While I thought making that crack about scrolls-to-bound-books was pretty original, it turns out the Norwegian Help Desk got there way before I did (also courtesy Michael Holdsworth).
Michael Holdsworth writes in to say that it looks like E-Ink-type technology and laptops are not going to get along for quite some time. He refers to it as "Etch-A-Sketch" technology that isn’t robust enough to run on Windows/OS platforms or via video/animation. Additionally, it seems the color E-Ink is quite a ways off – I thought I’d seen something in my Google alerts saying they were on the verge of a color display, but upon further research this seems not to be so. Furthermore, there’s that page-turn "blink" that the machine does when you scroll to the next page.
So the idea of comfortably reading on a laptop with this technology appears to be still some ways off….We can add that to our list of "dream features" for a laptop/ebook-reader, then!
I do wonder, when the human race moved from papyrus scrolls to bound books, if anyone complained about having to turn pages instead of rolling them.
Bowker announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement with Alibris, Textbooks.com, and a number of other online retailers of college textbooks:
The new agreements significantly expand the breadth of data collection for PubTrack Higher Education, Bowker’s Web-based business intelligence tool for higher education publishing professionals. With the addition of the newest data partners, PubTrack Higher Education now includes textbook purchasing information from more than 11 million students nationwide, or roughly 65 percent of the total U.S. college student population.PubTrack Higher Education is the only sales analysis resource for the higher education market that provides timely and accurate data regarding textbook sales, course books-in-use information on college campuses nationwide, and analyzes market share data in ways that matter to publishers.
[T]he single most important task for the CEO of any publishing company will be to develop and implement the strategy to take their company into the digital age. The impact of digital publishing will be as profound as that of paperbacks in the 1940s and 1950s." There is a significant challenge, he conceded, in keeping younger generations interested in reading; "I don’t have the answers, but I do think that digital publishing will offer some opportunities…But it’s always been about the words, and new ways to package the words."
Amazon’s Digital Text Platform is in beta, but it’s an . Anyone can sign up. Anyone can be published. In fact, the only requirements to get an item listed on Kindle are a title, an author’s name, and of course, content.I wrote a cheesy coming-of-age novel called during my undergraduate days. It’s not my best work. It might be my worst. I’ve let two people read it. OK, I’ve suckered two people into reading it. I had it lying around on my hard drive in MS Word, so I figured I’d serve it to Amazon’s service as a guinea pig.In seconds, Amazon chewed it up and spit it back out in Kindle’s HTML-coded format. All that was left was to price the puppy, from $0.25 to $200. I chose the low end of that scale and clicked the Publish button.Several hours later, it was up on the site, complete with an Amazon-assigned ASIN code. That was too easy.
Indeed. It disturbed me a bit that (a) it wasn’t necessary for the ebook to have an ISBN (b) it didn’t conform to the IDPF’s .epub standard. And yet, if history is any guide, Amazon will set the de facto standard and all that .epub work will kind of fall by the wayside….
However – and this is crucial – so many more people are doing self-publishing these days that this capability to upload and download and distribute your own titles is pretty amazing. I mean, just load your book up on Amazon for anyone to find in their web search. Jaw-dropping!
Over at O’Reilly’s Radar blogs, Peter Brantley is leading a discussion of the Kindle – the comments are interesting, particularly Peter’s most recent one about looking at the Kindle holistically (rather than merely "slamming the device qua device" – which, as he says, is "fun"…and it is!).
Books-A-Million third quarter sales were $117.7 million, according to a report in The Book Standard this morning. That’s up 6.3% over last year at this time.
Galleycat reports this morning that Amazon has stopped discounting (at least some) mass market paperbacks…to pay for the $9.95 Kindle titles?
MSNBC’s Red Tape Chronicles has a piece today on credit card theft and e-book companies. Apparently, there was strange coincidence of credit card numbers being used legitimately to buy Equifax jproducts, and then used illegitimately at a couple of disreputable companies who run e-book fronts…and false charges appeared on hundreds of credit-card statements. Small amounts – $4.95 on average – but nevertheless:
It’s not clear when the e-book scam began. A few consumers say they saw fake e-book charges beginning in February, but it appears there was a flurry of activity in September.
Credit card thieves often create fake businesses to process bogus transactions — that’s much easier than using stolen cards to make purchases at legitimate retailers, and one of the quickest ways to turn stolen numbers into cash.
Meaning don’t buy your ebooks from weird little stores you never heard of.