Saturday, August 4, 2012

(Nancy Pearl) the paper print industry's future?

Len Edgerly talks to star librarian Nancy Pearl, about her project with Amazon to rescue old favorite books of hers which are out of print.

It is interesting how Nancy says she only feels like she is reading a real book when she is reading it on paper.
Well, admittedly many still feel that way, but what's interesting is that she is not trying to explain/justify why it is like this, or saying this is how it should be, as many people are, thus coming across as luddites. She apparently realizes that this is just a personal experience which varies, and we may or may never know the causes. Kudos.

It will be quite interesting to see how fast paper publishing will diminish as digital publishing grows, and how small paper publishing will get before stabilizing. Is there a sufficient mass of people to support it, beyond a tiny art niche, once everything is available cheaply to everybody digitally? Or in twenty years, will things only be printed on paper when there's a need for an expensive cultural statement, or to make a book into a special art object in itself with remarkable design, types of paper, and such?
... Or, okay, in the case when an ebook has become such a big hit that there is money to support printing and distribution to the parts of population who still prefer paper books?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Financial Times: digital is now bigger

Financial Times: Digital subscriptions have surpassed print subscriptions, article.
“The FT’s results for the first half of 2012 show that more people than ever are paying for FT content, with digital subscriptions exceeding daily print circulation for the first time.”

This is huge because Financial Times is huge.
And last we heard, digital subscriptions were pitiful, and everybody was desperate and fearful of the future of magazines. Well, if this is not a good sign I don't know what is! And this is even before digital magazines have found a comfortable, universal format. They are very much in their infancy, the software is clumsy and experimental yet, and the hardware is either too small (Kindle) or too heavy and expensive (iPad). So it can only get better.

I think that in the 2020s, the time when paper publication was bigger than e-publication, will seem as dim and distant as the pre-web times has looked to us for a while now.

Another thing is, of course all the publishers are reassuring their subscribers and advertisers that "the paper version will stay". They have to say that. But printing/distribution are big, big expenses, and if and when the time comes when the only time to keep the paper arm of the company alive is to keep pouring red ink into a black hole, will those past reassurances count for much?
I would not be at all surprised if in 2022, paper magazines will be like vinyl records: selling to a small specialist audience in small dusty stores which you have to look for to find.

Apple design chief Sir Jonathan Ive: iPhone was 'nearly axed'

Apple design chief Sir Jonathan Ive: iPhone was 'nearly axed', article.
"We nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can't solve. With the early prototypes, I held the phone to my ear and my ear [would] dial the number,” he said. “You have to detect all sorts of ear-shapes and chin shapes, skin colour and hairdo...that was one of just many examples where we really thought, perhaps this isn’t going to work.”

The more I look at industry and technology, the more I marvel at how it works at all! I have donated to and followed a bunch of cool little "simple" gadgets via Kickstarter, and all of them have along the way reported the most remarkable continuing series of unforeseen problems in all kinds of unforeseen areas. And these are things with no electronics and three or zero moving parts. So how the heck anybody builds a working tablet is mind-boggling.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another baby case

I like this good-grip case from M-Edge. If bulk is not an issue, it gives a good grip and good drop protection for an iPad. Not the least for small children. (M-Edge make various cases for many different devices, Kindle etc.)

The only similar one I know of is the Big-Grip, which is even bigger, and may even be too big to grip easily for toddlers.

See a video here which shows the iPad in this case being dropped all over the place, even in a driveway.
A review on Amazon UK said it has a stand built-in, but sadly it doesn't seem to. Maybe the review was for the Kindle version.

Multiple Smashwords Authors Hit New York Times Bestseller List

Multiple Smashwords Authors Hit New York Times Bestseller List, article.

We knew this day was coming.  Self-published ebook authors are landing on the New York Times bestseller list in a big way.

