Saturday, May 29, 2010

Penguin Publishing's hostility to e-book readers

Now that Amazon and Penguin have "settled," what is is they have settled for? Penguin is pricing some e-books way too high for most of us to buy them. For instance, the 3-year old Ken Follett book, World without End is $17.99. I am certainly glad that I bought the Kindle edition when it was $9.99. Two of Ayn Rand's books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are $27.99 for the e-book, not that I want to read Ayn Rand anyway, but many do.

Tom Weldon, deputy chief executive of Penguin, said in the Financial Times: “The only way to fight piracy is to publish digital content across as many formats as possible, through as many channels, at a fair price. If we go for exclusive or proprietary formats, we’re completely screwed.”

So, Tom, what's up with that fair price in regard to the above books? Is this what we can expect in the future from Penguin? If so, it is pretty evident that Penguin does not want e-book readers, or plan to have fair e-book prices, but rather is trying to force us to buy their books in paper. I will buy no Penguin books in paper and only as e-books if the prices are reasonable. I do have an excellent public library from which I can borrow these books, if I need to. I've already put in a pre-reservation at the library for Fall of Giants, the first book in Ken Follett's new series, due out September 28th and unfortunately published by Penguin. I do want to read this as an e-book and hope that the price will be reasonable enough for me to do so, but in the meantime am hedging my bets.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Penguin is worried about piracy. What?

From a Financial Times article published on May 20, 2010:

Tom Weldon, deputy chief executive of Penguin (part of Pearson, which owns the Financial Times), said: “The only way to fight piracy is to publish digital content across as many formats as possible, through as many channels, at a fair price. If we go for exclusive or proprietary formats, we’re completely screwed.”

So then what is the hang-up between Penguin and Amazon? Does it occur to Penguin that people might be pirating Penguin books which are currently not available on their Kindles, like John Sandford's Storm Prey?

Click here for the full article. You need to be registered with them to read it. Sorry about that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kindle v. iPad: Can't we all just get along?

Ever since the announcement of the iPad, many seem to expect everyone to choose sides. If you want an iPad, you must not like your Kindle. If you have an iPad, you will not want a Kindle. If you have a Kindle, you will not want an iPad.

Hey, people, they are not the same type of device. Did Steve Jobs say it was an e-reader? No, he said you could read books on it—not the same thing, You can also watch movies and sports, get e-mail, play games and more. I am perishing for an iPad and have to wait till "late April," as Apple puts it, to get a 3G model, thus will not even be able to join the happy band of brothers and sisters on April 3rd in their delirious joy over the new toy.

On the other hand, I happily read on my Kindle and know that I will continue to do so long after I receive the iPad. To be without my Kindle for even one day would be sheer torture to me since, besides books, I read newspapers, magazines and blogs on it. One blog is the NY Times Latest News which is updated many times a day. I only care about the content and it doesn't matter that the pictures are in black and white. On the other hand, if it were National Geographic, with colored pictures, it would be best on the iPad—no contest. Technically I can read e-mail on my Kindle through the experimental web browser, but I don't, and do not know why any one would put themselves through the slow torture. E-mail is always with me on my phone and will be even better on the iPad.

Why do I love the Kindle for sustained reading? Because its e-ink screen is easy on my eyes and I literally read faster using it, possibly because it takes less time to click Next Page than it does to turn pages in a real book. Also, if the ambient light is a little dim, I can up the font size to make it easier. Backlit screens make my eyes burn after a short time, so I am unlikely to do much sustained reading on the iPad. Someone is bound to comment that a backlit screen does not bother HIS eyes. Well, good for him. I've been light sensitive all my life and it only gets worse.

The Kindle that I think is dead in the water when the iPad launches is the DX. It appears at this time that textbooks and college material in the form of pdfs will work much better on the iPad. The DX does not deal well with pdfs because it does not make them re-flowable. Since I can already re-flow a pdf on my iPhone, I know that it will be possible on the iPad.

To wrap up: my 6" Kindle and my iPad will co-exist just fine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I don't understand e-book sales restrictions

We are hearing more and more from Kindle buyers outside the US that they are unable to purchase certain e-books and are given the message on Amazon that the book is not available in your country. I have run into this many times with print books from the UK which are not available here, so I just buy them at Amazon UK and they are sent to me. If I wanted a book published in France, I assume that I could do the same from a French site. Or any other country in the free world. If I can buy a print book which has not been published in the U.S., why not an e-book? Can anyone point me to the explanation of this?