Extracurricular Activities

I am amazed at the number of Christians involved in extracurricular activities. One of those areas of interest is politics. In a number of social outlets, the platform of negative reporting is spearheaded by Believers. If they dislike a politician, they illustrate their contempt with negativity. If they endorse a political party, they will sound the trumpet of praise and adoration. If it’s a political ideology they disagree with, they will express it with carbon monoxide rhetoric. I am not interested in whether someone is Republican, Democrat, or whatever. What concerns me is that the harvest fields are ripe for harvesting, but the harvesters seem more concerned with issues unrelated to reaping. (John 4: 35) The last thing I want to do is to turn off a potential Believer by expressing a political viewpoint that might add to the further polarization of our society. The majority of our political understanding is determined by what we read or hear from the media. Can we honestly promote something as truth, when all we know is from biased reporting?


Our Country is in a mess, but I am at rest because God is in control. This is a time for Christians to stay the course. This is the time to stay focused. This is the time to pray for those in authority. (I Timothy 2:1, 2) This is the time to make sure our priorities stay in line with God’s Word.I don’t believe there is a Biblical subject that has not been written or verbalized about. The redundancy of theme writing and publications has inundated the social platforms. Faith shared articles and quips have continued to be popular with the faithful. My concern is that those outside of the Faith have little or no understanding of what our jubilation is all about. While the Christians encourage each other with the Word, the unbelievers remain in the dark searching for the allusive answer to what life is all about. It is time for Believers to leave their spiritual “Disneyland” and share their lives with those that are living day by day. It is exciting to feel the spiritual goose bumps in our closed communal gatherings, but the real excitement is releasing the “rivers of living water” to those in our communities that are looking for something to quench their thirst from the heat of sin.


The Life Book is what Believers need to tweet about. We need to share what God is doing in our lives, and what our lives are doing in serving God!

What Is An E-Book? – The Industry and the Future

E-books have evolved in their short history to a point where most online surfers have heard of them and understand the different formats. The key to e-books is that they are electronic versions of books and do not require printed versions, but can be available in hard copy form if the publisher chooses. Many self-published writers are finding e-books to be a simple way to express their ideas without the costs and barriers involved with traditional publishing. Amazon has been a leader in the industry with its Kindle reader while Apple has challenged the platform with its iPad, which downloads e-books from the iBookstore.

The main reason for making an e-book can be summed up by efficiency. An e-book doesn’t get lost like a physical book and doesn’t have the problems of torn pages or a worn cover. From a cost perspective, there is no longer any reason to spend a fortune on cutting down a forest to create thousands of copies of a book without knowing if it will sell. In the old world, books might be out of stock if they did sell, requiring new pressings, whereas in the new world e-books are never out of stock. The emerging model for printing hard copy versions now is based on orders as they come in, such as at Amazon.

Another efficient quality of e-books is they can be updated more easily. Traditional books were printed in a series of pressings, based on demand. But if demand diminished a book might go out of print and become outdated. The original pressing might also have misinformation or typos. E-books, however, allow the writer to always have an updated version ready for online distribution, as errors can be corrected immediately, instead of waiting for the printing process to take months.

Consumers enjoy the advantages of e-books over traditional books thanks to lower pricing. Since it costs less money to make and market an e-book than a printed book, the price drops for consumers. Number of pages can still affect the price, but e-books make it possible to sell more items of the same thing. For example, instead of buying an entire book, some people might just want to purchase one chapter at a reduced price. Other advantages of e-books are they can be converted to different languages and they can be used with text-to-speech software to create audio books for people with disabilities.

Today’s e-books are designed for smaller screens than in the past. Dedicated e-book readers have become an extra electronic device people purchase specifically just for reading e-books and online newspapers. The Amazon Kindle has been one of the most popular e-book readers, along with the Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and Sony Readers. Tablet computers such the iPad make useful e-book readers due to their portability and controls that make reading easier. These devices can download and store e-books from online stores such as Amazon, Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store and the public library-based OverDrive. Mobile devices such as iPhones and Androids can also read e-books.