If anybody still believed that the book market is still owned by Big Publishing, and will continue to be so, this should be a big wakeup call. It's a brand new world, where the playing field has been levelled in a Big way. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jot Touch

Jot Touch is a new bluetooth pen for iPad 2 and 3, which is apparently touch-sensitive.  I'll eagerly await real reviews, because this could be very important for artists. Lack of touch-sensitivity has been the biggest weakness in the otherwise strong art-creation platform on iPad.

(This says "review", but seems to be more of an ad.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jeff Bezos interviewed on Kindle

Jeff Bezos interviewed on Kindle by Len Edgerly. Text here, audio here.
And really, until Kindle, nothing in the digital era really made it easier to read long-form. People didn’t want to read long-form on their laptop. We tried that actually. We offered eBooks to people to buy as PDFs and other ways. You needed an electron microscope to find sales. Nobody wanted that.

Of course that's a slight exaggeration, there were several ereading devices prior to the Kindle. (Rocket eBook, SoftBook, Sony Reader, CyBook.) But the problem was that they did not have the high-profile sales- and content-ecosystem to back them up. And they didn't have some of Kindle's inventions, like the free cell-net connection for buying books directly on the device.
But there's no doubt that without the Kindle and Amazon's huge push behind it, ebooks would not already (2011-2012) count for at least a third of book sales, in dollars, in the US! I won't claim I'm surprised by that, but it's a bit shocking to see it for real, and I'll bet many people are surprised, the many people who could never see anybody but a few geeky freaks wanting to read books electronically.

I guess my mind is screwed, I am sure I remember an early ebook reader called the "Glass Book" or such, but durn if I can find hint of it now.

Update: A. tells us:
Glassbook did create a hi fidelity eBook reader and the Content Server to package and fulfill the eBooks. It was acquired by Adobe in 2000...

What use paper books?

People are already busy finding new uses for paper books.

Impressively detailed book landscapes by Guy Laramee.
(I wonder how he does it so the pages don't slip? Does he add some kind of glue mid-process? And with what does he cut?)

If this seems disrespectful of books, remember that any medium is temporary, only ideas are eternal.

The brick store experience

Bruce mentioned:
Logitech makes a less expensive keyboard that clips to the iPad as well. It's called the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.

Yes, I think I saw that in the PCWorld across the street, one day I was browsing. But they had several different keyboards for iPad, and I just had no way of making an intelligent decision on the spot.

People say that retail stores will be missed because you get personal attention, and the knowledge and experience of the staff.
Well, maybe in sandwich stores, but not in computer stores. The people work there work for little more than minimum wage, and you're lucky if they can tell "Windows" from "Word".
And the stores are more expensive than online, often significantly so.

So apart from the fun of browsing, I really don't see the great advantage to physical stores. It is much easier to sit at home browsing reviews and making an informed decision, than to sit in traffic to got to a store, to get opinions from somebody who is probably basing them on hearsay or personal taste.

The one time I was really happy to have a store near, was when we were trying to save a friend's hard drive, and it turned out PC World miraculously *did* have DiskWarrior (on a Sunday), and we saved it in a last ditch effort (I said "don't touch anything, let's copy your only copies of these essential files to my computer while we have things going", and we went to lunch. We got them copied, and after we disconnected the old drive, it was dead forever after.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Two days in Seattle

Two days in Seattle, TKC post, after the interview with Jeff Bezos.

This struck me as important:
When you do something new, you are actually one of the many people who probably won’t understand it for a long time.

I haven't heard it said as such before, and I'd only thought about it in terms of art; an artist often has as much to learn about his own works as his audience has.

Even broader, when working (or dabbling) in any pioneering area, one has to accept a great amount of not-understanding for a lot of time. If one can't, one is not suited for pioneering. Humility helps, or may come, for along with not-understanding often comes mis-understanding (hopefully temporarily). A great number of the greatest inventions were never intended to do what they ended up doing.

The Girl Who Cross-Shopped The Employee’s Best

The Girl Who Cross-Shopped The Employee’s Best, post. Very funny.