eBook Notes For Friday October 23, 2009

Authors experiment with Twitterfiction

For Neil Gaiman, it began with a disconcerting image of a girl spoken to by her reflection in a mirror. For Melvin Burgess, it was a mother told by a passing elderly woman that her babies weren’t human. The two award-winning children’s authors have both begun to dabble in storytelling via Twitter, with Gaiman’s experiment on the micro-blogging site concluding today, but Burgess set to carry on tweeting.

Let’s not all forget writer Charlie Huston.

Sarah Ferguson sells off rights to her children’s books in the face of firm’s £600,000 debts

The cash-strapped Duchess of York has sold the TV and merchandising rights to her children’s books in a move that sees her transformed from a potential bankrupt into a successful businesswoman.

The face-saving deal, following weeks of speculation about the state of her personal finances and revelations that she was being pursued by creditors, could net her a fortune that will dwarf her recent debts.

Sarah Ferguson has signed over the ‘intellectual property assets’ to her picture book Tea For Ruby, about a little girl who tries to perfect her manners in time for tea with the Queen, which topped the US Bestsellers List last years.

Queen rocker Brian May unveils 3D book

The 62-year-old rock star’s childhood fascination with three-dimensional pictures set him on a lifetime’s quest to find an unknown village captured by the equally mysterious Victorian photographer T. R. Williams.

While penning global hits like “We Will Rock You”, “The Show Must Go On” and “Flash”, Freddie Mercury’s band mate was also on a mission to rescue Williams’ stereo images of joyful country life, which leap out at the viewer in 3D.

The guitar wizard tracked down the tiny Oxfordshire village of Hinton Waldrist, deep in the southern English countryside, and scoured the world for the 59 images which give a unique glimpse into rustic life 150 years ago.

This story about the 3D book is really wonderful. Read all of it.

UK startup to launch 3D virtual gifts app for iPhone

“Little World Gifts is a boutique store full of festive curios and trinkets to surprise, delight and amuse during the festive season. The free Little World Gifts iPhone app lets you browse a range of gorgeous, handcrafted, 3D, interactive digital gifts, and send them to your friends. And of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas if you couldn’t play with your presents too.”

Aha! Let’s drop the term “book.” Let’s call them textual virtual movies!

Creative Profiles – iPhone developers – Enhanced Editions

Q. What are the design considerations when creating content for such a small screen experience?

Our design considerations were simple, and challenging – what would Apple do? That was our question throughout. Reduce, reduce again, polish. I’ve always felt that good design should be invisible to the user; it is not the process of adding, but taking away. On legibility, we’re typochondriacs of the highest order and attention to detail on this stuff took a long time – and we’re proud of that.

I like this peek behind the scenes too:

The second stage, preparing the text, is more technical but straightforward. Our software runs off ePub, the industry standard for ebooks. We import that into our xcode project, and then run a typographic and general preflight sweep across it – drop caps, chapter heads and so on.

ScrollMotion reveals 200k e-book sales on iPhone

US firm ScrollMotion says it has sold more than 200,000 e-book apps for iPhone in just ten months on the App Store.

This is significnt because ScrollMotion’s prices are print-like: expensive!

Newser’s iPhone App: Are We Nuts?

I’ll be frank, I look at Newser’s iPhone app—I have been offering my comments and suggested revisions and wish list to product developers, who are occasionally responsive, for months now—and have no idea how it will ever produce a penny of income.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I’ve saved the major bit for last. This is an earthquake:

Ebay’s iPhone app rings up sales of $400m

Shoppers have spent more than $400m this year on merchandise using Ebay’s application for the Apple iPhone, a striking indication that consumers are becoming more comfortable with mobile shopping.

More than 4.6m people have downloaded the Ebay app, using it to buy not just books and clothes, but also a Lamborghini, a $150,000 boat, and a Bentley.

“The lines between mobile and fixed devices are beginning to blur,” said Ebay chief executive John Donahoe. “I may do my research on my laptop, but actually make my purchase on my mobile device.”

That is just huge. Staggering huge.

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