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Messages - Mercia McMahon

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do writers make bad readers?
« on: July 17, 2018, 06:12:56 AM »
Writers are slower readers because we take time to analyze stuff as we go rather than zipping through a novel in one day like some do. Reading for simple pleasure is almost impossible for a true writer.

I average about 50 novels each year since finally getting down to writing a novel (roughly the same time I joined Kboards). I read novel fast if they are not taking my interest and only slow if either it is an engrossing story or it is so poorly written that it makes me cringe. When I first began writing my own stuff I was troubled by the number of typos (in trade or indie books), but now it washes over my head and I only complain about poor story structure and deities popping out of machines.

I had got out of the reading habit for decades before writing a novel. Now I am over my TV addiction.

Non true writer.

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: July 17, 2018, 02:50:23 AM »
Consider giving up Word and switching to a Chromebook and Google Docs. Chromebooks are so cheap they're nearly disposable.

Maybe this is a UK-centric view, but Chromebooks are no longer cheaper than the cheapest Windows 10 laptops. Check the prices before you think Chromebooks are a bargain. Although if you are happy to go for a 800 euro laptop then Chromebooks were unlikely to be what you were looking for. I went for a Lenove Miix 310 because it is very portable. Basically it is a 10 inch Win 10 tablet with a very solid detachable keyboard that comfortably ran the latest Word when I was a Office365 subscriber and handles my Office 2007 version of Word with aplomb, although I normally write in Vim. I don't think the Miix is sold anymore (and it lacks ethernet), but the Lenovo Yoga is a similar concept and there are several detachable laptops from other manufacturers. The advantage of a laptop that either has a detachable keyboard or had flip the keyboard round to be a thick tablet is that it is easier to use while walking around, e.g., when seeing if a bookstore has anything from the list of books you need.

3
If you want to create separate accounts from a previous KDP account using your personal account details then KDP staff will sort it for youj, but be warned that you will after a brief period lose all records of the previous KDP account.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
« on: July 06, 2018, 03:17:51 PM »
If you're trying to bribe people to use your services, you're pretty desperate.

Well that's Raketen Kobo in the dustbin then. Along with Google, Kellogs, and Amazon.

5
I hail from an era when British washrooms were as likely to be labelled WC as Toilet (the latter has won the day). I almost posted a question as to what WC meant in this context and can't believe I missed wordcount as a love the unix / linux wc program.

6
Writers' Cafe / Amazon Desperately Want You to Have British Customers
« on: July 05, 2018, 03:43:10 PM »
You as in KU.

I have just last month finished three months as a KU reader for 99p and today accepted a Prime only offer of three months in KU for free. I don't know if this is replicated in other markets, but it looks like Amazon is working very hard to get UK readers into KU at very little income to themselves. Rumours of Amazon wanting to kill off KU appear to be exaggerated.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
« on: July 05, 2018, 03:33:47 PM »
Just remember that Kobo Plus was set up because BOL asked Kobo to set it up. There is no evidence that Kobo shares the views of some in this thread that to challenge Amazon you must create an Epub Unlimited. In fact there is no evidence that Kobo Plus will ever branch out further than the Low Countries. Kobo follows the Chapters model of tying up with print retailers and most of them are not looking for a library service to reduce their epub and print sales..

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: B&N CEO fired for "policy violations"
« on: July 04, 2018, 05:43:18 AM »
I have been a regular on Kboards since early 2014 and have seen a lot of Barnes and Noble is dead and good riddance threads. Nearly all of them miss the fact that Amazon did not just decimate the bricks and mortar stores but invented Kindle Select to stop Barnes and Noble / Nook becoming a credible challenger in the online space and later invented KU when the Select offerings became less attractive. As to cafes in bookstores it is to generate a more library like atmosphere and encourage buyers into the store (a bit like KU). Powells (Portland OR) has a cafe or did when I sat in it a few weeks into my kboards membership. Waterstones (UK's B&N) have in their main store (the biggest bookstore in Europe) a cafe with views across the rooftops of London and easy chairs in all book sections in which you are actively encouraged to sit down and read a book. It will not make sense to their accounting department, but their managing director James Daunt (who previously built up his own indie shops) is a wizard at marketing and has transformed the company by making its stores (local) customer centred. He also stopped selling Kindles and later closed the home-brew online bookstore in favour of Kobo. London's most famous indie book store Foyles has at least one cafe.

As we do not know what the policy violations were there is no opportunity for Google and Apple to chase, not that they would bother, why would they when they co-own smartphone-land and the Kindle Reader is the most popular reading app (after Adobe Reader) on their platforms?

9
How in the world can you even attempt to justify passing a law to keep a store owner from promoting their own stuff in their own store?
Or for introducing new products that they created and selling them in their own store?



