Friday, December 27, 2013

Iquitos, Peru: Almost Kindle? Not Exactly

I am still trying to create a proper Kindle version of my latest book, Iquitos, Peru: Almost Close. There is a problem with the third attempt as well.

I live in a wonderful and mostly peaceful city in the Amazon jungle. I am very happy here, and I want to remain here for some time yet, soaking up the peace and happiness that I crave.  I want to share some of that life of mine by writing about the city and its people. I have managed to publish the hard copy version of that, a book, if you will, and I have tried and failed to publish a computer version, a Kindle.

There is a problem here in the Amazon jungle where I live: the Internet hardly works. I tried to publish my book as a pdf.  Kindle writes to tell me they cannot accept pdf manuscripts. I must, they write, send a doc. But the Internet here is not capable of sending such a large document as a doc. so I might not get a Kindle version out for a while yet.
My apologies to those who ordered a Kindle and found they got a mess instead.

The book version is beautiful, like Ivonne, the girl I am so stricken by. No doubt there will be a Kindle version of my book long before Ivonne ever decides to marry me, but I have some hope that both will come about in time. Till then, here is a link to the actual book.


Always On Watch said...

I hope that a lot of people buy your book, Dag. This one is a gem!

Of course, so many people today prefer electronic books to physical books. I don't understand why. There's something wonderful about a physical book, and that something wonderful isn't part of electronic books.

Dag said...

when I look at the last two book I have out, An Occasional Walker and Iquitos, Peru: Almost Close, I can see the fundamental difference between my life then on the road in Bolivia and my life now with Ivonne. the former was detached from the world and control of ordinary things in my life, and the latter is a life of fullness and order and beauty that comes from being not only in love with a brilliant young woman, but is a life in which I want to strive to be excellent in all ways because it's right and it it is good for the girl I love. I want her to be proud of my efforts, and I want to show the world as well how excellent she is.

The kindle version of my book, which is now a joint effort due to the incredible labours Ivonne, should have been as good as anything a corporate giant publishing company does in a year and that the two of us did in two months. But I made mistakes, as I see now. I made or missed mistakes that are simple to fix, if only I had put in a bit more effort. The book is not a perfect corporate gem. It is good, however. It is something to be proud of, that two people living in the Amazon jungle working with limited resources could do this much so well.

Dag said...

The Kindle version of the book is now out. Much of the great computer work Ivonne did to make this book as great to look at as it is in the print version is lost altogether in the Kindle version. For example, Ivonne spent two days recreating tables on garbage service in Iquitos. I was frantic when she began that work, telling her no one would ever care and that I only included such stuff to make me look like a Big Science Guy and that I really had no idea what it was about anyway. Ivonne worked on it in minute details for two full days till it became not only beautiful but informative and I sat back and had to admit that it was not only lovely to look at but that with her work, I actually understood what the hell it was about. And she did this kind of work on many aspects of the text, tinkering, modifying, questioning me about minutiae that I hardly cared about till I had to look at it and justify myself. Ivonne worked hard and smart and made the book beautiful and better than I could have ever done on my own.

Now we have submitted the third version of the book to Kindle, and much of Ivonne's intense effort is simply lost because of the limits of the technology. The book is as good as Kindle can provide, and one will not see in it the creative beauty of the tiny details one does see in the paperback.

We have to sit back and say to those who buy the Kindle version that they will get an inferiour copy of the book, but inferiour in ways that probably don't really matter much to people who don't have a deep sense of the aesthetics of book bindery and fonts and other aspects of the manual art of tomes.

Justification, for example, is missing. The very word in the context of a book comes from the Middle Ages when scribes working in isolated monasteries had to sketch out the words in advance of applying ink to the stretched velum or sheep skin that one would write on. One had to make all the margins exact, had to plan and execute it all perfectly, and in so doing the work was "justified" in the eyes of God.

Books are in some sense even today works of religious effort and intention. Books are special. Kindle is available for under $10.00. I think of it as the difference between a welcome email from the girl I want to marry and seeing her in person. Both are good, but the girl sitting next to me is some kind of real experience that computers do not give.

Yes, the book is a gem. It was a work of high enthusiasm for the end result, but I loved every minute of all of it, thinking, talking, listening, doing things, writing, revising, editing, and finally sitting with Ivonne for a couple of months making it as good as we could for the world.

Mistakes, yes, but it is beautiful in spite of them, and I hope others will see that too.

Thanks for the encouragement, AOW. It is difficult to sit in the jungle and not know much about how people feel about what we have done. Nice to know you like it.