Books — staid and intellectual cultural artifacts that they so often are — were not all just staid or intellectual this year. Not nearly. There were, in fact, scandals, at least a few of them surrounding books and their authors and publishers, and there were times in which discussions of books and the business grew dramatic and tension-filled. Near-scandals! Other times, these conversations were simply very, very interesting, full of twists and turns, much like a good book.
Google is adding some new features to its Android ebooks app, including highlighting and annotation, translation, dictionary definitions and geographic information. Google Play Books for iOS lacks these features for now.
Wikimedia, the company behind Wikipedia, has added a new export option to its site that allows you to save content in EPUB format, essentially enabling off-site reading to be performed on a number of eBook readers, including Amazon's Kindle devices.
The resource site has offered an option for signed-in Wikipedia visitors to collate their favoured articles into book form for a while, but this is the first time that that self-made tome (content specific encyclopedia, if you like) can be published into an eBook format.
As Sam Leith points out in a short piece in the London Evening Standard, ”the Internet is a modern-day Grub Street… just look at the state of things in the 18th and 19th centuries. People routinely reviewed their friends, or even themselves, at different times in different publications under different aliases. The Times Literary Supplement only abandoned anonymity in 1974.” He continues: “But there’s no infallible way to make sock puppetry impossible, or prevent authors paying for good reviews… this is going to have to be self-policed.”
Amazon came under fire from Love146 , a group that campaigns against child trafficking and exploitation, for selling what appeared to be a self-published e-book encouraging pedophilia overseas, "Age of Consent: A Sex Tourists Guide!" by Peter F. Friedmann. Though the book has now been removed, questions remain about Amazon's lack of monitoring of content published on its e-book platform. The description of "Age of Consent" stated that "In some countries it is even illegal to have sex outside of marriage, with severe consequences if you are caught doing so! On the flipside,
Nine experts weigh in on scholarly publishing and ebooks:
Suzanne BeDell, managing director, Science and Technology Books, Elsevier:
When we talk about e-books we mean books to be read on devices and e-readers, which all our books are, in all e-book formats. One third of our e-book sales last year came through Amazon but access on the iPad is increasing. Our e-books are also available through the B&N platform on the Nook device and through Google Books too. It requires considerable work and investment to manage and support the different feeds…
When Encyclopaedia Britannica announced last month that it was discontinuing its print editions after 244 years, company executives noted that there were 4,000 sets of the final 32-volume 2010 edition left in a warehouse, the remnants of an old tradition.
Less than three weeks later, the bulk of them are gone.
It seems clear some people will grasp at whatever straws they can find to make whatever Google does fit with their preconception that anything it does must be evil nasty commercialism:
Some blogs are making a big deal out of how the recent 200th-birthday Charles Dickens Google Doodle linked, not to a general Google search for its subject as other such doodles have in the past, but rather to the Google Books search for Charles Dickens. CNet’s Chris Matyszczyk (rather smarmily) calls it a “pure, straight-up piece of commercial communication.”
Marvel Entertainment is to actively support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).The US House Of Representatives has released a list of organisations in favour of the anti-piracy bill, which includes the publisher and its parent company Disney.No other comic book firms appeared on the document, though DC Entertainment's parent company Time Warner did feature. Book publishers such as Hachette, Macmillan, Harper Collins, Penguin and Random House are also in favour of the controversial legislation.SOPA aims to allow service providers to tackle websites deemed to be in violation of copyright infringement. Opponents of the bill warn that it could be
This story might need to be taken with a grain of salt based on its sources, but it could have some serious implications if true. Megaupload, like Rapidshare, is a cyber-locker site where people can upload files of any kind for others to download. Many of those files are illicitly-copied commercial material, which naturally gives [...]