Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Reason For Public Library eBooks

Chicago doubling its library fines
Starting Jan. 1, the Chicago Public Library will double the daily fine for overdue library books to 20 cents instead of the current dime. If you return the book very late, you'll face a top fine of $10 instead of $5. Lose a book and you'll still have to pay the full replacement cost.

The new fine will be in the same range as other major urban library systems. The New York Public Library charges 25 cents a day, while the fee is 30 cents in Los Angeles and 15 cents in Seattle.

eBooks borrowed from public libraries go POOF! when they expire. They check out, but never have to be checked back in.

Free reading without fines.

Penguin Books Does iPhone App

I'm not able to wrap my head around this one.

First, the posts that led me to it:

Readerville: Penguin Embraces the iPhone; Amazon Does Not?

INDEX // mb: Penguin US Launches iPhone App

Here's some snaps from its iTunes App Store listing:

Readerville notes:
[. . .] the notion of being able to download books directly from publishers is almost mind-bending.

Well, that's what Sony has in mind for the wireless version of its Sony Reader.

As for me, I find this app to be very strange. I really don't know what to make of it. It's like they've set up a "Penguin Books Channel" on the iPhone. Will other publishers do this too? That'd pretty much be a nightmare, having to launch separate apps for each publisher. Isn't that what Safari Bookmarks and well-designed websites are supposed to provide?

As it is, there are now multiple eBook readers and multiple comic book readers available for the iPhone. Each app does things its own way and can -- in most cases -- only read files formatted for it. What Teleread's David Rothman justifiably calls the "Tower of eBabel" has gained a few new floors with the iPhone.

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print: CHOOSE!

Over at Kung-Fu Monkey, Leverage co-creator/producer John Rogers posted: Streaming Mac to 360: Rivet.

It's all about how on-demand streaming video via the Net is not the future -- it's right now.

This coincidentally dovetails nicely with my recent DVD epiphany.

And there's one paragraph that I must quote:
The tone of voice when I talk about these things tend to be a disdainful "Well, sure but how are we supposed to monetize this?" Right question, wrong tone. We. Don't. Have. A. Choice.

Emphasis added by me.

The music industry has been usurped by technology. Now television has been too. And movies.

The one remaining industry is book publishing.

Google has already stolen all of the historical backlist.

All that's left is recent and not yet published.

It's as if the book publishing industry was situated on a giant iceberg -- which suddenly cracked apart, leaving publishers on a precarious floe.

Over there in a big rescue ship are eBook readers screaming, "We'll save you! Just publish eBooks quickly and at reasonable prices!!!"

On the other side are the pirates on a self-built makeshift archipelago in international waters free from all law enforcement. They don't care what book publishers do. They have worldwide distributed teams with scanners and free proofreaders ready to "set everything free."

And on the horizon are writers themselves in small boats trying to figure out how to best survive on their own, liberated from the constraints of ink-and-paper publishing.

Book publishing -- unlike music, unlike TV, unlike movies -- Still. Has. A. Choice.

Will it allow eBook readers to rescue it?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Converting Kids Print Book To eBook

It is entirely coincidental I have three posts in a row about Amazon! Unless there's a conspiracy "in the air" against me ...

Kindle-izing a Kid’s Book
Ten days ago, we took on a project to convert a kid’s book for the Amazon Kindle. This one had quite a few detailed graphics and used many different, specialized fonts to set off particular sections, highlight key pieces, and provide highly graphical chapter opening pages. Problem is, Kindle only supports one font (a Times variant).

What to do?

There's more text and some screensnaps!

More Amazon eBook Nightmare Talk

Kindle Gossip
I think they’d be better of licensing the library. Kindle software on the iphone and the Sony Reader and the Dell Mini and the whatever with access to an ever expanding Amazon e-book library makes more sense than trying to version 2 of the ugly stick.

OK, now I'm getting worried.

I'm a big believer of things "being in the air" -- that people can pick up what's about to happen.

This is the second post speculating like this in the past few days. (I just posted: Amazon eBook Rentals?!)

Is something like this going to happen in 2009?!

Amazon eBook Rentals?!

Amazon to Sell Online Mobile Rentals??
Has the Kindle 2 release been delayed for commercial, technical or strategic reasons? Why would Amazon miss out on the Christmas season sales?

Perhaps the answer is down to a change in strategy. Perhaps the explosion of smartphone applications has fired a shot across their bow and woken them up to the fact that maybe; just maybe, the kindle isn’t and never will be sexy or cover all the bases. No matter how many Ophra endorsements are given it’s still a clunky device which will find it hard justify the consumer investment. Maybe Amazon has realized that if there is a significant mobile swing and the world goes online as opposed to offline they are in a better position than anybody to take that market, or at least go head to head with the potentially biggest ebook retailer – Google.

