Friday, November 28, 2008

'Tis The Season! A Novel by Lorna Landvik

Once I read Patty Jane's House of Curl, that was it. I was a Lorna Landvik fan. Whenever I see that she has a new book on the way, I impatiently wait for it to be released.

When I saw the title of her latest book -- 'Tis the Season -- I was disappointed. Christmas, after all, is not my favorite time of year. And I have a philosophical problem with books released to capture some sort of of cheap holiday sentiment.

I read the synopsis in Publishers Weekly. This is a book about a 26 year old Paris Hilton like celebrity. Now I was very disappointed.

But even worse, I saw that the novel was written as a series of email exchanges. I don't know about you, but I read more email each day then I want to. Who needs to read more for leisure? Now, I was bitterly disappointed.

Three strikes and your out, right? This was one Landvik novel I was going to take a pass on. Too bad, she used to be such a fun writer.

But then, I hurt my hand. I was in pain, I couldn't type and was totally out of sorts. I might have even been missing email (a little). So in spite of myself, I downloaded and started reading this novel.

Here is where I eat a little humble pie.

For the next 4 or 5 hours I was totally engrossed. Forgot about my hand. Forgot I hate email. Forgot my philosophical objects. Forgot to be annoyed by Christmas. Even forgot that I have no natural way to relate to a 26 year old spoiled heiress.

I admit it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Is it great literature? No!

Is it up to Landvik's usual writing standards? No.

Is it a great way to escape for a few hours. Oh yes!

All I can say, is download, read and enjoy. In many ways it is the perfect remedy for the Holiday Blues.

Here's the publishers blurb:

Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence, or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world.

As Caro tentatively begins atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two wonderful people who years ago brought meaning to her life: her former nanny, Astrid Brevald, now living in Norway and Arizona dude ranch owner, Cyril Dale. While Astrid fondly remembers Caro as a special, sweet little girl left in her charge, Cyril recalls how he and his late wife were quite taken with the quick-witted teenager Caro had become when she spent a difficult period in her life at the ranch as her father was dying.

In a series of e-mail exchanges, Caro reveals the depth of her pain and the lengths she went to hide it. In turn, Astrid and Cyril share their own stories of challenging times and offer the unconditional support this young woman has never known. The correspondence leads to the promise of a reunion, just in time for Christmas. But the holiday brings unexpected revelations that change the way everyone sees themselves and one another.

At once heartfelt and witty, ’Tis the Season bears good tidings of great joy about the human condition–that down and out doesn’t mean over and done, that the things we need most are closer than we know, and that the true measure of one’s worth rests in the boundless depths of the soul.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

eBook Discounts for November 26, 2008

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For many of us in the USA this is going to be a long holiday weekend. If you looking to escape all those people (or a few odd jobs) pick up one of these great titles and get lost in a book!

This week's coupon code is C3KL9

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Do the Right Thing eBook edition
by Huckabee, Mike
Huckabee now presents the inside story of his low-budget, grassroots campaign. He treated middle-class and working-class voters with respect and spoke to their concerns about the economy, society, and the way our country is run. They responded nationwide with great passion, volunteering and making small donations, transforming his campaign into a true movement.
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List Price : $25.95
Your price $19.97 (Using your 10% discount and $1.05 points in eBook Reward points)
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Breaking Dawn eBook Edition
by: Meyer, Stephenie
Twilight tempted the imagination. New Moon made readers thirsty for more. Eclipse turned the saga into a worldwide phenomenon. And now, the book that everyone has been waiting for.... Breaking Dawn, the final book in the #1 bestselling Twilight Saga, will take your breath away.
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List Price : $l22.99
Your price $19.66 (Using your 10% discount and $1.03 iin eBook Reward points)
eBook cover Why We Suck eBook edition
by: Leary, Dr. Denis
Dr. Denis Leary uses his common sense, and his biting and hilarious take on the world, to attack the politically correct, the hypocritical, the obese, the thin--basically everyone who takes themselves too seriously. He does so with the extra oomph of a doctorate bestowed upon him by his alma mater Emerson College.
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List Price : $26.95
Your price $20.74 (Using your 10% discount and $1.09 in eBook Reward points)
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The Gate House eBook edition
by: DeMille, Nelson
The long awaited follow-up to his classic novel The Gold Coast.When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast. . .
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List Price : $18.89
Your price $16.15 (Using your 10% discount and $ .85 in eBook Reward points)
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OUTLIERS: The Story of Sucess eBook edition
by Gladwell, Malcolm
What makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.
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Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us

