It’s a bit early for a second edition of the book, but I’ve tweaked the format of the book slightly and the paperback is now $9.99.
To be honest, it was necessary because I did a poor job formatting the paperback the first time around. I blame it on inexperience. The first time I picked up the paperback at Kyobo Bookstore, something felt off. I couldn’t place the feeling, but my happiness at seeing my book in a bookstore was tinged with dissatisfaction. I was looking at my own copy of the book at Shenanigans the other weekend when Kevin noted that I left-aligned the text instead of justifying it and hyphenating. “It makes it easier to read because the reader can easily tell which sentence he’s just read,” he commented in an attempt to comfort me. That’s right, I thought. I’ve never seen a book with left-alignment.
The alignment wasn’t the only problem. I had 1.5-spaced the damn thing and used a 12-point font as if it were a term paper. The book reminded me of my graduate thesis, and my thesis was complete garbage. I wrote it knowing that no one, not even my thesis committee, would ever read it. I looked up formatting on the internet, and the recommendation was 1.15-spacing and 11-point font at the most.
By adjusting the alignment, line-spacing, and font, I was able to shorten the book by almost 170 pages. What Kevin said was not a lie; the previous version is easier to read. It’s easier to read, but it felt like something I printed out in my office. I probably won’t hold a physical copy of this version for another long while, but I have a good feeling about it. (Of course, there are still things I would like to change. My next goal is to change the cover. I designed the cover over a couple of hours in between appointments because I wanted to meet my end of February deadline.)
The motivation for re-formatting the book wasn’t only personal. Despite how quickly the book was sold at their store,* Kyobo has been reluctant to re-order the book from a financial standpoint. Overseas shipping costs on top of the cost of the book made it unprofitable. Now that the book is slightly cheaper, they are willing to consider a re-order.
I also contacted CreateSpace, the Amazon-affiliated print-on-demand service, to see if I could get a discount for Kyobo, but I found that if I wanted to do so, it would mean raising the price of the book. I decided against it because I’d rather save money for my readers than for some corporation, even if it means alienating the only bookstore so far that is willing to carry my book. My next plan is to try to find a Korean publisher who is willing to cover distribution in Korea. I don’t know if there are any publishers who would be willing to print the book for such a small audience, and I might have to option a Korean translation much earlier than I had initially planned.
* I realized just now that the book was only at Kyobo for two weeks. I sold five paperbacks at a single store in two weeks. According to my contact at Kyobo, that would make my book a bestseller among books written in English. The best-selling English book in Korea is Lonely Planet Japan (travel guide), and it only sells 100 copies a year.