eBook Notes For Tuesday October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

Women, Gays Apparently Ruining Sci-Fi For the Rest of Us
— which critiques this post:

The War on Science Fiction and Marvin Minsky
— which actually does raise one interesting point here:

What has happened is that science fiction on television has for the most part become indistinguishable from most other television shows which are written for women filled with moronic relationship drama.

Lifetime in Space!

Twitter’s unlawful Newsom contribution

Does being on Twitter’s SUL constitute a non-monetary contribution? YES.

Twitter is providing this free service to Gavin Newsom, a declared candidate for governor. Newsom uses Twitter to send his Twitter followers links to his campaign website and to campaign news stories promoting his candidacy.

It would be personally very satisfying to me to see the children who (mis-)run Twitter meet the real world of real-life consequences. I hope they get a big fat fine for this.

Remixing the Book

We’ve always had abridged versions and “selected-essays-from” and audio versions and made-for-TV adaptations. But in a more open rights schema (say, Creative Commons licensing), there is something thrilling about the idea that dedicated readers – the most engaged of all stakeholders, beyond the original writer & editor – might legitimately improve texts for certain audiences.

I’m both intrigued and horrified by this idea. Several weeks ago I was mulling over how I really hate fantasy novels — I just can’t get into them with their bizarre names and use of magic or other such things. Beneath that veneer, however, could lurk an actually good story. It crossed my mind that such writers might want to consider remixing their own works for fantasy-averse people like me. Take away the weird names and the other things I find too alienating and set it in the present day. The King becomes, say, a CEO or just The Boss, the magic becomes a lawsuit or some other real-world device … and now not only does the writer quickly have a second book out there, but one that might even attract me and others like me.

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eBooks Notes For Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8, 2009

Three interesting blogs:

Don’t Publish Me!

The living diary of what it takes to get published…or not. Writing, obtaining representation, getting a publisher, and achieving fame and fortune. Fortune without fame would be preferable, since my kid is going to private school this fall.

29 Jobs and a Million Lies

This is the story of my 29 Jobs, fraught with a Million Lies. And some very stupid decisions, lucky tricks, and altogether silly outlooks.

Ditchwalk

To understand and pursue the craft, art and business of storytelling in the digital age.

Since Twitter has been having its usual vapors (worth a billion dollars? what drugs are you people on?), many of the eBook/book news tweets I’d run there will be here instead, below, after the break.

Click for the non-tweeted news


eBook Notes For Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 7, 2009

Foxconn said to be tapped to make Apple tablet PC, shipments expected to begin in 1Q10

The sources indicated they believe the tablet PC features will focus more on e-book functionality rather than music, and that based on Apple’s marketing strategy, long battery life, quick Internet connectivity and an easy-to-use user interface will be key features of the device.

I really feel sorry for all those people who are requesting a Kindle for Christmas.

doubleTwist Unveils An Alternative To The iTunes Music Store, Powered By Amazon MP3

Today, doubleTwist has revealed what it means by that: doubleTwist now includes an integrated Music Store, powered by Amazon’s MP3 Store. But unlike iTunes, this app will let you transfer your files to non-Apple devices.

And:

In fact, it’s probably safe to say that the new doubleTwist music store is actually easier to use to download music than iTunes is, simply because there’s so much less going on.

Apple really needs librarians. The entire iTunes Store is a complete mess.

QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project

ZXing (pronounced “zebra crossing”) is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java. Our focus is on using the built-in camera on mobile phones to photograph and decode barcodes on the device, without communicating with a server.

Although QR codes are for print, I’ve seen flyers stuck on lampposts in New York City that use them.

The Periodic Table of Typefaces

The Periodic Table of Typefaces is obviously in the style of all the thousands of over-sized Periodic Table of Elements posters hanging in schools and homes around the world. This particular table lists 100 of the most popular, influential and notorious typefaces today.

If such a table was done for eInk-based eBook readers, it’d be very, very small.

