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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The gatekeepers strike back

It's rather ironic, but even though it has never been easier to bypass the publishing gatekeepers, they are tightening their enforcement of diversity and SJW ideology in the areas they still control. Jon Del Arroz says that it's time to burn the ships and go all-in on the new platforms:
I learned that there is an author who had a manuscript rejected because multiple agents said this person “culturally appropriated” and that the author “doesn’t have the authority” to talk about this project.

That’s right. The piece was good, it would have been fine, but the problem is it would have had to come from a non-white author.

The agents actively discriminated against an author because they are white. A white writer was told to censor what that person writes and that it’s not welcome in the industry because of solely whiteness.
A writer who shall remain nameless notes that some writers of his acquaintance are afraid to break free and are instead responding by preemptively self-censoring in response to these restricted standards:
Originally we were going to do a Viking Saga kinda thing as a serial in REDACTED but somewhere they decided not to do European white male stories. This publication is self-sabotaged by the publisher and editors from the outset. Looking for all those non-white readers that we keep being told are out there. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
This is precisely why Castalia House exists. And this is why, if you do not wish to see total convergence in SF/F of the sort now seen in the comics industry, it is vital to continue to support it, and to spread the word about it. The support our readers have provided us has been phenomenal, and has fueled three years of steady growth, but we're not content to defensively provide a platform for our existing authors, we intend to take the offensive and start reclaiming some of the territory that has been lost to the SJWs.


Michael Martel explains to someone why he has to go back.

The gates have been cracked, but the citadels still remain standing and far too much of the city remains under their sway. A lot of work remains to do, and the recent Amazon affiliate changes stand as a warning that the gatekeepers have other ways of exerting their control. That's why, over the next three months, you will gradually see most of our books moving off of Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited, and see the links here increasingly redirected towards the Castalia House store.

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170 Comments:

Blogger Kallmunz April 20, 2017 5:15 AM  

Amazing, when you think about it, it make you wonder if Scalzi's leftism is fueled in part by this mania. After all he is a white male who lived in a diverse state and moved to a white area to raise his daughter. He writes military SF that isn't terribly preachy. It would be interesting if he modified his views how TOR would react.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable April 20, 2017 5:17 AM  

Pretty sure I can live without drone delivery in order to get my regular JCW fix.

Blogger weka April 20, 2017 5:20 AM  

@1. Being a social justice manatee is no longer enough. You have to write within the rules given to you. I guess if you are Stross and part of the books is a satire of these things (the aliens claimed asylum under the EU code of human rights in the last Laundry book) then you can get off the hook.

But a white bread bloke from Ohio? He better be completely bland, boring and correct. The Mayavosky of science fiction, without the vocabulary or wit.

OpenID nostreculsus April 20, 2017 5:34 AM  

Some of Castalia House's offerings seem to only be available in Kinsle format from Amazon. I strongly prefer epub format direct from the Castalia bookstore.

Blogger Montrose April 20, 2017 5:38 AM  

Fwiw calibre has problems converting from new amazon files now. So the castalia store is more convenient mow anyways. No need to convert.

Anonymous Dyskord April 20, 2017 5:55 AM  

I speak only for myself but I'm already sick of the prevalence of strong female characters.
I'm not a woman. i don't want to read about some waif doing everything a man can do.
I'm sick of the over abundance of gay characters. Not every woman is a lesbian when the mood strikes. Not every third man is in the closet or sexually fluid.
I'm sick of being preached at about Global Warming as if its real or how any politics not strictly socialist or multiculturalist is evil.
I don't want to read about a Black/Muslim character experiencincing racism.
I'm sick of the lie that women were always soldiers and strong generals. That in a rough military environment women not only thrive but exceed the abilities of most men.


Its infuriating to open every second book and be confronted by the same tired nonsense.
Mark Lawrence a promising author who wrote Jorg Ancrath one of my favourite fantasy characters released a book about a kick ass chick in a world where women are dangerous. "Red Sister is a magical academy story. Young farm girl born into a situation where the world is against her finds out she has magic powers and is part of some great prophecy," Yawn.
At this rate the gatekeepers will succeed in expunging men from reading SF/F and will soon realize who'se been the main demographic all along.
As a non white reader. I can honestly say I dont want to read about non white characters.

Anonymous parz April 20, 2017 6:01 AM  

"At this rate the gatekeepers will succeed in expunging men from reading SF/F and will soon realize who'se been the main demographic all along"
Some mid century pulp editors claimed that women made larger portion of their readership... And women were always numerous in genre fiction in any case, both as writers and as readers.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer April 20, 2017 6:17 AM  

parz wrote:"At this rate the gatekeepers will succeed in expunging men from reading SF/F and will soon realize who'se been the main demographic all along"

Some mid century pulp editors claimed that women made larger portion of their readership... And women were always numerous in genre fiction in any case, both as writers and as readers.


I can't remember what show I was watching with my girlfriend but it was something that wasn't obviously sci-fi at the beginning. About 75% of the way through the twist was revealed and it was sci-fi related. Her exact reaction was "Ahhh, This is some kind of Sci-Fi crap. I was really getting into it until now!"

I have found this to be the reaction of most women towards the genre.

Anonymous foxster April 20, 2017 6:25 AM  

I bought the Corroding Empire direct from Castalia's website during the Amazon take down fiasco. Couldn't be happier, no need to convert from kindle for my e-reader.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 6:33 AM  

One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?

Anonymous Cheshirych April 20, 2017 6:46 AM  

You dont need no drones for electronic edition.
As for paper, you dont need drones if you have patience. Patience is virtue. Instant gratification is sin against yourself.

Anonymous Cheshirych April 20, 2017 6:53 AM  

In their own special category of pink pulp, not in sff-fantasy, even if you count pink incursion into fantasy territory with all of its vampires and weredogs.

Blogger Shimshon April 20, 2017 6:55 AM  

Epub has been fine for me. At my desk, I often use Readium (Chrome Extension), which is epub only anyway.

If the emphasis is now on Castalia's own channel, will users at some point be able to download updated content they purchased? Perhaps even a notification of updates too.

OpenID crapulux April 20, 2017 7:07 AM  

I read "SJWs always lie" and found it TRULY EPIC.

However, I could only find it on Amazon, and I'm trying to keep the amount of money I give these crooks to a minimum. So, I pirated it, sorry about that.

I tried to buy it on the Castalia website, but didn't find it. Is there a paypal donation link somewhere?... I mean, I WANT to pay for that book, it was well worth the price, damn...

Also the Castalia website is difficult to navigate. For example, going to the webpage for one of your books, and clicking on Vox Day links to:

http://www.castaliahouse.com/downloads/tag/vox-day/

...and this has very few books. However, your author page:

http://www.castaliahouse.com/authors/vox-day/

...has lots more books, but some of the links are 404 not found.

Anyway. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous Steve Canyon April 20, 2017 7:09 AM  

When your business strategy is dependent on a bunch of youfs dropping a basketball and picking up a book, your days in the market are numbered.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable April 20, 2017 7:16 AM  

I can't remember what show I was watching with my girlfriend but it was something that wasn't obviously sci-fi at the beginning.

Wayward Pines, maybe?

And epub is perfectly fine.

Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 7:23 AM  

The discussion about whether there is any gain from publishing in a traditional publishing house reappears every few weeks on a Polish writers' forum. The opinion of the established writers is that there are two gains only for a debut in a traditional publishing house:
(1) Publishing house gives you "stamp of approval". There are literally dozens of people who self-publish their thing (in Poland) and most of it is absolute, toxic crap - with errors at the most basic level. We are not talking about wrongly constructed characters or boring story - we are talking about elementary grammar and ortographic errors, not to mention elementary errors in writers' techniques.
(2) Traditional publishing houses let you cooperate with professional editors, who know their stuffs and, in the opinion of those Polish writers, can help a lot debutant authors to master the style.

OTOH, the publishing houses in Poland have not converged yet; there are houses regularly publishing rightwing stuff, and amongst the most popular sf authors are people, who would be burned alive in America (one of them publicly declares that the only good place for leftists is grave, and people still publish his stuff, even if they cringe when they hear him. I love his stuff BTW, and the guy is lovable too :D ).

I don't know about English market, but I think that the (1) is relevant. There are hundreds of people who try to self-publish and quite often their work deserves only flushing in toilet, and spending even one cent on their work would be much too much. THe effort to manually read through the "free samples", given there are hundreds of them, is way to large. Hence, what is needed is actually also some kind of "stamp of approval", by either non-traditional house like Castalia, or at least well-respected network of bloggers. Self-publishing, as in "ignore all the publishing houses", is IMO bad idea.

Anonymous oneof thecrowd April 20, 2017 7:24 AM  

Step 1. Why aren't you writing about more diverse characters, you bigot.
Step 2 How dare you write about diverse characters you bigot.

Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 7:25 AM  

Also, as one writer in Poland said: "the situation on market is so desperate, that if you writing good stuff, they will publish you no matter whether you are related to publisher, whether you are leftwinger or rightwinger". This, again, seems not to be the case in USA.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 7:25 AM  

I tried to buy it on the Castalia website, but didn't find it. Is there a paypal donation link somewhere?... I mean, I WANT to pay for that book, it was well worth the price, damn...

Just buy another book from Castalia and we'll call it even. And leave a review on Amazon, if you don't mind.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 7:27 AM  

amongst the most popular sf authors are people, who would be burned alive in America

If he's not published in English yet, have him contact us. He sounds like our kind of author.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 20, 2017 7:32 AM  

Everyone plays their assigned role in this, me included.

Blogger Zaklog the Great April 20, 2017 7:38 AM  

Cultural appropriation is real! That's why I tell all my black friends to stop using cell phones, computers, cars, antibiotics, air conditioning, printed books, etc. I care about them and do not want them to be guilty of such a sin.

Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 7:46 AM  

VD,

I've sent him a PM. He writes in Polish, though, and I am not sure whether his hilarious stories about alcoholic old peasant who kills the vampires and ghosts would be interesting to Western audience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrzej_Pilipiuk

To show you the climate of his most popular works, this is the cover of his latest book.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SJsK6KHBp9g/WC17YssfK7I/AAAAAAAABC8/UWddE-gJyn4_C0cAInEuYhAq2WNNfqx4gCLcB/s1600/konan.jpg

And page from comic (again, to show the climate)

http://alejakomiksu.com/gfx/plansze/dobicdziada36.jpg

He writes also fantasy, but it's much weaker in my opinion; and some sf books too, but while very good, not sure whether they will appeal to westerners (e.g. one is about travelling in time to change history of Poland, fighting with Russian agents of Okhrana in XIX century and so on).

Anonymous Cheshirych April 20, 2017 7:46 AM  

Self publishing for a well known established name is an option. For someome unkmowm it will spell into guaranteed initiall loss with low probability of some sort of a future gaim. But all of this does not in any way excuse the sjw pc nonsense that is happening.
Look for example at james nicoll's blog. Years ago it used to be interesting
Now its impossible to read because you keep on stumblimg om his counting number of poc women works he reviewed. I literally could not continue on reading him. And then rabid puppies happened, during which he advertized them and that turned my attention to this place.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 7:51 AM  

I am not sure whether his hilarious stories about alcoholic old peasant who kills the vampires and ghosts would be interesting to Western audience.

Sounds great to me. The Witcher has certainly done well, even in poor translation, so it's worth a shot.

Blogger LTHolder April 20, 2017 7:52 AM  

For what it's worth, a "Viking saga thing" is definitely something I would read from castalia house

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 7:52 AM  

As convenient as Amazon is for ordering and fulfillment, I will happily limit Castalia author purchases to the Castalia site. And,an epub.
Question: what would be a good epub reader somewhat analogous to the Kindle paperwhite? My Kindle is on its last leg after much faithful service; and, the battery change looks iffy at best. Most used feature is the internal light and the digital 'ink' they use. If nothing out there to compete maybe 'Alt Kindle'?

Anonymous Stephen J. April 20, 2017 7:55 AM  

One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?

I recommend both unless it is cost-prohibitive for whatever reason. More customer options is usually better wherever feasible.

Blogger #7139 April 20, 2017 8:00 AM  

One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?

EPUB is good enough.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 8:03 AM  

Also, so far Amazon has not been smart enough [or stupid enough depending viewpoint] to make the Kindles read epub. Far as I know. Otherwise, I would go out and buy a new one today. Old buddy lasted better than 4 year with much, much use.

Anonymous Pug April 20, 2017 8:03 AM  

Martel looking good!

These artworks are amazing so far, I will definitely buy the comics when they are published.

Blogger Durandel Almiras April 20, 2017 8:05 AM  

I can't afford to replace our two kindles but can I get suggestions on:

A) a good Kindle altenate (we use paperwhites) and
B) how do I transfer books from one platform to the other?

As to Mike Martel:

"But Michael, what about equality?"
"They all have to equally go back."

I hope some iteration of that makes it into the comics.

Blogger Durandel Almiras April 20, 2017 8:06 AM  

Regarding A), I am talking about the near future when I will be able to replace both devices.

Blogger Stephen Ward April 20, 2017 8:06 AM  

MOBI

Blogger Durandel Almiras April 20, 2017 8:11 AM  

What does it add to your costs to provide both?

I can live with mobi'd epubs, but it's never a perfect conversion.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 8:13 AM  

It costs nothing to provide both. It's just one more thing, that's all. We can do it.

Anonymous Cheshirych April 20, 2017 8:16 AM  

Reading City Beyond Time.
EPUB. Fb reader. Enjoing it all the way!

Anonymous Avalanche April 20, 2017 8:17 AM  

@6 "At this rate the gatekeepers will succeed in expunging men from reading SF/F and will NEVER realize who's been the main demographic all along."

FIFY.

Anonymous Random #57 April 20, 2017 8:19 AM  

"Amazing, when you think about it, it make you wonder if Scalzi's leftism is fueled in part by this mania."

In the comments to the blog posting where PNH and toad first attacked VD, Scalzi's wasn't completely on board in first comments.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable April 20, 2017 8:22 AM  

Martel looking good!

These artworks are amazing so far


I am eagerly awaiting the barrage of comments about the size of his hips.

