Posts Tagged: e-books

Paper, Please

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A study of 300 college students in the United States, Germany, Slovakia, and Japan found that 92 percent preferred to read paper books over e-books.

The students preferred paper because of the “lack of distractions that are available on computers as well as the headaches and eye strain that can result from staring at a screen.” Students also enjoyed the smell of books and being able to see and feel how much they had read and how much they had left to read.

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Dean Koontz for Penguin Random House

The Rumpus Interview with Dean Koontz

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Dean Koontz talks about his newest novel, Ashley Bell, overcoming self-doubt, and “what this incredibly beautiful language of ours allows you to do.” ...more

Rick Moody

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Rick Moody

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Rick Moody about his new book Hotels of North America, unreliable narrators, hotel porn, how titles are uncopyrightable, and Internet comment sections. ...more

Video on Demand

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How many times have we been told that digital technology will fundamentally alter the way we interact with text?

There was hypertext fiction, which added hyperlinks so you could choose your own path through a story. Pfft. There was the enhanced e-book, which was like a regular e-book except it might decide to play audio at any moment, or show you a random video.

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Printed Books Are Here to Stay

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A recent New York Times report showed that e-book sales are declining while printed book sales are doing well. Over at Lit Hub, Adam Sternbergh argues that the printed book is going nowhere, for at least another 500 years:

Whatever medium the music is delivered in, the song remains the same—once it gets to your headphones, it doesn’t really matter what form it arrived in (esoteric preferences for the “warmth” of vinyl notwithstanding.

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Jeremy Hawkins 3

The Rumpus Interview with Jeremy Hawkins

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Author Jeremy Hawkins discusses his debut novel, The Last Days of Video, the resurgence of the independent bookstore industry, and allowing nostalgia to have presence but not precedence in one’s life. ...more

The Web Isn’t Nirvana (But You Can Get All Their Albums For Free)

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On February 26, 1995, just about twenty years ago, Newsweek published an article by Clifford Stoll called “Why the Internet Won’t Be Nirvana.” In it, Stoll provides a litany of faults to be found in the nascent web. Although there’s a decidedly un-zen tone to the article, Stoll makes some surprisingly accurate predictions—right alongside some laughable ones.

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By Any Memes Necessary

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The long-awaited release of The Autobiography of Malcolm X in ebook format is on track for May of this year, to commemorate what would have been the activist’s 90th birthday. The print edition has been available from Ballantine, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for some time; the author’s estate is spearheading the digital publication in keeping with his principles, according to attorney L.

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I, Reader

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Somewhere amid the fray of criticism, support, and speculation over e-books, linguistics professor Naomi Baron thought to ask readers whether they even liked them:

…you have to ask: What do you want to measure? Do you want to measure comprehension? That’s a fairly plain, middle-school way of talking about what it means to read.

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Not-So-Young Adults

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Good news! Early reports show that book sales are up 4.9 percent in 2014. Who can we thank for this Christmas miracle? Adults who read e-book versions of YA novels, that’s who. Sales are up by a dramatic 53 percent in YA/Children’s e-books, while sales in Adult Fiction/Nonfiction are down 3.3 percent—maybe because all the adults are reading The Hunger Games on their Kindles instead.

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Who Digitizes the Books?

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Of course books don’t digitize themselves. Human hands have to individually scan the books, to open the covers and flip the pages. But when Google promotes its project—a database of “millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide”—they put the technology, the search function and the expansive virtual library in the forefront.

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Year One of Day One

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Whether Amazon proves friend or foe to the literary cause, its year-old literary journal Day One seems to be putting everyone in an awkward position. Boris Kachka covers its birthday party for Vulture:

Genres sell briskly as e-books, while the literary mid-list is still largely hand-sold in physical bookstores, so the Amazon authors hurt most of all by the lit world’s hostility are those it might like the most.

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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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