Friday, December 21, 2012

VIDEO: Can Print and E-Books Coexist? From @joshabla and @PBS

Tis the season for reading -- both print and e-books. But can the two really coexist? For this video report, I checked in with three bookstores in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C., and asked store managers and customers whether they preferred print or e-books.

Some of their answers were expected, such as people's love of the smell of print books, and how they enjoyed having a break from staring into a screen. E-book users praised their devices for their portability, and enjoyed being able to carry multiple books with them without being weighed down.

What interested me most, though, were people who used both print and e-books. One person I spoke with said he would often have the same book on both formats, a print version for inside his home, and a digital version for when he was on the go. Other print book lovers praised e-readers for bringing back digital copies of hard-to-find and out-of-print books.

Original article here......

Monday, December 17, 2012

More from Guy: Some Self-Publishing Advice from Guy Kawasaki. From @ChicagoLiterati

Palo Alto, CA— Self-publishing is on the rise. The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006. Established authors are abandoning traditional publishers to self-publish. The “Big 6” are scrambling to keep up by launching their own self-publishing arms, but traditional publishers’ mentalities and sensibilities are incompatible with self-publishing.
“The publishing industry is in upheaval, and it’s time to shift power to writers,” said Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, which was released today. “Self-publishing takes the opposite approach to traditional publishing, democratizing publishing so that unproven authors can rise to the top because of the quality of their writing and their moxie.”
Guy recommends the following reasons why authors should self-publish their books.
1.     Content and design control. Self-publishers can control what’s in a book, how long it is, and how it looks. They only answer to themselves for most aspects of their books.
2.     Time to market. Self-publishers can get their book to market in less than a week once it’s copyedited. Traditional publishers take six to nine months to get a printed book to market, and they will not release the ebook version earlier than the printed version.
3.     Longevity. Self-publishers can keep their book in print forever—or at least as long as it takes for readers to discover it. Traditional publishers stop marketing a book once sales decline.
4.     Revisions. Self-publishers can revise books immediately with online ebook resellers and printers that are working “on demand.” Traditional publishers can take months to fix errors because they print revisions after they’ve sold off current inventory.
5.     Higher royalty. Self-publishers can make more money. Amazon pays a 35 percent or 70 percent royalty to ebook self-publishers. On a $2.99 ebook, most authors make approximately $2.00.
6.     Price control. Self-publishers can change the price of their book at will. For example, they can set a lower price to try to sell more copies or set a higher price to communicate higher quality.
7.     Global distribution. Self-publishers can achieve global distribution of their ebook on day one. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing will list an ebook in one hundred countries. Apple’s iBookstore reaches fifty countries.
8.     Control of foreign rights. Self-publishers determine who buys foreign rights and for how much. They can make more money because they are not sharing foreign-rights revenues with a traditional publisher.
9.     Analytics. Self-publishers can receive real-time or near real-time sales results. Traditional publishers provide twice-a-year royalty statements—imagine running a business with two sales reports a year.
10. Deal flexibility. Self-publishers can cut any kind of deal with any kind of organization. Traditional publishers only sell to resellers except for bulk sales of printed books to large organizations.

Original post here....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RIP e-book readers? Rise of tablets drives e-reader drop. From @cnet

The rapid rise of tablets is driving the e-book reader market to an equally rapid fall, according to a new study.

IHS iSuppli said that after "spectacular" growth during the past few years, the e-book reader market is now on an "alarmingly precipitous decline," all thanks to the growing popularity of tablets.
How alarming? Well, the firm predicts that shipments of e-book readers will tumble 36 percent this year to 14.9 million units and then drop another "drastic" 27 percent next year to 10.9 million units. By 2016, IHS iSuppli predicts, the e-book reader market will total just 7.1 million units, equal to a loss of more than two-thirds from its peak volume in 2011.

According to Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS iSuppli:
The rapid growth -- followed by the immediate collapse -- of the ebook reader market is virtually unheard of, even in the volatile consumer electronics space, where products have notoriously short life cycles. The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets.

Read on here....

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Modern Dilemma: Does Your Cell Phone Make You Too Available? From @pcmag

Though cell phones provide constant connectivity, much of the 85 percent of Americans who own one actually dislike being always reachable, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Convenience, communication, and access are pluses of modern technology, but they come with respective downsides: annoyances, interruptions, and added costs.

Pew reported that 24 percent of cell phone owners said the worst part about owning a mobile device is the constant availability, while 12 percent felt that the ability to talk with people at any time is second only to the general convenience of a cell phone.