Blogger Jaycephus April 20, 2017 8:22 AM  

I'm starting to get stoked about this new venture. I used to buy comics, though even when I did, most were back issues, because PC was already invading. 'The Watchmen' were about the very last comics issues I bought. The last nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Blogger Jaycephus April 20, 2017 8:26 AM  

VD wrote:One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?

I've always preferred EPUB as my one format. Never have used MOBI to my knowledge. I've gotten some books in MOBI, but there is a way to translate it to EPUB.

Blogger tuberman April 20, 2017 8:30 AM  

I now have six books by Castilia House and will soon buy more, but will wait for SJWADD to come out in paperback.

Anyone notice some of the TV series are now sneaking in the PC/SJW stuff after several episodes....bait and switch, after audience is "hooked."

Anonymous Avalanche April 20, 2017 8:32 AM  

@28 " If nothing out there to compete maybe 'Alt Kindle'?"

Not familiar enough with Kindle to compare, but I am very happy with Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 (I have the 10" version). I think it does more than the Kindle (isn't that just a reader?), but I use it mainly for reading.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 20, 2017 8:35 AM  

The Dark Knight Returns is the last major Alt-Right graphic novel of any significance, and it is from the 80s .

He fights a gang of antifa, genocidal tranny Leftist, a literal feminazi (with swastikas on her bared breasts) a cuckservative Superman, and trains a bunch of out of work Trump supporters to restore America.

Comics after that? Almost all gradually downhill.

Blogger Orville April 20, 2017 8:44 AM  

I'll chime in too about a Kindle replacement. I'm using Kindle Fire and no matter what brightness I set it to, after an hour of reading I can't see actual print on paper very well. I get the same symptom on my phone.

A few comments on the Castalia website, is it a writing blog that sells books, or a publishing house that sells books and also has a writing blog, and featured author pages? I think your bookstore should be the first and most prominent thing on the homepage.

I like that you are moving away from Amazon, and image you'll kick a bit of the percentage Amazon took back to the writers.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 8:49 AM  

Converting your Kindle editions to epub is a lot more inconvenient now, but if you have several books pending for conversion, it's time well spent. Find an old version of Kindle for PC/OSX in the internet. This should be easy, because people are offering them for this very purpose. The moment it is installed, download the books you want and then immediately take your computer off the internet so that Kindle cannot auto-update. It will download the books in the old format, which you can then convert with Calibre. It will auto-update back to the new Kindle version when you connect the internet back. Note: there is no way to tell how long this workaround is possible.

Also, remember that if you email us your Amazon receipt, we will always send you the epub free of charge.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 8:50 AM  

"is it a writing blog that sells book"

Currently yes.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 8:52 AM  

Amazon has chosen to DRM _all_ books, even those that the publisher has requested not to be DRM'd. I'm afraid this may signal that they are planning to make the walls of their walled garden ten feet higher.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan April 20, 2017 8:55 AM  

Don't care about the format as much as the hardware, love my kindle reader.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 8:55 AM  

> I'm sick of being preached at about Global Warming as if its real or how any politics not strictly socialist or multiculturalist is evil.

Then you may like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BJTZ1U/

> ...what would be a good epub reader somewhat analogous to the Kindle paperwhite?

Well, first: https://infogalactic.com/info/Comparison_of_ebook_readers

With that out of the way, if you like the lighting feature of the Paperwhite your options are rather limited. Basically the readily available ones consist of the B&N Glowlight Plus and the Kobo Aura line. It's possible Sony also has something, but I haven't seen it if they do.

My wife has tried to buy an Aura twice, and both times the purchased failed. The first time on their website, the second time at an Indigo when we were visiting Canada. We took that as a hint and haven't tried again.

If you don't care about having a lit screen you have a lot more options, including two off brand models, the Slick ER701 (available via Amazon) and the Sungale CD706A (available via Walmart). I've never used either, so I can't speak to their quality. I personally have a Nook Simple Touch which works very well, but it's no longer available from B&N. You might be able to find one used or on Ebay, and there was a lighted Simple Touch model that might also be available.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 9:04 AM  

> A) a good Kindle altenate (we use paperwhites)

Unfortunately, the Paperwhite is the best e-ink model out there, but see my previous comment.

> B) how do I transfer books from one platform to the other?

Calibre, but the newly released format hasn't been broken yet, so transfers from it are a bit harder. See the apprentice alf blog for the details.

> Amazon has chosen to DRM _all_ books, even those that the publisher has requested not to be DRM'd

Ouch. I assume that's part and parcel of the new format?

Blogger Yarnwinder April 20, 2017 9:05 AM  

Is it possible to download Castalia House books directly from Castalia House to a Kindle? Mine is the plain-vanilla version, no fancy back-lighting or anything...

The Polish peasant...Konan?...sounds like a good read...

And Martel is suitably bulging in all the right places, though those knees might snap under a good kick...

Just sayin'

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:08 AM  

You can read epubs on your Kindle with reasonably little hassle. Your kindle account has a personal email address attached to it, with which you can send content to your device. First, set it up with these instructions:
--
To get your Kindle's email address, go to www.amazon.com/myk using your PC's Web browser. Tap on "Your Devices," then choose the relevant Kindle from the gallery below. Next to "Email," you'll find the Kindle's email address.

Now click "Settings" and scroll all the way down to the "approved personal document e-mail list." Click "add a new approved e-mail address," and add the email address you intend to send your books from.
--

Then, download the free software Calibre and convert your .epub to .mobi. Then, email it as attachment from the email address you approved in the instructions above. Leave the subject and body empty.

Once you've set everything up, it will take less than 5 minutes to get your epubs to all your Kindle devices.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:10 AM  

Is it possible to download Castalia House books directly from Castalia House to a Kindle?

There is no faster method than what I laid out above. The entire point of some company like Amazon creating a walled garden is to make it either impossible or a hassle to purchase the thing from anyone else than the owner of the walled garden. Amazon's system is already relatively easy compared to what walled gardens are usually like.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 9:12 AM  

I should note that my above comments concerned only e-ink devices, as that's what most readers seem to prefer. If you don't care about e-ink, just pick up any cheap Android table and load FBReader, the Kobo app, the Nook app, and the Kindle app. You'll be all set.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 9:25 AM  

Re epub/Kindle. Excellent advice from above! Particularly from James and Markku.
Markku love the idea of your workarounds. I do have an older kindle [non paperwhite] which I will try the download trick. Maybe the Calibre guy will crack the new Amazon system soon. Not surprised their programmers have done what they did. The surprise is it took them so long. I imagine Markku could make a small fortune doing quick programming for people like them. But, then, Markku might have trouble viewing himself in the mirror. Stay frosty Markku, stay with the Castalia ideal.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:28 AM  

Maybe the Calibre guy will crack the new Amazon system soon.

It's illegal in many jurisdictions to break DRM even for your personal use of what you've paid for, and the Calibre guy has already said that he has no intention of doing so. I think there are only two possibilities:
1) Someone will make a free Calibre PLUGIN that breaks the DRM, or
2) Amazon realizes that they didn't intend to DRM the books where the publisher has requested the DRM to be off, and removes it.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:36 AM  

Ostensibly the rationale for that law is that the seller may already have taken into account in the price of the book that you are purchasing a restrictive license that keeps you in the walled garden, and if you break the DRM you are stealing rights that you didn't pay for.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 9:37 AM  

Since I mentioned the Nook Simple Touch above: I just checked, and the Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight are both still available for various prices and in various conditions on both Amazon and Ebay. Most people would probably prefer to buy a new and still supported ebook reader though.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 9:39 AM  

> Ostensibly the rationale for that law

Ostensibly, yes. In the US it's actually because the various rights holding companies have bought the legislature.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 9:47 AM  

@Markku: Amazon realizes that they didn't intend to DRM the books where the publisher has requested the DRM to be off, and removes it.

