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Digital Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

posted March 5, 2010

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling E-books books publishing technology trends

A Picture of a eBook
Image via Wikipedia

People seem to have very strong feelings about digital media. It seems every day I read articles embracing digital media and articles dismissing it. And even within the differing camps there is discord—Kindle vs. iPad vs. whatever the e-readers from Sony and Barnes & Noble are called. Putting aside the nuts and bolts of publishing costs, I just don’t understand what the big deal is. If you want to read books on paper, then read books on paper. If you want to read ebooks, go right ahead. Can’t we all just get along?

One thing on which we can probably all agree is that the traditional publishing model is outdated and needs to be modernized. So, whichever tribe you belong to, you might find some humor in this tongue-in-cheek article from The Atlantic.

An iPad is an Apple. A Kindle is an Orange. What Is an Orizon?

posted February 19, 2010

Posted by Thomas Riggs in E-books books technology


Inundated with a never-ending stream of tech news, it’s easy to confuse apples and oranges, so here’s a simple thing to keep in mind. The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader. The iPad is a multipurpose tablet that can be used for many things, including reading.

In fact, the iPad doesn’t come with an e-reader app. If you want to read a book on it, you will have to download Apple’s iBooks app from its App Store. It will be interesting to see how many people will never bother to download the iBooks app and how many people will never use the iPad for book reading. It’s worth remembering this comment about the Kindle from Steve Jobs in the New York Times.

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Kindle and a Talking Head

posted September 4, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in E-books books technology textbook publishing

David Byrne speaking at the 2006 Future of Mus...
Image via Wikipedia

I have long been a fan of David Byrne. Not only do I consider him to be a genius artist and musician but he also seems to be a thoughtful and keen observer. I was thus quite curious when I discovered he tried out the Amazon Kindle DX and blogged about his experiences.

It appears my assessment of Byrne as “thoughtful” may have been correct, as he goes into a lot of detail about features on the Kindle DX he liked and didn’t like so much. There are no extremes, either; he didn’t think the Kindle DX was the most incredible invention ever, and he didn’t think it was a piece of garbage. Byrne also seems to know quite a bit about other ereaders on the market, and he comments with authority about the available formats.

All in all, Byrne enjoyed using the Kindle DX. Things he didn’t particularly care for, such as the absence of a backlight or its inability to display newspaper or magazine photos well, were not deal breakers. In fact, he offered positive spins on these points: the sacrifice of a backlight means you get an impressive battery life, and if you load your Kindle DX primarily with text, who cares if the graphics don’t look red hot?

Byrne also imagines how the future of publishing will change as ereaders become more commonplace. For the Kindle DX, which offers a larger screen than the regular Kindle and is designed to accommodate textbooks, Byrne muses, “If those textbooks can be sold as weightless $10 downloads the students and their parents will cheer, and the chiropractors will cry.” Again, though, Byrne is positive. Though he believes publishers will grumble at the lower prices ebook readers will demand, he says publishers will benefit from the reduction in distribution costs.

The Green Apple of My Eye

posted August 4, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling E-books books

Amazon’s Kindle has stirred up its share of controversy. It seems people either love it or hate it. It would probably be safe to assume independent booksellers would lean toward the “hate it” category, but let’s not jump to conclusions. Green Apple Books, an independent bookstore in San Francisco, has decided to evaluate, with an open mind, the Kindle on its blog in a 10-part webisode battle of sorts. Each round explores different aspects of reading and compares how the book and the Kindle fare.

So far there have been three rounds. In the first the book and the Kindle test their mettle in the used-book-selling category. The second round explores the experience of purchasing a book. In the third the book and the Kindle go head-to-head in terms of borrowing or sharing a book. Spoiler alert: so far the book is in the lead 3-0. Care to place any bets on the final outcome?

So pop some popcorn and take a look at these clever and humorous webisodes. I can’t wait to see the final score!

The Book vs. the Kindle: Round 2

The Book vs. the Kindle: Round 3

Alternatives to the Kindle and Sony Reader

posted July 28, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in E-books books publishing technology trends

I’m in the market for an electronic reader, and I’ve been looking at the Kindle and Sony Reader. They’re both well-built, attractive readers with lots of books to download. But, alas, they’re not perfect.

But are there other options? Well, yes. Here are a few that will be coming out soon.

Bebook 2

With both a touch screen like the Sony and a wireless connection like the Kindle, the Bebook 2 is one of the most advanced of the upcoming new readers. It’s produced by Endless Ideas in The Netherlands.

Cybook Opus

The Cybook Opus, made by the French company Bookeen, is one of the most stylish e-readers on the horizon. It also has an accelerometer.

Plastic Logic

If you want a lightweight reader with an 8 1/2 x 11 screen, this is it. Plastic Logic, a company founded in Cambridge, England, recently teamed up with Barnes & Noble, so there will be hundreds of thousands of books to download. Plastic Logic also makes flexible screens. One day you might be able to buy a reader that rolls up.


Editis Ebook

Okay, this one is a fantasy by Editis, a French publisher. But watch this short French film until at least 1:04, when the woman pulls out her magic orange reader. Thanks to the HarperStudio blog, where I first saw the film.

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