Publishing

Stepping on Your Toes With Book Publicity?

An appellate court has reversed a lower court decision that had exonerated Simon & Schuster of breaking federal telecommunications law when it sent cellphone text messages to promote the novel “Cell,” written by Stephen King, three years ago.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled on Friday that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California had erred in its ruling in Simon & Schuster’s favor in a class-action suit brought by Laci Satterfield, a woman who objected to receiving an ad for “Cell” as a text message.

More from the New York Times.

Book publishers make a move toward mobile to attract teens

The Hills' Lauren Conrad— TV reality star, author of a new novel for teens and a Kindle user — says her BlackBerry "lives" in the palm of her hand.
It's the reason she thinks technology that links books like hers to mobile devices is "a really cool idea."

"Most people my age kind of live on their phones," says Conrad, 23.

Book publishers hope other young people think it's cool, too.

Publishers, engaged in the oldest of the old media, are turning to mobile technology and online social networks as a way to reach young readers.

Full story here.

Author Responds to Salinger Lawsuit

The New York Times has an update on the legal battle between 90-year old author J. D. Salinger and Swedish writer Frederik Colting (pictured below), author of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.” Colting claims that his novel is not a sequel to “Catcher in the Rye,” but rather “a complex and undeniably transformative exposition about one of our nation’s most famous authors, J.D. Salinger, and his best known creation, Holden Caulfield.” Salinger says "it is a rip-off, pure and simple".


Here is Colting's p.o.v. (legal documentation).

The “shift” speech

Publishing Industry Consultant: Mike Shatzkin:

On May 28, I gave a speech called “Stay Ahead of the Shift: How Content-Centric Publishers Can Flourish in a Community-Centric Web World” at BookExpo America. From today (June 12) through Monday morning (June 15), we are able to show you the video of the speech. We have also put the slides and full text on the speeches page of our site.

Presentation can be seen here.

Presentation can also be found here as an MP3 download. This link is at the BookExpo podcast site and doesn't look like it will be taken down on Monday like the video is. Since you can download the MP3 at the BookExpo site you can listed on a portable MP3 player instead of being tied to your computer.

Simon & Schuster to Sell Digital Books on Scribd.com

In another sign that book publishers are looking to embrace alternatives to Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book store, Simon & Schuster has agreed to sell digital copies of its books on Scribd.com, a popular document-sharing Web site.

Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS, plans to announce Friday that it will make digital editions of about 5,000 titles available for purchase on the site, including books from best-selling authors like Stephen King, Dan Brown and Mary Higgins Clark. It will also add thousands of other titles to Scribd’s search engine, allowing readers to sample 10 percent of the content of the books on the site and providing links to buy the print editions.

Full story in the NYT

Cambridge University to Make Incunabula Available Online

You won't have to leave your chair to see the Gutenberg Bible (1455) anymore.

That and the first printed edition of Homer's works are among ancient books being published online by Cambridge University Library over the next five years.

The money for the project has come from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

At Publishers' Convention, Is the Writing On the Wall?

If you wanted to think about the future of the written word, the publishing industry's annual convention, held at Manhattan's Javits Center, was the place to be over the past few days.

There was a problem, though.

BookExpo America was almost guaranteed to make your head hurt.

This was especially true if you were a traditional publisher or bookseller, a late-adapting lover of physical books, or just someone inclined to wrinkle your nose at the mention of the word "twitter."

Full story in the Washington Post

News For Sale? Online Journalism Fees May Return

Executives at major news companies from The New York Times Co. and The Associated Press on down are arriving at the consensus that they will simply have to find a way to charge people who read their articles online.

But it's not such a simple sell.

In Denver, after the Rocky Mountain News was shut down, a group of several dozen former staffers joined a new Web site called InDenverTimes. They would cover investigative news, sports, features and the arts. In essence, they intended to create something approximating a newspaper experience, online, without a print equivalent.