Suppose Calibre guy wants not to do prison time. Can't blame the man. I try to send him donations time to time for Calibre, since I've used it often in the past [mostly to get .mobi out of epub]. He has earned a pass and come caution.
It won't take a lot more for me to give up on Amazon and bite the bullet on work you can get only there. So be it. I have an account, going back years with them, they just might miss. This even if they back up on the publisher requested lack of DRM. At the rate Castalia is beating the bushes there will be no lack of reading material, though, you might miss out on some old favorite authors.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:55 AM  

It's a ridiculous situation. We know that the new format supports a DRM-less version because Calibre has already implemented it. It's just not available for purchase anywhere. So, the restriction is not technical. It wouldn't even be a hassle for Amazon to do it. Second, the DRM on/off is a simple radio button in the publisher view. So, if they are going to set it on anyway, why even have the button there?

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 9:58 AM  

Amazon's excuse for DRM has ALWAYS been that they don't want to do it, but the publishers demand it so their hand is forced. Well, now that some publishers explicitly demand LACK of DRM, and they won't do it, that doesn't really serve their argument well.

Anonymous Sheiko29 April 20, 2017 10:03 AM  

Never heard of Andrzej Pilipiuk. Definitely sounds interesting. I've certainly enjoyed Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels (which I only heard of because of the games, despite the authors insistence that the games have NOTHING to do with the books' popularity).

Martel looks good. Quad game is on point.

Blogger Ingot9455 April 20, 2017 10:14 AM  

Michael Martel never skips leg day.

Blogger SmockMan April 20, 2017 10:19 AM  

Check out reviews of the kobo aura (119$) and kobo aura one (229$) for e-ink readers. it supports epub, too. I have not used it so I don't know if its good or not.

Anonymous Bz April 20, 2017 10:20 AM  

James Nicoll used to be an amusing curmudgeon with an ear for over-the-top reviews that lustily (but not entirely unfairly) savaged various luminaries like Heinlein or Rand. This would on the surface of things make his recent focus on reviewing non-white male works interesting. But alas, based on my admittedly incomplete sampling, he definitely pulls his punches with those POC/genderqueer/etc reviews. It seems to be one more case where apparently leftism is the more important consideration.

Also, his reviews have gotten so excruciatingly politically correct over the years. They remain better than the dispiriting Tor garbage I still occasionally see, but I do hope it's a pose or his life is miserable. Unf'tly I suspect it's misery.

Blogger Sheila4g April 20, 2017 10:28 AM  

I'm glad others asked about transferring content from one platform to another, because I was concerned about wasting thread space with my lack of even minimal technical know-how. I had a regular Kindle Fire but found it too difficult to read on in daylight, and didn't like the blue-light at night, so I switched to a paperwhite. I much prefer the ease of simply clicking download from Amazon, even though I hate giving money to Bezos. I will do my best to follow Markku's instructions to use epub versions.

FWIW, the SJW rot is spreading to all genres. I read a lot of {admittedly crappy} TEOTWAKI books, and just finished one which has a thinly-disguised evil, power-hungry president obviously intended to be Trump, who sends black-ops teams to shoot innocent, protesting civilians and impose martial law on the country. It was a freebie but still ticked me off. Will leave a 1 star review and warning to other readers, but FWIW this is the first explicitly leftist author I've found in this genre.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 20, 2017 10:37 AM  

@19  How's the market for translations of hard SF?  Is Stanislaw Lem a prophet without honor in his own country?

I have to finish my foray into the shared alt-world I'm dabbling in and get back to my own work.

Blogger Cetera April 20, 2017 10:47 AM  

VD wrote:One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?
Please, both. All of my family's actual e-reader devices are kindle touch, kindle paperwhite, or older (I even have the one with the keyboard). I love them, and don't regret the purchase, but I would choose differently now if I was in the market again. However, .MOBI is what I will be reading for a long time.

Conversions from EPUB are generally OK, but it is better if they are published that way to start.

Thank you, VD, for the level of care and concern you bring to your customer experience!

Blogger Shimshon April 20, 2017 11:04 AM  

This Amazon DRM change must be very recent, as this is the first I am hearing of it. The only reason I bought Castalia House products from Amazon, besides Vox's request, was because they were DRM free there and I could easily convert them.

Anonymous AzDesrtRat April 20, 2017 11:08 AM  

oneof thecrowd wrote:Step 1. Why aren't you writing about more diverse characters, you bigot.

Step 2 How dare you write about diverse characters you bigot.


That's the first thing I saw as well. They've created a Catch-22 for all white male authors.

Anonymous instasetting April 20, 2017 11:09 AM  

#17 Szopen, that's what KU is for. If I start reading a book with an interesting premise, and find that the 'hero' is a promiscuous guy who sleeps with a bearded woman pirate, and back home is gay, then I can toss the book. If, OTOH, I see a book, and it has tanks firing shells at demon-summoning wizards, despite the obligatory Kung Fu Girl, I can read it and many of the follow ups.

Self-pub plus KU is awesome for this reader.

And maybe some of these have small houses like CH, but that's rarely a consideration.

Now, as to your writer friend, sounds interesting. I read 'Play to Live' which was by a Russian, and a good part of the fun was getting the Russian viewpoint on things. "We symbolize our love of peace by the tombstones of our enemies on our borders".

You should check out 'Conrad Starguard' series by Leo Frankowski. Polish guy accidentally time travels back to the 11th century, and industrializes Poland to resist the Mongol Invasion.

Americans have at least a passing interest in the varied Small Countries out there. Probably more so than the reverse. I've read three different things about Poland, and how much have you read about Tennessee?

Does Michael Martel work in his secret identity for a bunch of jet-setting, lazy, party high on cocaine idiots who own Merovinge Corporation? They exemplify everything bad about the Elite, and he uses their secret info since he really runs the corporation, against them?

Does he have a son who is Catholic and short?



Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 11:17 AM  

Sheiko29 wrote: I've certainly enjoyed Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels (which I only heard of because of the games, despite the authors insistence that the games have NOTHING to do with the books' popularity).
Sapkowski was really popular in central/eastern europe before the games; he had cult following in Poland, was published in Russia, Czech, Lithunia, Spain. When I first read "grain of truth" I was simply enthralled. In fact this is still my favourite story by AS (andrzej sapkowski, as = "ace" in Polish). Some fragments were real poetry and I still consider them the example of the finest prose in modern Polish literature.

In contrast to AS short stories about witcher, though, I found his books about witcher very... unequal. There were great fragments, but also a lot of boring ones. I haven't read his latest witcher book, but i've heard it is a pale shadow even of the original "Saga".