Let’s step back and look at potential Amazonian moves. These may be far from the reality of what happens but they could happen:

Amazon introduces a Kindle mobile application for the major mobile platforms.

Amazon promotes an online book service based on their mobi format.

Amazon smartens up the Kindle reader and make it interoperable with the online service.

Amazon offers online rentals for both kindle and mobiles.

He's not the first to wonder about a Kindle reading app for cellphones. But he's speculated several puzzle pieces others haven't.

A move like this would be positively ... Microsoftian.

Suddenly, the Sony Reader -- and all others -- would be stranded.

Words that strike fear into everyone's hearts: Kindle eBook Reader for iPhone!

eBooks: Studying Vs. Reading

This post is from August but the Comment to it raises an important point.

Med Students: Would a College Edition of Kindle be Worth it?

From the Comment:
When I study, I usually have four or five open books in front of me with only a glance needed to go between one of the other, all marked up, with my notes as well. Studying on a Kindle just doesn’t add up to this.

That being said, I would definitely buy such a device for the times when it is really called for, i.e., a long plane flight where you might want to take a few books but don’t want to carry around 25 extra pounds, etc.

He's right. Look at this:

the dual-display ebook reader project

It's been a long time since I had to deal with textbooks, but that Comment brought back memories of -- yep! -- having more than one book open at a time.

Subliminally, perhaps that's why I focus on eBooks for personal entertainment use. It'd really be hell to jump between multiple texts on all current eInk devices.

Of course, Study Tables would be great ...

SharePoint Nick Meets eBook Pricing

Sony eBook Reader
So although there are no storage, transport, shelf or shop staff costs for ebooks, you actually have to pay more for them!!!

Ridiculous! If the ebooks were half the price of the paper books I’d buy one without thinking but while the ebook prices are this way they can *%$* off!

Will the dying dinosaurs of print keep trying to tell people their common sense personal observations are out of whack?

Hey, dying dinosaurs, these are the people who want to buy your eBooks.

Just not at the ridiculous prices you've been setting!

Previously here:

eBook Pricing 101: The Magic Formula
eBooks And Pricing

Writer David Hewson Meets Sony Reader

Author meets the future: how electronic is it?
[L]et’s say it out loud, reading on screen just isn’t the same.

At least not on a conventional flat screen, which the Sony very much does not have. I won’t bore you with the technology but it is nothing like the flat screen in your TV or computer monitor. This is a kind of electronic ink. A tedious fact in itself were it not for two things: it actually looks very good indeed, sharp and very much like real text. And it has no backlight so the Sony uses no power whatsoever when you are simply reading a page -- only when you ‘turn’ to a new one.

How close to paper is it? Very close, particularly in bright daylight (when most electronic screens are utterly readable). The background isn’t as white a you’d expect, and you can’t see much in dark situations where a laptop would be very readable. But it’s a lot better than I expected, and I was quite happy flicking through books very quickly with it indeed.

So there’s the first lesson I learned about the Sony. You need to see it to believe it. Prejudices, for or again, really don’t count for much because this is quite unlike anything else you’ve ever encountered before.

Here’s the second big surprise: the size and feel of the thing. It’s tiny, little bigger than a paperback book, beautifully made, with a sturdy and expensive-looking satin metal shell encased in a cover that feels very like brown leather (which it isn’t). I’ve seen other book readers and they all, let’s be frank, look like calculators that have spent too long in McDonalds. The Sony isn’t plasticky, doesn’t shout ‘geek’ and feels very, very nice in the hand.

This is the first part of what promises to be several installments.

eBooks Vs. ePrint

eBooks and Digital Editions
All the Exact Editions publications already work on the iPhone, all our pages are web pages, so its not in our plans to develop a comparable solution for fungible text. We think (and more important Google Book Search thinks) that pages and page lay-out matters. This 'conservative' or 'post modernist', 'hyper-referential' preference comes with predilections for colour, illustrations, complex layout, paginated references and citations. All the gorgeous apparatus of print that is lost when books, magazines and newspapers are boiled down to a simple ASCII/XML stream.


Hardware Standards Proliferating
The very diversity of these devices will make it impractical for publishers to create different versions of their properties for different platforms. Rather than re-format and re-package content for devices with varying interfaces and form factors, much better to offer a digital edition that can be served and used through any valid web browser. Let the browser take the strain as Apple have done so magnificently well with the new Safari on the iPhone. Safari defeats the small scale of the screen by allowing web pages and images to be squeezed and slid around within the browser.

Just when I think, "At last! ePub! A standard! We can all move forward now!", comes Exact Editions offering another counter-argument.

I'd like to Fast Forward five or ten years from now to see what everything has settled on.

