English-Subtitled Editis Smart Digital Book Video

August 6, 2009

Twitter Follower @DoctorLaura actually did an English translation transcription of this video for me, but I was swamped and never got around to posting it here.

In the meantime, a Comment was posted here today informing me of a new English-subtitled version of the Editis video, which I analyzed in a prior post.

Here it is.

I’m at a disadvantage here. I can’t watch the video as it’s presented on YouTube because XP updates have crippled video playback on this PC. I must rip and convert the video to watch it. So all of you are seeing it well before I will.

Now you know why dumb eBooks must die and the Axis of E (eInk, ePub, eBook) will fail.

The Issue Of eBook Pricing

August 6, 2009

Software Pricing: Are We Doing It Wrong?

While there’s an odd aspect of race to the bottom that I’m not sure is entirely healthy for the iPhone app ecosystem, the idea that software should be priced low enough to pass the average user’s “why not” threshold is a powerful one.

Emphasis in original.

If software that does something is priced at just ninety-nine cents, of what monetary value is “software” — ePub eBooks — that does nothing?

Previously here:

Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail

Apple Stabbing eBook Competitors?

August 6, 2009

Well, what else can be made of this?

App Store rejections tied to third party rights infringements

[A] developer who built an e-book reader received a recent rejection along the same lines. The application might be used to read copyright infringing books, so Apple will not let it in App Store.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, the Safari browser built-into the iPhone can be used to read infringing material. Does Apple plan to ban that?

This latest lunacy from Apple makes me believe in ulterior motives, not plain stupidity.

First Apple banned all apps that can use Google Voice.

Some wag on Twitter said that wasn’t due to the phone portion, it was because Apple planned to create a search engine.

However, given the Voice Command app now included in the latest version of the iPhone OS, it does make me wonder if Apple harbors its own VOIP ambitions. Dave Winer complained early on (and I berated him about it — shortsightedly, I now see!) about the lack of VOIP in the iPhone.

But we have rumors of a new iPod Touch on the way, and it makes me wonder if it will debut with some sort of built-in VOIP capability.

In addition, someone on Twitter today noted the ongoing conflict between Skype and eBay:

@mikecane Considering the Skype boys are threatening license nonrenewal on eBay, an Apple VOIP isn’t all that farfetched.

So, what better way for Apple to ensure its VOIP plans go through than by locking out competition?

Which leads me back to eBooks.

Apple is already rumored to be entering the digital book field in a roundabout way.

Given that Steve Jobs has a very refined aesthetic, he can’t help but to have utter contempt for all current eBook reading software. So what better way to discourage its further development than to deny it access to the App Store?

Could Stanza, the Kindle Reader, and other such apps — and even standalone eBooks — also be in jeopardy?

We’ll have to see.

A warning note to all, however: Apple is at the top of its game. Many things that Steve Jobs considers Ugly or Wrong are now ripe for his taking. I wouldn’t put it past Apple to create a Google competitor. It’d be done in a back-handed fashion first: as an adjunct to the Mobile Me service.


More details about the eBook reader rejection:

The most ridiculous App Store reject I’ve ever seen
iPhone ebook reader rejected for… being an ebook reader?

Free eGalley: Footnotes To Life

August 6, 2009

Footnotes to Life by Dr. Frank Crane

I was reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for the fourth(?) time and was curious about this “Dr. Frank Crane” he quoted.

The Internet Archive had several of his books, which had fallen into the public domain.

I decided to grab one of them and clean up the Google Books OCR so I could format it for reading.

I then decided to upload the cleanup result to Smashwords so that no one else would have to endure the process I went through.

Unfortunately, the Smashwords TOS prohibits public domain texts and Mark Coker gave me good reasons in email why.

So, this alternate method. Hosting space has been generously provided by the indefatigable Moriah Jovan, the Wizardress of “eBooks.”

There are two versions available:

1 – MobiPocket (so I can read it myself on my LifeDrive)

2 – ePub (for those with rotten eInk displays)

This is not a finished “eBook,” and is more of an e-galley, just for reading.