Read on here....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PhotoNOLA, the New Orleans photography festival faces the digital age. From @nolanews

PhotoNOLA 2012, the annual New Orleans photography festival opens Friday, Nov. 30, in a different technological environment than when it began seven years ago. Today, just about everyone seems to have a camera in his pocket.

Stand on Camp Street outside of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and watch the traffic gush by when the light changes. Just imagine, it’s possible that most of the occupants of most of the cars and buses, in the blink of an eye, could snap a picture with their cell phones; in another blink of an eye, they could share the picture via email or social media.

If that picture captures something popular – Brad Pitt passing on his bicycle – it could electronically ripple across the globe. Photography has long been a part of our culture, of course, but since 2006 PhotoNOLA was born, it’s become embedded in our planetary nervous system.

For many of us, taking a photo isn’t a deliberation, it’s an impulse. And, truth be told, some of those cellular snapshots are pretty darned good, making everyone a potential Cartier-Bresson.

With those thoughts in mind, now turn away from the traffic and enter the Ogden, where several exhibits celebrate camera work born of an earlier, less extemporaneous era.

Read on here....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Photography Tips from SmugMug and a special offer via the Blurberati Blog.

Five Ways to Tell the Perfect Holiday Story
If you’re like all of us at SmugMug, you’re going to want to capture every laugh, hug and smile of your winter holidays and tell your family’s story in a beautiful, organized sequence of moments. Whether you decide to build your book and keep it on your shelf, or share it with loved ones who can’t be with you, the photos you take are key.
Here’s a few simple tips that will help bring your story to life.

1. Mix candid, posed and detail shots.
Variety is the spice of life. People expect to be lined up for portraits but don’t let that be the only time you hit the shutter. Keep your camera close and subtlely snap the emotions around the room: anticipation, joy and everything in-between. Try getting detail photos like hands holding wine glasses, or your guests’ festive shoes and jewelry. You don’t want to miss a thing… and they’ll be thrilled you noticed!
2. Shoot sequences for a simple visual story.
The easiest way to tell a visual story is 1-2-3. With your subject in one location, shoot multiple photos using the same composition but different expressions. Or better yet, try creating a series of before, during, and after shots of the kids opening their presents.
3. Take photos before the chaos.i pmz7xkn l Holiday Photography Tips from SmugMug
You can expect a mess when guests arrive and dinner is served, but it’s still possible to capture a few shots of your festive house when “All is calm, all is bright.” Break out the camera before the storm hits (or the night before when the kids are asleep) and take pictures of the tree, beautiful shining presents, or candles burning bright.
4. Use fast glass.
If you have a DSLR with interchangeable lenses, it’s a good idea to shoot with the aperture as wide-open as possible (lower f-stop number). This lets more light into your camera, meaning you’ll have fewer blurry photos — a common problem with indoor holiday photos.  And a great memory gets only better with
Still too dark? Try bumping the ISO to 1600 or higher. This makes your camera more sensitive to light, and most modern cameras handle it beautifully so you don’t have to worry about your photos turning out grainy.
5. Storyboard.
If you can, plan your book’s theme ahead of time and make a list before your guests arrive. Will there be specific colors you emphasize, or will you create collages of each grandparent? If there’s something you’ve just got to have for your book, pre-planning can help you stay on track during the whirlwind and ensure that you take every shot you need.
And now, a special offer from SmugMug:
Need a place to archive and share your photos? Give them a safe home at SmugMug, where you can upload unlimited photos and easily turn them into Blurb books. Use the code BLURB25 to get 25% off on a new SmugMug subscription through January 1, 2013. Choose the plan that works for you and save with this special Blurbarian discount.

You can find the Blurberati Blog here...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blurb’s Top Tips For Building a Photo Book Masterpiece. From @smugmug

Whether you’ve traveled the globe seeking fine art photos, survived the safari of a lifetime or just had a new addition to your family, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better photo gift this holiday season than a personalized photo book.

Building a book can be as basic as clicking a button, but our friends at Blurb suggest a few tried-and-true tips for creating the perfect project each and every time. So when you’re ready to turn your SmugMug photos into your next book, keep these five tips in mind.  And as an extra bonus, keep reading for an exclusive Blurb discount for Smuggers.

1) Use only your best photos.

2) Keep it really, really simple.

3) Keep headers and footers consistent.

4) Don’t fall off the edge!

5) Inspire with your cover design.

Get the details here.....





