imcoG6TWL_i3gx2y7g1. Why is there no e-ink innovation in the U.S. (MobileRead)

The TeleRead take:  Why is the Kindle line—well, so meh? All kinds of E Ink goodies are on sale from companies in Asia and European (more information here). But from Amazon? Well, better screens, and we read plausible rumors of a powerful chip in the next Voyage. And, yes, the hardware over the years has gotten sleeker and sleeker. But on the whole, the variety and innovation aren’t there to the extent they should be.

Where are the Amazon eight-inch E In devices with high-res displays and frontlighting? Have tablets really made them useless? And while Amazon surely has color e-readers on the way, shouldn’t they already be on sale? Could the meh factor be one reason why e-readers are no longer so hot?

Now MobileRead community members are speculating why the U.S. lags in giving us innovative E Ink devices. Regulations? Loss of manufacturing and design capability?

So what are you own pet explanations? And could more nimble robots eventually change the rules and make the U.S. more competitive in this area? What’s more, could Amazon’s grip on the e-reader market—enforced with obnoxious ties to content—eventually be fodder for the U.S. Justice Department? It’s sad, sad, sad when Amazon won’t even give us text to speech in its current E Ink models, or the ability to do something as basic as all-text bold.

Look, there are many things I love about Amazon’s hardware side. Smugness isn’t one of them. I do acknowledge plenty of progress, but we still ought to be seeing much more.

Your thoughts?

2. 4 Ways to Create an ePub (Book Designer)

The TeleRead take:  The four ways are “From Scratch,” “Saving from a word-processing or page-layout application,” “Using a conversion app or online service,” and “hiring a designer.” This piece teems with pointers to specific solutions, ranging from an OpenOffice plugin to Scrivener and Adobe’s InDesign within the second category.

So, if you’re a publisher or self-publisher, how are you creating your ePubs? And why is that method best for you? This is most definitely not “one size fits all.”

3. Why Are Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg Reading Utopian SciFi? (Motherboard)

The TeleRead take: In a nutshell, some speculate that Musk and Zuckerberg worry about artificial intelligence and obsolescence of of humans, including visionary-capitalists. Ah! Hoist by their own…

Well, maybe not, but you get the general idea. Now, if only the top dogs in Silicon Valley could show more concerns in real life for the effects of automation on the rest of humanity.

Meanwhile Motherboard tells us Musk and Zuckerberg are both reading the works of a Scottish writer named Iain Banks. “Banks’s brand of optimistic, high concept science fiction can be a good palate cleanser from all the post-apocalyptic stuff that’s all the rage right now. But underneath that optimistic surface lies a society run by artificial intelligence that looks an awful lot like the one Musk has previously warned about.”


  1. I would probably buy a large screen eink device. I recently got an iPad Air 2 for the bigger screen, but my Kindle is still preferred for some reading.

    Maybe those fellows are reading Iain M. Banks because he was a good author of intelligent science fiction novels. Are bloggers liking to interpret a meaning where there is nothing? Would it be different if they were reading the not as intelligent sci-fi adventures of David Webber?

  2. Why no eink variants from Amazon? Well the company knows how many eink Kindles they are selling, how many Fires and variants they are selling, how many iOS and Android and osX and Windows apps we are downloading. Perhaps the numbers tell the company something?

    Telling, perhaps, that all the innovation seems to fall on the non-eink side? Fire TV and the Toddlers Fire for example. Maybe video and Amazon Prime is where the company profits, future, and hopes lie. Also, I note the recent big deal between Amazon and the comics companies for sales in the ComiXology store; I have read comics on my eink Kindle in gray scale, and I like full color better.

    Making epubs? I use Sigil, thus:

    1. I have a template sigil epub set up with my css styles, title and so on pages, all the structure set, and one dummy file for the book content.

    2. I use LibreOffice to make the final edits on the books. Here I have a template that has all the paragraph styles I use in the same sigil epub template.

    3. After all checking of the final draft, I save the .odt file as html. There remains some cleaning up of the html that LibreOffice creates.

    4. I clean up the html in a plain text editor, one that has syntax highlighting. Though the file is not *too* messy, LO does some old-style html things: breaks do not close themselves, blockquotes do not wrap around paragraphs, and so on. This cleaning up takes at most half an hour, usually a few minutes since I have done it some times.

    5. The html I then copy and paste into the Sigil template. I add metadata and change what needs to be change (such as the actual book title) and then split the book by chapters. (Sometimes I wonder if modern ereaders are not fast enough and boast enough RAM so they could digest the whole book in one gulp, but out of habit and respect for those of us with ancient Kindles, I split it.)

    6. Create table of contents and linked HTML table of contents using Sigil’s tools.

    7. Import the cover image in sigil.

    8. Check and fix the epub in sigil.

    9. I then use Kindle Previewer to convert the epub to Kindle k7 and k8 formats. The kindle version ends up about twice as big in file size as the epub, so I am sure that K Previewer is making both versions. (And I wonder when Amazon will abandon the k7 old Mobipocket version?)

  3. @Asotir and @dlomax

    Asotir: Re the larger-screen E Ink devices, we’re talking chickens and eggs. If Amazon put more effort into them, perhaps the sales numbers would be more impressive. Fantastic info on sigil. Thank you!

    Dlomax: Banks is definitely now on My List. I love it when people share their faves.

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