What would T.S. Eliot say if he saw the image above? Perhaps “Summer surprised us,” as he does on the first page of his famous poem “The Waste Land.” This budding summer is indeed a surprising one for Eliot’s most famous poem, which was recently turned into an interactive iOS app by the developers at Touch Press.
This week, it is not only Apple’s iPad App of the Week, but, according to eBookNewser, is among this week’s top grossing apps.
For $13.99, you get a good deal more than the text of the poem (which is a great value on its own at any price): you also get a video of a theatrical reading of the poem by Fiona Shaw, as well as recordings of Eliot, Ted Hughes and Viggo Mortensen. Plus there are interactive drafts and other cool enhancements so readers can see how the poem was composed.
It’s a strange, and perhaps exciting, fate for one of the 20th Century’s grimmest, and most important, pieces of literature. Eliot himself was an editor at Faber, so you can bet he would have been hopeful, in this publishing economy, about new revenue sources for books.
And if that’s not enough poetry news for one week, John Ashbery’s on the cover of the NYTBR for a review his new translation of Rambaud’s Illuminations.
iCloud will sync e-books from iBooks across all of a consumer's Apple divices
Today Apple unveiled its much-anticipated iCloud service, set to debut this fall along with the next iteration of its iOS iPhone operating system. iCloud is a digital media locker on steroids, syncing all of users digital content, especially the contend bought from Apple–music, e-books, apps, documents, even user-created photos–to all of a users different Apple devices. All of this content is stored in the cloud, available for re-downloading at any time. For the full story, check out Engadget’s extensive coverage of the announcement event, during which Apple also announced 130 million e-books have been downloaded from the iBookstore, though that figure includes both paid and free e-books.
This is big news on many fronts, especially for the music industry, which has been resistant to this kind of buy-once-play-anywhere access until now, but it certainly beefs up what iBooks has to offer, too. One of the features of iCloud will be automated back-up and syncing of all purchased content between devices, so that means if you buy and e-book on your iPad, it will also pop up on your iPhone the next time you open iBooks there.
Consumers will increasingly expect their digital content to be available on any device they happen to be holding, and that may be the biggest implication of Apple’s iCloud, spurring other content vendors to make digital goods–music, books, whatever–available across devices lest they be left behind. This is also what Amazon is after with the forthcoming Kindle for the Web and the recently unveiled Amazon Cloud Player.
The Main Point:
Buying digital media no longer means buying a single download of a file. Now it means buying perpetual access.
Update: It turns out Apple won’t have a booth at BEA, but will instead be there to speak with publishers in private, according to TUAW.
According to TUAW, Apple is will have a booth at BEA next week, extremely surprising news given Apple’s general secrecy and its typical avoidance of trade shows in recent years. According to TUAW, different sources speculate Apple will be there merely to promote iBooks, or, more interestingly, to announce some kind of promotion tied in with the 10th anniversary of its retail stores (which seems unlikely, given that iBooks is digital and the retail stores are brick-and-mortar. Either way, look out for Apple’s booth (where surely there’ll be a couple of iPads to play with) somewhere near Random House, Disney and Macmillan.
One Screen Problem: The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports on the Bookseller‘s reporting on the World e-Reading Congress, where publishers expressed concern that books on tablets are competing with too many other tablet-based distractions.