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anything can be a bookstore: Tim Ferriss and Amazon Try to Reinvent Publishing. From @NYTimes

Tim Ferriss, the author of the “4-Hour” series of self-help books for young men, hails from the nutritional supplements world, where the product is going to rot in the warehouse unless customers feel it is going to change their lives forever right now. Amazon, more than just about any other large tech company, does not pretend it sees any value in the old order.

Bring these two elements together in the publication by Amazon of Mr. Ferriss’ new book, “The 4-Hour Chef,” and the result is a lot of noise, hype and anger, as well as some hints about the future of book publishing. Here are a few preliminary conclusions:

1. Anything can be a bookstore.

2. When a book is published, the real work begins.

3. If traditional publishing and traditional bookselling are going to survive, they are going to have to state their case in a way they never had to before.  

4. Everything is negotiable, starting with price.

5. Everything will be a best seller, even if you have to give it away.  

6. The first victim here is going to be the English language.

Read the details here.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blurb + InDesign = Game Changer. From @sabinelenz

While HP’s MagCloud has helped hundreds of would-be publishers produce  slick print-on-demand magazines for a few years now, POD book printer Blurb may have just done that company out of a gig.

Starting this month, an Adobe InDesign plug-in will enable anyone with that software and an Internet connection to print magazines and brochures using Blurb’s well-respected service. Not surprisingly, those who use Blurb will face some pretty hefty per-item fees unless they print in bulk, putting a slight dent in what is gained by avoiding offset printers in the first place:
  • Magazine (single issue): 20-220 pages, 8 ½ x 11” perfect bound, 60 lb./89 gsm paper, UV Satin finishing, starting at $10.95/copy
  • Brochures: 4-48 pages, 8 ½ x 11” saddle stitch, 80 lb./118 gsm paper, uncoated/UV Satin/UV Gloss finishing options, starting at about $7 each.
Like its books, Blurb’s magazines and brochures are printed on HP Indigo presses.
Find the original article here....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Digital Self-Publishing Platform Blurb Expands to Offer Magazines and Brochures. From @wired

As publishing transitions into the digital space, that doesn’t mean we’ll have to abandon print entirely. In fact, Blurb has built a successful business by offering “accidental authors” an easy way to write and self-publish custom print books on demand, all through a digital platform. In May, the company added e-books, giving people a tool to publish their work as iPad and iPhone versions.

And now they can do the same for magazines and brochures – in both print and e-book formats.

Beginning Tuesday, Blurb will support magazine and brochure publishing using a plugin for Adobe InDesign. The company plans to have its own publishing tools eventually, but for now it wants to target businesses, creative professionals and photographers who are familiar with InDesign and want a streamlined and cheap way to publish their own content. It’s very similar to what HP has been offering with MagCloud, a print-on-demand service that independent magazines like Longshot Magazine have used.

“It’s an expansion play,” Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins told Wired. “Unlike a book, where for the most part it’s a solo effort, a magazine, because you can get contributions from others, is collaborative. That material can be more consumable. They will be much faster to produce, but more community-driven and with more issues. You might do four issues a year. We’ll see more volume and community-driven projects.”

Read on here....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Print is fighting back. Why Ebooks Are Inspiring A New Age Of Print. From @HuffPostBooks

Ebooks, like physical books, have weight. That is, according to a computer scientist at UC Berkeley, who calculated in 2011 that a 4GB ebook reader filled with 3,500 ebooks weighs a billionth of a billionth of a gram more than if it were empty of data - a difference that is approximately the same weight as a molecule of DNA.

The same number of physical books would weigh about two tons.

Ebooks aren't only lighter than their print counterparts, they're also cheaper, instantly accessible around the world, and unlimited in supply. For these reasons and more, the growth in American ebook usage has been swift and inevitable - earlier this year, Amazon released figures saying that, for every 100 physical books sold on its site, it had sold 114 ebooks.

However, print is fighting back. Now that physical books have lost their monopoly on long-form storytelling, they aren't disappearing. Instead, booksellers, publishers and readers are taking a closer look at why we like books at all.

A series of new titles out this fall celebrate the book and the bookstore, including The Books They Gave Me (Free Press), My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (Black Dog & Levanthal), Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (FSG), My Ideal Bookshelf (Little, Brown), Judging A Book By Its Lover (Harper Perennial), One For the Books (Viking) - celebrations of reading and owning physical books.

What makes them different from their digital counterparts?

It may sound obvious, but books exist - in a way that memory on a microchip does not. Enduring physical presence is no small thing in an age when information appears on a screen, then changes, evolves, and maybe even disappears. And as efficient as ebook retailers are, clicking to purchase is a fairly soulless affair in comparison to the pleasures of browsing in a bookstore.

