Monthly Archives: July 2010

Early Morning eBook Headaches

Wylie threatens broad digital expansion

Andrew Wylie, the literary agent whose exclusive deal with Amazon.com last week stunned the publishing world, has threatened a broad expansion of his digital publishing business to include up to 2,000 titles if traditional publishers refuse to improve digital royalties.

Odyssey Editions are priced at $9.99 right now.

If they put out 2,000 at $9.99, that’d be a library costing $19,980.00 to assemble.

$9.99 is too high a price for a backlist book no matter its prestige or past rarity. eBooks do away with the notion of rarity.

Prices must drop.

I think backlist titles should go for no more than $4.99 — at the high end.

And Jeff Bezos talks about the new Kindle — with its 4GB or internal storage — being able to carry 3,500 eBooks.

If those eBooks had an average selling price of $4,99, a Kindle could contain $17,465.00 worth of books inside.

So worrying about carrying around a $499.00 iPad when a Kindle could contain over $17K of books inside is sorta screwy to me.

And here’s another headache-inducing question: If a Kindle stuffed with thousands of books was stolen, what kind of torment would it be to have to redownload all that to a replacement Kindle?

And writer David Hewson with the ultimate eBook headache:

@mikecane Buying books for the Sony is a truly byzantine experience – more trouble than worthFri Jul 30 07:03:33 via HootSuite

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Are There No BAD Amazon Customer Stories?

Found this Comment at a site that prefers not to be linked to:

I have a launch Kindle 2. I love the device for all of the same reasons that [another commenter] listed. I never had any problems with it until this past weekend. I turned on the 3G and hit the ‘sync/update’ option. I knew that it was going to download and install the newer 2.5 update (which added the long-needed ‘collections’ feature which allows you to arbitrarily group your books). Well it bricked the device. I’m not sure how it happened. I was well outside (~6 months) the 1 yr warranty. I called them up and they overnighted a brand-new K2 at no cost. (At least it looks brand-new, it could be a really well-preserved refurb). That kind of experience is why I really like Amazon and the Kindle.

Amazon thinks nothing of shipping out an expensive piece of hardware at the drop of a hat to satisfy a customer.

Meanwhile, Dell still dicks me around over a plastic part that was built wrongly.

Which company is serious about staying in business?

Amazon’s Scorched-Earth Win: $139 Kindle

Two articles cited within:

Kindle to Go ‘Mass Market’

Amazon.com Inc. plans to release a cheaper Kindle e-reader next month, said Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, laying out a strategy to go “mass market” with an inexpensive gadget designed to do just one thing: sell digital books from Amazon.

The new Kindle features a screen with increased gray-scale contrast, a battery that lasts for a month, and a slightly smaller size. It will come in two flavors: one with Wi-Fi and 3G Internet connections selling for $189, the other with Wi-Fi only for $139. The latter will be among the cheapest wireless-equipped e-readers on the market, at least for now.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Wow. I think Barnes & Noble just got indigestion.

And Borders, with its very low-end USB-cable-syncing $149 Kobo Reader, just had a heart attack.

Over at Sony, it cannot be a good day (it’s just near 5PM for them in California as I type this).

Think about it! Last year at this time, one of these devices cost between $199 (Sony Pocket Reader) to $300 (Sony Reader Touch), which other entrants boasting of larger displays and prices nearing $500.

People marveled at the Kobo Reader coming in at $149 just a few months ago.

Now Amazon has just made a Kindle at half the price it used to be!

Continue reading

21st Century Book Publishing Problem

I was going to illustrate this with a diagram, but I’m being lazy.

But this post is necessary because no one else is yet seeing this.

The current books-as-file-things will go away.

Books will be on the Internet.

But the lawyers get involved here and that can screw things up.

So, you buy a book that lives on the Internet from Publisher A.

In five years, the contract Publisher A had for the book expires. Publisher A no longer has the right to offer that book.

The way lawyers work, Publisher A will have to remove that book from its servers.

Your book goes POOF!

This should not happen.

Buying a book that lives on the Internet should be permanent.

I don’t know what the solution to this is yet.

And it’s unlikely that Publisher A, no longer deriving income from that book, will continue to keep it online out of the goodness of its heart (because ask any writer: publishers have no heart!).

From Internet To Touchnet

PadPressed

Turn Your Blog Into An iPad Native With PadPressed

This is very exciting but the wrong way to go.

