Tag Archives: ebooks

Perceptive publishing?

The reader

There was a reason why I decided to use Media oppose to TV or Radio.

The core concept of Perceptive Media can be applied at many different levels and different outputs.

How would Perceptive publishing work? Well if you imagine you have a ebook which can be read on a system which is also connected to the web and/or has sensors of its own. Imagine if that ebook reader has API’s which can exposes certain data to the ebook its self.

The way you hold the ereader, landscape, portrait, ambient temperature, time, geolocation, ambient noise, etc, etc. I have a feeling Perceptive Publishing may actually be a lot easier than Perceptive Broadcast…

You get the picture… and so do Oreilly who have put Perceptive Media into their Tools of Change conference in October.

I was interviewed about Perceptive Media and how it could work in publishing…

In the early days, Perceptive Media is being applied to broadcast technology. What potential applications for Perceptive Media do you envision in the publishing industry?

Ian Forrester: We have only scratched the surface and do not know what else it can be adapted toward. In BBC R&D, we watch trends by looking at early innovators. It’s clear as day that ebook reading is taking off finally, and as it moves into the digital domain, why does the concept of a book have to be static? Skeuomorphism is tragic and feels like a massive step back. But Perceptive Media is undoing the limitations of broadcast. It certainly feels like we can overcome the limitations of publishing, too.
Tools of Change for Publishing (http://s.tt/1nB8P)

Imagine if you could remix books?

Cooking for Geeks cover

There is something about Simon Lumb, something that everytime we chat creative juices start flowing (wipe that smile off your smutty face, you know what I mean)…

Off the back of a conversation in Wagamama about Richard St John’s 8 Traits to be great, which I have a physical signed copy of after a TEDx. We got talking about how I tend to own a physical copy of most books although I also own the ebook version. Then we got talking about Instapaper and Readitlater, how they give you the ability to pull together elements from a range of sources…

Imagine if you could do the same thing as a published book? Remix books!

Books right now are like Albums, but imagine if they were more like singles and EP’s?

They could be like the Mixtape of the written word? Fits perfect with the self publishing trend.

  • Example 1: Custom cookbook. Pick a your favourite menu items and self publish your own cookbook. A bit of Jamie, dash of Heston and a lot of Nigella (yes please). Arrange them into a new type of cook book which is custom for you, or reflects your cooking style. It could be a cookbook for you or for someone else…
  • Example 2: The best of… Many times in the past, people have said the best way to learn about Z is to read chapters Y & X of book W and chapters A, B and C of book D… Want to know the best to learn how to skateboard or surf? I recommend reading my custom book which is made up of… you get the idea
  • Example 3: The best places in the world. Could be a nice mix of places you’ve never been to before, places you inspire to go or places you have been to before. Actually it kind of reminds me of off beat guides, but instead of building it from raw components its from previous decent reviews.
  • Sure there are many more including books for young children, books for different learning styles, etc, etc…

The remix methodology is actually very apt, because instead of building your own from the components, your remixing parts of others. Like a Dj remixing other peoples tunes.

The copyrights framework will be a nightmare to work out (we’re not kidding ourselves about that) but to be honest it could be something like the music rights framework for albums and singles? Might even increase the amount of readership for some books? It could be massive changes, or little changes like the art work in the book. Instead of lovely glossy pictures of food in a cook book, it could be technical diagrams for those more interested in seeing those? Maybe the remixes will cost more than the originals but to the person who gets it, its worth so much more. You get the idea…

Crazy idea? Tell me and Simon why? Maybe you love it and want to run with it? Well all we require is attribution… This idea is open to the world… Run with it and tell us when you get rich by changing the publishing industry. This is what places like Lulu have been crying out for right? Just like… My lifestreaming dating idea and my dreamscape idea. Go get them, change the world or go Lazy web make it so…!

JK Rowling jumps head first into self publishing

Harry Potter

I posted this from my kindle on twitter… Its awkward because it doesn’t post the source but its actually from Ars technica.

By publishing on her own website, Rowling adds: “We can guarantee that people everywhere are getting the same experience at the same time. That was extremely appealing to me. I am lucky to have the resources to do it myself and I think this is a fantastic and unique experience that I could afford to take my time over to make this come alive. There was really no way to do it for the fans or me than just do it myself. Not every author could do this, but it’s right for Harry Potter. It is so much fun to have direct content with my fans. It was an extension of the existing jkrowling.com.”

