Archive of: books
The secret among those who have poked around EPUB, the open specification for ebooks, is that an .epub file is really just a website, written in XHTML, with a few special characteristics, and wrapped up. It’s wrapped up so that it is self-contained (like a book! between covers!), so that it doesn’t appear to be a website, and so that it’s harder to do the things with an ebook that one expects to be able to do with a website. EPUB is really a way to build a website without letting readers or publishers know it.
But everything exists within the EPUB spec already to make the next obvious — but frightening — step: let books live properly within the Internet, along with websites, databases, blogs, Twitter, map systems, and applications.
Hugh McGuire on the future of books and publishers as API providers.
As the publishing industry wobbles and Kindle sales jump, book romanticists cry themselves to sleep. But really, what are we shedding tears over?
We’re losing the throwaway paperback.
The airport paperback.
The beachside paperback.
We’re losing the dredge of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.
These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance.
From today (or actually from six months ago if you were sniffing around some of our new novels on the Penguin website) you can download the opening chapter (or chapters) of all Penguin’s new fiction for free. Yes, that’s right. FREE. For nothing. In pdf form – which you can print, email, view on your PC screen or a Blackberry, Palm or iPhone – these Tasters offer you the very beginnings of Penguin’s latest novels. You can get your mitts on some great stories without having to give a jumped-up calculator the keys to your bank account. It’s an entirely risk-free way to discover new authors, to read new stories (and to pass them on to your literate friends).
I’ve been quite effusive in my praise of Penguin before, but I think deservedly so. They seem to relish in experimenting with what it means to be a publisher in this day and age, and it’s a joy to watch them innovate.
The thing that limits you with Google is what you can think of to google, really. There’s some kind of personal best limitation on it, unless you get lucky and something you google throws up something you’ve never seen before. You’re still really inside some annotated version of your own head.
- William Gibson, interviewed on the Amazon Bookstore Blog
Hat tip: Boing Boing
OK, here I go. I’m going to make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board.
Most creative website I’ve seen in a long time. Well worth 5 minutes of anyone’s time, and I want to read the book now.
Hat tip: Daring Fireball.
Wow, this is great news.
Diamond Age, based on Neal Stephenson’s best-selling novel The Diamond Age: Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is a six-hour miniseries from Clooney and fellow executive producer Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions.
When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world. Stephenson will adapt his novel for the miniseries, the first time the Hugo and Nebula award winner has written for TV.
So lets see, we have the Sci-Fi channel who continue to keep me on the edge of my seat with Battlestar Galactica, George Clooney whose recent output behind the camera has been enthralling (Good Night, and Good Luck, Syriana), working with Neal Stephenson on an adaptation of one of his books (which also happens to be one of my favourites) …
… pleasedon’tfuckitup pleasedon’tfuckitup!
Hat tip: Boingboing
Now this is a stroke of genius. Penguin are starting a new series of classic books, but with plain white covers, giving everyone the opportunity to create their own design.
According to consumer research conducted on what factors matter to people when they decide whether or not to pick up a book in a bookshop, the cover design comes out as most important. So this might be the stupidest thing we’ve ever done.
These “naked” covers will be made of art quality paper and shrink wrapped to stop them getting dirty before purchase, there is also an associated gallery for people to submit their creations.
The first six to be released are:
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Magic Tales by The Brothers Grimm
- The Waves by Virginia Woolf
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Emma by Jane Austen
I’ve always had a soft spot for Penguin, I feel they’ve been a genuine innovator in publishing ever since their inception in 1935 (the history of the company is a fascinating read), and this latest idea is right up there with their best.
By a complete coincidence I’m right in the middle of The True History Of The Elephant Man, their presence in my book collection is that pervasive.
Hat tip: BoingBoing