Read on here....

Thinking Of Self-Publishing? Ben Galley Has Some Advice. From @forbes

The Guildford Book Festival, a ten day literary extravaganza  of author appearances, debates and talks, this year included a workshop on self-publishing. Alongside more traditional workshops on short stories, children’s fiction, and erotica, author Ben Galley talked about how to get your book off your computer and into people’s hands.

Galley, who self-published his first book, The Written, aged 22 for just £400 and whose second book, Pale Kings, was released this year, started off exhorting workshop attendees to strive for professional standards when self-publishing.

“You have to do it right,” he said, “because mistakes cost money and reputation.”

Read on here....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth Since 2007. From @PublishersWkly

The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287% since 2006, with 235,625 print and e titles released in 2011, according to a new analysis of data from Bowker. The research found that while production increases are occurring in both print and e-book formats, the latter is driving the greatest percentage gains. It also shows that while self-publishing may seem like a cottage industry, it is dominated by large firms that offer publishing services to individual authors.

Bowker’s research into self-publishing was prompted by an earlier study that showed 2011’s 148,424 self-published print books represented about 43% of that year’s total traditional print output. While print accounts for 63% of self-published books, e-books are gaining fast. E-book production in 2011 was 87,201, up 129% over 2006. Print grew 33% in the same period. 

Read on here.....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple leaks mention of iBooks 3.0, reinforcing iPad mini focus on ebooks. From @appleinsider

The appearance of the yet unreleased "iBooks 3.0" as a requirement for certain titles in Apple's iBookstore suggests the company will soon update its ebook client app for iOS, likely in conjunction with the release of iPad mini.
According to a report by The Next Web, there is already at least one title in the French iTunes Store specifying iBooks 3.0.

Under the title's "Requirements," which are generated by Apple and not potentially a third party developer's typo, iTunes specifies, "This book requires iBooks 3.0 or later and iOS 4.2 or later. The books can be displayed with iBooks on an iPad, iPhone (3G or later) or iPod touch (2nd generation or later)."

An ebook publisher commented on the report, noting that the iTunes publisher software is indeed listing "iBooks 3.0" as a requirement option.

The news only bolsters rumors that the same site floated last week, indicating that Apple plans to emphasize the new iPad mini as a media-centric device, particularly in regard to iBooks.

Read on here....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Before Facebook, there was Manet, painting friends. From @seattlepi

Brian Kennedy, director of the Toledo Museum of Art, poses in front of a portrait of French Impressionist Edouard Manet, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Toledo, Ohio. An exhibition of Manet's works opened this month and runs through the end of the year before moving onto the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Photo: John Seewer / AP

Long before smartphones turned so many of us into amateur photographers and revolutionized how we depict each other through social media, there were the works of French Impressionist Edouard Manet.
 Known for portraits of friends and celebrities of his era, the painter often called "the first modern artist" came of age during the mid-1800s when photography first became available to the public. He even kept his own collection of photos of the subjects he painted.

Manet's portraits and how they were influenced by photography are the focus of "Manet: Portraying Life" at the Toledo Museum of Art, the only U.S. museum to host the exhibition before it moves to The Royal Academy of Arts in London next winter.

The show that opened this month and runs through the end of the year features 40 paintings from public and private collections, including some of his best-known works. Instead of assembling a retrospective of Manet's works, the two museums chose portraits that would open the discussion of what impact photography had on Manet's paintings.

Read on here....

Guggenheim’s Picasso Exhibit Shows Photography’s Influence. From @thedailybeast

Man With Pipe aimed to mimic the realness of photography. ((c) 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso-Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
The new exhibition called Picasso Black and White, filling Frank Lloyd Wright’s great rotunda at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, ought to be called Picasso in Sepia. That’s because most of its 118 works include fawns and tans as well as blacks and whites and grays. And because the word “sepia” gets at a crucial force behind this art: photography. The show doesn’t just sample random moments when Picasso went monochrome, although its ambitions can seem that modest. The exhibition is important, maybe despite itself, because it helps us feel the impact of the camera on Picasso’s art.

Picasso said he wasn’t interested in abstraction, or even in style: all his art, even at its most bizarre, was supposed to carry some kind of information or truth about our world and the things in it. That’s the kind of access to reality that photography has always been about. By working so often in black and white (and tan), Picasso could insist that he also kept touch with the real.

