Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
Commentary by David Rothman at Teleread
Has Sony forever lost the e-book battle to Amazon and the Kindle? The Irish Times certainly paints a gloomy picture. Hey, Sony, I warned you. Months and months ago I called attention to Amazon’s huge inventory of titles.
Still, I’d argue that Sony can bounce back. How?
Found at Teleread:
"We all love e-books because you can take that one download and send it to all your friends—so you have twenty of them instead of just one, and the publisher can’t track you down or do anything about it.”
Did a librarian from Baytown, Texas, in fact say the above at a "Sci-Fi Fantasy Convention in Houston"? If so, what’s the full context, and might she want to apologize?
The quote comes to us by way of Cornelia Amiri, a fifty-one-year-old novelist with 5,580 friends on MySpace. I don’t know Cornelia, aka the Celtic Romance Queen. But I doubt she’d go out of her way to alienate librarians or fans. If anything, she strikes me as more tolerant of pass-alongs than would be most writers and publishers.
From David Pogue, NYT Technology Columnist
Well! My goodness!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how some of the computer books I’ve written wound up getting widely pirated online after I sent electronic PDF versions to readers who claimed to be blind.
That online column set off quite a firestorm. Readers, bloggers and pundits across the spectrum chimed in. Most of them painted me as a tenth-century village idiot.
But upon closer inspection, what looks like universal condemnation turns out to be a cacophony of conflicting lines of reasoning.
Over at Computer World David Dejean Says Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle has turned a long underperforming category of tech gadget -- e-book readers -- into an overnight hit, and in the process has boosted interest in electronic paper display (EPD) technology. The Kindle and its rival, the Sony Reader 505, both boast e-paper displays that look unnervingly like printed pages and consume next to no power. However, today's EPDs -- and today's e-book readers -- are only the beginning.
The NYT is running an article titled To Save Fuel, Airlines Find No Speck Too Small.
The gist of the article is that every pound of weight carried cost the airlines extra for fuel. The article quotes this figure: "Every 25 pounds we remove, we save $440,000 a year"
The article had the following discussion about paper manuals on the plane:
Up in the cockpit, Delta is studying whether it is feasible to divide the heavy pilot manuals required on each flight between the captain and first officer, so pilots are not toting duplicate sets of five or six books that each weigh about a pound and a half.
Eventually, the airline wants to eliminate printed manuals and display the information on computer screens, a step the government would have to approve.
How about putting the manuals on a 9 ounce Sony Reader or a 10 ounce Kindle?
In his New York Times column, Paul Krugman reflects on the the digitization of everything and how this will change the economics of publishing as we know it.
"Basically, the Kindle’s lightness and reflective display mean that it offers a reading experience almost comparable to that of reading a traditional book. This leaves the user free to appreciate the convenience factor: the Kindle can store the text of many books, and when you order a new book, it’s literally in your hands within a couple of minutes.
It’s a good enough package that my guess is that digital readers will soon become common, perhaps even the usual way we read books.
How will this affect the publishing business? Right now, publishers make as much from a Kindle download as they do from the sale of a physical book. But the experience of the music industry suggests that this won’t last: once digital downloads of books become standard, it will be hard for publishers to keep charging traditional prices. "
Are e-books like the Kindle (left) and Sony Reader (right) more eco-friendly than paper books? The short answer is that we don't know -- yet. We have a pretty good idea of the carbon footprint of paper books, thanks to a newish study, Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry, released earlier this year by the Book Industry Study Group and the Green Press Initiative. That report concludes each paper U.S. book releases 8.85 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, the study doesn't cover e-books. "In order to address e-books effectively, I’d need to look at a lifecycle comparison that analyzes the impacts of e-readers vs. paper as a medium," said Tyson Miller, founder and director of the Green Press Initiative, in an interview published on Sustainablog. "I do hope that we can explore much more in-depth in future iterations."
Full article in the Los Angeles Times.
Is the electronic book approaching the tipping point?
That topic both energized and unnerved people attending BookExpo America, the publishing and bookselling industry’s annual trade show, which ended at the convention center here (L.A.) on Sunday.
Much of the talk was focused on the Kindle, Amazon’s electronic reader, which has gained widespread acclaim for its ease of use. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, spent much of a packed session on Friday evangelizing about the Kindle, which he said already accounts for 6 percent of his company’s unit sales of books that are available in both paper and electronic formats.
Who needs books, anyway? One interesting kind of response to Steven Pool's previous post about the “experiment” of giving away his book Trigger Happy for free was to point to the financial success of many bloggers, and to say that this was the way forward. Writers should, essentially, forget about the “outdated” model of writing a whole “book” and then figuring out how to sell it. Instant web publishing is what people want: it’s groovy and immediate, edgy, now. In that case, though, what happens to the quality of writing overall?