I said last year that touch would change everything and that web designers should wake up.

But offering this as a plug-in has problems.

1) Those of us using the free WordPress.com service (such as me) cannot use this.

2) Apparently it makes use of iPad-specific features that others — Android and webOS — cannot use.

3) It’s against the grain of the Internet to make parts of it friendly to only specific devices.

While I’m very happy to see someone finally acknowledging how things must change — and has actually made a move to do something in that direction — this approach is not what’s needed for everybody.

Authors Guild Slapped Down By Copyright Office

Past braying that by clueless and useless and snooty organization that sold out every writer:

February 12, 2009: E-Book Rights Alert: Amazon’s Kindle 2 Adds “Text to Speech” Function

Until this issue is worked out, Amazon may be undermining your audio market as it exploits your e-books.

March 2, 2009: Amazon Reverses Stance on Computer-Generated Audio for the Kindle 2

Amazon’s initial implementation of Kindle 2 would have added audio playback to your e-book regardless of whether Amazon had properly acquired audio rights. For most of you, Amazon’s announcement means that it will now respect your contractual right to authorize (or not) the addition of computer-generated audio to your e-books sold for the Kindle.

Those idiots couldn’t distinguish between crappy machine-generated badly-pronounced audio output and the artistry of a human reader.

And now along comes the Copyright Office to slap them down:

July 26, 2010: Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works

(6) Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.

The Copyright Office has now stated that machine-reading is not a subsidiary right of a book contract and the DRM on such eBooks that prevent Text-to-Speech can legally be circumvented to re-enable that function.

It remains to be seen now if Amazon will flip the flag on all of its Kindle books that has prevented this feature.

I won’t be going into other DRM issues. There are plenty of others chiming in about that elsewhere.

I just needed to show once again that the Authors Guild is an organization with its head stuck up its ass when it comes to technology.

Amazon, Customer Service, And Twitter

Had problem w refurb Kindle. Called AMZN & they are shipping out a replacement immediately. That is some pretty awesome CSMon Jul 26 13:57:29 via Osfoora HD

@jane_l What was the problem?Mon Jul 26 14:03:26 via Echofon

@mikecane scratch on the screen or something on the screen.Mon Jul 26 14:06:18 via Osfoora HD

@jane_l And you noticed after how much use?Mon Jul 26 14:07:55 via Echofon

@mikecane ah, recently? (a little shy of a month)Mon Jul 26 14:14:02 via Osfoora HD

@jane_l And now this will be a post!Mon Jul 26 14:16:41 via Echofon

@mikecane I’m glad I can serve a blog fodder for youMon Jul 26 14:20:51 via Osfoora HD

Kindle eBooks: Always Sample Before Buying!

On Twitter, someone clued me into this fiasco. Fire & Ice by Dana Stabenow is available for 99-cents.

But that is a total waste of money.

This is from the free sample:


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There is no agent or publisher on the entire planet that would accept that as a manuscript submission — yet it’s being sold as an eBook! And yes: the entire eBook looks like that, not just the sample.

And get this: It was dropped in price from $4.99!

I’ve heard tales of things like this happening in the past.

And it’s to Amazon’s credit that when people point this out, they will cancel the sale and refund the money.

It’s too bad people wind up getting their hopes up for some books and wasting time in the meanwhile.

And look: I tried one more book in this series and got the same lack of formatting!


Click = big

And that one has a price of $4.99!

“Amazon Kindle Inside”?

On Twitter @rilnj pointed me to this interesting item:


Click = big

I haven’t paid attention to the Kindle until now, so I don’t know if this has been going on for some time or is a new development.

I know Aldiko has been included on both the Camangi Workstation and the Archos 7 Home Tablet.

Bundling an eBook application like that is very smart — particularly so for Amazon. Just seeing that icon on the home screen, a prospective customer is bound to notice and think, “Ooh, look! I don’t have to buy a Kindle now!”

Me-Too Media: TechCrunch And webOS

Monday, July 12 2010:

HP continues to march forward on its Master Plan to be Apple, Mark II. If they can tie all of the back-end stuff seamlessly and neatly to webOS, they will kick some serious ass later this year with their tablet. They have eBooks, photos, music — and now video too.

Friday, July 23, 2010:

HP Wants To Become Apple. WebOS Is The Key

Oh, don’t bother to read it. The Me-Too Media love to use lots of words to get to the frikkin point. And by then you’re bored out of your skull.