TomcatTwo pesky Osama bin TeleMice—you were right about the plural, Carol—died in low-tech Victor traps last night rather than in the sleek black Tomcats.

Could this be a metaphor for e-bookdom? Don’t let the fancy stuff get out of hand, or the customers will scamper away?

A third TeleMouse is still at large and causing Carly and me to contemplate a trap surge and yet more steel wool to plug up a hole where the water pipes enter our place.

Browser-based e-books as Victors

Outside the mouse realm but within “scamper” turf, Carol asked why plain HTML and the like couldn’t do for e-books. A quick answer would be that many publishers want a more polished look and, yes, there is the DRM issue. Add this and everything else up, and you have problematic high-tech Tomcats rather than a customer-pleasing Victors, at least as far as the Draconian DRM goes.

Meanwhile the book industry would do well to take a good look at Bill Janssen’s philosophy of browser-based books, not so tied to specific e-readers. Could be one way to simplify the complexities of e-books, just so people can still buy copies and not be up against an E-Book Museum situation. Expanded use of wireless and new platforms like the Apple iPhone (round-up) might help the Janssen cause, and in this vein John Kerry’s proposed legislation, although not as consumer-oriented as I’d like, at least will help keep a better wireless policy on the radar.

Nokia 770 successor: Brighthand “fairly positive”

In other good news:

Brighthand‘s Ed Hardy turned in a “fairly positive” first look at Nokia’s N800, the successor to Nokia’s 770 Internet Tablet. He called the new hardware “noticeably better.” Price is $400 in the States and 399 Euro in some European markets. Also see a detailed review at Wireless Planet.

–Sony, from which a new E Ink model will probably come later this year, said it would upgrade its Connect desktop software. Going by past statements from Sony, MobileRead says that could mean you’ll be able to enjoy “two page whole screen viewing of books.” The upgrade will also run on Vista and include an “‘Eject Button’ to allow you to feel better about disconnecting the Reader from the Software.” A new clip-on light for the Sony is also on the way.

–An independent ApplePhone site from the PalmAddict folks has just debuted to applause from USA Today and MR. Of course, not everyone is optimistic about the forthcoming gizmo itself, but let’s see how this shakes out. One negative about Apple is its use of DRM to help enforce its business model.

Peter Brantley has an interesting item on the potential of print on demand for libraries.. I myself can see a place for POD but believe that e-books, networked books, whatever, should be the main show in the future. That’s “should” as in “would be better,” based on economics.

–The Broadcast flag is the target of new legislation from Sen. John Sununu, and that’s great news for consumers.

In the mixed news department, MobileRead has a positive write-up on publishers’ mass digitization efforts (also see subscriber-only Wall Street Journal article) while the TechDirt site worries about more controls on reading. I can see both sides. The challenge is to expand readers’ freedom while at the same time allowing for sustainable business models for publishers.


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