on the LX5 book today on Amazon.com, which may help get the book selling a bit better.  Sales have been pretty slow so far, partly because of the availability issues, I guess.

More Panasonic Lumix LX5 Books Are on the Way

I was very pleased a few moments ago to receive an e-mail message from Lightning Source, the print-on-demand printing company, saying that my new order of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 books is on the way, and will arrive here on Wednesday, December 1. The book is still listed as “Unavailable” at Amazon.co.uk, and I have had some people e-mail me to ask when it will be available there. For some reason, no third-party sellers are selling the book on Amazon in the UK right now, but I will list them there as soon as they arrive and I have them physically in hand. I may also list some on Amazon in the US, though the book is now listed on that site as shipping within 1 to 3 weeks, and it does appear to be selling some copies there.

I am continuing to work on the book about the Leica D-Lux 5 as time permits.  Yesterday I updated the table of contents to be an automatically generated one in Adobe InDesign, which will make it much easier to finalize the text — I won’t have to keep adjusting the table of contents manually as changes are made. Also, when I generate a PDF version to sell online, the page numbers in the table of contents will be hyperlinked to the pages they represent, which will make the book easier to navigate for the reader.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Back in Stock at Amazon.com

The system for getting the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera back in production seems to be working well. The revised proof of the book’s text was just approved two days ago, on Friday, and this morning the book’s listing on Amazon.com shows that the book ships within 1 to 3 weeks. That doesn’t sound so great, but it’s a lot better than “Temporarily Unavailable,” which is what the listing said for the past week or more. Now the availability should improve gradually over the next several days; fairly soon it should say “In Stock” and eventually, I hope, Amazon.com will make the book available for overnight shipping.

Things don’t look so good yet at Amazon.co.uk, the United Kingdom site, where the book is still listed as “Unavailable,” with no one selling it. I will list some copies for sale myself as soon as I receive them from the printer, but that won’t be until later in the coming week. Eventually, the print-on-demand system will get the books automatically available in the UK, but it seems to take quite a long time for that to happen, possibly a few more weeks.  I’ll be monitoring the situation there, because there are usually a good number of people in the UK who are interested in photography books, and I will try to make the book available there as much as I possibly can.

New Proof Approved; More Books on the Way

I was very pleased to see that Lightning Source was as good as its word in getting the revised text file of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book reviewed and approved quickly. I received word earier today that it had been approved, and it just needed my approval, which I quickly gave.  Now, in a matter of a few days, the book should be back in production and then should start showing up again as “available” on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.  I tried to keep it available on Amazon.co.uk myself by selling copies as a third-party seller, and I have sold about 5 copies that way, but I don’t have more copies to sell, and without me selling them the book is listed as “unavailable” on the UK site. I have ordered another shipment of books to be sent to me from Lightning Source, and as soon as I receive those I will list them again on Amazon.co.uk, unless Amazon has started shipping them itself by then.

Today I ended my experiment of selling books on eBay.  I sold one book to a gentleman from Argentina who sent me a couple of friendly messages asking about the book before he ended up buying a copy. I shipped it this morning. I took the other copies off of eBay, though, so I would have some to sell on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Actually, the cost of shipping the books to the UK and other countries is quite high, and I don’t get fully reimbursed, so I may be losing money on some of these sales, but I believe it’s important to get the book out to those who want to have it, and maybe some of them will post reviews on the Amazon sites that could help sales. Also, I don’t like the idea of there being people who want to read my book, but can’t find a copy.

Soon, I hope to get back to work on the D-Lux 5 book, but I have been busy with other things.  I may be able to return to that project during the coming week.

New Shipment of Books Arrived Today; Waiting for Lightning Source

It’s a good thing I ordered another shipment of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 books from the printer, Lightning Source, last week.  The books arrived today, so I can sell them on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk as a third-party seller, and today I also listed them on eBay as Buy It Now items, so there will be more chances for people to discover the book.  It’s a good thing, because the book is still listed as “temporarily unavailable” at Amazon.com and most of the other online outlets. That’s going to be the case for at least the next few days, because, at the suggestion of my customer service rep at Lightning Source, I submitted a slightly revised text file yesterday, and it will take a few more days for it to work its way through the system so that the book is in full production again. It’s undoubtedly good in the long run to have a more solid text file in production, so, once the process has gotten back up to speed everything should be fine.

Not much else to report. Tomorrow I’ll pause for Thanksgiving with the family, then back to working on book production, etc.

