Thursday, June 28, 2007

New eBooks about (not quite about) and inspired by earthquakes

Earthquakes have been on my mind lately – it is, after all, the 15 year anniversary of the Landers Quake; the biggest earthquake in 40 years – 7.3! I vividly remember being shaken out of bed.

So, with earthquakes on my mind, it is no surprise that I ended choosing with the following eBooks: Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen by Wilentz, Amy

This was a very fun read -- probably too much like "chick lit" for the guys in the audience -- I am willing to bet that every mother can relate to the story in this book.
Babies are wonderful but change is hard, marriage is a challenge and sometimes the best you can do survive with the help of friends and a little humor.

Now, in Jennifer Weiner's richest, wittiest, most true-to-life novel yet, this highly acclaimed storyteller brings readers a tale of romance, friendship, forgiveness, and extreme sleep deprivation, as three very different women navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood.

Rebecca Rothstein-Rabinowitz is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband, supportive friends, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim, a beautiful baby girl...and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly Day's life looks picture-perfect. But behind the doors of her largely empty apartment, she's struggling to balance work and motherhood and marriage, while entering Oliver's every move (and movement) on a spreadsheet, and dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. And Ayinde Towne is already on shaky ground, trying to live her life to the letter of a how-to guide called Baby Success, when her basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at the most vulnerable moment in her life, putting their marriage in peril -- and their new family even more in the public eye.
Then there's Lia Frederick, a Philadelphia native who has just come home, leaving Los Angeles behind, along with her glamorous Hollywood career, her husband, and a tragic secret, to start her life all over again. With her trademark warmth and humor, Weiner tells the story of what happens after happily ever after...and how an eight-pound bundle of joy can shake up every woman's sense of herself in the world around her. From prenatal yoga to postbirth sex, from sisters and husbands to mothers and mothers-in-law, Little Earthquakes is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive Diaper Genie-eye view of the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage. "

I totally recommend this book. Lots of fun!

The juxtaposition of Earthquakes and Schwarzenegger grabbed my attention. I’m a native Californian; we do earthquakes. Obviously, this is a book written by “one of them-there fr'reigners”. It's always amusing to see how others view us.

Past California governors include an almost-Jesuit, an actor, a Supreme Court Justice in waiting and at least one certified crook. We once had “Slick” Willie Brown as Speaker of the House. All infinitely more strange than an Austrian bodybuilder.

The official synopsis should have said:
---- Warning: East Coast Snob Disses all things Californian ----
What it says instead is:

From Amy Wilentz, comes an irreverent, inventive portrait of the state of California and its unlikely governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a lifelong easterner and an outsider in the West she takes the reader on a picaresque journey from exclusive Hollywood soirees to a fantasy city in the Mojave desert, from the La Brea Tar Pits to celebrity-besotted Sacramento, from the tents of Skid Row to surf-drunk Malibu, from a snowbird retreat near Mexico to the hippie preserve of tide-beaten Big Sur, along the way offering up sharp observations on politics, fund-raising, the water supply, the Beach Boys, earthquake preparedness, home economics, catastrophism, movie-star politicians, political movie stars, Charlie Manson, and location scouts who want to rent your house in order to make television commercials for bathroom wall cleansers or Swedish banks.

Wilentz moved to Los Angeles from a Manhattan wounded by September 11, only to discover a paradise marred by fire, flood, and mudslides. In what seemed like a joke to her, a Democratic governor nicknamed Gumby was about to be ousted by an Austrian muscleman in a bizarre election promoted by a millionaire whose business was car alarms. Intrigued, she set out to find the essence of the quirky, trailblazing state. During her travels, she spots celebrities but can't quite place them, drops in on famous salons with habitués like Warren Beatty and Ariana Huffington, and visits the neglected office of one very special 9,000-year-old woman.

Plunging into the traffic of California, Wilentz noodles out meaning in some of the least likely of places; she sees the political in the personal and the personal in the political. By now an expert on tremors real and imagined, she offers readers on both coasts insights into where California stands today, and America as well.

Sounded pretty good; so and why not? I'm always up for a little wit and sarcasm.

Unfortunately I did not find it witty. There were little pieces that were amusing, but mainly it is a dull, mean spirited and incredibly repetitive rant on everything wrong with California and everyone she has ever met here.

