L-Book from a reader’s point of view

A lot of readers and writers still haven’t heard of L-Book or aren’t sure what exactly L-Book offers to readers and writers, so I thought I’d blog about my publisher.

L-Book logo

What is L-Book?

L-Book is a publisher of lesbian fiction that started out as an e-publisher in January 2008. L-Book specializes in e-books and l-books (“listening books” — more about that below) but also started to publish paperbacks in 2009. L-Book continues to look for the newest technology and formats while not excluding readers who still prefer books over e-books.

Why did L-Book’s CEO, Roxanne Jones, start L-Book?

“I have used e-books for more than fifteen years, but lesbian publishers would not produce e-books or audio books. Dyslexic or visually impaired lesbians had no way to read or hear lesbian fiction. Audio books were available only from audible.com, but it was not lesbian and not affordable. Using our Samantha, we are able to sell the audio book for less than the paperback.

… I started working on Samantha’s voice twelve years ago to read fanfiction to myself. I kept working on her engine and database to make her better at reading fiction.”

“I was tired of books being cut down. I would read a great fanfiction, and when it was published, it was cut up. I read a great 200,000-word story that had you on the edge of your chair the whole read. When it was published, all that was gone. Characters and other elements that were important to the story were removed. The book was still okay, but not the fabulous book it was on the Internet.”

“So, when I started L-Book, I wanted to create e-books and audio e-books as the author had written them, for the future generation and reading-impaired and keep up with the new reading and listening technologies that keep getting invented or improved.”

What kind of books does L-Book offer?

L-Book publishes e-books, l-books, and paperbacks in all categories of lesbian fiction, including romance, mystery, historical fiction, paranormal fiction, etc.

It also offers poetry and nonfiction.

L-Book has no length requirement, so it publishes anthologies, short stories, novellas, and novels.

Every book is or will eventually be offered in four different formats:

  • e-books (instant download). Download the e-books with just a few clicks. The downloaded files are in zip format, compatible with Windows and Mac. The folders include library index cards with the cover and back cover blurb of the book.

  • e-books on micro/SD memory cards that can be inserted into e-readers, PDAs, and smartphones. The tiny covers are pretty cute. Here’s a video that explains how to use the memory cards.

  • l-books (instant download): the “listening books” are computer-generated audio books, narrated by Samantha. To distinguish them from audio books that are read by actors or the author, we call our audio books “audio e-books” or l-books. If you haven’t checked it out, listen to a sample of Samantha’s reading on the L-Book Web site.
  • Paperbacks: the covers of the paperbacks look different from the e-book covers so readers can easily tell them apart in a list of L-Book novels.

Where can you find L-Book’s books?

  • The best way to buy is from L-Book’s Web site.
  • You can also order from other online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, Mobipocket.com, Libri.de, eBook.nl, and many others.
  • Paperback books are also available for printing from the Espresso Book Machine systems in retail stores and universities around the world. It’s the print version of “download immediately.” The book is printed while you wait. Click here to see how it works.

What does L-Book offer readers?

Dear Author blogged about the ten things e-publishers should do for readers:

So let’s see how L-Book does.

