Electronic Publications

Disney Storybook Time @ the Computer

Not sure how one can improve storybook time in a grownups lap or snuggling together before bed, but the Disney Company is giving it a try. A new digital subscription service allows families to access electronic replicas of hundreds of Disney books, from “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too” to “Hannah Montana: Crush-tastic!”

DisneyDigitalBooks.com, which is aimed at children ages 3 to 12, is organized by reading level. In the “look and listen” section for beginning readers, the books will be read aloud by voice actors to accompanying music (with each word highlighted on the screen as it is spoken). Another area is dedicated to children who read on their own. Find an unfamiliar word? Click on it and a voice says it aloud. Chapter books for teenagers and trivia features round out the service.

A.P. Ready to Recieve Your Payments...Even For Articles in the Public Domain

Article in BoingBoing:
James Grimmelman sez,

The Associated Press -- which thinks you owe it a license fee if you quote more than four words from one of its articles -- doesn't even care if the words actually came from its article. They'll charge you anyway, even if you're quoting from the public domain.

I picked a random AP article and went to their "reuse options" site. Then, when they asked what I wanted to quote, I punched in Thomas Jefferson's famous argument against copyright. Their license fee: $12 for an educational 26-word quote. FROM THE PUBLIC FREAKING DOMAIN, and obviously, obviously not from the AP article. But the AP is too busy trying to squeeze the last few cents out of a dying business model to care about little things like free speech or the law.

Thanks to Bill Drew & Michael Sauers for the tip.

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.”

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.


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