I do a lot of thinking about ebooks and digital media, but Readerville pointed the way to a post by author Jennifer Weiner about something I have never really thought about: does it matter what an author looks like? Their example given is a good one:
the idea that she would likely have reacted differently to the author’s tale of marital woe had she known she was a gorgeous blonde who’d have no trouble finding a new mate.
I have to admit to often deciphering an author’s name as I reach for a book in the bookstore. Especially in the Current Events topic areas. You really do get different points of view from people living in different places, but I never applied to the sympathy and believability side of things.
I’m going to have to go through LibraryThing’s author database and look up all of my authors to see who lives up the image in my mind and who surprises me.
The folks over at the O’Reilly RADAR blog crunched some numbers and churned out some graphs. With the iPhone Apps store about to sell its one billionth app download, the “books” category is by far and wide the largest mover and shaker. It saw 279% growth over the past week and while sporting only 11% of the Apps Store’s total offerings. Granted it’s not as popular as the Games and Entertainment categories and the growth probably has a lot to do with the Kindle App, but with all of the geo-synching-motion-controlling-gesture-detecting-music-blasting features that the iPhone can do… look what all those iPhone owners are wanting to explore on their gadgets… books.
Last year Amazon spent a lot of time throwing its weight around, trying to squash and curtail the activities of smaller publishers and booksellers on its site. But just last week, they have shown that they are capable of listening and working with consumers… when they see a threat to there own product line anyway.
The new Kindle has a text-to-speech feature which allows a reader to become listener as an automaton voice recites the text, which didn’t seem like a big deal to me. But agents and lawyers saw it differently, claiming it infringes on their ability to sell rights to the book for the audio-book format. At first, Amazon said ‘no’. But evidently they have had a chnage of heart and will give publishers the chance to opt-in/out to this feature. Which is really how things should be done, across the board these days. It’s 2009 and there is no reason why a content owner shouldn’t be given a choice of how their content will be made available.
I’m not much of a fan of the K2. It seems to be the device they should have put out there as the first one. And maybe they agree? The rumor mill is already cranking out “Kindle 3 by the end of the year” stories and some look to have merit. Which if they are truw, will put the Kindle in a place to remain competitive.
Orbit Books is offering one e-book for $1 for one month, through April. They even set up a special promotional site. One thing I found interesting is that they are not serving up the downloads themselves. They have tapped into the myriad of online distributors of digital book files.
I think this is great promo Orbit is running. And I’m sure more publishers will follow suit. I just wonder how long it will be pefore publishers bite the bullet and invest in their own site infrastructure so they can serve up all these file formats themselves… fewer clicks is a good thing, for the customer and for the distribution fees.
Tor seems to be doing this very well.