Thursday, May 24, 2012

World's worst telco

I haven't tried every telco in the world, but I would be very, very surprised if there is anyone out there worse than Australia's Telstra. Even AT&T aren't this bad and they are the template for "totally customer un-friendly former monopoly telco". I'm trying to use a Telstra pre-paid mobile phone while I'm in Australia - unfortunately Telstra is the only carrier with coverage at my Mum's house - and at every single step the processes and technology have failed to work as they should. Whatever is the opposite of the Midas Touch, Telstra has it; everything it touches turns to crap.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Paperback now available in Europe

The paperback version of Newton's Ark should be available via Amazon in Europe from tomorrow for £5.99 or €6.99.

US pricing for the paperback is $7.99.

If you're really worried about price though, the Kindle edition is a bargain at $2.99 (or the equivalent in pounds or euros). Interestingly, I make a bigger royalty on a $2.99 kindle edition than I do on a $7.99 paperback.

That makes it hard to see how traditional publishers can justify asking almost as much for the Kindle version (and sometimes more!) than for the hard copy. e-books should be considerably cheaper, not only because they are much cheaper to produce and distribute, but also because they are more restrictive (you can only lend them once ever, if at all, and you can't resell them) which ought to mean more sales. The disruption of the publishing market has really only just begun.

"Plant Our Brains in Robots"

If you find the ideas in this article from Wired magazine title Russian Mogul’s Plan: Plant Our Brains in Robots, Keep Them Alive Forever interesting, then you should read my book Newton's Ark (and the forthcoming sequels).

I'm attempting to explore similar concepts through fiction, with the goal of trying to understand how these sorts of technological developments might affect the human experience. My view is that when confronted with ideas this radical, stories are the best way to explore the possible implications. Otherwise it's all too abstract, all to clinical, all too remote, and therefore all too easy to ignore, at least until it actually begins to happen and we're totally unprepared.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book pricing in Australia

I'm in Australia at the moment visiting family and while I'm here I've been into a few book stores. Shocked is the only word I can use to describe my reaction to the price of books here. Take, for example, Caleb's Crossing, the latest book by Geraldine Brooks (I haven't read it but I loved People of the Book). It is available on for $10.88 in paperback and $16.17 in hardback; it's nearly $25 (in paperback!) in the book store here.

For all Australian readers, I would say if you don't have a Kindle buy one. Now. Forget about walking the dog. Forget about feeding the kids. Jump on now and buy a Kindle. Caleb's Crossing and lots of other great books are only $9.99 on Kindle (and even the 'expensive' books are $12.99). Not to mention there are lots of books like mine available at the ridiculously cheap price of $2.99.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Usual occupation?

We are in Australia at the moment visiting family. When filling out my arrival card yesterday I decided to answer the question on usual occupation as AUTHOR. Now the pressure is on to take this writing gig seriously!