Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Global Student eBook Survey, the Popularity of eTexts and a New Look for eBooks


2008 Global Student eBook Survey

 2008 Global Student Survey on eBooks is a study designed by 150 librarians.  The study explores how students use digital information and eBooks.  The study offers the perspectives of nearly 6,500 college and university students about eBook usage, benefits and needs.

The attitudes and awareness about eBooks is definitely changing.  Most notable for me was the finding that eBooks were in second place (78%) as the most used resource for research/class assignments. In first place was Google and other search engines; print books followed closely at 77%.  Basically Google tops books of any sort.

Students are beginning to see eBook on a parity with print books.  Faculty members, however, do not seem to be as convinces.  Last year the 2007 Global Faculty Survey showed that teachers put eBooks in 6th place on a list of electronic resources they use. 

Maybe this is a case where the students can teach the teachers a thing or two.

eTexts: Why Students like them

And on the subject of eBooks in education.  We should note that In the last year there has been a 400% increase in digital textbook adoption.  Ingram Digital wanted to find out why.  So they did a survey of  680 e-Book Users to find out why.  Key findings:

  • 47% of those surveyed believe that "cost in relation to print copies" is very important.
  • 46% stated the convenience of e-books is a big attraction
  • 45% sited interactive features (45%) as being very important.

Price, convenience and interactivity seem to trump the smell or feel of a book.

A New Look for eBooks

Finally, last week researchers at Maryland and Berkeley Universities announced a new prototype eBook.  One that let's you turn pages just like you can with a print book.

Why anyone thinks this is a good idea absolutely mystifies me!   Evidently there are people who are still clinging to the idea that if you somehow make the digital reading experience more like the paper experience you will get people to eBooks.

Maybe they should refer to the student survey about why eBooks are popular with them:  price, convenience and interactivity.  This design does nothing to enhance any of those stated reasons.

Personally, I would like to see all of that creative energy go into figuring out how to create the $100 eBook reader that reads every format (with or without DRM).  

Or better yet, use that creativity to create real content that people want.  Content with enhanced interactivity at a lower price would be a good start.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Wednesday Sisters eBook edition

parent-9780345502827 The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Clayton is as close to a perfect beach read as you can get.

It is a rare book that has one smart, engaging and has a well rounded and believable woman character. Never mind five of them! This is the story of five women living conventional lives in unconventional times.

From a purely technical point of view, Clayton has pulled off an impressive feat. She manages to make each one of these five women real and full character who all get equal time and equal voice.

The story starts with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and traces these women's lives through roughly 10 years. Those ten years include the Apollo space flights and burning bras; peace marches and Miss America contests, the birth of modern Silicon Valley and the first New York Marathon.

The story is about women and friendship. As the world around them changes these women are busy building relationships with each other and with books.

In a broad sense It is about family. The ones we come from and the ones we create. It is about the frailty and fortitude. It is about awaking, change and growth.

It is also laugh out loud funny and tear-jerkingly sad. I mean really, how can you resist a book that starts out:

"That's us, there in the photograph. Yes, that's me-in one of my chubbier phases, though I suppose one of these days I'll have to face up to the fact that it's the thinner me that's the "phase," not the chubbier one. And going left to right, that's Linda (her hair loose and combed, but then she brought the camera, she was the only one who knew we'd be taking a photograph). Next to her is Ally, pale as ever, and then Kath. And the one in the white gloves in front-the one in the coffin-that's Brett."

I was hooked from the first paragraph.

So grab your suntan lotion, your favorite drink and a bag of chips, sit in your favorite lounge chair and prepare to enjoy!

Here's the publishers synopsis:

Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family. For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year. As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Discounted eBooks - June 26, 2008

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I am having a hard time coming up with something to say about this week's selections. Vodka, a porn queen, Steve Jobs, Silicon Valley Friends and Jave -- can't find a thread. Oh well, enjoy!

