Friday, September 26, 2008

Astak eBook Reader

MobileRead has the press release: Astak's press release for the EZ Reader

Astak has an old description of three models of eBook readers here.

One bit of the press release I can't allow to go unscathed:
This unit has been a total of 8 years in development. Our band of eBook Reader bashers tried hard to get this to "hang up" or show a glitch. and it is as error-free and solid as you will find!

Emphasis added by me.

Uh, say what? Eight years?

Sony did its original eBook reader, the Librie, in 2004:
The LIBRIe reader is the result of a three-year collaboration between Sony, Royal Philips Electronics, Toppan Printing and E Ink.

Emphasis added by me.

That would put the Librie in 2001 for a development start.

Yet Astak (who?) claims it began in 2000?

Friday eBook Notes

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Plotting E-Book Plunder?
Peter Sunde, one of the founders of Pirate Bay, wrote a mysterious blog post today asking for someone in the U.S. to send him an Amazon Kindle, and hinted that he might be working on a new project involving e-books.

“Do [sic] anyone wanna help me out? I’m looking to make an interesting service together with some friends in the New Media Market…,” he writes.

Cracking Kindle eBook DRM and putting all those titles up for free? That gives me the creeps. Writers don't need organized robbery. The current disorganized robbery is already too much.

Waterstone's e-book bestsellers -- too expensive!

Waterstone's e-book store is a good reason not to get a Sony Reader
Let me be very clear from the outset: I’d love a Sony Reader. I’ve read the reviews, I know the limitations, I know I’d miss the feel of a physical copy of the book and the logical part of my brain tells me that it’s probably best to wait at least a year before buying an e-reader. But I love gadgets and I love books so I’d be very tempted to buy one, at least I would if Sony would make them work with a Mac.

That incompatibility rules me out of the market but even if it didn’t, the Waterstone’s e-book store would put me off. If I had to describe it in a word I’d go for ‘rubbish’. But I don’t have to describe it in just one word so let’s also throw in over-priced, under-stocked and virtually impossible to navigate.

Emphasis added by me.

The first bit -- Mac OS X compatibility -- is something I hope Sony will address in less than a week.

The second bit -- Waterstone's ebook store -- is what I said earlier.

Ebooks offer VAT but not value
It was The Enchantress of Florence that got me started. Perhaps it wasn't good enough for Michael Portillo, but I've always been a fan of Sir Salman (though I preferred the earlier, funny ones). I was just about to add it to my new Sony Reader when I noticed the price: £15.19. That's just a snip off the full price of the hardback, which is widely available for around a tenner.

Most publishers are pricing their ebooks in parallel with the print editions, which means The Enchantress ebook is due to swoop down to around £7 sometime in January to coincide with the paperback edition. Looks like Rushdie's off my Christmas list.

Publishers say that making ebook editions cheaper could cut into hardback sales – though with only a few thousand machines out there, it's hard to see how. They also say that the commercial potential of the paperless read is hampered by the fact that unlike their dead-tree ancestors, ebooks - as with audiobooks - are vatted at 17.5%. It seems that those visionary souls who made an exemption for printed matter back in 1972 weren't quite as visionary as all that.

Emphasis added by me.

Your eBook pricing tutorials, dying dinosaurs of print, previously published herein: eBooks And Pricing and eBook Pricing 101: The Magic Formula

How many many many times must this message be delivered?

The Word On:..Sony's E-Reader

There are three opinions, but this one is a good idea that should be repeated:
I think I'd also throw a few quid in the direction of Project Gutenberg and provide a Sony Reader-friendly version of every single thing in their vast collection. And I'd make it easy to pop 500 classic novels on to the Reader for those just-in-case moments.

Emphasis added by me.

Yeah, Sony! That's a great, great idea!

Could the BeBook beat the Sony Reader? Time will tell
[It plays] a ridiculous amount of formats. At last count it was compatible with 25, including pdf, mobi, prc, epub, lit, txt, fb2, doc, html, rtf, djvu, wol, ppt, mbp, chm, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif, rar, zip, and mp3.

Ummmm ... some of those are actually graphic files. And it won't do the PDF text reflow of the Sony Reader.

Bibliotheek biedt e-books gratis aan
Library offers e-books for free -- Google machine English link
AMSTERDAM - In an Internet e-book or download luisterboek often costs between 10 and 30 euros, but for members of the library is a new option: free loan.

The library Almere begins today with a test called ePortal. Through this system, subscribers can log in from home on a website, where 250 e-books and 250 listening books are free to download. Who borrows a title, the file on his MP3 player, a laptop or on a special e-book reader.

Just as with paper books usually the case, the loan period is three weeks. If the loan period expires, the downloaded file automatically unusable. Never a penalty for late back then.

"We are making use of a so-called digital rights management system from America," says Maarten Tiebout, who developed the ePortal for NBD / Biblion, a company that delivers products to libraries. "There is a complex technology needed to ensure that the files not be copied, and that after a few weeks become unusable."

No mention is made of what format the text eBooks are in. DRMed MobiPocket? DRMed PDF? DRMed ePub?

Sony Reader volgend jaar in ons land
Sony Reader next year in our country -- Google machine English
The Reader came in 2006 for the first time in the United States. Since then, there is a new version of published and is also in Britain and soon in France for sale. The Netherlands will therefore follow.

According to the spokesman the device will be launched large-scale, after the success overseas. Information about the price has not yet been released.

Whoa! Sony Reader to conquer The Netherlands next year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Red Sony Reader: REAL Pictures!

A kind soul who wishes to remain uncredited sent me three real pictures of the red Sony Reader!

Click to make big!







OK, now is it tempt-o-liciously gorgeous and lustitastically irresistible?

Yes!

Previously here:

FIRST PHOTOS! Red Sony Reader!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Print Book Publishers: eBook Enlightenment

Shoyoroku - Case 86: Rinzai's Great Enlightenment
Rinzai asked Obaku, "What is the great meaning of the Buddha-Dharma?"

Obaku hit him. This happened three times. Rinzai then took his leave and went to see Daigu.

Daigu asked, "Where have you come from?"

Rinzai said, "From Obaku."

Daigu said, "What did Obaku have to say?"

Rinzai said, "I asked him three times, 'What is the great meaning of the Buddha-Dharma?' and I got his stick three times. I don't know if I was in error or not."

