Ebooks

E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores

Facing economic gloom and competition from cheap e-readers, brick-and-mortar booksellers entered this holiday season with the humblest of expectations.

But the initial weeks of Christmas shopping, a boom time for the book business, have yielded surprisingly strong sales for many bookstores, which report that they have been lifted by an unusually vibrant selection; customers who seem undeterred by pricier titles; and new business from people who used to shop at Borders, the chain that went out of business this year.

Full article

Interview with Robert LLewellyn’s Carpool on ebooks and publishing

Background info from Cory Doctorow: Robert LLewellyn, Red Dwarf star, has a great little video series called Carpool, where he gives someone he's interested a lift to work in a car that's been fitted with cameras and microphones, and interviews that person while driving her or him to work. Last summer, Robert gave me a ride to the airport while I was on my way to the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno and interviewed me about ebooks and publishing. It came out great.

European E-Book Sales Hampered by Tax Structure

In Europe, e-books are taxed as high as 25 percent, much higher than printed books, leading some to believe publishers are being paid not to innovate.

Full article:European E-Book Sales Hampered by Tax Structure

Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' is released as e-book

Simon & Schuster released an e-book edition of Ray Bradbury's science fiction classic "Fahrenheit 451" on Tuesday. First published in 1953, "Fahrenheit 451" is a dystopia in which reading is banned and it is the job of firefighters to burn books. 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns.

The irony of releasing an e-book edition of a novel built around the death of print books was not lost on Bradbury, which is why he resisted the e-book idea. The Associated Press reports that the author was dismissive of the form, saying that e-books "smell like burned fuel." Bradbury, a noted futurist who at one time was a consultant for NASA, told the New York Times in 2009 that the Internet is "meaningless; it's not real.... It's in the air somewhere."

But the 91-year-old author has since changed his mind -- about e-books, at least. Hence "451" is available to digital readership.

Full article in the LA Times

NPR also has this related piece: Fahrenheit 451: What's The Temperature At Which E-Books Burn?

Traditional publishing Cutting their own throats with DRM

Cutting their own throats
If the big six began selling ebooks without DRM, readers would at least be able to buy from other retailers and read their ebooks on whatever platform they wanted, thus eroding Amazon's monopoly position. But it's not clear that the folks in the boardrooms are agile enough to recognize the tar pit they've fallen into ...

Penguin Restores Library Ebooks Through End Of 2011

Penguin reverses course for now on Kindle lending
One of the country's largest publishers, Penguin Group (USA), is temporarily restoring libraries' ability to loan their e-books for Amazon.com's Kindle - but only through the end of the year.

Libraries Outsourced The Ebook Platform And Betrayed Our Core Values

The future in one word: platforms
"One of the reasons why librarians don't talk very much about ebook platform chooice is because, by and large, we've already decided the matter. Libraries have made their choice, voted with their dollars and their energies, and have overwhelmingly selected Overdrive as our platform.
Yes, we have outsourced ourselves with an ebook platform that betrays many of the values that the public admires us for in exchange for a user-experience that be described in any variations of the word, horrific."

Giving library card info to friends and relatives

This was in the comments to a story at Teleread.org

” I can assure you OverDrive is not interested in managing or having any say in your library policies and issues.”

Sounds like just the opposite to me.

My sister is legally blind, (she can read large print on her Kindle but cannot drive), and lives in a rural area where she does not have easy library access. I live in another county, but she frequently uses my library card to access my county library’s e-book collection as well as the library in Philadelphia. The libraries welcome her patronage, but it sure looks like Penguin is telling them that they should block her access since she doesn’t live, work or attend school “in service area, etc.”. If that isn’t having a “say in your library policies and issues”, what would you call it?
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Any issues for your library when people give friends and relatives their library account info so they can check out ebooks?

Penguin Suspends E-Book Availability to Libraries

Another major publisher has pushed back against making its e-books available to library users. Penguin Book Group said it would “delay the availability” of new e-books to libraries because of security concerns.

“Penguin’s aim is to always connect writers and readers, and with that goal in mind, we remain committed to working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable,” Erica Glass, a spokeswoman for Penguin, said in a statement issued Monday. “In the meantime, we want to assure you that physical editions of our new titles will continue to be available in libraries everywhere.”

Full article in the NYT: Penguin Suspends E-Book Availability to Libraries

S.L. library pays more for e-books than for print

Teleread had a link to this story.

With e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, becoming more popular, the Salt Lake Public Library is supplementing its print collections with 5,253 e-books.

With more than 16,000 checkouts since December 2010, the digital bookshelf seems like a hit, but the problem is the cost.

E-books are purchased through OverDrive Inc., an e-content provider to more than 11,000 libraries. The Salt Lake Library pays $12,000 a year for the OverDrive online checkout service, then pays a fee per title to rent out books to patrons.

Digital copies of new titles purchased from Overdrive tend to be on average about $8 more than a print edition and can jump as high as $75.99 for popular titles.

Full article here.

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