HTML5 assault on Adobe Flash heats up with ClickToFlash

ClickToFlash allows Safari users to isolate Flash content on the web so that it only plays when they choose to allow it. Flash content is replaced with a bounding box that enables the user to ignore the item (such as with ads) or to click the placeholder to activate Flash playback as desired.

Additionally, the plugin can convert requests for YouTube Flash videos into requests for higher quality H.264 videos, allowing desktop users to bypass Flash the same way the iPhone does, and simply play any YouTube videos using the browser’s own built-in HTML5 support for direct H.264 playback.

Just when you think the world has devolved into Apple vs. Google vs. Adobe, the users themselves jump in to kick everyone’s asses.

New app turns iPhone into psalm pilot

Just watch the video:

“EBook Publishing Site Sees Huge Growth in Submissions”

Books are submitted to abook2read as email attachments to admin@abook2read.com and are read and fully assessed within 28 days. If accepted, the author is then invited to get involved in the creation of their eCover for their eBook and write both the description and biography that appears on the site. There are no charges to any of our authors and they receive 30% of net publisher’s revenue, which on a Pounds Sterling 3.50 book after Pay-pal charges and V.A.T is 82 pence per down-load.



eBook Notes For September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

Cool-er ‘confident’ it can beat Sony’s e-reader sales in UK

After a few months in the market, worldwide sales of the Cool-er (which costs £189 in the UK) have surpassed seven figures, he says.

“I came into this market thinking we would be a comfortable number three in the US, and a comfortable number two in the UK,” Jones says. “Now I’m pretty confident we’ll be number two in America by this time next year in terms of sales, and number one in the UK.”

I don’t believe that at all. I don’t believe Cool-er has sold a million of those plastic PVI fall-apart crap units. Sony has been at it for years and hasn’t broken a half-million worldwide yet. And Sony has done massive advertising (mainly print and signage). Cool-er comes out of nowhere and surpasses Sony? No way.

Big plans for next gen COOL-ER ereader

Marketing director Phil Wood told me that the company had big plans for January 2010. While dual screens certainly aren’t on the company’s road map, a larger colour screen certainly is. The company is also considering working with a UK mobile phone network to add communication/data transfer facilities. This would enable users to download books over the air (which could be a nice little earner for a mobile phone network) as well as enable the COOL-ER to moonlight as a web browser.

Cool-er is very good at playing the PR game. But believing their PR is a fool’s game.

e-Book Readers Learning Their ABCs
Bite Sized Candy, PixelMags, Plastic Logic, ScrollMotion, and Sony Electronics become members of the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Where is Exact Editions, which also does magazines?

ebooks are the future

My own books sell better in Amazon Kindle editions than any other format. The print editions of my books are produced primarily through Print-On-Demand technology. There has been a print run and I do have a few boxes of books at my house, ready to sell to people at conventions or post out when people want or win a signed copy and stuff like that. But more ebooks sell than print books. Not only Amazon Kindle, but multi-format, non-DRM editions through Smashwords.com. And soon, Smashwords will be acting as a distributor for Barnes & Noble, so that means Smashwords editions become available in places like Fictionwise too. My novels are also available as ebooks on DriveThru.com, where you can get both RealmShift and MageSign for US$5 all up. Ebook popularity and sales are skyrocketing.

I wish he had provided sales numbers for POD vs eBook.

E-Ink Developers Pitch Color Displays for 2010

Sriram Peruvemba of E-ink, whose technology is in most of the e-readers currently shipping, said there are now more than 45 e-book models available worldwide from over 25 makers, with millions of units sold.

Peruvemba said he expected color would be important for some applications (and is particularly need for advertising) and said he expected mass production of color displays to be started by the end of next year. He said the current display has a 250 ms response time and about a 6:1 contrast ratio, but that would be improved next year.

End of 2010? Come on, by that time there will have to be Pixel Qi screens out there already in use.

Tree-books to e-books
— a good critique of that eejitastic Cushing Academy that is dumping print books for eBooks. If I had a kid studying there, I’d pull him out because someone in charge has lost his mind.

OverDrive Offers Free Mobile Phone App For Wireless Downloads

Digital content distributor OverDrive is releasing the first in a series of free mobile applications that will allow consumers with mobile phones running the Windows Mobile operating system to download audiobooks, video and music wirelessly from libraries and retailers.

