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eBook Technology Links of the Week

I've been neglectful of the industry news section because my work schedule has been tough. (I know, no excuses).  Here are some ebook Tech links of the week.

  • AT&T and Asus team up to provide $99 netbook with 2 year service contract and $60 per month data plan.  I pay around $40 for my data plan so that seems a bit pricey.  That said, I just got done traveling for three days across the country with my netbook and my aircard and I'll never go back to the big laptop again.
  • Lifehacker has it's most popular how-to features of 2008  such as how to turn your PC into a DVD ripping machine (which you'll need to know if you get a netbook because netbooks have no internal DVD drive) and how to protect your privacy while downloading and recovering deleted files with free software (for all those authors whose manuscripts suffered an accidental deletion).
  • The Algonquin Hotel is advertising free Kindles during your stay at the hotel.  It comes preloaded with books but they'll supposedly download whatever title you want.  Maybe the Algonquin doesn't realize that not all books are in eformat yet.
  • Google Booksearch has expanded to include magazines which is really great for researching papers.  Why didn't this exist when I was in school?  If magazines are selling articles in out of print issues for even a $1.00 they are making cash out of nothing.  Smart move.  
  • Amazon isn't restocking Kindles for the Holidays and some believe that they won't restock until February when Kindle's hideous new brother with the bubble button keyboard will be released.  Amazon, please, hire some designers.  How crap looks actually matters to your consumers.  
  • Lots of people were unhappy with Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio's Nobel Prize acceptance speech (some because he misidentified which book went with what book he cited; afterall, couldn't he do some fact checking), but the ebookies are up in arms  because Le Clezio's answer to third world literacy problems is more printed books because tech books are too . . .complicated? for third world peeps.  Considering my daughter has been able to do simple tasks on my iphone since she was three, I'm guessing that third world kids could master opening a computer program and reading a book on a digital device.
  • Nintendo is publishing ebooks on the DS in partnership with HarperCollins. The cartridge will cost $30 and will feature classics.  Wow, could there be an idea set up for greater fail than selling Charles Dickens and Jane Austen books with 8-14 year olds who get Nintendo DS to play Super Mario and watch an electronic pet grow?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

5 Comments

  1. DS
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 14:24:27

    I thought the DS might be a good idea for kids who are assigned reading lists of classics and would otherwise have to buy them from a bookstore– , but have to agree it didn’t sound like a very good idea. Reminds me a bit of when I was trying to decide on an eBook reader and Sony tried to entice me with 100 public domain books.

  2. Anne Douglas
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 15:38:51

    Any possible venue of getting kids to read books is a good plan to me… although I might not have gone with those classics. Kids classics aimed at 8-14, that would be a diff story.

    The DS screen size isn’t that different than a PDA, and the options that I’ve seen for reading books on a DS rotate the format so you can hold the DS just like a book with two facing pages.

    Personally, I’d be all over getting kid content reading for the DS. The damn thing goes with us everywhere anyway, why not have books on it, too?

    First step reading books on the DS, next stop a Kindle or Sony when they get bigger :)

  3. BevQB
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 21:14:09

    Nintendo is publishing ebooks on the DS… Wow, could there be an idea set up for greater fail

    Meanwhile, Apple shills the iPhone and iTouch as DS/PSP type gaming devices.

    And Sony previews a device that has nearly everything we could want in an ereader except for one thing– it doesn’t have ereader software on it.

    And Astak is STILL excited by their “upcoming” end of November (2008!) release of the Hanlin V3 with the Astak “Americanized easy-to-remember”, EZ Reader name on it.

    So, speaking of FAIL, let’s start singing the “One of these things is not like the others…” song. Because, seriously, there’s only one idea there that I think has a chance of being in any way succesful.

  4. E
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 22:38:04

    Google Booksearch has expanded to include magazines which is really great for researching papers. Why didn’t this exist when I was in school? If magazines are selling articles in out of print issues for even a $1.00 they are making cash out of nothing. Smart move.

    Ok, as an academic librarian this comment is making me grit my teeth. As much as I love google, it is not the only place to go for research. And kids in school now should have access to databases that provide this info, only specialized for their particular subject, along with controlled vocabulary, keywords and advanced searching. Oh and hopefully a librarian to help them find what they need.

    I attempted searching google’s magazine search and just got frustrated because of the lack of advanced searching. Plus, the results were from mostly popular magazines. And though a search for Obama did bring up an article in the Journal of African American Studies, you CAN’T access the full text from google.

    But I bet a good librarian could tell you where.

  5. Danielle
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 06:55:57

    The cartridge will cost $30 and will feature classics. Wow, could there be an idea set up for greater fail than selling Charles Dickens and Jane Austen books with 8-14 year olds who get Nintendo DS to play Super Mario and watch an electronic pet grow?

    Well, children aren’t the only people who own a DS. I have one, and I’ve seen other commuters with them on the train. And given that 80 million DSes have sold, and the cost to produce the eBook cartridge isn’t that high (you don’t have to pay the author when publishing classics like Austen), they probably don’t have to move many book-cartridges to make the venture profitable.* I’d say the idea isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It will be interesting to find out!

    (Also at 14 I had read Mansfield Park on vacation and was looking forward to studying Pride and Prejudice in a few years at school, although I will admit to being atypical in this respect. *g*)

    *And compared to the cost of developing a game, which takes a lot of manpower and hours to make, you can see the appeal of converting existing text and putting it on a cartridge.

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