Electronic Publications

Not Just Some National Geographic, All Of It

It's the bane of many a public librarian. The phone rings, you answer it, and then politely decline the caller's offer to donate the last 60 years of National Georgraphic magazine to your library.

"Yes, I'm sure they're in fine condition. Oh? Been in your mother-in-law's house for the last 60 years huh? Yes, I know you want to help out, but we've got several years of it already. Yes, sir I can tell you're happy she's dead but we just don't have any use for that many magazines. No, actually they're not all that valuable - you do realize they print several hundred thousand at a time, right? Yes, so they're not exactly rare or anything."

Now there's a much easier way to get every single issue of National Geographic from the last 120 years and it doesn't involve any donations. You can buy it on its very own hard drive. That's right, you can get every issue of National Geographic since the dawn of humankind on a 160 GB external drive. As a bonus, the collection only takes up 60 GB, so you've got another 100GB to do with as you please.

I wonder if that'd be enough room for every issue of Popular Mechanics...

Amazon Says It Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Christmas

Amazon.com today announced that Kindle has become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. The Kindle Store now includes over 390,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York TimesBestsellersand New Releases.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #98

This week's podcast looks forward into the past with a replay of archival audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing the US Congress after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The dateline for this episode is the 78th anniversary of the event. Also presented in the podcast was a brief discussion of the late-breaking story of Comcast's attempt to acquire a controlling interest in NBC Universal. There was originally going to be discussion of remarks by Rupert Murdoch concerning why news online should never have been free in the first place. The Comcast-NBC matter took precedence. Related links: FDR's speech at Archive.org This installment of Profile America MSNBC reporting on the Comcast-NBC matter Greg Sandoval at CNET discussing the Comcast-NBC matter One Reuters story on the Comcast-NBC matter Another Reuters story in the matter Discussion at the Erie Looking Productions blog of the recent coverage of remarks by Rupert Murdoch MSNBC relaying an AP report on Google's new attempt to restrict how users can reach news sites Linux Outlaws, a show produced by Sixgun Productions

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.” 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. . . .


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