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Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Interview with Peter Watts
September 19, 2014 | 4:08 pm

Style: "Neutral"I asked Peter Watts, author of the brilliant and genre-redefining science fiction novels Blindsight and Echopraxia, a few questions about his own working methods and the genre (or genres) he works in. Here are his responses. TeleRead: Do you see any ingrown shortcomings in the genre/subgenre you work in, and do you try to correct those? Peter Watts: I don't think I'm competent to answer this question; I'm not sufficiently familiar with the genre to make valid generalizations about its shortcomings. One of the few things that really bugs me about my life at this point is that I don't get much...

Morning Roundup: New Zealand rules bloggers are journalists. More DRM-free comics!
September 19, 2014 | 9:00 am

ComiXologyMore Publishers Join Comixology's DRM-Free Program (PW) Digital comics marketplace Comixology, which launched a DRM-free program in July, announced that a second wave of 14 publishers will now allow their customers to download and store DRM-free copies of comics they have purchased. *** Barnes & Noble Suspends Ability to Download Nook eBooks (GoodeReader) The Barnes and Noble customer care division has sent out a tweet, letting people know that this is their new policy and not a bug. “The ability to sideload NOOK purchased content has been discontinued. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.” *** HarperCollins to Help Indie Bookstores With Express Shipping...

Barnes & Noble removes ability to download its e-books outside of the Nook ecosystem
September 18, 2014 | 9:54 pm

I’m hesitant to believe this story Nate’s reporting, even after clicking the links and reading the sources for myself. How could anyone in the modern e-book market be this dumb? But the writing seems to be on the wall. Barnes & Noble has removed the “Download” button from its e-book library,  [Update: Nate’s posted another piece indicating B&N cited “security” as the reason for the change.] It’s no longer possible to download a book directly from the B&N web site to your hard drive by saving it from your B&N e-book library through your browser. And that...

My thoughts on the new Amazon Kindle lineup
September 18, 2014 | 2:21 pm

amazon kindleIn today's Morning Links, there was a full report on the new Amazon Kindle lineup. Some of it interested me and some of it didn't. Here were some key points I took out of Amazon's news, and some commentary on why it either hit the mark for me or fell flat. 1) Updated iOS apps. I was not clear on whether the app required iOS 8 or was merely a refresh in anticipation of it, but I am looking forward to having cut and paste options at last. I often paste favourite quotes into Evernote for future reference, and this will...

Apple Watch shows Cupertino has lost the plot
September 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

AppleFor anyone following the checkered history of digital wearables and smartwatches, the advent of the Apple Watch drips with bathos. It's like watching a flabby, ageing Mr. Incredible-style former superhero lumber up for the big confrontation, only to discover it's all over. Apple's days of identifying and defining entire new consumer product categories are long in the past. The window was wide open for years, well signposted, speculated on - and Apple missed it. Financial markets and analysts alike were less than overwhelmed by the Apple Watch and the companion iPhone 6. The Register tracked Apple's stock price initially hiking to $102.92...

Five things my mother had which I don’t
September 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

KnowledgeI'm back to school now, and as usual I spent some of my summer vacation time 'spring cleaning.' I always feel like since I am not working and the Beloved is, I need to have something to show for my day, so I clean like a fiend. And I have been busily working some family heirlooms into our home since the passing of my grandfather. It struck me, as I made my finishing touches for back-to-school, how much things have changed since my mother's time. There are products, services and routines my parents considered par for the course which people my...

Morning Roundup: Amazon releases new Kindles. Ultimate reading spreadsheet
September 18, 2014 | 9:00 am

amazonFirst impressions of the new Kindle lineup (The Kindle Chronicles) As my flight from New York approaches Denver International and the media embargo ends, I want to share impressions from today’s Amazon’s media demonstration of the new Kindles. *** Why Amazon has no profits, and why it works (Andreessen Horowitz) Amazon has a tendency to polarize people. On one hand, there is the ruthless, relentless, ferociously efficient company that’s building the Sears Roebuck of the 21st Century. But on the other, there is the fact that almost 20 years after it was launched, it has yet to report a meaningful profit. This chart captures the...

Step on up, Lovecraftians, for the S.T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship
September 17, 2014 | 2:25 pm

An interesting opportunity has arisen for horror, dark fiction, and Lovecraftian writers and aficionados: The S.T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship, "for research relating to H.P. Lovecraft, his associates, and literary heirs," is being offered by Brown University. The Fellowship "was established by The Aeroflex Foundation and Hippocampus Press," and is "named for S. T. Joshi, Brown alumnus (’80, MA ’82)  and prominent Lovecraft scholar," and is designed to support a six-week research period at the John Hay Library, "home to the largest collection of H. P. Lovecraft materials in the world," with a $2,500 stipend. "Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island...

A strange little copyright story
September 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

copyrightTechdirt has a great write-up about one of the strangest little copyright stories I've read this week. The story involves an anti-litter campaign launched in my own fair city recently, which cleverly used the letters on brand-name packages to spell out messages. From the article: "The campaign slogan was, “Littering says a lot about you.” The ads featured discarded candy boxes, plastic bottles and other packaging arranged to spell the unflattering message that littering conveys. The combinations included a bag of Lay’s potato chips and a Krazy Glue package arranged to spell “Lazy”; Reese’s Pieces and a bottle of Gatorade put together...

Styluses in the cheap seats
September 17, 2014 | 10:25 am

IMG_20140916_180514As I reported a while ago, premium brand pen manufacturers are at last catching on to the message that styluses are an increasingly popular, and stylish, commodity. Luckily for those of us not in the One Percent, though, they also seem to be improving at the bottom end of the market, with increasingly cheaper and better choices available for the normal user. I'm not getting paid anything for endorsing these, because who would do that for such cheap items? Rather, they're just stylus options that I found outclassed the opposition as anything other than status symbols. One option is the Bic...

Morning Roundup: Estate asks SCOTUS to put Holmes back under copyright. Mourning B&N?
September 17, 2014 | 9:00 am

sherlock holmesOn Mourning the Passing of Barnes & Noble (An American Editor) After this week’s news that Barnes & Noble has lost money yet again, I decided that perhaps I should begin thinking about writing B&N’s obituary. After all, I am a B&N member and I buy a lot of books from B&N and I will miss it when the last store and website is finally shuttered. *** Conan Doyle Estate Asks Supreme Court to Put Sherlock Holmes Back Under Copyright (Techdirt) Back in June the 7th Circuit appeals court ruled that Holmes was in the public domain, followed up by a more thorough slamming...