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Tuesday, 24 September 2019

I'm Abandoning Plain Text Emails

I've spoken about this a few times, and I think it's probably something I've been putting off for a while, but it's finally happening: from my September 2019 email newsletter, I'm abandoning Plain Text as an option.

For personal emails I send, I will still prefer Plain Text unless it's really necessary to include images or custom formatting (the emails are smaller, take less bandwidth to send, less disk space to store, and are less distracting and easier to read), but I don't think it's practical for marketing emails from a brand to specifically support plain text.

Therefore, from now on, readers who have their email clients set to display emails in Plain Text by default will receive the following text when they open my newsletter:


The text of the email is as follows:

Hi {$name|default:"there"},

This is an email sent by me (Graham Downs) to my subscribers.
My service provider doesn't do any automatic conversion from HTML to plain text, so up until now, I've been manually putting together a version specifically for plain-text readers.

Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly impractical for me to do so, both in terms of time constraints, but also because images and embedded links are becoming more integral to my emails (as they are to most authors, I believe), and it's harder to make sure that plain text readers can still get the full "feel" I'd like to create.

Therefore, please set your email client to display this email in HTML format.
I apologise for the inconvenience. If you are unable to view it in HTML format, or it is otherwise very important for you to continue receiving plain text emails from me, please reply and let me know, and I'll try to make a plan for you.

If enough people respond, it might convince me that it is, in fact, still worth the time and effort to craft specific plain text versions of my emails in future.

Yours in Reading,
Graham

What about you? Do you prefer to read emails in Plain Text? If you subscribe to my newsletters, do you think you'll ever see the above message?

This makes my heart sore, but I feel it has to be done. And now's the right time to do it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Why I Wouldn't Buy a Dedicated Ereading Device


Earlier this month, ebook retailer Kobo announced a brand new, waterproof ereading device.

It looks really cool and all, but you know, it got me thinking. In this day and age, with competition in the ebook space so fierce, I don't think I would ever buy a dedicated ereading device. You don't want to be locked into any one retailer, and effectively, that's what a dedicated ereader does because you can't easily read books on it, that you bought from other stores.

I'd much rather say, go out and buy a tablet with the biggest and highest quality screen you can afford, and install all the apps. And if waterproof is really that important to you, there are rugged tablets available, specifically for that purpose (look at Rugged SA in South Africa, for example).

Sure, dedicated ereaders often have stunning screens, specifically designed to let you read in comfort for extended periods of time. Or they can be much lighter than tablets—although I personally prefer to hold something weighty anyway.

But think of the things you give up:

I want to be able to say, for any particular book, "Hey, this book's cheaper at Kobo." And buy it on Kobo and open the Kobo app on my tablet to read it.

Or for a different book, "Hey, this book's cheaper at Amazon." And buy it on Amazon and open the Kindle app on my tablet to read it.

Or for a different book, "Hey, this book's available on Scribd." And click Save For Later on Scribd and read it on my tablet at no extra charge.

And what if you have a Kobo ereader, but the book you want is only available on Amazon, or vice versa?

Sure, you could use Calibre and similar software to download the book to your PC, convert it to a format your ereader can support, and copy it over. But if the book has DRM applied (as most traditionally published books do), you'd have to strip that off first.

That's a lot of effort for most people. It's also almost certainly against the terms of service of the store you bought it from... and is possibly downright illegal if you have to strip the DRM first.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? Do you shop around for ebooks, or do you just buy them from your regular store without giving it a second thought?

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

National Fight Procrastination Day

Friday (6 September) was National Fight Procrastination Day in the US. Did you know?

Well, even if you didn't, I'll bet there was at least one task that you were supposed to do on Friday, right? A task that you procrastinated and procrastinated over, and it possibly didn't get done?

You know what I was supposed to do last Friday? Write this blog post. :-)

See, I'm participating in a big ebook bargain sale this week, and you can get loads of free and cheap Science Fiction and Fantasy ebooks, for this week only.

Click on the banner below to find out more:



I hope you find something you like. Have a wonderful week!

By the way, if you buy something, why not post a comment and let us know what you got? Let's share the love, and help your fellow readers find some great bargains.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Getting Your Favourite Magazines Digitally

Those who know me, know that I'm a huge fan of the Unlimited Reading platform, Scribd. The thought of being able to read as many books as I like for only $8.99 is just too good to pass up!

Up to now, though, I've been using it exclusively for ebooks, but just recently, I've discovered a really cool part of their platform: Magazines.


I must be honest with you: it's been a long time since I've read a magazine. When I was still living with my parents (wow, that was a long time ago, now), I remember occasionally buying copies of PC World or Time when I saw them in the shops. Of course, they were imports here in South Africa, so they were really expensive.

Scribd has contracts with lots of magazines, so you can "follow" them, and they deliver the latest issue, straight into your app. Click on an issue, and you're presented with a list of articles from that issue, and you can click on one to read it.

Tres cool, no?

Do you still read magazines? If so, do you still buy paper-based ones, or have you switched to digital? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Oh and incidentally, if you'd like 60 free days to try out Scribd (instead of the usual 30 that most people get), click here to sign up.

And once you've completed the sign-up process, search for my books. They're all there.