Archive for September 16, 2008

Sony Reader Gets French Attention

September 16, 2008

Reader : Sony lance son livre électronique en France

Y-a-t-il un marché pour le livre électronique ? Après un lancement aux Etats-Unis et au Canada puis, plus récemment, au Royaume Uni, le « Reader », premier livre électronique signé Sony, se préparer à faire son entrée en France. Afin de préparer au mieux le terrain pour ce nouvel appareil d’un genre encore peu usité en France, Sony a choisi de s’adosser à deux partenaires exclusifs. Le premier est la Fnac, qui assurera la commercialisation de l’appareil dans ses boutiques et sur son site, ainsi que la distribution en ligne des ouvrages numériques fournis par le second, le groupe Hachette. Cette exclusivité court pour une période de six mois à l’issue de laquelle Sony espère avoir pu jauger le potentiel de ce marché dans l’Hexagone et éventuellement envisager de le proposer à d’autres distributeurs, cybermarchands ou chaines spécialisées dans l’électronique grand public.

There’s more in that non-English way at the link.

All I’ve got to say is that Hugo, Balzac, Nerval, Baudelaire, and Dumas would all have had a Sony Reader!

No. I’m too respectful to PhotoShop them with it. Besides, I don’t own PhotoShop. I’ll leave it up to Sony France to do that in their ad campaign and cause a firestorm of press.

You Have Failed The eBook Cause!

September 16, 2008

Previously here:

eBook Fans: Represent!

Zombie Fiction

September 16, 2008

New Hitchhiker’s author announced
Children’s author Eoin Colfer has been commissioned to write a sixth instalment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series.

My original title for this post was Grave Robbery. But since Adams’ widow has approved this, I think Zombie Fiction is perfect: The work of art is dead, yet it’s being brought back to life.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #210

September 16, 2008

Fed Readies A.I.G. Loan of $85 Billion for an 80% Stake

In an extraordinary turn, the Federal Reserve was close to a deal Tuesday night to take a nearly 80 percent stake in the troubled giant insurance company, the American International Group, in exchange for an $85 billion loan, according to people briefed on the negotiations.

In return, the Fed will receive warrants, which give it an ownership stake. All of A.I.G.’s assets will be pledged to secure the loan, these people said.

The Fed’s action was disclosed after Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson and Ben S. Bernanke, president of the Federal Reserve, went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday evening to meet with House and Senate leaders. Mr. Paulson called the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, about 5 p.m. and asked for a meeting in the Senate leader’s office, which began about 6:30 p.m.

The Federal Reserve and Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase had been trying to arrange a $75 billion loan for A.I.G. to stave off the financial crisis caused by complex debt securities and credit default swaps. The Federal Reserve stepped in after it became clear Tuesday afternoon that the banking consortium would not be able to complete the deal.

This is why we didn’t have a full-blown stock market crash this morning.

Word had already filtered out that this deal was done.

As Rex Hammock asked in Twitter: Does this mean we’re now all invited to A.I.G. shareholder meetings?

Who’s next to try to offload their greed and thievery on the rest of us?

All prior Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Read them before you must.

Kindle-holics Irk Me

September 16, 2008

10 Things I Love About My New Kindle

See, something like that just gets under my skin. Did she ever hear of the Sony Reader? Aside from the wireless bit, it does everything she lists.

Even If They Will Pry Books Out Of Your Cold Dead Hand…

It’s time to concede e-readers are not going away.

OK, if I put my reaction to that in words, it’ll be very, very … bad. So let me use a graphic:

Has that been the thinking of the dying dinosaurs of print publishing? That these weird, geeky, icky things will just … go away? Vanish? Enter FAILville?! That the entire idea of electronic text is just a freaky thing done by guys who can’t get dates and by women too fat to get to a public library?! Despite the fact these same dying dinosaurs of print have — this third decade of the microcomputer — never bothered to reflect on the fact they’ve probably read several times the length of War and Peace on screens already?!

At least here I’m encouraged that her abominable Kindle ownership has caused her to begin to see things in publishing in an up-to-date modern 21st-century perspective:

Those free downloads can increase the circumference of your buzz circle a LOT. I think publishers, particularly smaller publishers who face an enormous hurdle for getting attention for their books, should be looking into this tool with alacrity.

But wait you say! Not so fast. We don’t want to give away our content.

And I say unto thee, what is the most oft-repeated phrase among people urging someone else to read something, be they agent, editor, telephone order taker, bookstore handseller, or your mom? “Just read the first chapter and you’ll see.”

Just read the first chapter and you’ll see.

