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The pundits have been out in full force this year, as ebooks finally hit the mainstream. But amidst all the hot air about pricing and contracts and DRM and i-Whatevers, a lot of ink was shed on some red herrings—issues which, on the surface, seem very important but in my opinion are mere diversions from the real story of the future of the ebook world. What are my top five red herrings, and why do I think they are not the stumbling points the pundits make them up to be? Keep reading to find out!
Reading is a revolutionary act, an act of engagement in a culture that wants us to disengage. In The Lost Art of Reading, David L. Ulin asks a number of timely questions — why is literature important? What does it offer, especially now? Blending commentary with memoir, Ulin addresses the importance of the simple act of reading in an increasingly digital culture. Reading a book, flipping through hard pages, or shuffling them on screen — it doesn’t matter. The key is the act of reading, the seriousness and depth. Ulin emphasizes the importance of reflection and pause allowed by stopping to read a book, and the focus required to let the mind run free in a world that is not one's own. Far from preaching to the choir, The Lost Art of Reading is a call to arms, or rather, pages.
The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals in this work of great historical merit, the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe.
The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic, and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his state-of-the-art and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society. -- Read More
A new computer-generated process is giving scholars a prism into Victorian thought.
Victorians were enamored of the new science of statistics, so it seems fitting that these pioneering data hounds are now the subject of an unusual experiment in statistical analysis. The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century — 1,681,161, to be exact — are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
Article in the Travel section of the NYT
ON a balmy fall evening in the Mission District of San Francisco, hundreds of people spilled onto Valencia Street, where they chatted happily for a few minutes before pouring back into bookstores, cafes and theaters. It was a giddy, animated crowd, but most of all bookish — a collection of fans and believers, here to listen to the written word.
Is it more environmentally friendly to ride the bus or drive a hybrid car? In a public washroom, should you dry your hands with paper towel or use the air dryer? And how bad is it really to eat bananas shipped from South America?
Climate change is upon us whether we like it or not. Managing our carbon usage has become a part of everyday life and we have no choice but to live in a carbon-careful world. The seriousness of the challenge is getting stronger, demanding that we have a proper understanding of the carbon implications of our everyday lifestyle decisions. However most of us don't have sufficient understanding of carbon emissions to be able to engage in this intelligently. -- Read More
35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. That means that for every hilarious video of a piano-playing cat enjoyed by millions, there are many, many more clips that suffer in anonymity. Colin Fitzpatrick's website Zero Views is a home for those clips. He collects videos that, at the time that he finds them, have never been viewed by anyone.
“Libraries are screwed, because we are invested in the codex, and the codex has become outmoded. It’s not just a change of text delivery format, it’s a move away from content that is ownable and shareable, and that’s a problem when your organization is in the business of owning and sharing content.
Read more at DigitalBookWorld.com: If Libraries are Screwed, so are the Rest of Us | Digital Book World
Looks like because of the agency pricing model that some publishers are using there is sales tax on certain ebooks depending what state you are in. I first saw a mention of this in a blog post by Mike Shatzkin called Most dramatic publishing event of 2010? Introducing agency pricing!
Running some searches I found some additional blog posts that discussed the issue.
This article is particularly interesting because they tell what publishers are using the agency model and it what states they charge sales tax.
Line in article that I find most interesting:
As book-related marketing goes, this is quite an interesting idea. It could both draw interested readers to Starbucks, and interest Starbucks patrons in a new book. It does seem to run counter to the idea of e-books being location-independent—but on the other hand, location-based Internet services such as FourSquare are pretty hot right now.
Amazon is offering seasons 1,2,3 of Mad Men for $9.99 a season from Nov 25-27.
Young adult author Gayle Forman picks her favorite teen novels of the year, from a Parisian adventure to a high school student affected by life during wartime.
Facebook is a few steps away from trademarking the word “face,” according to a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Full article here
Picture on Flickr of a Kindle next to a Softbook. The Softbook is an ebook ereader than came out in 1998. In addition to the picture is some commentary about e-ink.
Article in the NYT: Mark Twain’s Autobiography Flying Off the Shelves
Excerpt: When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.
Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.
Book Review in the NYT: The 'O' Word
Budget Watchdogs Warn of Worsening Deficit, Explore Strategies to Cut
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Exclusive - Bethany McLean & Joe Nocera Extended Interview<a>|
|-- Read More|
This morning, Facebook announced its new messaging system. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that the system was "not email" and not intended as the media-hyped "Gmail killer". Zuckerberg did say, however, that "this simpler type of messaging is going to be how people shift their communication."