Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

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.

BitTorrent as a business model?

Again from the WSJ, the story of an entrepreneurial author using bitTorrent to maximise exposure:

The milestone was getting over 500,000 global downloads (—bittorrent-edition).  400,000 occurred during the initial two-week promotion period with BitTorrent but the downloads continue even though the promotion is no longer active. We also use other social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Michael Hart

I was doing an event yesterday and a fellow panellist mentioned that despite the prevalence of free ebook titles, sales of classics in the electronic format were strong. Which made the news that Michael Hart  had died a little more poignant. As Project Gutenberg founder (and in some ways, ebook inventor), he really started the electronic reading age. From Engadget:

Hart’s literary journey began in 1971, when he digitized and distributed his first text, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the Declaration of Independence he found at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. That same year, the Tacoma, Washington native founded Project Gutenberg — an online library that aims to “encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks” and to “break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.”

RIP Michael Hart

Computer Says…

From PaidContent, news of computer-generated book recommendations via the Book Genome Project: is the public face of the Book Genome Project, which was founded by University of Idaho students in 2003 and aims to identify, track, measure, and study the features that make up a book using computational tools. Other book recommendation sites exist, but they tend to rely on user-submitted data and social recommendations. BookLamp is different because it actually analyzes the books’ text. Its algorithm breaks books down into 32,160 elements: “StoryDNA” (“setting” and “actors”), language and character DNA.

Sunday Funny




This made me laugh 🙂


The Daily Show on the Death of Borders. (Techcrunch link because the Daily Show link is US-limited)


Quick link to a New York Times piece on self-publishing. With the advent of ebooks and print on demand, it’s a whole different world:

Before, you had to fill your garage with books and pass them on to all your best friends…


From the Economist:

Enter Unbound, a British effort to “crowd-fund” books. Visitors to its website can pledge money for a book that is only part-written. If enough money is raised, the author can afford to finish it—and the pledgers will get a copy.

Having launched in May, the firm announced its first success on July 18th. Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, has secured the funds to finish a book of quirky stories. Handsome edited volumes and e-books will follow.