Bye-Bye Borders = Hello eBooks!

Publishing Models, Translations, and the Financial Collapse (Part 8)
If Borders were to go bankrupt — and this is still an if — it would be one of the greatest catastrophes to hit the publishing world in decades. Even after liquidating as much stock as possible, publishers would receive massive returns, millions of dollars would be lost, and going forward, publishers would have 1,100 fewer stores to sell to.

All the more reason for every publisher -- big and small -- to ante up and really, truly bet on eBooks.

No returns.

And with the Sony Reader's vision of wireless to come, publishers (and writers!) can set up their own stores to sell their own eBooks.

Sure, people can still order print books from Amazon -- but do publishers really want Jeff Bezos to have a second hand around their necks?

With the right marketing, eBooks can fill the gap: The Bookstore Comes Home. (Note, I do not consider that good marketing, but it is one of the points that should be made, I think.)

ECTACO jetBook At Blowout Price!

Teleread reports the ECTACO jetBook is $100 off at Newegg, making it now hit the Golden Spot of $199.00 for an eBook reading device.

I wrote about the jetBook in two posts: Micro Fondle: ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader and in More About That ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader.

Since then, ECTACO has announced ePub and MobiPocket support will be coming:
With The International Digital Publishing Forum newly released EPUB specification format based on XML, this is the new standard for eBook production and leading eBook device manufacturers.

Ectaco announced that the jetBook eBook reader will support both - most popular in US MobiPocket format and open EPUB format in Q1,2009. Many professionals think that this event will make jetBook the greatest eBook reading platform in the US and Europe

-- but what's unclear here is whether the current hardware will support it. Also unclear is whether it will suppoort DRMed ePub and MobiPocket files.

Buyers of the original Sony Reader PRS-500 had to trade-in that model for $100 towards the PRS-505, because the 500 hardware could not support ePub and PDF reflow.

So while $199 is an absolutely great price (especially when ECTACO's own "holiday sale price" is $309.95), it still might not get any capability beyond what it currently offers.

ECTACO jetBook website

Free eBook From Zoe Winters

A PDF file available here.

Also at that post, details of other file formats coming shortly.

Note to Zoe and all others: I need big covers. Something at least 440-pixels wide for blog pimpage here.

Second Free Charlie Huston eBook!

It's in PDF format and the link is at the bottom of this post.

Previously here:

Where’s The Next Free Charlie Huston eBook?
Free eBook By Charlie Huston!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BeBook Gets A Review

E-book review: Long term test of the BeBook
E-books are still a topic that manage to enrage the nation. Half are for, half are against, and most feel the price isn't justified. But is either side right? And if you take into consideration the price of an average book, surely paying a one off fee for an e-device that comes with literally thousands free to download isn't such a bad deal? I've been road testing the BeBook, and can now present to you my findings. And it's love.


This is one area the BeBook really excels in as it reads around 25 formats. I've opened lit files, JPEG's PDF's and txt files with absolutely no problem and have placed RSS feeds on it by syncing it up via USB to MobiPocket. I'm impressed it supports the DRM protected formats such as Microsoft Lit and Mobipocket as that places it heads and shoulders above its competitor, the [Sony] Reader -- which I'll get too soon.

The thing about both Microsoft LIT and MobiPocket file formats are that they are legacy. They're less likely to be around now that major publishers have agreed to support the ePub file format. I suppose the BeBook would be useful for people who already have a very expensive investment in those formats. But I think it'd be worth the effort to violate the DMCA and rip those eBooks to another format.

And then this:
I like how the BeBook site includes an online library that's free to download, even though the books are a selection of old classics.

Well, here's some Show and Tell. This is what the BeBook-formatted PDF of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes looks like:

That is just gruesome formatting! It's the worst kind of amateurism.

I always use this story as an eBook formatting litmus test because Conan Doyle rarely used italics in his stories and in this one, "the" is critical. Here it is capitalized. Rubbish!

It continues with this bit:
The Sony Reader needs to be mentioned as it's the main player on the UK eBook market. So how does it compare? Well it's certainly more stylish to look at and has 12 shades of eInk compared to the BeBook's 4. On the downside, it's heavier, bigger and books are locked to DRM. That's probably the crucial factor at the moment and why the BeBook is worth the extra £30.

What? £30 more for something that can't do ePub? That can't borrow eBooks from public libraries (something which will be coming even to the UK, if it hasn't already)? Double rubbish! And there are DRM-free ePub eBooks available. (And by the way, the Sony Reader has 8 shades of gray, not 12.)

eBook Holiday-Buying Recommendations

25 e-books to buy before Christmas
We’ve all had a good look at books, and frankly, they’re outdated. All that paper is SO eco-unfriendly, and packing 10 John Grisham thrillers into the holiday suitcase takes up valuable space for more important sombreros.