Nevertheless, AS is spoilt because of his huge popularity (for a fantasy author, that is) in Poland. At one point of his life, he was known to become completely drunk at the convents and he would offend everyone afterwards, and soon the organizers were silently appointing unofficial "pals" for him, whose only task was to ensure AS wouldn't get drunk.

Mr. Rational wrote:@19  How's the market for translations of hard SF?  Is Stanislaw Lem a prophet without honor in his own country?

(1) In terms of s-f/fantasy there are a lot of translated work from English, and occasional Russian/Czech works. In fact, there are publishing houses which pretty much have the policy of publishing ONLY the foreign works.

(2) I _love_ Lem and he still is respected, though i've heard opinion recently that his writing is now obsolete and his language no longer "fits" the younger population tastes. I don't know. I've read some short stories by Lem to my daughter when she was young and she loved them (though she also was scared by some of them). My son read Cyberiad and he loved it, but he couldn't start the Invincible (and he is too young for Solaris or Fiasco).

BTW there are still Lem's books which were, IIRC, never translated into English (Wizja Lokalna, Dialogues) and which are great. Wizja lokalna is IMO one of his funniest books and at the same, touching the problems of immortality, happiness etc (part of the book takes place in an alien planet, when there is abundance of everything, and there are nanobots ensuring no one can hurt anyone)

Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 11:23 AM  

instasetting wrote:#17 Szopen, that's what KU is for. If I start reading a book with an interesting premise, and find that the 'hero' is a promiscuous guy who sleeps with a bearded woman pirate, and back home is gay, then I can toss the book. [...]
Self-pub plus KU is awesome for this reader.
[...]
Americans have at least a passing interest in the varied Small Countries out there. Probably more so than the reverse. I've read three different things about Poland, and how much have you read about Tennessee?

But when out of 100 self-published books 99 is crap, then you can become a little bit averse to anything with stamp "self-published". Also, after wasting time of 99 crap position you start to wish for some filter removing at least part of the said crap.
As for Tennessee, I am not sure I read anything related particularly to that state, that's true :D But I've read books written by authors from countries such as Thailand :D

Blogger wreckage April 20, 2017 11:25 AM  

If you liked the Witcher, you might like the Elric stories, from which the Witcher clearly draws a lot of inspiration.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 11:37 AM  

@64,65 Markku.
If the A is defaulting drm to on should be a quick test next few Castalia books. Set that drm puppy to off and see what hatches. More work for Markku though there may be a trusted Ilk or three that could handle the load.

Anonymous BBGKB April 20, 2017 11:52 AM  

Does Michael Martel have a brother named Chuck?

Looking for all those non-white readers that we keep being told are out there. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot

I figured out when BLM was new that non Asian minorities are not literate enough to understand a t-shirt for or against them. Every black on TV except for Morgan Freeman only says 4 words before a video edit.

I'm sick of being preached at about Global Warming as if its real

Global cooling from lowered sunspot activity is more likely.

Anyone notice some of the TV series are now sneaking in the PC/SJW stuff after several episodes....bait and switch

At least Arrow waited a few seasons before having a majik gay negro

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 11:54 AM  

We have never had DRM on for a single book, yet they are all DRM'd now. This changed when Amazon changed their Kindle format. And the switch is still at "off". It just has no effect now.

Blogger Yarnwinder April 20, 2017 12:05 PM  

@55 Markku and #57 James Dixon

Thank you so much for your help. I don't mind getting my Castalia fix from Amazon at the moment, but if Castalia ever cuts loose from Amazon...!

I'd better try it soon, though, just to make sure I get it right.

Blogger J Van Stry April 20, 2017 12:06 PM  

@50 No, Amazon is not putting DRM on all books, against the publisher's request.

I don't DRM any of my stuff, and nothing that's been recently published of mine has been DRM'd. Not even what I published Monday.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 12:09 PM  

I don't DRM any of my stuff, and nothing that's been recently published of mine has been DRM'd. Not even what I published Monday.

Update your Kindle software, delete your local library which forces it to re-download the content, and weep.

(Probably backup your un-DRM'd content first, because you'll never get it again)

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 12:11 PM  

Also, if you have an old physical Kindle device which doesn't support the new format, it will download the old format which is still not DRM'd. Or, if your titles have been assigned "enhanced typesetting: off" then that is yet another way you may get un-DRM'd content. But you have no control over that, and it may change at any time.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 12:11 PM  

@81 and 83

Sad Markku; can I now suspect a cabal Amazon against Castalia and Vox Day?
Preponderance of a, so far, small evidence set seems to say so. A pol of other Alt fold who write/publish/are out spoken against PC would be interesting.

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 12:11 PM  

All of our books are non-DRM. So, if you have a problem converting them, you will know Amazon has done something.

I don't DRM any of my stuff, and nothing that's been recently published of mine has been DRM'd.

Have you tried converting one of those books to EPUB after DLing from Amazon?

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 12:13 PM  

@87 GOOD question Vox! Thats why you are who you are and we are who we are.

Blogger Quadko April 20, 2017 12:17 PM  

@10 One question: should we provide both MOBI and EPUB at the Castalia store or is EPUB sufficient?

Kindle MOBI format is appreciated. I have a kindle and a nook, but I live and die by the kindle every day and the nook gathers dust most of the time.

But if MOBI is just a 2nd class citizen auto-converted from ePub w/out polish, that's probably good enough. (Especially if the custom conversion software gets better at Calistia style over time!)

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 12:17 PM  

Sad Markku; can I now suspect a cabal Amazon against Castalia and Vox Day?

Certainly not. We cannot talk about it now, but they are actually giving us some favorable treatment.

Anonymous Jordi April 20, 2017 12:18 PM  

I use a Kobo Aura. I am delighted with it (nice capacity, the lighting is perfect for night reading).

So ePub is my prefered format and I, as other readers, would love to see absolutely every Castalia book easily accessible for purchase on the Castalia website (in ePub format).

Reading above comments, I'll definitely have a look if I can find something in (ideally) French or English by Andrzej Pilipiuk.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 12:20 PM  

Jack Ward wrote:Question: what would be a good epub reader somewhat analogous to the Kindle paperwhite? My Kindle is on its last leg after much faithful service; and, the battery change looks iffy at best. Most used feature is the internal light and the digital 'ink' they use. If nothing out there to compete maybe 'Alt Kindle'?
Kobo H2O. It has the same screen as the Kindle,, a better lighting system, and it's water-resistant. There are4 videos on Youtube of people throwing them in a sink or tub of water, and coming out alright.
E-pub only, and Kobo is an extremely converged company, always pushing crap at me. It's not as easy to side-load, you have to use calibre or similar to load books into it.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 12:29 PM  

Test it yourself. Tom Kratman's A Desert Called Peace (First Edition) from Baen is currently free. https://www.amazon.com/Desert-Called-Peace-Carrera-Book-ebook/dp/B00B5HJOFY/. Note the ASIN, B00B5HJOFY. In the description, note the "At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management)." Now, when you download it with the latest Kindle for PC, here's what you will see: screenshot. Note the DRM voucher file. Also, Calibre will refuse to convert it. It gives an error about DRM. If you look at the files with a hex editor, you will find them encrypted.

Blogger Jack Aubrey April 20, 2017 12:37 PM  

VD wrote:Sad Markku; can I now suspect a cabal Amazon against Castalia and Vox Day?