Monday, November 24, 2008

eReading and Paper Addiction

In the interest of full disclosure let me say that the Reynard household still has a few periodicals that arrive in the mail or on the front porch,  Breaking the paper addiction is hard to do! 

But we are working at it.  We have adopted a slow and steady approach as opposed to the "Cold Turkey" method. cold_turkey

Oh, come on, I had to get a turkey reference in here somewhere.  After all, Thanksgiving only comes once a year.

The first paper publication to go was the New York Times -- both Henri and I are early risers and were constantly irritated by having to wait for the paper delivery.  And then of course, there is the question about why we were wasting all that paper everyday.

In the last year we have slowly converted our subscriptions (as they come up for renewal) from paper to the online editions.  First it was The New Yorker and Publishers Weekly.  And in the last three months we have changed from paper to online editions for The Wall Street Journal, Science Magazine and The Economist.

We still get the local paper, Foreign Affairs,Time Magazine and a few others but I can see the end in sight.

imageEvidently we are part of a trend.  Last Week PC Magazine announced that is going 100% digital.  They carefully explained the benefits of this decision. 

This is a terrific explanation of why online publications are so great.  In fact I couldn't say it any better, so I have copied them.  Here they are:

  • It arrives in your e-mail automatically. Just click the link to either download the latest edition, or to view it entirely online.
  • It is portable. Once you've downloaded the issue (which takes a matter of seconds), just power up your PC and view it anywhere, on an airplane, in your hotel room, wherever.
  • It's lively and interactive. Our digital edition will eventually offer rich media options within a magazine format. So, for example, next to the product review you're reading in First Looks, you can easily view a slideshow of that product. Or while you're reading a Solutions article on Microsoft Outlook tips, our PC Labs experts can walk you through the steps of some of those tips in a video.
  •  It's searchable. Here's something PC Magazine print cannot do. Enter a search term and PC Magazine Digital will fill all the related pages.
  • A live TOC: The table of contents is not only a place to find out what's in this month's issue. You can use it to navigate directly to the stories you want to read.
  • It's Green: You can actually feel good about the amount of paper, ink, and gas we'll all be saving by not producing and consuming a physical magazine.

Maybe the comment about being Green is a little over the top.  My perspective is a little more down to earth -- no magazines means less clutter around my house.  But that is a minor point.  All in all, it is a great list. 

But then there is the great disconnect. I stared at these "benefits" in total disbelief!

  • It looks like the PC Magazine you're familiar and comfortable with. I know why you've stuck with us all these years. You like the magazine and you enjoy the format. Our digital platform makes it possible to deliver that same magazine experience on your PC. So you can "turn" the pages and view our features and departments as you do now.
  • Yes, you can print it. You can print as many pages of the magazine as you want.


It looks like a magazine?  How is that a benefit?  Given all the listed advantages of digital they still want to recreate the paper experience. This makes NO sense to me! 

But the last one really knocked me back in my chair.  I can print it?!?  Hmmm, I suppose they figure better my money on paper and ink than theirs.  But still . . .

I guess I should go easier on us; obviously, breaking the paper addiction is harder than I thought!


Friday, November 21, 2008

eBook Discounts for November 21, 2008

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This week you asked for insight, horror, music, war and business. I have to say that these are great selections -- read one or all this week.