Daigu said, "Obaku was overly gentle like an old grandmother; he completely exhausted himself for your sake. Yet you come here and ask if you were in error or not!"

With these words, Rinzai came to great enlightenment.

Emphasis added by me.

Previously here:

Charlie Stross: eBooks Nailed, Period
Mitch Ratcliffe: eBooks
eBook Pricing 101: The Magic Formula
How Print Publishers Are Killing Writers
Print Book Publishing: DOOMED
DRM = Destroy Remaining Market
Laugh Today, Die Tomorrow, Print Dinosaurs!
eBooks And Pricing
The Print Dinosaurs Will Starve To Death

MacArthur Grant's Missing eBook Man

Via Twitter from kottke:

MacArthur Fellows Program: Meet the 2008 Fellows

Commonly known as The MacArthur Genius Grant.

It's criminal that David Rothman of TeleRead hasn't been nominated and granted. He's been banging the drum for eBooks, a standard global eBook file, and government/consumer eBook advocacy for years and years. TeleRead was the first eBook site I encountered on the Net and I've stayed with it since.

There's not another person on the Net who has thought and about promoted the eBook cause like Rothman.

He should get a grant!

Intriguing Feedbooks Q&A

Q&A with Hadrien Gardeur, Co-Founder of Feedbooks
Have established book publishers used your service to create ebook editions?

No, we're still working on those features. I expect major publishers to use XML+XSLT or Adobe InDesign rather than a dedicated service. We're creating our publishing feature with the end-user or small publishers in mind rather than major publishers.

Do you plan to sell ebooks?

We do. I believe that free content and user-generated content in general shouldn't be in a different environment than the rest of ebooks. It makes a lot more sense to have both in the same environment and create an optimal experience for the user.

Emphasis added by me.

This is exciting news.

There's still no inexpensive and easy way for writers to create an eBook file for the ePub format other than the very expensive and expert design tool, Adobe InDesign. This is a speedbump on the road to the liberation of writers via direct publishing.

I had no idea that Feedbooks had a commercial endeavor planned. They have established a mindshare among eBook readers and have been embraced by iPhone and iPod Touch users via the Stanza eBook reader.

They could become a linchpin of direct publishing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Charlie Stross: eBooks Nailed, Period

Writer Jules Jones in the Comments pointed me to this very interesting post by writer Charlie Stross: Why the commercial ebook market is broken.

I had two reactions:

1) Yes, yes, yes!!!!

2) Why do I bother even writing about the subject any more? It's already been said by others!

But, I'll continue to bang my sometimes foul-worded gavel because as someone once pointed out (paraphrased):
It all has to be said again and again because no one listens the first time!

Like me, those non-listeners might have missed Stross's 2007 post. So maybe they'll encounter one of mine. And go on to read more posts here and finally, Bingo!, be led to Stross.

And then, finally, to doing the right thing for eBooks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mitch Ratcliffe: eBooks

eBooks: The first step of a long change
However, we are at precisely the same stage in the digital book reader device market as when Audible saw the first challengers to its portable digital audio player emerge, in 1998. Music had not changed—that is, it hadn’t been unbundled from the concept of an “album”—and did not change until the iPod appeared.

I don't want to wait ten years.

This market evolution needs some speedup, dammit.
More than 30 formats vie for adoption by device and eBook software developers, authors, publishers and, most importantly, readers. You cannot buy an eBook and expect it to work on a particular device, unless you buy it through the developer of your reader. This means we have a bunch of sites trying to be iTunes, the provider of titles and the interface for reading, rather than a lot of standards-based titles competing for the reader’s attention, which is analogous to the MP3-based music market that has shattered the music business.

I'll take his word on the thirty, but I think most people are immediately familiar with these formats:

1) PDF
2) eReader
3) MobiPocket
4) Sony Reader BBeB
5) Kindle format (bastardized MobiPocket)
6) ePub
7) DRMed ePub (Adobe bastardized ePub)

(Note that only the Sony Reader can do more than one file format: PDF, BBeB, ePub, DRMed ePub. And when I cite PDF, I mean text reflow PDF.) (And that list isn't supposed to be in any order, but subconsciously probably is, based on my perception of their current popularity. Although 6 & 7 should really be swapped then. And I don't count TXT or Palm DOC because of lack of type attributes [bold, italic, etc].)
The market needs a robust standard format, which the ePub format appears poised to deliver, especially when the DTBook XML vocabulary is implemented to preserve page location in a form that can be used to cite page and edition for a highlight, note or copied text.

This is the first time I've heard of the DTBook XML vocabulary. As a writer who wants to be able to easily create his own eBooks, I bang my head on my desk over yet another complexification. Just Make It Work!
To date, the format wars in eBooks have undermined the most important feature of a paper book, the ability to point to a part of the text on a certain page of a specific edition, which is the basis of academic and professional citation, which is the key to dialogue taking place through books. Without support for citations without losing one’s location because the reader software/device has reflowed the text for a particular device, eBooks are less than paper books. That’s the biggest barrier to wider use today, because even authors cannot use electronic versions to refer to another work.

I understand that point, but can we first get fiction going, then worry about non-fiction citations later?

It's a very good article -- aside from not acknowledging the popularity of the Sony Reader -- and should be read by everyone interested in eBooks. It looks like he intends to do some kind of series.

A (Free!) Clue For Sony



Macintosh owners are doing that.

Macintosh owners!

The people who are supposed to be enthralled with the iPhone and iPod Touch as eBook devices.

Yet they are still interested in the Sony Reader!

ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!1

When will someone over at Sony get it?!!?

Sony Reader Revolution: FAIL!

I had to know, so I went to that Borders I mentioned yesterday to see the Sony Reader Revolution campaign in real-life action.

According to Sony's own site, these were supposed to be today's hours for the Revolution:



I got there at about 4:15PM. I got there within an hour of departing for it because I spent carfare to take the bus and subway. OK? I. Spent. Money. I didn't walk (which, aside from the ferry in-between, I'd sometimes do).

I went in and looked around, not wanting to ask where these exciting eBook festivities were taking place.

Nothing on the Ground Floor.

I go up to the Second Floor.

Nothing there.

WTF?

So I break down and ask.

I'm told the Sony Reader area is next to the "first information booth" -- back on the Ground Floor.

Get this: I walked right by it on my way to the Second Floor!

That gives you an idea of the FAIL! of this alleged Revolution.

