'NFTs and ebooks', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on the technological.
NFTs and ebooks
This is a follow-up post to one I wrote about three months ago on creating ebook NFTs. Unlike the previous, this will not go into the technicalities of the process. This post is merely to recap my experiences of publishing my ebooks on the blockchain.
So far, I’ve published my work (books and art) on the daVinci Gallery, Opensea, Cargo and Unique One. I’ve only sold a couple of ebooks on daVinci and nothing on the others. If you’re at all familiar with the NFT world, you’ll know that the space is concerned mostly with digital art, maybe seventy percent of that being along the CryptoPunk lines, which are low-res pixelated images of everything from space monkeys to pirates. For an old guy like me, it’s perplexing and exasperating. When I see a ridiculous 16-bit image of a monkey smoking a cigar going for a couple of hundred quid, it makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life. Nevertheless, the NFT revolution has been an exciting learning curve for me, and I’m still in, even if I’m not making any money. Yet. I do a little bit of digital art, too, and I’m building a portfolio of stuff, hoping that some of that work may draw interested eyes in my direction. While I enjoy doing the art stuff, I’m still first and foremost a writer, and my books remain my priority.
So, where on the blockchain can you publish your ebooks? Well, on all of the platforms I’ve mentioned above. On Cargo, I haven’t been able to sell my ebooks because the platform (at last check, at least) doesn’t support any of the formats I require to upload my files. So far, the daVinci Gallery has been the most friendly to ebook NFT creation. Here’s what I do: I bundle my books (PDF, MOBI and EPUB) in a zip file, upload it to Drive, then provide the link when I create my NFT in daVinci so that the buyer will receive it when they purchase the ebook. They can then go and download the bundle. On daVinci, you can create as many copies of an NFT as you like, a thousand, for example, or just one. Just bear in mind that the price of crypto fluctuates, so if you create a thousand copies of a book that today sell for $5 (around 50 Harmony One), then in a month the equivalent price might be $1, and in a year, $50. So for me, it doesn’t make sense to mint a thousand copies, because you have to delete and remint to change the price, at least on daVinci. I minted 25 copies, and if they go for $5 one day and $4 the next, well, I’m fine with it.
All that said, ebooks on daVinci are pretty thin. The selection is poor, which means it’s not a place people go to buy books. Space monkeys, yes. Books, meh.
The other place you can mint multiple copies of an ebook NFT is Unique One. Same story: everything bundled as a zip and uploaded to Drive. The only problem here is, Unique One is a Japanese NFT site, and unless you’re writing in Japanese, you’ll probably not move a thing. I haven’t sold a single unit there.
On Opensea, you can create an NFT with your book, but, as of last attempt, you can only mint a single item. One book. If you want to auction a limited edition of one of your novels, this is fine. If you’re just out to make numbers, probably not worth it. Where Opensea differs from daVinci is that you can’t search by ‘Books’ as a category, so it’s likely not a place people go to look for reading material.
I haven’t tried Rarible yet, but I plan to do some minting in the coming weeks. I’ll see how that goes. On Rarible, however, you gotta pay gas fees upfront in Ethereum, which is expensive. So if you’re starting out, begin with daVinci and Harmony One where the costs are peanuts.
So go and get busy and put a few of your books out into the ether. If it’s going to happen at all, then we need to create the market ourselves, from the ground up.
(See my how-to on creating an ebook NFT on daVinci.)
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‘NFTs and ebooks’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.