Tools of Change Conference

Our friend Jorgen directed us to this Huffington Post piece: “Exploring the Future of Book Publishing at Tools of Change Conference” by Smashwords founder Mark Coker where he offers commentary and personal highlights from the recent  Tools of Change book publishing conference. Coker has made headlines inking deals with publishing industry giants to raise Smashwords profile as the go-to platform for  launching independent authors and publishers. We’ve been keeping tabs on Smashwords, a definite player in the eBook Revolution. Check out some background here.

$1.99 eBook Sale Held Over Another Week!

The $1.99 eBook Sale at has been held over for another week! Originally slated to end March 1, 2010, the sale has been extended to March 8, 2010 due to popular demand. Novel length horror, scifi and mystery available in multi-format for $1.99 per title.

Scribd is Going Mobile.

Thanks Jorgen for this link to a post at the detailing document sharing site’s foray into the mobile service.

The article suggests this is’s challenge to competing services offered by Amazon and Apple and with millions of members and lots of titles, they may just give them a run for the money. Another “YouTube for documents” allows their membership of independent and traditional publishers and writers to upload and share work for payment or free.

It’s a big Internet. There’s lots of room, yah?

A Word from the Penguin Boss on the eBook Revolution…

Thanks Jorgen for a link to a post at IT.TMCNET.COM where Penguin Publishing boss John Makinson  waxes poetic about the coming digital age. An interesting read, if it does continue to have the paternalistic tone that we so often hear from fat cats of the ‘bricks and mortar’ days. (You know the fat cats who are being dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age…) But it’s a good read nonetheless with a few points that only the head of a large company can make.

Sorry. I had to point this out. In case anyone ever thought that the traditional publishing industry had let all that power go to its head, read this quote from the Penguin boss: “The decisions that we take now on behalf of authors will determine the future of publishing.” It’s called a messiah complex, Mr. Makison. I hear there’s a cream for it…

Thank god the technology allows authors to take a few of those decisions themselves.

Oh, and when it comes to the price of eBooks at least he screws up his courage and admits that it depends on what the customer is willing to pay. (I know, you don’t need a degree to get that, but it was a boss-like thing to say, yah.)

Infibeam Pi Calculates that there is E Ink life after iPad

And I thought we’d have to worry about them cloning people. Infibeam Pi is a new eBook Reader  with a familiar look for the burgeoning eBook Marketplace. (Come on, it’s a Kindle right down to the smile…) Announced in January, as India’s first eBook Reader it has a familiar list of functions as well.  (Not to mention support for English, Sanskrit, Hindi and most official Indian languages.) See the specifics at the link.

The Infibeam Pi is ready to ship for Rs 9999 ($215 US), and with an English speaking population of 232,000,000, India represents a vast market for North American and European publishers and eBook retailers.

Popular Wattpad Titles Now Available on Sony’s Reader™ Store

Toronto, Canada, February 22, 2010 –(– Wattpad, the world’s most popular ebook community, today announces an ebook distribution agreement with Sony Electronics. A selection of top unique Wattpad titles will be available on Sony’s Reader Store starting today.

“We are very excited to bring popular Wattpad titles to new audiences,” said Allen Lau, CEO and Co-founder of Wattpad. “We will continue to provide more titles to the Reader Store in the coming months.”

You can read the full Press Release here. We mentioned before, billed as the YouTube for writers and readers. Excellent development, yah?

The Student Body Not Ready for eBooks?

The eBook Revolution as it applies to students and small publishers was brought to my attention by a couple of small  publishers of  textbooks responding to my post “Apple iPad Will Use DRM… Ahoy eBook Pirates! Come and get ‘em!” (Okay, maybe the title’s a bit provocative…)

It has been theorized that schools and students would provide the perfect proving ground for the eBook Revolution. (Young people + technology = adoption.) 

Not so simple. Turns out there is much more to the story. We’ve got a hesitant student body and textbook publishers with everything to lose releasing digital (easily shared) textbooks to a limited target audience. (Young people + knowledge of technology = wait for the cheaper next-generation of eBook Readers.)

Read more about it here at

The moral of the story is early adopters are not the majority, and the technology still  needs time to evolve before it will be embraced by the tech-savvy mainstream.

So much for ‘open’ format…

Our friend Jorgen dropped this link off to a story at Computerworld describing the ongoing attempt by eBook retailers to control how and where we read the eBooks they sell us.

The article exposes industry leaders tinkering with the once universal and open EPUB format so that it requires a password to access, in some cases, and in others arriving with a ‘hard cap’ on the number of other machines or devices we can read the eBooks on.

This kind of market manipulation just puts wind in the sails of digital pirates, who are known to require little justification to ‘crack’ locked content, and like to cloak their rebellious activities with notions of Robin Hood and ‘sticking it to the man.’

Pretending to embrace the open format is worse than using proprietary, yah?

More Perspective on eBook Piracy

The’s Books Blog has an excellent eBook Piracy perspective piece entitled: “Who’s afraid of digital book piracy?” It’s a well-written article that manages to dispel some of the hysteria surrounding the topic by applying old-fashioned common sense and a bit of research.

Inflammatory notions like piracy are often brought up by corporate thinkers as a method of crow-barring public opinion into alignment with company aspirations for market dominance. (War on eBook Pirates any one? Please. Please DRM my eBooks so pirates can’t have their way with them!) There is a threat, no doubt, but as you’ll see from this article it is a gecko compared to the publishing world’s perceived Godzilla.

The Struggle for Market Dominance Begins…

Thanks Jorgen for dropping off this link to a Business Week story that predicts the shape of things to come for According to the article analysts from Credit Suisse Group AG see Amazon’s market share of eBook sales slide from 90 percent in 2009 to 72 percent in the coming year.

While you read the specifics in the article try to remember it’s a ‘prediction’ determined by analyzing a wide spectrum of data derived from very new things: eBooks, new eBook Readers, new versions of old eBook Readers, the habits and preferences of flesh and blood eBook readers, DRM, non-DRM, eBook Piracy,  etc. and the impact of those many factors on a very old and entrenched cultural entertainment form. 

With new, previously unknown variables will come wide and unpredictable variation in results.

In other words, Amazon may be able to hang onto its market share yet.