Friday, 30 November 2012

Bookstores - How to cash-in on ebooks!

Bookshops everywhere are worried. There's a revolution going on and they are losing sales because of it. The revolution is that of ebooks!

Oh I know there are those who say 'I love the feel and smell of a proper book' but these are mostly people who have not yet got an ebook reader. Once these people have got their hands on one it doesn't take long for them to change their minds. That means fewer sales of paper books.

Yet we all still like going to the library and browsing the books in a bookstore. Having found the book we like do we then buy the paper format or simply make a note of it and look it up at Amazon later to get it in ebook format? I have to admit, I've done the latter many times but felt guilty that I've denied the bookseller a profit from the sale. He/she has, after all, helped me in my book purchase.

So how can the bookstore make money from ebooks? I think there is an answer, and one which is simple to put in practice.

How a bookstore can cash-in on ebooks

The bookseller makes use of Amazon's affiliate program (or better still - Smashwords.) Here's how to do this:
  1. If you, the bookseller, have not already joined Amazon's associate program then sign up for it at:
    UK -
    US -
    Ca -
  2. If you do not have a Twitter account then sign up for that at
  3. Add the site stripe to your Amazon account
  4. On your computer navigate to a book's page at Amazon and click the Twitter button on the associate site stripe toolbar
    Copy the text as far as the 'via@...
  5. Paste that text into a QL generator page on Internet. I use the QR Code generator at
    At this stage you can edit the text to include the price and any other details you wish to include.
  6. Copy the QR code generated and paste it into Word for further editing as follows:
  7. Print this out on a self adhesive label and fix it inside the back cover (or on the back if there's space). You might also need to make a few posters advertising your ebook service and where the customer can get a free QR code scanner app for their mobile phone. (Try QR Droid
Customers browsing your books can scan the QR codes and buy the books immediately using Amazon's 'one touch'. You get the commission on the sale. 

Of course there is no reason why this should be restricted to using Amazon as an ebook provider. If an author comes into your store promoting his/her books negotiate a deal with them to sell their ebooks through Smashwords - Not only do they support more reading devices but they provide a higher royalty rate to the author - 85% and the affiliate rate can be set so that you get a higher commission on the sale than you would get from Amazon 30-40% would seem fair.

You might even end up making more money from ebooks than you do from paper books and you won't have to do a thing at the till!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Toad in the hole

This post is especially for people from the US and is a recipe for a dish familiar in the UK called 'Toad in the Hole'. It's mentioned in our book 'A Vested Interest '

"Yeucht!" you say, "I'm NOT going to eat a toad!"

Don't worry because the recipe doesn't include any toads. Here's the ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz plain flour (1½ cups)
  • 3½ cups milk
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 6 sausages, thick links
  • vegetable fat eg. Crisco
Put about 3 tablespoons of the vegetable fat in an ovenproof dish and put it in the oven at it's highest setting to melt.
While it's getting hot beat the eggs, flour, salt and milk to make a batter.
When the fat is hot take it out the oven and pour enough of the batter into the dish to cover it to a depth of half an inch. Return it to the oven to start cooking.
In a frying pan brown the sausages.
Once the batter in the oven has set, add the sausages and pour over them the rest of the batter. Return it to the oven to cook at 220 °C / 420 °F for 30 - 40 min.

Serve with onion gravy and sliced green beans.

Easy to make, inexpensive and totally delicious on a cold winter day.

If you like this one, maybe I'll tell you how to make 'Spotted Dick.'

Incidentally 'A Vested Interest ' is a romantic suspense/technothriller and it's free at

An extra bit - Pancakes

Got too much batter? Pop it in the fridge and use it the next day to make some English pancakes. These will be little like those served in the US.

Use a small frying pan on a high heat. To it add a small knob of vegetable fat or sunflower oil. Once it's melted add about a tablespoon of the batter and swirl it round to cover the base of the pan thinly. Let the batter set then flip it over - it should be golden brown on the 'done' side. Of course an expert, (ex as in useless; spurt as in drip under pressure), would toss the pancake to flip it over but don't be ashamed to use a spatula.
I use the old Yorkshire expression 'When it's brown, it's done; when it's black it's bu**&rd'.
When both sides are cooked pop it on a plate in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.

To serve the pancakes, drizzle on some lemon juice and sprinkle them with sugar. (No-one said this was going to be a healthy recipe!)

Alternatively you could spread on some pie filling and cream before rolling up the pancakes.

Posh name for this style of pancake is Crêpe Suzette