The title is great; the book -- not so much.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

10% off This Week’s Most Requested eBooks

ebook logo These are the most requested books at eBooks About Everyhing this week. We are offering them to you at a great discount -- subscribe to our RSS feed to see all of our weekly specials.

Use Coupon Code Z6G2 at checkout

eBook cover
Manual (eBook Edition)
by: Santagati, Steve
“Steve Santagati has done it again! He brilliantly shares the secrets men don't want women to know about them. It's like having a cool, best guy friend in your back pocket. This book is a MUST have for any woman who wants to know how men think, and, more importantly, have the upper hand in winning over the man of their dreams.” —Dr. Robi Ludwig, author, psychological commentator, and host of TLC's One Week to Save Your Marriage
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Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $0.81 in eBook Reward points)
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Harm (eBook Edition)
by: Aldiss, Brian W.
A hard-hitting view of the global war on terror in this cautionary tale of the near future from a prize winning author at his peak. Notice the parrellels to George Orwell
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Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $0.81 in eBook Reward points)
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Mass Effect (eBook Edition)
by: Karpyshyn, Drew
On the edge of colonized space, ship commander and Alliance war hero David Anderson investigates the remains of a top secret military research station; smoking ruins littered with bodies and unanswered questions. Who attacked this post and for what purpose? And where is Kahlee Sanders, the young scientist who mysteriously vanished from the base–hours before her colleagues were slaughtered?
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Your price $5.94 (Using your 10% discount and $0.31 in eBook Reward points)
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60 Days & Counting (eBook Edition)
by: Robinson, Kim Stanley
In a world where time is running out as quickly as its natural resources, where surveillance is almost total and freedom nearly nonexistent, the forecast for the Chase administration looks darker each passing day. For as the last–and most terrible–of natural disasters looms on the horizon, it will take a miracle to stop the clock . . . the kind of miracle that only dedicated men and women can bring about.
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Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $0.81 in eBook Reward points)
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God Is Not Great (eBook Edition)
by: Hitchens, Christopher
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.
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Your price $13.07 (Using your 10% discount and $0.69 in eBook Reward points)

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Room of One's Own (sorta)

I found this great little piece in The New York Times yesterday – all about the book cave. Now here is a great idea for those who like to curl up with a book (laptop, PDA, or Palm) – your own private space. The website describes it like this:
A bookcase CAVE provides a private reading space within its form. As a seat height is just above the floor, it gives a feeling of hiding from others standing around it. Books can be stored on both sides of shelves. Therefore, CAVE can also function as a partition of a room. LED reading light is installed at top of the seat.
Sakura Adachi a Milanese furniture designer says she was inspired by pigeons. These birds have a genius for their ability to create private nooks in public spaces. So you get the best of all worlds – you can see the world (and be seen) as it passes by, but still retain an illusion of privacy. Or as Adachi explains it, this is a way to feel simultaneously sheltered and engaged. Her prototype graced the Copenhagen International Furniture Fair cover – talk about wonderful exposure. You can have one simply go to her site to order, be willing to wait 8-12 weeks and have an extra $7,000. A kids version – smaller and cheaper (about $5000) is also available. Now how fun is that!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Adobe officially releases new eReader – Digital Editions

Finally out of Beta and officially released, Adobe Digital Editions 1.0 has been showing up in a lot of my alerts, blogs and publishing industry news. I downloaded the Beta about three months ago and spent several hours poking around. My first impressions were that I didn’t like the black on black screen because the buttons and sliders are very hard to find and use. And for some reason the pages didn’t seem as crisp or letters as clear as in previous versions. Of course, I tried to open one of my own eBooks in Digital Editions since I wasn’t really impressed with the Adobe selection. What I found out was that Digital Editions and my eBook files didn’t like each other. I checked with the company that provided the eBook files and they informed me that in fact, my eBooks could not be read by Digital Editions. To read the eBooks I would need to use the Acrobat 7.0 reader. So my first look at Digital Editions ended. Frankly, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. I simply reloaded Acrobat Reader 7.0 and went back to work. The official announcement on Tuesday grabbed my attention. According to the Adobe “Digital Editions is a lightweight consumer-focused application for acquiring, reading, and managing eBooks and other publications, and is the centerpiece of Adobe's expanded digital publishing strategy.”

