Shortcovers changed their name to Kobo. It’s usually a bad move to completely change names, but this might help them compete with Stanza (I admit to having both apps on my Touch but very rarely accessing Shortcovers; I always go to my Stanza reads first) and widen their appeal across other mobile app groups.
Except they don’t seem to have changed overly much and the first time I tried to read a book preview-and-purchase, I got the dreaded geographical-restriction message. Sorry, author of Inside a Dog, I would have bought your book for $9.99 off Kobo just to try them out, but I wasn’t allowed and that’s irritated me so much I’m not going to go find you at the print bookstore (I’ll read you at the library instead). Is this a publisher-failed-to-secure-worldwide-digital-rights issue or an Australian-restrictions-on-parallel-imports issue? It certainly seems to affect Australians an awful lot.
Semi-related, Borders gets its act together to offer ebooks, partnered in some fashion with Kobo. Let’s all hope they won’t come up with yet another format.
The Independent lists its heroes and villains of the literary world. They mean actual people/entities, not fictional characters…as you would expect, Google and Amazon make both lists.
The Australian Publishers Association are calling for submission for their 2010 Book Design Awards – for Australian books published this year. What are your favourite cover designs from this year’s reading?
I notice on the APA website that they are advertising a symposium called “The Digital Revolution: Publishing in the 21st Century”. In 2010. About 10 years into the 21st Century. And definitely a little slow on the old digital revolution. That question I just asked, about why Australians keep getting thwarted in their ebook access? I’m now guessing it’s because Australian publishers often hold the Australian digital rights (why, why, why sell digital rights regionally, especially to a country like Australia which has no dedicated ebook store? What possible justification is there for making an electronic downloadable product available (or not) by region?*) and they’re still holding symposiums to work out what to do with them.
NSW State Library have released a report about scenarios for their public libraries in 20 years [pdf]. This is actually a really well laid-out and interesting report.
Arstechnica Weird Science says:
Give some physicists a collection of classical literature, and what do you get? If the New Journal of Physics is to be believed, a discussion of Zipf’s law, Heap’s law, and phrases like “The estimated γ values are consistent with a monotonic decrease from 2 to 1 with increasing text length.” The gist of the matter seems to be that authors introduce new words into their works with a frequency that remains stable across all of their output, regardless of how their subject matter or styles change over the course of their literary development.
*Yes, I know it protects local publishers in the same way the parallel import restrictions are meant to. For those who aren’t aware: the right to publish printed book is leased off the author on a region-by-region basis, which gives the publishers in each region the ability to cash in on the big sellers, as opposed to one publisher in one region getting all the dough. This in turn lets them support the vast majority of authors who do not make the bestseller list. The same logic applies to electronic books: if the first publisher of a book is able to snatch up worldwide digital rights, they get all the profit from the ebook sales – not a huge problem now, but will become a problem as the ebook market grows. However, this traditional approach is not useful for readers in countries like Australia who are being shut out of the ebook market because the local publishers are apparently failing to act on electronic rights, nor does it help the authors who are losing out on international ebook sales.