I’ve never used OverDrive Media Console. I’m not fond of audiobooks. I could try video, but I’ve already got a backlog of that which I can play immediately without having to download yet another app. It will be interesting to see this move to the iPhone, HTC Hero, and Palm Pre/Pixi, however.

Publisher Marion Boyars driven out of business

One of the UK’s most adventurous independent publishers, Marion Boyars, is being forced out of business after more than 40 years by the adverse climate of today’s book trade.

The publisher of authors including Ken Kesey, Georges Bataille, Nobel prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, Ivan Illich and Shel Silverstein, Marion Boyars said this morning that it had sold licences in 38 literary titles to Penguin Classics, and that it would be winding down its operations once it has completed its autumn programme.

Another print firm goes belly-up.

Books? What we need is Comes with Books

Long term readers of All About Symbian will know that I’m a sucker for eBooks on my mobile phone, and Steve was quick to point out that a number of titles had popped up as standalone eBooks in the Ovi store from OffScreen Technologies (a veritable factory of little utilities in the store) and would I like to take a look at them and see if this is the right way forward? Read on…

I liked the exchange of Comments:

What we need is a Kindle app for S60, just like we have now a Kindle app for the iPhone.

Reply:

I’m sure that 3 people who use Symbian in USA will be happy about Amazon developping Symbian app for their USA only service.

That reads like a Comment I would leave, but honest, guv, I was nowhere near the scene of that crime!

Seven Seas’ Manga Titles Come to the Amazon Kindle

(LOS ANGELES, September 9, 2009) – Seven Seas is pleased to announce the release of three of its top-selling original manga series on the Amazon Kindle and through the iPhone/iTouch’s “Kindle for iPhone” application. Amazing Agent Luna Vol. 1-5, Aoi House Vol. 1-2, and Aoi House In Love! Vol. 1-2, along with Christopher Rowley’s Arkham Woods, are now available on the Kindle at the extra low price of $3.50 per volume (200 pages each), making Seven Seas’ Kindle editions the lowest priced manga from any publisher.

“The pricing of our eBooks was a really important point for us as we wanted to make our digital titles affordable. Print editions represent a higher value to today’s consumer, so we decided to price digital editions realistically, and set them several dollars lower than their hard copy counterparts. Digital content should be more of a low cost impulse buy, where you pick something up and can enjoy the heck out of it for a few hours,” says Adam Arnold, Senior Editor with Seven Seas Entertainment. “If Kindle eBooks are successful, then we’ll look into releasing more titles in this format, including some of our best-selling Japanese series.”

I wonder if they can tell how many downloads are to K hardware and how many are to the K iPhone app? It’s also interesting that they deliberately priced the electronic versions lower than print. The devaluation of eBooks continues.

Ten reasons businesses should buy e-readers
— and just about every single one of them is a real stretch.

The iPod Is Dead: Why the days of the dedicated music player have come and gone.

This is the killer quote:

If you pile on features in an elegant way—if you keep the interface comprehensible and make sure the parts work well together—then feature creep becomes feature nirvana.

Here’s a clue: no feature creep is possible with the Axis of E: eInk, ePub, eBook. Period. Remember how Steve Jobs wins.

What Is a Book?

The bigger question is: what is a book for. And are there better ways to help a “book” do what it’s supposed to do?


Random Notes For September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

These will not seem eBook-related, but they are.

American Fork teen author on verge of making it big time: High school senior signs a 10-book deal.

When M’Lin finished her second book, her mother, author Deborah Rowley, who wrote Family Home Evening for Newlyweds and other books , submitted the two roughly 70-page chapter-books aimed at children ages 6-10 to her publisher.

Assuming the books were penned by the elder Rowley, Schoebinger skipped the cover letter. He read both books and wanted to publish them before he realized the writer was a high school student.

“At first I thought [Deborah Rowley] was kidding me,” said Schoebinger of his reaction to learning the author’s true identity.