E-book readers help solve all these problems, and we’ve trekked through the virtual internet library to see the best tomes on offer (we even got shushed by the robot librarian).

This is from the British magazine T3, so every eBook might not be available for purchase elsewhere. But it's still an interesting list to read. They do a bit of cheating, though, by including four free eBooks.

There's also this: Death match: Sony Reader PRS-505 VS Iliad Book Edition

Really, do I have to announce the winner? Moi?

Stanza: 40,000 eBooks A Day!

40,000 E-Books a Day
40,000-a-day. That's how many e-books are getting downloaded through Stanza, the simple e-book platform for the iPhone/iPod. I've got 35 of them sitting on my iPod. All of them free, public domain or creative commons, and DRM-free.

40,000-a-day. If you are a publisher, think long and hard about that number.

The reason I have 35 books downloaded onto my Stanza is: a) it is easy, b) it is free.

What does this mean for your business model? I don't know, but I assure you that when I finish War & Peace, I'll be buying a hard copy. And I also assure you: I love reading on that little thing.

Emphasis added by me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An Entire Site For Free eBooks!

eBooks Just Published

Welcome to eBooks Just Published

My name is Mark Gladding and I’m the founder of a small software startup, Tumbywood Software, based in Melbourne, Australia. Over the last couple of years I’ve become an enthusiastic reader of eBooks. During this time I’ve read many books from sites like Project Gutenburg and The Baen Free Library. I’ve also stumbled across gems from the likes of Cory Doctorow (Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town & Little Brother), Bob Walsh (MicroISV Sites that Sell), Stephane Grenier (How to Generate Traffic to Your Website), Seth Godin (Unleashing the Idea Virus), Zen Habits (Zen Habits Handbook) and Steve Jordan (As the Mirror Cracks) to name but a few.

I’ve discovered there’s a lot of great eBooks being published all the time by independent authors. Unfortunately they’re not always that easy to find. Doing a search for ‘new eBooks‘ returns results for a few eBook sites, many of which don’t have new eBooks at all. Instead they are full of expensive, DRM-protected eBooks that are locked to your PC or mobile reader device. There are many reasons why DRM is a bad idea but personally I don’t like DRM because it prevents me from converting my eBooks to speech so I can listen to them on my iPod.

I wanted an easy way to find out about new DRM-free eBooks as they’re released. So I created this site where authors can announce their eBooks and readers like myself can subscribe and keep up to date with all the latest eBook releases.

Well, that trumps my puny efforts at mentioning free eBooks here.

I hope this will grow into a daily go-to site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writer Tobias Buckell: Free Novel Thirds

The first one-third of three of his novels -- Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, Sly Mongoose -- are available in RTF file format for free.

And best wishes for a speedy recovery.

-- via GalleyCat

Free Excerpts

Book View Café

From the FAQ:
What is Book View Café?

Book View Café is a cooperative site created by a group of writers who want to take advantage of the internet’s possibilities for reaching a wider audience and to distribute their work directly to their readers.

Is Book View Café a publisher?

No. We’re more like a co-op bookstore where all our member authors bring their work to sell, or to give away.

Who are the Book View Café members?

The members of Book View Café are all professional writers, representing the wide diversity of popular fiction.

Why did you decide to start Book View Café?

To provide you with access to our work in electronic form. Ideally, it would also provide you with a wider selection of fiction from some of your favorite authors than you've had before, and provide us a more direct link with our readers. Of course, we also wanted to take advantage of the internet to get the word out about our books.

That website design needs some work!

Sony Reader Gets PC Pro Cover

eBooks - the verdict
If you are a fan of digital magazines, eBooks may also spark an interest. Over the last year there has been a lot of talk about the eReader and we have seen the emergence of several different models boasting the ability to store a large amount of reading material in electronic format, in a portable device to read wherever and whenever you fancy.

This is a British print magazine which can also be bought as an electronic copy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sony eBook Store: Publishers Portal

Sony launched its redesigned eBook Store and wow -- look at this:

The Sony eBook Store Publishers Portal

Sony is taking steps towards adding publishers and direct-publishing writers!

Scraping the text:
Find a new world of readers at the eBook Store from Sony

Whether you're a tiny boutique operation or a mid-sized publisher already enjoying a wide readership, you can now sign up to have your books offered in the eBook Store from Sony.

Where to Begin?

If you would like to offer your titles in the eBook Store from Sony, please provide your company and catalogue information in the form to the right.* After you've signed up, we will send you an email when we launch our new self-publishing tools later this year.

Thank you in advance for giving us the opportunity to partner with you!

There's an entire form at the left side for submission information.

