Thursday, March 7, 2013

I trust you completely: sharing "What's up with Catalonia?"

Dear Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis reader:
I hope you're not anxious about my preoccupation with Catalonia. Remember that everything I learn as I edit and publish these books later comes back as dividends for this blog, and the independent and digital publishing communities. That is, everything I am learning, I'll explain here.

I'll begin by telling you about a new phase in my digital publishing life: sharing files. I have just made the electronic versions of my new book, What's up with Catalonia?—my new book on Catalonia's push for independence, written by 35 experts, for a English-speaking audience—freely available on Catalona Press' website.

You can also download them here:

EPUB | Kindle/Mobi | PDF

(Note that I did make special versions with extended explanations about the licensing scheme. I hate forking ebooks, for just this reason, but I think it was important to explain the new system.)

I've never been a fan or user of DRM on my own computer-related ebooks, but this is the first time that I am explicitly allowing people to make copies of one of my books in order to share them with friends and acquaintances. You might say I'm crazy, on that I've simply written off any hope of selling the book, but I believe (and hope) that neither of those ideas is correct.

To begin with, since we've been making books, people have shared them. Digital publishing has not changed that, indeed it makes it easier. That spreads fear in the hearts of big publishers but it shouldn't. We often find out about books that we want to read through the books that our friends have lent us. My idea is that if you share "What's up with Catalonia?" with a friend, it's a way of spreading the word about my book, and perhaps they will also support the book.

Because I do ask for financial support for the book. That someone copies the book doesn't mean they can't or won't buy it. Please, buy it! The writers and I have worked hard to create it and the more copies we sell, the more resources we'll have for writing sequels. There's a lot of work to do.

And of course, I'm not the only one who does this. Look at Cory Doctorow, a novelist who has posted all of his novels online, several of which I've downloaded, and then subsequently bought multiple copies of in paper—as gifts, or to share with non e-reading friends. Or Amanda Palmer, who just released a totally inspiring Ted talk in which she describes her million dollar crowdfunding campaign as "We made an art out of asking people to help us, and join us."

I don't have to make people buy this book. I can simply ask.

Right now you can find the book in paper in a few Barcelona bookstores: Botiga Vilaweb (Ferlandina, 43), Llibreries Laie (Pau Clàris, 85, and at the Park Güell, Pedrera, and Picasso Museum stores), Llibreria Îndex in Vilassar de Mar, and soon, in the bookstores that belong to the Bestiari cooperative.

Online, you can find the book in paper and electronic formats at:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | | | | | Amazon Canada | Amazon Brazil | Amazon Japan

Barnes & Noble

Apple iBookstore

• or see Catalonia Press for an updated list.

I also created a Paypal button where I can accept donations in any amount, and I will dedicate that money to sending copies of the book to public libraries, politicians, business leaders, university professors, or anyone else who asks for a donation of the book, or to translating and editing new editions of this book or others about Catalonia.

I've been nervous about trying this up until now, I admit. But since a lot of the objective with this book is to share information about Catalonia, it seemed a perfect time to experiment. I'll be watching sales and comparing them and I'll let you know how it works.

Next article: Crowdfunding on two continents


  1. Loving ebook (or ebook authoring), I really love and read most piece of your articles. Thank you for your great works.
    Being a Chinese, I strongly support you and your people fighting for the independence of Catalonia. I love to see a broken Spain, even better a broken Europe or western world, just like so many westerns prefer to a broken China. United Catalonian, Irish, Scottish, Basque, Corsican, Sicilian, Ryukyujin, and Texas guys, First Nation people, fight for your freedom now.

    I promise to read your book.

  2. We've bought many of your books and continue to market your works through the company and the podcast. Often times we talk about the fact that innovation needs to happen in this new and rather awesome transition that the publishing industry is going through. It's great what you are doing here and I'll continue to put my money where my mouth is. :) Thanks Liz.

    1. Toby: I can't tell you how much that means to me. For so many reasons. Thank you.

  3. That's an absolutely marvelous cover, especially the tantalizing peek at one of the US's founding documents.

    One additional suggestion that'll mean more income for Liz and a wider audience for her book. Visitors to this website might want to suggest that their local public or school/college library get a printed copy. Most have a suggestion page on their website.

    I've just done that with Seattle Public.

  4. Frustrated in San FranciscoMarch 11, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Dear Liz --

    Not sure if you can help but having recently written a book I have been unable to convert it to an e-format (readable on a Kindle or an iPad/iPhone or Android device - preferably tied to Kindle for distribution or, less desirably, the IBook Store).

    What I am trying to achieve is (in my mind) simple. Be able to have a (children's) book which has pictures and a read aloud feature in my own voice(s)(I am working on the recordings).

    If I could add a feature where I have alternate recordings/words for each page (with same pictures) depending on, e.g., whether the reader chooses English, Spanish (or Catalan!), that would be great too but that's for the future.

    I have downloaded iBooks Author and found it extremely unhelpful. I do not have HTML experience (but am willing to learn). I don't know if you or someone else offers a tutorial on this (let's assume for the Kindle format for now since that can then be accessed on an iPad but not vice versa, I think)

    I have spent time on the web but have found almost no information on a topic which I would have thought had been thoroughly explored.

    This has to be a rather rudamentary exercise (I mean, you have a book, you have the pics, you have the sound files, how hard should it be to then have a program that lets you put these together! And I get you have to tie the audio to the text but while timeconsuming this "should " be doable without having a programming knowledge) and yet there is almost a blackout & no simple/easy to use software to do this.

    (I also don't want to pay anyone $ to do something that I feel there "ought to be an app (or a program) for that"

    Can you direct me?

    1. Yes :) Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it should be. For starters, Kindle doesn't offer narration (read aloud) capability on its ebooks yet. For iBookstore, you can add Read Aloud to Fixed Layout books only (and I have miniguides on both Fixed Layout and on adding Read Aloud, see

      It also turns out that Media Overlays (the official EPUB3 term for what Apple calls Read Aloud) can be added to both fixed and flowing books, and works in iBooks, Kobo, and Readium. I've written about that on this very blog.

      You can do it yourself, you don't have to hire someone, but you will have to roll up your sleeves and climb into the code a bit. Is that a good start? Feel free to ask more questions.

  5. Thanks --

    your blog is about the only thing that seems to make sense. I did not realize that Kindle does not do "read aloud" (of course, I am not talking about the "voice over" type feature that comes with an Ipad (& that you can turn on so as to use in iBooks) but rather voice that I recorded/read)

    Just two questions:

    - does the Nook/Barnes&Noble offer this feature (part of the publishing platform decision is that it seems an iBook cannot be displayed on a Kindle or Nook but an iPad can with proper apps display Kindle/Nook books)?

    - Dare I ask... what about the feature where by pressing some icon the book switches to [Catalan etc]? (e.g., you press a button which takes you to a language menu, choose language, go back, now read aloud reads in [Russian, etc] (something you can probably do in an app but that's an order of magnitude beyond where I (at least myself) can go);

    Looks like I will be downloading your books

    1. Yes, NOOK does offer it, but only to big publishers. They won't let indies do it.

      And there isn't the "switch language" feature yet, though I think it wouldn't be too hard to do it with a little JavaScript. It's been on my list of to-do's for a while, just haven't gotten to it yet.

    2. thank you!


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