This weeks coupon code to use at checkout is B2J8G

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Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything eBook edition
by Bolsta, Phil
Sixty Seconds is an uplifting collection of intimate, heartfelt stories from prominent people who graciously share their personal experiences with the profound. Their moving, life-altering interviews powerfully illustrate that sacred moments of illumination and insight are available to us all.
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List Price : $17.99
Your price $15.38 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 points in eBook Reward points)
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Just After Sunset: Stories eBook Edition
by King, Stephen
Just After Sunset -- call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.
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Your price $13.84 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 iin eBook Reward points)
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The Hardest Working Man eBook edition eBook edition
by: Sullivan, James.
The story of the night James Brown kept the peace in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and delivered hope with an immortal performance Since James Brown's death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received stirring tributes from coast to coast. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the civil rights movement.
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List Price : $25.00
Your price $19.24 (Using your 10% discount and $1.01 in eBook Reward points)
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Half of a Yellow Sun i eBook edition
by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngoz
With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. This novel r e-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed. .
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List Price : $14.95
Your price $11.51 (Using your 10% discount and $ .61 in eBook Reward points)
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The Complete Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions: Process Tools to Support M&A Integration at Every Level eBook edition
by Galpin, Timothy J., Herndon, Mark
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) experts Tim Galpin and Mark Herndon present an updated and expanded guide to planning and managing the M&A process. This comprehensive book is unique in providing the tools to address both the human and operational sides of integration. Based on the authors' consulting experience with numerous Fortune 500 companies. . .
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List Price : $48.00
Your price $41.04 (Using your 10% discount and $2.16 in eBook Reward points)

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Speaking for Myself by Cherie Blair eBook edition

Do you ever play the game?  You know, the one where you sit around with a bunch of people and talk about which famous (or almost famous) person you would like to sit down and have dinner with?  We play it often.  And in the last few years I have often said, "Cherie Blair."  I just had a feeling . . .

I mean, here is a woman who is married to the Prime Minister of England, works as an attorney (and in this book I found out she is also a judge), has a family and still manages to show up for official functions. 

You can tell from her accent that she isn't exactly "upper crust" and the British Press have a field day reporting on her.  Most of the reporting less than flattering, but somehow managing to show her as a REAL flesh and blood person with a real inner life.

Often these conjectures about people are hilariously off base.  But in Cherie Blair's case they may not be. 

Speaking for Myself is her accounting of her life.  Her telling of her own history is frank, opinionated, unsentimental and humorous.  It is at times a painfully honest account of who she is (and not always to her benefit).

She is a study in contrasts and contradictions.  A high achieving professional and a devoted wife and mother.  A political operator who has a tin ear when it comes to handling people and personalities. A pugnacious defender of her husband who sees him warts and all.  She has tremendous insecurities about money and this drives her to make some very unwise choices.  She is in fact, very human.  I ended up liking her a lot! 

And even if you don't like her much, her "ringseat to history" make this compelling reading. Her recounting of the events, stories about the people and insights into government make it a fascinating read.

Sure, some of the intricacies of the British legal system and Parliamentary maneuverings are dense and to me as an American a little boring.  But her story and her voice will keep you reading.

Here is the publisher's notes:

Even if she hadn't married Tony Blair, Cherie's story would have been amazing. Abandoned by her actor father, she overcame obstacles to become one of the UK's most successful barristers. But when Labour took power in 1997, she faced new challenges: her husband was the first prime minister in recent history with a young family, and Cherie was the first PM's wife with a serious career. Now, she gives a complete account of her own life--an astonishing journey for a woman whose unconventional childhood was full of drama and who grew up with a fierce sense of justice.

In her autobiography she reveals for the first time what it was like to combine life as a working mother with life married to the prime minister. She writes about her encounters with scores of foreign leaders and her friendships with Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as with Hillary and Laura. And she offers inside details of her relationships with the royals, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Digital Reading and the Human Brain

There are times when I think that technology and living in the 21st century is just too cool for words.  Last week, I had once of those times. 

