More On Oprah And The Abominable Kindle

October 27, 2008

Oprah’s Favorite New Gadget

He gets it …

The problem with the Amazon ebook model is that it is Amazon format, through an Amazon store, at an Amazon price point, over an Amazon connection to an Amazon device – a truly ‘exclusive’. If Amazon were to dominate the ebook market we would have a monopoly where scarcity should not occur and it is illogical to have a monopoly.

… while others don’t:

However, some would argue that this ‘exclusive world domination’ approach could be the best thing for the market. The likes of Sony would probably disappear as fast as ‘live book search’ and the others settle for the scraps. Importantly the mobile market would seriously take off and that’s one Bezos has got covered and where there are truly giants at work today. The online offer would become increasingly attractive to many. We may finally understand that downloading is not the only solution and hording loads of titles on a device just to own them is crazy in this networked age.

I doubt Sony would disappear. Don’t bet against Steve Haber.

Previously here:

Debrief: Oprah And The Abominable Kindle
Oprah With Kindle In Hand
Sony Reader Items For Oprah Friday
Oprah To Flog Abominable Kindle?!


Free eBook: Casting the Runes

October 26, 2008

Casting the Runes by M.R. James

A gift from us this week before Halloween, the story that Olivia Laing recently called, “Scariest story ever, so horrifying that to this day I can’t keep it in my house”[.]

It’s a PDF file available at that post.

— via Twitter from Hello Kitty terrorist KatMeyer (who now also owns a Triffid, so you better Follow her — at a distance)


Book Tours 1.0: Endangered Species

October 26, 2008

Writer Tess Gerritsen:

How book tours have changed over the years

But even as my sales were growing, the tours themselves were getting less bang for the effort.

The media was harder to get. Even if I had some cool new nonfiction hook (corpses who wake up in morgues in VANISH. Or the how-to of shrinking human heads in THE KEEPSAKE) the TV and radio spots weren’t there as they used to be. I’m not the only novelist who faces this dwindling of interest; it seems to be a problem for all of us. The publisher pays to fly you into a new town, puts you up in a hotel, all to speak at a bookstore where you end up selling maybe thirty hardcovers. Without any TV or radio or print coverage, does that make economic sense?

Emphasis added by me.

No. It doesn’t.

That’s why I see Blog Book Tours as one wave of the future.

Another wave is Mini Book Expo for Bloggers.

The third wave is How Our Future Does Things.

And the fourth: eBook Signings: The Postcard Solution?

As the reading world moves towards eBooks, a shift in the culture will happen too.

eBooks = Internet. Thus the Internet should become the primary pipeline and meeting place for eBook readers.

With no physical copies to sell — except maybe some POD done for the leftovers and retrogrades — an author having to be physically present somewhere becomes pointless.

And economically nonsensical.


One More Sony Reader Sold

October 26, 2008

Via Twitter from top_book came a link to The Book is Dead site, where I also saw this goodie of a post:


Click = big

This is a big one. Sony better pay attention!


It’s Still October

October 26, 2008


Poster from the American Memory project.

October is also the favorite month of writer M. Dylan Raskin.

So whether you have print or e — break them out and read!


Modified poster from the American Memory project.


Sony Reader: American HQ

October 25, 2008

Sony says U.S. sales of Reader are taking off

Sony has consolidated its digital-book efforts at its North American headquarters in San Diego, relocating hardware and software operations for its Reader electronic book device from Japan.

The company declined to say how many employees made the move from Japan.

While consumers in the United States often lag behind their counterparts in Japan in adopting new technologies, in this case it’s the opposite, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division.

Because the device is selling better in the United States, it made sense to merge operations here, Haber said.

Industry analysts say the Reader is being outsold by upstart competitor the Amazon Kindle, which features a wireless link for e-book purchases from Amazon.com.

But Haber takes exception to recent published reports that said the Reader sales are only a fraction of the 380,000 Kindles expected to be sold by the end of the year.

Neither Sony nor Amazon release sales numbers.

“We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of Readers and millions of electronic books,” Haber said. “We’re happy with the sell-through.”

Emphasis added by me.

And here is the crucial plan-for-the-future bit:

Haber said Sony plans to add wireless at some point, but it will not lock readers in to any one retailer.

“It will be consistent with our open platform,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Enjoy your abominable Kindle, Oprah. Until the day comes when you ask these questions (and you will!):

1) Why can’t I get that book for my Kindle?

2) Why can’t my Kindle read that (ePub) book?

3) What do you mean, I’d have to buy my eBooks all again for a Sony Reader?

And as for #3, Oprah, think of all those devoted fans of yours you led into that corner too. How about reimbursing them for your mistake?

