Daily Archives: October 3, 2010

Sony Stiffs eBooks AGAIN!

Sharp And Sony To Exhibit Technologies at CEATEC JAPAN 2010

Sharp is showcasing its new insanely-named Galapagos tablet.

What is Sony bringing? Stringer’s Folly: 3-D crap!

There’s a long list there of what Sony is going to pimp. No mention of the Sony Reader at all — yet the Playstation is on the list!

CEATEC JAPAN 2010 is a trade show of cutting-edge IT and electronics products and will be held from October 5 to 9, 2010 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

So putting a touchscreen over eInk without degrading the display isn’t cutting edge?

How would you feel being in Sony’s Reader division and being neglected like this over and over again?

No wonder that division innovates and moves so damned slowly. It seems to have zero support from that pompous ADD ass, Howard Stringer.

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Buying books is fun, with a glass in your hand | Books | The Guardian

Because I am a writer, people sometimes ask me how ebooks have changed the literary landscape. The short answer, for me, is that I have developed a compulsion to drunk-dial Agatha Christie several times a week.

via Buying books is fun, with a glass in your hand | Books | The Guardian

This is absolutely hilarious! Don’t drink and eBook, kids!

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Filed under Amazon Kindle, Quoted

Borders FAILs eCommerce 101!

Update, Monday October 11, 2010: You can ignore this post. Borders has now fixed all of these problems! See: Borders Begins To Fix Its eCommerce!. Also see: HowTo: Buy Borders eBooks With A Gift Card.

Having 95% decided that I will now buy a Sony Pocket Touch PRS-350 instead of a Kindle (but while, ahem, still buying Kindle-only books [figure that out for yourself]), I went to see alternative sources to buy ePub eBooks from because, frankly, Sony provides an absolutely miserable shopping experience through its Reader Library iTunes-like interface (not that the Reader website is any improvement).

Having had a very good experience with Kobo’s Desktop software, I decided to download the Kobo Borders Desktop app and see if it would provide an alternative to buying ePub eBooks from Sony (the ePub DRM is “classic” Adobe DRM and compatible with the Sony Reader).

The installation went smoothly. While it lacks the stylistic panache of Kobo’s store, the interface is basically the same. While basic (I’d really like to see a Date Published or Date Added To Store sort option!), it’s easy to zip through book listings and categories. It seemed all WIN.

Until I hit the brutal Brick Wall of FAIL.

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Filed under Bookstores, eBooks: General, Friction, Kobo Reader, Marketing, Sony Reader, Stupid

Brief Notes On Four eInk Devices

I’ve ordered this list by strength of the companies:

Kindle:
- International and is very aggressive
- hardware has WiFi and 3G
- has the most eBooks
- has exclusive eBooks
- offers lots of free eBooks
- uses proprietary eBook format
- uses proprietary DRM
- designed to lock-in Amazon customers
- setting up an account is easy without a credit card

Sony Reader:
- International but moves slowly
- Killer new hardware in the 350 and 650
- lacks wireless in 350 and 650
- uses ePub eBook format
- uses “classic” Adobe DRM
- can borrow books from public libraries
- designed to be as open as possible
- setting up an account requires credit card
- setting up an account is easy without a credit card**

Kobo Reader:
- International and aggressive
- hardware is cute and now has WiFi
- proprietary eBook format
- proprietary DRM
- can use ePub eBooks
- can use “classic” Adobe DRM
- can borrow books from public libraries
- designed to quickly gain Kobo customers
- setting up an account is easy without a credit card

Barnes & Noble Nook:
- US-only and Chairman doesn’t use his own product
- hardware has WiFi and 3G
- uses ePub eBook format
- has proprietary variant of Adobe DRM
- Nook ePubs can only be used on Nook hardware
- free eBooks are for Nook customers only
- can use ePub eBooks
- can use “classic” Adobe DRM
- can borrow books from public libraries
- designed to lock-in Barnes & Noble customers
- setting up an account requires credit card

Of these four, I think the Barnes & Noble Nook will be in trouble. Both Sony and Kobo understand that being widely available internationally and cooperating on DRM is in the best interests of their customers.

**Apparently Sony made a change since I tried years ago. Today I was able to set up an account without being asked for any credit card information. Not only that, I could download a free eBook too!

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MobileRead Forums – Make your own thumbnails for the new *50 series of eReaders!

MobileRead Forums – Make your own thumbnails for the new *50 series of eReaders!

An interesting and brief How-To that should come in handy.

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Filed under Book Creation, eBooks: General, Reference, Sony Reader

eInk Screens Lack Consistent Blacks

So Steven Troughton-Smith went and got a Kindle 3.

And he’s done nothing but complain about ghosting and inconsistent blacks. I’ve argued with him that I’ve never seen this on the new Pearl eInk screens (I’ve tried 4 so far) and that his screen must be defective.

He responded with Science!

See his proof after the break.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle, eInk Devices

Quit The Last Century Book Signings!

Goodbye to Book Signings

Yesterday, for a book signing, I drove 328 miles, spent $40 on gas, and was gone from home for 8 hours. I sold 20 books while I was in the store, at a profit of about $20 to me, which I won’t see for 9 months. And that’s assuming my publisher is still in business and bothers to pay me.

L.J. needs to do 21st-Century reader meet & greets.

In fact, from this point on, so does every damn writer.

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Filed under Books: General, Digital Overthrow, eBooks: General, Free Ain't, Marketing, Writer

Hunter S. Thompson Nails Journalism

Hunter S. Thompson’s brutally honest Canadian job request

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

That paragraph was written in 1958.

Nothing has improved since. In fact, given the crap the press has let the government and Wall Street get away with for so long, I’d say journalism has gotten worse.

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Filed under Pottersville, Quoted, Writer, Writing

Defeating Amazon Kindle Book Filename Obfuscation

One gruesome aspect of buying Kindle eBooks is the obfuscation Amazon uses in the filenames. People wind up with this horror show:


Click = big

How in the world is it ever possible to find a specific book in that mess? Amazon doesn’t want you to be able to, hence that.

But there’s an easy way to defeat this. Use the desktop (PC/Mac) program for Kindle. Then:

1) Open the book you want to locate as a file.
2) Make a Note in that book.
3) Close the book, quit the desktop program.
4) Open your desktop file explorer and Sort By Date. BAM:


Click = big

The part of the book file that stores notes will pop to the top of the list, as shown highlighted here. You now have the book’s filename.

Then Sort By Name and find the .AZW file, which is the book itself:


Click = big

There. Done. You can find any book you want this way, despite Amazon’s twitscreen speedbumping.

Remember to go back and delete the note if you intend to locate more than one book at a time, otherwise you’ll just confuse yourself.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle