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Friday News: Kobo nixes tablets, grammar rules you can forget, libraries and Adobe ADE, and Agatha Christie’s jewels

Friday News: Kobo nixes tablets, grammar rules you can forget, libraries...

Tamblyn added that its “most valuable customer for us is the customer who reads on e-ink devices and tablets. They are worth 23% more to us in terms of sales”. . . .

Douglas McCabe, analyst with Enders Analysis based in London, said that Kobo needed to acquire exclusive content to be competitive in the e-reading market. “Kobo has to establish itself as the niche e-reader competitor to Amazon’s Kindle,” he said. “The tablet market has too many very successful players—Apple, Samsung, Sony, Google, Tesco, Amazon itself. Kobo is lost on that battlefield.” –The Bookseller

Classic style makes writing, which is necessarily artificial, as artificially natural as possible, if you’d pardon the oxymoron. That is, you’re not physically with someone when you write. You’re not literally having a conversation with them, but classic style simulates those experiences and so it takes an inherently artificial situation, namely writing, and it simulates a more natural interaction, the more natural interaction being (a) conversation (b) seeing the world. So two people in the same place, one of whom directs the other’s attention to something in the world, is a natural way in which two people interact and classic style simulates that. –New Republic

Librarians who have ebook collections need to inform their patrons right now that if they are using the latest Adobe Digital Editions software, their reading history, including ebooks they didn’t borrow from the library, belongs to Adobe and anyone else who’s watching. (See how librarians at Ryerson responded within 24 hours.) Next, they have to figure out what steps to take to fix the problem.Beyond that, we all need to have a serious conversation of whether our devotion to privacy is merely lip service, an old-fashioned hang-up we have decided doesn’t matter anymore and should scrub from the American Library Association website, or whether we will actually, you know, stand up for it. Because right now, that’s not happening. –Inside Higher Ed

Four years after buying the trunk, Mrs Grant had builders in and wrenched open the box with a crowbar.

Inside she found a purse of gold coins, a diamond brooch and a three-stone diamond ring, items that are mentioned in Agatha Christie’s biography as pieces earmarked for her and her sister Madge. –BBC

Wednesday News: The Adobe Digital WTF Edition

Wednesday News: The Adobe Digital WTF Edition

Digital Editions (DE) has been used by many public libraries as a recommended application for patrons wanting to borrow electronic books (particularly with the Overdrive e-book lending system), because it can enforce digital rights management rules on how long a book may be read for. But DE also reports back data on e-books that have been purchased or self-published. Those logs are transmitted over an unencrypted HTTP connection back to a server at Adobe—a server with the Domain Name Service hostname “adelogs.adobe.com”—as an unencrypted file (the data format of which appears to be JSON).

The behavior is part of Adobe’s way of managing access to e-books borrowed from a library or “lent” by other users through online bookstores supporting the EPUB book format, such as Barnes & Noble. If you’ve “activated” Digital Editions with an Adobe ID, it uses that information to determine whether a book has been “locked” on another device using the same ID to read it or if the loan has expired. If the reader isn’t activated, it uses an anonymous unique ID code generated for each DE installation. –Ars Technica

Reached for comment, Adobe confirms that those data gathering practices are indeed in place. “Adobe Digital Editions allows users to view and manage eBooks and other digital publications across their preferred reading devices—whether they purchase or borrow them,” Adobe said in a statement this afternoon. The statement continues:

“All information collected from the user is collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers. Additionally, this information is solely collected for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy.” –Digital Book World

I have followed up on this story and looked into the earlier versions of Digital Editions, just to see how long Adobe may have been spying on users. After testing DE2 and DE3 I can report, and others can confirm, that neither app appears to be tracking my reading habits nor uploading details about my ebook library.

The older apps do send some information to Adobe, but the data packet is small enough that it can’t hold much more than info required to authorize the DRM. So if you need one of Adobe’s apps, you do have safer options than DE4. –The Digital Reader