Electronic Publications

Bits of Destruction...Part Two

More on the current wave of digitization...by Bernard Lunn.

"Readers will be able to order any book in the universe and have it sent to them in print wherever they want or sent digitally to whatever device they have. Readers have grown accustomed to getting their online content for free, so they will expect to get at least a degraded experience via the regular browser (the "free" in freemium). This will take a while to play out. We live in a world today of bilateral negotiations, so different titles are available for different devices and in different bookstores. But play out it will.

Here is my free review of my free copy of "Free."

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, recently came out with the book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price." So the question of whether books will be free in the future is a natural one to ask. The short answer is, No. If books became free, authors would stop writing, printers would stop printing, and electronics factories would stop churning out e-book readers. In other words, there would be nothing to read... except...free excerpts and promotional stuff.

The kicker: How much does Chris Anderson's "Free" book cost on Amazon? List price: $26.99, discounted to $16.19. Not free.

But Free on Scribd.

Canadian National archives reviews purchases of paper materials in digital age

Library and Archives Canada has put a moratorium on buying paper documents and books for its collection.
Doug Rimmer, assistant deputy minister of programs and services at Library and Archives Canada, told CBC News this week the moratorium is temporary and only applies to items it buys. It will still acquire documents other ways, including gifts and donations, websites and government records.

The Decline and Fall of Books

The article is from May, but the discussion about the 'demise of books' is far from over.

From Times Online UK, writer Nicholas Clee [joint editor of the book industry newsletter BookBrunch and the author of Eclipse (Bantam Press)] examines the recent phenomena (e-books, the Espresso Book Machine, the closing of many traditional bookstores, etc). that has lead to what some may consider to be 'the decline and fall of books' (or 'tree books' as I like to call them).

Do you love books, or do you love reading?

The author of this article decided to read the same novel four ways: paperback, audiobook, Kindle and iPhone. The experiment “taught me a great deal about my reading habits, and about how a text reveals itself differently as the reading context changes,” she said. “Along the way, I also began to make some predictions about winners and losers in the evolution of books.”

Perhaps her most dramatic prediction was that “the iPhone is a Kindle killer.” “Kindle, shmindle. It does almost nothing that an iPhone can’t do better — and most important, the iPhone is always with me. . . . Yes, the Kindle’s reasonable imitation of a book is an advantage, but not enough to outweigh the necessity to carry an extra object and its power plugs.”
http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39b01601.htm

Belt-Tightening and Fretting at BookExpo

What was once the 'be there or be square' event of the bookworld, a smaller and less flashy BookExpo America was held this past weekend at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

According to Bloomberg News, BEA "was a toned-down affair as delegates fretted about declining publishing revenue and the rise of electronic books like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle 2." Carol Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Random House Publishing Group. “Everyone has a somewhat reduced presence.”

Several large publishers, including Farrar, Straus and Giroux, a division of Macmillan, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, were missing from the Javits Center’s convention floor, choosing to work from basement meeting rooms, which are less expensive than the well-adorned display booths.

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc. known for hosting lavish sit-down dinners at such venues as Campanile in Los Angeles and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, when the convention was held in those cities, instead held a cocktail party at the modest, timeworn Strand bookstore in Greenwich Village.

More on the diminished state of the book industry and "on the increasingly frenzied conversation about electronic books that has hijacked the business" at the New York Times.

New, Edgy and Free; LJ's Book Smack Newsletter

Want "high-impact reviews of street lit, genre fiction, graphic novels, audio, and DVDs, along with edgy RA, in-depth prepub info, and industry buzz" direct from seasoned library-type editors?

Then you'll want to sign up for Library Journal's new twice-monthly newsletter BOOK SMACK (where did they get that edgy edgy name??).
Here's where to subscribe.

Kindle e-reader: A Trojan horse for free thought

Emily Walshe: In our rush to adopt new technologies, we have too readily surrendered ownership in favor of its twisted sister, access.

Web 2.0 and its culture of collaboration supposedly unleashed a sharing society. But we can share only what we own. And as more and more content gets digitized, commercialized, and monopolized, our cultural integrity is threatened. The free and balanced flow of information that gives shape to democratic society is jeopardized.

The Google Books settlement: A symposium, and a call for library action

Everybody’s Libraries has a big post "The Google Books settlement: A symposium, and a call for library action"

Last Friday I went to a fascinating symposium at the Columbia Law School: “The Google Books Settlement: What Will it Mean for the Long Term?” The symposium included presentations by US copyright register Marybeth Peters, and antitrust expert Randal Picker [slides], followed by panels featuring speakers from the legal, publishing, and library world, as well as a few folks representing Google, authors, international publishing groups, and photographers. The audience filled most of a large room, and included listeners from all these communities. I prepared for the day by going through Walt Crawford’s lengthy summary of the settlement and its commentators, which I recommend to anyone needing to get up to speed on the issues.

Sharing at Scribd

Online document sharing site Scribd has announced that it has partnered with a number of major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing Co., Berrett-Koehler, Thomas Nelson, and Manning Publications, to legally offer some of their content to Scribd's community free of charge. Publishers have begun to add an array of content to Scribd's library, including full-length novels as well as briefer teaser excerpts.

Hearst Planning Electronic Reader Alternative To Kindle

Analysts suggest such a device would help the news publisher find an answer to reverse shrinking subscriber bases, as well as revenue losses from publications.

Hearst Corp.'s plans to launch a wireless electronic reader for viewing the publisher's newspapers and magazines reflects the kind of experimentation deemed pivotal to finding a business model that can compete in an era of the content-free Internet.
Hearst, which has seen its own revenue plummet as advertisers shift an increasing amount of their spending to the Web, is planning to launch an e-reader with a large-format screen this year, Fortune magazine reported Friday. The device would be big enough for the layout and advertising requirements of newspapers and magazines.

Full story here.

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