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Who needs candy or soda when you could get a paperback? August 9, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Of Interest, reading.
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Instead of candy – this early vending machine dispensed Paperback books. Called the Penguincubator, and developed by the founder of Penguin books, it was designed to help cheaply distribute books to the masses.

Story at Publishing Perspectives, via the always fascinating Mental_Floss.

First Annual Moby Awards for Book Trailers May 25, 2010

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Last year, we started noticing trailers for new books. Well, as with all media creations (books, movies, even commercials), the book trailer industry now has its own Award!

This year marked the First Annual Moby Awards for Book Trailers. The nominees are listed here, and the winners are here.

Awards were given in separate categories for Big Budget and Low Budget Trailers, and even a category for Trailer Least Likely to Sell a Book! The award, named for the iconic white whale was created by the publisher Melville House in New York, and will consist of a trophy and bragging rights.

Here’s one I liked (not a winner though):

(via NYTimes Book Blog, Papercuts)

iPad’s First Victory February 1, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Just as we had predicted (with the help of Flavorwire), Apple has helped to force the e-book market into a new model, taking power away from Amazon and back to the publishers. While this seems like a victory for us as readers, breaking the monopoly that Amazon held over the e-book market, it means increased prices across the board. As library denizens and vigilant defenders of copyright this might not mean much to us but is it enough to force more people into committing e-book piracy? In The Millions article “Confessions of a Book Pirate”, the “book pirate” says that he does, “not buy DRM’d ebooks that are priced at more than a few dollars, but would pay up to $10 for a clean file if it was a new release.” Key words: up to $10. The “pirate” has a lot of good arguments about why e-books should be cheap, including the very convincing one that e-books cost little to nothing to reproduce. While angered e-book fans may be tempted to illegally download copies, publishers are happy with the decision, so happy, in fact, that they have agreed to limit their digital profits. So while the prediction that iBooks and the iPad will break the monopolization of e-book sales has come true, the other prediction, that iBooks will do to the publishing company what iTunes did to the music industry, has turned out to be completely false. By putting prices back in the hands of publishers, Apple has done the exact reverse –empowering and assisting the already struggling publishing industry. Are Jobs and his cohorts the silent saviors of the publishers or is this thwarted prediction a necessary result of destroying Amazon’s vice grips on the industry?  What do you think?

From AdaFruit's Flickr stream, Creative Commons licensed

Read the New York Times full article on Amazon’s new ebook policies here.

iBooks: the Run Down January 28, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Ever since watching Steve Jobs announce and describe Apple’s latest project yesterday- the iPad – a tablet computer, I felt compelled to talk about iBooks (an e-book reader app) and how it may affect the e-book market. But alas, 700,000 blogs and web sites (or somewhere around there) had already done it! So I am going to sum up Flavorwire’s “5 Ways the Apple iPad Could Change e-Books”.

From Engadget.com

1. iBooks will allow publishers more control over e-book pricing by creating a formidable opponent to Amazon.com (although there are some fears that iBooks will turn e-books into the market that iTunes turned music into).

2. The iPad will use a new format for e-books which could change the market by forcing competitors to adopt the same standards, thus creating a universal e-book format, or, iBooks could attempt to monopolize the market.

3. The iPad does not have an e-ink screen like Kindles which means, unfortunately, that it is hard on the eyes, but fortunately, that color is possible. (Maybe I don’t know enough about these e-ink screens but couldn’t turning down the brightness of the iPad have the same effect?)

4. Lots of major publishers have already signed on.

From Engadget.com

5. The iPad starts at $500, and while this is much more expensive than a Kindle, the iPad is, after all, a computer, and not just an e-book reader.

There are also numerous concerns about Jobs lack of showing textbooks on the iPad. The Kindle has been tested in many colleges and universities and students like it because it enables the taking of notes in the margins. Not so for the iPad (or at least not yet). ZDNet questions whether the iBooks will be able to get Apple back into education and raises some good questions of the limits of iBooks and the iPad.

What I was most excited about was the new New York Times app which makes the newspaper available in a format that looks once again like the paper you used to get thrown onto your front lawn.

From Engadget.com

What do you think about the iPad? Did it live up to the hype?

For more information on the iPad check out pictures and descriptions of the live event from Engadget here.