Certainly not. We cannot talk about it now, but they are actually giving us some favorable treatment.


Someone at Tor was just triggered.

Regarding book format, I use Kindle and Kindle app so MOBI would be appreciated. I've found my translations of EPUB to MOBI are not always as smooth as I would like.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 12:38 PM  

BTW, castaliahouse.com is coming up error 403 forbidden right now

Problems?

Blogger Jon D. April 20, 2017 12:39 PM  

Thanks for reposting. I loooooaaathe this blackballing going on and am getting so sick of NY Publishing. I'll start buying more of Castalia's stuff directly from the store too. Cutting out worthless middlemen is the name of the game now.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 12:40 PM  

I've found my translations of EPUB to MOBI are not always as smooth as I would like.

Our .mobi files are just plain Calibre conversions. They are good because we seem to be the only publisher in the entire world that knows how to do proper EPUBs. But, you'll get the exact same .mobi file from castaliahouse.com as you'd make yourself with Calibre.

Blogger Jon D. April 20, 2017 12:40 PM  

And to answer the question: I prefer to use mobi.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:01 PM  

Seriously, the website is down HARD. I was able to access via https:// (after accepting a bad certificate), but I get 404 for most of the content I can link from the outside.

Blogger szopen April 20, 2017 1:05 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Seriously, the website is down HARD. I was able to access via https:// (after accepting a bad certificate), but I get 404 for most of the content I can link from the outside.

Well, I have just entered "www.castaliahouse.com" and everything seems fine. There seems only be a problem with https.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:06 PM  

Normally publishers do EPUB conversions at these third party conversion services, and the result is unbelievably awful as far as the internal xhtml code goes. Which the customer won't realize until he tries to convert it into another format, and it all falls apart.

We on the other hand intend to sell the book to the customer in a way that has at least as long a future as a physical hardcopy. More so, if you store the file at a separate location so not even fire can destroy it. So, we care very much that the xhtml is 100% clean. So, you can use it as your master file, so that if the industry standard changes to another format in the next, say, ten years, you will know that you can convert your books to the new format.

EPUB is internally just a zip file that contains xhtml files, and some metadata. If you rename your book.epub to book.zip, you can actually open it as a zip, and look at the xhtml. So, for this reason it is the perfect format to guarantee maximum lifetime. There will never be a situation where you'll suddenly realize you don't have any means of opening a zip file, or reading a bunch of plaintext xhtml files.

For this reason, if durability is important to you, I strongly recommend storing away the .epub versions of our books even if you might at the moment read the .mobi versions.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:08 PM  

I can't see any problems at www.castaliahouse.com and pages load in the expected time. Don't use https, it's not supported. Though since we are about to prioritize the site more, I'll probably buy a certificate soon. But as of right now, only http:// works.

Anonymous Harry P. April 20, 2017 1:09 PM  

@24,26
I have read 12 books by Andrzej Pilipiuk and although they are great (he is probably my favourite author) especially the Jakub Wędrowycz series, I'm not sure how will they translate into western culture, because all except one of his novels I read were heavily dependent on communistic history of eastern block, and things which evolved in society because of it (distaste of government and police, do-it-yourself attitude, distrust of other people sprung out of fear of communist snitches, even the rampant alcoholism). The one exception is first part of his Deer's Eye series (rest isn't translated yet) which I personally regard as the least fun, lacking both wit and originality of his other writing.

I as Czech can relate easily enough, but I doubt this goes further west than former East Germany. Living in central Europe is really sweet spot sci-fi&fantasy-wise as we get to read the best of both western (mostly English) and eastern (Polish - it was part of eastern block too - and Russian) literature, while being able to relate culturally and appreciate both.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:17 PM  

Perhaps you have a very old bookmark, which you only tried just now. We moved the blog to the front page. This also changed the URL. (it's now just plain castaliahouse.com , nothing more). The old URLs, which you may still have in your bookmark no longer work, and the error you got is consistent with an obsolete URL.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:19 PM  

well, http: is also not working here. Still 403 forbidden.
I'll try some other browsers.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 1:21 PM  

> I can't see any problems at www.castaliahouse.com

It's working fine for me here at work.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:24 PM  

I'm running on Linux Mint 17.mumble
Chrome works fine
Firefox give 403 error
opera works fine

Looks like a problem with my browser.
sorry for the panic.

Blogger Servant April 20, 2017 1:24 PM  

@77

How nice a block author from suggestions button would be. If I could curate my own suggestion list, rather than it being populated with crap that I accidentally clicked on or whatnot.

Or a block book if I own a print copy for 18+ years and don't need it showing up everytime i'm on kindle :P.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:26 PM  

403 is not the kind of an error that could originate from a browser. I don't have Firefox but Pale Moon is close enough, and the site works with it. I still think you are getting an obsolete URL from your browser history or bookmark. Make absolutely sure that there is nothing in the URL field after the .com

Blogger J Van Stry April 20, 2017 1:31 PM  

@Vox,

Well, THAT was a rude awakening. I just when through several downloads and it appears that they are putting DRM headers on all of my stuff. Last month (or maybe it was February, I don't recall exactly) I had checked a few things for other non-DRM reasons (word-count) and those headers weren't there then.

I've just written to one of the 'executive action team' who I've been talking to this week about an unrelated issue. I may call him later. They did just make a bunch of changes to their software (which is why I've been dealing with them, as always, they don't test, so they broke a few things).

I will let you know what I find out.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:32 PM  

Sounds like you remembered to weep. Hopefully you remembered to backup too.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 20, 2017 1:33 PM  

Markku @101: "Normally publishers do EPUB conversions at these third party conversion services, and the result is unbelievably awful as far as the internal xhtml code goes."

Sounds like a service that Castalia House could offer to other small/indie publishers, if they were seeking other business opportunities....

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:36 PM  

There is no reason for a publisher to pay for it. Customers only realize it when it's too late. By then, the publisher already has the money.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:40 PM  

I'm typing the site in directly. I cleared the cache and restarted the browser, still getting a 403, only in firefox. It works fine in Chrome, Opera, Linkks2 and Lynx.

(what?? You never needed to browse from a cli?)

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 1:42 PM  

We, on the other hand, have an entire production pipeline that also affects the physical books, that depends on the files being internally perfect or the automation breaks. It is crucial to us, but it's just a small feature that 1% of customers even UNDERSTAND, for anyone else.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 1:43 PM  

@112 & 113 A possibility. You would think any publisher would want to keep customers coming back. The sales pitch, presented correctly, to them might gain some business from those wanting to please customers. Now, if Jeff Bezos wanted to please me he would call Vox and tell that someone in his organization changed things re drm without him knowing it and, that it would be made right. If he really wanted to impress he would also mention in that phone conversation that he has decided to have his tech wizards make the paperwhite read epub well as the big A extensions. Yeah, that would be a warm and fuzzy. I might even start sending him Christmas cards.

Blogger Sagramore April 20, 2017 1:43 PM  

Sorry for the monomania Vox, but I just told the "Scalzi and Wesley Crusher's bitching introduced me to Vox Day" story.