I’ve deleted the Table of Contents because it was very long. Some people might read this on an eInk screen and paging through all that would be a torment.

I’ve moved the Google OCR frontmatter for that same reason. It is now at the end.

Link to the file directory.

Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail

August 6, 2009

I’m reading The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.

I came across a sentence that perfectly describes why the current paradigm of eInk, ePub, and eBooks are doomed to failure:

The TAM [Total Addressable Market] is the true size of the potential market you can go after, not the totality of every nickel that’s spent in something related to your product or service.

Let me illustrate that:


A = Total number of print book buyers
B = Number of people who use eBooks
C = People who have not yet bought an eInk device
D = People who have bought an eInk device

The chart is illustrative and not necessarily to scale (otherwise B, C, and D would be virtually invisible!).

We can perhaps expect a doubling of the current number of eInk devices. Perhaps even a tripling (though given the continued deterioration of the worldwide economy, that would be extremely optimistic). But that’s it. They will ultimately fail.


As was stated earlier:

all the electronic reading gadgets on the market are subpar, if you ask me, making the reading of books, newspapers, magazines, and even cereal boxes painful. The resolution is poor. The fonts are crap. The navigation is chunky. Not since the eight-track player has modern technology produced such a heap of garbage. If you’re looking for the reason e-books constitute just 1 percent or 2 percent of all book sales, stop the search.

Does the Book Industry Want To Get Napstered?

Emphasis added by me.

What’s beginning to happen right now — with so many new eBook publishers and eBook devices — is a classic Bubble.

This is what I saw happen back in the early 1980s with videogames.

See: North American video game crash of 1983 and Video game crash of 1983. (There is a minority dissenting opinion — The Video Game Crash of 1983: myth or truth? — which is best ignored as it’s from the point of view of a customer, not the industry participants.)

Videogames are in fact a great analogy to eBooks: “software” that can only play on certain “consoles” (Sony Reader, Kindle), publishers having to strain to produce “software” for each “console” (MobiPocket, BBeB/LRF, Kindle, PDF), and consumers being hyped to get on board The New New Thing.

But understand what happened back then in the videogame industry itself: it died!

It wasn’t just major players exiting a market. The market itself dropped dead.

Buyers woke up to the fact they were being deluged with too much too soon — and most of it was utter crap.

This is precisely what’s happening right now.

eInk devices are slow, linear, and use flat and static files. They are simply less efficient than printed books and offer no advantages other than never having to buy another bookcase ever again.

People will wake up that they are shelling out an entry fee ($200-$400) in order to do something that’s “built in” to printed books: the ability to read.

They will also wake up to the nightmares of DRM, format incompatibilities, and the insufficiency of ePub eBooks over printed books.

Now let me address B in that graph. Those are the people who are currently using eBooks in two ways: desktop reading of mostly PDFs and the millions of people who have eBook capability on their smartphones (and iPod Touch). That market has the ability to still grow because the reading “entry fee” has been amortized in the cost of the device itself which is primarily used for other purposes.

However, to continue to believe that flat, static, and linear ePub files will triumph there is to invite delusion.

ePub eBooks (as well as Kindle and all other markup-based eBooks) lack respect. People regard them as teeny-tiny files that are a collection of words. The effort, energy, and thinking that are the ingredients of such things — books — are lost in the containerless translation.

Piracy will ultimately doom eBooks.

Publishing will try to counteract that with a foolish strategy of ruthless price-cutting. It will lead to a race-to-the-bottom that will ultimately destroy book publishing — not just as we know it, but period.

Writing will be reduced to a marketplace of talentless deluded amateurs and outright con artists. The few true writers who will try to survive in this uninviting swamp will basically be holding out a tin cup hoping for spare change.

Those inside print publishing who can’t see this coming to pass deserve the unemployment that awaits them.

Previously here:

Another Memo Print Publishing Will Ignore
Smart eBook Metadata Notes #1
Apple’s Absolutely Brilliant eBook Strategy
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live
ALL eInk Devices: BAD For eBooks!
eBook Bubble Notes
Amazon Kindle, Amazon ePub, The eBook Bubble