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Why library e-book posters should go on the walls of check cashing stores
September 22, 2014 | 2:26 pm

What if the walls of check cashing stores and other establishments serving poor people did not just carry the usual commercial ballyhoo? Suppose colorful posters also promoted cell phones as a way for the poor to find books to read themselves---or read to their children....

Designers & Dragons vol. 3 now available to Kickstarter backers
August 28, 2014 | 10:54 pm

ddvol3A quick update on the Designers & Dragons Kickstarter, whose first volume I reviewed a few weeks ago. The second volume in the 4-volume series, covering the 1980s, has been available for a while to those (such as myself) who kicked in at least $15. Today, the ‘90s volume came out. The second and third volumes are PDF-only for now, since the EPUB and MOBI versions take time to craft, but they’re coming. The fourth volume will be released in a preliminary draft form without an index sometime before the Kickstarter completes. I haven’t had the chance to look...

Review: Designers & Dragons Vol. 1: The ‘70s
August 8, 2014 | 5:23 am

designdragon70s I’ve finished reading through the first volume of the RPG history from that Kickstarter I mentioned the other day, and I have to say that I’m very impressed. In fact, I plan on nominating it for the “Best Related Work” Hugo when the 2014 Hugo nominations come around. It’s just that good. As I explained in the last article, this history is split across four volumes, divided by decade. However, the decade only refers to the period in which the company was founded. The approach the book takes is to trace the history of each company from...

Evil Hat Kickstarts Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of role-playing games
August 6, 2014 | 2:18 pm

designdragon70sHere’s an intriguing Kickstarter from Evil Hat Productions, the folks who ran a highly successful KS for pulp tie-in novels to their Spirit of the Century game, and several other Kickstarters besides. This one is for a four-volume history of role-playing games entitled Designers & Dragons. Previously published in a single volume, it has been revised and expanded by its author to four full books. And this Kickstarter looks like a great example how to do things right. For starters, they set the goal to $7,500—a reasonable level for printing and shipping the first volume. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just a...

Jolicloud Drive adds cloud EPUB reading capability
June 30, 2014 | 11:30 am

Origin 6302014 111244 AMJolicloud was originally conceived as a web-based “operating system.” The web version of it showed the same home screen, with all the same web apps, that a user might have configured on the Ubuntu-based JoliOS operating system for computers or tablets. The problem was that apparently the JoliOS Linux operating system never really became popular enough to support, and Joli discontinued it. Since then, it seems to have been casting about for something to keep it from being just another collection of bookmarks to web apps. It has renamed itself “Drive,” and now bills itself as a way...

University of Chicago Press offers Liberace biography for free this month
June 2, 2014 | 2:54 pm

liberaceThe University of Chicago Press free e-book this month is Liberace: An American Boy by Darden Asbury Pyron, a biography of, yes, Liberace. It’ll be free throughout the month. The interesting thing to me is that I haven’t looked at University of Chicago free e-books in a while. Last time they were only offering them in PDF. But this time, they’re offering the book in Adobe-DRM-locked EPUB instead, which is definitely an improvement for people who read on devices. There’s also a promo code for 20% off any book in the 2014 Reader’s Catalog....

Japan stays isolated on EPUB 3
June 1, 2014 | 10:00 am

EPUBJapan is a uniquely island nation, with a tendency to cling on to practices (the formal bow, the suit waistcoat, the command economy), long since abandoned elsewhere. And add to that list EPUB 3. For as it happens, Osamu Yoshiba, executive director for the digital and international business divisions of leading Japanese publishing house Kodansha Ltd., got up at Book Expo America to advocate its broad adoption as the answer to the general dearth of illustrated ebooks. (And there was me thinking it was something to do with display limitations.) This Japanese attitude is easy enough to understand in Japanese terms. According to...

Simultaneous print/PDF and EPUB publication stymies publisher
April 28, 2014 | 4:33 am

the-magazine-book-volume-I-1Found via a blog post by Adam Tinworth: The publisher of The Magazine ran a Kickstarter project to put together a hardcover book and e-book of the best of The Magazine’s first year. When it came to producing the print book and the PDF, the going was easy. But they found converting it to EPUB considerably harder, because whereas PDF is concerned about replicating the print format precisely, EPUB must by necessity be more free-form. Which meant effectively having to undo all the fancy formatting they did for the PDF version. Said publisher and his helpers consulted with...

Pay what you want for two science-urban-fantasy books by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin
April 3, 2014 | 11:22 am

Reboots-FrontCovHere’s a mini-pay-what-you-want e-book bundle for this month: a pair of whimsical science-urban-fantasy novels from Mercedes Lackey and one of her Secret World Chronicle co-authors, Cody Martin. (I used to play City of Heroes with both of them.) The way it’s set up is, you can get the first book for free, or you can order both of them for a minimum of $1.99, suggested price of $3.99. I’ve read the first book; it’s highly amusing. The premise is pretty clever. It’s set in a science-fiction universe in which various supernatural critters—werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc.—have become useful in outer...

BookBale offers eight big-name SF titles in pay-what-you-want book bundle
November 3, 2013 | 9:25 pm

9-CitizenIt seems that the pay-what-you-want book bundle has been getting more popular lately. They’re popping up all over the place. Here’s one called “BookBale” that features a number of major-name authors and books. The pay-what-you-want has a minimum price of at least $2.99, and includes six books: The Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert & Bill Ransom Climbing Olympus by Kevin J. Anderson Birthright: The Book of Man by Mike Resnick Starplex by Robert J. Sawyer Future Perfect by Nancy Kress The Elvenbane by Mercedes Lackey & Andre Norton If you pay at least $10, you also get: The Hemingway Hoax by Joe Haldeman Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein The...

First all-digital public library system a hit in Bexar County, Texas—with hundreds of e-reader gizmos and an eager young crew to explain them
October 20, 2013 | 1:11 pm

bibliotechLast year LibraryCity.org knocked the library system in Rockford, Illinois, for planning to spend around a quarter of its $1.19-million collection budget on e-books. A third of Rockfordians were living below the poverty line in 2009 by one estimate. And yet the local library initially wanted to start out with just 50 Kindle e-readers---hardly the best solution for people too poor or technophobic to buy and use e-book devices. The local NAACP and other groups yelled foul, just as they should have. So what’s happening down in Bexar County, Texas? BiblioTech, the world’s first all-digital public library system, opened there September 14...

Refurbished Nook Simple Touch: $40 on eBay
September 24, 2013 | 4:48 am

If you’re looking for a good cheap e-reader, an eBay seller is running a $40 with free shipping special on refurbished Nook Simple Touch units. This is B&N’s 2011 model, a 6” 800x600 unlit Pearl e-ink reader that can do EPUB, including Barnes & Noble’s and Adobe Digital Editions’ DRM. It has 2 GB of onboard storage, plus an SD card slot for loading more media. If you’re invested in Barnes & Noble’s content ecosystem (for example, you have a lot of e-books from eReader/Fictionwise that got imported to B&N after it shut those stores down), or just want something...