UCLA just completed a study about Internet usage and the human brain.  Specifically it was a study designed to see "if regular Internet usage was more effective than other intellectually stimulating tasks in keep the brain limber in aging test subjects."

Because they are a medical educational FMRIinstitution they have access  to the most amazing technology around --  fMRI (Functional Magnetic Imaging Resonance).  I won't pretend to understand why this is so cool.  All I know is that it gives researchers and amazing window into the human brain.  The fMRI actually lets us see activity in the human brain.   Very pretty pictures!

In terms I understand, this study tracked brain activity while adults did various online tasks including reading and "googling."  They wanted to find out if regular internet usage effectively keeps an aging brain more limber, more able to flex and and bend freely.

Evidently digital reading does keep the brain limber for those who do it often.  Interestingly, internet neophytes (people without previous Internet experience) showed little change on brain activity when reading vs when using the internet.

But real changes were seen in those who habitually use the Internet. Those subjects were evidently exercising their brains in a big way.  They showed a significant increase in activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulated areas of the brain.  These are the areas associated with complex reasoning.

The digital readers weren't just passively taking in information, they were actively engaged.  Online activity evidently engages multiple parts of the brain.

This is significant for the aging, but it has real, everyday value growing children and adults.  Consider this study as a piece of evidence that using the internet keeps us learning new things which in turn help us build new skill sets.This intellectual exercise keeps our brains flexible and able to adapt to our increasingly complex world. 

limberI have watched my world get larger and more complex with every passing year.  The flood of information can be almost overwhelming.  I used to read one or two newspapers each day and a half dozen trade journals in a month.  Now I read three or four newspapers a day, have several RSS feeds bringing me hourly news and information and read hundreds of blog pieces a week plus I have access to literally hundreds of journals.  Sometimes I wonder if my brain is up to the challenge.  AND I wonder what all this means for my children and their children.  It is conceivable that we will all just implode from too much info.

Evidently this is a rather foolish notion on my part.  Seems that the human brain is infinitely adaptable and the more we use it the more it expands.  I don't know about you, but I find this an enormously reassuring world view.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

eBook Discounts for November 14, 2008

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Here we are -- the little lull between Elections and the Holidays. Time for self improvement, history, holiday fiction and even reading to the kids.

This weeks coupon code is A9JG4. Use it when checking out to get discounts on these great books.

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How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You eBook edition
by Lowndes, Leil
Here, from bestselling author Leil Lowndes, is a surefire guide to love for anyone seeking romantic bliss. In How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You readers will find 85 techniques based on scientific studies regarding the nature of love, including: Finding potential love partners; Making an unforgettable first impression; Dodging "love bloopers"; Establishing sexual rapport
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List Price : $14.95
Your price $12.78 (Using your 10% discount and $ .67 points in eBook Reward points)
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The Given Day eBook Edition
by Lehane, Dennis
Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created
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List Price : $23.95
Your price $20.48 (Using your 10% discount and $1.08 in eBook Reward points)
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Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness eBook edition
by Amen, Daniel G. Md
In this book Dr. Amen explains how you can "optimize" your brain to achieve your fullest potential. Using state-of-the-art brain imaging technology, Dr. Amen has spent the last decade helping thousands of patients understand how the way their brains are wired can affect their thoughts and emotions. He explains which brain systems are associated with particular problems, gives detailed checklists to help you pinpoint your problems, and offers specific yet simple "brain prescriptions" (cognitive exercises, nutrition, medication, and more) to help actually enhance brain function and heal each problem.
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List Price : $15.00
Your price $12.83 (Using your 10% discount and $ .68 in eBook Reward points)
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TIS THE SEASON eBook edition
by Landvik, Lorna
Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence, or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world.
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List Price : $22.00
Your price $16.93 (Using your 10% discount and $ .89 in eBook Reward points)
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The Boy Who Saved Baseball eBook edition
by Ritter, John H.
Tom Gallagher is in a tight spot. The fate of the Dillontown team rests on the outcome of one baseball game, winner take all. If Tom's team loses, they lose their field too. But how can they possibly win? Just when everything seems hopeless, a mysterious boy named Cruz de la Cruz rides into town and claims to know the secret of hitting
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List Price : $6.99
Your price $5.98 (Using your 10% discount and $.31 in eBook Reward points)

