Archive for August 10, 2008

The Last Gasps Of Dying Print

August 10, 2008

The Classic Rock Magazine Is Switching to a Smaller, Rack-Friendly Size

Some packages like the curvaceous old Coke bottle become so iconic that they are recognizable at 30 paces. So it is with Rolling Stone, whose large format has stood out on magazine racks for more than three decades. It won’t for much longer, however. With the Oct. 30 issue, which will go on sale Oct. 17, Rolling Stone, published by Wenner Media, will adopt the standard size used by all but a few magazines.

In an interview in his office, Jann Wenner, founder, publisher, editor and general guiding force behind the nation’s biggest music magazine, was characteristically brash about the change. Leaning back in his chair, one leg slung over the side of it, he said, “All you’re getting from that large size is nostalgia.”

Soon they’ll all shrink to the digest size of the classic TV Guide (and current Prevention magazine and Readers Digest).

Which, by the way, is almost the size of the Sony Reader screen.

More About That ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader

August 10, 2008

David Rothman at Teleread cites my prior post in For some E Ink haters: The ECTACO jetBook reader, which also points to an actual Ectaco Jetbook review that’s brand new. It mentions this odd fact:

I also noticed that Ectaco has a English/Chinese reader (M218B) in white. The M218B has the extra bonus of HTML format support.

They should have put that in the one I saw! Who wants unformatted text?!

I also went to that list of reviews ECTACO touts on their site. Two links were dead (no loss, as they seemed to be reprinting a press release), most of the rest were press-release regurgitations. Only this one from mobileread was a real review. It mentions the screen looks like a calculator! That wasn’t my own experience, but he’s got photos at Flickr that offer some convincing proof!

What I wasn’t able to see earlier is a Flash animation ECTACO has on its site. Do eBooks work differently in Russia?! I’d like to have a magical device I can point at a library and suck up its content in e format!

On YouTube are two videos, both in Russian:

ECTACO jetBook Reader first look rus

This one looks like an outright infomercial (which you can stop watching after three minutes because the rest is all talk, no more demo):

ECTACO jetBook

As you can see in those, the angle of the light does make the screen look like a calculator sometimes.

This should conclude my posts about this. While it offers features neither the Kindle nor Sony Reader have, the lack of formatted files is just suicidal.

Besides that, the price should be far lower. Try US$199.

Sony Fumbles Its eBook Reader

August 10, 2008

Oh, I know there are people at Sony who are gnashing their teeth.

Unfortunately, they weren’t put in charge of the Sony Reader, so the result has been:

Why Sony lost the battle of the e-book

Sir Howard [Stringer] was not in charge of Sony during the Walkman debacle and partly owes his appointment three years ago to the recognition that new leadership was needed to pull the divided company together.

But the e-book battle occurred on his watch, after he identified the Reader as a product that Sony should throw its weight behind. So the ascendancy of the Kindle is – or ought to be – an embarrassment.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh, I’ve ripped into Stringer several times here:

What’s Going On With Sony And Its Reader?

Howard Stringer was written up in the New York Times. What did he focus on? OLED TV screens!

Really, tell me what is so special about Yet Another TV Screen? It’s still a TV screen, no matter what number of colors or contrast ratio it can offer versus previous iterations.

Sure, it’ll bring in money for Sony. It might even be a prestige (read: macho boasting) item.

But TVs are an established market.

The Sony Reader, however, has the potential of creating a new global market and impacting every country that it enters.

Does Howard Stringer understand that? Does Howard Stringer even use a Sony Reader?

Sony, it’s time to hit the accelerator. The lead you’ve enjoyed is diminishing with each day. Commit to winning!

And in:

Ken Kutaragi: Your Vindication Nears!

When you Ascend the Throne — kicking out the gaijin fool Stringer — remember to conquer the world with the Sony Reader!

The world of ebooks needs your leadership, Kutaragi! You can crush Amazon’s pitiful toy!