Sony, I don't know if you hired a temp or if Borders was supposed to task someone to pimp the Sony Reader, but there was no one.

N.o. o.n.e!

What there was, was this sad-assed kiosk that -- I repeat -- I walked right by while I was looking for it!

Here is the sad sad sad evidence from the Philips crapcam:


The forlorn easy-to-miss kiosk.


How forlorn? Just one accessory on it! One!


See the Revolutionaries? I sure didn't!!


Very craptastic: even the skirting was put on lousy!!

But I did walk away with some cheap swag:


Borders pamphlet, actual-size Sony Reader brochure, actual-size jetBook eReader card

Oh, that jetBook card got in there because after Borders, I stopped in J&R. Where I was ejected for spraying drool all over the counter protecting the red Sony Reader!! (Half true. I fled after spraying!)


Look! You can see it says Borders. Shame!!


Other side of the FAIL brochure.

And the FAIL is even compounded!

The Borders brochure gives you a code as a Thank You for submitting to a demo. It allows you to download ten free classics eBooks! But get this: Because some retard at Sony spackled frikkin DRM on those public domain works, you must sign up for a Sony eBook Store account and give them your credit card number in order to get these "free" classics!

WTF?!!?

Sony, when will you get a frikkin clue?!

Look, hire a goddammed temp. Have him/her do up your own versions of these classics so you can get rid of the damned DRM. Then at least people can really, really get them for free.

Expecting people to jump through confiscatory hoops for free is just Major Dumb.

In fact, let me go further: You're outright lying. They're not free. They're "free in exchange for" -- which, hello McFly!, is the definition of a sale!

You're not getting money, but you're getting something.

And that's a transaction.

Christ, Sony, when will you guys stop pissing me off?

Will that happen on October 2nd? I hope so!

Sony Reader Revolution: In Search Of ...



Right then.

Me and the Philips crapcam are going walkies for a few hours to see what this Sony Reader Revolution campaign is all about.

This better be worth it!

Be prepared for the usual crappy-blurry photos.

If I find the Revolutionaries!!

Fluidbook

I was checking out my Twitter Followers and this led me to a website called MicroDesign.

At the bottom I saw this:



I clicked through to the Fluidbook site.

And I did the demo.

It's very interesting. Performance was OK -- not great, but not terrible -- even on this crap PC (which means it should be great on your PC). The user interface was clean and it was the first time I've seen online publishing done in a sensible and actually readable way.

Go have a look.

Attention, Sony! Amazon Nails Kindle In One Line!

Over 200 Apress Titles Now Available on Kindle
This commitment from Apress moves us closer to our vision for Kindle, which is to make any book, ever printed, in any language available wirelessly in less than 60 seconds.

Emphasis added by me.

Maybe I haven't been paying attention. Or maybe my visceral-aesthetic revulsion of the Kindle (mis)design has blinded me.

But that's the first time I've seen the Kindle summed up like that.

And you, Sony?

"Our vision for the Sony Reader is ..."

... a device open to more eBooks than any other?
... a device that can be used with public libraries?
... a device that gets its ass kicked by superior Kindle marketing?!

So far, it's been the last one!

How about:

"Our vision for the Sony Reader is to be the most affordable, most open, and most ..."

I leave others up to you. That's why you people get your paychecks.

Now get to work!

eBook Pricing 101: The Magic Formula



What part of impulse-buy pricing is so damned difficult to understand?

The Internet is the greatest tool in the history of the marketplace for Instant Gratification!

Take advantage of that fact!

Why is this impossible to grasp?!

A Writer's Thoughts On The Cybook eReader

Via Twitter from sell_ebooks (a Twitterer everyone interested in ebooks must Follow!):

First thoughts on the Cybook Gen3
I bought a second-hand Cybook Gen3 ebook reader from my writing partner last month, and I’ve been using it long enough now to have some initial thoughts about it. This isn’t a proper review, as I haven’t been exploring all its features. What I *have* been doing with it is simply reading some of the books she’d loaded on it, mostly on the bus to and from work.

And the obvious question is — do I regret spending one hundred pounds on this thing? After all, I could buy quite a few paperbacks for that money. To which the answer is “no”, and for a specific reason I’ll get to at the end of this post. And it’s not one of the obvious reasons, like saving shelf space or being able to carry a hundred books with me at all times, although I can see the advantages there.

Would I buy one at full market price? (Currently 269 pounds if shipped to the UK.) Probably not, but mostly because the wee beastie is physically fragile, and I fully expect that I’ll manage to break it within a year or two given my current usage of it. I can see why other people would pay that for it, and why I might in other circumstances.

So, the pros and cons I’ve found so far:

Bold emphasis added by me.

Sony, please please please get the Sony Reader price down down down!

If you can get people to the point where the hardware entry point for eBooks is lower -- and also continue to drop the price as sales increase -- things will happen in a big way.

If people buy a Sony Reader for $199, they'll easily accumulate enough value in it with eBooks and texts that replacing one at $199 (or even better: $149!) will be easy.

They'll have become hooked on eReading and will miss it.

What's particularly interesting about this post is that it's from a writer who has also been published in eBook format (some of it is erotica; attention, Mitzi Szereto!)! Click through to read his her thoughts. He She raises points I've not seen elsewhere.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

FIRST PHOTOS! Red Sony Reader!!

Photos taken Saturday, September 20, 2008 with the Philips crapcam.

Usually I publish photos in the order in which they were taken.

But the crapcam really did a number on the colors here, so I'm publishing the one that better represents the actual red color first:



Yeah, that's it. It's really a rich metallic red color. It's matte and not shiny. It's simply and absolutely gorgeous!

The other photos really make the red look orangey and fugly and loud, but it's not!







In addition, the cover is padded and has a texture and a deep brown-maroon color combination. The entire thing is just so damned exciting and classy. Not vulgar, like the poor three pictures.

Sony's done a great job here, offering this special color. I prefer it over the Silver -- and especially over the light-sucking Dark Blue.

These photos were taken at J&R this morning, so run and sell out their stock. In-person price is the same as the website: $294.99.

