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....