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Files that Last is the first e-book on digital preservation directed at “everygeek.” In case your layout doesn’t show you the page links (e.g., on a mobile device), you can read what the book’s about and how to get it here.

An apology to my supporters


It’s time to declare Files that Last a flop.

Most books are flops. This wouldn’t be so bad in itself, but I produced the book with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. If you were one of my supporters, you wanted and expected something good. It’s clear from the lack of reviews and sales that I didn’t deliver. It ranks #271,981 on the Kindle best-seller list.

I wish I knew why. I got a few negative comments in private communication, but nothing deeply disappointed. There were the inevitable complaints about typos, even after proofreading. No one ever catches them all, and I don’t think that was the problem. There were a couple of complaints about omissions of favorite topics; that’s inevitable too. There were a few very enthusiastic public comments. What there wasn’t was any real reviews, any ratings on websites that offered the books, any discussion. Since I published the book, there hasn’t been a single comment on this blog other than blocked spam. Reviews are the life of a book, and FTL was DOA. People didn’t hate it; it just didn’t generate enough enthusiasm to get people to say anything about it publicly.

People do want a book on “digital preservation for everygeek.” I wouldn’t have gotten the support that I got on Kickstarter without that. What I delivered somehow wasn’t what you wanted. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone else from making the effort, with more engaging writing, more relevant content, or whatever it was I didn’t provide.

As for me, on to other things. I may as well “remainder” the book, so here’s a Smashwords coupon code that’s good for 60% off (on the Smashwords site only) till the end of 2015: XY29D. Post it wherever you think people might be interested.

Thanks once again to my Kickstarter supporters, and to Matt and Terri for their work in making it a better book.

A note to someone who attended Conterpoint

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At Conterpoint 2013, I put out two free CDs of FTL that people could take under the condition that they write a public review, and both of them were taken. I don’t know who these people are, or whether they’ve published a review yet or are still working on it, but if you’re one of them, could you give me a link to the review when it’s available?

Independence Day sale!

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From now through July 4, you can get Files that Last on Smashwords at 40% off by entering the coupon code XE93J. The 4th of July is a day not only for fireworks but for thinking about historical documents, and for making sure they survive even if they accidentally turn into fireworks.

OK, it’s not light summer reading, but brushing up your preservation skills never hurts.

Another thank you

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Thanks to Deb Wunder for giving FTL a mention.

Thanks, Debbie!

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From Twitter:

FTL at Dartmouth Library

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Just for fun, here’s a video of me singing the “Files that Last” song at the Dartmouth College Library. The sound isn’t great, and it’s obvious why I never went for a career as a singer, but it was fun.

Time to think of the fall

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It’s mid-May, and graduations are already starting. Those of you who teach know it isn’t too soon to plan for the fall’s courses. If you’re teaching a course that touches on system management, data maintenance, or preservation issues, you should consider including Files that Last on its reading list.

Preservation Services at Dartmouth College offered a reading list in digital preservation in 2012. That list, which predates FTL, suggests several books which focus on preservation from an institutional standpoint. The Planets Project (which has become the Open Planets Foundation) has an older but longer bibliography in a similar vein. Files that Last complements books like these with its focus on a broader computer audience, the people who need to do preservation as an aspect of their regular work, rather than being primarily information curators.

If your students read Files that Last, it will help them understand the issues of data preservation and loss and appreciate the importance of good data maintenance practices, and they’ll learn habits that will let them better control the data in their own lives and their future jobs.

Introducing the update page

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I’ve launched a page of updates and errata for Files that Last, with some new information on the WebP still image format. As I learn about things that have changed or mistakes in the book, I’ll add to the page.

If you spot anything that you think needs fixing, please let me know.

FTL on Amazon

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Files that Last is now available as a Kindle e-book.

Smashwords was taking forever to get “technical integration” from Amazon, and when I got a query from a friend about Amazon availability, I decided to go with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Amazon’s registration process isn’t more painful than you’d expect, given that they need to pay me and report my income, and the submission process gives me more control than Smashwords’ does, though it takes more work to take full advantage of it. (The best way to submit a book to KDP is as an HTML file with detailed CSS, and saving as HTML from OpenOffice gives you that. I had to make some manual changes to the CSS for a good result.) This means there are some differences in formatting between the Smashwords and KDP editions. There shouldn’t be any differences in content.

I’m not thrilled with Amazon’s commitment to DRM, closed platforms, and licensing rather than really selling e-books, but I don’t dislike them enough to cut myself off from that market. So if you’ve been holding out for the Kindle version, wait no more!

Cinco de Mayo sale!

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Yes, it’s only tres de mayo, but Sunday is a lousy day to hold a sale. Besides, today is International Day against DRM. For today through the 5th, you can get Files that Last on Smashwords — DRM-free, of course — for the super-low price of $3.20 instead of the usual $7.99. Enter the coupon code TT58Q when buying the book to get this price. If you already have it, why not buying a copy for a friend or colleague?

This applies only to copies bought on Smashwords, not on other sites. Sorry if you prefer to buy on the iTunes store, but I’m not able to issue coupons for other sites.

Correction: Earlier I’d listed $2.99. I wasn’t able to set the price directly on Smashwords, so I had to set it as a percentage off and made it 60% off, setting it to $3.20. Apologies to anyone who was annoyed by the discrepancy.

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