Saturday, February 3, 2018

Selling paper?

“I’m not in the business of selling paper, I’m in the business of selling stories.” 

- Meg Gardiner, author

 Fantastic. That’s the clearest and most succinct statement on the issue I have heard.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Apple ebooks

Apple is suddenly - nine years after they got into the ebook market with the iPad - trying to up their game, finally, and make the iBooks store (the app will be renamed “Books” apparently) count in the market. They have hired a prominent executive away from Amazon. I think this may be good news for readers, no matter how it goes for Apple.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Claims that ebooks are failing...

Some articles are so sneaky. This article starts by claiming loudly that ebook sales are down significantly (17%) and talks about at length how everybody now are into paperbooks. (Not reading actually, mainly the books as artefacts*.)

 ... And then near the end (after many have stopped reading) comes this information:
 “The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.” 

There is a whole lot of difference between between 17% down and 6% up!
 And how it is justified to exclude self-published books from statistics when considering the book market is puzzling to me. That can only be explained by the traditional publishers not wanting to even look at self-publishing because it is so successful in ebooks, and it’s a frightening competitor.

* I love books as artefacts, I have many beautiful ones. But it has little to do with the content, which after all is the point of books. Books expand the mind, but only if you open them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tablets need a grip!

For realsies: tablets need to get a grip.
Apple has a way too big fetish about thinness, and the iPad's shape then was taken up by others. It’s very pretty, but it is counter-productive. Who couldn’t find space in a bag for a tablet which has a, say, half-inch grip on one side, on the back?

The handle could hold the battery for example, making the rest of the tablet lighter, so it would be way more comfortable to hold, because half the weight is in your hand. (The Kindle Oasis has a bit of it, and users love it.)

And it would make tablets much more usable. I’ve been working with ways to make different kinds of grips, because tablets are simply really hard to hold comfortably, they are thin and slick and have thin bezels, and there is nothing to hold onto. You have to cramp your fingers so much that you get tired after a few minutes, basically hand-holding is not practical for many things like reading or surfing in bed or on trains, planes, and automobiles.

Me with my grip I made from Sugru. Obviously
a built-in grip could be larger with no harm

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tablets are pushy...

I just noticed something. I was sitting in my relaxy-chair (not a TM) and reading on my iPad, which was on a big floor stand right in front of me. Maybe because of a good lunch, I started feeling good in an interesting way and I closed my eyes, wanting to meditate on it a little. And I noticed that even with my eyes closed, I could *feel* the tablet right in front of me, and I pushed it away.

And I think this may be a main reason why many people prefer paper-books or non-lit ereaders over tablets or phones: because a lit screen is “pushy”, it walks into your space whether you want it or not.

It’s probably a big part of why I love tablets (and big phones) so much. They do a lot of the attention work for you, they walk towards you as it were. But, it’s the same as with quite outgoing persons; it’s often a good and pleasant thing, but in certain moods you may not welcome people or devices who walk into your space.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Kindle features

Amazon has released a new Kindle model, the “All New Oasis”. It has a bigger screen, 7 inches, it is water-resistant (splash resistant), and it will play audible audiobooks over bluetooth speakers or earphones.

More importantly to myself, Amazon readers and apps finally feature a bold-level setting for the text, and something I’ve written about here and to Amazon more than once: finer gradations for text size. Finally. The jumps between text sizes were just way too crude.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


One of the early posts I made on was actually a book shelf with only a couple different ereaders on it. And if there is an argument here, I'm sorta on both sides of it. Books are much better to hold and have, but ebooks are much better to read and carry.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Open letter to Apple

Do me a favor: send this to Apple.

Please, make it so we can change the font size in Safari on iPad! 
It's been six years now...

Also, make it so we can see the *whole* of an image used as wallpaper on iPad, without croppping, even if it does not happen to have the exact proportions of the screen. 
(A bit of grey background showing at the sides never hurt anybody, but a portrait being cropped so half the face is missing...)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Big iPad Pro

Please, Apple, do continue to make new models/varations of the the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Please. It is an essential model in many ways.


