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Time and again, the Author's Guild has shown itself to be the epitome of a venal special interest group, the kind of grasping, foolish posturers that make the public cynically assume that the profession it represents is a racket, not a trade. This is, after all, the same gang of weirdos who opposed the used book trade going online.
Imagine bringing home a music CD from Best Buy and discovering that it will only play on some of your stereo equipment. Moreover, you're limited in the number of times you can switch the CD from one stereo to another.
That is the kind of restriction and hassle that e-book enthusiasts face today, according to critics, because of the widespread use -- misuse, they would argue -- of digital rights management (DRM) technology.
Speaking at Princeton on Thursday, Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers, discussed the landmark settlement in the Google Book Search case. Sarnoff speculated that the agreement could effectively give Google and Amazon a "duopoly" in the online book market.
Last week, after shooting my video coverage of the launch of Amazon's Kindle 2 in NYC, I sat down with O'Reilly Media founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly, who was producing the Tools of Change For Publishing Conference across town. The book publishing industry is going through a massive, and in some cases very painful, transition. In my podcast interview with O'Reilly (full transcription below), he discusses Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN)'s decisions from his perspective as a book publisher, how this transition actually began centuries ago, and where it's going. Is it a case study that your industry can learn from?
There's actually a bit of irony in Amazon's choice of the Morgan Library in New York City to launch the Kindle 2, as well as the choice to have Stephen King do a reading from his new book Ur which, when it first comes out, will only be available to owners of Amazon's Kindle e-book reader.
The Morgan Library is home to the largest single collection of Gutenberg Bibles (three). The Gutenberg Bibles are considered to be "the first substantial printed book in the Western world" and in my interview with O'Reilly, he refers to their printing in the 1400s as perhaps the beginning of a revolution that's still underfoot.
The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with tens of millions of items that attract scholars from all over the world to do research. But soon, those scholars may not have to travel far to do their research. Some of the library's treasures are starting to appear online.
Like many other great research libraries, the Library of Congress has been moving into the digital world.
I am predisposed to dislike the Kindle because I love books.
.........Yesterday, though, I started thinking seriously about the environmental comparison between print and technology and was struck by the potential advantage of well-wrought and properly made digital readers.
.........Even before it hits the storage shelf, each book has a long history of pollution. Last March, the Green Press Initiative investigated the environmental ramifications of the publishing industry, and their findings were daunting.
Full piece at the Huffington Post
The web page "Typographical Errors in Library Databases" is leaving its home at Quinnipiac University. This is a result of the relocation of longtime Quinnipiac automation librarian Terry Ballard to a position as Assistant Director of Technical Services for Library Systems at the New York Law School's Mendik Library. The permanent home for the typographical errors page is now http://www.terryballard.org/typos/typoscomplete.html .
A number of other regularly-visited pages that Ballard created are also being relocated, including his page of exemplary Innovative Interfaces sites and a list of Library of American Civilization microform titles available free on the web. A directory of these and other projects can now be found at http://www.terryballard.org/mondoterry.html . For further information, Ballard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The typographical errors project started with a keyword inventory performed by Ballard at Adelphi University in the early 1990's that uncovered nearly 1000 likely errors to be found in library catalogs. Five years later, an online group was formed that kept a master list that grew to more than 7000 entries, thanks in large measure to listkeeper Tina Gunther from Biola University. This work led to the very popular blog "Typo of the day for librarians," which remains at librarytypos.blogspot.com .
The way we read is changing. This short article introduces the Wovel -- a Web novel. The founder of a small press that publishes wovels says, "There's an installment every Monday. At the end of every installment, there's a binary plot branch point with a vote button at the end." Voting is open from Monday to Thursday, the author writes the chapter from Thursday to Sunday, and publisher posts the installment on Sunday night.
In the Technology section of the New York Times there is this article:
Could book lovers finally be willing to switch from paper to pixels?
For a decade, consumers mostly ignored electronic book devices, which were often hard to use and offered few popular items to read. But this year, in part because of the popularity of Amazon.com’s wireless Kindle device, the e-book has started to take hold.
The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning.