Welcome to another week in Publishing, the Industry that keeps on giving.
OED 3 Won’t Be Online Online Only, Maybe: Oxford UP has responded to dispel rumors that the 3rd edition of of the OED will be online-only. According to the press, the dictionary won’t be ready for a decade, and the press will decide on format at that time.
E-books Go to Jail: A prison librarian discusses the potential for e-books in prison settings. From Corrections.com.
Green Kindle: How many print books does your Kindle have to replace before you’re doing something useful for the environment? From ecogeek.
Over the last couple of weeks BOA Editions–publishers of both fiction and poetry–have started appearing in the iBookstore. BOA is using services provided by its distributor, Consortium (via Perseus), to set up and publish on a couple of digital platforms–iBooks and Kindle for now.
Poetry publishers are just getting into e-books–Penguin does a few poetry e-books, as does Norton, Yale, and a few others, but many of the indies are just getting started. It seems to me that this is going to be a great avenue for poetry, which makes very little to no money, often functions on a nonprofit basis, and has a large portion of its readership–students–without much money.
BOA editor Peter Conners expresses concern to me about not being able to control exactly how the book appears on screen–whether line breaks in poems be preserved properly is one burning question–but says it’s worth the risk so the press can keep up with the changes in publishing.
So, poetry publishers, it’s time to follow BOA’s lead if you haven’t started with e-books already!
Now, a disclosure–BOA Editions is my publisher, which is why I have the skinny on this news. My book, a collection of stories called Cradle Book, was among the first BOA titles to be published in the Kindle store last Spring, and now it’s up in iBooks too.
I’m assuming I’m not alone in this wish, but, basically, if I could get paid to be an English major for the rest of my life, I’d be pretty happy. I mean who wouldn’t love reading, and then listening to brilliant people explain said reading, day-in/day-out. (Choosing to have no responsibilities before 11 am wouldn’t be horrible, either.)
On that note, I got an enjoyable dose of my lecture-loving college days from this awesome blog post by author Frederick Reiken on The Book Lady’s Blog. Reiken is the author of the novel Day for Night (which I have not read) and he also teaches a class about novels that play with time. The post is essentially a mini-lecture on time manipulation in literature. A snippet: “What a conventional story-oriented narrative usually employs is a literary application of the temporal construct known as ‘block time’ or a ‘block universe’ – in which time is envisioned spatially, as if it were a four-dimensional space-time map. That’s why we accept, without hesitation, the simple literary technique of a flashback.”
Reiken offers up a nifty list of novels that muck with the time-space continuum to great effect, including Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad and Charles Baxter’s First Light. As for me, I’d cautiously add Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods to the list. It sort of fits in this category. Instead of using flashbacks to flesh out the complex protagonist of the novel, John Wade (a Vietnam vet turned failed politician who may or may not be involved in the disappearance of his wife), O’Brien uses “evidence chapters” in which people from Wade’s life offer stories about him. The device is so effective because the reader becomes the investigator in the overarching search for who Wade is, a search which rightly includes input from anyone who’s ever crossed his path.
Anyway, check out Reiken’s list, tell us some of your favorites…
With the news that Apple has added ePub support to its Pages word processor–meaning you can instantly convert your documents to ePub format–we thought we’d point you to another resource to help you publish your book in Apple’s iBookstore. So here’s a handy guide to publishing on iBooks by blogger Greg Mills (via TUAW). It’s a bit of a tedious process, and you need to register for an ISBN beforehand, but if you’ve got an updated copy of iWork, you can skip the step involving using Calibre to convert your file (though if you’re an e-book person, you should probably download Calibre–it comes in handy, but more on that at another time).
Just to show you that the debate raging below–between multi-purpose and purpose-built e-reading devices–is raging everywhere, here’s NYT tech columnist David Pogue’s weekly video, which is a silly comparison between the Kindle 3 and the iPad. Most interestingly, Pogue says that to pit these two against each other is to compare completely different product categories, like comparing “a magazine to a shock absorber.” True? What do you think?
Yesterday, we asked you whether you preferred multi-purpose or purpose-built e-readers. Well, the results are in–as you can see from the poorly created pie-chart above, the largest percentage of commentors on yesterday’s post prefer a purpose built device–Kindle, Nook, and the Alex were some of the readers mentioned–to the multi-purpose iPad and mobile devices like iPhone and Android phones.
To be fair, only 11 people commented, and two of them were this blogger, so these results may not be representative of the e-reading pubic. But aren’t some of you surprised that so many people prefer E-Ink devices? It’ll be interesting to see the answers to the same question a year from now.
But now here’s another question: why do so many people prefer dedicated devices? Is it the price? The screen? The fact that Kindle has a head start over iPad?
Wattpad, the e-book social network, has just released its Q2 Metrics Report, which surveys trends in e-reading in terms of how they impact Wattpad. Perhaps the most interesting and widely applicable finding in the report is the fact that users prefer multi-purpose devices to purpose-built e-readers.
According to Wattpad CTO, “Six to twelve months ago, people only thought about the major ereader offerings and the iPhone. But in the last quarter we’ve seen incredible growth in the usage of iPads and Android tablets, as well as netbooks and other mobile devices. I expect this trend to continue. EBooks that are only available on one device or in one format will be missing out on many fast growing segments of the market.”