Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ibooks launch

To celebrate World Book Day yesterday, the book Trading Pit Hand Signals finally launched in Apple's Ibooks store!  It was certainly a long time coming to get to the point that the book could be presented publicly and we're working on increasing distribution. Sales are authorized for 51 countries which include most of the Americas, Europe and Oceania but Asia such as Singapore/HK is not able to purchase right now. 

Here is the link to the Ibooks store and once downloaded, my suggestion is to read it with the ipad turned sideways so both pages are displayed simultaneously:

The decision was made to initially launch through Ibooks because it's the best platform to maintain the original design of what will be a physical print book.  The e-book marketplace is extremely fragmented and there are vast differences between rival platforms.  Complicating this further is that this book is a 'fixed format' book (think coffee table style or children's illustrated book) which requires an e-book platform to show it exactly as it would appear in physical print form as opposed to "fluid format" (think novel) that is largely text and can shift as necessary on various platforms. 

We do have a Kindle version ready to go but are withholding it for the time being because there are many platform issues which could be confusing for consumers.  For instance, a fixed format book can only be read on the Kindle Fire device and not on earlier versions of the Kindle device or the iphone, ipad or android Kindle apps.  There are a few other issues we have with putting it on Kindle so unless there are huge requests for it, we'll most likely not be doing so. 

The print version is in the works but it won't be delivered for a few months in my estimate.  We're currently working w/an amazing print house but I'm not going to leak details until things move along further.  Although we intended to keep everything onshore regarding printing, the pricing difference is so vast that the prepress will be done in the US and then transferred to China for the actual printing. 

Hopefully everyone enjoys the book because I do feel it's an accurate and honest portrayal of trading pit hand signals and how the futures pits functioned.  My aim was to keep it light and readable rather than descending into more academic details than necessary although the book is based upon an obsessive amount of roughly 400 hand signals used to trade! 

Besides this posting there won't be much done to promote it as speaking w/bloggers or journalists is generally a waste of time, so if you like it tell a friend.  The list price on Ibooks is 8.99 and w/a 70% cut, that works to just over six bucks back my way so I look at it as people just buying me a beer or two when they like the book.  Except for the impossibility of it becoming a New York Times bestseller, there is zero chance of me recouping the investment into it but you can't put a price on satisfaction.

When I get a bit more time I'll share some further thoughts on the book industry appears from a novice's perspective but in the meantime I hope everyone enjoys the book!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trading Pit Hand Signals - the book

In a rushed way last week I did leak the cover of my upcoming book; Trading Pit Hand Signals, and w/a little more time now I can explain about the delay in distributing it.  Pretty good cover though, eh????

The book has been finished for a while but a lot of issues have arisen w/the digital conversion causing delays.  Without describing the entire e-book industry, there are basically two formats: .epub files which are industry standard and .kf8 which is Kindle's proprietary format and thus we've been working on two file creations.  The other factor which has been a huge headache is the difference between fixed or fluid formats and while attempts have been made to go w/a fluid format, it seems like the digital version will have to be fixed format in order to retain the proper design.  Of course I could always upload it on .pdf immediately but am holding out for proper e-book formatting.

Most e-books are ugly and look like simple Word documents but we're sticking to far higher standards with our creation.  I'm currently under the assumption that I'll get a fixed format version to distribute within two weeks, so we shall see.....

As for a print version, that process hasn't even begun!

CBOT hand signals circa 1998

Shown below is a 1998 pamphlet from the CBOT on trading pit hand signals I recently obtained.  It provides a deeper and more updated version of their earlier 1995 handout which I posted years ago. 

Billion Dollar Day

Although this goes beyond 'trading pit history' I'll go ahead and post it because there is a lot of parallels to how the old currency markets used to function and pit trading. 

On a single day in 1985, the BBC filmed a documentary of three currency traders, two of whom were bank prop traders in London and Hong Kong while the other was a hedge fund manager in New York.  The documentary makes for a very entertaining 30 minutes to see how much has changed in the past 28 years of trading. 

Trading pit paintings

A fair amount of trading pit paintings have been done over the years but virtually all I've seen were created by outside observers that treated the trading floor as simply another subject.  One exception can be found in the paintings of Collin C. Palmer who expressed his perspective as a CME and CBOT floor trader to create some of his paintings as shown below.  Click on each photo to enlarge for detail

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