Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Coming

Google is poised to launch its "buy anywhere, read anywhere" digital books programme Google Editions simultaneously in the US, UK and Europe within the first half of next year.

Speaking at the Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt, Amanda Edmonds, Google's director of strategic partnerships, said the programme would be rolled out by June.

From this morning's Bookseller briefing.


NOWISM | “Consumers’ ingrained lust for instant gratification is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences. Consumers are also feverishly contributing to the real-time content avalanche that’s building as we speak. As a result, expect your brand and company to have no choice but to finally mirror and join the ‘now’, in all its splendid chaos, realness and excitement.”

From Trendwatching.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Creative" Commons: after the trust has gone

Today's published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

As Alan Rusbridger says: Kafka.
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

Merkel attacks Google aka European politician looks for new Microsoft

But this was interesting:
Merkel also stressed that she doesn't believe that eBooks will ever replace traditional books - though she does mention that 'new' technologies like audio books have changed the book market over the last few years.

From Read Write Web. Also the Google stuff.

He Returns: tomorrow (at dusk presumably)

Thanks to the daily dose from Flavorwire.
This authorized sequel picks up 25 years after the classic Dracula, and is based largely on Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for characters and plot threads. Taking a new generation into account, it features Van Helsing’s morphine-obsessed protégé; Mina and Jonathan Harker’s lawyer-turned-actor son; and even the elder Stoker himself as a London theater director.

The video, of course:

Email is so over, says WSJ

We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

From the WSJ.

NHS gets US support, from the UK

Americans living in the United Kingdom and other European countries have been surprised to see the national health services in their host countries criticised so harshly in the US. While the system is far from perfect, we recognize that our fellow citizens at home are being misled and manipulated by political forces.

This website provides the basis for a forum for discussion and productive debate about Healthcare Reform in the USA, giving people a place where they can post their experiences - both good and bad - with various national health systems across the world.

Visit National Health Truths here.

Kindle: what mobiles? which prices?

The Kindle is expected to work with AT&T’s wireless network, which they say has the global reach that Amazon needs for its international plans. The idea is that AT&T will work alongside a number of partner networks in 100 countries around the globe

Although Amazon’s Kindle e-reader has been a major hit and the best-selling product in creator Amazon’s entire store this year, it has not been available outside of the US.

Amazon will later this month begin shipping a new version of the Kindle that can be used to purchase and download books in over 100 countries. The new version, the ‘Kindle with US and International Wireless’, will sell for $280 (£176) and can be pre-ordered now.

From the Telegraph.
And a little cost price analysis from the Guardian:
When asked by the Guardian precisely how much downloads would cost, an spokesman revealed that foreign customers - including those in Britain - would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title.

"International customers do pay a higher price for their books than US customers due to higher operating costs outside of the US," said the spokesman. "Additionally, VAT rates in the EU are higher on ebooks than on print books."

More here.

Playing Poker with those Print Things

There will, I trust, be more like this in the coming months. About time too:
The media's response to this device will, I am sure, be negative. We will hear a lot, over the next few weeks, about the soullessness of reading on screen compared to turning pages. If I promised you a pound for every time you are told by a columnist during the month of October that "you can't read a Kindle in the bath", I would be skint by Christmas.

In the newspapers, on TV arts shows (are there still any TV arts shows?), on Radio 4, around us at social occasions, we will see and hear mournful disquisitions on the beauty of the old-fashioned papery book and what a tragedy it would be if people stopped buying them.

But you know what? Nobody buys books anyway. Nobody. If you have a friend who has written a book, ask how many copies it sold. The answer will probably be 12. Or none.

Victoria Coren goes realist in The Observer.