News & Notes – 8/07/13

September 7, 2013 Uncategorized 21

News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.

Books & Ebooks in the News:

    •  Amazon announced the new Kindle Paperwhite.  Or rather, a new edition of the Paperwhite, with improvements in contrast (via an E-Ink Pearl 2 display), better lighting, touch sensitivity, and processing speed.  They’ve also added software improvements: Page Flip to let you skim and scan more easily and even skip to the end without losing your place; Smart Lookup; a Vocabulary Builder tool; better handling of footnotes; and (coming soon) Goodreads integration. (We all knew that was inevitable after Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads.)  Reviews from CNET, PC Magazine, Engadget, and Gizmodo are generally positive given that there are no major hardware improvements, but no one has been allowed to play with the device for more than 20 minutes or so yet.  The new Paperwhite is available for pre-order ($119 with ads, $139 without; $189/$209 for the 3G model.)  Units start shipping at the end of September.

      Worth Reading:

      • “Why She Chose Us and Not Amazon”Sometimes price isn’t the only consideration. Independent children’s bookseller Josie Leavitt muses on the added value offered by indie bookstores. (Publishers Weekly)
      • “On Guilt and Reading” (Bella’s Bookshelves blog, 1/5/11)  I stumbled across this older blog post about the guilt some readers feel about the time and/or money they spend on books.  It’s something I think most of us have experienced at times.


        For Writers & Bloggers:

        Literary Losses:

        Photo © AllyUnion, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

        Frederick Pohl, once of science fiction’s legendary writers and editors and a winner of both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his 1978 novel Gateway, died this week, aged 93.  Active to the last, he published a blog post on poverty only days before he died.  There are several wonderful obituary worth reading, including those at The Guardian (David Barnett), i09 (Annalee Newitz), and The New York Times very thorough tribute (Gerald Jonas). 

        Book Announcements:

        Really cool:

        Blogger and artist Mary Green (of the Green Paper blog)made these wonderful bookmarks from the spines of old books.  Don’t worry, she uses books that are already damaged — mouse-eaten, water-damaged, missing pages, etc.  I’ll be viewing yard-sale books from a whole new perspective in the future!

        Book Quote Favorites:  

        That’s it for this week!

        I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature.  You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.

        21 Responses to “News & Notes – 8/07/13”

        1. Greg

          Welcome back Lark! Great post as always- I liked the article about indie vs Amazon, very nice.

          Like the new header by the way!

        2. Szever (The Dork Portal)

          /sigh. I had been on the nook bandwagon for so long. I see the new kindle is coming out, and I’m sure B&N will follow suit and release a new nook in the near future as well. I don’t have a built-in light on my nook, so I figure it’s time to upgrade. But now the decision is whether to jump ship to Amazon, or continue playing as the Titanic sinks.

          • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

            I’ve been on the ePub bandwagon (my reader is a Sony, I buy — or bought — most of my books through Kobo and before that BooksOnBoard), so I know exactly where you’re coming from. But I’m slowly being converted. My mom, stepdad, sister, nephew, and niece all have Kindles and love them. Amazon often undercuts the ePub retailers on ebook price. And there are some really attractive features on the new Paperwhite, notably the ability to skim or skip ahead without losing your place, through what’s essentially a pop-up window. So I am starting to lean toward switching to Kindle when my venerable Sony PRS-505 dies. I’ve even started downloading a few free and deeply discounted Kindle books (which I can read on my computer via the Kindle app, if I’m so inclined.)

            Another thing to consider — B&N is in trouble, and they’ve already sold (or are selling) their Nook hardware business. My fear is that they may be headed the way of Borders.

          • Szever (The Dork Portal)

            Yes, “playing as the Titanic sinks” was in reference to B&N’s troubles. They haven’t sold anything, though. What they were thinking of doing is outsourcing the hardware aspect of the nook tablets (not the e-readers). They said they will continue to make the e-readers themselves. So, they talk like there’s hope. I’m sure we’ll see an announcement for a new version of the nook e-reader in the coming weeks. But it’s hard to keep faith in a company that’s been steadily losing boatloads of money. Ok, the whole company isn’t losing money. But you get the point.

            The other nifty thing I liked with the new kindle is the integration of Goodreads. I guess that purchase by Amazon is going to pay off.

          • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

            One reason they didn’t sell off the Nook hardware business is that in the end, there were no bidders (according to The Motley Fool, which also says it’s too early to write off B&N.) Their stocks continue to lose value, though. OTOH, they are the only really major bookstore chain still intact. The empty Borders in our nearest city is now a B&N (which can’t compete with Amazon for price, but is at least convenient when I need a book TONIGHT.) So there’s life in the old girl yet, as they say.

            I think that it doesn’t make sense for me to go with Nook, since I don’t have an investment in Nook ebooks. In your case, I can see that it would be a much tougher decision.

          • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

            By “I don’t have an investment in Nook books”, I mean my personal ebook library, which is mostly ePub but with the Adobe Digital Editions rather than the Nook variety of DRM. The sheer quantity of ebooks I already have does give me pause when I think about switching formats. However, a lot of them were either freebies or heavily discounted ($0.99 to $2.99), so I haven’t invested a whole lot of money in a library that will become unusable if I switch to Kindle.

          • Szever (The Dork Portal)

            There are ways around the whole DRM issue. They might be frowned upon, but I’m not too worried about losing my library. And in the end, it’s not THAT many books. I donated more books to the library than I’ve bought in e-book.

            Oh well. I suppose I will decide either when B&N announces what is different with their next nook incarnation, or I’ll just grab the kindle if there’s no news from B&N before the holiday season. /shrug.

          • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

            They’re cool, aren’t they? I want to make some. I think I’ll start keeping my eyes open at yard sales and thrift stores for books that are too damaged to salvage, but still have decent spines.

        3. readerholicnotes

          As several other people said the book spine bookmarks are great. That Neil Gaiman quote is great, too. As you usual, lots of great news and notes, Lark!