Amazon’s Digital Text Platform Comes to Canada and Changes Everything … again

Wow, I can’t believe that I missed this one.  Back in January, Amazon announced that it was extending its groundbreaking Digital Text Platform to non-US authors.  The complete story is here.

This is big news indeed for the cut-the-publisher-out-of-the-picture movement. Today, Amazon announced that it has opened its Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP)–which is the Web-platform that allows writers to upload and sell their own Kindle books, meaning to self publish via the Kindle Store–to writers all over the world writing in English, German and French. Previously, only US-based writers could take advantage of the DTP.

Here’s more from Amazon, which also promises to add more languages to the DTP in the next few months: “‘We are excited to make the self-service Kindle Digital Text Platform available to authors and publishers around the world,’ said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content. ‘Now any content owner can offer English, German or French-language books to the fast-growing audience of Kindle owners around the globe.'”

Whatever one’s grievances with Amazon may be, it has done a pretty good job of creating an international bookstore. And now that authors living all over can upload books, we have the potential to get heretofore unimagined texts, though most of them will likely be very bad, and all of them will be hard to find.

For authors like myself, this is huge.  My earlier game plan was to get my stories onto iPhones by going through Smashwords.  Smashwords would have allowed me to sell my stories directly through the excellent Stanza app.  However, there were a number of problems that bothered me.  As I said at the time:

To format it properly for all of the different digital formats that are in use these days, Smashwords feeds the manuscript through a software program called the “Meat Grinder”.  This gives the author almost no control over the final end product.  In a perfect world, I would prefer to use Amazon’s Digital Text Platform.  Amazon’s DTP would give more control over the final product and make my manuscript available to buy on both the Amazon Kindle and the Kindle app for iPhone.  Rather than buying it through an obscure websitem, Amazon’s DTP would allow me to sell my novel on the popular Amazon store.  Unfortunately, neither the DTP or the Kindle are available yet in Canada so I will have to stick to Smashwords for the time being.

Well Hallelujah.  Christmas has come early.  Not only do I avoid the atrocious formatting of the “Meat Grinder”, not only do I get access to the world’s biggest online e-book store, but my stories will now be available to everyone with a Kindle or the Kindle App for iPhone.  Yes, I can now publish to the iPhone.  All without paying a dime.  Incredible.  God Bless Amazon.

For those of you who are not familiar with Amazon’s Digital Text Platform, it is a service that allows you to log in with your Amazon account and upload your manuscript directly to the Amazon Store.  There is no middlemen.  There is no publisher.  Just you, your audience, and Amazon taking 70% of every sale.  The most significant barrier to publication has now been removed.  The only problem is that now everyone can publish, so getting your manuscript noticed becomes a Herculean task.

But that’s a challenge I live for.  I’m just happy that my wish has come true.  I can now publish to Amazon, the iPhone, and to the Kindle.  Now I have to just figure out how to publish to the iPad.

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