Follow us on
Connect

Ebook

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

National digital library endowment proposal makes Education Week
May 13, 2015 | 6:25 pm

edWeekEndowmentLibraryCity’s proposal for a national digital library endowment has now made the leading publication in the field of K-12 education---not just philanthropy (Chronicle of Philanthropy) and libraries (Library Journal). Education Week has published a 1,300-word essay with a home-page link. Also to be reproduced in the print edition, the article is a collaboration between me and Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium. Jim is offering his personal views. The beginning: As a boy, Warren Buffett is said to have read book after book on money. Thankfully, he did not live in Los Angeles and rely on the library at Roy Romer Middle...

Google Drive on-the-fly OCR takes old ebook scanning to new highs
May 11, 2015 | 10:25 am

For all those pesky public domain PDFs that you may have lying around that can't be shoehorned into more flexible ebook formats without considerable inconvenience and inaccuracy, Google may have the ideal solution. Google Drive, the default cloud archive and storage service for Google fans, now offers full Optical Character Recognition (OCR) services for conversion of digital images or PDF documents into texts - and this service has now been extended to some 200+ languages worldwide. According to Google, "images can be processed individually (.jpg, .png, and .gif files) or in multi-page PDF documents (.pdf)." And as well as flatbed...

Tor and BitLit offer discounted e-books to print book owners
May 4, 2015 | 11:53 am

bitlitTor has just announced it will be using BitLit to make DRM-free e-books of TorForge titles available at a discount to people who can prove they own the physical version of the book. It joins HarperCollins, which began using the program last year. BitLit is an iOS or Android smartphone app that allows readers who can prove they own a physical copy of a book to buy the e-book version at a discounted price. It works by taking “shelfies”—shelf-by-shelf photos of your bookshelves with the spines out—and then attempting to recognize which books you own. Once it’s matched one,...

Why own media when you can rent the library?
April 30, 2015 | 2:51 pm

eatIs ownership of media passé? Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend develop. It started with music, as “all-you-can-eat” services like Pandora and Spotify popped up to offer users a chance to listen to as much music as they wanted either free with advertising, or for a small monthly fee. Amazon, Google, and Apple soon followed suit. Then came video, as the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and (again) Amazon launched streaming video services for television and movies. Next, it moved into e-books, with Oyster, Scribd, and, yes, Amazon launching services. (Amazon doesn’t seem...

Why the Hugos are broken, and who’s breaking them now
April 23, 2015 | 5:52 pm

Hugo-Awards-logoThe Hugo Puppies affair proceeds apace. As it will for at least the rest of this year, and probably the next as well. Everyone is having their say, and some excellent things have been written about the whole matter lately. I’ll get to those in a moment. The Internet Breaks the Hugos Whether you’re for the Puppies or against them, there can’t be any argument that the Hugo nomination and voting process is badly broken. The interesting thing is that the process hasn’t changed appreciably for years or even decades. It didn’t just break on its own. No,...

New Post-Apocalyptic Humble Bundle
March 18, 2015 | 3:44 pm

humble bundleDo you enjoy post-apocalyptic books, like Wool by Hugh Howey? Or Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazney? How about a bundle which includes audiobooks, comics and a game? Humble Bundle has outdone themselves with their latest offering. There's something for everyone, with both classic sci-fi works and more recent ones. Comics and even a couple of issues of Lightspeed Magazine, one of which includes a story by George R.R. Martin. Here's the complete list, from the release: Customers can name their price for Lightspeed Magazine, July 2010; Lightspeed Magazine; March 2013; A Gift Upon the Shore; Wasteland Vol. 1: Cities In Dust; After the End: Recent Apocalypses; Gather, Darkness!; Wool -...

Annual eBook Spring Cleaning Time
March 6, 2015 | 12:25 pm

ebook spring cleaningI am on March break as of Friday, and that means it's eBook spring cleaning time! I will be off work for two weeks, the the Beloved will still be working, so this is the time of year where I catch up on my various projects---I always feel a little guilty when he is working but I am not, so I try to be productive. This always seems like a good time of year to get my digital---and physical spaces spruced and tidied up! So what is on my to-do list this time around? 1) Order another Apple photo book. I...

Wall Street Journal blasts Apple anti-trust monitor Michael Bromwich for overcharging, malfeasance
February 18, 2015 | 7:13 am

Well, there goes the Wall Street Journal again. In a paywalled opinion piece (just Google “All Along the Apple Watchtower” to read it), the Journal once again takes aim at Apple anti-trust monitor Michael Bromwich. The editorial complains, among other things, of Bromwich’s $1,100 per hour fee being too high, that he’s ranging farther afield than his mandate should allow, that he’s in bed with the Justice Department, and, of course, that he’s a close personal friend of Judge Cote. It really is a piece of work. For example, giving Bromwich’s rates in isolation, and the $2.35...

Cheap blind-friendly E Ink Kindles with read-aloud and audio nav capabilities: A how-to for Amazon
February 9, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Shaun Kane at RobotFestI hope that Amazon’s CEO never becomes a blind visionary. But if Jeff Bezos’s eyes should ever go downhill in a serious way---a risk for millions of aging baby boomers---he could still enjoy e-books on inexpensive E Ink Kindles. All he has to do is follow advice from Shaun K. Kane, the Colorado computer scientist in the photo, who has devoted years to accessibility issues. In the case of dedicated e-reading devices from Amazon, that doesn’t just mean the read-aloud which the earlier E Ink Kindles offered before the company yanked the feature away (despite Jeff’s original ballyhoo of text to speech, introduced...

Interactive graphic novel Midnight Rises by John Scalzi interacts with new mobile shooter game
February 5, 2015 | 6:07 pm

midnightrisesInteractive book apps may not yet have set the world on fire, but there is at least one place for them—as an adjunct to video games. On January 28, 2015, Industrial Toys LLC released Midnight Rises, an interactive graphic novel application for iOS. The e-comic serves as a prelude to Midnight Star, a mobile shooter game which Industrial Toys LLC released for iOS today. (Both applications are expected to come to Android “sometime soon.”) Midnight Rises was written by John Scalzi, with art by Mike Choi and music by Serj Tankian. The first chapter is free; the next two are 99...

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities
February 2, 2015 | 12:25 pm

ptaAmazonText to speech would cost a pittance to add to current E Ink readers like Amazon’s Paperwhite and the $200 Voyage. In fact, some earlier Kindles even came with read-aloud. No longer, though. With all the laws on the books, can’t Washington stop this dissing of people with disabilities? In one form or another, the Kindle is so common that it’s become “The Official E-reader of the National PTA.” Yet despite TTS’s potential benefits to millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has just granted the e-reader industry another year’s exemption from the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The...

For your Hugo consideration: Designers & Dragons
January 31, 2015 | 7:06 pm

Just a quick reminder: nominations for this year’s Hugo Awards are upon us, and if you signed up for last year’s (to get the entire Wheel of Time series that was included in the Hugo voter packet, for example) you’re eligible to nominate now. Nominations are open through March 10, and you can update and change your ballot as often as you like. And I’d just like to stump for a book that I feel is extremely worthy of consideration: the four-volume history of the role-playing game industry, Designers & Dragons, which was published via Kickstarter last year. Given...