And in:

Sony, The New Titanic?

Yet Howard Stringer thinks he’s leading a pack of shy toadies?!

What I think is going on is this: They hate this overfed, pompous, strutting bastard.

They’re sitting on all the good stuff.

They want his ass out of there.

They will bring Sony down to the point where there is no other choice but to get rid of Stringer to save Sony itself.

The sooner the better!

That amazon stole the ebook publicity from Sony says more than any possible analysis ever could. At some point that event will be studied by business majors and business historians.

The Financial Times goes on to say:

The signs are that the Reader will go wireless too, perhaps this year: Steve Haber, head of the business, says that Sony is “open” to that idea. Sony has also tried to get one up on the Kindle by allowing owners to obtain books from other online stores and libraries.

The danger for Sony is that it is already too late. Amazon has grabbed the market-leading position from Sony and established a stronger brand, which is what happened with the iPod and the Walkman. Sony never managed to recover, despite trying repeatedly to match Apple.

“Open” to the idea?!!? I know people who worked on the Reader who wanted it to be wireless when it was first introduced in America!

Why the hell were they ignored?!

And if Haber was in charge of the Reader at that time, why the hell is he still in charge of it now? Fire his limited-vision ass. NOW!

I rant about this because I find the Kindle to be an out-and-out abomination (despite what Paul Biba has written, I’m unconvinced!).

But, ultimately, none of my ranting matters.

Because both Amazon and Sony will be crushed by Apple — if it ever makes up its mind to do ebooks!

Note: The Financial Times item requires registration. There is a trick that sometimes works. Type “Sony” (no quotes) into search. Click on the column. Sometimes it will display for free.

Previously here:
First-Time Writer Winner (And Loser!)
Writer 2.0 Notes: Blog Book Tours
Japanese Manga Comes To The iPhone
Micro Fondle: ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader
Reference: ePub Reader Software
Comic Books (Almost) Come To iPhone
The Dark Future Of The Print Publishers
Another Great Post About Publishing
Sony Tries To Do Right To Reader Pioneers
The e In eBooks = Everywhere
Reference: Book Publishing Contracts
Two Excellent Posts For Writers
Sony Still Shoots Itself In Foot
Print Is Dead. So Is Print Culture.
Twitter Truth
Print IS Dead (Well, To Some Of Us. OK: Me!)
eBook Signings: The Postcard Solution?
Reference: Creating ePub Files For eBooks
Writer John Scalzi Gives An E Vs. P Lesson
Quote: Seth Godin
The Kindle Revolution Ain’t Happening
Sony Reader Gets Some Love
Suit Bastard Print Publishers NAILED!
Sony To Kindle: Up Yours!
Reference: 100 Book/eBook Sites
What A Major FAIL In eBooks Looks Like
Reading Books Plummets In Japan Too
Apple iTunes (Store) Trademark Evolution
The Reasons Why eBooks Are Next For Apple
And So The iPod Air Is Coming After All!
eBook On An iPhone: One Example
iPhone Wireless Printing?
Reference: iPhone/iPod Touch Screen Size
More Of That Non-Existent iPhone Effect
When An Expert Uses An iPhone
iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Available
Memo To Steve Jobs: iPhone Owners READ!
iDay 2008 + 1 = LONG Lines!!!
eReader On iPhone: What It Looks Like
Southern NYC iDay 2007 In 56 Photos!
Flashback: iPhone 2007
MSI Wind = Ten-Inch Screen MacBook?
Sony’s Strange Strategy
Video: eBooks On iPhone/iPod Touch
What Apple Better Not Miss About eBooks
For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!
iPod Air: See You In September?
A Gadget Too Far
No iPod Air Next Week
American Tech Companies: Wake Up!
It’s Now All Down To Apple Vs. Google
Sony, The New Titanic?
Apple: You’ll Get It When You Can Sync It?
What eChanges Will High Oil Prices Bring?
Reference: iPhone/iPod Touch Backup/Sync
An Example Of iPhone/iPod Touch Keyboard Lag
The iPod Air Will Be Better …
I Said Apple Sync Was Important: Here’s Proof
eInk eBook Readers: They’re All Dead, Jim!
What’s This? iPod Air Next Month?
iPhone Continues To Swallow The Internet
Apple’s Sync Strategy Finally Arriving?
Now We Know Why Apple Bought A Chipmaker
Amazon: Already Toast
Future iPods: Piper Jaffray’s Blind Spot
Writers Don’t Fear The Future: Publishers Do!
More Bad For Sony Reader: Kindles Coming
Borders Catches Cold, Sony Reader Gets Pneumonia?
The Lesson Of Apple Isn’t New, But It Works
The Three Companies Apple Should Acquire
Apple Has Magic The Others Don’t
Apple And eBooks: Why The Delay
What’s Up With That Awful Kindle?
For The Record: Apple and eBooks
I’m No Fan Of The Kindle. Nor Is He.
Sony Reader Can Be Bought In Spain!
Memo To Steve Jobs: People DO Still Read!
Oprah, Get A Sony Reader!
Sony’s In Worse Shape Than I Thought
Ken Kutaragi: Your Vindication Nears!
The Three Big As: Apple, Amazon, Adobe
Sony Has Big eBook News Today
Oh, NOW He Believes Me!
Peak iPod: Has Apple Reached Its End?
One More Time: Apple And Ebooks
Is Apple’s Tablet The iPod Air?
Why Apple’s Design Is Excellent
Steve Jobs Is Up To Something. Probably Big.
Does Borders Know The Sony Reader Exists?
iRiver Ebook Reader?
Sony: I’m Not Alone
Does Apple Want To Be King Of Ebooks?
Sony BMG Music: DRM-Free And IQ-Free
What’s Going On With Sony And Its Reader?
Sony’s Got Something Big For Their Reader
Will New eBook Readers Finally Change The World?
Has Sony Just Lost Its eBook Battle?