Previously here:

BBC News Critiques Sony Reader
Sony Reader Revolution Campaign
Sony Reader: French Press Coverage
Sony Reader At Brooklyn, NY Target Store
Sony Reader Gets French Attention
Reference: Optimize PDFs For Sony Reader
WalMart Sells Sony Reader Online
Sony Reader On Sale At Target Stores!
Flashback Laugh: CrunchGear On Sony Reader
Sony Reader Launching In France!
The Sony Reader Rejects Defeat
Confirmed: New Sony Reader October 2008!
Sony Reader Red
Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage
Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software?
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage
Waterstone’s eBook Site: FAIL!
Tomorrow Is U.K. D-Day For Sony Reader
Reference: Sony Reader With 64-Bit Vista
Attention Sony! DO IT!!
OMFGZZ!!!1 Sony’s Stringer Has Heard Of eBooks!
Why I Hate Sony Today

Friday, September 19, 2008

BBC News Critiques Sony Reader



Beautiful, perfect, supreme chunk of paper

The article is absolutely ludicrous, at one point comparing the Sony Reader (and by extension, all eBooks) to a frikkin luxury book with a price of -- I. Am. Not. Kidding. -- $155,000!

One book.

How many people have $155,000 libraries in their homes?!

There's also a video, which should be watched instead. Although he raises some valid points about screen glare, it does seem as if he goes out of his way to find negatives.





He never points out, for example, that the text can be enlarged!

He also, in the video, makes the point about the Sony Reader being dropped in water or being a magnet for muggers.

Perhaps so. But what really can't be ruined by water? He actually drops a printed book in water. As if he'd want to read the crinkled and bloated pages afterwards! Yeah, right!





And muggers will target people for any reason. But I think they'd especially target someone carrying around a $155,000 book!

What I suggest some of this latter resistance is about is the price of the Sony Reader. I want to see it at an impulse-buy price of US$99.00.

I'm hoping -- probably beyond all hope -- that on October 2, Sony will announce a new version of the Sony Reader. And also announce that the current model will remain on sale but with a true slashing of its price (down to US$199, at least -- but US$149.00 would be thrilling!!).

And the last point raised in the video is just exasperating. He bemoans the disappearance of shelves of print books in homes.



Question: Did he make the same stupid complaint over music from iTunes downloads replacing shelves of Compact Discs?



Reviews like these are based in nothing more than fear. Fear of the future.

Dinosaurs!


OMFGZZZZ!!!! eBooks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111

How Print Publishers Are Killing Writers

App Store is a Goldmine: Indie Developer Makes $250,000 in Two Months
Trism has made $250,000 for its developer, Steve Demeter, in just two months. A simple game, it looks to be as addictive as Tetris*, and it hits the right spot for pricing: $5.

[. . .]

[I]f you can generate a modest hit, you're not going to care. Remember, Tris is the work of one man. If the game keeps selling at this rate for a year, he will have made $1.5 million.

Emphasis added by me.

I've said in Comments elsewhere that no matter what, devs will claw their way into the App Store for the simple reason it will make some of them millionaires. I wish I'd bothered to state that here in my own blog too!

And unwired view adds some more thoughts:
The combination of an easy way to pay (credit card/iTunes GC) and an easy way to install (app store) makes customers more comfortable at purchasing programs for their iPhones (and iPod Touch). At the same time, developers have it easy when it comes to iPhone app development. From getting started, actual development, and final deployment to the public through the app store, Apple provides the simplest of set-ups.

Let me add something else here that's a factor being ignored: the Apple brand name.

Sure, all these are the products of different companies (I'd say "individuals," but you need the correct business Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS to do this; your Social Security Number won't do; so in IRS terms, you're a business, which is why I say "companies"), but everyday people have the reassurance of Apple selling it.

I've called for Apple to get out of sales and turn iTunes into an eCommerce platform.

That is where things can get dicey for individuals; creators as well as buyers.

"Come buy my app at Mike's website" doesn't have the same appeal. In fact, I can foresee outright scams taking place that way. It's inevitable. Millions and millions of cellphones that are eCommerce-enabled just like the iPhone are a magnet for fraudsters. That kind of fraud would be more likely when iTunes is a platform instead of an entrance to a single marketplace overseen/refereed by Apple (or Google or Palm or Nokia).

But that's a risk that's run right now, with anyone who risks buying from an individual website. The safeguard against that are people alerting everyone else -- via blogs, via Twitter, via other means -- to steer clear of the fraud.

iTunes becoming an eCommerce platform is something that will happen. Because if Apple doesn't do it, Google will for Android. And if that happens, then Microsoft will jump in, as will Nokia. As will every cellphone carrier. But Apple has a chance to set an eCommerce platform standard that could richly reward its bottom line and lead to an explosion of eCommerce.

Now to tie this into eBooks and writers.

There are millions of iPhones out there now. All of them have the possibility of reading the standard the dying dinosaurs of print have rallied around: ePub. The Stanza eBook reader can do ePub. Publishers should have been flocking -- should be flocking -- to the App Store to sell ePub-formatted eBooks. How can they ignore millions of potential customers like this? It verges on the criminal!

Waterstone's in the U.K. makes it a point -- and so does every publisher offering DRMed ePub files -- to tell people they need to get Adobe Digital Editions to complete the sales process (ADE is required for DRM activation) for Sony Reader eBooks. But not every publisher is hampering their sales with DRM on ePub files. Pan Macmillan isn't; theirs are free of DRM. So, it'd be very easy for publishers selling DRM-free eBooks at the App Store to tell people to download Stanza (it's free!) in order to enjoy their purchases. It's trivial!

The other point here is the price of that Trism game: five dollars. Would it have sold if it had been priced at $12.95, $15.95, or $19.95? Would it have even made six figures of sales if it was priced at ten dollars?

I doubt that very much.

It was priced as an impulse buy.

The same way eBooks must be priced.

While the small snooty We Know It All clique of meganational print publishing cries over their martinis at the Four Seasons, the people who actually create what they are supposed to sell are being killed by their inaction, by their stupidity, by their desperation to ignore the future.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sony Reader Revolution Campaign



Weirdly, clicking on a link in a French newspaper that I thought would lead to Sony France bounced me back to America's SonyStyle site for the Sony Reader.

There I found out they've launched a very ... sad ... promotion for the Sony Reader called the Reader Revolution. (Why does this seem like it's been done before? Has it? Did they do it before?)



This leads to a splash screen ...


Click = large sadness

... where there is actually a point to this (see red underlined text):



OK, I like that sentiment. So, I did the video. And it's not one of those things you can shunt off to the side and let run for its two minutes. No. There is interactivity:


Click = big

However, I was dumb enough to believe in a selfless act. No. Sony wants your email address in order to actually count your viewing as one-fifth of a five-view donation. So, I did that too:


Click = big

Then they wonder if you will let them spam invite four other people:


Click = big

Yeah, well, OK, it's for The eBook Cause. So I did that too!