The books were polished and the dialogue was realistic — and yet, Schoebinger acknowledges he likely would have rejected the books because of a prejudice against young writers.

Celia Fremlin: author who wrote The Hours Before Dawn

Her first book, The Hours Before Dawn (1958) won the American Edgar Prize for best crime novel. It was reprinted as a Virago Modern Classic almost 40 years later, in acknowledgement not just of her ability to create an atmosphere of simmering fear and wickedness amid the trivia of daily life, but also of the meticulously observed dilemma of her heroine, a young wife so exhausted by her baby’s interminable crying that she is persuaded that her fears are psychotic.

There’s another book to put in my queue to read.

A review of Bob Garfield’s “The Chaos Scenario”

Garfield offers several examples of the power of the consumer, arguing that future success will be “Listenomics.” His campaign against Comcast forced them off the cliff to dive into using the internet for CRM. Jeff Jarvis’s campaign against DELL also converted DELL into an internet CRM activist. A Lego user group helped to turn around the company. A passionate I-Pod user’s viral video was seen by Millions. All of these examples have one thing in common: they were spontaneous, authentic engagements, initiated by consumers. Brands who responded were rewarded.

And then there’s this, which shows that things never change —

As someone I read said recently (and I apologize for the lack of attribution and the paraphrase), “I see lots of great thinking but not a lot of demand for it.”

— never change for those determined to be losers!

Crowdsourcing strategy

At its annual meeting on September 9, the Book Industry Study Group announced plans to provide its members with an annotated summary of major, minor and desired initiatives, a list that currently exceeds 100 items. BISG plans to give every member “points” to allocate to desired or favorite initiatives, with the expectation that the collective will correctly and sustainably help BISG divine strategy.
However, the wisdom of crowds is best used to solve problems that are bounded. If the question or choice is narrow enough, individual members of the crowd can reasonably understand and embody the context in which decisions can be made.

They’re No Bodice Rippers, But Amish Romances Are Hot

Beverly Lewis, who sets her novels among the Amish in Pennsylvania, has sold 13.5 million copies of her books. Wanda Brunstetter’s novels take place in Amish communities in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania, and have sold more than four million copies. Publishing house Thomas Nelson plans to release five Amish novels this fall, and six more in 2010.

Barnes & Noble book buyer Jane Love said Amish novels currently account for 15 of the chain’s top 100 religious fiction titles. “It’s almost like you put a person with a bonnet or an Amish field in the background and it automatically starts to sell well,” Ms. Love said.

Via olympiapress on Twitter:

Isidore Liseux and
let’s get liseuse recognized as a real word

the book: terms of service

I. Privacy

What takes place in the exchange between your brain and the contents of The Book is your exclusive private concern. The Book will never download the contents of your brain, either whole or in part.

SiriusXM BookRadio

The best of books … Feel the drama. Live the suspense. Hear the story unfold.

I didn’t know they had that.

Ten typographic mistakes everyone makes

Grammar nazis are so last century. Welcome, friends, to the brave new world of the typography nazi. Below are ten mistakes that everyone makes, an explanation of why each is wrong, and details on how to fix them. At least, you’ll see how to fix them on the Mac; under Windows, you’ll need to dig through tables of Alt characters. Have fun.

Nathan Myhrvold’s Evil Genius

Last year I wrote that Intellectual Ventures is a kind of reductio ad absurdum of our flawed patent system. It’s a firm that literally does nothing useful, its only business is the acquisition and licensing of patents. Not only does it have no intention of commercializing the technologies it “invents,” its business model is based on minimizing the amount of research performed per patent obtained. In Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant (if inadvertent) exposé of IV, he describes how IV hires smart people to participate in brainstorming sessions and then has patent lawyers immediately file patent applications for every idea that comes up during the discussion, without bothering to actually implement any of them, or even devoting much effort to verifying that they actually work. IV then approaches firms that are doing the hard work of implementing “their” ideas and demands a cut of their profits.

Mhyrvold is a physicist. He should be doing authentic work on things like superconductive batteries, not being a Patent Pimp.

If You Printed The Internet …
— but don’t even try!