Archive for the ‘ebooks’ Category


Nice summary of Tools of Change for Publishing Conference over on O’Reilly.

Lean back 2.0

The distinction between lean-forward (desktop computer) and lean-back (television) media is something that also happens in the print v electronic debate (book vs online computer). Now the economist suggests that the iPad transforms the conversation – and opens up what they’re calling Lean back 2.0:

…data from all sorts of sources shows clearly that consumers read on tablets in a way much closer to print than to online. You can’t lump all digital experiences together. This new kind of digital lean back, which we, somewhat lamely, call “lean back 2.0”, has the potential to deliver an even better lean-back experience than print.

Franzen is wrong

Nice retort from Henry Potter in the Guardian responding to Jonathan Franzen’s delusional rant about the damage that ebooks wreak. Potter:

I am all for taking shots at Amazon and its popular Kindle, because the company is showing the unmistakable ticks of the power-mad monopoly, but Franzen was talking nonsense and was being a mite precious to boot…

If Dickens were alive today, guess who’d be blogging, offering the occasional tweet, setting up literary websites, digging out some of his old work and repackaging it in ebooks. Dickens loathed many of his publishers, whom he regarded as lazy, thieving parasites, and he would have been thrilled by the opportunities we have of unmediated connection between writer and reader.

Franzen’s spray was based on the value of the fixed nature of the printed object – implying that any kindle owner could brazenly alter the content of their purchased ebooks with zero effort. Like, how? Ironic that he was the author that had thousand of fixed objects pulped by his publisher, when they were found to be ‘wrong’ 🙂



They’re Going to Kill Us

Interesting post over at PandoDaily, with a purported publishing industry insider commenting on Amazon’s game plan. The context is the usual (I’ve done it too) list of what ails book publishing, but with the author suggesting that Amazon will emerge as the sole survivor. Don’t know about the source, but the smell of death is in the air:

We can’t pay $1 million for books anymore. Amazon could probably afford to lose $20 million/year in their publishing arm just to put the other publishers out of business. I think that’s what they’re trying to do–throw money around in an industry that doesn’t have any, until Amazon becomes not only the only place where you buy books, but the only place that publishes books, too.

Kindle Library Update

Amazon launched its kindle lending library in November last year and is now reporting that in conjunction with its Direct Publishing scheme, independent authors are earning reasonable money via the lending of their books. At $1.70 per borrow, there’s some money to be made – albeit within the confines of the Amazon ecosystem. From readwriteweb:

Amazon says that total sales of titles in the KDP Select lending program grew faster than KDP titles that aren’t in the lending program, but they don’t say how much. But the $200,000 bonus to the KDP Select fund is a signal of optimism. The fund is divided between the authors each month depending on their percentage of total books borrowed. One author, Carolyn McCray, earned $8,250 from the fund in December.

Print versus Electronic

The argument over reading print versus reading on screens continues. Some remain convinced that paper has no peer. But recent research from Germany suggests otherwise:

There are no disadvantages to reading from electronic reading devices compared with reading printed texts. This is one of the results of the world’s first reading study of its kind undertaken by the Research Unit Media Convergence of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH. “E-books and e-readers are playing an increasingly important role on the worldwide book market…

Professor Dr. Stephan Füssel, chair of the Institute of Book Studies and spokesperson for the Media Convergence Research Unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz [says] “This study provides us with a scientific basis for dispelling the widespread misconception that reading from a screen has negative effects…”

The name of the University that did the research is, of course, noted 🙂


(via the Common Room Blog)

Amazon the Publisher…

Not content with selling books, Amazon is increasingly playing in the publishing space. An interesting New York Times article has details:

Amazon executives, interviewed at the company’s headquarters here, declined to say how many editors the company employed, or how many books it had under contract. But they played down Amazon’s power and said publishers were in love with their own demise.

“It’s always the end of the world,” said Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “You could set your watch on it arriving.”

He pointed out, though, that the landscape was in some ways changing for the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years ago. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

New Kindle reviewed

Here’s a link to a review of the $79 Kindle by Marco Arment:

Knowing that this new Kindle costs less than the cover for my Kindle 2 is freeing: I can just carry it around uncased and unprotected in a (large) pocket, use it anywhere, and not worry about damaging an expensive electronic item, because it’s not. And it’s so inexpensive that I have no hesitation recommending it to pretty much anyone who ever reads books, because I know that if they end up disliking it or not using it much, it wasn’t a lot of money.

Like it or not, price matters…

New Kindles

I’ve always maintained that cultural change is often driven by expediency; lower costs and greater convenience. Anything that makes it ebooks cheaper and more accessible than p books will help drive the shift. Today, Amazon announced its new Kindle line-up. The $199 Kindle Fire is a 7″ Colour tablet. Not strictly an iPad competitor, but perfect for those whose main reason for a table is to read books. Potentially more interesting are the new $99 Kindle Touch and the $79 ‘plain’ Kindle. Those are the sorts of prices that make ebooks look like a no-brainer. At current exchange rates, there are some individual print books that cost more than the new kindles… More here, from Ars.

Bloomsbury’s Digital Only Imprint

It’s not the only (see here), but Bloomsbury has announced a digital only imprint, intended to revive out-of-print titles. From Reuters:

The publisher is focusing on books which are out of print and where all English-language rights have reverted back to the author or the author’s estate…

“In my experience, if people read a book by an author and they love that author, they suddenly want to read everything by that author and that’s where this can fit in,” said Stephanie Duncan, digital media director at Bloomsbury Publishing.