A Writer’s Plea: Figure Out How to Preserve Google Books

Author Alexis Madrigal posts this plea for Google Books on Wired's Epicenter blog and issues a challenge to libraries:

"The dispute over Google Books continues to rage in the courts and op-ed pages of the country. There are legitimate questions about Google, profit sharing and privacy. But let’s not let the litigation obscure that Google Books provides an unprecedented and irreproducible service to its users.

Before Choosing an E-Book, Pondering the Format

Steve Jordan, a self-published science fiction novelist, has to make lots of decisions. Although most of them involve plot points, narrative arcs and character development, Mr. Jordan has the added burden of deciding how to deliver the stories he creates to his online audience.

Some of those readers own dedicated devices like Amazon.com’s Kindle, some plow through his books on smartphones, some use laptops and maybe a few even employ desktop PCs left over from the last century. (In true sci-fi fashion, Mr. Jordan doesn’t publish his novels on paper.)

The options are proliferating quickly for readers and the authors they love. While devices like the Kindle, the Apple iPhone and the Sony Reader get much of the attention, practically any electronic device capable of displaying a few lines of text can be adapted as a reader. The result has been a glut of hardware, software and e-book file formats for readers to sift through in searching for the right combination.

Full story in the NYT


Best Buy and Verizon Jump Into E-Reader Fray

The budding market for electronic reading devices is about to get two powerful new entrants: Best Buy and Verizon.

On Wednesday, iRex Technologies, a spinoff of Royal Philips Electronics that already makes one of Europe’s best-known e-readers, plans to announce that it is entering the United States market with a $399 touch-screen e-reader.

Full story in the NYT


Dan Brown book selling better on Kindle than hardcover?

I post this story for the implications not to support the particular book.

Excerpt from article:

The possibility that the Kindle version of "The Lost Symbol"--which follows Brown's wildly popular "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons"--is outselling hard copies on Amazon could be a monumental moment in the e-book industry.

Full article here.


What do you suggest?

Plutarch said, "To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult. "

On that note an article about comments by Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Google’s Schmidt To Book Settlement Critics: What’s Your Solution?


This Could Be the Year of E-Textbooks, if Students Accept Them

Article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education"

The trickiest part of teaching with electronic textbooks is getting everyone on the same page—or to the same part of the digital text. That's what a professor in the honors college at Arizona State University found last month at the start of an experimental class with Amazon Kindle e-book readers.

There are no page numbers for books on the Kindle; instead, every passage has a "location number," which lets users jump to that section. Those numbers can be long, and it can be awkward to type them on the small keyboard. So when Ted Humphrey, the professor, asked students to turn to a certain passage in the Iliad, there were "some glitches," he says, as a few students mis typed the location number.

"You have to hold down an 'alt' button to type in the numbers," which can be cumbersome, says Carson Cook, a student in the required course in Western civilization, who also worries that it will be difficult to take notes in the digital margins using the Kindle's keyboard.

Full article here.


Scribd’s E-Book Store Jump-Starts The Sower’s Mainstream Success

The Sower’s success on Scribd attracted the attention of publisher Numina Press, which used print-on-demand technology to get the book into stores in just 29 days. And now, The Sower just hit the San Francisco Chronicle’s fiction bestseller list — perhaps that’s not too surprising, since the book was written-up in the Chronicle last month, but placing just three spots behind the new book from Thomas Pynchon, one of the most respected novelists alive is impressive.

Full story here.


Amazon and stolen Kindles

Article in the NYT about what Amazon does when a Kindle is stolen.


Texting? No, Just Trying to Read Chapter 6

NYT story about textbooks on the iPhone.

Apple uses a tagline in its iPhone commercials — “There’s an app for that”— to convey the idea that its phone is adaptable to almost any purpose. But an app that makes the double-page spread in a printed textbook easily readable on the iPhone? There’s no app for that.


Amazon.com Offers to Replace Copies of Orwell Book

Amazon invited some unflattering literary analogies earlier this summer when it remotely erased unlicensed versions of two George Orwell novels from its customers’ Kindle reading devices.

Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, apologized to customers for the deletions in July. And late Thursday, the company tried to put the incident behind it, offering to deliver new copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” at no charge to affected customers.

Amazon said in an e-mail message to those customers that if they chose to have their digital copies restored, they would be able to see any digital annotations they had made. Those who do not want the books are eligible for an Amazon gift certificate or a check for $30, the company said.

Full story in the NYT



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