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

The laws already exist. In the US and the UK Amazon has an effective monopoly of online book sales, especially after a UK court allowed Amazon to buy Book Depository on the grounds that there was still competition against Amazon provided by the Amazon Marketplace. There is nothing wrong legally with being an effective monopoly but the US and UK (and EU) have laws against abusing the possession of an effective monopoly. One way in which Amazon could be deemed of doing so is if it favoured its own books. Just as the EU slapped down Google for searches favouring its own marketplace.

10
Which is why it would help to know if things that have always been considered part of a book, even if not part of the main story, are part of that 10%. Because as it stands, I can think of any number of reasons that people might disagree on where the "book" ends and where the "bonus content" begins.

That is very simple (or should be). The material that is part of a book is something that you read to further explore that book. I love the appendices of the Lord of the Rings. They are long, but I don't see Amazon banning one of the greatest novels of the 20th century any time soon. A 30%  extract from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight would count towards bonus content.

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: UK VAT Rules
« on: June 23, 2018, 06:39:08 AM »
If you live in the UK, and you calculate that you UK direct sales of books from you to UK customers exceed 85,000 pounds, then you will need to register and charge VAT on your eBooks. Note: print books are exempt from vat. On completing VAT forms, any royalties for Amazon or other foreign entities would be listed as a separate figure as exempt from calculation of VAT,

As you note later in the thread print books are zero rated not exempt from VAT. Therefore direct sales of print books count towards the threshold. That would include direct sales to bookstores at wholesale prices.

12
It's not a bug it's a feature.

I can easily read in Page Flip on my 10" tablet that I use for reading Kindle books at home since the Kindle died. Unfortunately it does not fit in the handbag for work. Oh flip.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: UK VAT Rules
« on: June 22, 2018, 05:30:01 AM »
It means they have already collected the VAT on the sale, and because they are not passing that VAT on to you, they are responsible for dealing with it. For us to pay the VAT ourselves, we would need it passed on in the royalty payment and would need to raise an invoice for it. Nobody has to pay VAT twice for the same sale, Amazon have already collected and dealt with it.
When we account for the royalty payment our end, we mark it as outside the scope for VAT.

Either way, as one post has already mentioned, never take advice from a forum, consult an accountant that deals with International selling. I'm quite certain that I am correct but that does not make it 100% fact, plus the rules change regularly.

***This is not tax advice***
That is precisely the point I have been making. VAT is a sales tax that goes through the entire chain. That chain is deemed to have ended at the retail sale. Therefore the royalty payment less Amazon retail fee is outside the chain as no value is added (the meaning of a Value Added Tax). The fact that VAT is a sales tax going through the chain illustrates that it is not charged on all business transactions but on business to business sales and non-sales equivalents of sales https://www.gov.uk/vat-businesses. The complication is that there is VAT chargeable on royalties that involve an assignation of rights https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/vat-time-of-supply/vattos2360 but by definition self-publishing involves no assignation of rights. Assignation royalties are deemed to be an ongoing commission for the transfer of rights. A tax consultant with experience of self-publishing is the only reliable source of advice.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: UK VAT Rules
« on: June 22, 2018, 02:19:53 AM »
This should answer your question.
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201645430
They are paying royalties net of VAT so you do not have to pay VAT on the royalty. What I'm not sure is how you are meant to record it, zero rated, outside the scope or whatever. I always record it as zero-rated but it probably should be outside the scope. If I'm honest, I don't care because accountants never seem to have a consistent answer.

That is not what it is saying. It is informing your that you do not earn royalties on the VAT portion of a customer's payment for a book. To use their Irish example an Irish customer pays 7.38 euros for a book listed as 6 euro (but appearing as 7.38 to an Irish person browsing the Kindle Store).. The 1.38 is owed to the Irish government and the publisher does not earn a royalty on that portion of the customer payment.
If you are VAT registered, you must collect VAT on all your UK income, and pay it to HMRC.
It's quite a simple question, but it's hard to find the answer.
I can't find an HMRC (UK tax authority) answer, but to return to the Irish this is the official view of the Irish tax authority, which makes clear that a royalty payment from abroad does not incur VAT https://www.revenue.ie/en/vat/vat-rates/search-vat-rates/R/royalties-copyrights.aspx. In th EU (currently includes the UK) VAT rules are set by the EU, while rates are set by the member state, so I would expect the UK rules to mirror the Irish one.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: UK VAT Rules
« on: June 21, 2018, 04:29:58 PM »
VAT is a sales tax. Amazon are not selling you a royalty. It could be argued that VAT should be added to their retailing fee (30-65%) but I hope no one ever suggests that happens.

Your charges for royalties should surely include VAT if you are over the limit. This would be the royalties plus VAT.

The limit only determines when you must register for VAT. Everyone pays VAT. However  you may pay less VAT if you register (e.g., Second Life will not add VAT to your fees). See above for why royalties do not include VAT, but a retailing fee might attract a sales tax.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Google Play Books Partner Program
« on: June 21, 2018, 07:02:06 AM »
Yeah, it's long. I still refer back to it on occasion. Especially for the pricing chart.

The pricing chart is one of the most outdated aspects of that outdated thread. You have to do your own testing to see what discounts are currently in vogue on Google Play Books .

