An Aggressive move by Google!

It was a fight between eReaders by Sony and Amazon that Google Books is now going to turn into an outright mugging. Two weeks ago Sony adopted the open EPUB format for its eBooks and various eBook Readers. (Once it’s downloaded the eBook is yours to read on any device you want.)

Now Google Books is going to offer its million-plus eBooks in the EPUB format. Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.

Amazon, can you say: Painted ourselves into a corner? It’s going to be hard for Amazon to respond with its locked, Kindle-only proprietary format. There’s only one thing they can do. Adopt EPUB or die!

Now this is getting exciting, yah?

Rumored Apple Tablet Responds to Sony’s Daily Edition

I knew this would happen. With Sony’s announcement of a new 3-G wireless eBook Reader (the Daily Edition) set for a Christmas release, the rumor mill started up about Apple’s Tablet. Read a story about how the fabled machine might measure up to the competition at Computerworld. Most of us are wondering whether the Tablet actually exists, and you can bet frontrunners Sony and Amazon are having some sleepless nights over it. I have a feeling we’ll soon find out.

So, we’re all here waiting. What’s it going to be then, Apple?

Sony Continues Punching, Amazon reels against the ropes!

Okay, Amazon, you better get this straight, if you can even make it back to your corner between rounds: Give your head a shake and come out fighting. Read the full report at PCWorld.

Sony is in this to win. Weeks after announcing two new eBook readers, the PRS-300 ($199) and PRS-600 ($299) Sony continues punching with the December release of the “Sony Daily Edition,” a 3G Wireless eBook Reader ($399) with a 7-inch screen that looks more-than-capable of going toe-to-toe with Amazon’s self-declared champion Kindle. More on the battle for eBook supremacy at

Without Kindle’s proprietary format, and free to purchase and read EPUB books anywhere, Sony’s machine (while pricey) is set to win the fight unless Kindle’s plan includes more than a lot of talk about being the best and biggest in the busy. They’re going to need some pretty fancy footwork too, yah?

iRex adds a wireless feature…

This story at ABC news has IREX Technologies getting into the wireless act. They announced Monday that its upcoming reader will give users access to the upgraded and fully functional Barnes & Noble Inc.’s eBook Store.

IREX has several eReaders out on the market and plans a 2009 launch for the wireless machine. This emulates frontrunner Amazon Kindle’s capability while offering an 8.1-inch touch screen.

Now I hope they copy Sony Reader’s adoption of the EPUB open document format for their eBooks, yah?

Much that has been said before…

In the out-of-the-gates-last department, presents an article that could have been written months ago. Nothing new really, just the early stages of cogitation about the eBook Revolution, e-Paper’s impact on communications, etc. Presented to you as a recap, and for those who have not yet formed an opinion.

As I said, it’s kind of a reiteration, but it’s a slow news day, yah?

Apple Tablet, where are you?

Re-thinking the ISBN…

Ok, some publishers are arguing the new technologies are making the ISBN irrelevant. As the eBook revolution is making it affordable for publishers to dust off their backlists, those publishers are now looking at the old ISBN rules and crying foul. ISBN rules say you’ve got to have individual ISBN for all issues and re-issues of a book, as well as eBook or CD versions of the same product. (Let’s say a minimum of 2 ISBN per book and it adds up.)

A bit of checking around showed that  ISBN prefixes cost as much as $250 for a block of ten pre-numbered ISBN purchased from any of the 160 authorized ISBN agencies worldwide.  When publishers reissue products in multiple formats from a backlist of several thousand titles, they say it’s an extra cost that is unjustified because of modern technical advances in web search, store search engines and computer databases.

Read the full lowdown on ISBN from ISBN.ORG

What is the purpose of an ISBN?
The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.

What do I do when I receive the ISBN and where is it printed?
An ISBN should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles. Each format or binding must have a separate ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, e-book format, etc). A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused. An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page.

Sounds like a nice little racket. I was okay until I read you have to assign a new ISBN for each revised edition. With today’s printing technology, e.g. Print-On-Demand and the adoption of the eBook (where, frankly, editions can be revised continuously) one’s options are considerably restrained by this necessity for reclassification. Having to acquire a new ISBN for each revised edition unnecessarily complicates a process that the ISBN should streamline, one would think and it seriously restricts the flexibilty that the new publishing technology offers. Yah!

What happened to the Dewey Decimal System?

A bit technical, but a good weekend read…

Takuya Otani and Phil Keys wrote the following article for Tech-on (Nikkei Electronics Asia). The story includes an introduction to the tech we can expect, and some that’s still out there on the drawing board. Have a look. There are new kinds of ePaper in the wings, and a few really exciting advances in eReader design. This has got to be one of the most comprehensive pieces I’ve read on the future (and present) of the eBook Revolution.

Google Books Action Sparks Powerful Alliance

Another update on the continuing debate over Google Books’ ambitions, the rights of authors and publishers, and now the rights of other monopoly-minded corporations. It seems that Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo have agreed to sign up for the Open Book Alliance in an attempt to stop Google’s push to create the world’s largest virtual library.

The Internet Archive is leading the charge to oppose a legal settlement that could make Google the MASTER and PRIMARY source for online works.

Read the complete story here at BBC. It’s important to keep on top of this struggle because with the new power players in the Alliance, corporate rights will soon overshadow the individual rights of content creators (authors) and the consumer, yah?

Digital and paper hook up…

Interesting story over at BBC. The first video ad is about to be published in a paper magazine. The story says the video ad plays on a mini-viewer placed on the page and will appear in special copies of Entertainment Weekly this September.

I mentioning this because it represents an excellent mix of digital and traditional media, while placing this potentially ghastly and annoying hybrid far away from the eBook publishing world. eBook Publishers and retailers like have been hinting at the inclusion of such ads in eBooks.

I shudder at the thought. yah?

However, video ads, like other digital commercial advertising media belong in publications that have a long relationship with them. (Especially publications that are facing an adapt or die scenario in the unfolding digital age.) The physical paper magazine will eventually be replaced by an eReader, and this video advertisement hints at the shape of ‘revenue streams’ to come.

Imagine a world with only one eBook format…

I really think it’s going to happen. After Sony ditched its proprietary format in favor of the cross platform EPUB, it seems possible that eBook and eBook Reader Retailers might stop trying to control their products and start selling them untethered. Just sell the eBook Reader and allow consumers to decide what and where they’ll get their reading material. The format disunity is just slowing down the eBook Revolution, yah?

One look at this excellent article by Lauren Walter at the, and you’ll see that the market is slowly moving toward universality with their formats. A year ago, there must have been twenty different eBook file formats in play, and other than .TXT, few of them worked on the different devices.