Digital Books

Go Read This | Kindle Singles and the future of ebooks | Joe Wikert

Good piece from Joe Wikert, even if I don’t completely agree with everything he says:

End the practice of artificially puffing up content
The greatest aspect of Kindle Singles is, of course, their short length. The first one I read was a Single about media and I remember thinking how a typical business book editor would have asked the author to turn this 30-page gem into a bloated 300-page mess. It happens all the time and its a function of both physical shelf presence and perceived value. In the ebook world there’s suddenly no physical bookshelf an individual title has to have a spine presence on. Now we just need to stop equating \”shorter\” with \”cheaper\”…more on that in a moment.

via Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies: Kindle Singles and the future of ebooks.

Go Read This | Sathianathan to head Tesco’s blinkboxbooks | The Bookseller

It will be fascinating to see if big retailers (as distinct from booksellers) can further ebook adoption. I suspect they can and probably will, publishers should be hoping so anyway:

Sathianathan said it was a good time to join Tesco and lead its digital book service. “Technology is changing how people read,” he said. “Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best – focusing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves.”

via Sathianathan to head Tesco’s blinkboxbooks | The Bookseller.

Go Read This | With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book

A very nice, very smart, very exciting idea:

Initially, Ury and his cofounder, Kaye Puhlmann (both formerly consumer experience designers for digital ad agencies; Ury has worked with clients like Apple, Nike and Starbucks), imagined that families would be the primary users of the site. “Parents reading on the iPad to their kids in bed,” Ury said. Parents and kids are indeed using Storybird — “and a lot of people create stories almost as extended greeting cards,” Ury said — but it turns out the largest demographic is teachers and students. Over 125,000 schools are now on Storybird, with teachers issuing assignments to students and using the site in the classroom to help kids with their writing skills. The most recent demographic — and “the most voracious,” according to Ury — is teen and tween girls. “They are using it for what I’d almost call conversation and communication,” he added, sharing images and messages with each other online “the same way you might use Tumblr.”

via With 2 million members, Storybird is ‘reverse-engineering’ the picture book — paidContent.

Go Read This | The Digitized Book Corpus and the Cracking Dam « The Scholarly Kitchen

A must read, not just for the piece itself but the vigour of the comments below it!

The simple fact is that the romance of the printed book outlives the demonstrable usefulness of printed books in any particular discipline, and it dies very, very hard. To be clear: I’m not saying that printed books have outlived their usefulness, only that when they do outlive it, the romance lingers on.

via The Digitized Book Corpus and the Cracking Dam « The Scholarly Kitchen.

LitNet NI Literature Forum, Belfast

On Wednesday I spoke at an inspiring event, the LitNet NI Literature Forum in Belfast. It was hosted by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland and organised by Catherine McInerney of LitNet NI.

It brings together an amazing range of voices and opinions from the literary and publishing sectors in Northern Ireland, from agents to writers, arts officers to librarians, with a good sprinkling of organisers, poets, publishers and academics.

There was a great energy in the room and while the forum is ony a few months old, it seems to have a real head of steam. My read on the future was that it was secure. It seems ready to grow beyond its original founding and beyond indeed the LitNet NI beginnings into a truly inclusive voice for the literary & commercial publishing and reading sector in Norther Ireland.

So you can see why I found it inspiring, but there’s more.

The same day and the same event was the venue for the sectoral launch of PublishingNI a new company dedicated to promoting and growing Northern Irish publishing and writing.

There’s a real energy and passion at work in Northern Irish publishing sector right now and I was excited and pleased to be part of it.

As for what I spoke about, well I started off with a dispassionate overview of how digital publishing and distribution were fundamentally reshaping the world of books and literature, changing models we have come to see as ‘the right way’ of doing things. I got a little carried away towards the end of the talk and discussed the need for a concerted response from the entire reading and writing sector to the encroachment of technology firms intent and leading the sector in a direction of their choosing. Maybe it was in the air.

But then again, maybe it was a bit intemperate, but it’s not untrue.
Eoin

Quick Link | I was wrong about the golden age. But we are in a literary boom | Books | guardian.co.uk

This is an interesting perspective. I suppose that like all booms, there will be big winners in small numbers and big losers in much larger numbers!

But if it’s not appropriate to speak of a golden age, there’s certainly some kind of boom going on. Ben Johncock’s recent Guardian blog on contemporary magazines illustrates how vital the print culture remains. Who could have predicted, in the age of the worldwide web, that so many little magazines would be flourishing so vibrantly? This goes to show, I’d say, that we are living through an age of almost unprecedented literary activity. Never before have so many been writing emails; blogs; texts; tweets; novels; poems, etc and never before has so much of this transmission been so widely received – globally, in fact. Never mind the quality that’s a later judgment, feel the width.Consider, too, the explosion of literary activity: from prizes hardly a week goes by without the announcement of yet another shortlist or the fall-out from some literary prize jury, to festivals hardly a town in Britain that’s not involved in, or affiliated to, some kind of literary programme, to ebooks annual sales in the US now soaring close to $1,000m. Audiobooks are booming; writing schools are springing up like mushrooms; any amount of excellent self-publishing is happening. The big book chains are in trouble, but several small independent bookshops are defying both gravity and austerity and doing very nicely, thank you. If this – as some commentators like to predict – is the end of civilisation as we know, bring on the Dark Ages.

via I was wrong about the golden age. But we are in a literary boom | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Go Read This | E-book sales begin to cannibalise print | theBookseller.com

This was, in some senses, bound to happen. If it proves to be true it is the start of the erosion of the print business model, the one that sees publishers forced to cut print runs, reduce their benefits of scale in print and perhaps encourage them to begin converting print readers to digital ones.

The growth in e-book sales in genres such as romance and science-fiction is leading to a cannibalisation in sales of printed books, according to Nielsen BookScan data.

Sales of printed romance books have fallen for the first time since records began at a time when e-book sales have more than doubled.

The data, released as part of a seminar held yesterday with Enders Analysis, ‘Digital Seminar: e-books and their impact on the market’, showed genres such as science fiction and romance are “overperforming” thanks to the tastes of early adopters of e-books. For example, the e-book market share of the science fiction and fantasy sector globally for the 10 weeks since June was 10%, more than treble the genre’s market share of print book sales. The share taken by romance and saga books was 14%, seven times its print market share.

via E-book sales begin to cannibalise print | theBookseller.com.