This week's coupon code is C2MJ4. Use it at check out to get your discount.
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Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea eBook edition
by Handler, Chelsea
The eagerly awaited collection of personal essays from the bestselling author of my horizontal life. . . When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power -- vodka. You would too if you found out that your boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo or if you had to pretend to be honeymooning with your father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea's world -- a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense.
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List Price : $17.99
Your price $13.84 (Using your 10% discount and $.73 points in eBook Reward points)
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Snuff eBook Edition
by: Palahniuk, Chuck
Cassie Wright, porn priestess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. This wild, lethally funny, and thoroughly researched novel brings the huge yet underacknowledged presence of pornography in contemporary life into the realm of literary fiction at last. Who else but Chuck Palahniuk would dare do such a thing? Who else could do it so well, so unflinchingly, and with such an incendiary (you might say) climax?
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 iin eBook Reward points)
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Inside Steve's Brain eBook edition
by Kahney, Leander.
Steve Jobs has turned his personality traits into a business philosophy. Here's how he does it. It's hard to believe that one man revolutionized computers in the 1970s and '80s (with the Apple II and the Mac), animated movies in the 1990s (with Pixar), and digital music in the 2000s (with the iPod and iTunes). No wonder some people worship him like a god. On the other hand, stories of his epic tantrums and general bad behavior are legendary. Inside Steve's Brain cuts through the cult of personality that surrounds Jobs to unearth the secrets to his unbelievable results.
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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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Wednesday Sisters eBook edition
by Clayton, Meg Waite
Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family. For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. . .
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List Price : $18.00
Your price $15.39 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)
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Effectuve Java eBook edition
by:Bloch, Joshua
Are you looking for a deeper understanding of the Java™ programming language so that you can write code that is clearer, more correct, more robust, and more reusable? Look no further! Effective Java™, Second Edition, brings together seventy-eight indispensable programmer’s rules of thumb: working, best-practice solutions for the programming challenges you encounter every day.
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List Price : $35.99
Your price $30.77 (Using your 10% discount and $1.62 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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reading the Future -- It looks like eBooks to me

Reading the Future, a report but together by the Bookseller and the Next big thing ebookroundupis a fascinating snap shot of the British attitudes about reading and books in the future.   The study surveyed over 1000 adults across Britain and included questions about their present reading and browsing habits and their "best guess" about the future of bookstores.

Not surprisingly there is a huge difference in attitudes about electronic reading between "Millennials" (18 to 25 year olds) and seniors (65+).  For example:

  • 28% of those 18-24 were favorable towards the idea of e-readers, compared to 9% of 65+ year olds
  • 40% liked the idea of downloadable chapters of books, compared to 7% of 65+ year olds.

The thing I find the most amazing about the study is the finding that 9% of seniors find the idea of e-reading even an alternative!  Think about it -- the first modern computer was invented 65 years ago and the idea that people would actually read books on a computer was essentially incomprehensible.  But I digress. . .

The real focus of the study is on "Millennials" who will most certainly be the drivers of book publishing and buying habits over the next decade.  Interestingly only  half of them think that bookstores as we know them will survive over the next 20 years.  They are less clear on what will replace them. 

They are, however, clear on what is important: content. They seem less interested in how they read or how they find books to read than they are in having content available.  

This makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke's first law of prediction --

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

One thing is certain, we have not yet achieved an advance technology for reading.  There is no "magic" in current eReading!  Not in the devices or the eBook formats!

And yet, devices and formats are not really the issue.  Neither is how you purchase or acquire content.  In the end the really compelling stories are what you remember, not how you access them. 

I can't help wonder what the next generation -- the so called “Bebo generation” -- would have to say about reading and the future.  They were not questioned for this study. 

These are the electronic kids; they are the future.  Many  preteens and most teens have cell phones right now.  They seem to rarely use them to actually talk. . . they are too busy texting. Devices, digital reading and online networking are just a part of the fabric of their lives.Are bookstores even part of their conscious experience? And why would they even care?

