Hard Case Crime To eBooks!

January 13, 2009

Dorchester Publishing to Deliver Entire Frontlist and Selected Backlist in eBook and Digital Formats

Dorchester Publishing has published mass market books since 1971, making it the oldest independent mass market publisher in America. Known for its collection of romance novels, Dorchester also publishes world-class horror, thrillers and western titles, as well as the award-winning Hard Case Crime line of pulp-style mysteries, science fiction and fantasy titles from the award-winning Wildside Press. In addition, Dorchester is now distributing the bestselling Family Doctor series of health guides in the US and Canada.

Emphasis added by me.

I have waited and waited and waited for this!

For years I’ve been drooling over the Hard Case Crime series. Who wouldn’t, given their delicious classic pulpy covers?

… but they’ve all been on paper!

Now, e is coming!

I am going to go soooo broke buying these.

Free eBook: The Catholic Orangemen

January 13, 2009

The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known is in the center of a free speech dispute. The original print publisher canceled its commitment due to a legal threat. The author is giving the book away for free in PDF format and has self-published in paper to sell.

See this post and this post for details.

Why freedom of speech matters.

Quote: Dorothea Salo

January 13, 2009

The DRM Ponzi event horizon

Personally, despite my neverending love affair with the written word, I’m getting tired of owning print books. There, I’ve said it. They take up a whole lot of space, they clutter, and they’re obnoxious to pack (yes, I’ve moved twice in the last five years and that may not be the end of it, how about you?). For my purposes, with most books, ebooks would be far preferable both for one-time and many-time reads… if I could be assured of keeping my many-time reads.

Several New eBook Videos

January 11, 2009

Samsung’s eInk Papyrus … Thing

January 10, 2009

Hands On Video With Samsung’s Papryus E-Ink Device

Sierra did a great of unearthing Samsung’s Papryus E-Ink device. It has generated a lot of comments and interest from the community. Today, I spent some some hands-on time with the device and shot this video. It’s worth pointing out that Sierra happened across a black one, while the one I played with was green. Still no word on price and availability.

There’s a video there, but WARNING! It brought my PC to its knees. GottaBeMobile apparently encodes at a very high bitrate and resolution. Too much for this crappy 1.8GHz(!) Celeron to deal with.

I had to download the video and convert it to a DiVX AVI so I could watch. I also took some screensnaps:

It’s open to the Notes applications.

Side view: stylus well at bottom, micro-USB post.

Front, “about the size of a Moleskine.”

Side again, with stylus in its spring-loaded well.

It requires use of the included stylus to write on the screen …

… fingertips and other styluses won’t work. Odd!

Calendar view of month.

Year calendar.

Choice of ink thicknesses. Lots of icons!

Top. Notice how it’s clamped to case. Notice too: NO storage card slot!

“GBM” written in two line thickenesses.

All those icons and the gray remind me of the original Everex Palm-size PC interface!

Icons of some apps.

Fuller front view.

This is a very strange device. No mention of eBooks. Is it basically an eInk-screened PDA?

The size seems to be almost identical to the jetBook, execpt slimmer at the side. That’s a five-inch eInk screen.

I can’t help wondering what it would be like to have that.

Samsung had to have put a good deal of money into its development. I guess they’re not ready to market it for anything yet. If they could get it to do ePub eBooks, it’d be a real contender against both the Sony Reader and the jetBook.

However, knowing how Samsung likes to graft “additional value” onto its even most basic products (see how overpriced the budget-specced Q1 UMPC became!), I expect they wouldn’t sell this without a cellphone radio and WiFi in it — thus giving it a ridiculous price of $400, if not even higher.

I neglected to mention that it was jkk of jkkmobile fame who first alerted me to the GottaBeMobile posts. Thanks, jkk! (He is offering a scaled PDF of the VAIO P! Print one out actual size to play with! Post — not PDF — link.)

Stanza: Over One Million Downloads!

January 9, 2009

Interview with Lexcycle cofounder Neelan Choksi

Think about how staggering that is.

There has never before been any eBook hardware or software to even approach one million — yet Stanza has passed that.

1) Can you imagine the eBooks sales that would generate if all eBooks were standardized on ePub as well as being DRM-free?

2) Can you imagine how absolutely gigantic this will get when the iPod Air/iPod Touchbook is released in late 2009?

The dying dinosaurs of print had better wake up to this ASAP.

Barnes & Noble, Borders? You guys will look like this in 2010.

Generation D (For Dinosaur)

January 9, 2009

Here is the lesson for today: Very few ever changed their minds

Plastic Logic eReader To Do ePub

January 9, 2009

Even though I got this tweet:

I couldn’t see the mention of ePub. It was then pointed out to me here, at 31 seconds into the video:


That means DRMed ePub. Like loans from public libraries. (Do you see that, ECTACO? ePub, not MobiPocket!)