Read on here...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Amazon Makes No Profit on Kindles. From @mashable

Amazon doesn’t make a dime in profit from sales of its Kindle e-readers and tablets, according to the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“We sell the hardware at cost,” Bezos told the BBC in an interview published Thursday. “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy them.”

The statement from Bezos confirms a long-held assumption that Amazon breaks even — rather than profits — on sales of its hardware. In fact, previous estimates have suggested that Amazon might even sell some of its Kindle products at a slight loss.

For Amazon, the Kindle is seen as more of a gateway to the many products sold by the website, including e-books, movies and apps. Indeed, Bezos has said repeatedly over the years that Amazon’s business model is to survive on slim profits.

That’s a much different business strategy than some of Amazon’s competitors in the mobile market, particularly Apple, which has built up a huge cash pile through the profit margins on its mobile products. However, even Apple may be moving a little closer to Amazon’s direction if it does indeed release an iPad Mini this month for $299 or less.

Original article here....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blurb Wants to Bring Illustrated E-Books up to Speed for Publishers and Consumers. From @DigiBookWorld

Cutting edge technology of the past.
Illustrated books are not finding the same success in the digital publishing world as plain-text books; San Francisco- and London-based self-publishing service Blurb aims to change that.
Earlier this month, Blurb, launched in 2006 and known for helping users create high-quality illustrated books for print-on-demand distribution, launched a new suite of tools for production and distribution of enhanced e-books. The move is the company’s entree into the lucrative self-publishing production and sales market as well as the software as a service business, targeting authors and publishers, respectively.

While some publishers may be finding success with illustrated titles, many are not and sales for illustrated e-books hasn’t taken off the way it has for other kinds of books. According to a recent story in The Bookseller, the digital market doesn’t yet exist for illustrated books. Publishing consultant (and DBW partner) Mike Shatzkin thinks there may not be a strategy for illustrated book publishers to survive the e-book revolution.

Since the introduction of its new suite of enhanced e-book services about a week ago, Blurb users already have hundreds of enhanced e-books for sale in the Blurb store and in Apple’s iBookstore at prices ranging from $2.99 to $7.99, according to the company’s CEO, Eileen Gittins. How does Blurb already have so many books on the market? It has a huge user base, dwarfing that of Smashwords and Author Solutions (the two largest e-book self-publishing platforms) combined.

In the past 18 months, some 575,000 authors have published books through Blurb. By comparison, the other two services mentioned had at last count nearly 200,000 authors between them.

Read on here....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rip Off the Filters – We Need a Naked Instagram. @Wired Opinion

...we’re suffering from filter fatigue. The adjustments have become rote. Our eyes and brains no longer get that neural tingle when they see “Earlybird.” It’s the “naked” photos that stand out in a filter-happy environment. Just because we can make anything look arty doesn’t mean everything is art, or even interesting.

When everything is filtered, the absence of a filter is what becomes interesting.

This democratization of photography has, predictably, also lowered the taste floor for the medium, and it’s now time to grow upward instead of outward. It’s time for everyone who has caught the bug and made it over the initial photography hump to start thinking about what they’re photographing … and why.

It’s time to raise our standards and re-introduce risk into photography, so that taking good photos feels like an achievement instead of a built-in feature. Let’s take all the fledgling photographers created by apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic, and others and lead them to the next frontier.

Read on here.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kickstarter and the lost art of letter writing

When was the last time you opened your mail box to find something that was truly hand written? In a day that finds my daily mail full of catalogs that I don't want, monthly statements that I don't read, and that God-awful transpromo personalized drivel, seeing pen-on-envelope is an immediate pleasure.  So I was really intrigued when I saw a Kickstarter project that would deliver the lost art of letter writing--for a small fee.

The project is called "Letters from to you from me: entertaining, handwritten, unique" and is the brainchild of Bay Area reader, writer, and tech veteran Laura Zander, founder of subMissionSF.

Laura, who has been writing "what have been dubbed by others as 'hilarious and entertaining' letters for a long time", spends the day as member of Blurb where she can get her ink-on-paper fix with regularity.  But while many of us still interact and prefer physical books to digital versions, a personal letter is something that has become so rare that her project is something really valuable to get behind.

Laura says this is "part art project and part forced writing exercise". For $20 you can get "a single guffaw" all the way up to a full subscription in book form with all of the letters created for the project for $300.  I can't wait for my first installment and when Zander gets her first bestseller I'll have a real, physical artifact to prove I knew her when.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Ebooks Shapes Publishing (INFOGRAPHIC). From @HuffPostBooks

Aptaracorp has released its annual survey of ebook production trends, and to mark the event (and to get more publicity) they've come up with a dramatic infographic summarizing how the industry is increasingly turning to ebooks as part of its inventory.

