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Ebook

Technorati-friendly tag for “ebooks” in the plural.

Amazon says it would be content with 30% of revenue if Hachette e-books were $9.99
July 29, 2014 | 8:42 pm

Amazon has posted another update to its Kindle user forum, dispensing more information about the nature of the dispute between itself and Hachette. In fact, this is pretty much the clearest statement of what the actual argument covers that we have yet seen from either side, including those Hachette leakers. (And, interestingly enough, it doesn’t actually agree with some of the content of those leaks! Imagine that?) I haven’t looked for any reactions yet, but I predict the same howls of outrage we got with Amazon’s last such announcement in May, from Hachette partisans complaining that Amazon didn’t have...

Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

Webcomic ‘Help Desk’ takes on e-book DRM
July 23, 2014 | 11:20 am

drm-rollIf you could use a good chuckle, webcomic “Help Desk” has just started a storyline focusing on e-book DRM. (The storyline then continues here.) It seems to have been inspired by the letter that Cory Doctorow received from Hachette about DRM. Since some authors publish with Tor in the USA but Hachette in the UK, and Tor went DRM-free two years ago, this means the US edition of their book would be DRM-free. Hachette didn’t like that, and wanted authors to insist that Tor put DRM on that edition to protect the sales of their UK edition. The letter was actually posted...

July Author Earnings report surveys DRM, genre sales
July 18, 2014 | 3:34 am

ae-julyHugh Howey and Data Guy have done it again, producing another interesting report on a sample of data scraped from Amazon. The July report re-runs the numbers for their main chart based on the new data, then branches out into a couple of interesting new measurements—including one that I specifically asked for back in May. The main measurements show basically incremental change from the last few reports, In terms of daily revenue to authors (taking into account royalty percentages from publisher sales and Amazon revenue percentages from self-published works), Big Five authors take 37% of total Amazon daily revenue...

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community
July 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

textgirl2A friend of mine in his 40s is about to start teaching in Houston, Texas, and he recently shared a discovery. Many teenagers in Houston tote cell phones, but don’t know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. This would jibe with a 2012 poll showing similar ignorance among Americans at large. A bigger issue also comes up. Just how much do young people care about books in the first place? Americans 15-19 spend only about four minutes reading for fun on a typical weekend day. Too bad. Students who love books are more likely to excel in school....

Want to know how to talk to aliens? Start here
July 11, 2014 | 6:14 pm

One of the more interesting free new ebooks to come my way in recent weeks arrived today in the shape of a multi-format multi-contributor offering from NASA entitled: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch, this volume brings perspectives from the soft sciences and  humanities to the issue of communicating with alien intelligences - should E.T. ever decide to place a collect call. According to the NASA blurb: Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the...

Tesco launches Harper Lee promo to draw Blinkbox Books customers
July 11, 2014 | 12:27 pm

UK supermarket chain Tesco has launched a free ebook giveaway promotion for the Blinbox Books platform that accompanies its Tesco Hudl tablet, launched last year, and its other Blinkbox online content offerings. The title in question is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and Blinkbox Books will give away 1000 copies to downloaders on a first-come-first-served basis. "The novel has been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, and counting," runs Blinkbox Books' introduction. "You know you want to be number 30,000,001." To Kill a Mockingbird now occupies the prime slot on Blinkbox Books' website,...

SFWA ‘doubles down’ in support of Douglas Preston’s petition
July 8, 2014 | 6:26 am

sfwaPassive Guy over at The Passive Voice reports receiving an email from SFWA headed “SFWA doubling down,” clarifying its position on signing onto Douglas Preston’s open letter decrying Amazon’s hardball tactics in its negotiation with Hachette. (Odd that they didn’t also send it to me, given that TPV carried the story I posted about it in the first place.) The letter reads as follows: SFWA’s support of Douglas Preston’s open letter reflects our concern about Amazon’s tactics in their dispute with Hachette and the way those tactics are impacting writers and their careers. We are,...

The archivist’s conundrum: History is written by the lucky
July 8, 2014 | 5:31 am

_76046394_black-prince_splAn article a friend posted on Facebook got me thinking. It involves recently-discovered evidence about a historical figure, Prince Edward of Woodstock, suggesting that a putative “massacre” he committed might not actually have happened at all. It occurred to me that, in this modern era, we tend to assume we can know anything about someone just from what we find in a quick Google. It's sometimes hard to wrap our brains around the idea that much of what we know from ancient times could be wrong, as all we have is what managed to get saved through sheer dumb...

In taking sides in Amazon/Hachette dispute, John Scalzi tells readers to do as he says, not as he does
July 4, 2014 | 3:48 am

John Scalzi has written a blog post noting that publishing “is not a football game” and people shouldn’t be rushing to take sides. Like many of Scalzi’s posts, it seems superficially reasonable. Scalzi’s point seems to be that business is business, and big companies aren’t your friend or your enemy—they do what big companies do, which is whatever is best for them. Their interests might align with yours, or not. That doesn’t mean they like you or hate you. (Though he does make clear he thinks “what Amazon’s doing to US Hachette authors at the moment well and truly sucks.”)...

Douglas Preston decries Amazon tactics against Hachette authors (Updated)
July 3, 2014 | 4:25 am

Well, he’s at it again. Long-time TeleRead readers might remember Douglas Preston as the author who complained about readers’ “sense of entitlement” for wanting cheap e-books, only to backpedal rather hastily when the complaint sparked a reader backlash. Yesterday, Jeffrey Trachtenberg reported in the Wall Street Journal that Preston has been circulating an open letter among various authors complaining that Amazon has been unfairly targeting Hachette authors in its recent contract negotiations with their publisher. He has reportedly received support from a number of big names (including, predictably, James Patterson) and will be posting the letter to his...

New York Public Library panel: ‘Amazon: threat or menace?’
July 2, 2014 | 11:33 am

Origin 712014 71734 PMWell, the New York Public Library panel discussion on Amazon was a big disappointment. I suppose I should have expected it, given how the panel was stacked with some of Amazon’s harshest critics and others from the old-guard publishing industry, but I had harbored some hope they might be willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I’d feared. The 90-minute video is available at the livestream page if you want to watch the carnage. First of all, the meeting was clearly put together with an anti-Amazon agenda, as the selection of...