Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Here We Go Again

Okay, we’ve talked about Amazon and their e-reader, the Kindle. And we’ve talked about
Barnes & Noble’s new eReader. Most of us seem to hope they’ll all somehow sing Kumbaya and make their devices compatible so you could download any book to either reader.

But we’re realistic. Which brings us back to an old player in the e-book game. Google’s on the move. They’ve been in the news over the past months for scanning copyrighted books without permission. They’ve reached a settlement in the case, although there’s still a period for objections. According to Information Week,
Under the settlement, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will spend $34 million to fund a Book Rights Registry, which will maintain a database of copyright holder information and will oversee the disbursement of at least $45 million in payments to authors for books scanned without permission.
In May, they announced they will begin selling e-books for Google Book Search partners by the end of this year. Google said:
"We want to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device.”
That means making their e-books readable on Amazon’s Kindle, B&N’s eReader and the anticipated Apple reading tablet.

Maybe there’s hope on the horizon for readers, no matter what kind of e-reader they use.
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23 comments:

  1. I've been holding off on the e-book thing until the format settles down a little bit. I keep having the uncomfortable feeling it may end up being a repeat of the VHS/Beta tape scenario of the 80s! Thanks for the info on Google getting into the game.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  2. I’m gonna buy an eReader. Just not sure what kind. I was sold on Kindle for awhile, but, after reading that the available titles are extensive, just nothing you want to read…am not so sure. My Editor has gone the Sony route. She’s got pretty good judgment, though I’ve yet to ask her why she picked Sony. I’m thinking the Apple thing will be just like their other products, proprietary and needless expensive just because of the snotty little logo. So, I’m just waiting to see what shakes out.
    Best Regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  3. It would be great to have one format for all ebooks. It would be so much simpler for publishers to get books out to the eworld.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  4. Wel I am impressed. Compatability.What a concept in today's marketplace. That's encouraging.

    The Old Silly">The Old Silly

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  5. I haven't done the e-reader thing yet but I'm thinking about getting an iPhone and just having a book on there for when I'm bored somewhere. The rest of the time I'll read the old-fashioned way...paperback novels.

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  6. I'm still holding firm to my decision not to go the ebook route. I said that about cd's too, though, so who knows.
    Karen

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  7. Lordy, how many times have we all bought something, only to have it go out of use! All readers should be compatible with all books and the reader that comes out on top will be the one with the best features and the best support.

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  8. I think that's good news and may spur the others to think about compatibility as well. I don’t plan on buying a reader, but I have learned never to say never.

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  9. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    I, too, love libraries. I haven't been to mine in so long. I get most of my books from PaperbackSwap now. I will have to make a trip there soon...I used to go on Saturdays and spend 3 or 4 hours just browsing and picking out books!

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  10. "Maybe there’s hope on the horizon for readers, no matter what kind of e-reader they use."

    We can only hope. :)
    ~jon

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. I keep hearing that someday there will be a platform that all e-reading devices can access. Hope it does happen. I just talked to a lady who bought a Kindle and said she would order my books if they were there. I have an e-Bookwise and cannot download Kindle books to it.

    To have this kind of proprietary approach would be like B&N saying you can only buy Dell books at their stores and nowhere else.

    Oops, don't give them any ideas.

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  13. It's like everybody wants a piece of the pie, so they keep carving it up until no one has anything bigger than a sliver. Including the author.

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  14. I'm befinning to embrace the e-book idea. I've heard Kindle does not light up so you can't use it in the dark. If this is true, why didn't someone have the forsight to fix this?

    Stephen Tremp

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  15. I have a Kindle 2 and an eBookwise reader, and confess that when the newness wore off, I rarely use them. I love turning the pages of a good book. :)

    Jean Henry Mead

    http://advicefromeditors.blogspot.com/ (Carolyn Hart)

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  16. Disclaimer: I own a Sony Reader. And love it!

    As for the "backlight" issue, if you hold a Kindle/Sony Reader, you'll understand why. Unlike LCD screens, you can read them in broad daylight. The newest Sony Reader does indeed have a "sidelight" for nighttime reading. A book light works just as well.

    And secondarily, I chose the Sony Reader because of its "open" nature. Unlike the Kindle, it'll read just about anything. Word Documents, ePub books, .pdf's, .txt, .rft - even powerpoint. PDF's seem to be the way things are heading, and the Sony is poised to take advantage of that. The Kindle will let you convert PDF's into the Kindle format. Plug, Google has already partnered with Sony (months ago), giving Sony Reader owners instant access to its library. Right now, it's mainly public domain books, but we'll see what the future holds.

    Also, as far as a "piece of the pie", Yes, Amazon takes a cut, but I make a decent sum from the sale of my $5 Kindle-version. Of course, I don't have to worry about paying an agent or a publisher, so I get to keep all of it. :)

    But, I think the "format" war isn't that big of a format war. It took just a few minutes for me to format my book into about 10 different formats. However anyone wants to read my book - be it .pdf, Kindle, Sony, Blackberry, iPhone, or on and on - I've got a version for them. Smart authors and publishers will support all formats. No need for a format war.

    Much to the dismay of established authors, I'm sure that the new readers will serve to really democratize the publishing process. Which, like YouTube, means that there will be a lot of junk around. Which will require a different rating system. The good stuff'll head to the top, the bad stuff'll flop.

    John Allen
    http://www.friedgreenzombies.blogspot.com/

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  17. Thanks for all the info, John. Can a totally non-tech person do the re-formatting on his/her books?

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  18. I'm going to get my books onto Kindle soon, but I'll hold off on buying it or any of the other systems till things shake out a bit. First I need to get the laptop I've been promising myself!

    Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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  19. Helen - yes. In fact, several sites will do it for you! All you need to do is upload the Microsoft Word document and wait for a few seconds. The sites will have formatting guidelines, and you may need to remove one or two page breaks, but trust me when I say it was very easy.

    As a new author, I just want people to know that I exist. The Kindle and other formats have been GREAT for me, because while authors and publishers are hesitating, there's a real niche that's asking for books. And for me, it's a relatively even playing field. A little traditional marketing, a little word of mouth, and voila! The ebook has been very nice to me. I make a little more for the digital version than I do for the distribution paperback or hardcover. Win/win!

    But that's just me, and I know everyone has a different story.

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  20. Thanks John. That's very cool.

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  21. I'm traveling soon and my technical guy just turned my netbook into an e-reader. I'm liking not lugging books in my luggage.

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