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Singularity is Near eBook editions: far into the future with Ray Kurzweil

 The Singularity is Near is pretty dense.  Not something most people will want to sit down and read in one pass.  In fact I worked on it over a couple of months.  It is hard to really grasp Kurzweil's future.  A future driven by exponential growth in knowledge and computing power.that actually alter the basic tenets of human life.

His future vision is about knowledge explosion, computing, the biological revolution, the nanotechnology revolution and the organization of the human brain. As usual it is a mind blowing collection of great value to those of us who care where the future is taking us.

To grapple with the information contained in this expansion of the human potential over the next four decades takes an open mind and a willingness to accept at least some of what you may not understand.

I know some basic things about nanotech and the biotech revolution. I am as familiar with computing as any person who has participated in the development of that technology for the last forty years. But this book expanded my breadth and depth of knowledge dramatically. It is a heady experience and one well worth living if you like to know where humanity may be headed.

Buy it, borrow it, steal it, (apologies to Ray) but get your hands on it and read this book. It will help you understand the changes that are approaching and help you benefit from them rather than simply being run over by them. They are headed our way and moving at exponential speeds already. We do need to be ready for them.

Here is the publisher's take:

The great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is one of the best-known and controversial advocates for the role of machines in the future of humanity.

In his latest, thrilling foray into the future, he envisions an event--the "singularity"--in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines.

The Singularity Is Near portrays what life will be like after this event--a human-machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed, world hunger will be solved, and our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death. We will be able to create virtually any physical product just from information, resulting in radical wealth creation.

In addition to outlining these fantastic changes, Kurzweil also considers their social and philosophical ramifications. With its radical but optimistic view of the course of human development, The Singularity Is Near is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and provocative books of 2005.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google and the Very Long Tail

Henri is never short on opinions!  Now, the Google settlement has given him a lot to think about.  Here's his take:  if you agree or disagree be sure to let him know.  He loves a good discussion!

Of all of the services that Google has done for mankind in the name of profit and good business practices this one may be the most important yet. I am talking about the recent settlement of its lawsuit related to putting a lot of copyrighted material online without first seeking rights from each individual owner. Google and everyone with any interest in the past won and the forces of darkness lost big.

Oh yes it cost Google an eighth of a billion dollars and some big lawyer’s fees. The project itself is also expensive and will take a long time. On the other hand the library at Alexandria is never going to burn again. The massive literary and knowledge base built in our past on paper will be safer from war and fire and the ravages of time than ever before in history. Even more important it will be accessible to innumerable scholars in the future.

The unprecedented access offered by this settlement is worth anything Google and all of the rest of us could pay for it. I have a serious love affair with the written word and a vast (And possibly useless) eclectic knowledge base derived from struggling with great libraries and depositories. They yield up their secrets reluctantly. I am definitely a biased observer.

That said, how else could anyone have penetrated the maze of laws and rights that buried so much merit in dusty treasure troves with no hope of release until Google came along? The laws governing use of once published and still copyrighted material made little sense in the digital age. Unless they allow for a much broader access path they are merely inhibitory, not protective in any meaningful sense of the word.

So Google ignored them and invited lawsuits as the most efficient way to sort out that mares nest of laws, regulations and garbage. It is a messy mélange of rules that we have assembled around protecting Disney and other huge companies against unreasonable use of their long lived intellectual property assets.

Google did not want those assets; they wanted the poor huddled masses of books and papers languishing in vast dusty depositories. And now they have them and are moving to free them for the fun and profit of all of us including of course Google. It is a story worthy of greater pens than mine and it will continue to be written for a very long time.

