Quote Of The Day

April 17, 2009

Over at The Militant Writer, Mary Walters has written a screed that’s attracted lots of attention.

One Comment I just had to pull a bit from to run here:

The first thing that needs to be understood is that there is no formula for making a book successful. Anybody who tells you that “if my publisher just did a little more X and supported the efforts with some Y my book would be a bestseller” is full of shit.

If such a formula existed, it would be done over and over and publishing would be a cash rich industry and we’d all hang around the pool and be very fashionable.

That’s from Benjamin LeRoy, Publisher of Bleak House Books. Bleak House has published Victor Gischler, Anthony Neil Smith, Nathan Singer, and others. With those writers, if he hasn’t figured out The Formula, I doubt anyone else will.

(If anyone from Bleak House reads this … I’m still tapping my foot, waiting for your stuff in eBook form.)

Behind The Scenes Of A Writer

April 17, 2009

Writer Ben Mezrich has written some killer books. See this and this.

All anybody usually sees of a writer is the published work. Not what happened before all that.

Ben gave everyone a glimpse of “before all that” today on Twitter:

Google BS: People Are Waking Up

April 17, 2009

Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement

This column argues that the proposed settlement of this lawsuit is a privately negotiated compulsory license primarily designed to monetize millions of orphan works.

That sounds awfully familiar. Let me see …

Is Another Suit Against Google Book Search Coming?

Google has arbitrarily stepped in as an uninvited third-party to put “in print” thousands (perhaps millions) of books that have been out-of-print.


Microsoft To Re-Enter eBooks?

April 17, 2009

That’s what Mediabistro’s Mobile Content Today thinks: Speculation: Will Microsoft’s ZuneHD Include an eBook Reader?

There’s a lot of interesting speculation about the rumored Microsoft ZuneHD which resembles an iPod touch with a large multi-touch touch screen. One speculation we have not seen about it so far, however, is whether or not it will be an ebook reader to compete with the Kindle or, at least, the Kindle iPhone app. Why would I think it might be an ebook reader if no one else does? A friend recently pointed out (tweeted) that the old Microsoft Reader, and ebook app nearly a decade old now seems to be in a revival phase.

It looks like Microsoft is now offering a new eBook creation tool too. [Update: I’ve been informed in Comments that this tool has been around, is not new, and is in fact six years old.] I’m pretty sure Microsoft used to tell people to go get OverDrive’s ReaderWorks to create LIT eBooks.

It also seems Microsoft is now offering a choice of DRM flavors too.

Kirk Biglione’s reaction:

It’s Zune HD. Will probably have a reader built in. Zune is NOT the future of ebooks (or anything else).


Microsoft would certainly have to do things differently to re-enter the eBook game.

1) Dump the Passport activation of MS Reader
2) Develop versions of MS Reader for iPhone OS and Palm’s webOS
3) Build eBook ordering directly into MS Reader
4) Really lean on publishers to lower their prices
5) Update the MS Word LIT-creation tool (Word 2003? Say what?)

Yes, LIT is very pretty. But no, it’s not US$17.71 worth of pretty!

If Microsoft really does re-enter eBooks with the Zune HD, it’d highlight another misstep of Sony — which never included its Sony eBook reading software in the PlayStation Portable.