JK Rowling is sure to make a mint and even more from self publishing… Further more I was intrigued to hear Rowling is green lighting a non DRM format for publishing.

Rowling has opted to keep the e-books DRM-free, meaning that they are not locked into one device or platform. She is instead opting for digital watermarking that links the identity of the purchaser to the copy of the e-book. This doesn’t prevent copyright theft but does ensure that any copies will be traceable to a particular user. This is similar to how iTunes is DRM-free, but embeds user account information within each file purchased.

Great move, and I wonder how the shop owners such as Amazon or B&N feel about this? I’m also wondering if Amazon will finally sort out the disconnect between Amazon bought books and personal documents. For example link to non-Amazon bought books.

The disconnect between self published and mass published will hopefully get much smaller encouraging even more to attempt self publishing.

Swap your kindle for a ton of books?

Do you love books?

Do you love books so much that you’d buy a kindle and sell your kindle for a stack of books? Yeah I thought not…

But just in-case your thinking about giving up on your kindle. Microcosm Publishing will take your bet.

I think its all stupid but to be fair Microcosm must have knew it was going to get there name in almost every news site and blog. So to be fair to them, good on them. I wonder how many people have taken up there offer. Although I think the swap is for new books, so its hardly cost effective but then again a 2nd hand kindle can’t be worth that much, can it?

Its also worth noting that Amazon ebooks outsold Hardbooks

E-books have hit a significant milestone. In each of the last three months, Amazon reports that sales of books for Kindle have outpaced the sale of hardcover books, and that growth is only accelerating.

…and Paperbacks just recently

The ebook revolution has swept past two more milestones in its ferocious advance upon the bastions of literary culture. As the Man Booker prize embraces the digital era, the online retail giant Amazon has announced that sales of Kindle editions have overtaken paperbacks in the US.

The future of publishing is writable

Newsweek book are not dead bezos

Imran posted a link on his facebook wall.

The future of publishing is writable, Trends of smaller, easier, and more personal content signal a shift away from read-only publishing.

There are three convergence trends in publishing that are already apparent.

One clear long-term trend is that smaller pieces of information are being published. Considering just modern digital forms of publishing, there is a roughly chronological progression toward smaller publications: emails, Usenet postings, web pages, blog posts, blog comments, tweets, tags.

A second trend is a reduction in friction. As access to easy-to-use and inexpensive publishing technology increases, it becomes economically feasible to publish smaller and less valuable pieces of content. We have reached the point where anyone with access to the Internet can easily and cheaply publish trivial, tiny pieces of information — even single words.

The third trend is the rise of publishing personal information. Our inescapable sociability is driving us to shape the Internet into a mechanism for publishing information about ourselves.

These three trends — smaller, easier, more personal — provide a framework to examine the development of online information publishing.

Absolutely…

In a session at BarCampManchester4 titled Ebooks, I was invited to talk about my Kindle ebook reader. I said I have never bought a book from the Amazon Kindle store and may never do.

So the obvious thing people thought was that I download ebooks from questionable sources. But in actual fact most of my ebook collection is either creative commons licensed ebooks such as cory doctorow’s books or there self published content formed from scraping websites using the much loved calibre and its scripts. Its scripts work with everything from standard sites, google reader, instapaper, readitlater, etc, etc.

I’m not saying I’m a self publisher but if you do look at the percentage of ebooks I’ve made/republished compared to the ones I’ve bought or downloaded. Its clear going by my own habits is we going towards a writable, self publishing future.

Inception on Triple play, buy or not buy?

Inception

So everyone knows I loved Inception but as it moves out of the cinema, I had a problem. A problem which will effect more and more people in the future. (This is certainly early adopter tertiary I admit)

On the 6th December Inception hits the shops on blu ray and dvd.

But I don’t own a blu-ray drive, neither do any of my friends and I either really want the dvd because its too low quality. I would like to contribute to the director and the actors in the film by buying a copy but I don’t want to own a copy on physical media. I usually do buy a copy of my favorite films on dvd so I can share them with friends who don’t have a decent home cinema setup like mine.

However I’m somewhat happy to hear Inception will come out on Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) My worry is that there is little information on what the digital copy is…?