Money was not the only point of this action but it will flow back into Google’s coffers in plentitude over time. Those of us who could only dream of this day until now are living a dream of vast access brought on by smart young businessmen and women. clapping

If I could tell any young entrepreneur how to succeed here would be  the three things I would recommend. Have fun, do something good for people and the world they live in and make money doing it. Google is a good example of that ideal and this project shows what can be accomplished with the right people and the right level of access to capital. Bravo Fortissimo, Encore!!!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Of Google, Random House and eBook Royalties in the Digital Age

OK, I have to admit it, last week was an amazing week (and not just because of Barak Obama).  I'm talking the book world here, not politics. 

google logo First Google announced that it had finally settled it's lawsuit with the Authors Guild, AAP (American Association of Publishers) et al.  The simple version is that Google won the right to put a lot of copyrighted material online without first seeking rights from each individual owner. In other words, ordinary people will have an unprecedented ability to search (for free) and access (for a fee) books that formerly lived only in university libraries

Under the agreement, unless authors specifically opt out, books that are out-of-print but still copyrighted will be available for "preview" (a few pages) for free.  And to obtain full access there is a a fee. For access to in-print books, "rightsholders"  must opt in, but the basic structure remain:  preview free and access for a fee.

Where it really gets interesting is when you look at the fee structure.  It is fairly long and involved, but basically, Google pays approximately 60% royalties on any money received.  Even better, authors can be paid directly.

Right on the heels of this news, Random House, not to be outdone, also introduced a new royalty structure.  They, too, are going to pay e-book royalties based on the actual net moneys received by the publisher.  Not on as a percentage of list prices as they have always done.  AND they are going to pay the author a whopping 25% royalty from these monies.

Here, quoted directly, is the Random House logic:

  1. The new rates are very much in line with the e-book and digital audio rates being offered today by our major competitors.
  2. The way the market is developing, the publisher's list price will soon no longer be a relevant basis for calculating royalties in the digital environment.
  3. The electronic formats are not as inexpensive to produce and publish as many believe [...] We have made substantial investments, and we will continue to invest, in related digital infrastructure, such as the creation and maintenance of a digital archive, and in the development of the market for electronic formats.
  4. The new ebook rate continues to compare favorably to the rates we pay for other formats in which books are made available.

Well, they are right about one thing -- the market is changing. 

The problem for Random House is that they (and their major competitors) don't really understand what the change is or how it is going to affect them. 

Somehow, the fact that Google has defacto set the standard for royalties in the digital age went right over their head! 

Even worse, is the fact that as Google is opening the market and actually compensating authors they are fighting to maintain the their perceived status and the status quo. 

Wanna take a bet on which approach will win?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Discounted eBooks - November 7, 2008

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The elections are FINALLY over! But here is one more (and hopefully the last) book about them. Seriously, it is time to get back to real life -- to work or even to do some cooking or baking. If you are looking for fiction, here are two terrific stories -- both highly recommended!

Use this weeks coupon code -- DH59Y -- to get your discount on any or all of these great books. Happy reading!

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Michelle: A Biography eBook edition
by Mundy, Liza
She can be funny and sharp-tongued, warm and blunt, empathic and demanding. Who is the woman Barack Obama calls ""the boss""? In Michelle, Washington Post writer Liza Mundy paints a revealing and intimate portrait, taking us inside the marriage of the most dynamic couple in politics today.
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Your price $13.84 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 points in eBook Reward points)
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The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes eBook Edition
by Chamberlain, Diane
CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies…
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List Price : $12.55
Your price $10.73 (Using your 10% discount and $ .56 iin eBook Reward points)
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Dealing With Difficult People eBook edition
by Brinkman,Rick / Kirschner, Rick
In every workplace there are difficult people who, at best, make life stressful and, at worst, interfere with project and career goals. This book delivers a proven approach to finding common ground and creating a more productive interaction with difficult people.
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List Price : $12.95
Your price $11.07 (Using your 10% discount and $ .58 in eBook Reward points)
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Bones: An Alex Delaware Novel eBook edition
by Kellerman, Jonathan
The anonymous caller has an ominous tone and an unnerving message about something "real dead . . . buried in your marsh." The eco-volunteer on the other end of the phone thinks it's a prank, but when a young woman's body turns up in L.A's Bird Marsh preserve no one is laughing.
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List Price : $18.00
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Buttercup Bakes at Home: More Than 75 New Recipes from Manhattan's Premier Bake Shop for Tempting Homemade Sweets eBook edition
by Appel, Jennifer
Jennifer Appel, cookbook author and owner of the world-famous Buttercup Bake Shop, shares more of her popular recipes in Buttercup Bakes at Home, a collection of more than 75 new and tempting treats from the much-loved bakery and her own kitchen, for home cooks to enjoy
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Audacity of Hope eBook edition