What intrigues me is this:
Which file format(s) can you provide for your books?

# Microsoft Word
# Other

One interesting thing right off: What is BBeB doing in there? No one outside of Sony (and perhaps its service bureau) has the tools to create BBeB! We peons (hey, Sony, that's how we've felt all these years!) have been limited to LRF.

What really really worries me is this:
* Submission of eBooks will require your company's agreement to enter a commercial relationship with Sony Connect Inc. that will be governed by the terms of Sony Connect's Distribution Agreement available for review and acceptance during the registration process once the Publisher Portal launches. Sony Connect reserves the right to not publish eBooks at its discretion.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, Sony! What the bloody hell is that?!!? Do you intend to be another Nanny State like Apple pulled with the App Store and comic books?!

I also object to the terminology there: Publish. Wait a minute! You're supposed to be a Store. Are you going to slap "Sony Press" on submissions?! Or do you intend to be the Sony eBook Store for Goddammed Disney-like Rainbows and Unicorns eBooks? Have any of you ever heard of Derek Raymond? You not going to "publish" him?!

How can any part of Sony claim to be on any sort of moral artbiter high horse when the two recent James Bond movies from Sony were some of the most foul, brutal, degrading, and disgusting things I've yet seen committed to film?

Let me refresh your holier-than-thou memory:

Don't get all moral with me, Sony! Not when you've "published" testicle torture as entertainment! And worse: Made it look like the "hero" actually enjoyed it! What kind of sick fuck shit is that?!

And now you're going to set yourself up as a gatekeeper to words?! Going to judge what letter combinations of A-through-Z are "acceptable" for people to see?

Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Lolita, and others sound familiar as precedent-setting "obscenity" cases?

In the 1960s, Sony, these Bond movies would have been slapped with X-ratings!

Where is your high ground?

Stop it.

You're a store. Disclaim correctly and fulfill the store role. Don't play Wal-Mart. That shit won't fly. eBooks are too important for that.

As it is, Apple is looking at a restraint of trade suit a few years down the road. Don't get in line behind them for that.

Remedial items for Sony Suits:

Grove Press
NPR: On the Media; Hot Off the Press

Previously here:

WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Three
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Two
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit!
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reference: Bookworm


This is apparently a service for uploading ePub eBooks so they can be accessed anywhere via the web via any device that can connect to the web.

It also offers an ePub file validation tool.

Eleven Free eBooks: Dragon Moon Press

Want to Read Dragon Moon Press books for Free?

These are the freebies, all in PDF format:

Alien Deception by Tony Ruggiero
Alien Revelation by Tony Ruggiero
Chalice of Life by Karen Anne Webb
Darwin's Paradox by Nina Munteanu
Lachlei by M. H. Bonham
Small Magics by Eric Buchanan
Sojoun by Jana G. Oliver FMBOTYA Editor's Choice Winner (Time Rovers BK1)
The Darkling Band by Jason Henderson
The Gryphon Highlord by Connie Ward (Gold Winner)
The Longevity Thesis by Jennifer Rahn
Virtual Evil by Jana G. Oliver (Time Rovers BK2)

-- via Twitter from johnottinger

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sony Reader PRS-700 Gets Reviewed

Lisa Gade of MobileTechReview: Sony Reader PRS-700

The issue of less screen contrast is raised.

I wonder if this is the first formal review?

-- via TeleRead

Free Blog eBook: Heavy Future

Chapter 1 - Part 1
We all knew it was going to happen; but we never really saw it coming. We upmodded it on reddit, we dugg it on digg, we saw it on CNN. We read about it in the New York Times, watched it on the discovery channel, the science channel, the learning channel, and the history channel, discussed it at our book clubs, heard about it from Oprah, talked about it around the water cooler, but not a one of us realized it was going to be this bad. We had gorged ourselves with information. We became so overfed with minutia, so fat with data that we had no room left for wisdom.

I like the hyperactivity of that opening.

Many, many typos in this bit. Ouch. The kind that spellcheckers let through without properly body-searching them ("heel" as "heal," for example).

I don't know how long this will be. It doesn't have The End tacked on the latest entry.

-- via Twitter from top_book

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DailyLit: Free Samples Of eBooks

DailyLit offers samples of eBooks -- of recently published books -- for free via email or RSS.

The deal is, after the free samples, if you want to continue with the book, you pay for it.

There are also classic eBooks which are entirely free and sent in installments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reference: Ultrapedia


Ultrapedia blog

I don't know what this is. It allegedly has free downloadable eBooks, but my one search turned up a series of scanned pages from a printed book, not an entire book.

The interface is the worst: Just a search box. Search for what?! Give me a list of Authors so I can browse.

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print: No Pity From Me!