Although the e-book market does not have industry formatting standards, the most popular format has been the Adobe PDF files. Web developers tried to construct a system known as Open eBook, a zip file based on XHTML and CSS, that breaks e-books down into components. But the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has moved closer toward the EPUB format as a standard, allowing the file to be converted to other formats. EPUB can embed metadata, resize text and supports Digital Rights Management.

The popularity of e-books has skyrocketed in the second decade of the 21st century. In May 2011 Amazon reported that its sales of e-books had surpassed sales of hard copy books. A Pew Internet Project survey in 2012 showed that 21 percent of American adults had read an e-book within the past year. It was also found that e-book readership favors people under age 50. A large majority of e-book readers read printed books as well. Nearly half of the respondents said they preferred e-books over printed books.

In 2012 Apple launched iBook Author, which is a software program that allows authors to create e-books in the PDF format on an iPad and directly make products available in the iBooks store and for sharing. Amazon has a platform called CreateSpace for authors to create e-books, which must conform to the site’s policies. Lulu also provides the tools for authors to create and market their own self-published e-books.

E-books have proven to be profitable, even for traditional publishers such as Random House. Fifty Shades of Grey by novelist E.L. James was one of the company’s big sellers in 2012. Half of the 30 million copies sold were e-books. The company reported that e-book sales made up 27 percent of the total book sales, which was a 7 percent increase from a year earlier.

Free e-books can be found at Amazon by looking at their Top 100 Free list. Many times a publisher will give away a sample of a book as an e-book that promotes the printed paperback or hard copy for sale. Sometimes e-books are just free to expose a new author. Apple also offers free e-books at the iBooks store. Other websites that offer free e-books are ManyBooks.net, Free-ebooks.net and Open Culture. You can also search for free e-books using the PDFgeni.com search engine.

The future of e-Books may merge more with multimedia and text to speech capabilities. It remains important that e-books are a clickable medium. They can be linked to websites as well as interlinked so that they provide easy navigation to source material. The most advanced e-books link to instant videos that complement the text. E-books are very useful for people involved with other communication besides writing.

Musicians, painters and movie makers can use e-books to showcase and promote their other media. Ultimately, e-books are quick learning tools that provide instant access to deeper content. If the e-book can speed up someone’s search for knowledge to a matter of minutes or even seconds, it has a powerful utility for the reader. Expect e-books of the future to help people cut through technical jargon and learn new systems quickly with visuals and creative ways to index and categorize knowledge.

How To Collect Books For Fun OR Profit

Before you start to seriously go out and buy books, you need to learn some terminology and become familiar with book publishing and production process. For example, while most people think of book collecting only in terms of the final product as it appeared in the bookstore, there are other elements of a book that are more valuable, more elusive, and more heavily collected. Plus, the more you know about the history of books and how books are constructed, the more finely tuned your critical senses will be, and the more you’ll appreciate finding a truly good book. This article is an attempt to educate and provide you with resources to get you started in book collecting.

For the collector, there are three primary things to consider when buying a book: EDITION, CONDITION and SCARCITY in this condition and edition.

Understanding these areas is the different between success and failure, between being able to build a collection of treasures and an assortment of reading copies, between being able to collect and sell for money, or just going out and buying a lot of worthless books.

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Parts of a Book

*Cover- To put something over or upon, as to protect, conceal or enclose. Dustcover.

*Spine-The back part of the book and it faces outward when you shelf the book right.

*Title Page- The page at the beginning of the book, usually containing the title of the book and the names of the author and publisher.

*Copyright Page-Where the copyright date is found.

*Dedication Page-Its the place where the author dedicates the book to someone.

*Table of Contents-A list of the books contents, arranged by chapter, section, subsection, Etc…

*Forward- An introduction by person other than the author, and it is usually a famous person..

