Writer 3.0 For Book 3.0

January 22, 2010

Imagine’s “Transmedia Storytelling” Deal

“Studios gobbled up pre-branded properties like Asteroids and Battleship, but as an exec I would hear pitches from writers and see nobody coming with visuals, and there was nobody at the studio managing intellectual properties over all divisions,” Kadison said.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I really hate the term “transmedia.” I hope we’re not stuck with that. I also hated “multimedia” too, by the way (and strange it was never applied to comic books first — or at all!). People think a new buzzterm is like a magic wand that can automagically create something.

Anyway.

In a prior blog I did a few posts about what I was calling “Writer 2.0.”

Well, the Axis of eCrap (formerly Axis of E) — eInk, ePub, eBook — is coming to its deserved end. And so is Writer 2.0.

In its place will be digital books. And Writer 3.0.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Apple’s iSlate Means To Bloggers

January 21, 2010

For quite some time I’ve wanted offline and portable reference copies of my past two blogs: Mike Cane’s Blog and Mike Cane 2008.

There were two problems with this desire for either a printed or electronic copy:

1) WordPress exports a hinky XML file that chokes services that offer printing of blogs

2) How do I deal with a post such as this, with several embedded videos?

An electronic version in ePub? My god, what a lot of work for something that’d only wind up looking fugly, lack the videos, lack color in photos, and be verrrry slow for accessing on an eInk screen.

It was only tonight that it hit me that I’ll finally be able to have digital books of my blogs. Apple will make that possible with iWork. And iWork can embed video (cough, cough).

I’ll be able to easily access past posts offline as well as do all the real indexing I’ve always wanted to do for cross-referencing years of related posts. And I’d be able to read all of them comfortably, leisurely sprawled on a sofa or on my bed with an iSlate.

I couldn’t sell these due to rights issues. That was never the point. I’ve wanted these portable reference editions for myself.

But all of you who have blogs with material that only you own? You could sell digital book copies. An annual compilation of your posts.

Anyone who has a blog should begin to get very excited about what’s coming from Apple!


Asus Provides Peek Of Its Atomic Bomb eBook Reader

January 17, 2010

Get ready for the newsstand in your hand

Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer that pioneered the netbook concept, has given InGear exclusive details of its DR-570 reader, to be released by the end of the year. Asus says it has developed a 6in, high-brightness, OLED colour screen that should run for a whopping 122 hours on one battery charge — and that’s not just when displaying text but under real-world conditions, such as running Flash video over its built-in wi-fi or 3G. If that claim stands up, it would make this game-changing device nearly as energy-efficient as today’s monochrome readers.

OK, now this is exactly what I meant about Asus upping the ante.

If that is true — including the bit about running Flash — this would be very, very interesting.

Why?

The Vook web versions of their digital books are powered by Flash and cannot be seen on a Flash-less iSlate (something I hope they will be able to fix by ditching Flash and going all-JavaScript and HTML5).

There are many other magazine sites that are powered by Flash too.

Also, since this is color and will allegedly run Flash, it puts yet another nail into the coffin of the eCrap Axis of E: eInk, ePub, eBook — in favor of digital books.

And that Elle magazine? Currently the digital edition uses Zinio Reader. Which is also available as an iPhone app.

So, has Asus signed a deal with Zinio for content?

— via Twitter from mobileread

Previously here:

CES, The Death Of eInk, And The Asus Factor
Enough eInk/ePaper/eCrap eBook Devices!
Barnes & Noble’s Incompatible Non-Universal ePub
Multi eInk eBook Device Fondle Report
IDPF Screws Up ePub eBook Covers For Everyone!
How Book Publishing Will Lose: eBooks Vs. Smart Digital Books
ePub For Seniors
Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates
eBook Trademarks: Asus, Warner Brothers, And ViewSonic
The eBook Bubble: Save Your Money!
Moriah Jovan’s Asus eReading Flirtation
Why Digital Books Will Win
Smart Digital Books Vs. The ePub FAIL Model
How The Axis Of E Is Killing Publishing
Asus Atomic Bomb eBook Reader?
The Axis Of E Book Holocaust
Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live


Video Of The iSlate In 1994: Yes 1994!

