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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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What’s That Smell?

posted November 23, 2009

Posted by Erin Brown in books

As the digital revamp of our reading lives surges remorselessly forward, defenders of “the old technology” inevitably cite the tactile, or sensuous, quality of paper books as a pleasure that cannot be quantified, much less duplicated by an e-reader. The physicality of a paper book, especially an old one, they say, carries with it a certain mystique, having passed through the hands of generations of readers, its pages becoming weathered and worn.


And what is the most evocative aspect of this sensory allure, the hallmark of a book’s longevity and import? It’s the smell, of course—that musty, dusty, indescribable funk that wafts out of the open tome to remind you: these ideas were forged in another time; you, dear reader, are but a single traveler over the vast continent of human intellectual history.

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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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From France, Love Letters to Booksellers

posted October 23, 2009

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

Lettres à mon libraire

What is the biggest challenge for publishers and bookstores today? The simple answer, of course, is that people are buying fewer books, and when they do buy books, it’s increasingly online. But it’s not as if people are reading less. They might, in fact, be reading more, except now they have a new option: free content in the ever expanding virtual world of the Internet.

I sometimes think of this as an American phenomenon. In the United States attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and people seem more interested in reading blogs or watching strangers lip sync on YouTube than doing something as sedate and tedious as reading a novel. But I was discouraged to learn recently that in France, too, book buying is on the decline.

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My Eyes versus the Apple Tablet and Microsoft’s Courier

posted October 8, 2009

Posted by Thomas Riggs in E-books technology trends

Like many people, I do a lot of reading on my computer these days, and I blame that for my eyes getting worse. Eyes weren’t designed for staring at a bright, backlit screen, and I’m relieved at night to read a novel in paper. That’s why I’m interested in the Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Bebook, and other electronic readers that use a nonilluminated paperlike surface (they also have a battery life of weeks and can be read outdoors).

Still, there is so much talk today of the upcoming Apple Tablet, which, according to rumors, is an oversized Ipod Touch that could be used for many things, including ebooks. Compared with the Kindle, it will be beautiful, seducing buyers with its bright, colorful, illuminated screen.


Apple tablet

Image by Fire_Eyes via Flickr


Unfortunately I’ve talked to my eyes about it, and they have given me a firm response: no, not in this lifetime, not if I don’t want to go blind.

I thought this was the end of the subject, but then I saw this video on Gizmodo of Microsoft’s rumored Courier, a two-paneled tablet that looks like a true electronic book of the future. It looks a little like the upcoming two-paneled Ausus backlit reader but is much more sophisticated.



No one knows for sure if Microsoft is coming out with this product and whether it will read ebooks, but if it did, I would have a hard time resisting the urge to buy one.

If I could get something like this in the nonilluminating E-ink of the Kindle and Sony Reader, I would be totally sold on ebooks.

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