Month: October 2010

Go Read This | Blogging and Reaching Out « Tales from the Reading Room

All that Litlove writes is well thought through and exquisitely written, this is no different. The theme is important, thought-provoking and relevant to publishers of al kinds,

But I also feel that the vastness of the web is producing its own issues now. When there are millions of blogs that could possibly be read out there, the inevitable consequence is a dissolution into insularity. When I first started writing and reading blogs, I had the impression of a huge virtual city, teeming with life. Now, four years later and several thousand book blogs richer, it feels more like I live in a blog village that is part of a network of other villages – all of which I could visit if I could follow the right pathways, except of course no signposts exist. It’s hard to track down blogs I really appreciate. I can arduously work my way through the blogrolls of others, I can google for reviews of the kinds of books I like and hope that produces good results (not just a bunch of blogs that no longer update). But what attracts one blogger to another is profoundly subjective and often unquantifiable, a matter of style, a question of voice. There’s no other way of tracking blogs down than individually, by trial and error and hours of visiting.

via Blogging and Reaching Out « Tales from the Reading Room.

Go read This | Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis: iTunes invalidates EPUB files for iBookstore

Seriously silly thing for iTunes to be doing!

Little did he know that when he opened the EPUB file in iTunes, iTunes had the audacity to add a little file to his original EPUB document. No, not only to the EPUB that he copied to iTunes, but also to his original EPUB file. The file is called “iTunesMetadata.plist”. You wont see it unless you look inside an affected EPUB.

To add insult to injury, when Andrew tried to upload his EPUB to the iBookstore, his ebook was rejected because of the aforementioned error! In short, iTunes adds an erroneous file to his EPUB and then Apple says he cant upload the file because of it.

UPDATED

OK, thanks to more information from Andrew, I’ve figured out what the problem was. Although it’s true that iTunes annoyingly adds that iTunesMetadata file to your original EPUB file when you copy the file to iTunes, that’s not what’s causing the invalidation. But if you use iTunes to add a cover to your EPUB, as described in this video by Terry White, and then upload that EPUB to iTunes Producer, that EPUB will not validate and thus will not be accepted into the iBookstore, because the cover image is not properly contained in the OPF file.

via Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis: iTunes invalidates EPUB files for iBookstore.

Go Read This | Waterstone’s needs to find its Nook | FutureBook

Nice post from Philip here. Personally I think the physical retail presence and access to HEAVY BOOK BUYERS and BROWSERS via that retail presence is the key to Barnes & Noble’s success with the Nook.

It’s an odd story in a way but it reinforces the idea that one of the key weapons in the future of the industry is knowing the customer OR having access to them directly. The three winners in the ebook space right now, Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble all have either huge databases of customer information or direct access to them in places where they part with their money, we shouldn’t miss that when thinking about this today.

Many people wrote off the Nook when it first launched in the US. The name was a bit, well, odd. It had a funny colour strip that didn’t serve much use, except to show book jackets. The e-books available weren’t cheap enough, when compared to Amazon’s overly aggressive pricing. And it had initial shipping problems, a sure-fire technology killer. It was seen as the last gasp of a dying mammal washed ashore by a particularly arch digital wave.

We neglected to look at the two key advantages it had over the Kindle. There was the innovative sharing function, which Amazon has now copied, that gave users a sense of having purchased something tangible—not just a license to read. And of course the ability to read any book for free in one of the chain’s 700 shops, making a physical connection to the shops via digital. The latter gave it something Amazon could never have.

via Waterstone’s needs to find its Nook | FutureBook.

Go Read This | Ugly rumours | theBookseller.com

Sara Lloyd is great and to an extent, she is on the money with this column.  The problem is that she’s only right to the degree that we accept the current model is permanent.

We still have an eye to the future, of course. We still ask each other: “So . . . what do you think is the Next Big Thing?” We still geek out and ponder the impact of HTML5 on epub. We feel the need to prepare for that, but we’re feeling better and better equipped to do so.

The fear factor is abating. A sense of “business as usual, but different” is descending. Books are not being killed off. We’re simply adjusting to an additional format. Of course, this is exactly the time that we should all give ourselves a great big poke in the ribs, sit up straight and pay attention.

I tend to think it isn’t and while the book is in no danger (although it will certainly change and adapt and morph), publishers very much are. Which is why it’s nice to see here last lines:

Necessity is the mother of invention, but relaxation is the mother of a short sharp shock, so let’s not rest on our laurels. Not yet. Not for a long time

via Ugly rumours | theBookseller.com.

Go Read This | Publishers should set e-book prices, says FutureBook survey | theBookseller.com

I’m a fan of publishers taking charge of their own destiny, especially when the future is so uncertain.

That said, I just don’t think publishers have the right skill sets right now to actually set prices for consumer facing products.

They need to work very hard to get those skills though, because, as long as they are setting prices without knowing what they are doing, the longer they’ll make bad decisions and probably hurt themselves in the long term.

More than three-quarters of people working in the book trade believe e-books should be priced at current street prices or less, according to early results of a FutureBook survey into digital thinking. The majority of respondents indicated that publishers are best placed to set this price, even though they don’t believe the agency model has a long-term future.

via Publishers should set e-book prices, says FutureBook survey | theBookseller.com.

Go Read This | Coming Soon for Kindle – kindle Discussion Forum

Bank Holiday’s being what they are, I was a little slow in seeing this, but it is a pretty interesting move by Amazon.

Firstly the fact that they are pushing newspaper and periodical content to the apps suggests to me that their strategy of becoming less and less about the Kindle and more and more about everywhere is working, why else would they need to do this or bother?

Secondly it shows that haring, something B&N took a risk on and haven’t really had enormous success with yet, might just become  a much bigger part of the ebook market in the next few years.

First, we are making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on our free Kindle apps, so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don’t have your Kindle with you or don’t yet own a Kindle. In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we’ll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road. Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we’re excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.

Second, later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.

via Coming Soon for Kindle – kindle Discussion Forum.

Go Read This | Ebooks in public libraries – response to the Publishers Association statement | Voices for the Library

A nice polite and librarian-like smackdown of the PA position from Voices for the Library:

 

Not only does this threaten a service that has proven to be immensely popular with library users, it undermines the effort by libraries to reach out to housebound borrowers, the disabled and those living in remote areas far from their nearest public library.  It also further undermines efforts to reposition libraries and encourage literacy in the digital age, an age where people increasingly question the need for libraries and librarians.  A policy such as this seriously inhibits the library service from adapting to current realities and potentially threatens the entire service.

Furthermore, it restricts efforts to provide a 24/7 library service fit for the 21st century.  The delivery of remote ebook access has been a highly successful initiative, with many services seeing increased demand,  including the return of those who had ceased using the library service.  The increased demand for ebooks should be seen as an opportunity for publishers, not a threat.

via Ebooks in public libraries – response to the Publishers Association statement | Voices for the Library.