I, like many others, wonder if Adobe is offering this as the “Killer Ap” for eBooks; the eBook version of iTunes?

I was intrigued enough to try again. My second take is not much different from my first. The black is still too black and hard to navigate and the screen quality is somehow not up to par. Given my previous experience, I haven’t had the courage to try my existing eBook files yet. But I keep wondering is this the iTunes for eBooks? Well, for those who spent $300+ on a Sony eReader and have been dealing with the soon to be defunct Sony Connect store, maybe. At the very least it means that thousands of new (meaning different) titles will be available for their enjoyment once this is actually implemented. No timelines for that implementation have been announced. For the rest of us, I’d have to say that the exciting stuff is pretty much technical involving standards (yawn) and how easy it will be to publish new material (uh-huh!). The standards part: Digital Editions supports the new EPUB standard -- Harper Collins, Harlequin and others have promised to adopt it. Based on the EPUB standard support, as noted above, Sony has agreed to work with Adobe. Digital Editions supports the EPUB standard so any book produced in the EPUB format can be read on any device that supports the Adobe reader software. That is great. The not so great is that right now only MACs, Windows based computers and PDAs can use the software. There is no support for many of the mobile reading devices on the market -- specifically any Linux based eReader or any of the Smart Phones. So right now, reading on the go is still a challenge.

There is a temptation to go off on a rift about xml based publishing and reflowable text, but that is for another day. Suffice it to say, that the support for the standard does make for interesting possiblities for the future and for redefining the definition of a book.

The publishing part: Digital Editions is supposed to work seamlessly with Adobe InDesign that is InDesign CS3. That will mean for me (and most InDesign users) a $200.00 upgrade. For new users it is a $699.00 investment. I will do the upgrade and let you know the results as soon as I get a little time to download and install the upgrade.

So for the moment Digital Edition holds some good promise for publishers. It is still an open question how much it will benefit the consumer. Sometimes technology people get very involved with the idea that standards are important and new, accessible content is necessary. The thing they should never forget is that in the end, the consumer will make that decision. Is Digital Editions the “Killer Ap” for eBooks?

Only time will tell!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Special eBook Offer -- 10% Discount

10% off This Week’s Most Requested eBook Use Coupon Code A1B9 at checkout Wednesday June 20, 2007
These are the most requested books at eBooks About Everyhing this week. We are offering them to you at a great discount -- subscribe to our RSS feed to see all of our weekly specials.
Hacking GoogleMaps and GoogleEar by Brown, Martin C. Your price $25.64 (Using your 10% discount and $1.35 in eBook Reward points) This one-of-a-kind ebook resource contains pages of jaw-dropping hacks, mods, and customization. Now you can map out locations, get driving directions, zoom into any point on the globe, display real time traffic, and more eBook Version List Price – $29.99 Barenaked Jane by Lee, Deanna Your price $8.89 (Using your 10% discount and $.47 in eBook Rewards point) Jane Tilwell has a take-charge approach to life. That means dealing head-on with Mathias Montgomery, security expert and future brother-in-law to her boss at the art gallery. Jane knows she's found her match. eBook Version List Price – $10.40 Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10 by Luttrell, Marcus Your price $13.07 (Using your 10% discount and $.69 in eBook Reward points) Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. eBook Version List Price – $16.99 already discounted to $15.29 Once Upon Stilettos by Swendson, Shanna Your price $8.51 (Using your 10% discount and $.45 in eBook Reward points) The winning follow-up to Enchanted, Inc. (2005) finds Katie Chandler, a young woman immune to magic, working at the epicenter of New York City's magic community as Merlin's personal assistant eBook Version List Price –$9.95 The Cowboy Way by McCumber, David Your price $9.36 (Using your 10% discount and $.49 in eBook Reward points) An enthralling and intensely personal account by Journalist David McCumber as a hand on rancher Bill Galt's expansive Birch Creek spread in Montana. eBook Version List Price – $10.95
These books are available at these deeply discounted price until June 27th -- stock up for summer!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Does this make sense??

