Tag Archives: e-reading

E-books for Christmas

Surely one of the benefits that the paper book has over its more economical & tree-friendly e-edition is the gifting possibilities. There’s nothing like a comforting, rectangular parcel at Christmas, right?

I’ve been giving books as presents my whole life: childhood classics to my much younger cousin and now to my daughters, my godson & his brothers; art books for my mother; medieval history with ladies in to one particular friend; graphic novels to another. When in doubt, books.

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Books with iiiii

My honey called me from work today to tell me he had bought my book again – in e-form, from the iBooks store.

“There are IBOOKS for sale in the IBOOKS store?” I repeated, very excited.

Because yes, having Power and Majesty as an e-book is super exciting, and not something I knew about in advance at all, but I’m almost as completely excited that after half a year sharing a house with an iPad, nearly a year owning an iPod Touch and about a month or so with my own iPhone (it’s kind of adorable, but my honey didn’t have a single Mac product when we first got together and now he practically hurls them into the household at superspeed) it was now, finally, possible to buy ebooks that didn’t come from Project Gutenberg.

Not that I’m knocking Project Gutenberg, I love me some free old books, but sometimes you want more than just the first two Agatha Christies, you know?

So yes. Apple is finally getting the ebook thing happening in Australia. And Power and Majesty is RIGHT THERE on the front line. This is kinda squeeworthy! I am a little disappointed in the layout and design of the iBooks store – it’s not nearly as tantalising and enticing as iTunes, and while the searchability is excellent, I like a bit more razzle dazzle when I’m browsing for purchases. But early days. I hope it will get shinier as more books and publishers get involved.

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Galactic Suburbia Episode 12 Show Notes

Episode 12 is available for streaming here, downloading here, and can also be found on iTunes by searching for ‘Galactic Suburbia’

In which we talk about publishers behaving badly, authors self-publishing, the future of reading and the price of a short story. Also we talk about books. Shocking, isn’t it?


Night Shade apologises for any problems they’ve caused any of their authors

SFWA puts Night Shade Books on probation as a qualified SFWA market for a period of one year, effective immediately.

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The Future of Reading

When recording Galactic Suburbia last night I mentioned that I stopped reading a particular book recently, and I was planning to talk about that in our reading section, but didn’t write it in the Googledoc and thus forgot about it.

[This is not a review of said book. I made a decision a while back to only blog reviews about books when I had positive things to say, for several reasons: a) as a writer myself producing negative reviews would hurt the soul & almost certainly come back to bite me b) the best response to bad books is silence c) life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying and I wouldn’t want to review a book I haven’t finished.]

In this case, the book in question is one of the hotly anticipated speculative fiction books of the year, from a well respected author. Other people have raved about it, and I fully expect to see it on awards shortlists. It has a theme that made it look like something I would like, and I was actually really excited about reading it when I first started – several months ago. I didn’t hate it or anything, I got 30% of the way through it, and it wasn’t grabbing me. Yesterday, I finally made the decision that no, I wasn’t going to carry on. No big deal, really.

But I felt guilty about it. Yes, me, with my teetering to read pile (shelves, to read SHELVES) and my tendency for heartlessly abandoning books after three pages, *I* felt guilty about giving up on a book. So naturally I had to poke at the sore spot to figure out why. I think the guilt comes partly from having read it as an ebook on my iPod – wondering if maybe that’s the reason I didn’t get into it. I don’t read on my iPod for fun so much as I have stuff on there to read if I get stuck somewhere without bookshelves. So this poor book has been sitting there, waiting for me to be stuck somewhere in order to read it. Which I have, in bits and pieces.

I kept going back to it, and telling myself I was going to read and enjoy it (everyone has told me how much I will love this book) but ultimately, I didn’t want to. My last e-book reading experience was Connie Willis’ Blackout, and maybe it’s not fair to compare it, but I whizzed through that. I didn’t care about the formatting glitches or the various issues that come from reading on a small screen, I just wanted More. Book. Now.

So did I not give this book enough of a chance? Did I let it and/or myself down by choosing the e-format? Or is it just not a book that’s particularly for me? Does a book have to be extra good, like Connie Willis good, to get me to go the extra mile? Am I thinking way too much about this?