Friday, June 20, 2008

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything eBook Edition

If you are interested in a study on how secrets warp relationships and families, this is your book. 

If you want to feel the pain of privilege, by all means read this book.

If you enjoy reading about addiction, denial and keeping up with appearance, then this book was written just for you.

If you want sharp social commentary with a little humor, find another author.

All we Ever Wanted Was Everything is an exercise in wretched excess.  From the multi-million dollar high tech executive's wife to the humorless feminist daughter, the characters are excessive, shallow and unsympathetic. 

I really wanted to like this book. From the blurb it sounded like great fun.  Unfortunately, it was pretty much torture to read.  The writer is about as humorless as the feminist daughter. 

Tell me doesn't sound like a great summer beach read:

 When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune. Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers’ older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling post-feminist magazine, Snatch. Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.

The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything crackles with energy and intelligence and marks the debut of a knowing and very funny novelist, wise beyond her years.

You'd think you would have to love a feminist who actually names here 'zine Snatch.

You'd think that drug dealing pool boys, country club ladies and evangelical neighbors would add (at the very least) great color and a few laughs.

You'd think that a novel about women pulling together would end up being a "feel good" reading adventure.

In all cases you would be wrong.

Obviously, I hated this book!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

eBook Discounts for June17, 2008

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Summer is just around the corner and it is time to start thinking about the beach and summer reading. Here are a few titles to get you started. We are bringing in great new books every day, check out the New Release section and find your own beach reads.

Receive your discount on this weeks books when you use coupon code BAS27 at check out. Happy Reading!
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Prince of Frogtown eBook edition
by Bragg, Rick
In this final volume of the beloved American saga that began with All Over but the Shoutin’ and continued with Ava’s Man, Rick Bragg closes his circle of family stories with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his ten-year-old stepson. He learns, right from the start, that a man who chases a woman with a child is like a dog who chases a car and wins. He discovers that he is unsuited to fatherhood, unsuited to fathering this boy in particular, a boy who does not know how to throw a punch and doesn’t need to; a boy accustomed to love and affection rather than violence and neglect; in short, a boy wholly unlike the child Rick once was
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List Price : $l19.95
Your price $17.96 (Using your 10% discount and $ .90 points in eBook Reward points)
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Blood Noir eBook Edition
by: Hamilton, Laurell K.
Readers can't get enough of the #1 New York Times bestselling author. A favor for Jason, vampire hunter Anita Blake's werewolf lover, puts her in the center of a fullblown scandal that threatens master-vampire Jean- Claude's reign-and makes her a pawn in an ancient vampire queen's new rise to power.
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List Price : $25.95
Your price $19.97 (Using your 10% discount and $ .1.05 in eBook Reward points)
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Honor Few, Fear None eBook edition
by: Cavazos, Ruben
The stunning, never-before-told story of Ruben "Doc" Cavazos, international president of the Mongols Motorcycle Club
When Ruben "Doc" Cavazos changes his clothes at daybreak, he is no longer a CAT scan technician at the University of Southern California Medical Center. He becomes the man known—and, in a few special cases, feared—as Doc, international president of the Mongols, the fastest-growing and most closely watched organization of its kind in the United States.
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List Price : $19.95
Your price $15.36 (Using your 10% discount and $0.81 in eBook Reward points)
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Chasing Harry Winston eBook edition
by: Weisberger, Lauren
The bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada returns with the story of three best friends who vow to change their entire lives...and change them fast. One Saturday night at the Waverly Inn, Adriana and Emmy make a pact: within a single year, each will drastically change her life. Leigh watches from the sidelines, not making any promises, but she'll soon discover she has the most to lose. Their friendship is forever, but everything else is on the table. Three best friends. Two resolutions. One year to pull it off.
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List Price : $17.99
Your price $13.84 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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The Last Lecture eBook edition
by: Pausch, Randy / Zaslow, Jeffrey
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was asked to give a "last lecture," he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave -- "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" -- wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have... and you may find one day that you have less than you think").
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List Price : $16.95
Your price $13.05 (Using your 10% discount and $.69 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.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kids Read for Fun -- The Scholastic Report

girl reading

Last week Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, released a study on Kids and reading.  The report is a classic good news/bad news story.