Over the last couple of months I have studied publisher book pricing. Typically there are three distinct prices: Hardback, Paperback (trade or mass market) and eBooks. Logically as the cost of production decreases, the list price will too. eBooks are the least expensive to produce with paperback next and hardbacks the most expensive. Well, as with many things in the book business; logic need not apply. Here is a sample of current books: Title and Author -- Hardback / Paperback/ eBooks (Publisher):

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy-- 24.95 / 14.95 / 9.95 (Vintage/Random House)
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls -- 25.00 / 14.00 / 9.99 (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • The 6th Target by James Patterson-- 27.00 / 14.99 / 9.99 (Grand Central Publishing/ Hachettte Book Group USA)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini -- 24.95 / 16.00 / 14.00 (Riverhead Hardcover/ Penguin)
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards -- 24.95 / 4.00 / 14.00 (Penguin)
  • Angel Falls by Nora Roberts -- 25.95 / 7.99 / 24.95 (G. P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin)
  • Swapping Lives by Jane Green -- 24.95/ 14.00 / 24.95 (Plume/ Penguin)The Land of Mango
  • Sunsets by Dorthea Benton Frank -- 24.95 / 7.99 / 19.95 (Harper Collins)

Now, you tell me, who does this make ANY sense?

As a bookseller I am frustrated because the publishers set the pricing and I am forced to comply if I want to stay in busines. Yes, I discount but there is only so much I can do and still stay in business.

As a consumer I am offended.

I would love to hear your comments on this.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

SUMMER READING by Hilma Wolitzer

Summer is officially here -- the kids are out of school and it is getting hot here in California.
Last weekend I started my summer reading with Summer Reading by Hilma Wolitzer. I picked it because I am a long time fan of Hilma Wolitzer, because the synopsis peaked my interest and because of the title, of course. Here’s the official information – “Summer Reading offers a seductive glimpse into the intersecting lives of three very different women.” For the rest of the official synopsis, skip my comment and jump to the italics below. The book was a great combination of substance and entertainment. By building the book around a group of contemporary women reading the classics Wolitzer highlights her belief that women’s interior lives have not changed much over the centuries. Done with a deft touch and a sense of humor it actually made me want to pick up and reread Trollope! I know these women. Or at least I recognize them in myself and some of my friends, which made this an easy read. I recognize their struggles, as well, which made it substantive. If you’re looking for quiet, thought provoking summer getaway this is definitely a great choice! I recommend it! So here is the official stuff: Summer in the Hamptons means crowded beaches during the day and lavish parties in the evening, but Angela Graves, a retired English professor, prefers the company of Gabriel García Márquez and Charlotte Brontë. Her only steady social contacts are with the women in the reading groups she leads, among them, is wealthy Lissy Snyder, a beautiful newlywed who hosts the twice-monthly meetings of the Page Turners and takes pains to hide a reading disability and her emotional neediness. Hamptons local Michelle Cutty, Lissy's housecleaner, eavesdrops on the group's discussions — of books and gossip — when she's not snooping through Lissy's closets. All three women secretly struggle with troubling personal issues that threaten the tenuous balance of their lives: Lissy, abandoned by her father in childhood, is now the unwilling stepmother of her husband's hostile children; Michelle, resentful of the moneyed arrogance of the jet-setting, seasonal "invaders," can't secure a commitment from her fisherman boyfriend; and solitary, bookish Angela still bears the shameful memory of a disastrous love affair that took place long ago. As Angela encourages the Page Turners to identify with the literary heroines of Trollope and Flaubert, the books — in fact, theact of reading itself — will influence the tough choices the women must make. Stunningly evocative and richly imagined, Summer Reading explores the meaning and consequences of living an authentic life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Library Rankings -- The 10 most checked out books