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More on Macmillan v. Amazon

This is a really long post by Tobias Buckell, and it’s completely worth reading – he explains the Macmillan v. Amazon situation really well but also talks about the pricing of e-books, and why it is the way it is right now, and why it has the potential to change in the future (and as part of that, why publishers would really prefer to have flexibility of pricing.

Charlie Stross provides an outsiders guide to the fight.

Amazon present a letter to their customers. The most interesting aspect is that they are definitely saying that this is a temporary thing. And squarely placing Macmillan as the bullies, heh. Sorry, hard to see Amazon as the underdog. *Tries* Nope, can’t see it.

Scott Westerfeld explains why we should be more hacked off at Amazon than Macmillan.

Scalzi on the many ways of Amazonfail.

I have to say one good thing came out of this – I know I’ll be happier about paying higher prices for e-books in the future. I had never understood why they were priced the way they were, and now I have a much clearer idea. (of course I still maintain, as before, that DRM devalues e-books to the point where the logical price structure does not make sense – and Amazon are in the wrong there too, as they still don’t allow publishers to choose to de-activate DRM)

Amazon vs. Macmillan

Cory Doctorow published the story yesterday, about how Amazon had dropped all Macmillan titles (including Tor, etc) from its site in retaliation for Macmillan wanting to charge more than the Amazon standard of $9.99 for e-books.

Macmillan themselves have put their side of the story at Publisher’s Lunch, making it clear that what they wanted to do was to have a sliding scale of e-book sales, starting at 14.99 when the dead tree books are published in hardcover, and coming down eventually to 5.99.

Many authors and editors have of course weighed in on this, including many whose livelihoods are being directly targeted by Amazon’s bullying (note: many of these posts were written before Macmillan publicly explained the part about wanting to charge more for e-books, something which caused almost as much concern/outrage as Amazon’s behaviour).

Scalzi discusses the subject of e-book pricing as well as the deliberate timing of the removal of books (do we remember last Easter’s Amazonfail?).
Jay Lake
Teresa Nielson Hayden
Lisa Mantchev
Cherie Priest
Catherynne Valente
Jim Hines
Emma Bull
Charles Stross

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November Reads

It feels sooooo strange to be posting without a word count bar at the top. It’s going to be March now before I’m back to writing first draft stuff. Straaange. But like everything else, I’m sure it will be here pretty damned fast.

Despite NaNo commitments and all the Last Short Storying, I managed to read 8 books in the last month, which is only two short of my monthly target.

The three I loved best were Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer and Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (I’ll link to my review of that one when ASif posts it).

I also very much enjoyed Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle and I’m afraid rather dragged myself through Vacations From Hell, a YA short story collection which was not nearly as diverting as Prom Nights From Hell.

I really liked The It Girl: Adored, one of the Gossip Girl spin off Jenny-Humphrey-goes-to-boarding-school books, though I’ll admit I don’t remember much about it. This is my favourite Gossip Girl series. I also went back to the classics by reading the second of the ‘real’ Gossip Girl books, You Know You Love Me, which is kind of… weird to be reading now, after seeing the series. Alternate history!

Yes, I’m hoping to get to more crunchy books in future months as my post-baby fatigue ebbs away but I do love my YA…

I read The New Space Opera II, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Gardner Dozois, as part of my final round up of stories for LSS (favourite stories recced here) and that totally counts toward my book total even though the 200,000 odd words of Shadow Unit doesn’t… sigh. I enjoyed TNSOII though overall the stories were less exciting/inventive/generally wondrous than in Eclipse 3, also edited by Jonathan, which I did not read this month, but which may well be my anthology of the year… I’ll let you know on Dec 31st!

TNSOII does have the distinction of being the first entire book I read on the iPod, via Stanza, which may well change the way I read in the future. Considering the wealth of e-material we receive for LSS can I just say… YAY! The iPod touch is remarkably easy to read even in a sunny playground, and I love the page turny facility of Stanza even if it does turn docs into random chapters. Also it makes reading while a) breastfeeding, b) babyjoggling, c) big girl cuddling, d) cooking, e) driving (KIDDING) awfully easy.

Finally I have a reason to develop a love affair with Project Gutenberg!

As a final note, Glenda Larke is guest blogging over at Ripping Ozzie Reads, about her experience as a pro writer tackling NaNoWriMo for the first time. Go check it out!