As it turns out, there's more to this than just this silly retro- barfable- pathetic online campaign. There's actually going to be something happening at some stores that sell the Sony Reader. Click here to see Upcoming Tour Dates. You can get away with just putting in a zip code and area radius for store listings (if any) and a map.

In New York City, it seems that every Borders Store will be having an event on this Saturday, September 20th, from 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Check to see if that's the case where you live too.

Anyone who wants to see eBooks flourish: Go ahead and view the video and spam invite four friends. You -- and they -- can always opt-out of Sony spams emails after the first one arrives.

In the meantime, you'll be helping to get eBooks out there where the non-Internet everyday people can encounter and maybe even use them.


Reading and eBooks: A Revolution I Can Get Behind!

Sony Reader: French Press Coverage



Apparently it will debut with only two-thousand eBooks. I hope they boost that number fast. And I hope that number doesn't include the "100 free classics!"

Sony Reader : le livre numérique franchit une nouvelle étape
« Reader » a été présenté mardi 16 septembre par le groupe japonais Sony. « Reader » est un livre électronique qui permet de stocker 160 bouquins dans un boîtier de 260 grammes ! Il sera commercialisé en octobre. L'objet est déjà disponible aux USA et au Canada depuis 2006 ainsi qu'au Royaume Uni. Il a pour principal concurrent le Kindle d'Amazon qui a déjà un an d'avance et qui offre en plus de « Reader » une connexion sans fil au Web.

C'est officiel, le livre électronique de Sony sera bientôt disponible chez nous.
Pour ceux d'entre vous qui s'en souviennent encore, le Reader de Sony a été présenté au début du mois de janvier 2006, à l'occasion du CES de Las Vegas, aux États-Unis.

Affichant 250 grammes sur la balance, il s'agit d'un livre électronique pouvant stocker jusqu'à 160 romans dans sa mémoire interne ( la synchronisation se fait via le port USB ), mais il peut également lire des ouvrages stockés sur une carte mémoire de type MS ou SD grâce au lecteur prévu à cet effet. L'affichage se fait sur un écran LCD 6 pouces ( ou 15,24 centimètres ) avec 8 niveaux de gris et une résolution de 170 dpi. Sa batterie Lithium-Ion est rechargeable en 4 heures par USB ou en 2 heures sur secteur et permet la lecture de 7500 pages ou d'une douzaine de romans.

Sony lance le livre électronique pour tous
De son côté, le Reader de Sony s'adresse aux amateurs de livres qui ne veulent pas ou ne peuvent pas s'encombrer de volumes imprimés. «Il n'a pas pour but de remplacer le livre, mais d'être un support additionnel, essentiellement pour les grands lecteurs et les étudiants qui ont l'habitude de lire dans les transports en commun», souligne Samir Militao, responsable du marketing du Reader. Pas de liaison Bluetooth ni 3G, mais un simple câble USB à relier à un ordinateur pour y transférer des contenus. Cependant, pour donner toutes ses chances à son livre électronique, Sony a fixé un prix de vente raisonnable (299 €) et s'est investi pour que ses clients puissent profiter d'un maximum de contenus. D'abord en signant un partenariat avec la Fnac et Hachette pour donner accès à une boutique en ligne dont le catalogue propose près de 2 000 titres en français : essais, romans, guides de voyages, manuels pratiques, etc. L'acheteur du Reader trouvera des nouveautés comme les derniers ouvrages d'Amélie Nothomb, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Jacques Attali, Max Gallo, Katherine Pancol, Jean-Paul Enthoven, etc. Mais à des prix très proches de ceux des ouvrages imprimés (10 à 15 % moins cher seulement), ce qui pourrait retarder l'adoption du Reader.

La guerre du livre électronique aura bien lieu
Attaque et contre-attaque en France sur le marché débutant du livre électronique

Sony, qui a lancé mardi dans l'hexagone son "Reader" (concurrent du Kindle d'Amazon), a choisi de s'allier avec la Fnac pour la distribution et avec Hachette pour le contenu.

La maison Gallimard annonce de son côté qu'elle va proposer à la fin du mois une offre de livres numérisés sur le site de sa librairie le Divan.

Des livres qui seraient lisibles sur plusieurs formats électroniques, sans exclusivité.

L'(énième) retour du livre électronique
Le livre électronique, c'est un peu l'Arlésienne du numérique. Beaucoup en parlent, peu l'ont vu. Ni le Cybook première génération, pourtant lancé en grande pompe par l'académicien Erik Orsenna en 2001, ni ses multiples déclinaisons depuis. Et pour cause, à chaque fois ou presque, les expériences se sont soldées par des échecs. Et pourtant, il revient cette fois par la volonté de trois acteurs de poids : le constructeur japonais Sony associé au distributeur Fnac et à l'éditeur Hachette. Surfant sur le succès américain d'Amazon et de son Kindle, les trois partenaires affichent un optimisme certain pour ce qu'ils qualifient de mini-révolution. Et une fois n'est pas coutume, "grâce à une offre diversifiée et récente de livres qui va permettre de découvrir une nouvelle expérience de lecture", selon Arnaud Nourry, pdg d'Hachette. Soit.

It's interesting that the abominable Kindle is mentioned in many reports, even though it might not appear in France for well over a year!

Google France link to Sony Reader news search

Sony Reader At Brooklyn, NY Target Store

I had an appointment today that took me back to the neighborhood of the Target Store I'd been at a few days before I knew the Sony Reader was going to be on sale there. So I stopped in with the Philips crapcam and took some pictures:


The signage. So, only young and pretty white women read, huh? This Target Store is where young and pretty white women are a minority. So: Oopsie!


The Sony Reader itself, locked-down. Crapcam doesn't pick up the text on the screen!


Blurry pic of the lightwedge cover.


That alligator cover and travel pouch combo.


Another shot. The color is waaay off. It's darker and screams Suit!


The Sony Reader packaging itself.


If you squint, you can see the text on the screen.


Display also had prepaid gift cards and an AC adapter. And too many headphones!