January 13, 2010

I get all sorts of grief from people for advocating digital books over the eCrap ePub eInk eBook model of today.

Maybe this video will get them to STFU. It’s from 1994 and shows not only an iSlate-like tablet, but a fully digital newspaper.

Mind you, there are flaws here. But I’m astonished at the breadth of the vision.

I can’t think that Knight-Ridder is pleased to have this video surface. What the hell did you do with all that talent and vision you hired, KR? Nothing!

— thanks to @wmacphail via Twitter


2010 In Review

December 30, 2009

Everyone has already told you what 2009 was like.

And some think they’re telling you what 2010 will be.

I will instead tell you what 2010 was.

Read the rest of this entry »


ACCESS Creates ePub eBook Software

December 24, 2009

This is the press release:

ACCESS Announces NetFront™Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0

Tokyo, Japan, December 22, 2009 – ACCESS CO., LTD., a global provider of advanced software technologies to the mobile and beyond-PC markets, today announced NetFront™ Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0, a mobile e-book reader that displays both vertical text for character-based Asian languages, such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese, and traditional horizontal text. NetFront Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0 supports EPUB, the free and open e-book standard developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). NetFront Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0 enables operators, mobile manufacturers and content providers to utilize the vast library of existing e-book content compliant with EPUB, making it easier for them to enter the expanding e-book business in Asian markets.

NetFront Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0 is based on ACCESS’ popular NetFront™ Browser, the world’s leading full Internet browser for mobile and beyond-PC devices, and includes enhanced features such as the ability for users to highlight body text, insert bookmarks and add notations while reading. NetFront Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0 joins ACCESS’ lineup of e-publishing solutions that includes NetFront™ Book Viewer v2.0* for text and comics, NetFront™ Book Builder* authoring tool and Keitai Booker’s™* Japanese e-book store.

“The global e-book market is expanding rapidly,” said Tomihisa Kamada, president, CEO and co-founder of ACCESS. “ACCESS has proven expertise in this market with the e-publishing ecosystem we have developed in Japan that provides not only software tools for authoring and viewing, but also Keitai Booker’s e-book store as a delivery solution. We intend to leverage our cutting-edge mobile technologies and industry experience to help grow e-book markets around the world.”

NetFront Book Viewer EPUB Edition v1.0 will be available for operators, handset manufacturers and content providers in global markets in early 2010.

This could be significant. Many mobile phones already run the NetFront browser. Adding ePub capability could be a selling point for that kind of cellphone.

ACCESS touts that 800 million phones/devices have its NetFront browser on them: ACCESS NetFront™ Deployments Surpass 800 Million Worldwide

ACCESS is also known for purchasing PalmSource and turning it into the ACCESS Linux Platform, an operating system on the ELSE phone.


Sony Reader Touch Edition Slaughters Barnes & Noble Nook

December 21, 2009

Blame my stupidity for not thinking of this earlier!

We’ve had two posts now where the Barnes & Noble Nook failed with a significant ePub: The People of the Abyss by Jack London.

Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet
Barnes & Noble Nook 1.1.0: Liza Reports

As of today, the situation was still this:

Opening The People of the Abyss still takes a long time (about 30 seconds, enough that I initially thought it wasn’t going to work at all). Jumping into a chapter takes long enough that I get an OS-level error saying that the application is stalled (answering “wait” will eventually work).

* Going backwards into a previous chapter still shows no loading message, when loading can take time.
* Moving between chapters in this edition still takes 20-30 seconds.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So I asked librarian Robin Bradford to try it on her Sony Reader Touch Edition, which she just bought a few weeks ago. She reports:

So I tried the book.

There was not a noticeable difference between this book and others when turning pages or changing chapters.

The only slight difference was when a picture would come up. It would take an extra second for it to settle into focus. Focus may not be the right word, but I’m not sure what to call it. The words would all be there, and then the pic would settle in. By the time you noticed, everything was fine.