C[r]ash Flow (Or What Went Wrong in October in Book Publishing)
In October, bookstores returned so many books that most publishing companies had more coming into them than going out of them. For some companies, the incoming number was more than several months' outgoing.

Although bookstores are suffering (and how), it was the publishing houses that had to absorb the cost of this cash flow creator. This is why Impetus, a relatively new indie company without the history to survive this shock, folded. Some houses lost so much money in returns in October that profits from the entire rest of 2008 have been negated. Can you imagine? Losing enough in a month to destroy your entire year?

Emphasis added by me.

This is still an industry with its head so far up its ass it's within kissing distance of its appendix!

A later post, varying perspective, offers some suggestions for "improving" the industry.

eBooks are not mentioned at all!

So don't come crying to me while you're holding onto a business model in which your outlets can wipe out your year-to-date profits in one month by returning goods they never even made an effort to sell!

eBooks have no returns, goddammit.

eBooks liberate publishers from the duopoly of Barnes & Noble and Borders.

eBooks are the future.

Do I see any of these dying dinosaurs of print trumpeting an eBook-only "imprint"? Do I see any of them really making an eBook push? Do I see any of them embracing eBooks in real creative ways? Do I see any of them going to their blockbuster writers and telling them they want to do an eBook exclusive for six months before going into paper print, to really encourage their fans to move to eBooks?

No no no no.

The automotive industry has refused to change and is nearing the point of its own extinction.

Book publishing is apparently hellbent on zooming down that same road.

Be sure to enjoy the view as you all plummet over that cliff, baby!

Free eBook: Ultra Mobile Computing Buyers Guide

Free PDF Report. Ultra Mobile Computing Buyers Guide.
To all the websites, companies and visitors that I’ve learned so much from in the last few years, here’s something back. The 5-part, 11,000 word, 28-page Ultra Mobile Computing Buyers Guide as a single re-flowable PDF file.

Steve Paine -- aka Chippy -- is the expert on this sort of thing. He's molested more portable devices than I have ever seen in person.

This is the guide to have if you're looking to buy something portable.

Note: Right-click Save As... didn't work for me. I just clicked, it opened in Adobe Reader, and I saved it to disk.

Previous instances of Chippy here:

I Am Internationally Persecuted!
Gigabyte M528 MID Preview
Want Hot Tech News Today?
Live jkk & Chippy!
Asus e900 Versus MSI Wind
CeBIT 2008: An Exciting MID Shown

Where's The Next Free Charlie Huston eBook?

Free eBook By Charlie Huston!

It's well into November already. This one is supposed to be a free PDF:

But there's no sign of it as of today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sony Reader: 505 Versus 700 Screen

Over at MobileRead, people are getting the Sony Reader PRS-700 they've ordered.

There are some pictures up.

Look at this one.

You decide.

Update: Another picture, very close.

Discussion About Book Reviews

Over at Char's Book Reviews and Writing News is: Review: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, which is a review of a book about book reviewing as well as part of a Blog Book Tour for the book.

I assert that book reviews (and music reviews) are irrelevant these days.

I also added to that thinking in a Comment (which I must quote in full since I can't find a way to link directly to it):
See, the thing is, before the Net, you'd read a review in paper. Then you'd have to make a real effort to order the book or buy it at a bookstore or go to the library.

These days, you can quickly sample a book via the Net.

Thus, there's less need for the kind of reviewing that was done in the past. Instead of a "bullhorn" review touting something, a gentle tap on the shoulder to make someone aware of something is all the effort needed today, I think.

Go there and join in the discussion.

Kindle Fanboi Gets iPhone Mistress

The Apple Convert
Another factor also came into play last week. While attending the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco I got to hear famed venture capitalist John Doerr talk about his passion for the iPhone. At one point, he held his iPhone up and said he believes this platform will ultimately become more important and influential than the PC platform.

Read that last sentence again and let it sink in. Doerr wasn't saying the PC platform is dying out and the iPhone will one day be more important than it. He's saying that as revolutionary as the original PC marketplace was (and has been), the iPhone platform is poised to have even more of an impact.

Emphasis added by me.

Well, duh, yeah! Some of us have been saying that since we first fondled the frikkin thing.

[...] I can honestly say I would have been less inclined to buy a Kindle if I already had an iPhone. (Sorry Amazon.)

Yeah, well, beginning in January, those Kindle sales will tank:

iPod Touchbook mockup filched from Rex Hammock's blog

Now I await his gushing posts once he experiences the majesty of Stanza! And some graphic novels from iVerse Comics.

-- via Twitter from KatMeyer

Over 900 Free ePub eBooks!

Web-Books Publishing
We focus on EPUB ebooks.

Readers: We have more than 900 free EPUB ebooks in Classic Literature.