Well, overall I was rather disappointed with it. Down the aisle was a display for a smart pen. It had a small screen with video demo. I think the Sony Reader should have had that too. As it stands now, only people who know about the Sony Reader will seek it out. This is a missed opportunity to educate people about eBooks -- and about the existence and use of the Sony Reader itself. I'd upgrade these displays with video. Hell, I'd replace that signage with a big-ass LCD TV that silently shows how the Sony Reader works and a big-ass Press ME! button to run an overwhelming video/audio demo of the Sony Reader. Eat that, Amazon Kindle!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

WalMart Sells Sony Reader Online

A post over at MobileRead caught my eye:
BTW, Walmart.com sells the Sony reader at below MFSR. It's been there for at least a month.

And it's true:

Click = big

Sony E-Reader 6" LCD Portable Dark Blue E-Book, PRS505LC

Sony E-Reader 6" LCD Portable Silver E-Book, PRS505SC

Even more, it still has the offer for the 100 free classics (which, if I'm reading the PDF terms correctly, is now download 100 of your choice out of over 900 available at The Sony eBook Store). This is the PDF rebate link (Save As...).

I suggest the Silver. For some reason, the Dark Blue model is just too dark and tends to lower the contrast of the eInk. Strange, but that's been my in-person observation.

Free Short Story By Writer Joseph Devon

Printer-friendly version: Short Story: Torso in the Line

Blog post version: Short Story: Torso in the Line

Writer Gives Away His Printed Book

Source article: Free publicity: give your books away
There are many zany tactics adopted by publishers and authors to get their books noticed, but how about giving them away for free? John Warner, chief creative tsar of struggling independent publisher TOW Books, is so sick of sending his books out to newspapers and magazines and television shows for review, and hearing nothing back, that he's decided to give up on the media and send books directly to his readers.

Article by the writer: TOW Books: How to fail at publishing a whole new way
Now, after two years of, let’s call it, non-success, I understand that the problem is at least as much about publicity and distribution as it is about quality. (At least I hope that’s the problem.) So I’m here to announce that if TOW Books is going to fail at publishing, we are going to fail in our own spectacularly new way.

How badly are we struggling? Well, we’ve released four books. Their Amazon rankings at the time of this typing are:

170,374
388,165
706,198
1,033,377

Another publisher who tried that with blogs: Blogger Reviews of Our Obama Book
A couple of weeks ago, I made an offer to bloggers. I told them that we would send them a free copy of The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield in exchange for their agreement to write a 200-word review of the book.

This isn't exactly new. Writer Cliff Burns (see here and here) -- among other writers -- will attest to that.

And let me remind everyone about Mini Book Expo for Bloggers, an entire site that is set up to be a liaison between publishers and bloggers who are interested in specific books.

TOW Books website

R.I.P. Writer David Foster Wallace

Writer David Foster Wallace found dead
David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 novel "Infinite Jest," was found dead Friday night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.

Jackie Morales, a records clerk at the department, said Wallace's wife called police at 9:30 p.m. Friday saying she had returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself.

The news broke to me when I signed onto Twitter an hour or so ago.

I dislike suicide. It's usually undertaken because of feelings. Feelings are the worst reason to suicide. The second worst reason is money.

I can understand suicide when facing a protracted, incurable, and terminal disease.

But because someone feels bad?

Damn, there are pills today that can really help with that. There's no shame in popping a prescription to nudge the brain back towards self-preservation. Why should there be any shame in that? A bunch of dendrites malfunction, or the balance of chemicals goes awry -- no different than popping aspirin for a headache. I've never, ever heard someone proclaim shame over taking a pill for a headache. So why should there be shame for what is essentially a brain or mind ache?

And since he was a writer, he'd just about be expected to have a black dog stalking him at some point. It's an occupational hazard. The shadow that falls over the vocation. The dark side of the calling.

If anyone out there reading this is considering ending his or her life due to feelings, go get some medical attention. Don't let your mind trick you into thinking there's no hope. There is. Hop on a pill to transport you to the other side of that bleak tunnel.

Me, I thought it out a long time ago. That's why I nurture my spite. Even if I ever lose all hope -- in terms of self-feeling -- I can always cling to my spite.

Spite is my life preserver.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sony Reader On Sale At Target Stores!

Look at this:


Click = big

The Sony Reader is already in over 500 Borders outlets (though I wonder about that). Target has over 1,400 stores.

The Sony Reader now has a retail presence that is staggering.

When people think eBook, what they'll be able to actually try is a Sony Reader, not that abominable Amazon Kindle.

I kick myself now. I was in a Target earlier this week (it's not exactly nearby, either). I didn't bother to investigate their electronics area. Too bad. I had the Philips crapcam with me and could have gotten some (crappy) photos of the in-store display!

This is all great news for the eBook Cause. All these new sales outlets. It can only help!

Previously here:

Flashback Laugh: CrunchGear On Sony Reader
Sony Reader Launching In France!
The Sony Reader Rejects Defeat
eBook Fans: Another Poll To Vote In!
Brief eBook Items
eBook Fans: Represent!
Confirmed: New Sony Reader October 2008!
Sony Reader Red
Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage
Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software?
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage
Waterstone’s eBook Site: FAIL!
Tomorrow Is U.K. D-Day For Sony Reader
Reference: Sony Reader With 64-Bit Vista
Attention Sony! DO IT!!
OMFGZZ!!!1 Sony’s Stringer Has Heard Of eBooks!
Why I Hate Sony Today
Two eBook Posts By Writer Gary Gibson
Sony Reader Gets Truth And Love
Kindle, Schmindle
Sony Fumbles Its eBook Reader
Sony Tries To Do Right To Reader Pioneers
Sony Still Shoots Itself In Foot
Sony Reader Gets Some Love
Sony To Kindle: Up Yours!
Sony’s Strange Strategy
A Gadget Too Far
Sony, The New Titanic?
eInk eBook Readers: They’re All Dead, Jim!
Amazon: Already Toast
More Bad For Sony Reader: Kindles Coming
Borders Catches Cold, Sony Reader Gets Pneumonia?
Sony Reader Can Be Bought In Spain!
Oprah, Get A Sony Reader!
Sony’s In Worse Shape Than I Thought
Sony Has Big eBook News Today
Oh, NOW He Believes Me!
Macbook Air Vs Everex Cloudbook Vs Sony Reader
Does Borders Know The Sony Reader Exists?
Sony: I’m Not Alone
What’s Going On With Sony And Its Reader?
Sony’s Got Something Big For Their Reader
Has Sony Just Lost Its eBook Battle?