The good news:

  • 68% of children think reading for pleasure is extremely important.
  • *2% of kids 5-8 "love to read.
  • 90% say that reading is important if you want to get into a good college.
  • 66% of tweens and teens (9-17) have extended their reading experience via the internet.
  • 79% of kids age 5-17 are going online; 33% go on line each day
  • Fully two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.

The bad news:

  • Reading frequency declines after age 8.
  • Parents under-estimate the degree to which kids have trouble finding books they like and enjoy.
  • By age 17 only 21% of kids think that reading is fun or important.
  • Only 40% of parent with older teens think it is important for their kids to read "for fun".
  • 62% of parents say they have a hard time finding information about books their kids would enjoy reading.

The thing I find the most interesting about the study is the portion about kids, reading and technology.   As they look to the future most kids see technology as inevitable.  Two-thirds say that they think that most of the books they will read in ten years will be electronic.  And they are enthusiastic about being able to tag and share favorite parts of books with others. 

And yet two-thirds of the kids surveyed say that no matter what they can do online they will always was to read books printed on paper.

This seems to be a contradictory statement -- they know they will be reading and sharing books electronically but they will always want to read on paper. 

Somehow this doesn't stack up.  Makes me wonder where the disconnect is happening.  Is it a case of kids repeating what they hear from parents and teachers?  Is it a case of a woefully backward education system?  Is this finding a result of skewed survey results -- the report was written by the biggest children's publisher in the world?

I suspect there is no way to answer these questions.  I suppose that in the end, these results are a reflection of our entire society's attitudes about technology and reading.  It will be fascinating to watch how attitudes and ideas evolve over the coming years. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Scandal Plan: Or: How to Win the Presidency by Cheating on Your Wife (eBook edition)

I admit it. . . I am (or at least I used to be) something of a political junkie.  A regular watcher of CNN, MSNBC,CNBC and Comedy Central (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert). 

This year has been something else!  Almost in spite of myself, I ended up watching all of the debates; both Democratic and Republican.  I am pretty sure I watched election night coverage for every primary. I even watched Hillary's concession speech on Saturday.  At this point, I am pretty well burned out on politics.

So if I am so sick of politics, why did I pick up The Scandal Plan by Bill Folman?  Probably because I couldn't help myself.

Satire appeals to my sense of the absurd and I am always a sucker for a good farce.  OK, I know it is hard to believe that anything could be more farcical then this year's election process; but actually this particular book is! 

Folman pokes fun at the American obsession with image and political correctness.  We want our candidates to be perfect; but not too perfect.  We want them to be Statesmen; but we want to sit down and have a beer with them.  We want them to be authentic; but we are unforgiving of any slips of the tongue or small gaffes.

Folman also has a little fun with the media.  He pokes fun at the 24 hour news cycle and the silliness of over reporting.  He points out how really easy it is to create a news story out of nothing.

The book is an easy read and it is tempting to pass it off as silly and overly cynical.  But I found it to be surprisingly insightful.  Folman takes dead aim at the current political landscape and almost always hits his marks. If nothing else it is a great morality tale on the unintended consequences of a lie. 

The Scandal Plan is highly entertaining; the perfect answer to political burnout and a great beach read!

The publisher says:

Senator Ben Phillips is the perfect man for the presidency. If only he weren't such a straight arrow. He's getting battered in the polls, and with only a few months until Election Day, his staff is growing desperate. Enter Thomas Campman, political guru. On a sudden inspiration, the eccentric Campman is convinced he can revitalize the candidate's image by creating a fake sex scandal for him. Nothing too over-the-top—just a little scandal to make Phillips seem more human. Maybe even cool.