Authors: We provide a free publishing platform, which lets you easily convert Microsoft Word into EPUB (more info).

A few points about this.

1) It's great to see so many titles that I won't have to convert on my own

2) Some of them have great covers:

3) Warning: Only ten downloads a day allowed:


A bit of FAIL there. I didn't find this out until I tried to grab number eleven!

-- Via Twitter from top_book

Judie Lipsett For The Head Spin

Holiday Gift Suggestions: the Sandisk 16GB microSDHC for the Greedy Minimalist
How about eBooks? If the average eReader book is 400 - 500KB, then you could store something in the neighborhood of 37,200 books. Now imagine the shelf space that library would occupy.

Let me go a bit further than that.

Let's say the average cost per book is $10.00.

That'd be $372,000.

More precious than diamonds?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Writer Mark Jeffrey: Video Q&A

Sci-Fi Authors #1 - Max Quick Series
Author Mark Jeffrey talks about his books in the "Max Quick Series".

The Max Quick Series website

Note to Mark (and all other writers): BIG cover scans are good. I like to post 440-pixels wide. I hate small covers; they pixelate when enlarged. Ginormous ones rescale down fine.

Previously here:

Podcasting To Get Ginormously Big!
Book Trailers: Um, No.
Writer Mark Jeffrey: Sony Reader eBooks!
Writer Mark Jeffrey Interview

Thursday, November 6, 2008

SEVEN Free eBooks: Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey, author of the bestselling Heralds of Valdemar and Bardic Voices series, began life as a child and has been attempting to rectify that error ever since. Named for actress Mercedes McCambridge, she has been trying with no success to get the Benz automobile authorities to recognize the natural link between her name and theirs, and offer her the use of an M100 or some variety of high-end sports car for gratis. This, too, has had a distinct lack of success. Other than writing she can be found at various times prying the talons of the birds of prey she is attempting to nurse back to health out of her hands, endangering her vision by creating various forms of Art Beadwork, and cross-stitching dragons, gryphons, and other semi-mythological fauna. At the moment, her hair is red, her favorite color is green, and she is covered by various members of her flock of pet parrots, cockatoos and macaws, all of which are trying to help her type8shgalal-akejbejks9ife.

These are free eBooks of printed ones published by Baen. Click on each title for a description.

– via Twitter from top_book

One Strange Way ... Is Strange

I found this looking through a bunch of new Twitter Followers. One is @onestrangeway.

One Strange Way is the title of a "digital graphic novel with interactive features." What it will run on, I don't know.

There's a development blog -- but updates stopped in June. Updates seem to be via Twitter now.

Go to the site itself and see the video trailer. That's where I stole that above illo.

Podcasting To Get Ginormously Big!

Apple Activates Podcast Downloads in 2.2 Firmware

Podcasting has become one of those things that I'm surprised to learn still exists.

My sampling of it discovered a horrific morass of sub-amateur production values with a very high noise-to-signal ratio and a very low information-to-time-spent value.

Plus, getting them was a pain in the ass.

I don't want to subscribe and feel the pressure of having to listen. Also, I'm not someone who has iTunes open every day, so things would tend to back up -- a sensation I'm certain people who read RSS via Google Reader can sympathize with!

Now it looks like it's just about official that direct-to-iPhone podcast delivery is coming.

This is going to blast podcasting out of its small niche into ginormous audiences.

I don't know how podcasts are made available via iTunes (I dimly remember it was, in the past, generally a free and easy-to-do process), but this is something that every writer should investigate (I'm looking at you, Cliff Burns!).

Let me remind you what podcasting did for writer Mark Jeffrey:
His first podiobook, Max Quick 1: The Pocket and the Pendant, has received over 2 million downloads to date.

And that was while getting a podcast was a pain in the ass! Imagine how monstrous the potential will be once Apple makes it tap-tap impulse easy!

(Here I am at the end of this post and I need to add this for the abominable Kindle kultists: STFU about how great wireless delivery is. I get it. I just don't want that fugly locked-down no-ePub no-public library K!)

eBook Notes: Thurdsay, November 6, 2008

Some noise about Apple and eBook at MacWorld Expo in January: Apple to sell eBooks by Macworld ‘09? Gee, where have I heard that before?

World’s #1 Manufacture of Matcha Aiya America Creates Free Informative eBooks Available Online – Press Release
Los Angeles, CA—October 28th, 2008—Aiya America, the world’s number one producer of Matcha green tea, announced that it is releasing the first in its tea themed educational eBook series to inform its consumers, as well as industry professionals, about such topics as the tea making process, the health benefits of green tea, ingredient uses for Matcha, quality assurance, safety and other areas of the company’s expertise.