It is eerily fitting that the author of The Audacity of Hope was written by a man who had the audacity to run for President of the United States of America. One look at the portrait on the cover told you that his chance to be President was roughly equivalent to the proverbial snowball in hell.

And yet somehow we woke up this morning with "a skinny black kid with a funny name" as the next President of the USA. Unbelievable from where I sit!

It wasn't that long ago (70 years) that the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow a "colored" woman to give a concert in their hall. As a side note -- I always find this story the ultimate irony! Women who's ancestors fought and died for freedom actually denying Marian Anderson access to a building! But I digress.

I am old enough to remember Selma and Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I am old enough to have heard Martin Luther King voice his dream.

In those dark days it seemed an impossible dream! Just the idea that his "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" was unfathomable. And yet this morning those children will wake up to a country where their Dad's dream has come true!

My Dad used to say that "we are saved by hope." As a teenager I thought it was perhaps the corniest thing I had ever hears. And yet this morning I can't help but think that he was on to something.

After all. what keeps us going in the face of incredible odds? It is sometimes simply the belief in a positive outcome; the feeling we can get what we want or that at the very least everything will turn out for the best.

Hope brings out the best in all of us. Hope is the sometimes the only thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Hope is the bedrock of the American Dream. And at least for this moment in time, hope reigns in America.

If you haven't done so yet, do yourself a favor and read Barak Obama's message of hope:

In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Obama called “the audacity of hope.”

Now, in The Audacity of Hope, Senator Obama calls for a different brand of politics–a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces–from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media–that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.

At the heart of this book is Senator Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats–from terrorism to pandemic–that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy–where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, members of the Senate, even the president, is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.

A senator and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Senator Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes–“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

eBook Stats - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I don't know about you, but these days I am looking for any good news I can find!  Last week I found some:  the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Foundation) says that eBook sales for August of this year are up 83% over August of last year.  And year to date, sales have grown 53%.

I am so impressed that I have actually printed the latest IDPF graph and posted it on my bulletin board:

idpf graph

The idea that anything is growing in this economy is novel enough.  But the idea of publishing as a growth industry makes me laugh out loud.  This is my own personal version of change I want to believe in.

Remember, the IDPF numbers are very conservative and quite limited in scope.  Their website notes these caveats:

  • The data represent United States revenues only
  • The data represent only trade eBook sales via wholesale channels
  •   Retail numbers may be as much as double due to industry wholesale discounts.
  • The data represent only data submitted from approx. 12 to 15 trade publishers
  • The data does not include library, educational or professional electronic sales
  • The numbers reflect the wholesale revenues of publishers
  • The definition used for reporting electronic book sales is "All books delivered electronically over the Internet OR to hand-held reading devices"

Presumably the Amazon Kindle numbers are buried in these statistics.  Add to that the factiods that the biggest retail distributor of books, other than Amazon is Ingram Digital (ID). Last month ID reported that they "enjoyed record third quarter growth with downloads more than double the same quarter last year".

Maybe a statistician could figure out the impact of Kindle on these numbers.  I can't.  All I know is that after years of believing that eBooks would eventually catch on; it looks like it is finally happening.  And that, folks, is economic news that makes me happy!


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