Bookmarked! 5th May

The New Plastic Logic ereader, due out soonLots of good book stuff happening the past couple of days:

  • Most of you have probably heard by now that Amazon’s releasing a new big-screen Kindle for newspapers, and that they’re working closely with a select group of dailies and news organizations. For those of you who haven’t, see: the New York Times,
  • Busy week for Amazon: they’ve also acquired the Stanza ebook reader for the iPhone. I find it very interesting that more and more publishers are releasing books in print and for Stanza at the same time. And now Amazon’s got their grubby paws on this small company, which probably means that a) Stanza is going to become huge; b) the Kindle app is going to become huge. Stanza uses the ePub ebook format. Watch that: it may well be the ebook format of the future.
  • Locus Novus is a superb multimedia fiction site. I agree with Lee – go read (watch?) Hotel Rot and wait for the message in the last slide … fantastic.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, has a surprisingly good video over at TED on creativity. QFT: ‘to be fair, chemical engineers, as a group, haven’t earned a reputation over the years for being alcoholic manic depressives … and we writers do.’
  • Talent is overrated. Practice isn’t.
  • Steven Johnson on the Wall Street Journal: how the ebook will change the way we read and write (watch out for the writing for Google section; also, I call bullshit on the Paying Per Chapter section)
  • Here’s a handy link to the Economist Style Guide. Pretty useful, regardless of what kind of writing you do.

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Category: Bookmarked!
  • Jan Oda

    I’m a little bit critical about the Amazon Stanza thing. Especcially after reading this article:

    Any comments?

  • Pete Tzinski

    Jan: After reading that link, I’m rampant. I’m already against Amazon and their Kindle stuff in general, because they have almost an Imperialist attitude that I dislike. And I don’t like the seemingly constant DISDAIN they have for books and reading

    But the thing that really turns me off this new Kindle is that picture up above. that thing is stonking HUGE! It’s like a newspaper that you can’t bend!

    Did they miss the bit where mostly we don’t read the newspaper AT FULL SIZE? I don’t know about you, but I fold it all up when I’m reading it.

    This is like reading a newspaper with starch in it.

    Also…this is the THIRD Kindle in, what, two years? If that? That’s a LOT. And it does make me wonder why.

    I’d like an eBOok reader, for things I occasionally find in the Gutenberg library. But right now, it’s too much like the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD or VHS/Betamax sort of war. May as well wait for it to die down and something more standardized and user-friendly to come out (presumably, it will be the Apple iBook…you watch…)

  • Eli James

    @Jan: Thanks for the link, mate. I checked it out and I’m having mixed thoughts at the moment. On one hand he DOES make a point about Amazon taking the ePub format for itself and causing more divide in the already complicated world of ebook formats … but on the other a huge bit of what he’s saying is assumptive in nature. Amazon has yet to make a move, and in this particular scenario we have no history to know how they’re going to handle the Lexcycle acquisition. Let’s wait and see.

    @Pete: Just a note: the pic up there isn’t the Kindle *sheepish grin* It’s a picture of Public Logic’s new eReader, one of the Kindle’s future competitors for digital newspaper space. Sorry about that – there were no leaked pictures of the Kindle DX then. (oh, and the Apple has released an iBook … it was the name of a laptop, if I’m not mistaken. Maybe the Apple iReader? Clunky name but …)

    Also: I guess I must be of a completely different generation – I didn’t even consider the idea of folding a newspaper! God, I’ve got to try that before everything becomes digital …

  • Pete Tzinski

    “WHat are you doing, honey?”

    “Folding a newspaper! WOW what a rush!”


    And as for the iBook thing, there’s interesting speculation right now. Because the iBook name is wide open again, there’s no current Apple product associated with it. So everyone is speculating that Apple’s going to come out with a reader. There’s been a fair bit of rumors for it, particularly for comic book and magazine stuff. (if they have the touch-and-flip effect for page turns, that would be a delight.)

    As for the picture not being the Kindle Big, well, I don’t need to have puny FACTS get in the way of my dislike of sumfin! :)

  • Jan Oda

    I’m just not quite liking how Amazon is handling the whole E-book thing. Yes, the Kindle has been good for E-books, more and more of them get published/bought each day because of it, but they are still quite a few buts.