Moving between pages, or between chapters, was done with the speed of any other book.

Go Team Sony!

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Really, this is what I thought would happen with the Sony Reader Touch Edition. But I wanted it confirmed with a real test.

As I wrote earlier, if you must buy an eInk device:

Sony Reader Touch Edition is the best.

Previously here:

Barnes & Noble Nook 1.1.0: Liza Reports
Multi eInk eBook Device Fondle Report
Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet


Barnes & Noble’s Incompatible Non-Universal ePub

December 21, 2009

I don’t know why this should shock anybody.

Still, it makes the PDF press release [PDF link] title all the more ironic:

Adobe and Barnes & Noble Join Forces to Standardize eBook Technology

By standardizing on EPUB and collaborating with Adobe on a content protection standard based on Adobe technology, Barnes & Noble is delivering the richest range of content available, across a broader array of devices than anybody else,” said William J. Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com. “Consumers can feel confident that when they buy their digital content from BN.com, they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Let me parse this.

By standardizing on EPUB — ah, good! Everyone except Kindle is on the same page now. ePub for everybody! You can buy ePub here, there, and even everywhere — at Barnes & Noble and all other ePub-pusher storefronts — and it will run on anything that uses ePub.

Um, no.

Because of this:

they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore — the key words are devices and bookstore. Meaning, those devices must run the software of the bookstore, meaning Barnes & Noble.

Which then makes the next sentence in that press release an outright lie:

This collaboration with Adobe further delivers on our commitment to provide the digital content our customers want, anytime, anywhere and on whatever device they choose.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

What if I choose a Sony Reader? Or a Cooler? Or Astak?

Out of luck.

Because of this:

Adobe is integrating Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology into Adobe Content Server, Adobe Reader Mobile SDK and, eventually, into Adobe Digital Editions.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology — this is the eReader DRM feature, which places the eBook buyer’s name and credit card number in the eBook file. So, if you pass that file on, there’s your name and credit card number for everyone to see.

No other device aside from the Nook and those running the Barnes & Noble eReader software can deal with this form of DRM.

ePubs purchased at Barnes & Noble will “stay in Barnes & Noble.”

The only hope is that as other manufacturers — Sony, et al — update their device firmware, they will add this method of DRM to it.

It’s not just device firmware, either: Adobe Digital Editions and Sony Library will both require updating too to handle this.

In summary: The Nook can read ePub with the special (for now) Barnes & Noble “social DRM” as well as all other Adobe DRM ePub files (from public libraries or bought even from Sony’s Reader Store). The reverse is not true: No device other than the Nook right now can process the new “social DRM” scheme the Nook uses.

When will ePub again be “universal?” Adobe says by the end of 2010.

How’s that for a hell of a wait?

Additional:

Customer FAQ: Adobe and Barnes & Noble


Barnes & Noble Nook 1.1.0: Liza Reports

December 21, 2009

Nook 1.1.0 firmware update report

Opening The People of the Abyss still takes a long time (about 30 seconds, enough that I initially thought it wasn’t going to work at all). Jumping into a chapter takes long enough that I get an OS-level error saying that the application is stalled (answering “wait” will eventually work).

* Going backwards into a previous chapter still shows no loading message, when loading can take time.
* Moving between chapters in this edition still takes 20-30 seconds.

It’s still sub-optimal.

I hope to have another post related to this sometime today.

Previously here:

Barnes & Noble Nook Vs. Archos 5 Internet Tablet: Round Two
Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet


Barnes & Noble Nook: LCD Trueview

December 21, 2009

A major selling point of the Barnes & Noble Nook is that color LCD screen.

Look at how sharp those cover thumbnails look!

In person, it’s less than fantastic.

This is a reduction of a large JPEG provided by Barnes & Noble, to make it just about the same size as the Nook’s true-life LCD display:

Even that would be pretty good.

However, this is what that Nook LCD really displays:

So, even if you can get color cover thumbnails, don’t expect them to be all sharp and pretty as the simulated pictures have been leading everyone to believe!