Ideally I’d like it to be a drm less Hd MKV or H.264 formatted file which I can play on my XBMC and Boxee home entertainment system. It sounds like going on the Iron man 2 triple play

Contains a digital copy of the feature and the feature in standard-definition

…That it will be a standard definition and still a drm’ed affair. What a shame if it is.

I actually quite like the idea of a triple play disc (I actually don’t mind paying extra for them too) if the media takes advantage of what the pirates have perfected for almost a decade now.

No worries, I expect I’ll buy the disc and take it as fair game to rip the Blu-ray into a format which makes sense for me. Now if we can get the publishing industry to something similar this with ebooks and physical books…

The Kindle3 has everything I asked for…

Sony PRS600 vs Amazon Kindle 3

I’m going to sell my old Sony PRS-600 Ebook Reader for the Amazon Kindle 3. But why?

Well it kind of centres on a blog post I wrote a while ago when the iPad was unveiled to the world. In the blog post I touch on points which would make my perfect ereader. 2 of the main points are,

  • Add Bluetooth for file transfer, dialup, networking, etc.
  • Run an open operating system like a cleverly crafted Andriod on it
  • Add accelerometers, proximity sensors and some haptic feedback
  • Wireless 802.11b/g

Well although not all my requirements are met, the Kindle3 does have wireless and a operating system to support (as such) 3rd party apps.

Android would be great to have on there with a open marketplace so people can really develop for it. I don’t know if Android would work on a e-ink screen but you could imagine it wouldn’t take much to build a custom build just for E-ink screens. Bluetooth, Wifi and Accelerometers would open up a whole bunch of applications which the ipad has demonstrated. But the smaller screen would be much more mobile and friendly.

I assumed slightly wrongly that you would need android to have the ability to add apps, but actually Amazon have decided to go with there own OS and App platform. This might be a good idea because you don’t want apps made for a Lcd mixed up with the eink ones. Its also a good idea if developers are thinking about eink instead of building for Lcd and just converting down to eink. Battery life under ink is amazing, but I’d hate to see that going because some app took liberties with the eink technology. Kindle apps are certainly a new area with a fruitful future. I can think of some clever apps you could build with the eink screen.

I thought good and hard about swapping to the Kindle, specially with the 1984 uproar. But to be frank, I’ve never bought a ebook and won’t really be affected by this thing. I would have also perfected a open market place like Android but its the start, so who knows what may happen…

I also downloaded the kindle app on my android phone in preparation for my new Kindle (which has been ordered but I’m still waiting for stock). In the meantime I’m selling my lovely Sony PRS-600, so if anyone is interested drop me a message.

There is something about E-ink which is changing the way I read

Ereading from the beach

I no longer like to read on my LCD screen. Its just not the same.

Eink is lovely to read on and for me changing the widths of text is still a dream come true. Its really changing the way I read and I can’t help but pull it out when I got a spare moment or two. What I’ve also got setup is the regular morning syncing. Every morning when I wake up there is a selection of news from places like ars techinca, the guardian, etc on the device ready to be consumed. I then also have it setup so that if that book goes out of date by 7 days, it will be removed from the device automatically. Its all down to a great piece of software called Calibre.

I do kind of wish the Sony Ereader did have wifi or at least bluetooth so it could remotely do what Calibre does but to be fair its not a big deal leaving the ereader synced over night, just a bit pointless because the battery life is weeks at a time.

I’ve got Google Reader working with Calibre but the documents it creates are so big, navigating them on the Sony Ereader is painful. I either need to modify the script so it creates smaller chunks of my whole Google reader account or sort out the massive amount of stuff I don’t read on the account. Maybe a bit of both sounds right. Another reason for the wireless would be to tell Google that I’ve just read a article so I don’t have to read it again on my laptop, but with no actual API for that on Google Reader and no wireless on the Ereader, I guess I’m double out of luck.

Lastly a bit of colour and speed would be great. I’m not suggest the same as LCD or even OLED, in actual fact eink is great but I like the idea of colour eink even better.

Like Instapaper, love ReaditLater

I was enjoying instapaper because it just works but then I checked out Readitlater which someone wrote a nice script in Calibre (if you have a ebook readder and are not using this, you should be) for. And I’m converted. Its not as casual but with things like the firefox plugin, its certainly a much richer experience and works how I tend to work. There API could also be very useful for my plans to do with semantic desktop logging or even to move things into a archive space like delicious.