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.

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Guy, The Bookstores Are Already Dead

December 30, 2009

Fight for the public libraries.

Previously at Mike Cane 2008:

For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!

Previously here:

Two Down, One To Go…
Two Sentences From The Future
The Horror Of Paper Books
The Loudness Of Dust Settling

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?


Customer FAQ: Adobe and Barnes & Noble

Notes For Monday December 7, 2009

December 7, 2009

As the economy continues to tighten, I wandered around the Net for some information about books and hard times.

Presented here, without regard to accuracy, is what I found.

[A] lot of small companies — mine included — started in the teeth of a recession. It’s easier to start a business than look for a job at the start of a recession. People still buy things, but companies are reluctant to take on the cost of an employee when revenue prospects are uncertain.Posted by Susan Nov 11, 2008

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The Coolest Place Near You!

December 6, 2009

Quote: Steve Haber Of Sony

October 23, 2009

The Future of Reading: Learning From the Past to Thrive in the Future

[T]he purchasing process for eBooks must be simple, ownership needs to be permanent, file standards should be universal, and devices should support public libraries so that everyone has access to free content.

He’ll be in Boston. This is what he looks like:


Bring your Sony Reader and a Sharpie. Have him autograph it.

Writers: You Can’t Have ALL The Money

October 22, 2009

No one can.


I thought the Authors Guild were a pack of eejits. It turns out some of my fellow unaffiliated writers are too.

Click to see how

The Price Of Public Library eBooks

October 11, 2009

Robin Bradford Guest Post – Audiobook & E-book Pricing

It seems like the library ebook market is going to follow the bad example set by library edition audiobooks. I recently (like, over the weekend) bought a Sony ereader. I love it, by the way. It hasn’t made me love print books any less, which could become a point of personal budget angst for me, but I do love ebook reading so far. I went to the Sony ebook store, and saw the aforementioned Dan Brown’s newest for $9.99! I had just bought copies for the library through Overdrive and paid $29.99/copy. Yes. $29.99. Same book. Same format. I looked for more books and the prices were similar. Overdrive charges hardcover price for ebooks. Now, all this is going to do is make me not buy new hardcover books in ebook format for the library.. After all, I already bought 300 print copies, 20 large print copies, 20 audio copies (of which I need to buy more as there are over 250 hold requests for the audio version) and 5 downloadable audio and 5 ebook versions of this book.

I didn’t wonder about this until today. Now I know.

God Bless All Librarians

October 2, 2009

Boy Lifts Book; Librarian Changes Boy’s Life

“Then she realized what my situation was — that I could not let anybody know I was reading.

Grady told Neal she decided that if he was showing an interest in books, “she and Mrs. Saunders would drive to Memphis and find another one for me to read — and they would put it in the exact same place where the one I’d taken was.”

So, every time Neal decided to take a book home, the pair would set off to the city to find another book for him.

“You’ve got to understand that this was not an easy matter then — because this is 1957 and ’58,” Neal said. “And black authors were not especially available, No. 1. And No. 2, Frank Yerby was not such a widely known author. And No. 3, they had to drive all the way to Memphis to find it.

Bold emphasis added by me.

Think of that the next time your city or town wants to close the public or school library.

Librarians are agents of God who walk the earth.

Previously here:

“Public Libraries … [Are] Houses Of Death”