Though it takes some convincing, Phillips gives Campman the green light. The plan is set in motion, and, right on schedule, a phony former mistress steps forward to accuse the senator of infidelity. But scandals—even the premeditated kind—rarely go as planned. Before long, Campman's scheme snowballs into a three-ring circus complete with a linguistically challenged Mexican chauffeur who thinks he's James Bond, a highly sexed middle-aged woman who's convinced she'll never land one of the really good guys, and a political cub reporter for TeenVibe magazine who's sure he's on the trail of the biggest story since Watergate.

For those too well acquainted with politics-as-usual, The Scandal Plan is the perfect antidote. It's a witty political farce in the tradition of Jon Stewart and Dave Barry that will have readers—and even candidates—laughing all the way to the polls.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

eBook Discounts for June 11, 2008

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This is one of the weeks where I could have picked the books as some of my own personal favorites. When you are ready to check out -- use coupon A9JG4 at checkout for your discount. This week we have added a little extra to the discount -- you have to checkout to find out what it is.
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What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception eBook edition
by McClellan, Scott
In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, Washington's bitter partisanship, and two hotly contested presidential campaigns. He gives readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and into the personalities, strengths, and liabilities of his top aides. Finally, McClellan looks to the future, exploring the lessons this presidency offers the American people as we prepare to elect a new leader.
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List Price : $27.95
Your price $21.51 (Using your 10% discount and $1.13points in eBook Reward points)
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The Shooters eBook Edition
by: Griffin, W.E.B.
Now, still in Argentina tying up loose ends from his investigation into the UN oil-for-food scandal, Castillo is startled when a young man is marched into his office at gunpoint, caught trying to sneak through the fence. It turns out he's an American officer, a lieutenant assigned to the embassy in Paraguay. A key agent for the DEA has disappeared while trying to interdict drugs and very little is being done about it, for phony diplomatic reasons. The lieutenant's heard of Castillo, knows what he's done, and wants his help in getting the agent back.
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List Price : $26.95
Your price $23.04 (Using your 10% discount and $ 1.21 iin eBook Reward points)
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When You Are Engulfed in Flames eBook edition
by: Sedaris, David
Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. Culminating in a brilliantly funny account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking,
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List Price : $18.99
Your price $14.61 (Using your 10% discount and $ .77 in eBook Reward points)
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Lover Enshrined eBook edition
by: Ward, J.R.
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other?six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now, a dutiful twin must choose between two lives... Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive.
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List Price : $7.99
Your price $6.15 (Using your 10% discount and $ .32 in eBook Reward points)
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Dr. Gundry's Diet Evoluation: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You--And Your Waistline--And Drop the Weight for Good eBook edition
by: Gundry, Dr. Steven R.
Does losing weight and staying healthy feel like a battle? Well, it’s really a war. Your enemies are your own genes, backed by millions of years of evolution, and the only way to win is to outsmart them.Dr. Steven Gundry explains what your body is “thinking” and tells you why, surprisingly, your genes actually “want” you to be fat–even sick.
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List Price : $24.95
Your price $21.33 (Using your 10% discount and $1.12 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.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Enhanced eBooks -- Penguin Style

Penguin's much vaunted enhanced eBook version of Pride and Prejudice was released last week.  I am so appalled by stupidity exhibited here that I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record on the subject -- major publishers evidently don't get it!  I mean, they REALLY don't get it!

Here is Penguin's idea of an enhanced eBook :