At the old blog:

Will Apple Steal The eBook Limelight From Sony And Create Another Mass Market?
Oh My God This Is So Incredibly Surprising And Totally Unexpected: Sony To Close Connect Music And Video Services!!
Sony Reader Is Gaining Ground
Sony Reader Meets Inking
Purraise Da Lohrd!
Memos To Sony (Part 2 in a Series)
I Gotcher Backlight Right Ear
Memos To Sony (Part 1 in a Series)
Sony Reader: Gizmodo’s Hands All Over
Wikipedia on Sony Reader?
Sony Reader Multi-Part Report Index
Sony Reader: Part 4 (of 4)
Sony Reader: Part 3 (of 4)
Sony Reader: Part 2 (of 4)
Sony Reader: Part 1 (of 4)
i, Reader
Digital Life: What I Saw

First-Time Writer Winner (And Loser!)

August 10, 2008

Update: The source article is suspect.

First time author, 93, saves friends from care homes with book advance

Lorna Page has bought a five bedroom house for £310,000 after securing a significant advance for her thriller.

Now she plans to move in a number of friends, but faces the dilemma of deciding which ones to accept, after receiving “dozens” of offers.

The independent nonagenarian widow said she simply wanted to help her friends enjoy the last few years of their lives in a sociable environment.

She has pledged to use all of her money from the proceeds of A Dangerous Weakness to assist her friends.

Mrs Page wrote the book in her one bedroom Surrey flat but has since swapped it for the spacious house in the pretty village of Weare Giffard, near her birthplace of Bideford, north Devon.

And get this:

Released by AuthorHouse publishers last month, A Dangerous Weakness follows a woman who becomes involved in a bitter power struggle after receiving an apparently innocent invitation by an old school friend to spend Christmas at her Swiss lodge.

Mrs Page wrote the book three years ago but made no attempt to get it published until her daughter-in-law found the manuscript and convinced her to send it to a publishing house.

