Friday eBook Notes
Peter Sunde, one of the founders of Pirate Bay, wrote a mysterious blog post today asking for someone in the U.S. to send him an Amazon Kindle, and hinted that he might be working on a new project involving e-books.
“Do [sic] anyone wanna help me out? I’m looking to make an interesting service together with some friends in the New Media Market…,” he writes.
Cracking Kindle eBook DRM and putting all those titles up for free? That gives me the creeps. Writers don’t need organized robbery. The current disorganized robbery is already too much.
Waterstone’s e-book bestsellers — too expensive!
Let me be very clear from the outset: I’d love a Sony Reader. I’ve read the reviews, I know the limitations, I know I’d miss the feel of a physical copy of the book and the logical part of my brain tells me that it’s probably best to wait at least a year before buying an e-reader. But I love gadgets and I love books so I’d be very tempted to buy one, at least I would if Sony would make them work with a Mac.
That incompatibility rules me out of the market but even if it didn’t, the Waterstone’s e-book store would put me off. If I had to describe it in a word I’d go for ‘rubbish’. But I don’t have to describe it in just one word so let’s also throw in over-priced, under-stocked and virtually impossible to navigate.
Emphasis added by me.
The first bit — Mac OS X compatibility — is something I hope Sony will address in less than a week.
The second bit — Waterstone’s ebook store — is what I said earlier.
It was The Enchantress of Florence that got me started. Perhaps it wasn’t good enough for Michael Portillo, but I’ve always been a fan of Sir Salman (though I preferred the earlier, funny ones). I was just about to add it to my new Sony Reader when I noticed the price: £15.19. That’s just a snip off the full price of the hardback, which is widely available for around a tenner.
Most publishers are pricing their ebooks in parallel with the print editions, which means The Enchantress ebook is due to swoop down to around £7 sometime in January to coincide with the paperback edition. Looks like Rushdie’s off my Christmas list.
Publishers say that making ebook editions cheaper could cut into hardback sales – though with only a few thousand machines out there, it’s hard to see how. They also say that the commercial potential of the paperless read is hampered by the fact that unlike their dead-tree ancestors, ebooks – as with audiobooks – are vatted at 17.5%. It seems that those visionary souls who made an exemption for printed matter back in 1972 weren’t quite as visionary as all that.
Emphasis added by me.
How many many many times must this message be delivered?
There are three opinions, but this one is a good idea that should be repeated:
I think I’d also throw a few quid in the direction of Project Gutenberg and provide a Sony Reader-friendly version of every single thing in their vast collection. And I’d make it easy to pop 500 classic novels on to the Reader for those just-in-case moments.
Emphasis added by me.
Yeah, Sony! That’s a great, great idea!
[It plays] a ridiculous amount of formats. At last count it was compatible with 25, including pdf, mobi, prc, epub, lit, txt, fb2, doc, html, rtf, djvu, wol, ppt, mbp, chm, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif, rar, zip, and mp3.
Ummmm … some of those are actually graphic files. And it won’t do the PDF text reflow of the Sony Reader.
AMSTERDAM – In an Internet e-book or download luisterboek often costs between 10 and 30 euros, but for members of the library is a new option: free loan.
The library Almere begins today with a test called ePortal. Through this system, subscribers can log in from home on a website, where 250 e-books and 250 listening books are free to download. Who borrows a title, the file on his MP3 player, a laptop or on a special e-book reader.
Just as with paper books usually the case, the loan period is three weeks. If the loan period expires, the downloaded file automatically unusable. Never a penalty for late back then.
“We are making use of a so-called digital rights management system from America,” says Maarten Tiebout, who developed the ePortal for NBD / Biblion, a company that delivers products to libraries. “There is a complex technology needed to ensure that the files not be copied, and that after a few weeks become unusable.”
No mention is made of what format the text eBooks are in. DRMed MobiPocket? DRMed PDF? DRMed ePub?
The Reader came in 2006 for the first time in the United States. Since then, there is a new version of published and is also in Britain and soon in France for sale. The Netherlands will therefore follow.
According to the spokesman the device will be launched large-scale, after the success overseas. Information about the price has not yet been released.
Whoa! Sony Reader to conquer The Netherlands next year!