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EBabel

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

Gear Diary on craziness of e-book format proliferation
March 20, 2011 | 4:46 pm

Gear Diary blogger Douglas Moran has an entertaining and extremely true rant on one of the big problems with the commercial e-book world these days—the proliferation of differing formats, each of which requires its own reader application. On TeleRead, we call this problem the “Tower of E-Babel”, but Moran just calls it extremely irritating. Moran looks at the old Barnes & Noble e-book reader application, based on Fictionwise’s eReader. All in all, he writes, it was a very good application, and did everything he wanted it to. Then B&N essentially abandoned it in favor of their much-less-functional Nook application,...

More rumors suggest free Kindles for Prime subscribers may be in the offing
March 9, 2011 | 2:19 am

free[1]More rumors are flying around about Amazon giving away Kindle e-readers for free, probably to Prime members. This time CNET’s Crave blog picks up on it. Though it doesn’t mention the price point chart I brought up a few days ago, it does link to a GeekWire interview with a venture capitalist who used to be on the Kindle team at Amazon, which in turn links to a CNN piece which mentions it. Taken together, the pieces make some good arguments. The Kindles have always been loss leaders—Amazon makes its money off the e-books (especially now that agency pricing...

Looking back at a look ahead: My e-book piracy prognostications from 2006
December 23, 2010 | 1:57 pm

I was just looking back at a post I made in August of 2006—my first post here as a regular contributor, in fact. This came well before the advent of the Kindle, and was sparked off by a discussion of e-book piracy on the eBook Community email list. It’s interesting to look back on it in light of the sea change in e-book demand brought about largely by the Kindle, Nook, and (more recently) iPad. The article was a discussion of the relative e-piracy situations between music, movies, and e-books. My thesis was that, at the time the article...

Charlie Stross: Why a middle Merchant Princes book has no e-book
October 15, 2010 | 11:23 pm

image911[1] Charlie Stross has posted to his blog about the mysterious absence of one of his Merchant Princes series—not the first book or most recent one, but a middle book in the series—as an e-book. The problem, Stross explains, is that the missing book, The Merchant Wars, fell between two periods of Tor e-book activity. The first few volumes were issued during the ill-fated Tor Webscriptions experiment, which Tor’s parent company shut down after just a couple of days. The later volumes were issued after Tor started up again with e-books in 2008. But The Merchant Wars...

A very basic e-book primer: What should it cover?
September 13, 2010 | 9:15 am

The Nook! I have lately been thinking about writing an e-book guide for the average consumer—something very simple and basic that breaks down some of the complex issues surrounding e-books into something easy to understand for people who don’t currently know anything about them. Before I begin, I’d like to know what members of the TeleRead community might think such a guide should contain. My new tech support day job has brought home to me once more just what a gap there is between how much the average person knows about computers and how much computer geeks know. In a...

How libraries deal with e-books
September 7, 2010 | 7:15 am

library[1] “Oliver” at the Krafty Librarian has coverage of a discussion from a recent webinar concerning how libraries and librarians are relating to e-books. Though he mainly comes at the issue from a medical and academic librarian’s perspective, the points he mentions are largely universal to all types of libraries. A large part of it was factors relating to the “Tower of E-Babel” problem we’ve mentioned plenty of times before. DRM with arbitrary restrictions on what can be done with particular books, differing platforms with different access requirements. How books can be found via catalogs and search engines was...

Current state of college e-handouts complicated and confusing
September 3, 2010 | 7:15 am

textbooksMy DSL went out in a thunderstorm today, and between exhaustively troubleshooting it on the phone with an Indian-accented technician and catching up on several hundred Google Reader posts sitting in a FedEx Office (if you’re looking for a quiet place with free wifi that’s open 24 hours, I recommend it; the only drawback is there’s no refreshments), I’ve found myself without much writing time this morning. So this may be all you see from me today. Ben Hutchins, otherwise known as Gryphon from the Undocumented Features shared writing universe that I covered in one of my “Paleo E-Books”...

The digital revolution I didn’t notice
August 30, 2010 | 11:15 am

brownies This Saturday, I drove about 30 miles west of Springfield to visit the Gay Parita Sinclair, a restored period filling station in Paris Springs, just west of Halltown, Missouri on old Route 66. Several huge photo blow-ups of the place hang on the wall in the breakroom at TeleTech where I work, in keeping with the building’s “Route 66” decor theme. It was only last week when I googled it that I realized I had actually driven right past it without even noticing it twice while on my way to Carthage. I guess I’d mentally filed it...

DRM makes e-Babel of EPUB
August 21, 2010 | 12:51 am

ebabel_thumb[1] Shane Richmond, Head of Technology (Editorial) for Telegraph Media Group, has an editorial in the Telegraph about the way that DRM breaks up even the same file format of e-books into a Tower of e-Babel. He tried to open Adobe-DRM EPUB files in iBooks and of course was told that wouldn’t work. Richmond writes: Can we pause for a moment to remind ourselves just how absurd this situation is? It’s been a problem for so long that sometimes it’s easy to take it for granted but we are being sold products that work...

Bertelsmann, Holtzbrinck to partner for new German-language e-book format
July 20, 2010 | 7:14 pm

Germany_flag The Bookseller reports that publishing megaconglomerates Bertelsmann (owner of Random House) and Holtzbrinck (owner of Macmillan, to which it changed its name for purposes of US operations several years ago) are cooperating to create an on-line e-book distribution platform, primarily for German-language e-books. The paperwork has already been submitted to the European Commission in Brussels, but the two corporations have been keeping most details secret. Not much more is known about their plans, but there seems to be concern that this new development might imperil the plans of German trade association Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (roughly, “Association...

Mike Shatzkin: E-book market looking good for publishers
June 23, 2010 | 10:15 am

Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Co. has written a fairly long article about how the book market is evolving in ways that were hard to foresee a year ago. After all, last year people were worrying that Amazon might somehow “take over” the e-book market. Those fears seem a little silly in retrospect now that we’ve got the Nook, the Kobo, and, of course, the iPad. Shatzkin points out that there is still a lot left to do, however. He includes a litany of points explaining why DRM’s promulgation of the Tower of e-Babel (though he does...