The Minigrooves Project and Volume 2

Minigrooves V1+V2

 

Volume 2 now available

After three years since the publication of Volume 1, Minigrooves Volume 2 is finally available on the iBooks Store, and will be available for the Kindle platform as well before the end of July. (Update, 26 July — Both Volume 1 and 2 are available on the Kindle Store, check the Relevant Links at the end of the post.)

Here’s a direct iTunes link: Minigrooves — Volume 2

Volume 2 of Minigrooves includes the 23 short stories of the Project’s second cycle that first ‘aired’ online from June 2013 to March 2015, plus a story I added later during the editing process. As for the Extras, you’ll find:

  • Annotations: trivia and minutiæ about many of the stories.
  • Alternate takes: different endings of some of the featured stories.
  • An interview about Minigrooves: In March 2015, Alex Roddie interviewed me about the Minigrooves Project and the stories included in Volume 1.

You can download a free sample with 2 full short stories.

Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

A new layout

Minigrooves layout differences

 

Volume 2 has been published with considerable delay. The second cycle of the short stories ended in March 2015, and I originally planned to publish the book around May 2015. Of course, for consistency’s sake, Volume 2 had to inherit the layout of Volume 1, but to be honest I wasn’t exactly satisfied with that. After two years, that original layout started to feel dated, and the book’s interface and user interaction were in need of an improvement.

Due to my inexperience — and in part to iBooks Author’s quirks — when I assembled the first edition of Volume 1, I created an ebook whose format, in Apple’s parlance, is a ‘Multi-touch iBook’. This format is more appropriate when you want to produce ebooks with interactive features, not a traditional book with just formatted text. As a consequence, the original Volume 1 of Minigrooves offered a decent reading experience on the iPad and the Mac, but not on the iPhone or iPod touch; and even on an iPad or a Mac the navigation was admittedly a bit awkward. On top of that, when I tried converting the book for the Kindle platform, the task turned out to be unnecessarily daunting and frustrating. After a few months I just gave up.

So, when I started working on Volume 2 in iBooks Author, I decided to create a more compatible ePub publication, with a cleaner, simpler layout that could be more easily ported to the Kindle. But again, for consistency’s sake, that meant publishing a new edition of Volume 1 as well, with the same layout, and new covers that would better display how these books belong to the same series.

That’s the reason for Volume 2’s delay — I was essentially putting together two books.

Lessons learnt

The first volume of short stories was an ambitious first step. I poured a lot of work into it, and offered a fair amount of extras. The feedback has been disappointing overall — meaning there has been very little feedback to begin with. It’s hard to interpret silence. However, what little feedback I did receive was quite important in making me understand a few things, and the changes and course corrections I’ve set for Volume 2 and the Minigrooves Project in general all take into account the constructive criticism I have received over time.

Essentially, from what people implied in comments or told me explicitly, the main issues to be addressed were these:

  • The ebook’s interface was nice, but could have been better.
  • At $9.99/€8.99, Volume 1 was perceived to be too expensive for an ebook.
  • Some perceived 42 stories to be too many, and the book a bit overwhelming overall.[1]
  • The lack of a Kindle version was seen by many prospective readers as a deal-breaker.

The new Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Minigrooves:

  • Have an improved, more reader-friendly layout.
  • Feature a much reduced price — they cost $1.99/€1.99 each.
  • Will be available for the Kindle very soon.
  • Volume 2 includes ‘only’ 24 short stories (but they’re on average a bit longer than the stories included in Volume 1) and feels less overwhelming a book.

An important detail about the updated Volume 1

I originally planned to push the update of Minigrooves Volume 1 through the iBooks Store, so that people who purchased the first edition could automatically receive the update on their devices, just like it happens with regular iOS apps. Unfortunately, iTunes Producer returned a series of errors, basically telling me that the update was too extensive to be processed as a simple, minor update. Also, apparently it’s not possible to update an ebook originally published in the ‘Multi-touch iBook’ format with a new ePub file.

What I had to do at that point — and believe me, I’m not happy with it — was to remove the old version of Volume 1 from sale, and upload the updated files and metadata as a new ebook. This means that if you purchased the first edition of Volume 1 and want to take advantage of the new, more readable layout of the updated edition, you’ll have to purchase the ebook again. In other words, if this were an iOS app, it would be a paid update. On the one hand, the new version only costs $1.99; on the other hand, if you really truly feel I’m ripping you off, get in touch with me and I should be able to offer you a promo code. But only if you purchased the first edition of the ebook and don’t want to purchase the updated edition.

A few relevant links

Thank you!

Thank you to all those who have encouraged me ever since the Minigrooves Project started, gave feedback and linked to it via Twitter.

Thank you to all those who showed interest towards my stories, and who have helped spread the word over time.

Thank you to those who have purchased the books or genuinely plan to. If you want to support my writing, this is a great way to do so.

If you purchased Minigrooves and liked the stories, please tell other people about the project, recommend the books, write a brief review, give feedback. This is highly appreciated.

And as always, thanks for reading!

 


  • 1. Despite my repeatedly saying that one can read Minigrooves in a non-sequential manner, that you can just open the book and read one story when you want and when you have time, I have the feeling that the overall impression has been, Whoa, that’s a lot. I’ll never finish this. ↩︎

 

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About Riccardo Mori

Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!