(The same goes by the way for the "tower" (screen-less) Mac (currently cylindrical). The professional community needs them, and Apple needs the professional communituy.)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

iPad sound reflector amplifiers

iPad sound reflector amplifiers: I like these things, they really work in enhancing the sound and make it louder for you (about 10db, quite noticable) and quiter for the rest of the world.

There used to be one called SoundJaw, but it's not so easy to find now. But SoundBender is current.

These things do not stick very strongly to the device (works with various kinds of tablets), can be easily knocked off but also easily returned, and it may be seen as a bit expensive for a bit of plastic, but for what it does I find it reasonable, although you need two if you want stereo.

AudioAmp180 is an alternative which will work with the tablet in a (thinnish) case, that's not the case (no pun intended) with SoundBender.

I find them useful if: 1: the iPad needs help given the ambient noise. 2: You don't want to disturb others too much. 3: this includes if you play music/video late at night (or in church, haha).

Friday, December 30, 2016

About the Amazing Kindle

It is funny, but despite reading much more on tablets than Kindles due to their speed and flexibility, I own all major Kindle models ever released, and I still find myself drawn to them. I am not entirely sure why... now, a tablet is almost too amazing a device to fully comprehend, but a Kindle is just remarkable enough to be real durned amazing. I look at it and I think, or maybe rather feel: "a thin, light handheld device which can hold thousands of books at once, display book pages as clearly as a printed page, advance pages at the press of a button... this just blows my mind, even after nearly a decade."

 It's so wonderful that *not* owning one is out of the question. I don't understand people who can resist them, I suppose that either they have a paucity of imagination, or they have far more self-control than I have...

 If I have to be critical, what I still want is that the Kindle should be faster, the background should be white even without front-light, and they should have a pocket model. I don't understand why they have not brought out a model the size of the new large phones, it's such an obvious idea. But all that does not change the fact that the Kindle is an object which would make any mentally agile book lover in history cream his bagels if he could have imagined it.

Also, and I have mentioned this before both here and to Amazon: It's a flippin' oddity that the Kindles have such huge steps between font sizes. I can rarely find a size which pleases me (not on the Fire tablets either), and the programming to correct this should surely be trivial, other ereaders have had stepless adjustments for years. (And also adjustments of boldness of fonts and other things which can mean a lot for the comfort of the reader. Please Amazon, I will chip in if you can't afford to hire the extra programmer it might take...)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Phones are taking over e-reading

I just saw a Kindle Unlimited ad which shows a woman reading a Kindle book... on a phone instead of an Amazon Kindle! The end of days must be nigh. Funny how after all these years, ebooks are moving to phones in a big manner. I don't believe it's because of the new big phones (though that's it in my case), I don't think enough people have them. So I wonder what happened and why it took so long. (Even is concentrating on phones these days.)

I didn't see it coming, because to my taste, a screen less than five inches is just not satisfactory for e-reading. But clearly I'm in the minority. It's just interesting to me that it took most of a decade for the general public to catch on.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sanity arrives at Apple's iPad section

[Update: Oh no! This whole post is a mistake, Apple has NOT fixed the problem. I just overlooked (it's very late here) that I was looking at *screenshot* images, so they already had the black background built in! Sigh, the futile wait continues... will it take most of a decade to get fixed like it did in OSX?]

Sanity on the iPad screen. FINALLY! Somebody at Apple has finally kicked the benzos and fixed the long-standing wallpaper problem which was driving me nuts: the braindead situation that one could not fit the whole of an image on the screen of the iPad as wallpaper without cropping it, unless it happened to have exactly the same dimensions as the screen. Now we can. Thank you, sane person, and stay off the pills.
 (They also fixed the newer problem that wallpapers were made darker than the source image. Also thanks for that.)

 (See, a week ago this painting would have been cropped at both ends instead of simple being fit in with letterboxing.)