Flashback Laugh: CrunchGear On Sony Reader

Two sentences (from a post so brief that I'd wind up grabbing all of it if I didn't pare it down to just this!) from September 26th, 2006:

Sony Reader: Company Loses Its Mind Completely
I’m not really sure what the hell is going on here.

[T]his technology is already antiquated and redundant.

Wow.

I guess it's a good thing Amazon and Bookeen and Plastic Logic never read that. It might have, you know, kinda sorta discouraged them.

And how dare Sony not heed such expert advice! What are they thinking, expanding into England, France, Germany, and even putting out a third model just next month?

Oh settle down. I have my own clunkers like that too. I just happened to come across this one today and found it hugely funny.

My own initial reaction to the Sony Reader was to pan it, but within twenty-four hours I changed my mind and then I recanted (on my own; I wasn't convinced by any PR flack or alleged tech expert!).

DRM = Destroy Remaining Market

Spore's Piracy Problem
Electronic Arts had hoped to limit users to installing the game only three times through its use of digital rights management software, or DRM. But not only have those constraints failed, says Garland, they may have inadvertently spurred the pirates on.

On several top file-sharing sites, "Spore"'s most downloaded BitTorrent "tracker"--a file that maps which users had the game available for downloading--also included step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the copy protections, along with a set of numerical keys for breaking the software's encryption. For many users, that made the pirated version more appealing than the legitimate one.

"By downloading this torrent, you are doing the right thing," wrote one user going by the name of "deathkitten" on the popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. "You are letting [Electronic Arts] know that people won't stand for their ridiculously draconian 'DRM' viruses."

Emphasis added by me.

How many times does this lesson have to be learned before intelligence and sanity prevail?

I just quoted Wil Wheaton the other day on this issue. I will repeat it:
[...] Apple is slowly catching up to Amazon MP3 and realizing that given the choice between fucking goddamn stupid DRM and no fucking goddamn stupid DRM, we’re going to choose no fucking goddamn stupid DRM every time.

Why should any of this be a mystery to anyone?

Back in the early 1980s, I had a Commodore 64 and 1541 disk drive. I used EasyScript for word processing. EasyScript had a copy-protection scheme that caused the drive head to bang against the 1541 drive's housing. The usual end result of this was to eventually misalign the drive head, rendering the drive useless.

This was in the day of online speeds being 300bps (bits per second). Within weeks, hackers had stripped off the copy protection from EasyScript and made a "DRM-free" free version available for download. As a legal owner of EasyScript, I had no qualms downloading it from CompuServe. I put away my legally-bought copy and used the "illegal" copy. But how many people who never bothered to buy EasyScript went on to grab a copy of the "no-knock" version? How many sales were outright lost from that point on? We'll never know. But I do know this: Had EasyScript not come with copy-protection, the odds of people putting it up for trading on a national network such as CompuServe would have been very, very low. Because at 300bps, it was a real investment of time as well as money to get it. Back then, you paid for every minute of connect-time, with an hour (if I recall correctly) running $3.00-$3.50 (my memory might be off; I do recall remarking that the per-hour fee was higher than the minimum wage at the time!). EasyScript itself cost something like $20.00 back then, which was sort of miraculous for a program of its capability.

People didn't feel cheated by its price. They felt victimized by its DRM.

That was over twenty years ago.

Now it still happens today!

Sure, there will be eejits who will grab anything they can that has FREE slapped on it. But would they buy it? Are they a lost customer or just some freeloading pig?

Kids -- which includes those up to college age -- don't usually have an understanding of the economic realities of life. How rent and electricity and employee paychecks all must be met. Anyone whose product targets that market must deal with that reality. But the absolutely wrong thing to do is to alienate that market to begin with! Kids are vindictive when it comes to being treated unjustly. They won't simply seek redress, they will incite revenge! Thus Spore is now virtually a freebie across the entire planet, instead of a viable product with strong sales and a loyal base of customers.

With kids, a "Screw you" from a company is turned into a "Screw you back -- cubed."

This is also why I join with David Rothman of TeleRead and many, many others when it comes to pleading for no DRM on eBooks. eBooks will generally address a market of adults, who understand that writers need to pay rent and eat and provide for their families. Even if copies escape onto the DarkNet -- and they will -- I believe that most writers -- writers, not publishers -- will see that as an opportunity to gain new readers who will then pay for the next eBook. Leakage -- shrinkage as the retail industry terms it -- is inevitable. The best way to deal with that is with a realistic attitude that does not alienate good-will paying customers.

And for those publishers -- of any thing, be it game or eBook or music -- check your contract with the eStore selling your goods. You are likely to find that you are not making money on every copy to begin with. The iTunes Store and Sony's eBook Store allow one copy to be installed on more than one device. This means, for instance, that one copy can be shared by up to five people in the real world. So get those dreams of every copy equaling full retail price out of your head. That's not happening in your contract! Your retail price is already being divided by up to a fifth -- legally, and you agreed to that!

And when it comes to eBooks specifically, please, please, please get rid of the idea that it should sell for the same price as the just-published printed version. That's a customer-alienating strategy. (If you're a writer, get on the phone with your agent to clarify this issue. Too many times these days, it's not the publisher who insists on a print-like price, it's an agent! Stop committing suicide by gouging and killing your fanbase! If your agent won't listen to reason, get an agent who lives in the 21st century.)

It's time to kill DRM. It doesn't do what it alleges to do: prevent theft. It encourages it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blog Notes: Still Behind Here

I just added some eBook-related posts from my primary blog. Just to keep things looking alive around here.

I will get back to this again.

Confirmed: New Sony Reader October 2008!

CNet Crave reports: Sony Reader event October 2: New product coming?

There's a graphic of an invite there which seems to dramatize wireless capability for the Reader: words are swirling out and around a Reader being held.

Just last week I posted: Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software? in which I passed on a rumor of a wireless Reader appearing in November.

Now it seems to be arriving a month earlier! (Although actual availability might still be November. We all know how tech companies like to announce things before shipments begin.)

Could this be due to Apple having an iPod Touchbook to introduce in October?

The eBook market is getting exciting!

