Multilingual communication in a digital world

Archive for December, 2011

If You Won a Million…

English: The official title artwork for the up...

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What would you do if you won the lottery or were given a million dollars (or pounds, euros, turkish lira…name the currency!)? I, like so many others, find myself dreaming – as well as making more practical resolutions! –  at this time of year; the end of a calendar year just seems to lend itself to improbable dreams!

We are developing a new e-book title: 1,000,000 Things To Do With $1,000,000. We would love to hear your ideas about what to do with the windfall! (Note: we do retain the right to publish your ideas and comments but WE WILL NEVER PUBLICLY SHARE PRIVATE INFORMATION, INCLUDING NAMES!)

Please send us your comments and ideas!

50 Year Calendar

Image by Alan in Belfast via Flickr



Our new cover is in!

The cover for our new e-book, “Rome Rises!,” is now in! Well, it’s still in the preview stage. We are looking for feedback on it. The e-book contains the stories of how Rome was founded…from the Kings of Albalonga to Romulus and the actual founding of Rome.

Here is the cover:

Please give us your vote if you like it and/or a comment regarding improvements!

Parents, Kids, and E-books

There have been more than a few articles between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year on the kids and e-books debate. It seems clear that kids, especially those in the middle grades, like and want e-readers and e-books. Many parents, though, – even, according to a November NY Times article ( those who themselves are e-reading fans – seem to prefer print media for their children.

Until very recently, I was one of them. Luckily, I am the mother of an avid reader, a kid who loves reading for the adventure, but also for the smell and feel of the books themselves. But my kid is just a little different from me: my child equally loves electronics. Print books are just another device, another medium for this generation. Last year’s “Kids and Family Reading Report” ( bears this out.

We have to supply good literature in as many media as possible to expose this millennial generation to as many shades of language and thought as possible. It is through reading that the vocabulary explosion happens, and that kids find themselves.

So now I fall distinctly into the camp of those who believe that anything that gets children ages 8 and up, especially boys, to read for fun, is good. E-readers and e-books are an easy way to expose children to a variety of texts, without breaking either the bank or the kids’ backs. E-ink is my choice (yes, even for digital media, I am still “old school!”) because it makes kids focus on the text itself, relying on the words to spark the visual in each child’s mind.

What do you think? Should kids be reading on electronic devices? At what age should they get their first e-reader/e-book?

E-Books and Kids

Day 36-Mythology

Image by Jinx! via Flickr

Why did we choose children’s fiction – and a classical myths title, at that – as our first offering?

Well, the lofty reasons are because we feel that mythology is the foundation of world literatures. As witnessed

Rick Riordan at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, ...

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by the success of Rick Riordan‘s series and J. K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter” series, kids are still entranced by heroic, epic tales. We also feel that children are not intrinsically motivated to read, especially when they have easier ways to access stories, through video games and television.

The more mundane, business-driven reasons are that e-readers are becoming more accessible to the mass market. We decided to begin with a straight-to-e-book distribution plan because we felt that parents might want an easier way to read to their children. With a backlit e-reader, parents don’t have to leave the lights on or juggle both a book and a flashlight in order to read to their children at bedtime.

A New York Times article in early February 2011 bore our reasoning out. According to this article, both HarperCollins and St. Martin’s Press reported that while young adult e-book titles made up only about 6 percent of their sales in 2010, by January 2011 those sales had gone up to 20 or 25 percent! And parents reported that, thanks to receiving e-readers for the holidays, their 6 to 11 year old children were reading more than ever!

We feel that the trend is just beginning. Indeed, according to Publisher’s Weekly, total e-book sales were up 137.9% in the first nine months of 2011!

So, while we honestly don’t believe print books will ever go out of style, we are still on the e-book path for now!

Related articles

Why the e-book format?

English: A 1st generation Apple iPad showing i...

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As a publisher, LDC, LLC chose the e-book format because of the obvious reasons: it’s not yet a saturated market; digital sales were beginning to grow;  cool new devices like the iPad were being launched; older devices were being adopted more readily, by more people; development/production-to-market turnaround times are much faster; there’s more flexibility in terms of types of content we can offer; costs are lower for both the publisher and the consumer; did we already mention the cool factor? It’s just cool, cool, cool – like gaming, but inter-generational!

To the center of an e-book

So, LDC, LLC bought its first block of 10 ISBNs. Next, the manuscript. Seed ideas abounded, mainly for non-fiction titles. The marketing education was very informative and became distilled into one thought: packaging one’s own experience. So, our intrepid Anahi took stock of her professional past:  accidental interpreter and translator (a happy accident got her started on a successful 17+ year career), software localization de-bugging expert, editor for various manuscripts (particularly textbooks), career-changer, public school educator, back full-circle (like all good comedies!) to language services expert. Then, she thought about her current life and interests: single parent, later-life parent, good friend, philanthropist and volunteer at heart, avid reader, dancer, and world traveler. Wow! There was lots of fodder for content!

How did solar stories win out? Anahi became the primary caregiver for her ailing mother, while still working full-time, and raising a child. This entailed

Midnight Snowwaiting until midnight for night-shift nurses, handling dinner, homework,  and medical care duties until then. The drive home was only 15 minutes, but her child routinely fell into a deep sleep and was difficult to wake to get into their own home and bed. So, on one midnight drive, Anahi asked: Would you like to hear the story of how the most beautiful woman in the world started a war that lasted ten years? (Of course, everyone

English: Helen of Troy

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reading this is now saying, “Yes! Helen of Troy! The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships!”) That story, told over a week’s worth of midnight drives, launched the begging for Anahi’s particular re-tellings of the ancient Greek myths, and included an expanded audience of child’s cousins and friends…all mysteriously rapt by the traditional stories of action, adventure, jealous gods, heroes, and heroines.

That is how, eventually, LDC, LLC decided on writing these down and creating similar-themed collections of myths and legends. Re-packaging was the message from self- and independent-publishing marketing gurus. So, why not take advantage of this thirst for the foundational myths of Western literature (and for “Solar Stories” one Chinese myth); the myths that inform the literary genius of Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling? The idea: put them together in short volumes of single categories, e.g., myths about the Sun, or involving the Sun in some way…or, LDC’s “Solar Stories!” 

Why e-books? Are children ages 6-10 reading on Kindles and Nook now? This is the exciting question to be answered in our next post! Please stay tuned! And, thanks for waiting patiently during our brief blogging hiatus!