One of the more dramatic statistics states that 31% of ebook publishers produce enhanced ebooks, though only 12% correlate the enhancements with a positive impact on sales. The market for more than simple text remains uncertain.

See below for the graphic, which was created in association with Publishers Weekly.

Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Close Deal, Unveil Nook Media. From @PCMag

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft are now officially partners; the two firms closed a deal first announced in April and announced that their newly formed venture will be known as Nook Media.
Nook Media includes Barnes & Noble's digital and college businesses and a $300 million investment from Microsoft.

"As demand for digital content continues to increase, we are focused on bringing ground-breaking reading and learning content and technologies to more people in more formats than ever before, including the imminent launch of our exceptional Nook reading application for Windows 8," William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with our new partner Microsoft to add value to their innovative new platform by bringing great reading experiences and one of the world's preeminent digital bookstores to millions of Windows 8 users."

Read on here....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lifeless e-books no replacement for paper and ink. From @TheLamron.

"Let’s be clear that arguing about e-readers versus paper books is not vainglorious quibbling on the part of affected intellectuals or the crotchety pedantry on the part of neo-Luddites.."

With a sentence like that you want to read on, right? Do so here....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Photography Pros Review the iPhone 5's Camera. From @MacRumors

Photography site has published a lengthy review of the iPhone 5's camera. Last year, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz called the iPhone "the snapshot camera of today", and the iPhone has been the most popular camera on Flickr for years.

The full review is worth a read, but this excerpt looks at interesting questions about the future of casual photography and how the simple "camera phone" has revolutionized both the mobile phone and camera industries.

This is great news for people like us who write about digital photography, because it signals a paradigm shift. This doesn't happen often, and it's very exciting when it does. Already, we're seeing mainstream camera manufacturers scrabbling to add connectivity to their products, and it's not just desperation that's making them do it. If the iPhone, and devices like it, have had a transformative effect on the industry it's because they've had a transformative effect on peoples' expectations of cameras, and photography. And the industry is doing what it always does - moving to fulfill a need.

The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and - crucially - it is supremely easy to use. It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare). When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn't with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display.

Blurb: Make money from your blog by turning it into an eBook. From @pocketlint

Bloggers, amateur photographers and would-be storytellers are being given the opportunity to correlate their work into interactive eBooks available on the iOS platform. What's more, they might be able to make money from their endeavours.

Blurb, a San Francisco-based creative publishing and marketing platform, has introduced the new eBook capabilities which it hopes will enable users to get their work seen by a bigger audience as well as earning a few bucks in the process.

Pocket-lint sat down for a chat with Eileen Gittins, CEO and Founder of Blurb.

“It’s a new outlet for bloggers,” enthuses Gittins. “If you want to make a book, you should be able to make a book, in whatever medium is appropriate to your audience. Blurb makes that possible”.

Read on here....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Making an ebook? Is a DIY Program or Full-Service App Developer Right for You? From @pdnonline

In the ever-evolving landscape that is self-publishing, photo e-books and iPad apps remain largely a do-it-yourself proposition. While several companies offer e-book and iPad app design and development, they vary wildly in competence and experience. Similarly, though DIY services keep costs low, less technically inclined users might have trouble navigating in and around the “easy” interfaces.

To that end, here are a handful of recommendations—some do-it-yourself, some here-you-do-it—for photographers hoping to publish e-books and iPad apps. Our top picks: Blurb if you’re DIY and proud of it; Wind River Creative if you need a hand; Wix if you’re big on sharp visuals and next-gen tech infrastructure; Apple’s iBooks Author if, like many photographers, you’re an Apple lifer; and Baker Framework if you’re tech savvy and want to save money.

The best reason for would-be self-publishers of photo books to use Blurb’s do-it-yourself tools is the most simple one: Blurb was founded to serve would-be self-publishers of photo books and them alone. And now Blurb has gotten into the e-book space, which has prompted a few tweaks to the company’s traditional print-book products. Though the e-book service only debuted this summer, it has generated user enthusiasm for the same reason Blurb’s printed books have: The product looks good and just about anyone who can successfully turn on a computer should have no problem using it. Indeed, asked to explain Blurb’s appeal, CEO Eileen Gittins responds, simply, that, “Blurb can be easily understood and used by all types of people with varied knowledge of publishing.”

