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Plans for 2024

by NJB // // Broomfield, CO

© 2024 Nicholas Bernhard

CC-BY-SA 4.0

AN IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

As we enter 2024, Nantucket E-Books offers a better e-book experience than ever. No other e-book offers the same experience as the one found on this platform. This year, the e-books became more user-friendly, and more accessible. They also became easier to update: with the help of software developer Amin Hollon, I can update the software for every book on this platform with a single command.

The site has also had its first success, with the Quarter Up newsletter, by far the most popular titles here. Pinball and arcade fans love Quarter Up, and they love that it’s on Nantucket E-Books.

To build on that success, it’s time to rethink the site. This is separate from improving the e-books; I’m talking about the reader experience on the site itself. How do readers get to the site and start looking for books? How do I explain to readers the benefits of Nantucket E-Books? How can I make it easier for customers to order paperback books?

This is my first priority. Improvements to the e-books have been possible thanks to customer feedback and frank criticism. I want the site to be improved in the same way. Starting this month, I’ll be pulling together people I trust to tell me what’s not working with the site (and what is working, too).

Here are my priorities:

* How can I explain Nantucket E-Books to visitors in the most efficient way possible?

* How can the site be structured to appeal to search engines?

* How can I make it easier to search for e-books, or browse for them?

PAPERBACK BOOKS

My first goal for 2024 is to improve the quality of my paperback books. In 2023, I released three books in paperback format: Small Things by the late Allie Flint, Tales of a Metal Fisherman by Buffalo, and The Woethief by Seth Patterson. All three books use professional formatting, with indented paragraphs, crisp serif fonts, and heavy paper. These are books that I am proud to publish, and I am proud to have worked with Seth and Buffalo on their books.

This year, I’m going to take the quality of these paperbacks to a new level.

First, the current books use a comb binding. I like comb-bindings because they lay flat while reading. I know many of our customers like them too, judging by sales numbers. While comb-binding has its fans, it’s time to move up to glue-binding.

Why?

Bookstores. Bookstores want traditionally-bound books, because then they can be stocked on shelves with the title along the spine. Moving to glue-bound books has taken a lot of planning and research, because I want a process that can scale reasonably, while also not looking like junk. If I can manufacture professional-grade, glue-bound paperback books, that opens up many more venues for selling them to readers. These books are going to be great to hold in your hands, and a joy to read.

Second, I am developing a new stage in the typesetting process. Currently, there is a lot of manual labor required to turn a Shanty-markup file into a printed book. That’s about to change. I am working on a script that will assist in the conversion process. It will not only allow me to produce printed books faster, but with better and more consistent end results.

Something else to keep in mind: the process to make these books will involve only free software, licensed under the GPL Version 3, and will based around plain-text. I want you to be able to take the Shanty file used to make an e-book, and turn that into a great-looking paperback, with as little friction as possible.

MOVING OVER TO LIBERAPAY

At some point in 2024, I will be phasing out my Patreon account to fully focus on Liberapay. My reason for doing so is that Nantucket E-Books is a free-software project, and so I should be conducting my crowdfunding through free-software projects like Liberapay.

This will not happen overnight, but I hope to complete the transition by summer.

NEW PO BOX

I shut down my PO Box in 2023, and I hope to set up a new one this year. The PO Box was helpful for receiving mail from authors, but it is also part of my goal to allow readers to order books anonymously. I plan to have a new PO Box set up by summer as well.

A SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY

Last year, one of my goals was to publish an anthology of public-domain science-fiction. I got too busy with other things, and so now that’s a plan for 2025. Title undetermined.

Why 2025? I have at least two novels from authors on the site planned for this year, and I expect those to take up most of my editing time.

BLOGGING WITH SHANTY

You may not know that this blog is written in my Shanty markup language. I write the blogs in one giant plain-text file, and I then have a static-site generator build pages for each blog post.

It appears there is some interest in expanding this system into a larger blog platform that other writers could use.

I’D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU

Do you have some thoughts on Nantucket E-Books? If so, email me at njb@nantucketebooks.com. Your comments are always appreciated, and often make a big difference.

Wishing You a Happy New Year,
NJB

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