Greetings from Philistine Press

Greetings.  My name is Frank Burton, and I’ll be blogging on here for the next two weeks on behalf of Philistine Press, or to give it its full name, www.philistinepress.com.

Philistine Press is a non-profit digital publisher, specialising in fiction, poetry, and anything else that grabs our attention.  All our ebooks are available to read online or download for free.  Readers are invited to contribute a voluntary donation through PayPal, if they like what they read.  (We don’t expect to make millions.)

The team behind the website consists of myself, and two other editors, Patrick Marriott and Simon May.

The website was created in March 2010, so we’re just over one year old, although in a way, the site seems much older than that.   This may be something to do with the number of ebooks we’ve managed to put out during that time – thirteen poetry collections, a humour title, two novellas, a novel, a flash fiction collection plus two music releases.

In addition to being available on the website, our titles can also be downloaded in multiple formats from www.smashwords.com, and from Google Books.

Some questions answered:

What’s wrong with print publishing?

Nothing, we just don’t do it.  I’m not going to say ebooks are greener, because I don’t believe they are.  I don’t believe ebooks will eventually replace print publishing.  I think the two will be able to happily co-exist (unlike the CDs-verses-downloads battle, in which downloads are the clear winner).

From a publisher’s point of view, ebooks are easier to distribute and they can be created at virtually zero cost.  From a writer’s point of view, if you have an ebook that’s available to read for free online, you have a massive potential readership.  The only real drawback is that you won’t make any money from it, but sadly that’s also the case for many authors with books in print through small presses.  How many small press authors actually make a profit?

Are your books available to download to hand-held reading devices – Kindle, iPhone, etc?

Yep.  See www.smashwords.com.

How many people visit your site?

I’ve never made this information publically available before, but seen as you ask, here are the figures:

Our web stats: 16,000 page views per month average

Smashwords: Biggest title on there so far as been NLPKT with 700+ downloads so far.

Google Books stats: not visited by many people at all, but on the plus side having a presence on Google Books makes our authors more, er, “Googleable.”

Are ebooks really the future of publishing?

No they’re not!  The majority of the reading public have no intention of ever reading an ebook.  And why should they?  Printed books are great.

On the other hand, I believe digital publishing is the future for small presses, just as countless literary magazines are moving to online versions rather than print.  Ebooks are easy to produce; they can be distributed and promoted online at a very low cost; they have the potential to reach a much wider readership than print books; and they’ll never go out of print.

To answer that question another way: they’re not the future – they’re part of the future.

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