Gittins touts a handful of basic tools, among them easy-to-use templates and a range of customization options. She also stresses the creative control that Blurb users have over the product. Though Blurb offers some basic level of support, it’s not going to hold users’ hands throughout the process; some less experienced users could take issue with this.

Pricing starts anywhere between $4 and $50, depending on the book’s physical dimensions. Print and e-books with higher page counts, not surprisingly, cost more.

Price: Starting at $4

Read on here...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

E-books could become the norm for children as sales soar. From @Telegraph

Parents are buying e-books for their children in growing numbers as experts say a new generation may become more used to reading from an iPad or Kindle screen than from a traditional book. 

Sales of children’s e-books nearly tripled over the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2011, figures from the Publishers Association (PA) showed yesterday.

Richard Mollet, chief executive of the PA, said that 2.6 million children’s e-books were sold over the first half of this year, compared to 1 million the previous year. 
Publishers and retailers said that advances in technology have meant that digital books for children, including picture books, have taken off in an “explosive” way in recent months. 
Experts said that the huge increase in children’s e-book sales could lead to a generation of people growing up reading more from Kindle screens than from real books. 

Read more here....


For Social Companies, a Battle to Own Photography. From @nytimes

The chant we’ve been hearing from the tech giants in recent years has been the same: “Mobile, mobile, mobile.” Yet there’s a greater evolutionary force behind this. “Photos, photos, photos.”

Just take a look at Facebook’s news feed as Exhibit A. What was once speckled with words and a few, tiny images, is now the complete opposite. Photos are large consuming most of the white space of Facebook’s social feed. (Don’t forget about the billion dollar acquisition of Instagram, the social photo service.)

Exhibit B: Google’s acquisition of Nik Software, a company that makes tools for editing and sharing photos, including the highly popular Snapseed app for iOS, on mobile phones.

There’s no arguing that mobile is the driving force here. Billions of people now walk around with mobile phones in their pockets that are also mobile cameras. Naturally, these photos are going to be shared on social sites. And big social companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, all want to house those images.

In the past, it was Yahoo’s Flickr that offered a bustling community for photos on the Web. But Flickr has since been usurped by a number of competitors, but none have completely replaced it.
Now, there’s a diaspora of photo-driven sites, apps and social networks, all vying for the Web’s photos.

Facebook, with its hundreds of millions of users, is clearly trying to become the pre-eminent destination for people’s photos online. But, it is not a site designed for beautiful images, which is what contributed to Flickr’s popularity and created its community. Instead, Facebook is for social images: birthday parties, a hike with friends and the latest vacation. Posting artistic photos on Facebook would be like placing an art collection from the Museum of Modern Art in your local bar.

Facebook’s Instagram, now a teeming photo haven, doesn’t fill the Flickr void either. It’s designed for mobile devices, and more importantly for this challenge, there is no way to post groups of photos. (There are also the Instagram users who berate people for using a digital cameras, rather than smartphones, on the service.) Twitter, which also only allows people to post single photos, doesn’t make sense, either.

Now Google wants to be that place, too. Its latest social tablet applications also highlight large images. In regards to the company’s acquisition on Monday, Vic Gundotra, senior vice president at Google in charge of Google Plus, wrote on Google Plus, “We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love.”

Don’t count Flickr as down-and-out just yet. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, is putting resources behind the almost-abandoned Flickr.

Because all of these companies know the same thing: This isn’t just a battle for the mobile Internet. It’s a battle for photos on the entire Internet.

Original article here....

Instagram: Photography's Antichrist, Savior, Or Something In Between? From @HuffPostArts

Like most people, Emily Reid started using Instagram on a lark. She'd taken a picture of the view from her friends' rooftop, decided it looked pretty cool, and then posted it on the social photo-sharing website so her friends could see. That was her first Instagram photo. Within months, she'd posted hundreds more. And they weren't just pretty views and sunsets and plates of food you're about to eat (all Instagram standards). Instead, Reid had decided to concentrate on complex renderings of buildings and infrastructure in her Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

Using and developing hashtags like #mobilearchitecture, #abstracture and #Wickedflip, Reid has met a whole community of followers and like-minded friends, allowing her to share her work with thousands of people around the world. On Monday, she posted a photo of a D.C. building in front of a distorted blue sky at 8:00 p.m. -- she edits her photos, sometimes for hours apiece, using a variety of iPhone apps -- and by 8:30 p.m. it had collected more than 200 likes and a stream of comments.