*Text (or Body)-The actual words of the book

*Glossary-A list of hard words with their meanings often printed in the back of the book.

*Bibliography- A list of books, articles, etc. Used or referred by the author at the end of the book.

*Index-A list of subjects and names in alphabetical order at the end of the book.

*ISBN-International Standard Book Numbers–is a ten digit number that uniquely identifies books and look-like products published internationally.

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Getting Started

The used and collectible book market divides into three neat categories:reading copy, antiquarian, and modern first edition.

*Reading Copies

Are books you can take to the beach or into a bathtub. They’re the largest part of the book market, and they’re everywhere. If you buy a book with anything in mind other than collecting, you’re buying a reading copy.

*Antiquarian

Antiquarian book lovers seek out classic old volumes—editions of Scott, Wordsworth, the Bay Psalm Book, examples of fine printing and binding from centuries past.

*Modern Firsts

Modern first edition collectors tend to limit themselves to this century, to the writers who have defined the times we live in, such as Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

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Taking Stock

The first step to being a good book scout is to take a look at your own bookshelves at home.

This is going to be your opening stock, so take a minute to appraise what you own. Do you have a lot of paperbacks with cracked spines and tattered covers? Or do you have a nice selection of good hardbacks neatly care for, books you brought as soon as they came out? The fact that you own books at all shows that you’re a lover of books, which is the first step to becoming a serious collector.

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First Edition or Printing

So, obviously, you’ve got to learn how to identify first editions to avoid making costly mistakes. After all, if you think it’s a first and you turn out to be wrong after paying a premium. The problem is, nearly every publisher has its own method of identified first editions. You can memorize the policies of every single publisher in the history of the book trade, and even then you’ll make mistakes, because all of the rules have exceptions. On my shelves, and on on the shelves of every collector I know, there are at least a few books that looked like a first of first, but turn out later to be plain old books instead.

As general rule, there are two things to look for right off the bat:a statement of edition, or a number line.

The statement of edition is exactly that: on the copyright page, the book says “FIRST EDITION” or “SECOND EDITION” or FIFTY-THIRD EDITION.” Or if not “edition” it will say “printing”. With lots of publishers that’s all you’ll need to find.

Unfortunately, some publishers don’t remove the edition slug from subsequent printings; or sometimes a book club edition will state that it’s a first; or sometimes there’s nothing stated at all.

The next thing to look for is the number line. This is a sequence of numbers which, on the first, usually go from 1 to 10 (some publishers will go 1 to 5 and then the five years around the year of publication: for example, 123459495969798); it may be in order, or it may start with 1 on the left, the 2 on the right, and so forth, with the 10 in the middle. Look for the 1. On every publisher employing a number line except Random House, a number line with a 1 is a first edition. Random House, just to be sure that no one can ever be sure, use a 2 on the number line and the “FIRST EDITION” slug.

There are some publishers who indicate a first edition by not indicating it. If you don’t see anything that says it’s a second or third edition, then it must be a first. There are other publisher who code the information into the book somewhere, but it isn’t always easy to find.

Those three checks will help you identify most books from most publishers, but not all.

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Points

These little differences, about where the photographs should be, wrong lines printed in the book, etc., are known as points.

The easiest way to start learning points is the obvious one: pay close attention to the better price guides, which rarely fail to list the major points. Never just look at the price, look at the entire entry.

Because points are so vital, it’s time to introduce one of themes of this article: to collect successfully, it is important to specialize to a large extent. You are never going to learn the full field of points, of every single detail differing in every single book. In the comfort of a used book shop, maybe the owner has time to run back to check twenty reference books to research points.

But you are standing in the store, looking at the book, and you’re not sure, you’re on your own. If you’re specialized, you’ve got a better chance of coming up with the right answer. This is not to say you should never go out of your field; but in your field, go for depth. Learn everything you can. If you’re a science fiction fan, a modern lit fan, a devotee of travels and voyages, there are specialized bibliographies and reference books you can use to track down and discover new points.If you’re interested in children’s books, study the authors, and pay attention to every detail of the book in your hand.