ECTACO Needs To Change Course!

January 9, 2009

I sent Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary to do my filthy bidding at CES, to specifically visit the ECTACO booth and get the word on developments for their jetBook eBook reader.

This is from her encrypted Top Secret email:

1) There will be an upgrade to the software within two months to support ePub, HTML, and MobiPocket.

2) DRMed MobiPocket is uncertain at this time.

3) ePub support will not permit DRMed public library loans.

4) But if they do DRMed MobiPocket, public library loans for that will work.

5) No WiFi for this year. That’s planned for 2010.

6) No reduction of current price ($299.00, which is already down from $399.00 and then $349.00).

7) They intend to stay in the eBook game despite Amazon and the Sony Reader due to buyer response. Also, they believe the pocketability factor gives them a niche.

One thing I’m unclear about. Judie says ECTACO stated they’re using FBReader. That’s odd. The betting was that ECTACO was using Coolreader. I wonder if this is actually an announcement of them switching from Coolreader to FBReader when the firmware upgrade is released?

I’ll be emailing ECTACO the link for this post, so I hope they’ll be reading this.

ECTACO, don’t go with DRMed MobiPocket! Go with DRMed ePub instead!

MobiPocket is a legacy format. The majority of print publishers have adopted ePub. Most of these ePub books will no doubt have DRM wrapped around them — from Adobe.

It’s leaked out that MobiPocket demands DRM exclusivity for licensing their format. This is clearly Restraint of Trade. MobiPocket and eReader have both worked on the same hardware — on Palm PDAs and Pocket PCs. MobiPocket’s exclusivity demands are nothing more than monopolistic bullying. It’s a bet they can’t win because the tide of the future is against them.

MobiPocket format eBooks are often more expensive than any others too. Why do you want to lock your customers into a format that is costly?

ePub is what public libraries will be buying. ePub is what most publishers and eBookstores will be selling. This will be a very competitive market and thus there will be pricing bargains for eBook buyers. jetBook owners can benefit greatly from that.

Think about this too: If you offer DRMed MobiPocket, you will always have to offer it. You’ll have customers who will have built libraries of DRMed MobiPocket eBooks and they’ll want future models of the jetBook to support that investment. You’ll be painting yourself into a corner with that. It’s better not to create a set of customers you’ll someday have to alienate!

ePub is the format that will get the Big Push. It will be what people will look for when buying eBooks.

Look at what Sony has done in England! Instead of setting up another UK-only eBook Store, they partnered with bookseller Waterstone’s. And Waterstone’s is selling ePub eBooks — not Sony’s own BroadBand eBook (BBeB) format.

Please, please consider dropping plans for MobiPocket. Go instead with ePub, even if it means getting a DRM license from Adobe.

Full ePub support will signal the jetBook is embracing the future. It will indicate to people a jetBook purchase is a safe investment. It will also make the jetBook an instant alternative to the Sony Reader.

OK, that ends my pleading.

Now some photos from CES courtesy of Kevin from Gear Diary.

Most photos are click = big.

Promotional poster. Eh. Not entirely compelling.

Store demo display. I haven’t seen one of these anywhere yet.

High-contrast non-backlit LCD screen. None of the refresh of eInk. And can be mistaken for eInk in direct lighting.

The range of four color: black, tan, white, red. The case is textured plastic so it lacks sex appeal but provides a good grip.

The top, where mini-USB port and SD Card slot reside.

Cover for mini-USB and card slot open. The jetBook only accepts SD cards as large as 2GB. I hope an OS update can increase that.

The right side: combo numeric and letter buttons. T9 is used to enter Search terms.

The left side: that silver ribbed thing is a slider to change pages. It can really be ignored and the jetBook can be held without accidentally using it.

In the center of the bottom is a wee power button, which is pushed in. Varying press duration for either total Off or simply Sleep/Standby. At the right is an standard-sized earphone jack. At the front surface left are page turn buttons. The cluster at front surface right provide access to Library, Find, Rotation (90-degrees), and Back; with 4-directional and OK center button.

The entire jetBook design would be very familiar to any Sony Reader 505 owner.

Thanks again to Judie and Kevin for the intelligence gathering!

Plastic Logic eReader: Three Videos

January 9, 2009

Plastic Logic e-book prototype

Plastic Logic e-book prototype video 2

plasticlogic demo

They clearly say it won’t be out for another year: 2010.

Leaving aside my predilection for economic Doom, just from a tech timescale perspective, that’s very strange. A lot can happen in a year. I’m still waiting for Pixel Qi and their new screens. Who’s to say that a color screen for eBooks won’t happen between now and then?