"I became very, very quickly addicted," says Reid, who works primarily as a web designer. "It's a fascinating phenomenon, unlike anything. Something like Twitter -- that's a community, but its not such a happy community, where people are all sharing their art and talking about it, like [Instagram]."
Thousands of people like Reid have used Instagram to meet other photographers experimenting with the medium, and even selling their photos on sites like Instaprints. Reid's own "DCEmmy" Instagram account now has almost 5500 followers, and she has exhibited her work in mobile photography shows across the country.

But some visual-art purists are decrying the Instagram phenomenon, which in a scant two and a half years has become one of the most popular social networking sites on the web -- so popular that The Zuckerberg himself recently snatched up the site for a cool ten figures. The site's detractors lament the ease with which people can call themselves "photographers" these days, simply by posting photos online using one of the platform's many filters.

Read on here.....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Use Premium Materials to Elevate Your Presence. From @mohawkpaper and @infotrends

How do you turn common print applications into something more? Materials. Premium and unique materials offer service providers the ability to differentiate their offerings and increase overall value to their customers. Matt Rees of InfoTrends sat down with Joe Schember from Mohawk to discuss how two real companies have been able to elevate their applications in the profitable photo market.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Science of Old Book Smell. From @galleycat

Over at the ReAuthored blog, you can read an informative post debunking some common misconceptions about the old book smell that everybody loves.
The short essay criticized a popular Internet image floating around about the origins the old book smell. In the video embedded above, you can learn more about the famous smell from Abe Books.Check out the ReAuthored post:
Thanks to the great people at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage through The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies at University College London, we now have published proof what really makes up that smell.  Here is the study: Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books So, what REALLY creates the smell of old books?  That answer can be as complex as the books themselves. The researchers concluded that the acidity of the pages was one of the largest factors that contributed to the BREAKDOWN of books, but the smells themselves can come from a list of things.

Just add media. New on your Blurb eBooks.

My followers can get an early look at two major enhancements to Blurb's eBook editor.  These new features are available on any Blurb book.

Internationalization: The ebook editor is now available in all our supported languages, marking the final piece in a fully localized ebook-creation experience.

Enhanced ebooks: Authors now have new ways to enrich their current stories or tell new ones, by adding audio, video and links to their ebooks. Many of our authors have captured audio and video as part of their photographic journeys, and they can now use these assets to provide greater depth to their stories.

To see an enhanced ebook, Laura Brunow Miner has taken her popular book, Eat Retreat and added time-lapse videos and audio interviews to showcase her gastronomical getaway.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

iPhone 5 for me? Nope, not this time.

I'm used to handing my money over to Apple.  I've been an iPhone fan boy for a while now, being a truly "mobile professional" who works remotely in Seattle from Blurb's corporate headquarters in San Francisco.  The iPhone has really changed my life (I was going to say "literally" but Joe Biden has kind of given that word a bad rap of late).  I bought my 4S on the day of release.  So those that know me probably expect I'll be on the early train with the 5.  Nope, not this time.

One thing I found about Apple phones is it as much about the OS as about the new hardware.  The stuff coming in iOS6 is very cool but it will fit nicely on my 4S thank you.  The 4S boasted the new camera, not much improvement it appears on the 5. LTE? Love it but it won't arrive in Seattle until end of the year and AT&Ts version won't work with LTE in Europe, where I travel often. Bigger screen, lighter weight?  Could be nice but I'll have to hold one to know if it will feel good in my hand.

So bottom line is that I won't be up at midnight to pre-order this time. Once the din has died down I'll take a look live but this may be a situation where I wait for version 5.1.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

LTE antenna can suck up data like Michael Phelps at a table full of pizza. iPhone 5: amazing and boring. From @wired

The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. It has top-notch hardware with a zippy new A6 processor and amazing four-inch display. Its new operating system, iOS 6, is slicker than slugs on ice. And its ultra-slim body, an all-glass and aluminum enclosure, is a triumph of industrial design. There is nothing not to like about the phone. It’s aces. Just aces.
And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring.
Yes, it’s better than the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 4 or just about any other phone you can buy. It’s faster with a bigger screen and an LTE antenna so you can suck up data from your carrier like Michael Phelps at a table full of pizza. But mostly it is the Toyota Prius of phone updates. It is an amazing triumph of technology that gets better and better, year after year, and yet somehow is every bit as exciting as a 25 mph drive through a sensible neighborhood at a reasonable time of day. It’s not going to change your life. It’s not even going to offer a radically different experience.
It’s a weird paradox. The iPhone 5 can simultaneously be the best phone on the market and really, really boring. And that has almost nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with our expectations.
Read on here....