Today it turns out that I was actually correct that the leftist organization calling me "crazy" was indeed controlled opposition from a large industry player... the one backed by Snoop Dogg. Crafty.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 1:47 PM  

@115 Markku:
Sounds something like the automated engine Smashwords uses. I investigated a few years ago just out of general interest and was distantly impressed with just how precise the author to be had to toe the line on submissions. Seems to work for them. Having the automation come in at the author submission level, so early, probably keeps down payroll.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 1:48 PM  

> I'm typing the site in directly. I cleared the cache and restarted the browser, still getting a 403, only in firefox.

That is strange, because 403 is supposedly a server response telling you that you're forbidden to access the resource, not a local browser error. Usuaully it means an invalid url.

Is everything else working properly in Firefox?

Blogger VD April 20, 2017 1:48 PM  

Well, THAT was a rude awakening.

I think you will find that if Markku and I are both saying the same thing, the chances we are both wrong is not very high....

Blogger KSC April 20, 2017 1:51 PM  

I can speak some on the new Kindle update. One thing the new format was designed to do is make books accessible through the Kindle application and reader to those with screen readers in a way they weren't before. This is one thing "enhanced typesetting" feature is designed to do. Unfortunately this has changed the format quite a bit and as of now the new stuff can't be converted. Ironically, if you're blind and don't/can't read Kindle files it is now less accessible. The solution as of now is to download an older version of the Kindle for PC app (before a.17, I think) and make sure to turn off the auto-update feature. This way you will still be able to download the old format. This has worked for me since January, when it started.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 1:52 PM  

To qualify 116 a bit. If Bezos did make paper white read epub and he wanted you to buy a new one costing 200 or so, maybe more, I would almost certainly go for it.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 1:52 PM  

Snidely, what happens if you try to bring up Castalia House by it's IP address (88.208.252.219) in Firefox?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:54 PM  

James Dixon wrote:Is everything else working properly in Firefox?
No other problems to report.
This should show up in the server logs.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 1:55 PM  

88.208.252.219 works the same.
Could it be a proxy server?

Blogger J Van Stry April 20, 2017 1:56 PM  

@Vox,

That's why I went and looked.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 1:59 PM  

@126 Could I ask what you found? Also, do you have your published stuff at blog and, if so, what is that site? I may just become a customer.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 2:01 PM  

> The solution as of now is to download an older version of the Kindle for PC app (before a.17, I think) and make sure to turn off the auto-update feature.

Per the Apprentice Alf blog, there a file %localappdata%\Amazon\Kindle\application\renderer-test.exe (on Windows machines, obviously) which can be removed or renamed to cause the current version to still download the old format.

Blogger JimR April 20, 2017 2:03 PM  

@24 szopen

"I am not sure whether his hilarious stories about alcoholic old peasant who kills the vampires and ghosts would be interesting to Western audience."

Shut up and take my money! (well, for the English edition, no speakski Polski)

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 2:03 PM  

> Could it be a proxy server?

Could be. Do you have one set? Something somewhere in your path is denying you access, and it's almost certainly not Castalia House, as they would be blocking by IP address and it would affect all your browsers.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 2:09 PM  

below the error it's tagged "nginx" which is a php proxying application, I believe.

But since it works on other browsers, and on my wife's machine with firefox and palemoon, I have to believe it's a problem with how my specific browser is trying to access the site.

Like it's demanding Index.html instead of index.php.

Blogger Cail Corishev April 20, 2017 2:11 PM  

As James and Markku said, a 403 Forbidden error comes from a web server; the browser would never generate it itself. Since other browsers are working, it's probably not DNS or routing weirdness at your ISP, or a transparent proxy that would affect all of them. My first wild guess would be that Firefox is modifying the URL or sending some strange headers that are causing the server to forbid access. Are you familiar with tcpdump?

Blogger Cail Corishev April 20, 2017 2:17 PM  

nginx is a web server, like apache, but can also be used as a proxy.

Like it's demanding Index.html instead of index.php.

Your browser shouldn't be demanding either one, if it's not part of the URL you're typing in. Your browser should request what you ask for, and the server takes care of turning / into /index.php (or whatever) internally.

Can you go directly to a specific page at CH, like this one?

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 2:19 PM  

> below the error it's tagged "nginx" which is a php proxying application, I believe.

"NGINX is the world’s most popular open source web server and load balancer for high‑traffic sites, powering over 300 million properties." from https://www.nginx.com/

> Like it's demanding Index.html instead of index.php.

If the site uses php, then index.html should just be a symbolic link to index.php, so that shouldn't affect things.

Whatever is wrong, i's got to be specific to the Firefox browser.

If you're not using a proxy, I'd backup my bookmarks, remove Firefox and all of it's configuration files, the reinstall it and import my bookmarks to see if that fixes it.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 2:31 PM  

Unfortunately this has changed the format quite a bit and as of now the new stuff can't be converted.

Cannot = is illegal to.

Calibre guy says that the conversion for the un-DRM'd version of Amazon's new format is already in Calibre. Amazon is just not making it available, contra publishes explicit wishes. Apparently the new DRM setting is

Enable DRM for this title?
( ) Yes please, Amazon-senpai, you always know best!
(X) LOL, doesn't matter what you want, you're our bitch now! DRM will be enabled.

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 2:35 PM  

Like it's demanding Index.html instead of index.php.

The site has neither. The URL's are virtual, you have no way to tell what actual php file they will load. It must request the URL exactly as written, not add any index or other file to the end.

Blogger KSC April 20, 2017 2:39 PM  

@135
I'm not quite sure what the problem is--I use a different program from Calibre, but one can remove the DRM on old Kindle files with it just fine. What is changed such that doing it for this would get him into a lot more legal trouble?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 2:40 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:Can you go directly to a specific page at CH,
No.
I will take James' suggestion and go for a complete re-install

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 2:42 PM  

It would be HIM that's doing the illegal part of your current process. He would be responsible for it before the law.

Blogger KSC April 20, 2017 2:46 PM  

@139
Yes--but what I am pointing out is that he already (as far as I can tell) did it once by enabling the removal of DRM from older Kindle files. Why is doing it this time so much riskier?

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 2:48 PM  

Yes--but what I am pointing out is that he already (as far as I can tell) did it once by enabling the removal of DRM from older Kindle files. Why is doing it this time so much riskier?

He didn't. Calibre has never been able to remove DRM from books where the publisher has requested it to be enabled. The other programs that do, are probably incorporated in China or some third world shithole. Before the change, Amazon respected the publisher's wishes. Now they don't.

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 20, 2017 2:50 PM  

I see that Michael Martel is a Pink Floyd fan. LOL.

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 20, 2017 2:53 PM  

And I just got the other reference. D'oh!

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 3:03 PM  

The law says, both in USA and Finland (and probably most Western countries) that you can convert the format of any file you are licensed to read, but you cannot circumvent any DRM while doing so. So, since previously Amazon delivered un-DRM'd or DRM'd file based on what the publisher had chosen, what Calibre did was perfectly legal. But now Amazon doesn't offer any easy means of getting an un-DRM'd version of any book on sale at Amazon. The only current workaround is to use obsolete versions of their software or hardware.

