Archive for August 13, 2008

Kindle, Schmindle

August 13, 2008

I’m reversing the order in which I encountered these, to make the points clearer.

Kindles Rarer Than Leopards or Lamborghinis

I read in today’s news TechCrunch as reporting 240,000 units have sold; and the number of customer reviews have passed 4,000 on’s Web site. And now I’m told that Amazon could sell 380,000 units in 2008.

Well, that just sounds like hyperbole to me and I’ll tell you why: I have not yet met a single person who owns one – and I live in a city of about six million people, regularly fraternize with book lovers, and travel frequently. I’ve seen more exotic cars in the past ten months — Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis — than Kindles.

Emphasis added by me.

I don’t know how many Sony Readers have been sold, but I’ve seen two in the wild. One on a city street (at dusk!, using reflected streetlamp lighting) and one on the subway.

I have yet to see a Kindle in person.

Diverse Views on the Kindle

Based on the selections of books available via Amazon, I have a hard time imagining a lot of literary readers buying a Kindle. At least not now. In addition to making a device that’s way more sleek and sexy, Amazon should heavily recruit content providers. Otherwise some other outlet—such as Apple—could come along and win the ebook race so to speak, not just with a better device, but by providing the audience that could make this scene explode with the type of books they want to read.

Emphasis added by me.

Yeah, he gets some of it.

Sidenote: What I am finding fascinating in all the ebook coverage I encounter is the lack of Microsoft! They don’t even factor into the debate any longer.

Previously here:

The Kindle Revolution Ain’t Happening

China’s Monstrous Buildings

August 13, 2008

Ah, the victorious future! Proud buildings hurtling skyward, proclaiming the ascendancy of man over filthy, chaotic Nature.

It must have looked so thrilling to people who saw that imagery when they watched the 1927 silent movie, Metropolis.

The reality of it is somewhat different.

Oppressive structures dominating the spirit of humanity, stripping away the idea of individual value.

Narrow sidewalks clogged with people. Traffic jams. Giant shadows draping everything. The broad sky sliced into thin slivers.

Will it be like that in China, as they rush to build these monsters?

Writer 2.0: Realize Your Investment

August 13, 2008

So you want to be a writer?

Popped over to a book reading at our local bookstore last night for the new novel, Tethered, and while the book sounds interesting and is on my reading list, I thought the author, Amy McKinnon, gave a very real perspective as to what it’s like to be a writer. I write blogs, business books, and magazine articles, so this intrigued me because writing a novel is so much different in everything from timing and submissions to publicity.

I want this to sink in:

Total time for writing the book: 6 months for the first chapter, then the rest took 12 more months. Then after being accepted by the agent, the manuscript underwent 9 months of revisions – so a total of 2.5 years.

Emphasis added by me.

Too many writers look back in relief at a finished manuscript. Like awakening from a nightmare.

Wrong thing to do.

That time should be in the forefront of your mind.

Especially when dealing with print publishers.

How much effort will they put into justifying your time?

Are they going to take all that energy all treat it like trash?

Most will.

But they’ll also grab all the extra rights they can too. And think they’re justified.

Free yourself of them!

No vulture venture capitalist would put a startup founder in the position of peonage.

A print publisher will do that to a writer (whose effort is every bit as valuable as any startup founder!).

The future is coming.

Be ready.

Writer 2.0: Book Promotion 2.0

August 13, 2008

Mini Book Expo for Bloggers

I found this via Twitter (searching on “book” for people to follow).

This is a very, very clever idea.

Go to the blog, see what books are being offered. If one interests you, you can get it for free if you commit to writing about it on your blog after reading it.

So far, there’s been nothing that’s attracted my interest (besides which, those on my Endless Backlog would kill me for letting someone jump the queue!).

This is a great way to spread the word about books. Think about it: Someone has already expressed an interest and will read it. Compare that to books sent out wholesale to “reviewers” — unread copies of which (complete with inserted publisher press releases!) I used to buy at great discounts at the Strand (when I still bought lots of print).

It seems only two publishers are currently involved (at least, two publishers who are paying for shipping the books). I’d like to see more publishers jump on this.

See the FAQ for details.

I also wonder how this would work out with eBooks?

Yeesh! iPhone Becomes PalmOS 5!

August 13, 2008

Should I Add More?

So, it seems that even though applications may work on their own, and even in groups, it only takes one bad combination to make the whole thing come tumbling down.

My advice? Pick your applications carefully, and try installing them one at a time to make sure you don’t have any conflicts before adding the next one.

I really hate reading that.

But here’s one thing I know for sure: over at Apple, they’re all experiencing the same thing.

And there’s a chorus screaming Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!

The biggest voice probably belongs to Steve Jobs!

Meanwhile, when this happened over at Palm, they sent out a Heatherbot to troll sites and tweely advise everybody to be careful about installing applications! And that Palm was not responsible for instability.

Let’s review.

Apple: Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!

Palm: Meh.

The Non-Evolving View Of Print Publishers

August 13, 2008

The Evolving Experience Expectation of Customers

Now, when we think of a comparable breakthrough moment for the reading experience, many wonder if it happened 7 months ago with the release of the Kindle, but I would argue it really happened just under 700 years ago with our friend, Mr. Movable Type, Gutenberg, himself.

Think about it. Since then, the experience of reading has changed very little. They come in all shapes and sizes. Mobility isn’t much of a problem. And as those traditionalists always say, I like books because you can curl up with them in bed, or read them in the bath.

So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is, unlike the music business the relationship customers have with the printed book is still quite strong and have been meeting the experience expectation for hundreds of years. And I don’t say this because I’m overly sentimental traditionalist. But I do think it’s an important time to remind ourselves that the printed book still provides an excellent user experience. And this is a real strength that only enhances our position in a digital age.

