Tag Archives: E-book

Links about books, publishing, self-publishing, marketing, video, & photography

High Brow

Excavated Site in Denmark May Be The Royal Hall From ‘Beowulf’
Reminds that it may be time to re-read Beowulf. Last time I did that I was a freshman in college. Also happen to have a copy of the verse translation by Seamus Heaney (R.I.P.) sitting here on my bookshelf. (Though one of the commenters at Amazon thinks that the translation by Frederick Rebsamen is superior to Heaney’s.)


Self-Publishing An E-Book? Here Are 4 Ways To Leave Amazon’s 30% Tax Behind

Self-Publishing A Legal Casebook: An Ebook Success Story

(As evidenced by the two different versions of e-book/ebook above, Forbes copy editors may want to look into standardizing the spelling of that pesky word.)

Still banning books?

North Carolina school board bans “Invisible Man”
(from @DavePell’s NextDraft newsletter 9/20/13)

Still reminding us that books are banned

Did you know it is banned books week?

How banned books week is being observed in my neck of the woods:

Read-Out for Banned Books Week


Video provides payday for publishers
(thanks to @jwikert for the link)

Proof of what Joe describes is happening at the New York Times, where one of the video features is called Op-Docs. One of the recent videos there is:

56 Ways of Saying I Don’t Remember

Louie C.K. on Conan about cell phones
There’s actually a great line in here about letting yourself getting completely sad, embracing it, crying, in order to produce the “happiness antibodies” that will make you completely happy. But screwing around with the phone rather than just sitting there “being human” gets in the way of complete sadness, therefore getting in the way of complete happiness. Brilliant in a way.
(thanks to @DavePell’s NextDraft)


This Guy Turns OCD Hoarding into Amazing Photos
(thanks @Dooce)


New Album “Sparks” Announced
Another musician doing some interesting stuff on the marketing front.


Spam comment at this blog:
Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.


Some thoughts on the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference

I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York City, February 13-15. (Is it odd that these folks put together a conference that falls on Valentine’s Day? Or am I just an old sentimentalist?) Someone asked for a show of hands at one point and determined that half the people there are in publishing and scared to death of what this “digital revolution” means; the other half were entrepreneurs or at least entrepreneurially minded and hoping to start some kind of digital publishing or related venture.

Some of the folks and ventures and ideas I ran into there:

Opening keynote by LeVar Burton, he of Kunta Kinte fame from the “Roots” TV miniseries. Lifelong scifi reader. His mother was an English teacher. His main point: the importance of these two words: “What if.” @levarburton

Tim Carmody: editor at Wired and Wired.com. Link to his about page at Google+@tcarmody

Some articles he’s written:

“Ten Reading Revolutions before E-books”

“A Bookfuturist Manifesto”

“E-Books Are Still Waiting for Their Avant-Garde”

One of his points: yes, the publishing industry is in the midst of chaos, but guess what, it has happened before and will happen again. Don’t worry. Tells us that when paper moved from being cloth-based to wood pulp-based, the abundance created was co-equal to the digital abundance now available.

Vocabulary lesson: skeuomorph: old technology reformatted to new technology.

Barbara Genco: manager of special projects at Library Journal. @BarbaraAGenco

Says library “power users” (use library more than 4X/month) buy a lot of books as well. 9,000 libraries in the U.S. (I actually thought this number seemed low. Doesn’t every small town have its own library? How many small towns in the U.S.?) 169 million Americans use a public library.

Convergence! See this article from Boston Globe about libraries hosting their own bookstores.

Matt MacInnis: CEO of Inkling  @stanine

Reinventing books and publishing. To copy content from books to ebooks is folly, he says. The future of publishing is high fidelity content—media rich, interactive content. Check out their website. I think this guy is on to something. Also, under each chair in the auditorium was an envelope with a card inside that included a code for a free copy of one of two Inkling iPad app books: Speakeasy Cocktails or Master Your DSLR Camera.

I got the camera book. It is beautiful and instructive and useful and fun. Can’t wait to learn more about my camera. Thanks, Inkling.

Mark Johnson: CEO of Zite (personalized magazine for iPhone and iPad)   @philosophygeek

He spoke about recommendations, online recommendations. Search is not useful for everything: it doesn’t help us find the interesting stuff. Clay Shirkey said: “Curation comes up when search stops working.” Amazon, Netflix, and Pandora are the three canonical recommendation-engine-driven sites. (Canonical? Really?)

I downloaded Zite on to my iPhone and iPad. It learns what is interesting for you (for me!) from content, from social web, and from your own interactions. So far it seems a good fit and I’ve only loaded links to Delicious and Twitter. I’d recommend Zite as your own personal interest magazine.

To be continued…

Related articles

Digital publishing: book as artifact; author as ringleader

Richard Shed's Digital book

Artwork/photo credit: Richard Shed

Seth Godin at his Domino Project blog provided a link to Craig Mod‘s essay titled “Post Artifact Books & Publishing: Digital’s effect on how we produce, distribute and consume content.” It’s a good discussion about how the publishing/authorship world  is being turned sideways and on its head. As for how the world of the author is changing, here’s Seth’s take:

In the first case, the yesterday case, the author has a job. She writes a book. In the second case, the tomorrow case, the author is the ringleader, cheerleader, ringmaster, organizer and jack of all trades of a process that might not ever end.

Craig’s essay reads well and looks good. He has done a nice job of designing it. (I’m referring to the online version. I don’t know if the design translates to the $2.99 Kindle version.) And in a David Foster Wallace-esque moment, Mr. Mod has thirty-two footnotes at the end of the essay. Rich resource there, my particular favorites being those pointers to online book experiments of one sort or another. Of particular note is the link to Frank Chimero’s blog. Frank is working on a book titled The Shape of Design and it’s quite interesting to see that his Kickstarter community has contributed $112,159.00 to keep him working on that project. That’s powerful stuff. (He’s also been very inventive about what you as a donor receive for the different levels of monetary participation.)

Then there’s this guy Peter Armstrong, co-founder of leanpub.com, an online publisher. (He appears in the comments section at the end of Craig’s essay.) Peter’s lean publishing motto: publish early, publish often. Peter’s idea is this:

Lean Publishing is the act of self-publishing a book while you are writing it, evolving the book with feedback from your readers and finishing a first draft before optionally using the traditional publishing workflow.

It’s worth reading the manifesto at Peter’s site, particularly the section called “The Lean Publishing How-To Guide for Non-fiction.” It’s all about writing and sharing what you’re writing with your community, and using feedback from those people as your revise your writing. In some ways there’s nothing new here, since people have always shared their writing with peers and colleagues and writing groups, but now you can reach out to more people more easily more quickly. (One question to consider is whether more/faster equals better, but that’s for another day.)

This all puts me in mind of David Weinberger, who, when he was writing Small Pieces Loosely Joined in 2001-2002 put chapters in progress out on the web and invited feedback. A fair number of people joined in the discussion at the time and David mentions a couple of them in his acknowledgments. All that resulted in a physical book, an artifact in Craig’s terms. One of his points is that now with books going digital you can continue to revise based on an ongoing discussion with your community. But how long will that last really? Any longer than it would with the “artifact”? The author will move on to new ideas, a new book. The community will move on as well. I’ll be curious to see if someone can track the discussions about books and their ideas. Will we something more substantive in the digital realm now available? Will the digital publishing realm result in a longer “shelf” life for ideas?