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Status Update

This is a status update on our new site as of September 2, 2019.

Latest Progress

September 2, 2019, 12:58 P.M. PDT: Following yesterday’s changes to the way prices are displayed on the Cart page (so that coupon discounts appear for each line item and not just at the bottom of the page), I’ve made the corresponding changes to the pop-up cart display at the top of the page. This should make it clearer which items are discounted and by how much, and reduce confusion about the running cart total.

I also fixed several bugs relating to cart contents (for example, in unusual cases, someone might find that a book they purchased previously reappeared in their cart, or that removing an item from the cart failed) and addressed a situation in which, after an incomplete order, books might display a “You own it!” label in place of an “Add to cart” button.

I’d like to call your attention to three things that have recently prompted customer feedback:

  • Apple Pay: Although we’ve had hundreds of successful purchases using Apple Pay, there have been a handful of reports that it wasn’t working correctly in specific cases. FastSpring has been able to reproduce the problem, but they haven’t figured out a fix yet. If this happens to you, please help us help you. Tell us which device, operating system (including version), and browser you were using, and exactly what you saw on the screen (particularly if that included an error message). (Also, please double-check to see that your browser and device had Apple Pay enabled, including a valid payment card.) The more information you can provide us, the more likely it is we can help FastSpring find a solution.
  • Currency: If the checkout page is not showing the currency you want to use, click the flag pop-up menu at the top of the page to choose a different location; currency is tied to geography. Also note that we have zero control or influence over exchange rates! That is entirely within FastSpring’s domain.
  • Error processing order: We’ve had a few reports of users who added books to their cart, clicked “Place order,” and then saw nothing but an error message that said “Error Processing, please try again.” That is a generic message that could have any of numerous causes, but we identified at least one: a conflict with the Malwarebytes app for iOS (but only if the Web Protection feature is enabled). We’ve just heard from Malwarebytes that they fixed this problem on their end. But if you experience this error, please try (temporarily) disabling any ad blockers or similar privacy software, or switch to a different browser (or both). Whether that works or not, please tell us what happened, with details on which device, operating system, and browser you used. We want our site to work properly regardless of what software you use, but we need more data to be able to figure out how to fix this.

In fact, I’ll go ahead and make that last request broader: please give us as much detail as you can when reporting any problem. Screenshots are great! Specific URLs are helpful. Tell us exactly what you clicked or tapped and exactly what you saw on the screen. Messages like “I can’t log in” or “your website sucks” (yes, we have received both of those) don’t tell us anything we can use to diagnose or solve a problem.

Things We’re Working On

Please note that, in addition to what’s on this list, we have many behind-the-scenes issues to deal with, so progress on the items listed here may not occur at the speed (or in the order) one might expect. Please contact us if you have a problem with an order or with accessing your purchases, or if you encounter a major issue not shown here. However, the vast majority of issues will disappear on their own as we work our way through our internal checklists. If your issue is not urgent, please consider waiting a few days and checking again to see if it has been resolved before contacting us.

Missing or Partially Implemented Features

Here is a partial list of things that worked correctly on our old site but have not yet been fully implemented on this site:

  • Library improvements: The Library page is better than it used to be, but it’s not quite there yet. We want to do a better job of showing you exactly which free and paid updates are available to you and make it easier to figure out what you have and what you need. We now have a plan in place to do that.
  • Check for updates: The Check for Updates pages (which appear when you click the Ebook Extras link in a book) don’t yet show per-book blog posts, update plans, or the option to register Take Control books purchased from other sites.
  • Customer accounts: The Account details tab lets you view the list of all email addresses associated with your account, but does not yet let you add a secondary email address, change which address is primary, or merge accounts. While we’re working on all of that, if you need to change this information, please contact us and we’ll be glad to change it manually.
  • Bundles: Bundled products (two or more books offered together at a discounted price) are not yet generally available, although there are a few exceptions.
  • Affiliate program: Previously, eSellerate handled Take Control’s affiliate program. With the closing of that service, we’re moving to a new affiliate platform, but it isn’t up and running yet.
  • Class copies: The Class Copies page is currently just a placeholder, and does not permit you to place orders for discounted class copies. If you need class copies immediately, please contact us for assistance.
  • Apple Employees and Apple Consultants Network programs: The automated sign-up forms for these two programs are not yet functional, but if you follow a link to one of those pages, you’ll see instructions for signing up manually.
  • Email from us: We have totally replaced our system for sending email (for example, notices of new or updated books), and some major features haven’t been implemented yet.

Known Bugs

Besides the not-fully-implemented features above, we have a number of bugs we’re working through. Here is an incomplete list:

  • Although existing user credentials work for most people, some users are unable to log in with the username and password they used on our old site. If this happens to you, first confirm that your username (email address) was entered correctly. In some cases, password managers (such as 1Password) may fail to fill that in automatically on the new site, because the field name has changed. But if you fill it in manually and submit the form, your password manager should offer to update the record for you. If, despite doing that, your password is not accepted, the quickest and easiest remedy is to use our password reset form—and it’s fine to reset your password to the same one you were using before, if you like.
  • The layout of the site (fonts, sizes, spacing, etc.) is not yet final. In particular, we’re still working to improve the layout for mobile devices with certain combinations of screen size and orientation.
  • The site has not yet been optimized for fast performance, though it’s getting better. Some pages still load more slowly than they should.
  • Downloading PDFs to mobile devices might fail in certain situations because the site is trying to send a standalone file rather than displaying it directly in your browser. If you encounter this problem, try downloading the EPUB format instead until we get it fixed.

Future Features

Our intention is not merely to replicate the features of our old site on our new site, but to add useful capabilities we didn’t have before. Here are some of the things we’re working on for the future that were either impossible or impractical on our old site:

  • Library enhancements: We’ve heard that users with many books would like a way to hide older books from the Library tab of their account page. We’ll see what we can do.
  • Upgrade everything at once: If you’ve bought numerous books from us over the years and want to upgrade all of them to the latest versions, you should be able to do so in a single step.
  • Take Control Prime: Instead of waiting for a sale, wouldn’t it be nice if you could purchase our books at a huge discount any day of the year? We think so too.
  • Print books: We hope to once again offer paperback versions of some of our books in the future, but it’s a multi-step process that will take some time to implement.
  • Better gift purchases: Although you can buy an ebook and send it to a friend today, it’s not terribly convenient for either you or your friend. We’d like to make it much easier to buy our books as gifts.