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Dear Author

Friday Midday Links: It’s All About the Ebook Reader

First, Microsoft has little interest in the ebook world. CEO Steve Ballmer thinks that the best gear to use to read an ebook is the PC.


The Times has an article on the numerous ebook readers that are on or soon to enter the market and notes at the end that the tablet computers might threaten the dedicated reading device market.

And there’s the looming threat posed by next-generation tablet computers. Apple, the king of cool handheld devices, is rumored to be readying a tablet computer with all the functions of a laptop as well as iPhone-like touch capabilities for release early next year. Microsoft has been secretive about its plans for a tablet, but a video making the rounds of the blogosphere show a dual-LCD-screen prototype that closes like a book. “E-readers are a transitional technology,” says Rotman Epps of Forrester Research. Which means that just when the e-reader is taking off, it may be becoming obsolete.


The publisher of Winnie the Pooh has agreed to allow Winnie the Pooh and other children’s classics to be digitized. The deal was struck with Nintendo and the companies plan to launch a digital Winnie the Pooh for Nintendo DS.

However, the Danish publisher now faces its biggest challenge yet as it attempts to move into the digital age. While there will “always be a market for traditional books and magazines”, according to Mr McMenemy, he says the children’s publishing industry needs to better embrace digital methods. The group will today announce one of its most significant digital deals yet: an agreement – which it says also involves Penguin -with EA Games to create ebooks for children for use on the Nintendo DS games console.


Kristen Nelson reports that she is seeing huge increases in ebook sales on the royalty statements of her authors. Where she used to see 50 copies, she is now seeing 500 to 1,000 copies of ebooks sold. She refers to it a “tectonic shift.” Hopefully RWA will be providing digital publishing and digital promotion panels for next year’s RWA.


Jeff Bezos is claiming that sales of Kindle books is creeping even higher.

As proof of the way that the Kindle has changed reader habits, Bezos brings up an amazing statistic. Earlier this year, he startled people by revealing that of books available on both Kindle and paper versions, 35 percent of copies sold by Amazon were Kindle versions. Now, he says, the number is up to 48 percent. This means that a lot of people have bought Kindles (Amazon won’t reveal the figures) and that Kindle owners buy a lot of books.


COOL-er eBook Reader is bringing a wireless device to the market and plans to partner with QVC to offer one over its home shopping network. COOL-er is the company that employs Booth Babes to sell its devices. I wonder if that will carry over to QVC.


Barnes and Noble is not content to rely on iRex to provide an ebook reader for Barnes and Noble customers. Instead, it will offer its own device. They intend to roll out a different device to consumers in time for the holiday.

The eReader will reportedly have a 6-inch touchscreen with a virtual keyboard, contrasting it immediately with the Kindle’s physical buttons and QWERTY input system. The WSJ claims the screen will be E-Ink, but a Barnes & Noble representative in the video below told us explicitly that the screen will be in color, unlike the Kindle. A color screen makes it very unlikely the reader will be E-Ink based, and much more likely to be an LCD or even OLED device.

Others claim that the Barnes and Noble device won’t come out until next Spring. Who knows!\


Richard Cleland is probably tired of fielding complaints from bloggers because in his most recent statements he explicitly excludes bloggers from enforcement of the regulations.

If people think that the FTC is going to issue them a citation for $11,000 because they failed to disclose that they got a free box of Pampers,” Cleland says, “that’s not true.”

“We have never brought a case against a consumer endorser and we’ve never brought a case against somebody simply for failure to disclose a material connection,” he explains. “Where we have brought cases, there are other issues involved, not only failing to disclose a material connection but also making other misrepresentations about a product, a serious product like a health product or something like that. We have brought those cases but not against the consumer endorser, we have brought those cases against the advertiser that was behind it.”

I wish the regulations would have excluded blogger liability if the FTC had no intention of enforcing the rules against us. I’ll still be disclaiming.

Dear Author

Weekly Tech Roundup

NPR Debates Google v Amazon. Powells thinks that Google will help to include more resellers in the digital market. My feeling? The more intermediaries, the greater the price. (Thanks Lucinda Betts). wonders how many books stand up to the first chapter read that Amazon’s Kindle offers. Given the number of books that I try to read but can’t make it past the first three chapters, I am guessing not many.

Bringham Young is starting a pilot program of digital lending by allowing patrons to check out one of 3 Kindle readers. I’m not sure what books will be available digitally for those individuals to read but the article suggests books not obtainable through Interlibrary Loan (will those even be digitized?)

ASUS’s netbook tablet is coming stateside. The mini pc / net book is a booming part of the computer industry and ASUS is one of the leaders. The 7″ netbook offers a swivel screen that is touch sensitive. If ASUS puts out a 10″ one, I’m ready to jump ship. Speaking of ASUS, apparently it has an ereader ready to go but can’t work out the content details yet.

COOL-er ebook company hints at a sub $300 ebook reader coming this fall. (I call COOL-er clueless. Have you taken a look at their epub store? It’s almost impossible to navigate).