  • The text is linked to a little over 300 notes at the end of the book.  Notes like this: The name of this estate is a clue to its extent.  A "park" is the landscaped grounds surrounding a stately house, grounds that could be quite extensive.
  • To read these notes you must bookmark your place in the text click through to the note and then fumble around with the bookmark feature to get back to where you were.  And all that hassle for a gem like:  The name of this estate is a clue to its extent.  A "park" is the landscaped grounds surrounding a stately house, grounds that could be quite extensive.
  • The first enhancement is a guide to how to navigate the enhanced version.  Any enhancement that need 3 pages to explain how to use it, needs to seriously be rethought!
  • Filmography -- lots of words describing films.  How dumb is that?  Not a link in site.  Not a graphic in site, never mind a video clip.
  • 19th Century Reviews -- more words giving opinions about this book from long dead white guys reviewing it
  • Chronology -- a dated tour through Jane Austin's life.  Wikipedia does a better job.
  • What Austen Ate -- recipes for dreadful English food; no pictures and no links
  • How to Prepare Tea -- Oh goody!!
  • Austen sites to visit in England -- a flat line drawing map with a few words about the towns involved. 
  • Map of sites in the novel -- more lines and words.  No color no variation!  What about Google Earth for at least a little color?
  • Behaving your self -- etiquette and dancing.  Very useful!
  • Illustrations of Home Decor, Architecture and Transportation -- WOW!  Finally something graphic.  Don't hold your breath for anything interesting!  The only color on any page is the red letters used to explain the illustrations.

Unbelievable!!!  No color except on the cover and as a way to rub in the lack of color in the illustrations.  No video -- You Tube has over 2000 pieces of video about Jane Austen.  And 2200 videos on how to make tea.  No sound -- not even a sample of the dance music.

What makes me want to cry is the monumental inability of a mainstream publisher to think beyond paper and the idea that an eBook is only another way to represent paper. 

I am beginning to wonder if it's a plot to kill eBooks.  You know, make the most awful example you can of a digital book.  Present it as something enhanced and wonderful.  Give the people the idea that eBooks are necessarily stupid, boring and hard to use. 

Can you think of a better way to kill eBooks?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Medical Myths That Can Kill You And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life

You have to wonder if you really need to read the whole book after reading that mouthful of a title!  Medical Myths That Can Kill You And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life

Trust me on this -- you may not need to read the book but once you pick it up you will want to!  Particularly if you are a cyberchondriac like me. 

One little symptom and I'm on the internet busily diagnosing my particular malady.  It almost never ends well -- either I have some rare form of cancer or I'm just going to die and untimely death. 

Evidently, I am not alone. . .

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC news takes on common medical myths.  She describes, dissects and dismantles them with surgical efficiency.

For example:

  • Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol
  • You don't really need an annual check up
  • All doctors are opposed to alternative cures like herbs
  • "All Natural" does not necessarily mean safe
  • Cell phones cause cancer

She also offer 101 truths like:

  • Sunglasses can prevent blindness
  • It is better to be fit than thin
  • Headaches are rarely a sign of a brain tumor (I am reserving judgement on this one)
  • Eating one serving a day of whole grains can help lower blood pressure
  • Broccoli and cauliflower helps prevent prostate cancer

This is a surprisingly "user-friendly" compendium of medical advice written in an engaging and straight forward manner.  I would have to say that is is an important (and perhaps, indispensable) addition to your personal library.

From the publisher:

Do you know what’s really good for you?
   In this age of countless miracle cures, it’s vital to separate the myths that endanger your health from the medical facts you need.
   Unfiltered coffee can clog your arteries.
   Donating blood may lower your risk of heart disease.
   You don’t really need eight glasses of water a day.
   Coughing won’t help if you’re having a heart attack. (But aspirin will!)

We’ve become a nation of cyberchondriacs, diagnosing ourselves with false information and half-truths found on sketchy websites. In Medical Myths That Can Kill You, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, provides clear, practical, scientifically proven advice that can lead you to a healthier, happier life.

Discover the simple, everyday things that affect well-being, and get the information you need to revitalize your body, maintain your longevity, manage your care, and possibly even save a life–yours.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

eBook Discounts for June 4, 2008

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True Crime, other wordly visitors, terror, fictional crime (wrapped in romance) and a dictionary are the popular titles this week. Very Interesting!