Oh dear god.

Bezos is right: You’re All Doomed!

If the best you can come up with is tradition, “mobility” (wtf?), and that refuge of dinosaur reactionaries, “you can curl up with them in bed,” then yes, baby, You Are Doomed.

Traditions change. Ask anyone who has the Torah, Bible, or Koran in e form if they’d like to give it up to go back to p.

Mobility. Are you serious?! I can carry a library in a pocket. A full freakin library. Let me see you do that with print. And if you happen to live in a flood zone, or brush fire zone, or earthquake zone, good luck grabbing that ginormous library of print and fleeing! Even if I happen to lose an e-reader, chances are the books are waiting in the Cloud ready to reincarnate themselves with a simple re-download. Your wet, burnt, or crushed tomes? Sayonara, baby!

You can curl up with them in bed. What stops you from doing that with e? Or do you actually read until you pass out and awake in the morning to find you’ve crumpled all the pages of your precious p edition? And, hey, guess what? There’s an entire generation already curling up with e — their cellphones, txting thru the nite!

You are doomed on your current course. Get that through your dull Suit heads! Iceberg Apple is going to gut your industry just like that fatal collection of hard water did to that “unsinkable” ship once called Titanic!

These oblivious pep-talk cheerleaders for a doomed industry always crack me up.

Previously here:

Sometimes Free Doesn’t Even Tempt Me
Reference: Twenty Free eBook Sites
Book Screening: All Book Trailers!
Limited-Time Free iPhone eBook
This Made Me Snort
First-Time Author Article Is Suspect
The Last Gasps Of Dying Print
More About That ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader
Sony Fumbles Its eBook Reader
First-Time Writer Winner (And Loser!)
Writer 2.0 Notes: Blog Book Tours
Do NOT Waste Someone’s Attention!
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
iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Available
Memo To Steve Jobs: iPhone Owners READ!
eReader On iPhone: What It Looks Like
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
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?
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?
Sony Reader Is Gaining Ground
Sony Reader Meets Inking
Purraise Da Lohrd!
Memos To Sony (Part 2 in a Series)
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

Reference: Crime Fiction

August 13, 2008

Stop, You’re Killing Me

Yes, I know the site says “mysteries.”

But guess what?

That description calls up images of suffocating parlors with doilies and antimacassars and post-menopausal confused women wearing pearls and old-fashioned dresses. Suffocating all-talk dullsville, man.

Now, call it crime fiction and suddenly you think Quentin Tarantino and Reservoir Dogs and hell-bent wiseass kickass action!

Sure, the book doesn’t have to be anything like what “crime fiction” conjures up, but that’s a better hope than what that drab “mystery” term offers.

“Mystery” kept me away from crime fiction for years!

Writer Alan Glynn Speaks!

August 13, 2008


Writer extraordinaire Alan Glynn, who I posted about earlier, dropped in and left an actual Comment here!

That set me off on a new Google hunt — doing deeeeep Google — and I dug up these:

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” # 2010: Alan Glynn — one of those interrogation-like interviews those crime writer blogs like to do, from May 2008 (how’d I miss that before?!).

An I Am Sooo Jealous mention by John Connolly having an advance look at Glynn’s newest novel, Winterland.

Alan says:

Winterland, set in Dublin, is being published next year by St. Martin’s Minotaur.

That publisher has to get on the ball. No mention yet on their website, nor a listing under Authors! More than half this year is over. Not too soon to promote!

Walking In A Wonder WINTERLAND has a blurby description of the book that sounds exciting as hell.

And if this doesn’t convince you to read The Dark Fields, I don’t know what will. Ain’t It Cool NewsMoriarty chimes in with a stark raving rave review of the book (scroll down!) that concludes with:

Is Alan Glynn good at telling this story, with competent writing ability? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. One great thing about this book, you can buy it right now, and the other rare thing about this book, it’s worth the cover price.

And is the book memorable? Hell yes.

And at The Rap Sheet’s ONE BOOK PROJECTQuestion: What one crime, mystery, or thriller novel do you think has been most unjustly overlooked, criminally forgotten, or underappreciated over the years? — writer Declan Hughes states:

Smart and scary and brilliantly written, The Dark Fields has been adapted for the screen and production is imminent; the book should have been a best-seller.

Oh it will be! Late, but still well-deserved!

Last but not least, I even managed to find the reader of it for the Hollywood studio! There’s some juicy behind-the-scenes stuff revealed there.

Once again, I loooove the Internet.

But wait. What happened to the novel about intuition, Alan?!

Yes, The Dark Fields can be had in French!

New Gas City

August 13, 2008

A.Word.A.Day: nugacity

England: Land Of The Doomed West

August 13, 2008

Former police inspector arrested after confronting gang who threatened to kill him

A retired police officer, who bravely challenged yobs when a beer can was thrown at his car late at night, was horrified to be later arrested himself and thrown in a cell.

Former Inspector Paul Lawson, 52, intended to make a citizen’s arrest, but sensibly backed down when the youths surrounding him threatened to kill him and smash up his vehicle.

He reported the incident in Morpeth to two police officers on patrol in the area, but they refused to take action.

One of the gang later claimed to have been assaulted by Mr Lawson and this time Northumbria Police did intervene.

Really, it’s getting like Bizarro World over there.

Why aren’t the officers who refused to take action up on charges of dereliction of duty?

And this guy, he just begs to be fired:

Chief Inspector John Barnes, of the Northumbria Police, refused to comment on the incident, adding: ‘Anyone who feels unhappy with the way they have been treated by Northumbria Police can always make use of our official complaints procedure.’