TIPM Morning Brief: Friday, August 30th

In today’s latest publishing news Amazon expands south and Smashwords goes east, more gushing ASI reviews, and one not so gushing review, and a comparison review. President Obama writes to booksellers about that trip to Amazon, but doesn’t really say much about anything.

Two big hitters in the self-publishing world have announced expansions in different directions. Smashwords has teamed up with Flipkart, India’s largest online bookseller, to expand its distribution. On the continent of America, Amazon has announced that it has launched a Kindle bookstore in Mexico and it will also have the Kindle Digital Program available there. Both announcement below.

One of the strongest voices and advocates in the self-publishing community, David Gaughran, also looks at Smashwords, but as part of his service comparison with competitor Draft2Digital. You can read his review below from his excellent website, Let’s Get Digital.

Earlier this week I shared a review of an ASI (Author Solutions Inc) owned company from the website The Shared Self-Publishing Experience and, low and behold, up popped another review of another ASI-owned company. This time it was iUniverse. Steve Barancik claims to run The Shared Self-Publishing Experience and explains that the site is for other writers to share their publishing experiences. Barancik goes on to say:
“I am no expert on the various self publishing and print on demand companies and what they offer, so I’ve created this section of the site. Here’s how it’s going to work… Companies can post about their services here subject to my editorial discretion. I insist that they post useful information and not empty sales copy. Any company that meets these editorial standards will receive a page on the site. From there, I will provide a link to each company’s home page.”
While it does at times show that Barancik doesn’t know a lot about self-publishing and the various companies offering services, it also looks pretty clear that some of the authors writing on SSPE also don’t know a lot about it. While I am all for open forum, and allowing companies as well as authors record their feedback, I suspect I’m also witnessing a case of the blind leading the blind.

And continuing on the above note, the experience of the author in our next piece below, about publishing with Balboa Press (a Hay House and Author Solutions-run imprint), is another sobering experience.

And finally, it’s more on that President Obama visit to an Amazon facility, or rather, the letter Obama wrote to American booksellers. MediaBistro has the full details below.

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