17
I've been updating my websites and came across a very dated article I wrote on the Scribd booting out of romance novels. At the time the common consensus (not shared by me) was that Scribd did not have a viable business model. There would be no point in book stuffing when a reader had to read 30% of the novel before a publisher gets paid However in the light of how KU was gamed maybe it was not voracious romance readers that caused problems for Scribd, but an earlier form of marketers targeting an easy pay day. At that stage all books submitted to Scribd appeared in their catalogue unlike the curated version that exists today.

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: "How we measure page reads" KDP notice
« on: June 20, 2018, 04:35:06 PM »
You're mixing up the page count in the product description (visible to customers with no other use) with the KENPC (visible only to the author and used for calculating pages read).

No I am not. Most readers do not know what a KENPC is. They are also put off by the book details saying that it is a 1000 page book so book stuffers were creating a paperback on Createspace of the advertised book without the additional ones. Amazon will base the customer facing page count on the paperback if one exists, especaially if a KDP or Createspace one exists. The trick is to make the reader think it is a readable length, while earning a big KENPC from KU. The customer thinks they are downloading a 250 page book that is really 1000 or much more pages long.

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Smashwords selling unpublished books
« on: June 20, 2018, 02:04:20 PM »
Sometimes a retailer gets careless. I had a book left up on Easons (major Irish bookchain) for about 3 months after I went into KU with the title. I had forgotten about Kobo distributing there, but fair do's to Kobo they got it taken down the same day.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: "How we measure page reads" KDP notice
« on: June 19, 2018, 02:51:08 PM »
Because the [banned word]s would then post books written in monosyllables. Zon complicates things to try and out-think the [banned word]s. One problem. I think the [banned word]s are smarter than the people Amazon hires.

I doubt that. Isn't it the case that one smart move is to produce a paperback as Amazon uses that for the page count and so a large book gets to masquerade as a much smaller one. Even without bonus content a lot of readers will not download a book they are told is 1000 pages long. Expect lots of books where the Kindle Store version comes with an added epilogue, which would be exempt from the 10% rule as it is not bonus content but a tradition part of a novel, especially in some popular genres.

21
Note that I'm running Fire OS 5.6.1.0, installed April 12, 2018. It's still possible that some of the older Kindles out there don't save the necessary information. But that's a problem that will keep getting smaller as time goes by.

It will be a long wait in England as the Kindle Wifi is by far the most popular Kindle in daily use (e.g., seen being used by colleagues and fellow commuters). This is because it was sold by our biggest bookchain Waterstones and biggest catalogue store Argos. Then are long lasting although I bricked my recently by having it in the same bag as a leaky water bottle. The Kindle Wifi has not had a software update since well before Page Flip was launched, so long before the return to start error was fixed. Of course that would effect repetitive bonus contenters as much as anyone else.

Prior to the return to start error being discovered I would typically go and view the cover or contents after finishing the book. Page Flip not required to trigger the error when you have a GoTo menu and going to the start via Page Flip would be far too much of a waste of time for me. Of course the Page Flip bug (Amazon's intended design) would also affect bonus contenters.

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting for different English markets
« on: June 17, 2018, 06:59:16 AM »
You are referring to spelling; formatting is something like do you indent the first line of the first paragraph.

23
Not really - I just sorted my decade old collection and found that well over half the Mobi files were under one megabyte. 3.5MB would put a file in the largest 8% or so (106 out of 1,258). And most of the files in my collection that large are exceptions of some kind - dictionaries, help files, or comic books.

So 3.5MB is pretty big for a Mobi.

I just checked and the last book I published was 95,000 words and the full size high quality cover Amazon requests nowadays and the Jutoh/KindleGen generated file was 1.1MB.

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: KENP Payout for May is Out
« on: June 15, 2018, 02:45:41 PM »
Is that the right number for Japan? If so, I need to take my wife's offer up to translate my books into Japanese!

It's in yen so pretty much the exchange rate. I've just been pricing 99 cent / pence books at 100 JPY.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:48 PM »
And as many times as this issue has come up on these boards, I've still never seen anyone point to an actual US law that says US citizens selling online from a US address are required to collect and remit taxes to a foreign government. I'm inclined to take my tax professional's opinion over hearsay on the internet or opinions from non-Americans (who will obviously be less familiar with US tax laws than a US tax professional).

Every time someone has a thread like this my response is to note that in 2008 Second Life (based in California) started charging me VAT because I lived in the EU. I am sure that Second LIfe can afford top notch tax professionals.

From the Smashwords Site Update of December 2014
Quote
Smashwords has always distributed books through our global retailers at a VAT-inclusive price.  This means that VAT for European sales was deducted from the sales price, and only then did the retailer take their cut before sending the remaining proceeds to Smashwords.
Smashwords (a California company) can afford good tax professionals (based in Bainbridge Island, Washington State).

Maybe your tax professional is smarter than those employed by Second Life and Smashwords. Maybe not.

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