Blogger KSC April 20, 2017 3:06 PM  

@144
Ah, I see. I had heard that there was a third-party plugin for Calibre that made un-DRMing possible. Your explanation makes sense. I don't know the law in other countries, but under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act people who are blind are legally allowed to break DRM if they do so for a noncommercial private purpose. (This was necessary for a long time, and still is in some cases.)

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 3:12 PM  

Yeah, I suspect that a major reason he has made plugins possible is precisely so that he can wash off his hands of any illegal activity while still making it possible. If someone else wants to write the code for that, and assume the legal responsibility, it is no concern of his.

Anonymous Jill April 20, 2017 3:22 PM  

It's entirely possible to be independent from Amazon. I've been watching the landscape, seeing authors do Kickstarters. Being independent is a struggle, not to make product, as ebooks are easy, but to become visible. Castalia House seems to be successfully navigating itself. Kudos.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2017 3:22 PM  

> I had heard that there was a third-party plugin for Calibre that made un-DRMing possible.

The third party plugin is not associated with Calibre in any way. It merely uses Calibre's plugin capabilities.

I'm not certain a this point if the plugin is going to be updated to deal with the latest Amazon formats or not. We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime there are three workarounds (assuming you have an e-ink Kindle): Use and older version of Kindle for PC to download the files, rename the file I gave above to force the current version to download the old format, or use the download and transfer via USB option (which also forces the download of the old format).

Blogger SirHamster April 20, 2017 3:30 PM  

Markku wrote:Then, download the free software Calibre and convert your .epub to .mobi. Then, email it as attachment from the email address you approved in the instructions above. Leave the subject and body empty.

If you have Kindle for PC, you can skip the email configuration steps, right click the created .mobi and use "Send to Kindle".

Blogger Markku April 20, 2017 3:31 PM  

The DRM-free option is clearly an important selling point to Baen, since they mention it in the description of their books. It would be great if we could get them to join us in pressuring Amazon.

Anonymous Walter April 20, 2017 3:35 PM  

Martel looks awesome! Love those hammers.

Blogger Heian-kyo Dreams April 20, 2017 3:58 PM  

@37 I would appreciate .mobi files. Thanks for asking all of us.

Blogger Heian-kyo Dreams April 20, 2017 4:14 PM  

@24 This polish guy sounds amazing, especially the drunken vampire/ghost hunter stuff for sure.

@70 Sheila4g Have you read Nick Cole's stuff? He does apocalyptic and post apocalyptic stories that are SJW free.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 20, 2017 5:52 PM  

@148 and others

Thanks for the discussion of how to continue to keep DRM-free ebooks for digital paper Kindles such as paperwhite.

Markku and others: I'm sure you will be finding out from Amazon sometime soon if this is a new policy or just a careless oversight. Please pass on whatever you find that isn't confidential to the rest of us.

Because while I don't buy that many books from Amazon, I have been steadily loading up my Paperwhite for about two years. From the beginning I've backed those files up on other platforms, because of Amazon's infamous "1984" glitch. It would be frustrating to have to go through a lot of hoops to continue to read DRM free, and if I had to do that I'd likely consider a different platform than Kindle and a different service than Amazon.

It would be a lot easier to just keep using Amazon and other services. I have no problem informing Amazon of this, if it's now their policy to screw around with DRM-free ebooks. Again, please keep us informed.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 20, 2017 5:55 PM  

@70 Sheilag

It's a bit dated being from the 60's, but Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank is a good read if you haven't done so yet. "We're going to have to be guppies".

Blogger Commenter April 20, 2017 6:40 PM  

The kindle paperwhite is my preferred e-reader for sustained reading, and one-click purchase convenience. We also have the kindle, ibooks, and nook apps on our various phones and tablets, so if you decide to do epub only, I can adjust accordingly. Is there a recommended app/program/device for epub? Keep up the good work!

Blogger papabear April 20, 2017 6:48 PM  

Viking Saga? Would love to see CH publish that...

Blogger J Van Stry April 20, 2017 8:23 PM  

@127 Just click on my name above, or enter it into google or Amazon.

As for what I found, it appears that all of my books are now DRM'd. Even though I have never set it that way. I'm still waiting for Amazon to respond to my latest query. Another 'letter to bezos' might be in order. However I'm worried that one of these days they'll just get tired of talking to me and pull the plug on my acount instead.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 9:14 PM  

Thanks J Van. Bunch of crap, this. Pull your acct? Maybe talk to Vox and consider Castalia. If your stuff is good they will be interested. The variety of offerings at Castalia are true diverse [the good kind] and increasing exponentially. Please keep us informed. Again, thanks.

Blogger Jack Ward April 20, 2017 9:26 PM  

@158 J Van. Hit your site and Children of Steel caught my eye. The first chapter seemed promising and the price was right. Got it. Have not tried to convert it to epub yet; just for fun, you know. If good I will write a review.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 20, 2017 11:08 PM  

The reinstall worked, no problem accessing the site now. Sorry for the fuss.

Blogger JP April 20, 2017 11:23 PM  

I've never had a problem with the conversions.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit April 21, 2017 12:17 AM  

This is precisely why Castalia House exists. And this is why, if you do not wish to see total convergence in SF/F of the sort now seen in the comics industry, it is vital to continue to support it, and to spread the word about it.

Yep.

Anonymous Walter April 21, 2017 3:49 AM  

Guys I made fanart of Michael Martel!

http://i.imgur.com/JxMLZJ1.jpg

Blogger tz April 21, 2017 4:22 AM  

"SHE" is a gender diversity index ETF on the NASDAQ.

Fearless Girl is an ad

Blogger James Dixon April 21, 2017 11:12 AM  

> The reinstall worked, no problem accessing the site now. Sorry for the fuss.

An update most likely failed to install properly, Borking your Firefox installation. I've seen it happen before. There are other ways to try to fix it, but they involve the command line and aptitude, apt-get, or dpkg commands (none of which are my forte, since I use Slackware, but I know enough to look them up). An uninstall/reinstall is easier for most people.

Anonymous Avalanche April 21, 2017 8:14 PM  

@70 Sheila, check out Matt Bracken's three-book series. I bought them to support him (after reading his Tet Take Two essay at Gates of Vienna) -- thinking "oh geez, it's gonna be totally amateurish." I was very wrong. THere were a few hints of 'not-quite-pro' -- but very well-written (kept me up all night cause I started reading the first one in the evening... the second two I started in the morning!).

Painful because he is SO on point about the coming "troubles" in the U.S. He's a good writer with a deep grasp on what's coming.

Anonymous Avalanche April 21, 2017 8:39 PM  

@70 Oh, also the "Dies the Fire" series by Steve Sterling (writes as S.M. Sterling). Truly apocalyptic -- ghastly and brilliant -- and they make you start hording food and ammo! I only read the first 4-5 of them, he went on but I had lost interest.

Sterling's Draka series (alternate history) is FASCINATING! My husband asked me to read them before I came to him -- because the Draka series explained a lot about him and how he saw the world! (And thus began a big chapter of my un-brainwashing!)

Blogger Roger G2 April 22, 2017 6:09 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Roger G2 April 22, 2017 6:13 PM  

I think the point I was trying to make is that Castalia House and others like it can only stand to become giant publishing empires while the current big converged houses are failing as a result of their surrender to the ideological crazies.

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