Sunday, 6 September 2009

"The Practical Nomad" coming soon to Kindle and iPhone

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World will be on sale later this month through in electronic form for reading on the Kindle e-book reader device or on the iPhone or iPod Touch with the Kindle reader app. approached my publisher (Avalon Travel) and I last month, to see if we would be willing to authorize a “Kindle Edition”. After some negotiation, we’ve agreed on terms, the files are on their way to now for conversion and formatting, and the e-book should be available for purchase shortly.

To the extent they are used while travelling, rather than for planning, travel destination guidebooks (which my books aren’t) are among those most suited for carrying and reading in electronic form. I’ve experimented with this myself, but until recently it’s seemed like the e-book hardware technology couldn’t yet compete with books printed on paper. If it doesn’t yet, though, it will soon. And the idea of being able to carry many months’ supply of reading in a device smaller than a single book seems attractive for long-term travel — at least until your expensive device is lost, stolen, or broken — especially if you’re in a part of the world where English-language books are hard to find and/or very expensive. (Keep in mind, however, that iPhone international roaming download charges can be prohibitive, and the Kindle doesn’t offer international wireless roaming at all. Outside the USA, you can download “Kindle Editions” in a cybercafe, then transfer them over a USB connection or on an SD flash memory chip to your Kindle, iPhone, or iPod Touch.)

This is a bit of an experiment with the current (4th) edition of “The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World”. I’m still trying to decide what to do with the next edition (in addition, never fear, to a traditional paperback book edition), as well as how to bring “The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace (currently out of print) back to life.

Please let me know in the comments below, or by e-mail: If you pay to read “The Practical Nomad” on your Kindle or iPhone, how do you like it and what do you think is an appropriate price? Would you prefer to read e-books on a Kindle? iPhone? iPod Touch (which may make more sense for a world traveller, given the cost of iPhone roaming)? On a Sony E-Book Reader or compatible Sony Library software for Windows or Mac? With Barnes and Noble eReader software for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows, or Mac? Would you prefer to buy a PDF e-book you could read on any device of your choice? Or would you prefer to read it “for free” on a Web site with advertising (bearing in mind that it would have to have lots of ads, conspicuous enough to get your attention, to generate as much revenue from each reader as the price of a license to an ad-free e-book)?

[Update: The Kindle Edition of “”The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World” is now available, including the complete text of the most most recent (4th edition, 2007) print edition.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Sunday, 6 September 2009, 09:33 ( 9:33 AM)

It would be nice if you would offer your books in some format without DRM, so that if I buy it I won't be tied to one device.

Posted by: mike, 6 September 2009, 15:44 ( 3:44 PM)

I agree with Mike -- I too would like to make my books available in a format without "digital rights management". The "Kindle Edition" has DRM and can't be read on just any device, but my agreement with for a "Kindle Edition" is only exclusive for a limited time, after which I can reevaluate what to do.

How much would you pay (if anything) for a PDF without DRM of "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World" or of "The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace"?

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 6 September 2009, 16:12 ( 4:12 PM)

I'm not currently planning a trip for which I'd plan to read one of your books, but if I were, then probably about $10 would seem like a fair price to me. I fairly regularly buy PDF books for my work as a software developer, and the going rate seems to be about half to two-thirds of the cost of the printed book. I've also played around a bit with Lonely Planet's functionality to buy single chapters of their books, usually for between $2 and $6; this is handy when traveling somewhere specific within the USA for which buying their entire Lonely Planet USA book
would be overkill.

Posted by: mike, 6 September 2009, 16:41 ( 4:41 PM)

I'm so used to travel around w/ my small robust thinkpad laptop and have all docs in PDF format on board. I avoid vendor lock-in because I envision using just a smartphone in some years.

I regularly buy PDF books and something around half of price of printed book seems fine to me.

thx for all the great book, newsletter and infos!

Posted by: hk, 8 September 2009, 01:21 ( 1:21 AM)

Just stumbled onto your website and you seem to be a wealth of information.

Of course free PDF would be ideal... and then I could read it (and all the commercials in it) while waiting for my next plane...

Thanks for all the info, I will be subscribing to your blog.

Posted by: fran, 8 September 2009, 09:57 ( 9:57 AM)


I prefer reading the Kindle version, as it's far more flexible than a PDF, which is generally formatted for a larger page than any e-reader screen that's not $800 these days.

You can also produce a rights-unprotected MOBI/PRC formatted file and it's readable with Mobipocket Reader on any computer and on many e-readers as well as on the Kindle since it's not "unprotected" and you're saying here you don't want to go the rights-protected (DRM) route.

At any rate, am glad you're not fighting the big-bad Kindle thing. Many of us are buying up travel books now that we have the DX available to us especially.

Kindles are quite popular with consumers no matter what DRM-rights-focused people write. I understand that view and agree with most of it while also having concerns about easy-mass duplications by any consumer. It's not like music, where money is made by concert tours, with the mp3s just the cheap (or free) lure.

I've ordered even Photoshop books as well as travel books for my smaller Kindle 2 -- I'm after the content, but the DX is much better for this.

You can also make an Adobe Digital Edition DRM-protected ePub edition for Sony eReaders, as they'll switch to that style of DRM near December. While ePub is an open standard, it doesn't stop people from wrapping it in DRM, as Sony will.

Congratulations re your publisher's decision. I think you'll see it's a good one.

- Andrys

Posted by: Andrys, 11 September 2009, 22:38 (10:38 PM)

I would prefer to buy a PDF e-book that I could read on any device of my choice. I would pay about half to two-thirds of the cost of the printed book. It is convenient for people like my wife and I that are traveling around the world for an extended amount of time. We carry a printed copy of "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World" and we would rather have a PDF copy in our notebook PC. The e-books that Lonely Planet sells is a model that could be followed.

Posted by: Angel, 17 September 2009, 20:26 ( 8:26 PM)

I'd like to see it available through Fictionwise, who have many "Multiformat" non-DRMed books available in many different PDA and e-Ink device formats.

My current device of choice is an iPhone 3GS, bought in Italy where they are not carrier-locked; I can use it with any GSM carrier SIM, including prepaid SIMs when traveling.

Posted by: Christopher Davis, 24 September 2009, 21:13 ( 9:13 PM)

No DRM PDFs, absolutely. This way I can read them from my laptop and my irex iliad now, or any reader I can have in the future (being another irex, hanlin, or whatever).

About pricing, half the price of paper editions would be the max. price I would pay.

Posted by: Arnau, 27 September 2009, 04:38 ( 4:38 AM)
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