This weekend I got a chance to catch up on my reading. Finally! One of my favorite publications is Publisher's Weekly. I always check out the lists for the week -- I am a numbers kind of person. One of my favorites is library list. It shows the top ten books borrowed from libraries around the country. It is often very different from the other lists and perhaps more representative of the books people are reading and talking about. So here is the list for last week: 1 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. Kim Edwards Penguin, $14. ISBN 0143037145. A doctor’s decision to send his newborn daughter, who has Down syndrome, to an institution haunts everyone involved. 2 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. See, Lisa Random House, $13.95. ISBN 0812968069. The book describes a very intense friendship between two women, Lily and Snow Flowert. 3 Step on a Crack. James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge Little, Brown, $27.99. ISBN 9780316013949. A detective raising 10 children alone must rescue 34 high-level hostages 4 I Heard That Song Before. Clark, Mary Higgins Simon & Schuster, $25.95. ISBN 9780743264914. A woman marries a childhood acquaintance suspected of several murders 5 Nineteen Minutes. Picoult, Jodi Atria, $26.95. ISBN 9780743496728. The aftermath of a high school shooting reveals the fault lines in a small New Hampshire town. 6 Getting’ Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II. Zane Zane Atria: S. & S., $15. ISBN 0743457021. Smart, witty and extremely sexy, this second volume of Sex Chronicles is tailored to women - but perfect for lovers to share 7 Eldest. Christopher Paolini Knopf, $21. ISBN 037582670X. Eragon in the land of elves; Book 2 in the Inheritance trilogy 8 Simple Genius. Baldacci, David Warner, $26.99. ISBN 9780446580342. Two former Secret Service agents investigate a scientist’s murder while one battles her own demons. 9 Obsession. Kellerman, Jonathan Ballantine, $26.95. ISBN 9780345452634. The psychologist-detective Alex Delaware investigates an apparent deathbed confession of murder. 10 Keeping Faith. Picoult, JodiWilliam Morrow & Company, $24. ISBN 0688168256. I was really interested to see that all but one of these books are being sold as eBooks. The omission of "Keeping Faith" caught my attention since all of Jodi Picoult's books are avialable in eBook format. My guess is that since she changed publishers and Morrow is not interested in making her backlisted titles available. Curious I am interested in your comments either on the list or about any of the individual books.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Oprah picks Middlesex for her bookclub

I flat out loved this book! I didn’t want it to end. I’ll bet ten different people told me that Middlesex was a must read book. . . That usually much means that I'll read it, hate it and I'll wonder who decides on the Pultizer Prizes . Of course I resisted. My stock answer -- “Oh yeah, that’s on my list”. My daughter says that is Gigi code for “Thanks but no thanks”. I was wrong! It is a fabulous work. I laughed, I cried and shook my head in disbelief. I never wanted it to end. It’s Greek (or at least an Americanized version) for sure. But is it a comedy or tragedy? I'm still not sure. The short version review says Spanning across eight decades--and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. I could pull a lot of reviews but all reviews in the world won’t come close to describing the experience. . . download it and start reading -- Middlesex is HIGHLY recommended

Monday, June 4, 2007

New York Times Summer Reads

Over the weekend the New York Times listed it's summer reads -- recommended for the beach. As always, there are a couple that I wholeheartedly recommend (I read them), some I don't know about and a couple I wonder WHAT they were thinking.

It was great to see that about half of these books are avialable as eBooks which makes them cheaper and more portable.

So without further ado -- here is the list:

  • CITY OF FIRE by Robert Ellis (St. Martin’s Minotaur); 357 pages; $24.95.
  • DREAM WHEN YOU’RE FEELING BLUE by Elizabeth Berg (Random House); 276 pages; $24.95 -- the eBook is only $17.95
  • MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER by David Shalleck with Erol Munuz (Broadway Books); 332 pages; $23.95.
  • MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES by Armistead Maupin (HarperCollins); 277 pages; $25.95
  • STRAITS OF FORTUNE by Anthony Gagliano (William Morrow); 240 pages; $23.95
  • SUMMER READING by Hilma Wolitzer (Ballantine Books); 251 pages; $24.95 - eB0ok is only $17.95
  • THE ENTITLED by Frank Deford (Sourcebooks); 318 pages; $24.95.
  • THE PRINCE OF NANTUCKET by Jan Goldstein (Shaye Ayreheart Books); 239 pages; $24.00 -- the eBook is only $17.95
  • THE SAVAGE GARDEN by Mark Mills (G. P. Putnam’s Sons); 324 pages; $24.95 -- not to be confused with the book of the same name by Denise Hamilton where the eBook is only $6.99.
  • WAY OFF THE ROAD by Bill Geist (Broadway Books); 240 pages; $23.95 -- the eBook is $17.95.
  • UP IN HONEY’S ROOM by Elmore Leonard (William Morrow); 292 pages; $25.95. parent-0767922727 -- the eBook is only $19.95
The linked books are available at eBooks About Everything and if you enter the coupon code as SUMMER07 at check out you will received a 7% discount on each of the titles.


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