She said: “I should have done it before but it got put away in a suitcase and forgotten about until my daughter-in-law found it and said it should be published.”

Mrs Page said she had written throughout her life, but that A Dangerous Weakness was her first published novel.

“I’ve always written. I started as soon as I could hold a pencil – fairy stories, poetry, short stories, magazine articles. It seems I’ve been writing for a hundred years.”

Emphasis added by me.

Sharp woman with a sharp wit too.

But really, what an enormous lost opportunity this is!

This is getting huge international play yet all I can think of are all the lost sales!

I immediately went to the Amazon Kindle Store, eReader, and the eBook Store from Sony — and the book is not there!

How many people reading that item immediately thought, “I’ve got to read that?” How many of them will even remember the book tomorrow?

What could have easily generated six-figure impulse buys for an ebook … has been wasted!

Now do you see why I say the future of writers must be in their own hands?

Writer 2.0 Notes: Blog Book Tours

August 10, 2008

I’m not going to commit myself to a new Category yet, but I will collect some notes here from time to time.

So Who am I?

People often ask me why I’m promoting blog book tours for free. Because I’m a kept woman and have nothing better to do? Wrong.

I’m a writer, and I’m fully aware that in today’s publishing world, authors must offer up a promotion package with their manuscript submissions that puts the load of the selling squarely on their shoulders. In the traditional paradigm, that means they will likely travel. And I hate to travel.

Even worse, I hate the hotels, the airports, the food, not sleeping in my own bed, and that’s just to name a few details I can get disgruntled about. I just flat-out don’t like being away from home to work, and I don’t like conferences either.

Fortunately for me, there is an oil crisis and travel will soon be curtailed for all of us. That means we all get to find better ways to promote. I knew early on that blogs and other virtual world vehicles would be my ride. So here I am, happily blazing my own new road.

This is a very intriguing idea.

Thing is, it’d be difficult to do well.

I read (not as much as I’d like to these days), but I don’t do daily visits to “book” sites. And it’s probably “book” sites someone would go to tour.

That’s a mistake.

That’s the sort of narrow-interest niche ghetto that most writers want to break out of, to engage the public at large who aren’t necessarily looking at “book” sites every day (or once a week, or even ever!).

Even though I’ve never done a book site, I do write about writers and books from time to time. Yet I suspect this blog would be overlooked when planning any blog tour.

Fortunately, Barnes and Noble had someone with a keen sense for publicity and alerted me when M. Dylan Raskin would be appearing at one of their stores. The result was a blog entry.

Now how many other people have contacted me about books since then?


None of the writers I’ve posted about sought me out. I read and loved their work and want other people to read them too. But how many of their publishers have taken notice?


So, yes, a blog book tour makes a great deal of sense for generating interest (especially for eBooks — which have to be gotten via the Internet) — but it has to be done right.

I’ll be very interested to see how this develops. Writers should pay attention.

Writer Matthew St. Amand

August 10, 2008

In the Neighborhood

Throughout the summer, for reasons I can neither guess nor discern, every weekend night is punctuated by fireworks. Sometimes it’s just the anemic pop of neighborhood fireworks going off just after sundown for some kid’s birthday. Other times, though, they are the full-on artillery barrage fireworks sounding in the distance; the din of thousands of dollars per explosion. Sometimes leaves me wondering what I’ll find of the city Monday morning.

That should entice you to go read the rest!

And if not that, then you must read: Genocide Games — Beijing Time Machine

* Next best performance in the swimming events was the German swimmer who completed two laps before his body completely dissolved in the free-floating sewage the Chinese call “water.”

* In the diving competition, the fourth place finish was a Japanese diver who managed two dives before her skeleton was entirely unsheathed from her flesh by the hard water of the swimming pool.

Go on. You know you want to read them both!

Writer Christopher Fowler Is Blogging!

August 10, 2008


I knew Christopher Fowler was a modern sorta guy, but doing an actual blog is a step into Writer 2.0 territory and I’m glad he’s doing it!

