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....more
Posts Tagged: e-books
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....more
Once the story was actually finished, and there was no money to be made, all ambition tied to it evaporated, and now I’m left pretty much where I began. Ruthlessly lazy, without much money, and stuck for the foreseeable future at an annoying day job.
Readers stop reading a book they enjoy when they put it down and forget to come back. Readers finish books they hate when they are assigned it for book clubs or else they want to hate-read and laugh about [it] with their friends .
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.
I wonder if readers of Fifty Shades of Grey will now feel uneasy knowing that someone knows exactly which scenes they return to, and reread over and over?
As Francine Prose writes over at the New York Review of Books, new e-reader devices allow e-books retailers to fetch and analyze a user’s reading data....more
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....more
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.
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.
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....more
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....more
E-book sales have slowed in the past year and a half, so what is making readers continue to opt for paper books? This infographic posted by Electric Literature shows there are plenty of reasons people prefer paper books including the feel of the paper, the ease of highlighting, and the fact that you can collect physical books on a shelf....more
Two art professors at Eastern Michigan University are exploring what a book is and what it will be in the future in their Open Book Project, which has thus far involved an exhibition, a 248-page book, and workshops where artists imagine the forms books of the future could take....more
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.
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)....more
There’s long been debate over e-books vs. paper books. Now, the Financial Times reports on new research that shows that digital devices encourage deep reading while printed books are better for an active learning. But, in the end, “there doesn’t seem to be any convincing evidence that reading on screen or paper is better per se.”...more
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.
Suzi LeVine became the first U.S. Ambassador sworn into office on a Kindle. She also took her oath of office not on the Bible, but on the U.S Constitution (open to the Nineteenth Amendment, the amendment granting women the right to vote)....more
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.
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....more
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....more