Stop Freaking Out and Head to the Library! January 20, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Okay, so you’ve probably heard by now that the New York Times is going to start charging for (frequent) access in 2011. Take a deep breath, relax; it’s all going to be okay. You’ve actually been paying for the New York Times this whole time –with your taxes. Almost all public libraries have a subscription to a database that covers the New York Times. And even if they don’t, most local colleges allow people to have a visitor pass or use the databases on campus. And now that we are in the 21st century you don’t even have to get in your car and drive to the library – you can access the newspapers you’ve been paying for this whole time right from your desktop. And if you’re still moping about changes to access, remember that changes like these allow struggling publications to remain in existence. Obviously the Times wouldn’t charge for access if it could afford not to.

New Yorkers – your access is right here.

Demise of Kirkus: UPDATE January 6, 2010

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We previously posted about the announcement last month that Kirkus Reviews was shutting down. Well, as I hoped, they seem to have found a buyer, and a note on their site indicated they will continue publishing book reviews.

(via Library Journal)

New Facebook App Allows Book Sharing December 28, 2009

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The Random House publishing group has developed an application on Facebook titled “Random Reads” which enables users to read free chapters and excerpts, search the text, and make suggestions to fellow friends and users. It would seem from this article by TeleRead, that the application will also foster relationships between the users and authors, enabling authors to share additional excerpts and suggestions. As the application is from Random House, it obviously only offers their titles, but as of early December had over 7,000 titles available. I checked out the application myself, and with only 28 fans and 86 monthly users, I have to question whether this application is worth investing time in or if it has just been poorly marketed.

Has anyone used this application yet? What do you think of it? Is it just another marketing ploy or truly innovative?

Mixed Feelings Over the Demise of Kirkus December 12, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Librarians, publishers, and booksellers have been crowding the Twitter feed with posts over the closing of Kirkus, a lesser-known book-reviewing periodical. The New York Times Book section ran a short article yesterday detailing what the company has meant to different publishers, emphasizing that reviews were often “reliably cantankerous”, but that the firm was important as a second source, complementing Publishers Weekly reviews, or (in the case of many librarians) Library Journal.

Here are some of the reactions that I found posted on Twitter:

Worst news in a long time: Kirkus shutting down. For me, they were the last reliable source of negative reviews.

Still stunned that KIRKUS REVIEWS and EDITOR AND PUBLISHER are being disbanded. An era in publishing is over. But hopefully future is brite

For those lamenting death of Kirkus, remember, it sold out a while back, when it accepted $$$ for reviews.

I hated Kirkus.

Oh geez the Kirkus Review is going under? That makes me sad.

I know, it’s awful! I was caught totally off-guard. Somehow it never occurred to me Kirkus could be vulnerable.

In a way I’m not surprised, but it filled a niche. Smaller niche now?

In N. Carolina, high pines, shallow sun, where I hear news my old employer Kirkus is shutting down. Paying for reviews nail in the coffin.

I’ll miss Kirkus, myself

What I found suspicious about Kirkus was that they always had opposite opinion of PW. And who do you believe? See? Exactly.

Heartbroken over losing Kirkus! Wrote for them for last year. Wasn’t the $ (ha!) so much as advance copies. I wish they’d stay on line!

What are your reactions?

Publishers Put Up a Fight November 30, 2009

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It’s nice, for a change, to see publishers attempt to innovate and meet the changing demands of their tech-savvy readers instead of complaining about decreasing sales and demands for free content. This article by the New York Times discusses the attempts of powerhouse publishers like Conde Nast to create a centralized portal where both electronic and print copies of publications can be bought. This model, which the consortium plans to reveal in early December, will be loosely modeled on the iTunes store.

While I laud the attempts of these companies to keep payroll up and their writers employed, I cannot help but to believe that people will find a way, once again, to circumvent payment. If anything, this development is just another reminder that libraries are not doing outreach correctly (or at all). Most public libraries (and all public libraries in New York State) already provide free access to these publications through databases provided by their own tax money! Is it our job as librarians to spread the word about this amazing access to information, or should we keep in on the DL? Is being overlooked what has kept us in business? Is our biggest downfall our secret savior?

Book Binding in 3000 Shots November 28, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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This stop motion video shows the process of binding a book from start to finish: its a fascinating process, with lots of steps!

(via Craft)

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