— via Medialoper


eBook Devices: Color, The Final Frontier …

October 25, 2008

Browsing but not Reading

We are now delivering a service for magazines in the Dazed group which allows users to browse these magazines for free, but not to read them properly. The browsing is limited to the two-page per screen view, at this resolution most text is unreadable but the pictures are fine. As each new issue is published it will be available in this browse mode until the succeeding issue appears. Here is the current issue of AnOtherMan. The site is simply branded for the magazine’s style.

Exact Editions does what its name suggests: digital reproductions of existing print publications (books or magazines).

Click to browse an issue of AnOtherMan.

In my raving advocacy of eBooks, I’m usually tunnel-visioned blinded by what I want to read: digital versions of books. Books of the black type on white background variety.

But there’s lots and lots out there (obviously) that’s in color. Like this screensnap I stole from the above:


Click = big

I’ve raised the issue of color twice before — in eBooks: Game Over When Color Happens and Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Three — but I’d forgotten about the monster effort that’s put into fashion advertisements. That stuff screams for a fast-refresh high-resolution full-color OLED screen.


Own It Now On … Book!

October 25, 2008

Could Daniel Craig help books?

Do you know the generic campaign the book trade should have? One that stresses book ownership. Why is it only in the film world that we see signs saying: ‘Own it now on DVD?’ Why don’t we ever see that for books? I’m partly playing devil’s advocate here. We all know the reasons. With very few exceptions – Harry Potter, a new Hannibal Lecter title, perhaps – there just isn’t the ‘must have’ quality to books.

Some days I wonder if what I see on the Internet is actually from a different planet than the one I am imprisoned on am trapped on exist on try to live on.

Let me put things in perspective for all of you.

Walking to the store a few weeks ago (when the weather wasn’t miserably cold!), I passed by a guy in his twenties hanging out in front a building. In the hallway was a young girl, perhaps fourteen or so. He saw she had a book in hand. It went like this:

Him: What are you doing with a book?

Her: Reading it.

Him: Reading it?!!?

Her: I like it.

Him: You’re a bookworrrrrm? Is that what you want to be? A bookworrrrrm?

Yeah, so that shit about a ‘must have’ quality to books? Where I am, there isn’t even a ‘must have’ quality to reading.

Welcome to the real world, jack.

Now deal with that first.


UK’s Mills & Boon Goes eBook

October 25, 2008

According to a report in The Bookseller, over 200 romance titles are available.

At the Mills & Boon site, here are:

The eBooks home page

The eBook FAQ — the eBooks are in ePub, but they also mention, confusingly, them being in “Adobe eReader” format. (Behind my back, Acrobat has now become the Acrobat eBook Reader!). Adobe Digital Editions is required. Further confusing things, they say the eBooks can be read on a PalmOS handheld! I’m not aware of any ePub readers for PalmOS. Making things even more confusing, the eBooks home page mentions reading them on a Blackberry!

All 221 (at time of post) available titles (scroll down)

Book browsing is done using a Shockwave interface from LibreDigital. It’s pretty slick.

Aside from being sold at the Mills & Boon site, these are also available from the Waterstone’s eBook store for the Sony Reader.


eBook Notes For October 24, 2008

October 25, 2008

O futuro pertence ao e-book (Portuguese version)
The future belongs to the E-book (English — not by machine — version)

[Frankfurt] Book fair Director Juergen Boos signalled the trend in his opening speech: more and more books are offered in digital form. This year it’s around 30 percent of all books, most of them digital versions of books already in print (the so-called tree books

Publishing World Eyes E-Book Readers’ Future

Penguin publishers CEO John Makinson told Reuters: “They have become mainstream in the sense that they are a genuine consumer product for which there is real appetite, so this is not the province of geeks any longer.”

Makinson said Penguin was now publishing all new titles both as printed books and e-books and was digitalizing its backlist.

Technology research firm iSuppli predicts that global e-book display revenue will grow to $291 million in 2012 from $3.5 million in 2007.

Emphasis added by me.

My God! A dying dinosaur of print acknowledges eBooks!

LCC Conference Considers the Inevitability of the E-Book

However the e-book has achieved enough momentum for continued existence. At the Frankfurt Bookfair there was discussion about the ePUB format, a standard based on XML and also about the role of XML in general. Liz Thompson reported in Publishers Weekly that Mike Shatzin had proposed publishers work in XML for intellectual property as the sun of a new system, with the “book as merely one orbiting opportunity.”

The Frankfurt meeting on ePUP organised by The International Digital Publishing Forum heard thst year-to-year wholesale eBook sales are growing at 71 percent and there have now been over 2 million ePUB downloads from Feedbooks. Feedbooks can create a variety of formats for e-books from most web sources.

Emphasis added by me.

ePub for the win!