After the glowing success of publishing our Hardcore American Sign Language Learning series via Amazon Kindle Direct, I started thinking about other ways to more permanently preserve the record of the best of what has been written.  Hurricane Sandy, and the death of Howard Stein, have made me consider worst case possible scenarios that led me into thinking about what if WordPress.com went down forever or something happened to me, or my Pair Networking hosting woke up and died.  How would the writing survive?

I decided having access to multiple article resources was becoming paramount in moving forward in a treacherous world, and so I thought to finally do something many readers have been asking me to do for many years:  Create a “Best of” series of writing that they can purchase and read in their own time and on their own devices.

Since the break of the New Year, I have been whittling down this Urban Semiotic Blog into its best, redacted, stories that I alone have written.  It was a long and sweaty job and the results are interesting.  There are no images or hotlinks or reader comments or quotes from outside sources.  It’s just me and my word against your eye.

The results of that effort are twofold:  The Best of Urban Semiotic, Volumes 1 and 2 on sale now on Amazon as Kindle Direct Publishing books!  You can read these books on your smartphone, Kindle, tablet or computer!

I decided, as a first try at this, to only use my writing.  I own the work.  I control the publication rights.  It is uncomplicated.  I was able to set a nominal fee for these Best of volumes on Amazon that won’t begin to even cover our yearly expenses, so there’s still no profit to be made, and still no advertising in your head.  Amazon doesn’t publish and distribute Kindle books for free.

I wanted to only publish a single book to keeps things simple, but since I write all my work in Google Docs now, I ran up against the 1.2 million character limit working on Volume 1 — so I had to split the project into Volume 2.

Volume 1 alone runs 128,000 words and 325 standard typewritten pages.

Volume 2 weighs in at an astounding 88,000 words and 236 standard typewritten pages.

The odd thing is that when I finally uploaded both volumes to Amazon for publication, I expected the approval and distribution process to be as quick and delightful as it was for the Hardcore ASL book.  It was not.

After eight hours, Amazon contacted me about the ownership of the previously published work “for free” on the internet.  I assured them I owned all the work, and the rights to republication, and that there was “added value” in a Kindle edition because the work had been redacted and edited.  Only about 10% of my articles appeared in the “Best of” volumes.

The next day, I had a new reply from Amazon telling me that, since the work was pre-existing, the books were not qualified to be in the exclusive KDP 90-day publishing window.  I replied that I thought the content was new enough in context to qualify as a differentiated work, but that I couldn’t “unpublish” an entire blog for 90 days, and I invited them to turn off KDP exclusivity if they so chose.  A few hours later, both volumes were published without change.

Now it’s on to decide the next round of “Best of” publication — most likely another test volume of articles from GO INSIDE Magazine.

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