Tag Archives: eBooks

Getting the Book Invented

So, Douglas Adams was talking about eBooks way back in 1993.

Getting the Book Invented…

This hilarious animation was prepared for a competition run by The Literary Platform. The goal was to design motion graphics to accompany a prophetic recording by Douglas Adams from 1993, in which the great writer was detailing the invention of the electronic book.

via ebookfriendly:  Getting the book invented properly

Advertisements

Thank goodness for eBook Readers

I have a  reputation (well-deserved) for untidiness. Piles of books and papers seem to accumulate wherever I work, – or even sit for any length of time.

The “paperless office” has been no help. Like most people I find reading from a monitor screen uncomfortable. So I will usually print off material for later reading. But I have difficulty throwing things away – even knowing that I have instantly lost them by placing them in one of my piles.

This has been a drawback for me of the Readability add-on I recently discussed (see A nice little tool for printing blog posts). It’s been great – but if anything I am even more untidy. I am now hoping that I can overcome this problem with the help of my eBook Reader (see The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch).

And the little add-on dotEPUB which makes it  possible to download any web page as an e-Book.

dotEPUB

This works a bit like Readability. You install a bookmark in the toolbar (available for Firefox and Chrome but not yet for Internet explorer).

The video  below describes installation of dotEPUB.

Clicking on the bookmark will convert the current web page or blog to an eBook. Really a short ePub file. This will be opened in whatever ePub programme you have installed (I am using epubreader – a Firefox add-on).  Then it’s just one click to save the file  on to my PC.

At the end of the day I copy all the save ePub files (together with any eBooks I have downloaded)  on to my eBoook Reader. DotEPUB.com uses the Readability script (© by arc90) in the cleanup process so the saved material is a joy to read.

When I have read the material I can easily delete it, or save it in a collection for later reference. (Yes I know, I will probably lose it but being only electrons who else is to know?).

So give it a few months and I be interested to hear what my family says about my tidiness.


What about Kindle?

You can choose to include links or not when installing the bookmark. Currently the ePub file will not contain images or videos (but will present links to them). In the few cases where I wished to include images I did this by editing the file in Sigil*. With some difficult web pages the output is messy. You can easily check this before saving. And I have found that I can clean up at least some of the files like this by putting through the Calibre* programme.

Apparently there are plans to include image capture and production of Kindle eBooks in future versions of  dotEPUB.


* Sigil and Calibre if you are serious

At least for anyone serious about eBooks.

Caibre will convert different formats. (This solves my problem of finding a particular eBook at Amazon, but only in the Kindle format. Now easily converted). It will also produce an eBook file from text documents and pdfs and functions as a library

Sigil is an ePub editing programme. I use to clean up converted files, correcting image placement, adjusting tables of content, etc.

Similar articles

The future of books – and Santa?

There have been three common reactions to the news that theREDgroup Retail – which owns New Zealand’s Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts bookstores, has gone into voluntary administration

(This news may not be as bad as it sounds as unlike receivership, the aim of administration is not to sell the business but to try to return it to viability).

1: Shock – what does this mean for book retail in New Zealand? This is a crisis!

2: So what? Whitcoulls’ customer service was poor. They were only pretending to be a book shop. Bring on internet purchases and eBooks. We may even see growth of the independent book sellers.

3: What’s going to happen to Santa? He’s been such an annual fixture on the Whitcoulls’ Queen Street building in Auckland.

Whatever the financial and customer service problems this move does seem to signal significant changes. Inevitably there will be staff losses and closure of at least some shops. But the interesting thing will be how the company accommodates the huge changes in book retailing currently underway globally.

Commenters have already pointed out the Borders and Whitcoulls had not reacted well to the growth in internet book purchasing. And they have been slow to accommodate growth in eBook sales. So any restructuring of these retail outlets will have to take into account the reality that the internet and digital book revolution provides customers with  an alternative of rapid access to almost any book in print or in digital format.

As a recent purchaser of an eBook Reader (see The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch) I hope this restructuring will facilitate the lifting of regional restrictions on eBook purchasing.

It’s hard to know what the future of book retail in New Zealand is going to be like. In the last 25 years I have lived through similar upheavals in the music and photographic industries. I guess I have also lived through a similar transformation to digital in financial transactions.

I used to enjoy browsing through records and CDs in music shops. Just as I enjoy browsing through the merchandise in bookshops.

That might change in future. But I will still have the pleasure of browsing through the bottles in a wine shop.

Can’t seen them making that digital.

See also:

Similar articles

eBook “singles” – and the problems

Electronic books, and devices for reading them, are really taking off. In a way, this is reproducing the effect the digital revolution had on music.

One parallel may be with the purchase of music as “singles” rather than albums. The eBook format seems to be ideal for novels and trade books. But it looks like it may be even better for shorter books – the equivalent of music “singles.” Short books can be provided rapidly and cheaply. And they may be more suited to common reading habits than the longer more detailed books.

Amazon thinks so anyway. They recently launched their Kindle Singles selection. Relative short books  each presenting a compelling idea “expressed at its natural length.” And costing no more than a few dollars.

Enter TED Books

Now TED has taken hold of this idea. Many of you are aware of TED – the outfit which describes itself as “a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” It promotes conferences, events and prizes. These bring together people from Technology, Education and Design. And the ideas are disseminated by videos of the short and stimulating talks given.

You have probably downloaded and watched some of the videos. If not – I recommend you try them out.

TED have just announced the launch of TED books. The publication of short books as eBooks. Effectively taking their videos into a book format. And they are being release through Amazon in the Kindle format.

So TED Books at Kindle Singles is really a book version of TED videos. Their press release announced the first three TED books published as Kindle Singles (The Happiness ManifestoHomo Evolutis and Beware Dangerism!)

This is great and I look forward to many more TED Books.  Well, I would if I could only read them on my Sony eBook reader!

My complaints

So here is my bitch. When the hell are book publishers going to get themselves sorted out? When are they going to overcome the problems presented by different formats and digital rights management?

Why can’t I read kindle books on my eBook reader? (It already accepts ePub and pdf).

Why should I have to purchase another reader (a Kindle) which may not be as good as my Sony Reader Touch, or less suitable for my purposes, just because of the format difference?

Of course I could use a Kindle app on an iPad. But why should I be forced to buy an expensive iPad just to do this? (And don’t tell me about iPods. I have one of these and, No, they are not suitable for comfortably reading eBooks. Nor is reading from a PC monitor comfortable).

Why can’t publishers produce their books in multiple formats? Some already do, but why don’t Amazon make available multiple formats (Kindle, ePub and pdf)?

I hope we are in a transitional phase and these problems will soon be resolved. But if they aren’t it will only encourage production of software which eBook buyers can use to convert formats. This will inevitably mean software for removing digital right management from eBooks to enable conversion.

And that will make eBook piracy a dream – something the publishers surely don’t want.

Similar articles

The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch

Well, I finally succumbed and got myself an eBook Reader. I am certainly not one of those who take up new technology early. Mind you, eBook Readers have been in New Zealand only since last May, so I do feel like a rapid uptaker in this case.

Of course the late arrival in New Zealand has more to do with rights management than technology. But the wait means that now eBook Readers have arrived many of the technological problems have been sorted. (And it has given me time to research the subject).

So far there are just four eBook Readers on the local market (the Kobo and two Sony models), plus the Kindle from Amazon. And they aren’t easy to find in local shops! I did my own comparison and decided on the Sony PRS-650. Here are my comments on this model, together with my general experience of using an eBook Reader overt the last few weeks.  It’s not a detailed review (I haven’t had hands-on experience with other Readers) but you might find it useful if you are contemplating purchase of an eBook Reader.

Continue reading