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Friday Midday Links: Spike Jonze’s Stop Motion Love Story

You can now trade in your older Kindles for Amazon credit. A quick test shows a $46-47 trade in value for the Kindle 3G with keyboard and $36 for the wi fi only version. If you wanted to get the Kindle Touch, that would reduce the cost to about $50+ Not bad.

In other big Kindle news, Amazon has announced it will be moving away from Mobi to HTML5 based ebooks.  ePub3 is based on HTML5 as well. I see that as a sign that we may be moving toward a base standard of formatting with different DRM wrappers.  This might reduce the costs of producing ebooks to only a couple of formats.  Another interesting tidbit is that Kindle Gen 2 (not yet released) will be able to convert ePub to HTML5.  If this is accurate, then I would expect Amazon to accept ePub personal documents that it will then convert to Kindle 8 format (HTML5 Kindle).

It also signals the death knell of Mobi.  It is likely that Mobi, like MS Lit, will cease to be supported by any etailers in the future.

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Imagine an industry where seventy percent of your products lose money. You knit ten different types of wool socks. Seven don’t sell enough to cover the cost of the wool, while the other three are so popular they’re capable of keeping the whole enterprise afloat. This is the basic math of book publishing, a business model that’s evolved over the course of the last couple centuries and has alternately baffled, unnerved, and outraged the long list of hugely intelligent people who have given their lives to it. The “worst business in the world,” Doubleday’s cofounder Walter Hines Page called it, and even in flush times, the refrain is usually the same.

This is the lede from Ben Tarnoff at Lapham’s Quarterly who suggests that the publishing changes forced on by the rise of digital can actually be a boon and that while traditional publishing responds slowly, it does respond and adapt and survive.

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Spike Jonze has created a stop motion film about a “skeleton from the cover of Macbeth, voiced by Jonze himself, who falls in love with Mina Harker on the cover of Dracula.” It’s really a delightful piece and incorporates elements from all kinds of classics. More about the creation here.

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

11 Comments

  1. Brie
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 13:08:38

    Will I be able to convert this new format to mobi? Because I own a Kindle 2 and since it works just fine I don’t see the need to upgrade to a newer version, unless this means that I won’t be able to get new books…

  2. Brian
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 14:07:59

    Another interesting tidbit is that Kindle Gen 2 (not yet released) will be able to convert ePub to HTML5. If this is accurate, then I would expect Amazon to accept ePub personal documents that it will then convert to Kindle 8 format (HTML5 Kindle).

    It’s possible, but the current version of KindleGen already supports ePub conversion (to Mobi) yet it’s not supported for personal documents so there’s no reason to think that will necessarily change just because KindleGen gets an upgrade. We can of course hope.

  3. lisabookworm
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 14:23:38

    What about all my current kindle books? Will they be upgraded to HTML5 to fix formatting errors, etc? Or will new HTML5 kindle editions become available and I would need to re-purchase if I wanted them?

  4. SBMary
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 14:59:26

    I called Amazon earlier today. According to them, our current Kindles will still be able to read books now and in the future. Their new format was mainly created for the Fire for better graphics so you can have pictures, etc. The new Kindles will probably have better graphics too. I wouldn’t be so quick to waste money on the new kindle unless you were going to upgrade anyway. Just wait and see.

  5. Isobel Carr
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 16:43:27

    Great. So at some point I will have to jump through hoops to convert my non-Amazon purchased mobi files so I can continue to read them. *sigh* This crap is getting OLD.

  6. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 17:02:09

    @Isobel Carr: This is why I offer my books in plain HTML as well as the others.

  7. Darlynne
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 17:54:48

    [W]hile traditional publishing responds slowly, it does respond and adapt and survive.

    Are we talking glacially or merely snail-like? Has any publisher answered a direct question about why physical books can be discounted by a retailer while digital editions of the same title cannot? Do they care that lostbooksales.com continues to grow?

    You’d think my ire would have abated by now; alas, it has not.

  8. Maria.Maria
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 19:07:26

    So, those skeletons are definitely having sex as the credits roll.

  9. Merrian
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 20:33:40

    …and there is a baby epilogue in the Spike Jonze video

  10. SBMary
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 09:59:23

    When Sony converted to ePub from BBeB they did it for you if you bought it from their store. It took awhile but you didn’t loose any books. Then again Sony picked a more universal format-epub. Sony actually made it better for its readers because ePub was already widely used. Sony also reads your PDF and rtf files too. Kindle has said they support PDF but to this day I can’t read them unless I turn my unit horizontally. I still don’t know why people don’t give the Sony reader a try instead of Kindle.

    Just so you all know I do not work for Sony. I have had a Kindle 2 then upgraded to Kindle 3 and a Sony 505 then a 900 and finally a 950. Just received an iPad 2 in September and use that for all my books. Now I feel I have the best of all worlds as I can read all formats including ADE. I believe you android users will have the best of all world too

  11. Chicklet
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 16:08:03

    I didn’t see a link to the Ben Tarnoff piece Jane mentioned, but I think I found the article at the Lapham’s Quarterly website: http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/roundtable/the-worst-business-in-the-world.php.

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