The Elusive Goal of a Book that is Always "In Stock"

Well, the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 is still listed as “temporarily out of stock” on Amazon.com. It seems to be unavailable on any of the various Amazon sites except, for some reason, in Canada, at Amazon.ca.  I have communicated with my representative at Lightning Source several times today, and she has been very helpful and responsive. I submitted a revised interior text file today, and they have already checked it and found it to look fine. They will put it into production as soon as possible, hopefully within a few days, though Thanksgiving will slow things down a bit. Then, maybe by next week, the book will show up as “available” and “in stock” again at Amazon.  At least I hope so.  Though, as far as I can tell, Amazon continues to take orders for the book, and will ship them out as soon as more books are printed.

Also, tomorrow I will be receiving a shipment of books that were printed recently, before the switchover to the new file.  (The books will look the same as before; the file change was just for a technical reason that doesn’t affect the appearance of the books.) So, I will fill orders as a third-party seller, for anyone who wants to order from me.  I have had one or two orders on Amazon.com and one order on Amazon.co.uk so far; I realize many people prefer to order from Amazon directly; I’m like that myself, partly because of the very quick shipping with Amazon Prime.

So, stay tuned for further developments, but now I believe it will be anywhere from several days to a week or more before the LX5 book becomes fully “in stock” at Amazon.com

Amazon Mystery Solved; Reply to Comment

First, I’ll reply to a commenter, who asked a reasonable question about why you can’t just attach a filter to the Panasonic Lumix LX5’s lens rather than having to use a conversion adapter. The answer has to do with the nature of the lens on the LX5, which extends outward when you turn on the camera. If you attached a filter directly to the lens, it would block the lens, and the camera could not operate. You see this situation if you turn on the camera in recording mode with the lens cap attached — the camera comes to a stop and gives you an error message about removing the lens cap.  So, you need to attach the conversion adapter, which provides a space into which the lens can extend, and the filter or wide-angle lens is attached at the end of that space, beyond the end of the lens.

Now, on to the Amazon situation.  I had been quite concerned because Amazon.com was listing the LX5 book as “unavailable.”  I thought at first that was some glitch with Amazon’s inventory or computer system, but this morning I e-mailed my customer service rep at Lightning Source, the print-on-demand company.  I expected her to say there was some issue with Amazon, and they would fix it.  To my surprise, though, she replied within a couple of hours, telling me that the book had been pulled from production because of an error with a corrupt font. That was a surprise, because the pdf file with the book’s text had passed all of the technical tests before being approved for printing.  I don’t know how the error cropped up further down the road.  Anyway, the printing experts at Lightning Source somehow fixed or worked around the problem, and the book was back in production by the time I got my response.  The rep suggested I send a revised text file anyway, though, to avoid any future problems.  I prepared a new file tonight, and I’ll probably upload it tomorrow, if it can be done without interrupting the printing process any more.

Amazon Can Be Hard to Figure Out at Times

I have been trying my best to make sure the new book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera is available as widely as possible to people who would like to buy it. I have been contacted by some potential buyers who couldn’t find it at a reasonable price in the U.K., and, as I mentioned here recently, I have now signed up as a seller on Amazon.co.uk so I can make the book directly available to purchasers from that site. As of now, I am the only source of this book on the Amazon UK site, but no one has bought a copy yet. I guess they may not like the idea of waiting for the book to be shipped from the US to the UK, though I do ship quickly via First Class Mail International, which should not take much more than a week.  And, I have to ship for the domestic (UK) postage amount, not what it actually costs me to ship to the UK. Oh, well.  Maybe some sales will come eventually.  I think things may pick up when Amazon.co.uk finally starts selling the book directly itself from the print-on-demand system, which is slow getting up to speed.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. . . .   things are a bit hard to understand here, also. Amazon had the LX5 book listed as “In Stock” for a couple of weeks, but then, as of yesterday, they started listing it as “Temporarily Out of Stock,” advising buyers they can order now and the book will be shipped when it is in stock again.  I don’t understand what causes this sort of situation — the print-on-demand company is supposed to supply Amazon with as many books as it needs whenever it orders them. There must be some sort of glitch or hangup in the mechanism, which hopefully will get sorted out very soon.  Here again, I went ahead and listed the book for sale as a third-party seller on Amazon.com, because I do have some (not many) copies in stock, and will ship them quickly if anyone orders one.