To get your discount on these great titles use coupon code DH59Y at checkout.
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The Paradiso Files eBook edition
by Burke, Timothy M.
In this bold, unique true-crime narrative, former homicide prosecutor Timothy M. Burke makes his case against one Leonard Paradiso. Lenny “The Quahog” was convicted of assaulting Connie Porter in 1973 and paroled in 1978, but Burke believes that he is guilty of much more – that Paradiso is a serial killer who operated in the Boston area, maybe farther afield, for nearly fifteen years, assaulting many young women and responsible for the deaths of as many as seven. Burke takes the reader inside the minds of prosecutors, police investigators, and one very dangerous man who thought he had figured out how to rape and murder and get away with it. TBurke’s gripping tale is an education and adventure in criminality and the pursuit of justice.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $15.35 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 points in eBook Reward points)
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Odd Hours eBook Edition
by: Author2
The legend began in the obscure little town of Pico Mundo. A fry cook named Odd was rumored to have the extraordinary ability to communicate with the dead. After grappling with the very essence of reality itself, after finding the veil that separates him from his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn, tantalizingly thin yet impenetrable, Odd longed only to return to a life of quiet anonymity with his two otherworldly sidekicks—his dog Boo and a new companion, one of the few who might rival his old pal Elvis. …and in this dark night of the soul dawn will come only after the most shattering revelations of all.
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List Price : $20.95
Your price $16.13 (Using your 10% discount and $ .85 iin eBook Reward points)
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Terror and Consent;' The Wars for the Twenty-First Century eBook edition
by: Bobbitt, Philip
An urgent reconceptualization of the Wars on Terror. In this book Philip Bobbitt brings together historical, legal, and strategic analyses to understand the idea of a “war on terror.” . . . He provocatively declares that the United States is the chief cause of global networked terrorism because of overwhelming American strategic dominance. This is not a matter for blame, he insists, but grounds for reflection on basic issues. We have defined the problem of winning the fight against terror in a way that makes the situation virtually impossible to resolve. We need to change our ideas about terrorism, war, and even victory itself.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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The Queen's Fool eBook edition
by: Gregory, Phillipa
A young woman, Hannah Green, caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires
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List Price : $11.99
Your price $10.25 (Using your 10% discount and $ .54 in eBook Reward points)
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Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit eBook edition
by: Beckwith, Lois
This caustically funny Webster’s of the workplace cuts to the true meaning of the inane argot spouted in cubicles and conference rooms across the land.
At a price even an intern can afford and in a handy paperback format that won’t weigh down your messenger bag or briefcase, The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit is a hilarious guide to the smoke-screen terms and passive-aggressive phrases we traffic in every day. Each entry begins with a straight definition followed by a series of alternative meanings that are, of course, what is really meant.
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List Price : $9.95
Your price $8.51 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 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.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Book Expo America 2008 version

Just in case you are wondering -- here is how the biggest book show in the US looks on opening day:

Book Expo is one of those things that is virtually impossible to explain.  Thousands of people; hundreds of publishers and all the free books you can carry.  Pretty much a book lovers ultimate fantasy.

This year, however, the crowd was small compared to the shows in New York and Washington DC.  I'm told that the Los Angeles show is always smaller.  Personally, I didn't find it much of a "problem" since I could actually walk around rather freely. 

We were lucky to see a number of fine authors as they talked about their new books.  The standouts were:  Alec Baldwin, Magic Johnson, Neil Gaiman, Dennis Lehane and Phillipa Greggory.  Look for their new titles in the coming months.

The floor was abuzz with rumors about Scott McClelland's book and the party thrown by Prince; sadly I was not invited.

Amazon had one of the most crowded booths -- everyone wanted to see and feel the Kindle.  Publishers are noticeably nervous about Amazon, eBooks and falling book sales.  Ironically there was a great deal of discussion about the book industry going Green.  Of course they are talking about using recycled paper and do not want to hear about eBooks. 

I had a wonderful time, learned a whole lot and am totally exhausted.  Not only from all the hours on my feet but also from the over stimulation.  It is going to take a few days for all of the info and impressions to settle. 

For more stories about BEA check out Publisher's Weekly and the New York Times


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