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Condition

We’ eve looked at the details of the edition; now it’s time to look at the details of condition. You can own a copy of the rarest book in the world, and if the boards are off, the hinges sprung, if there’s writing and foxing on the pages and heavy water damage along the edges, all you got is a lump of worthless paper. For a first edition book to be collectible, there is nothing that affects the price as much as condition. Even the rarest first, if trashed, is just trash, not a collectible book.

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Dust Jackets/Dust Wrappers

It is the condition of the dust jacket that determines the largest percentage of the book’s price—-some dealers estimate as much as 80%—-and so this is where you should start grading. A wonderful book without a dust cover is just a reading copy. Collectors want prime dust jackets.

That’s what they see first, that’s what’s displayed on the shelf, so the dust jacket should be treated like cash money.

When grading a book, look at the dust jacket first, and then move on to the book itself. When you look at catalogs, you’ll see most dealers will give one grade for the book itself, and another for the dust jacket. The whole package is important, but the dust jacket has priority. Without exception for books produced in the last 40 years, there is nothing more important for the book’s value than the dust jacket.

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Grading

Grades are given in descending order: Very Fine, Fine, Near Fine, Very Good, Poor.

* Very Fine–A book that is in perfect condition There are no sign that the book has every been read. The dust jacket is bright and shiny as it was the day it came off the press. No signs of rubbing, bumping, chips, dents, dings, or creases. Book should be tight, creaks with you open it and does not fall open to any particular page of section. No ownership marks on any of the book.

* Fine–It is a small step down. A tiny bump or two is allowed. The book may have been read, but very carefully. The dust jacket has lost some of its sheen, bit it is still intact, with no tears or chips in it.

* Very Good–A book that is physically intact, dust cover on and reasonably unmarred. A book that has some basic flaws. These are the books on most people shelves. The dust jacket may have rubbing, a tear or two and a couple chips. It could be sun-faded.

* Good–A Book in reading condition only. Dust jacket will have serious problems–Large chips, tears, and price clipping (were someone cup the price tag off) are to be expected. Book may have stains, hinges torn loose from spine.

* Poor–The final condition before the recycle bin

* Library Markings: There is one other thing that makes a book worthless:library markings. These may be a stamp with the library’s name on it, the glue from a return-card pocket, or stickers on the dust jacket.

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Book Scouting

To be a good book scout, you have to keep your eyes open at all times. Never drive by a place that might have books for sale. You can find books at Book Auctions, Garage Sales, Estate Sales, PTA Auctions, Antique Stores, Book Fairs, Thrift Shops, Goodwill, etc.

Tools to use when you are Book Scouting.

*Price Guides:

1. Allen and Patricia Ahearn’s Collected Books:The Guide to Values.
2. Book Prices:Used and Rare
3. Mandeville’s Used Book Price Guide

These three guides will cover a good percentage of the book market.

*Online Websites:

1. Addall
2. Abebooks

These two sites are great for founding and getting prices on books.

*Dealer Catalogs

A supply of dealer catalogs can teach you more about the currency book market and current prices than anything else.

Never, ever throw a price guide or a catalog away. Updates do not always have the same books. You may often find yourself scrambling through a stack of material, looking for what year a particular book first showed up. With some practice, it’s not that difficult to prorate the market and update material yourself, and the old guides are a valuable source of information. Beside which, watching how the guides change can teach you how the market has changed, and whether the prices you’re paying or asking are fair. Pricing a book is an art form in and of itself and one you can never be entirely sure of.

* Editions and Points Guides

1. Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler’s First Editions

2. A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions

I recommend owning both guides.

*Books about Collecting Books

1. Modern Book Collecting By Robert Wilson

2. Understanding Book Collecting by Grant Uden

3. How to buy Rare Books by William Rees-Mogg

All three books are excellent in getting you started.

