August 1, 2009

Books and their future

There's more going on than the Google's attempt to control all out-of-print books,'s 1984, or poor graphics in Amazon's Kindle, but that's enough to keep us busy for now. Slate has a nice rundown on Amazon's remote deletion of e-books from Kindles in Why 2024 Will Be Like Nineteen Eighty-Four and The New Yorker's long review A New Page: Can the Kindle really improve on the book? ends pondering the free “Kindle for iPod” application. Apple's plans of course are unknown, though they've been in talks with book publishers.

Mediabistro's BayNewser has several items on books and the future, including Google Engineering Director Spells Out Vision for the Future of Digital Books, Green Apple Books Smacks Down the Kindle, and Civil Rights Leaders Heart Google Books Settlement. ReadWriteWeb has more on e-books and Google Books, as does CNET and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Also, the Internet Archive and others are trying to broaden efforts on access to information through The Open Content Alliance. Democracy Now interviewed the Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle about digitization, the Google Book Search Settlement, and the future of books and libraries on April 17 in San Francisco.

E-books seem like a good idea, but not if they have weak graphics and can't be sold or read on any device the buyer chooses -- apart from any 1984-like book banning scenarios. San Francisco bookstore Green Apple looks at the downsides of the expensive Kindle in a series of 3 YouTube videos; here's one:

Update: When asked about After Effects books, Chris Meyer says,

"Whatever you do, DON'T get the Kindle version of our books. They're in black and white, the page layout has been auto-reflowed meaning illustrations and tips get separated from their corresponding text, plus I don't think you get the DVD-ROM of project and media files."

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