Bibliofuture's blog

Michael Hart, a Pioneer of E-Books, Dies at 64

Michael Hart, who was widely credited with creating the first e-book when he typed the Declaration of Independence into a computer on July 4, 1971, and in so doing laid the foundations for Project Gutenberg, the oldest and largest digital library, was found dead on Tuesday at his home in Urbana, Ill. He was 64.

Full piece in the NYT

What smaller publishers, agents, and authors need to know about ebook publishing

What smaller publishers, agents, and authors need to know about ebook publishing

As the shift from a print-centric book world to a digital one accelerates, more and more digital publishers are creating themselves.

The biggest publishers, with the resources of sophisticated IT departments to guide them, have been in the game for years now and paying serious attention since the Kindle was launched by Amazon late in 2007. But as the market has grown, so has the ecosystem. And while three years ago it was possible to reach the lion’s share of the ebook market through one retailer, Amazon, on a device that really could only handle books of straight narrative text, we now have a dizzying array of options to reach the consumer on a variety of devices and with product packages that are as complicated as you want to make them.

Free or very inexpensive service offerings through web interfaces suggest to every publisher of any size, every literary agent, and every aspiring author “you can do this” and, the implication is, “effectively and without too much help”. Indeed, services like Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) service, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!, and service providers Smashwords and BookBaby, offer the possibility of creating an ebook from your document and distributing it through most ebook retailers, enabled for almost all devices, for almost no cash commitment. -- Read More

Waste Land

Movie info at Rotten Tomatoes

DVD a Amazon.com: Waste Land

If you have Netflix the movie is available to watch instantly. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can watch the movie online free via Amazon. Link to Amazon digital version: Waste Land (free for Prime members, $3.99/3 day rental for others.)

Ebert's review - I am honestly shocked that he gave 3 and not 4 stars.

Shirt

Should this shirt have a book on it?

Intelligent conversation

At the end of this story on LISNEWS - The End for Old Greenwich's Just Books - there is this question - Who can you have an intelligent conversation with at Amazon.com?

For some reason the comments on the story do not seem to be active.

So if we were going to have an intelligent conversation with Amazon what would be said?

Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Bottom Line

Time Warner owns the rights to a Guy Fawkes mask and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask worn by members of the hacker group Anonymous.

See story:
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html

How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop

Book: The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America

Story on NPR about book: How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop

Excerpt from NPR piece: "You'd ask for a certain weight of cheese, you'd ask for vinegar," says economic historian Marc Levinson. "The vinegar was not bottled; it was in a barrel and the shopkeeper would pump it out into a small jar for you. If you wanted some pickles, they'd be in a barrel, too. A lot of things would be in bulk, and the shopkeeper was responsible for giving you the quantity you wanted — or the quantity he'd feel like giving you. Because every store had a scale and the scale might or might not be accurate." -- Read More

'Player One': A Winning, Geeked-Out Page-Turner

Ready Player One

Book review on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/22/139760489/player-one-a-winning-geeked-out-page-turner

Excerpt from review:
If you grew up in the 1980s and resided anywhere on the nerd-geek spectrum, all it takes is the right Rush or Genesis song to bring you back to the video arcade. This was before video games became visually stunning and able to be controlled just by waving your hand in the air. Back then, gaming consoles were behemoths with perpetually sticky buttons, and the game-play usually involved some variation on moving a dot around while shooting dots at differently colored dots.

It might not sound like much, but if you're the right age, the feeling of nostalgia can be almost overwhelming. Those arcade games, and those fond memories, are the subject of Ernest Cline's unapologetically nerdy debut novel, Ready Player One. The narrative takes place 30 years into the future, but — to quote Lou Reed's song "Down at the Arcade" — "its heart's in 1984."

Our Plugged-in Summer

Instead of avoiding the Internet while we were on vacation, my family and I made good use of it, and it rewarded us in many ways.

See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/fashion/this-life-a-plugged-in-summer.html?_r=1&ref=techno...

Amazon Cracks Down on Some E-Book ‘Publishers’

Amazon seems to be cranking down on duplicative e-book publishing.

See:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/amazon-cracks-down-on-some-e-book-publishers/?ref=t...

What to read

Picture on Flickr commenting on books. See: http://bit.ly/oPayUg

Articles

Why Did Facebook Buy an e-Book Publisher?

Facebook announced Tuesday that it was acquiring Push Pop Press, an interactive digital e-book publisher, although Facebook said it did not plan to enter the book industry.

Link: http://nyti.ms/rbrMr4

Using the Cube To Bring Back the Book
A nonprofit group is planning to build custom-designed portable reading rooms in New York and Boston starting this fall, provided they can meet a fundraising goal by August. 15.

The Uni Project, a brainchild of Street Lab, aims to create "an institution in a box" that will complement the work of libraries and community centers. The lightweight modular structure will bring books and various programs to public spaces and underserved neighborhoods.

On its website, the group explains that it wants to provide librarians and others with a new way to showcase what they offer by using a more flexible and less expensive institutional framework.

"And the best part, once we fabricate this lightweight infrastructure, we can keep it running, serve multiple locations, and even replicate it," said Leslie Davol, who is a co-director of the project along with Sam Davol.

Full article: http://bit.ly/rsq8KC

OverDrive CEO drops hint that Kindle library lending launches in September
See: http://bit.ly/q86i8a

Netflix Sees Angry Clients Cutting Profit

Reaction to a price increase for DVDs by mail is expected to affect revenue for the third quarter.

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/business/media/netflix-lowers-outlook-citing-disgruntled-c...

Life Itself: A Memoir (Roger Ebert)

Life Itself: A Memoir

Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.

In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.

Roger Ebert's journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime's adventures. -- Read More

900 Kindle books on sale

Through July 27 Amazon has 900 books Kindle books for sale from .99 - $3.99

See: http://amzn.to/nYtb6H

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers

Analysts estimate that thousands of jobs will be eliminated with the federal government’s plan to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/technology/us-to-close-800-computer-data-centers.html?_r=1...

The Price of Typos

Some readers like to see portraits of authors they admire, study their personal histories or hear them read aloud. I like to know whether an author can spell. Nabokov spelled beautifully. Fitzgerald was crummy at spelling, bedeviled by entry-level traps like “definate.” Bad spellers, of course, can be sublime writers and good spellers punctilious duds. But it’s still intriguing that Fitzgerald, for all his gifts, didn’t perceive the word “finite” in definite, the way good spellers automatically do. Did this oversight color his impression of infinity? Infinaty?

Bad spellers are a breed apart from good ones. A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters — straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast — the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” — tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.

Full piece: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/the-price-of-typos/

Cities Report Surge in Graffiti

An upturn in graffiti nationwide has renewed debates about whether its glorification contributes to urban blight or is a sign of despair in a struggling economy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/us/19graffiti.html?hp

How Bible Stories Evolved Over The Centuries

Story on NPR

Scholars at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have spent 11 years combing through early New Testament manuscripts, looking at how they've evolved over the centuries. And what they found may surprise some believers.

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/17/138281522/how-bible-stories-evolved-over-the-centuries

Why Netflix Raised Its Prices

Pogue at NYT has this piece on Netflix: Why Netflix Raised Its Prices

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