  1. Eternal Bookshelf. An Eternal Bookshelf is an electronic library of all the books you have purchased from an e-book store. At any time, you can open your library and re-download your e-books. Right now, there’s no shopping cart software for small companies that have the Eternal Bookshelf option. L-Book will integrate that option into the Web site as soon as that kind of software becomes available. In the meantime, contact L-Book if you need to re-download one of your e-books.
  2. Mass Downloads. This means that the Eternal Bookshelf has an option that allows you to re-download all of your e-books in a bulk. L-Book doesn’t have an Eternal Bookshelf at this time, so notify support if you had a computer crash, change devices, or need to re-download one or all your e-books and l-books for other reasons. Support will set up a customer support download site for you and you can re-download them without additional costs. Here’s an example of a download site.
  3. Buy a book for a friend. Since L-Book sells DRM-free e-books and you download them as a zip file, it’s easy to buy an e-book for a friend. Or even better, buy the micro/SD card with the e-books in all formats on them. They look really good and make a nice gift. Use your friend’s address and note in the comments that it is a gift. L-Book is also working on setting up download gifts.
  4. PayPal. L-Book allows customers to pay via PayPal. As a European customer, I’m really baffled that none of the other publishers of lesbian fiction e-books offer that payment option. Using PayPal really is the safest option and the webstore is only given your “ship to” address, no other information.
  5. Keep Credit Card information. L-Book does offer this option, but the normal process is to remove the credit card information after the purchase. It’s really the safest option for the customer.
  6. Gift certificates. L-Book offers PayPal gift certificates. They hold the money in a holding account instead of paying it to L-Book. If the receiver of the gift certificate for some reason doesn’t use it, you can get a refund.
  7. Wishlist. At this point, L-Book’s shopping cart doesn’t offer a wishlist option, but they’re working on it.
  8. Wide availability. L-Book’s novels are available through a number of e-book  Web stores worldwide, including Amazon Kindle.
  9. Multiple formats. When you buy an e-book, you’ll automatically get all the available e-book formats, without paying extra.
  10. No DRM. DRM-encrypted e-books will only open on the computer that purchased the e-book. That means if your computer crashes or you change e-reader devices, you’re out of luck. Luckily, all of L-Book’s formats are DRM-free.

And here are a few other nice things about L-Book from a reader’s point of view:

  • Format exchange: if you purchase an e-book and later switch to another reading device, L-Book will send you the new format you need at no additional cost. The same offer stands for any e-book format that might be developed in the future. Personally, I think that’s one of the greatest things for customers. You don’t need to worry about not having your e-books anymore if in a few years, your e-reader is outdated.
  • Free short stories and excerpts: you can download a number of free short stories or the first three to five chapters of L-Book’s novels to try out the technology, Samantha’s voice, and the author’s style before you buy anything.

  • Free e-books with the l-book: if you buy an l-book (mp3), you get the e-book (all formats) for free. This way, you can go back and forth between reading and listening to the story. It gives you a chance to try out Samantha and if you can’t get used to the computer narrator, you can still read the e-book.
  • No country restrictions: you can download the e-books from all over the world.
  • No length restrictions: L-Book doesn’t restrict manuscript length. That’s great for readers who love long novels. It also gives readers a chance to read novellas, short stories, and poetry, which are often left out of mainstream publishing because of minimum length requirements.
  • Volume discounts if you order three or more items from the L-Book Web site.
  • Great customer support. If for some reason, there’s a problem with your e-book or l-book, you won’t be left hanging.
  • Like all e-books, the L-Book e-books and listening books can be accessed without waiting or paying shipping costs. And your significant other won’t ban you to the couch for adding yet another book to your already overflowing bookshelf. :-)

What e-book formats does L-Book offer?

What kind of device do you need for reading?

You don’t necessarily need an e-reader to enjoy the e-books. The e-books and l-books can be read and listened to with a variety of different devices, at home and on the road. Devlyn has a lot of helpful and easy to understand information about e-books and e-readers on her Web site.

  • The l-books run on any mp3 player and any other mp3 device, including Kindle, Nook, Sony, Blackberry, iPhone, iTouch, iPod, cell phones with mp3 players, and home or car stereo systems. You can also listen to them on your laptop or computer (Windows or Mac).
  • The e-books can be read on the Sony Reader, Kindle, Blackberry, iPhone, iTouch, PDAs, Pocket PC, iRex, and other e-readers. You can also read them on your computer or laptop. Links for downloading the software for reading e-books on your computer are at the bottom of the L-Book Web site.

How can you keep up to date on new books and developments at L-Book?

You can sign up for e-mail updates on the L-Book Web site, and you can also join the lesfic_ebook Yahoo! Group, which consists of readers, writers, and some people who are great at giving advice on all technical aspects of e-readers and e-books.

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