Usually I give free eBooks a post of their own, but this is "almost-free." You must provide name and email address for it. It's a PDF.

ebrary's QuickView Gives Browser-based Access to Ebooks/Documents
Addressing one of the most frequently lamented barriers blocking library patrons' access to ebook and electronic materials, ebrary recently announced the launch of a web-based reader for their content platform, used by more than 1400 libraries worldwide.

The report says it also works with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Happy endings as Ashcroft buys stake in McNab's eBooks
Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, has taken a stake in the mobile phone eBook venture of Andy McNab, the SAS soldier turned author.

Lord Ashcroft, left, has bought a minority holding in Spoken Entertainment Group, worth "millions of pounds". The group, which launched in May this year, will use the cash to expand into the German and US markets.

Tony Lynch, co-founder of the firm alongside Andy McNab, said: "We've only been in existence for six months, but we've been caught by surprise at the extent of the interest. It's gone mad."

Customers of can text the group to pay for text or audio versions of a range of books that are sent to their mobiles.

The "Ashcroft" bit caught my eye. I thought it was our evangelical mutant. I wouldn't have posted this if it wasn't also for an interesting money-oriented Q&A with McNab at the Telegraph.

At HuffPo (which seems not to employ proofreaders): On Books and Ebooks

eBooks get social, pose further threat to traditional publishers -- this is a Q&A with a site I still maintain has the worst damned name for an eBook store: Smashwords. This bit caught my eye:
Q. Who owns the content, and how do you compensate the authors?

A. We put the author in complete control over their published works. Our publishing agreement is non-exclusive. We give them 85 percent of the net sales proceeds of their books.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, Bezos, you read that?

Willkommen bei Hixbooks!
Welcome to Hixbooks! [Google machine English]

An Austrian site/store offering both the Cybook and one version of the iLiad eBook readers. What's interesting is that they will offer German-language eBooks. This might get around the eBook price-fixing in Germany.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sony Reader PRS-700: Screen Issues?

Suddenly I'm getting a bunch of traffic from a MobileRead forum. (A forum in which, ironically, I can't see two posted photos people have asked me about!)

There's a debate going on over there about the quality of the screen of the new Sony Reader PRS-700.

I was asked about this in a Comment:
Did you notice, during your testing of the unit, if the screen of the PRS-700 is considerably dimmer than the screen of the previous model, the PRS-505? Apparently the text is not as sharp.

I replied:
Sony’s debut of the 700 was in a room with dim lighting (I hate when tech companies do that, by the way!), so the backlight was on all the time.

I suspected myself there would be an issue with the new screen because of the *touchscreen layer and sidelights*. The screen has to be recessed, unlike prior models, to accommodate both touchscreen and sidelights. Both of these could account for some dimness.

I’m not able to see the pictures referred to. All I see are IMG tags for the side-by-side photos. And I haven’t been to SonyStyle yet to check it out again in person under better lighting conditions.

I have no further thoughts on this issue. I still haven't seen one in person again under better lighting conditions.

One thing I must clear up is this:
What puzzles me, though, is that NONE of the reviewers I've read, mention this issue.

-- which then links to Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Two.

WTF? Where are any of my three posts labeled "Review"?! Those posts are coverage of the launch event with descriptions of what I observed of the new PRS-700.

For the record, I do not do reviews. I don't even review books I read.

All clear? Good. Now proceed to a SonyStyle store to see for yourself. You're bound to get to one before I do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

iVerse Comics: Ten Comics For The iPhone!

This is the press release:


Flash Gordon, Proof, ShadowHawk, Wrath of the Titans, Oz: The Manga and more now available for download!

November 1st, 2008 - iVerse Media is proud to announce that their first wave of titles are now available for sale in the iTunes App Store. Featuring some of the top creative talent in the comic book industry, titles are now available from companies like Ardden Entertainment, Antarctic Press, Bluewater Productions, and Image Comics Creators.

"Today we have 10 titles available in the iTunes App Store, and four of those titles are free. The others are $0.99. We're very excited about that." said iVerse owner Michael Murphey. "We have 'Flash Gordon', 'Proof', 'ShadowHawk', OZ: The Manga', 'Wrath of the Titans', and 'Gold Digger: Peebo Tales' all available today, and this is just the beginning."

Readers interested in trying comics on their iPhone can get Proof #1, The Return of ShadowHawk, Wrath of the Titans #1, and OZ: The Manga #1 for free in their entirety in the iTunes App Store right now.

You can find all of these titles in the iTunes App Store.

For a complete list of available titles from iVerse and their partners.

iVerse Media is a Texas-based company providing innovative digital solutions for creative content.

For those of you who don't want to bother opening iTunes right now just to get a preview, go to the iVerse Comics website where complete descriptions of every title is available.

Some of them are free for a limited time!