An Experiment For $5 Per Month

Excitement built as they were convinced they could make a go of it with less than a fourth of the Rocky's old circulation, at a fraction of the cost. All they needed were 50,000 people willing to pay $5 a month.

Fewer than 3,000 people signed up.

Full story on NPR (Audio available approx. 7:00 p.m. ET)

Company's 'ATM For Books' Prints On Demand

Story on NPR:

Have you ever had that frustration of walking into a bookstore, looking for a specific book, and being told it's out of print or not in stock?

One company wants to put an end to that. In a move some are calling the most significant step in publishing in the last 500 years, a New York company is trying to make books available on demand, printed out locally, rather than centrally as they always have been.

On Demand Books has installed a trial machine in a central London bookstore. It's called the Espresso machine, but it has nothing to do with coffee beans. This baby's grinding out books.

See additional text and listen to 4 minute audio piece at NPR.

On Futuristic Door Stops

Recently, I faced the hideous situation of dead hardware. I had gotten dependent upon my Palm T|X. That model of personal digital assistant ("PDA") was great as it had built in 802.11b WiFi as well as Bluetooth. As long as I was within range of a wireless access point that I had rights to use, I had the Internet in my pocket. Early on, it worked quite well with a wireless infrared keyboard. I had a precursor to a netbook in basic form as I could use the keyboard to compose Word-compatible documents on a small screen. The device was great for trying to read online content such as Mobile Twitter, The Dysfunctional Family Circus, Instapundit, and more.

Unfortunately the PDA got stuck in a soft reset loop. It was showing its age. Three years of dutiful service is beyond what would reasonably be considered "mean time between failure". Although I was able to eventually break it free of the soft reset loop, it is now stuck at the digitizer calibration phase of initial setup. After multiple efforts, the digitizer could not be re-calibrated. I had a very futuristic looking doorstop.

Replacing it was an interesting battle. Initially I was carrying a legal pad and pen with me. While my "analog PDA" worked well for me, it was not small. It also looked quite anachronistic in today's world. That did not work well in the end.

Getting a smartphone was out of the question. Nobody calls! As it is now, I don't really have a cell phone simply because the usage for inbound calls was so light. For outbound calls, I use Skype. While devices like the Palm Centro, the Android G1, and the iPhone exist they really do not meet my needs. If I get a phone, I want one that makes calls. I would much rather have a separate PDA let alone a separate camera.

Getting a replacement PDA is a complicated adventure. The market for stand-alone PDAs is virtually non-existent as of late. I visited retailers like Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy, and even a pawn shop in search of something comparable. Nothing was available as the trend today is the marriage of the PDA and the cellular telephone.

In the end, I had to turn to eBay. In addition to securing a Terminal Node Controller for certain projects, I picked up a replacement. Instead of getting a Nokia N800 as was sought, I wound up with a Palm IIIx. The Palm IIIx, while serviceable, is a very old device. This PDA is actually old enough that it has a battery door to replace the AAA batteries it runs on. I did get a keyboard to go with it but I need to get a suitable cradle to hook it up to a host computer. The device not only does not have Bluetooth, it does not have 802.11b WiFi either. IrDA-compliant infrared is the most the device has for signalling.

With these recent travails in replacing a PDA, I had given quite a bit of thought to eBooks. How truly valuable are eBooks? How do they compare with an old-fashioned RadioShack book light? As neither my paper books nor the Kindle have any backlight in them, such cannot be curled up with in bed without a booklight. Having to shine a booklight on the screen of the Kindle would be no different from shining one on the Palm IIIx. In that situation, you have a better chance of seeing your own reflection than seeing what you want to read. I am twenty seven years old and should not need "The Clapper" to be able to use an eBook device effectively in bed.

While the eBook may seem to be the way of the future, it does seem to be excessively involved and expensive compared to picking up something from the shelf. For those that feel the need to have everything available to them in one place, I suppose eBooks have a place. Right now I am finding print material to be easier and more enjoyable than the eBooks promoted today.

What is important to you: cute or practical?

Creative Commons License
On Futuristic Door Stops by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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