Posts Tagged: e-books

Surveillance in the Stacks

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Librarians have hard-won reputations as defenders of open information and patron privacy, but what about third-party providers of library services? Slate’s Future Tense explores some recent revelations from companies like Adobe, whose Digital Editions e-book software has been criticized for transmitting reader data in plain text—making it an easy target for surveillance by the government, and other private companies.

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From Papyrus to PDF

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Mike Kelley delivers a useful overview of the outlook for preservation of e-books for Publishers Weekly. In addition to the upkeep necessary to combat digital decay, which is at least analogous to the challenges of paper-book preservation, libraries are now confronting the particular difficulties of texts in proprietary file formats, with limited licenses, and without common identifiers like an ISBN.

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e-Books Threaten Libraries

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Libraries have adapted to the modern era by lending out e-books. In many cases, electronic books provide patrons easier access to materials. But a new study says that they also threaten an old system of distribution, reports GalleyCat. The main problem is how electronic content is never really owned, but instead, licensed:

Unlike the print book business model, in which libraries buy a certain amount of books for a set price and distribute those texts widely, most digital content is licensed with specific conditions about when and where it can be distributed.

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Amazon Attempts to Drive Wedge Between Authors and Hachette

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The standoff between Amazon and Hachette has harmed authors more than either corporation. The corporations are surviving on massive war chests and alternate revenue streams. Authors, however, are far more adversely affected by reduced book pre-sales and the sale of electronic books (available immediately) versus physical books (artificially delayed by Amazon).

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Digital Age Changes Writing

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Technology has changed the way writers write, and that change is not just about the rise of e-books. Composition in a digital world is much more malleable and fluid, and changes in methodology alter the structure of sentences and words. Author Tom McCarthy tells the Guardian:

Writing with word processors has given a new organisation to shaping sentences but it has also given flexibility; paragraphs can be switched, flipped and thrown out with an ease that would’ve been impossible when working with a typewriter.

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Wimpy Bookstore with Strong Ideas

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How does a child experience a book? It’s such a different experience reading on a tablet or a smartphone. A physical book has a heft, a permanence that you don’t get digitally. So our hope is that the bookstore will remain a vital, important part of communities across the country and the world.

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Is Penguin’s E-Galley Policy Hurting Authors?

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When a book is ready to be marketed, Penguin will print loads of galleys. Great, important, standard. But what they won’t do is give out electronic versions of the book. Not DRM and watermarked copies. Not password protected copies.

An anonymous “publishing insider” has a post up today at Boing Boing about “Penguin’s insane policy on electronic galleys for authors.”

It raises a number of questions about the changing face of the publishing industry and how authors’ rights will fare as publishers experiment with new strategies.

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E-Reader App Roundup

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Sure you love old-fashioned books, but sometimes they’re too bulky to carry on the bus, or you don’t want to devote valuable bookshelf real estate to something you’re not sure you’ll like.

For those times, there are e-readers—or, when your e-reader’s production ends as the Nook’s just did, there are e-reader apps for your phone or tablet.

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Ox and Pigeon: A Heroic E-Publishing House for Unilingual Americans

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The digital literary press Ox and Pigeon was created in 2010 by three friends who, on vacation in Peru, recognized the need for high-quality English translations of all the brilliant yet inaccessible foreign authors we don’t realize we’re missing.

Their current project, The Portable Museum, is a collection of stories originally written in Spanish by European and Latin American authors, released twice a year.

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A Library Without Books

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This should be interesting: a judge in San Antonio, Texas, is opening a library without books.

Or rather, there will be books, but only digital ones, which patrons can read on e-readers in the library or at home.

Since “[t]he community around the proposed location currently has no public library and is home to a lower income population,” a few e-books could go a long way, publishing industry controversy notwithstanding.

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E-Books: “the book-cover equivalent of burqas”

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In the Chicago Tribune, Christopher Borrelli bemoans the rise of e-books for taking away “the genuine soul” that “the randomness and variety and art work of a tangible book being cradled by a commuter” lends to the city.

Plus, it seriously hinders his ability to “eavesdrop on what you’re reading.”

Check out the article and the cool reader map of the Chicago L here.

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Avoiding Amazon in 2012

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“Many people assume that if you want e-books, you’ve got to buy them from Amazon or another online retailer. They’re wrong about that. You most certainly can purchase e-books from your local independent bookstore. I’ve done it myself several times since I made my resolution to avoid buying them from Amazon if at all possible.”

If you’re in the market for e-books, yet share both our disgust at Amazon’s practices and preference for supporting local booksellers, Laura Miller’s Salon article is a helpful read.

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Hypertext and The Novel

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The past decade has ushered in e-books and e-readers, so why did hypertext fiction stall after its initial hype in the 90s? This article investigates that question, building a case for renewed vows between hypertext and novel.

“Just as the novel taught us how to be individuals, 300 years ago, by giving us a space in which to be alone, but not too alone — a space in which to be alone with a book — so hypertext fiction may let us try on new, non-linear identities, without dissolving us entirely into the web.

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Soundtracks for Books

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Booktrack, a New York start-up, is weaving noises and music into e-books. According to their website, the idea behind synchronizing soundtracks to existing e-books, is to “dramatically boost the reader’s imagination and engagement.”

To hear a demo you can check out this piece, which wonders whether readers will find the format distracting, while pointing out that that the concept seems to be gaining ground in the wider e-book realm:

“E-books with added interactive features and soundtracks may be the format’s next step.

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We Are All Fetishizing

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Should the backlash (by some) against the move towards e-readers and digitized literature be kept…behind closed doors? An opinion piece in the NYT is convinced that arguments-by prominent politicians, historians, librarians–that digitization cheapens the experience of reading, don’t really file under elitism, or mere stubbornness in the face of transformative tech overload, but fetishism.

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