*Book Buying Tools

1. Scoul Pal– Check out their scanner system that adapts to any cell phone. Scanner are simple and easy to use. You just scan the barcode containing the ISBN or UPC number and ScoutPal will present concise results, including a summary of market prices and quantities, sales rank, editions and availability, and used/new/collectible details.

2. AsellerTool– Check out their scanner system too.

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Spotting Trends and Picking Authors

Like all other fields, the book market moves in cycles.There is more short-term money in spotting trends than there is in buying classic writers, but there is also a lot more risk. Trends come and go, while the classic authors more slowly but steadily.

Which is one of the reasons why it’s important, even in books you’re planning to deal, to buy things you like. There is no telling when you’ll get struck with them. If you are a collector, simply buy what you love. You can never go wrong doing that. Dealers have to look at things a bit differently.

What you must remember is that all hot books have their day, and that day almost invariably comes to an end, sooner or later. If you’re buying a book for resale, not just for collecting, it’s important that you constantly monitor the price guides and the catalogs for fluctuations in value.

When picking authors watch for cycles. Watch for books in new categories. Some writers have a strong enough visions that they are indefinable, and these writers tend to to be especially collectible in their early works. Tom Clancy is one.

So watch for what’s new, for who’s on the cutting edge, because even if you look at classic collectible books, you’ll see that those authors, too, were pushing the envelope. That’s what’s made them worthwhile for so long: Hemingway’s restrained prose; Steinbeck’s social consciousness. T. S. Eliot reinvented poetry, as did Allen Ginsberg. That’s why their books are still sought after, still read and discussed.

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Signed Editions

There is nothing as lovely as an autographed book. It has a special feel that cannot be matched by any other copy. This copy was in the author’s hand, before it came to you.

Signed copies are always at a premium. Everybody wants a copy of a book that has passed through the hands of a favorite author.

There are two kinds of signed books. Limited editions, which were produced to be signed. Signed trade editions are the copies that fans and hopeful dealers have taken up to the author and gotten signed themselves.

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The above information, if apply, will give you a great start to your book collecting hobby or book dealing.

Choosing Your Book Format: Hardcover or Paperback

In the past, the decision about a book cover followed a steady pattern with traditional publishers. Most big name traditional publishers would print a book in hardcover, and then some months later, the paperback version would come out. This process was followed for a couple of reasons. A new book, especially by a well-known author, was a collector’s item. The first edition of a hardcover book was something to treasure, and it was often of the highest quality and made to be aesthetically pleasing, including having a dust jacket. People who wanted a book they could treasure for the rest of their lives would buy a hardcover book. But not all readers could afford hardcover books, so a cheaper mass market paperback would eventually follow. Depending on how much value the readers perceived that the book would hold for them, they might opt to buy the hardcover or they might wait for the paperback. On occasions where the hardcover did not sell well, the paperback edition was never released.

As the world of publishing has changed in the last couple of decades, more publishers have begun to bring out only paperback versions for books perceived not to be of such great lasting value, especially in terms of genre books like romance novels and mysteries. This move saves the publisher money and also makes the books available to a target audience that might not have paid as much for a hardcover of a mystery that can be read in just a few hours.

Now that self-publishing has become so popular, and because traditional publishers are struggling to remain financially stable, more and more books are being printed solely as paperbacks because it’s the most affordable choice. However, hardcover books are still chosen for significant titles by traditional publishers, and some self-published authors also choose hardcover books, often in addition, but rarely in place of paperbacks.

In choosing a book cover format, authors should think about the way the book will be used, the practicality of the cover choice, their own printing costs, what price the market will bear, and how potential readers will view the cover. Following is a breakdown of guidelines for choosing a book cover format for self-publishers.

Hardcover
If you are publishing your first book, you probably should keep your costs low until you know your book will sell, so you are better off opting for a paperback over a hardcover book. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule. Hardcover books are often a good choice for:

  • Children’s Books-because children might be rough with their books so these covers will give the book greater endurance.
  • Cookbooks-because a hardcover book can more easily lay flat on a kitchen counter for quick reference while cooking.
  • Coffee Table Books-hardcover books are easier to hold than paperback books because coffee table books tend to be larger than the average size of 6×9 or smaller used for most paperback books.

While most nonfiction titles and novels will do best as paperback books, you might also ask yourself what perceived value your readers will find in the book. How important is your book, and how important will your readers perceive it to be? Putting your ego aside, you need to understand that your readers are probably not going to place as great a value on your romance novel as they will if you write a biography of Mark Twain. The type of cover you use will speak to the reader, telling him how important your subject is. Remember, readers do judge a book by its cover.

One final advantage to a hardcover book is the amount of “selling” text you can place on it. It is possible to print a nice looking hardcover book without a dust jacket so that the front and back material are the same as if you printed a paperback. However, most hardcover books are printed with dust jackets, which allow for more text to be printed on them. A good formula for text on a dust jacket is to fill the back of it with testimonials you’ve collected from other authors or experts in your field. Then the inside front flap can provide a description of your book that might even run over onto your inside back flap. The inside back flap can also provide space for a short biography of the author and room for a color author photo. Room for more text means more space to sell your book to the potential reader.

That said, if you’re like me, you may find the dust jacket gets annoying while you read the book. I have a tendency to remove the dust jacket while I read, but if readers do that, it doesn’t hurt anything once the book has been sold.

Finally, think about the cost to you and the customer. A paperback book is more affordable to authors and readers. However, a hardcover can be produced sometimes for as little as four dollars more, and that cost can be passed onto the customer by selling the book for five dollars more so you still make a profit on the hardcover. The question is simply: Will people be willing to pay five dollars more for the hardcover edition?

Paperback
The paperback cover is most affordable, and except for the few exceptions listed above, it is probably the best choice for any book, especially novels and self-help books and other nonfiction titles. Again, your book will be judged by its cover, so people may perceive your paperback book as of lesser value-meaning they might actually think the content is of less value too-than if it were a hardcover. However, there is no longer any sense that people are “slumming” by buying paperbacks. I don’t know the percentages for a fact, but I would guess that at least 90 percent of books are printed solely as paperbacks today, especially among self-published books.

You have a little less space on a paperback cover to write text that will sell the book, but you can generally fit on the back cover all the information that you would include on the inside flaps of a hardcover’s dust jacket. If you wish to include testimonials, you can place them inside the front cover as the opening pages. I have mixed feelings about placement of testimonials. Many readers will read them in choosing to buy the book, but others will go to the book description first-most people will buy the book because the topic interests them more than because someone famous said the book is great-but having both can only help so it’s up to you whether or not you feel your testimonials deserve back cover space. Often you can fit just one or two short testimonials on the back cover with the description and author bio to balance everything out.

French Flaps
I’m seeing more and more books published with French flaps. This format is basically a hybrid. It is really a paperback book, but the flaps are an extended part of the paperback cover that fold inward to serve as a dust jacket without being removable. French flaps provide the same space as a hardcover for book descriptions without the expense of a hardcover with a dust jacket. A book with French flaps does cost more than a paperback, but depending on how many books you print, it will probably cost you less than a dollar more per unit.

I believe a lot of authors are choosing to use French flaps because they believe this format makes their book look more professional or significant than if it were simply a paperback. Readers may be impressed with the look of French flaps and even see them as a novelty, but frankly, I find such books annoying to read-the flaps have a tendency of wanting to flip up, making the book somewhat unwieldy. This format feels pretentious to me, like such books have delusions of wanting to be hardcover books.

Making the Choice
Personally, a standard paperback is good enough for me with the few exceptions of books I’ve listed where a hardcover is preferable. While I have offered some guidelines here for choices, no two books are the same and special circumstances may exist that would make one cover a better choice than another. Every author must choose for himself which book cover will best suit his book to promote its value as well as be most desirable in format and price to potential readers.