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E-books: Are They Worth Buying?

posted February 18, 2010

Posted by Anne Healey in E-books


 Kindle for iPhone screenshot   Kindle for iPhone screenshot

Over the past six months or so, I’ve read a number of e-books on my iPod Touch, trying out Stanza, Kindle for iPhone, and eReader. At this point the various annoyances (text that’s laid out with big distracting spaces between words, typos, boring covers, wading through the copyright info—and sometimes the “about the author” cover text—to get to the first pages of the book itself) are starting to outweigh the convenience of acquiring a new book immediately, portability, and reading in the dark. And the novelty of playing with a new toy has worn off for me.

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The Future of E-Readers is Spelled M-I-R-A-S-O-L

posted December 4, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in E-books technology trends

Mirasol Glass Art

Mirasol Glass Art

In the midst of a revolution, when changes roll over the present with rapidity and disregard, it’s hard to see far into the future. In fact, at best you might be able to catalog various abstract possibilities to come, much like guessing the end of a novel when you’re still on page 20.

Then again, sometimes you see something, and you know you’ve glimpsed the inevitable. That happened to me yesterday.

E-readers are about to change so dramatically that the present Kindle is going to seem like an Etch A Sketch. What makes an e-reader so different from a computer screen is its screen surface.

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Electric Literature

posted November 6, 2009

Posted by Erin Brown in uncategorized

electric 3

If you’re worried about the fate of the literary magazine in this hectic new era of apps and tweets, you might find solace in Electric Literature, a bold new bimonthly with a plan to capture and convert a broad and highly mobile readership to literary fiction. Founded by Andy Hunter, 38, and Scott Lindenbaum, 26, who met in the Brooklyn College MFA program, the magazine is available on every possible platform, including paper (printed on demand), Kindle, iPhone, and audiobook. Although many literary publications have begun to offer electronic delivery in some form or another, Electric Literature may be the first to blanket the whole field.

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Feedbooks Shows Free E-books Can Have Nice Covers

posted October 19, 2009

Posted by Anne Healey in E-books book design

I started reading books on my iPod Touch a couple of months ago. One of the first things I downloaded (for Stanza) was a free version of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which I’d never read before. That started me on a Wells kick, so I downloaded Tales of Space and Time. I also enjoyed that a lot. But the book cover used (from Project Gutenberg) was so ugly (below, left) it kind of bummed me out every time I caught a glimpse of it! But I figured that was just what you get with free books.

I discovered recently, however, that Feedbooks (one of the 13 collections offered on Stanza) generally chooses more attractive covers for their public-domain books. Below on the right is the cover that Feedbooks uses for the same work. Much easier on the eyes, in my opinion. I think it’s the cover for the first American edition, but I’m not positive.


IMG_0011_2      IMG_0059


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There’s an App for That

posted September 28, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in technology

McSweeney's iPhone app

McSweeney's iPhone app

Leave it to the clever folks at McSweeney’s to find a playful way to make a mark in the e-publishing realm. They made an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch! Small Chair will offer an exclusive weekly selection of McSweeney’s material to subscribers. The content will pull from all divisions of McSweeney’s empire, including the Quarterly, the Believer, Wholphin, and so on, and will include not only stories and articles but also music, video, and art. Subscribers will also receive daily missives from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency as well as news and announcements.

The six-month subscription costs $5.99, which works out to just under a buck a month. That’s quite a bargain, though Gawker has not wasted any time in making fun of McSweeney’s. Gawker announced the new app in a post entitled “Everything Annoying in the Universe in One iPhone App.” Even though I am a fan of McSweeney’s, I have to confess that the Gawker title and associated article made me laugh. It seems there is no love lost between McSweeney’s and Gawker (or at least the author of the Gawker article). The final two sentences of the article sum up the author’s feelings: “How much do we have to pay to make sure no McSweeney’s ever gets on our iPhone? Is There An App For That?”

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