I’ve done my like-a-little-girlie gushing over the genius of his writing and the genius of his Bryant & May series (see end of post) and now I can gush and rave over his blog posts too.

For all of you deprived souls who have yet to meet Bryant & May, Fowler has created a blog post especially for you: The History Of Bryant & May. It’s just the barest of tastes.

For Bryant & May veterans, there’s: The Boozy Story Behind ‘The Victoria Vanishes’, which does a behind-the-scenes of the latest (out now!) novel in the series.

Here’s a quote from the blog post, Hang on, Roger Moore?

Well, we’ve been getting some interesting casting suggestions for Bryant & May lately, but Roger Moore? Can he even move any part of his face anymore? The last time I saw him on TV was sitting in the audience of the New Year’s Eve concert from Vienna (at least I think it was him, it might have been a cello).

I never, ever would have considered Roger Moore. May deserves better, surely!

Christopher Fowler’s works are available as ebooks, so you Kindle kultists can go buy and download them now. And you blessed people with iPhones can fetch them right now from eReader (who really needs to work on their links!). (Yes, you people with a Sony Reader can buy them right now too, but then cable them over to the Reader. Not quite instant gratification…)

Previously here:

Christopher Fowler Cover Development
Christopher Fowler’s New Digs
Doctor Who: Turn Left
Christopher Fowler: March 2009
Christopher Fowler: Read His Books
What I Look Forward To In 2008

In the old blog:

Reading: August 25 2007
Reading: August 23 2007
Christopher Fowler Pleads Guilty — To Genius!
Author Christopher Fowler Torments Me With An Email
The Astounding Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler Slays Me
Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May
Writer Added

Writer Joseph Devon Needs Watching

August 10, 2008

My 10 Favorite Moments from 26 Stories

I was given a rather astounding present by my sister. She took the 26 Stories project and printed it up as a hardcover book complete with “blurbs” from my family. I find this stunning on two fronts. First…it was just so cool to hold this project in my hands as a book. And second, it’s that easy to make a book nowadays. Sometime soon I’ll be looking into this process myself with the intention of packaging the stories on this website into a printed bound book to be made available to the general public. Because there’s nothing like a book.

Think about that. And think about who just said it. I continue to look for fiction online and I have come across a number of authors with various amounts of their work available online, but as of right now and to the best of my knowledge I have more story length fiction available on the Internet than any other author in the world (I’m notoriously awful at research, so, again, this is to the best of my current knowledge). My commitment to the Internet is pretty huge. And I’m the one telling you that there’s nothing like a book.

Emphasis added by me.

You poor souls.

The Mike Cane Paper Addiction Centers (aka Mike Cane’s PAC — so bring $$$!) will be springing up all over the universe to break heal you of this perverted paper fetishism.

The Multi-Talented Philip Kan Gotanda

August 10, 2008

Several years ago I happened upon a movie on The Sundance Channel called Life Tastes Good.

It mesmerized me.

I. Could. Not. Stop. Watching.

I went and looked it up on the Net and found the writer and director was Philip Kan Gotanda.

I emailed him and he was kind enough to respond with a great deal of generosity.

I’ve watched his website off and on, waiting for some action to develop there.

It looks like that’s now happening. It’s undergoing a thorough reconstruction.

When you sit around unsatisfied and frustrated after watching the latest disposable product from Hollywood and wonder why you can’t see something that’s surprising and delightful, that’s when you should go buy a copy of Life Tastes Good.

Life Tastes Good is a DVD that should be in everybody’s collection.

I can’t wait to see what his next creation will be.

(Hey, all you people out there looking for Talent for Internet video series? Gotanda’s your man. Wave money — and full creative control — at him.)

Writer Melanie Phillips

August 10, 2008

Has floored me with an insightful review of the book Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain by Peter Whittle. The title? The ‘Me’ in media

Today’s must-read.