-- via TeleRead and MobileRead

Previously here:

Sony Reader Red
Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage
Waterstone’s eBook Site: FAIL!
Tomorrow Is U.K. D-Day For Sony Reader

-- originally published September 9, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

eBooks And Pricing

Open Seas; High Waves - The Perfect Storm?
So to me, high pricing, and an openly rippable format would appear to be the perfect breeding conditions for piracy. It’s great that publishers could be moving away from DRM, and this is an important battle to win. But surely the price battle is an equally important one in the front to drive adoption and resist loss of revenue through piracy?

One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”. Indeed it will - but whether that price is controlled by pro-active or reactive pricing by publishers remains to be seen.

What I’m not assuming is that people want to pirate content - quite the opposite. But if a consumer feels that they are being given a choice of an excessively-priced, perhaps hard-to-find version, against a freely priced, easy-to-find version, there will be a point where they will go for the latter.

Emphasis in the original.

Then, from a writer who is doing direct publishing:

[Interview] P. T. Harris, author of ‘REGRETdead’
The question had to be asked. Would that publisher survive two years? I researched self-publishing, and in the end, I chose ebooks. My capital outlay for the software was low and, no matter who published me, it would still be up to me to sell my work.

[. . .]

The advantages? I set the sales price. This is the key reason I didn’t go with another ebook site. I couldn’t get my head around the idea that I, no-brand-name P. T. Harris, could sell tons of books at the same price or higher than say, Kellerman or Sandford.

Since most authors make little on the first couple of books, I sought to use the ebook format as a venue to build my own brand by delivering great fiction at just $3.99 per book. Then, two or three books later, my major publisher (she dreams) can reissue ASSISTdead and REGRETdead.

Emphasis added by me.

So on the one hand, we have the dying dinosaurs of print trying to gouge early eBook adopters with unreasonable prices that will stifle growth of the market. And on the other hand, there's a writer who actually wants her work to sell and sets a friendly impulse-buy price.

Gee, which strategy is the most likely to succeed?

Especially as eBooks will eventually be borrowed free from public libraries.

So let's review:

1) Dying print dinosaurs: Smug ripoff pricing

2) Public libraries: Free borrowing of eBooks from smug dying print publishers

3) Direct-publishing writers: Impulse-buy pricing

This is clearly two against one.

Finally, hey, who do they think they're kidding with this:
One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”.

Here's the so-called "marketplace" in action -- it's killing CD sales!

It will also kill dinosaur print publisher eBook sales.

See how bad eBooks prices are at The eBook Test blog.

Supplemental:

Writer P.T. Harris website (it has music; ditch the music and Flash animations!)

-- originally published September 7, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage

A boon for journeys
So here it is. Trim and tanned and primed to hold you to all your resolutions for the new school year. Never quite managed to finish reading your library copy of War And Peace before the overdue fees began to bite? Don't have a handbag big enough to carry Bleak House around with you? Well, here they both are, in five by seven inches of discreet, overstitched buff leatherette, as part of the 100-book starter library offered by Waterstone's to buyers of the much-trumpeted Sony Reader.

Ebook: The future of reading?
Martin Ramsbottom, from The Scroll book shop, also in Kirkham, added: "These devices are bound to have some effect on the market.

"But the important thing here is that reading off a screen is not as easy as reading from a book.

"It's just not quite the same and you can't take in the whole page.

"Also I doubt many people would want to curl up in bed or in a comfy chair with one of these computer devices, it's much more personal to have a book.

"It may be a generational thing though," the retired librarian said.

"They could take off with younger people and get them interested in reading."

Penguin Targets Sony Reader
U.K. publisher Penguin Books have announced that by the end of the year thousands of titles will be available in the ePub format, suitable for the Sony Reader or Adobe Digital Editions on Windows or Mac.

As reported by Booktrade.info, Penguin's digital publisher, Jeremy Ettinghausen, said, "It's thrilling to see so much enthusiastic activity around ebooks, seven years after their first incarnation. Our job as publishers is to make authors' work as widely available as possible -- ebooks give readers greater choice as to how, where and when they buy and read books, which can only be a good thing."

The Sony Reader is now available through Waterstone's, a U.K. group of bookshops. Promotion has been restrained so far with nothing to compare with other consumer devices. The approach may be to wait on the availability of more content so the announcements from Penguin and other publishers are significant.

Only 13 per cent want eBook reader
Despite everyone here at Stuff Towers getting in something of a tizzy about the imminent arrival of the Sony Reader, it seems you lot just don’t feel the same when it comes to eBooks.

When asked, only 13 per cent of you say you’d snaffle one now, with a massive 87 per cent saying you’d rather wait until more books are available electronically, or just not bother at all.

E-books don't furnish a room
The eReader comes pre-loaded with an eclectic selection of 14 books and extracts: Patrick Bishop's 3 Para, Agatha Christie, a historical romance called The Wicked Earl... The menu is easy to navigate, but problems started when I tried to download something to test its legendary battery life. (6,800 page turns, according to Sony – or, in the new unit of measurement, five readings of War and Peace.) The eReader comes with a CD containing 100 classic titles; but I couldn't make it work. Was it just me? There not being a 13-year-old boy available, I called IT. They didn't understand it. I tried Sony's technical support helpline. "To be honest, it's the same for us," said a friendly man. "It's new..." In the time I spent listening to their funky hold music, I could have read War and Peace five times – in a real book. I could have learned to read, for heaven's sake.

It wasn't much clearer at the Gutenberg Project website, where eager readers can download 100,000 books – 25,000 of them free. That is, if they can understand the instructions. The site advises: "Palm OS up to release 4... does not support .txt files stored on internal memory. You will have to convert to .pdb or .prc in order to store Project Gutenberg texts on these machines." Somebody must understand this, because more than three million books are downloaded from the site each month.

I must address three things here:
Also I doubt many people would want to curl up in bed or in a comfy chair with one of these computer devices, it's much more personal to have a book.

How many times is that utter bullshit going to be trotted out?

And:
When asked, only 13 per cent of you say you’d snaffle one now

I'd like to know if they ran a poll when the iPod was introduced and what those results were. I remember the iPod intro. The geniuses on the Net dismissed it. Now they cry about Apple's "monopoly."

Also:
Somebody must understand this, because more than three million books are downloaded from the site each month.

I'm sorry to read that she couldn't figure out how to load eBooks onto the Reader. It makes me wonder if she has an iPod. As for Gutenberg ... yes, dear, it's not even simple for those of us who are somewhat techies. And that's a shame.

Previously here:

Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software?
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage

-- originally published September 5, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008