Posts Tagged ‘e readers’

March 4, 2014

Over on IO9, there’s an article debating how we read and whether it is the right or wrong way. I sort of bristle at the idea of right and wrong ways of doing most things, let alone reading. All of us have individual ways of getting from points A to B, and as long as you get there, I’m not sure the “rightness” always matters (obviously outside of doing some sort of willful harm to others as you make your journey). While people may have fewer marathon sessions with a book in their hands while reclining on the couch, I’ve come away from such sessions with little long term memory of the book I had just read – often too exhausted to remember or having passed by everything too quickly for it to gestate. By the same token, reading in too small of blocks can leave a book feeling fragmented, disconnected. In the end, I think our habits generally come to conform to how we digest what we’re reading. If we can take in a bunch of small chunks of reading and put it all together, we’ll do it that way. If we can’t, we won’t, because the experience won’t be fulfilling enough to continue (at which point we may just give up reading altogether).  Maybe a follow up question should be about how well we monitor ourselves and know how we’re reacting to what and how we read.  Our reading habits may have less to do with distractions and more to do with a lack of self-awareness.

Publisher’s weekly has an article chock full of charts and graphs about what’s popular in kid lit. Perhaps what is most frustrating is how encompassing the category “children’s literature” is for the article. Something that combines YA and picture books and tries to give an idea of what genres are popular…yeah. Not sure how well all of them overlap and how clear of a picture it paints. Might help if I was interested in that segment of publishing, though.

I don’t like Philip Roth and he has a long ass interview in The Times.  I have a (bad?) habit of tuning out things like interviews when I get the sense of something I disagree with, so most of this interview didn’t really register past my eyeballs. It seems more self-serving than anything, as he tries to get out ahead of his critics and define his legacy. If he is going to give up on writing because it was just so difficult for him, I don’t mind if he gives up on commenting about it, too. I’ve never been able to get in to his work, though.

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Tech and Books, Books and Tech, Mortal Enemies

December 15, 2009

a couple of links today. The firstis an excellent blog entry from Nick Bilton regarding the publishing industry’s backward approach towards e-publishing. Nick tackles the publishing industry’s decision to back up e-book sales in fear that it harming their hardcover sales. Is this line familiar? If you followed the music industry’s fight against file sharing it should be. If you’ve read this blog in the past, you have probably noted that I am very e-friendly and have at least hinted towards where i think the publishing industry, and e-literature, needs and will go. And I agree with pretty much everything Nick says in his blog.

What amazes me is how similar the fears and reactions are between the way the publishing industry is approaching e-commerce and the way the recording industry approached it (and got beaten like a mule).  If I’m a big book publisher, I am going over what the recording industry did and attempting to do just the opposite. Instead of running from the concept of selling literature online, look for ways to make it more lucrative. Look for ways to package other stuff with it that might be enticing to readers while also cost effective. Maybe even open up  a whole new division dedicated to publishing new authors ONLY online where the costs of the publishing can be more tightly controlled and publicity more easily attainable.  Once an author has established an audience through cheaper e-lits (maybe with novellas and short stories) then move on to publishing that author’s first novel in hardcover.  suddenly you have an affordably created audience for a first time author and stand a better chance of not losing your hat over publishing the guy.

In other words, e-lit can be the new paperback. Where writers once cut their teeth selling gobs of paperbacks before getting a hardcover release, they can now sell billions of bits.  There could be a whole new world for writers here if publishers would only go with it rather than try to fight it.

the second blog is from chris dawson at  zdnet. He steps into the e-reader fray with an angle on Stephen Covey’s recent choice to sign an exclusive deal with amazon to release his books only for the Kindle.  He’s against the closed format for e-readers, pushing for an open format that would open up the e-publishing world for everyone to take part in.

The scary thing is his comparison to how Apple’s Iphone effectively cornered the cell phone market because of the ridiculous amount of exclusive apps it offers is quite possible. If any one company can convince a great number of high-selling authors to sign only with them, it would effectively cut the e-reader and e-literature markets off at the knees. Regardless of how powerful or versatile a tablet PC from Apple might be, no one will buy it as a reader if they can’t download the newest Stephen King or Nora Roberts book to it.

But I think money will keep it from happening. While Amazon can entice an author here or there right now, authors/agents aren’t dumb and they know that once the e-lit market takes off, there will be more money made from whoever can sell to the biggest audience. Which points to an open format that can be read on a variety of devices.

also, there is the simple force of ego. Writers (and I know, I kinda am one, albeit an unpaid one) like to be read. the idea of limiting their audience can’t be overly appealing.  While there will always be someone taking the largest payday out there, and I don’t blame them at all for it, I think a lot of writers would rather sacrifice a couple of bucks if it means they greatly enhance their exposure.

French to Google: No Book for You!

November 23, 2009

In their attempt to take over the interwebs, one of Google’s most ambitious but least often mentioned side projects has been the attempt to digitize and sell books. They’ve had to revise one contract with US publishers/authors after several groups (including the French, the Germans and some watchdog groups) filed an appeal in the US courts. A judge is expected to rule on the revised contract in February.

Meanwhile, Google is also trying to win the French over in allowing them to digitize French literature and then sell it. But it’s not working. As it is, google has a website up to see preview books with customer reviews and links to other sellers.

A random click on the Clive and Dirk Cussler book, Artic Drift, gives you a good glance at what Google has in mind. The preview option is extensive with what appears to be well over 200 pages of the novel. To the left is a small list of book sellers with their prices next to them. There’s the expected options to review, buy, and change pages. And there’s what could be a devastatingly powerful option to search the text for something specific. Anyone who has had to write a critical paper on a literary work can probably guess at how useful such a tool would be.

This also ties into recent talk of Apple’s bringing out a tablet with a focus on e-literature. If Google can overcome its various obstacles, I have to think it would become a massive outlet for book titles for a non-dedicated tablet style PC that could be used as an e-reader. Rather than buying specialized files from Amazon or wherever, and having your files at the mercy of Amazon’s discretion, google could throw the e-reader business doors wide open to any company able to make a reasonably affordable tablet.

Of course, there will be the continued fretting over piracy (though, here’s a clue, people already pirate books – just do a torrent search) and google’s mass scanning exercise doesn’t do much for HTML or other programming language based texts, but I think the future is there.