I’m Now a UK Seller on Amazon, and Search Inside the Book is Finally Working

I feel I made substantial progress today in the two areas mentioned in the title of this post. To take the more routine one first, the “Search Inside the Book” function finally started working on Amazon in the US for the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera book.  This means that potential buyers of the book can look at various pages in PDF format, including the Contents, Index, and the first few pages.  Also, they can enter a search term and see any reference to it on a page of the book.  Some authors and publishers don’t use this feature because they’re afraid people won’t need to buy the book if they can search through it on Amazon, but my opinion is that it helps people decide whether or not the book is one they’re really interested in buying.  Anyway, I have set this up for all three of my books on Amazon.  This time it seemed to take a long time for the PDF files I submitted to be processed and to show up in the book’s listing; I submitted them on November 7 and it took 12 days.  Anyway, I’m glad it finally worked out.

The bigger news, at least from my point of view, is that, a little while ago, I finally succeeded in setting myself up as a seller on Amazon.co.uk.  I never had any intention of doing so, but recently the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 was listed as “Unavailable” on Amazon in the UK.  For a while there were a few third-party sellers selling it there, then just one, selling it at an outlandish price of more than 1,000 pounds, and then, for the past few days, the book was listed as “Unavailable.”  I hated seeing that word, so I worked through the system to get listed as a seller on the UK Amazon site.  I probably was doing something wrong at first, so it took me quite a number of tries until I succeeded.  When I finally did, the process was quite smooth. After I entered my basic information, including addresss, phone number, bank account, e-mail, and credit card, I receive a call on my cell phone from a British voice (a recording) asking me to enter a 4-digit PIN that had shown up on my computer screen.  I entered the number, and, within a few more steps on the computer, I had the LX5 book listed for sale. Here is the listing for the LX5 book in the UK.

I know there have been some potential buyers in the UK who were frustrated at not being able to purchase the printed book at a reasonable price. Of course, now the book has to ship from here in the US to the UK.  The good part for UK buyers, though, is that, because I am listed as a UK seller, I’m required to ship the book to UK buyers at the domestic postage rate, not the international rate, so they will save a good deal on shipping costs.  I ship quickly, within one business day after receiving an order, so hopefully this system will work out okay for the buyers and for me.  We’ll soon see, I guess.

Otherwise, today has been very quiet.  I have had only one order for the downloadable PDF.  There’s no way of knowing why things quieted down so much; hopefully they will pick up again before too long.

Frustration at Getting Books Sold in the U.K.

Today a potential buyer of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera sent me a message asking why the book has been priced so high on Amazon.co.uk.  Until recently, it was priced somewhere in the range of £26 or  £30 and above; one or two sellers had it listed at more than £1,000.  In the U.S., the retail price is $24.95, which translates to roughly £15.50.

I replied, telling him that I am just as frustrated as he and other potential buyers in the U.K. may be at the high price of the book there.  The problem is, all I can do is make the book available and set the list price, which I did; I believe I set it at £16.95.  As of now, Amazon.co.uk is not selling the book on its own; evidently the print-on-demand mechanism is not yet sufficiently geared up to have the book printed and available for sale there.  I have an agreement with the printer, Lightning Source, to make the book available in the U.K., but it seems to take much longer for the book to become officially available through Amazon itself over there than here in the U.S., where it has been available for some time.

The book was available at Amazon.co.uk through some third-party sellers, as I noted, but they are able to choose their own prices, which they did, none of which was the actual list price.

What’s worse is that now, no sellers are listing the book for sale on Amazon.co.uk, so Amazon is listing the book as “unavailable.”

I tried to sign up as a third-party seller on Amazon.co.uk, but have so far been unable to do so; I got part of the way through the process of listing the books for sale on the site, but then I got an error message, with no good information on how to proceed.

So, for now, here is all I can say to buyers in the U.K. or elsewhere who want to buy the book from Amazon.co.uk.  First, the book is now in stock and available through www.camerabooks.com, an excellent small business in the U.S. that sells photography books online.  They do an excellent job with international orders, so you can order from them at the list price of $24.95 plus shipping.

As another alternative, I have listed a couple of my own copies of the book (brand new from the printer) at Amazon.com in the U.S., where I am able to sell items with no problem.  My seller name there is alexstrawhite, and I am selling the books for $24.95 plus shipping.  Of course, the cost and time to get to the buyer will be greater than if the books were being sold from the UK, but at least the price is the list price.  Also, I am a fast shipper; I will ship the books out via First Class Mail International the next business day after an order comes in.

So, although I expect Amazon.co.uk to start having the book available for direct sale before too long, in the meantime, there are at least two other ways for anyone who wants the book to order one at the normal list price.