Free Kindle downloads removes huge barriers to connecting with buyers. I don’t have to be in a store, for starters, to peruse a book. I don’t have assume the risk of paying for something I might not like if I buy it on the net. Think of first chapter for free downloads as a tasting spoon of Chunky Monkey at Baskin Robbins. Would you buy that flavor based on the name alone? Well, I wouldn’t. But I tasted it (and butter pecan, New York fudge, rocky road, and peppermint..but I digress) and it was yummy. Will I buy it again? You bet. All cause BR was willing to give me a free teaspoon of the stuff.

Cue the heavenly host breaking out into song!

Then, this is where it gets absolutely ugly for me:

I’m on the phone this week to every publisher I can to wax enthusiastic about this.

See, these addicts of the Kindle, all they know is Kindle-Kindle-Kindle.

This is an e-reader, dammit:

And it’s in RED too!

Previously here:

The Sony Reader Rejects Defeat
Amazon: New Kindles? We Never Said That!
Kindle Schmindle III
Sony Reader Gets Truth And Love
Kindle, Schmindle II
Kindle, Schmindle
The Kindle Revolution Ain’t Happening
Sony To Kindle: Up Yours!
What’s Up With That Awful Kindle?
I’m No Fan Of The Kindle. Nor Is He.
Oh, NOW He Believes Me!

Nearly-Free eBook: A Season For The Dead

September 16, 2008

From the Pan Macmillan cultists who claim they are Not Suits (buried somewhere in Comments — either here or at TeleRead — where I cannot find it!): Free and fabulous

It seems that we are beginning to trip over increasingly enlightened authors on the digital frontiers here at Pan Macmillan. Just as we are poised to publish the the seventh novel in David Hewson’s beguilingly atmospheric and addictive Rome series, Dante’s Numbers, David has shrewdly agreed to an experiment to give away the first of his novels featuring the popular detective, Nic Costa, as an unDRM’d ebook.

Emphasis added by me.

Usually these offers involve nothing more than hitting a link and then a second link for a Save As…

Not so here.

It’s at Scribd.

Which, if you don’t already have an account, will demand you damn well get one before you can haz free.

And once that’s done, you might not be able to do a Save As… on the PDF link (there’s also a TXT link, but what freak would want that?). Instead, you’ll have to wait for your browser to launch Adobe Acrobat in a tab. And then you can Save to disk — but first you must rename the file because it’s apparently in binary Martian.

So that’s why I call this one Nearly-Free.

And if you couldn’t already tell, it’s now on my hard drive, in my new Electronic Backlog (not to be confused with my old Endless Backlog of print).

Thanks, Non Suits at Pan Mac. I hope the Real Suits appreciate your future-forward thinking.

White Privilege

September 16, 2008

Via Twitter from mesjak:

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

Three items are standouts for me:

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.


White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”


White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

A wonderful must-read piece.

Rare Justice In This World

September 16, 2008

Via Twitter from raminf:

GOP delegate’s hotel tryst goes bad when he wakes up with $120,000 missing

He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed.

And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered.

When he awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings.

Emphasis added by me.

Remember, they always, always bray about “family values.”


In an interview filmed the afternoon of Sept. 3 and posted on the Web site, Schwartz was candid about how he envisioned change under a McCain presidency.

“Less taxes and more war,” he said, smiling. He said the U.S. should “bomb the hell” out of Iran because the country threatens Israel.

Asked by the interviewer how America would pay for a military confrontation with Iran, he said the U.S. should take the country’s resources.

“We should plant a flag. Take the oil, take the money,” he said. “We deserve reimbursement.”

A few hours after the interview, an unknown woman helped herself to Schwartz’s resources.

Emphasis added by me.


And if you still doubt he deserved the fleecing he got:

Schwartz was asked if he had a message to the protesters who filled the streets of downtown St. Paul.

“Get a job,” he replied.

Well, Schwartz, looks like someone made themselves a job out of you.

Two adages come to mind, both of which were titles to classic W.C. Fields movies:

You can’t cheat an honest man.

Never give a sucker an even break.

New Category: Stock Market Crash Watch

September 16, 2008

Don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before.

Probably because I don’t give a fuck about the shareholders.

Or the traders.

Or all of fucking Wall Street and its corrupt, filthy, thieving, cheating system.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.

Jeremiah 51:58

First Stock Market Crash: Russia

September 16, 2008

Russia halts trading after 17% share price fall

Russian shares suffered their steepest one-day fall in more than a decade on Tuesday, losing up to 20 per cent, as a sharp slide in oil prices and difficult money market conditions triggered a rush to sell.

The heads of the Russian central bank, the finance ministry and the financial market regulator met on Tuesday night for an emergency discussion on ways to halt the crisis.

Earlier, trading had been suspended on both the Micex and RTS stock exchanges as investors ignored assurances by Russian officials and a cycle of distrust set in amid liquidity fears.

Margin calls forced domestic traders to liquidate positions and brokers pulled credit lines. At least one Moscow bank failed to meet payments.

Eh, you say, so what, it’s Russia.

We’ll see.