    I don’t like the DRM. I want to buy books, not rent them.
    I don’t like that Amazon has the power to close down your Kindle Account. (
    I don’t quite like how few formats it can handle (even though you can convert everything through email, it’s still quite a hassle).

    Though these are specific buts, which they can easily sort out in the 4th version :p, I also have a general dislike with the monopoly they are creating, and how they are handling their power over the book-market. The whole #amazonfail thing, though mostly a twitter-rage, I really didn’t like how they handled it. Their customer-service and pr is horrible. And last, I’ve always been more of an Indie kind of girl, can’t help but have a disdain for the big guys.

  • Pete Tzinski

    That sums it all up nicely for how I feel about it. Except being an indie kind of girl. ‘Cuz I’m a boy. :)

    I’m not keen on Big Monolithic Corporation Businesses…or at least, not the ones that FEEL like big Monoliths. Thus, I don’t like Microsoft, but I don’t mind Apple. Don’t like Amazon, DO like Google. Stuff like that.

    Amazon just doesn’t feel like they have the slightest bit of interest in BOOKS. And you have to like books, because it’s a really dumb business to try and get into for MONEY’S sake, anyone knows. They feel like they’re just going after some puny little area that they can muscle into and knock over and make some cash.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s just in my head, but they don’t make me comfortable.

    Increasingly, though, I *DO* want an eBook Reader. I’ve been lusting after the Sony eBook Readers all week.

  • Jan Oda

    Fast comment for Eli:
    This article I found very interesting, and I believe you will too.

  • Eli James

    @Pete: I’m guessing that whatever Apple does in the ebook market would probably build on their already successful iPhone platform, as opposed to coming out with new hardware for ebooks. Imagine! iTunes integration!

    @Jan: Thanks. I’ll check it out when I’ve the time.

    PS: Also, you make a good point about Amazon’s DRM. I’ve nothing against big, monolithic corporations per se, but DRM is frankly horrible, and it speaks to an older version of the digital marketplace. Oh well.

  • David

    The only good thing I’ve seen about the Kindle itself is that ‘electronic paper’ thing. It’s nice that they have something that extends battery life so long.

    However, I don’t want so many buttons on an ebook reader, they’re just not necessary! Why do you need a full QWERTY keyboard? Why do you need buttons on either side right where you’d place your thumbs to read? Those would only cause you to accidentally change pages and lose your place!

    No, the Kindle is a very poorly-designed device for its intended purpose, and the 2nd-gen and XL versions are really no better. What if you want to read in the dark? What if you want to reverse the polarity (white on black instead of black on white?)

    I also hate that Amazon purchased Stanza. I’m using Stanza on my iPhone now because it gives me decent control and has access to a decent–though by no means complete–library of old books I want to re-read.

    Maybe–I hope–Apple has something better in the works. I hope they do call it an iBook or maybe an iPadd.

  • Pete Tzinski

    If they call it an iPadd, then my Star Trek neepery can be complete. :)

    Mostly, I’m waiting for an eBook reader that makes it all inevitable. Like the iPod did. There were MP3s and MP3 players before the iPod, but then somehow it appeared…and the scene changes. Lots of people buy ‘em, buy into digital music, lots MORE people find themselves going “against my better judgment…I sort of want one.” Like I’ve done with touch phones and iPods, I want to wait until something happens with eBook reader technology that makes it inevitable that sooner or later, I’m gonna get one.

  • David

    Kinda the way I was with my first iPod… (and my second… and my third… and my iPhone… and my wife’s two iPods…)

    Ok, I admit it. I’m an Apple fan simply because they make such good products; things that are really useful instead of just ‘pretty.’ There may be other products out there that do the same things, but they don’t do the same things as nicely and don’t look as good doing it. Why do you think there are so many iPod clones out there? Even the pirates know what sells!

  • Jan Oda

    And now we can read blogs on the Kindle, but have to pay for them. And the authors only get 30%
    And now Amazon is a publisher too…
    Amazon Encore it’s called.

    Amazon is doing to much now it’s almost blinding. And hard to form an opinion on what exactly it is they are doing.