9 de janeiro de 2011

Leituras Digitais (2 a 8 de Janeiro)

Rubrica semanal de notícias e artigos relacionados com a edição de livros digitais.

  It was only a week or two ago that Borders wanted to buy Barnes & Noble. But now — if Leonard Riggio is doing any real thinking about the future — might be the opportune time for B&N to buy Borders.
  Kindle is a runaway train heading for Manhattan, and as it roars through Penn Station and under the city, it is shaking the foundations of New York’s oldest trade publishers. Increasing eBook sales mean increasing cost per unit for print books, since fixed production costs will be amortized over fewer print unit sales. Trade publishers are struggling to exercise pricing power in an environment that demands cheap eBooks, and where the temptation of underselling competitors on all but the biggest brand-name authors is ever present.
  It has been suggested that Amazon introduce a sort of grading system with their ebooks, those that are of a nature that might offend (on whatever basis – sex, graphic violence or whatever) be placed in a section of their store that is only accessible to adults – with some form of realistic and reliable way of proving that the customer is actually an adult.
  After all, books such as the ones here are read by loads of people without them coming to any major harm it seems to me, and for a company to decide what we may or may not read according to some list of “approved conditions” seems wrong to me.
  We’ve been at this a while now, but it apparently needs restating: (text-only) ebooks are books. And in fact, the extraordinary has happened: the EU has agreed, and last year passed a special measure—a rare thing—stating that member countries will be allowed to charge a reduced VAT rate on “any similar physical medium that predominantly reproduce the same textual information content as printed books”, come January 2011 [The Register] (Across the EU in general, paper books are charged at a reduced rate, although not zero as in the UK).
  Regardless of its exact nature, technology will play an increasing role in shaping our future libraries. For centuries, the book publishing industry has worked closely with and supported libraries, and they have done so without influencing the freedom of the institution. It is now time for the technology industry to step up and play a similar role.
  It’s almost become a shared rumor – that a Kindle Tablet is in the works. Almost every site is writing about it, and speculating about it. The new App Store from Amazon makes a lot more sense if there’s a Kindle Tablet arriving in 2011. It fact, it makes perfect sense.
  As long as taste-makers in education, the press, broadcasting and other public institutions keep their faith in new books and their begetters, those precious assets of voice and visibility will not be squandered. Whether the sums will add up for much professional literature remains another matter. The age of multi-platform publishing promises no easy fix for the plight WB Yeats called "that old perplexity, an empty purse" - nor to its corollary for authors with silver tongues and shallow pockets: "the day's vanity, the night's remorse". Still, for as long as a highly cerebral memoir by a foreign politician can grow into a barnstorming bestseller for an indie publisher, the book world should be allowed the audacity of hope.
  The Book Industry Study Group has released the results of a new survey it conducted, called "Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education." Among the findings are that 75% of college students say they prefer textbooks in printed rather than e-text form, citing print’s look and feel, as well as its permanence and ability to be resold.

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