2 de outubro de 2011

Leituras Digitais (25 de Setembro a 1 de Outubro)

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

If anyone wants confirmation that, for the world of books, this is the age of trolls and Visigoths, they have only to open the New York Times Book Review and turn to the space at the back devoted to e-book bestsellers. There's a whole page listing e-books with titles like Hearts Aflame and Love Will Find A Way. Otherwise, no recognisable literary names; no contemporary classics. Nothing. But what, precisely, does this signify, an end or a beginning?
On September 12, 2011, the Authors Guild sued the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Cornell University over digital copies of books from their vast libraries. Many of these scanned books are no longer in print and of interest only to scholars, but the lawsuit reflects the growing tension between professional authors and the libraries that hold their work.
One could say (and I would) that the ereading revolution is coming up to its 4th anniversary since it was late November 2007 when Amazon first released the Kindle. There had been dedicated ereading devices before then, including the Sony Reader — in the market when Kindle arrived and still here, if not wildly successful — and the already-defunct Rocket Book and Softbook devices that had debuted and disappeared some years before. And in the early 1990s we had the Sony Bookman, which showed only a few lines of text at one time and disappeared with barely a trace. The biggest-selling ebook format, before Kindle, put content on the Palm Pilot and the total ebook market was so far beneath a rounding error that any investment by a publisher in digitization was being made on faith, not on commercial evidence.
And many people in publishing believed that reading on a screen would take many years to take hold, if it ever would.
Now, less than four years later, we are living in a changed world, although not yet a transformed one. But transformed might be coming very soon.
Unlike books, which are one of the few media that do not require a secondary external device for playback, e-books put additional barriers between readers and knowledge. Some of those barriers, as I've mentioned, consist of Digital Rights Management and other attempts to use intellectual property laws as a kind of rent-seeking, but others are more subtle.
One in five children in the U.S. lives below the poverty line, and those numbers are likely to increase as the world economy continues to work through a painful de-leveraging of accrued debt. In the past, the only thing a child needed to read a book was basic literacy, something that our public education system in theory still provides.
More and more authors are now considering digital publishing opportunities and are taking control of their own works. New ventures such as Unbound, are inviting them to submit their unpublished work to into a social media lottery. Barnes and Noble Pubit, Wattpad, Lulu, and Kindle publishing, are among others all offering new ways to get published. We now even have agents embroiled in heated debate, as some of their numbers are starting to wear two hats and become publishers. We also see the publisher now creating new digital ways to socially capture and sift through the mountain of submissions. Although these routes may not offer the financial rewards of the more traditional one for authors, digital is now importantly enabling everyone to be published. The democratisation of writing and storytelling is arriving.
Few people will mourn publishers’ losses from increased price competition and new technology like e-readers. The question is whether these trends undermine the quality of books which are being published, by breaking a business model that has let firms focus on variety and range. Publishers have good reason to shiver at the decline of traditional bookshops. To fund the discovery and promotion of new authors, they have relied on books that sell steadily over a number of years. Yet mass retailers stock a few hundred new blockbusters.
At first sight there is no reason for concern. New works are abundant—40% more titles came out in Britain in 2010 than in 2001. But this obscures a starker trend: “mid-list” titles are selling in smaller numbers in America and Britain. This matters for cultural life, because most literary fiction and serious non-fiction falls into that bracket and much of it could become uneconomical to publish.
Lulu.com founder and CEO, Bob Young said: "This partnership is another step in our passionate effort to help Lulu creators reach more readers and sell more books.
"We expect that eBooks, which represents the greatest area of opportunity for our creators, will continue to evolve rapidly and the NOOK reaches a whole new audience of readers to discover and purchase our creators' remarkable works."
What does this mean for the device landscape? It introduces a new concept in reading tablets that will likely spur eBooks sales and give Apple a run for its money as consumers seriously weigh their options between a $200 Kindle Fire and a $500 iPad.  It might also cause Apple to reconsider pricing as they prepare to release the iPhone 5 in the coming weeks and the iPad 3, probably next spring.  However, the iPad is a more general purpose device and still has capabilities that the Fire doesn’t, most notably, a camera.  The connectivity with the Amazon Cloud Service is also very reminiscent of Apple’s iCloud announced earlier this year and due out when the iPhone 5 is released.
Google is preparing an “imminent” UK launch of its e-books platform for selling digital titles, with members of Gardners Hive network able to sell the e-books from their websites.
The digital company held a closed meeting with more than 100 independents at the Booksellers Association’s Independent Booksellers Forum at the University of Warwick in Coventry on Sunday (25th September), which outlined how the system could work. Sources told The Bookseller the service would be launched within the next four weeks, with an announcement date at the Frankfurt book fair mooted.
Harry Potter fans will have to wait until the first half of 2012 for the series' e-books as the opening of the Pottermore shop postponed from its planned October launch.
Fragile treasures of 16th Century music are now freely available online, thanks to a partnership between Royal Holloway, University of London, the British Library and JISC.
The Early Music Online project has digitised more than 300 books of the world’s earliest printed music from holdings at the British Library. Some of the books date back as far as the 1500s and, due to their fragile nature, would not be freely available to researchers, but thanks to this digitization project, musicians from around the world can now source the original music free of charge using the Early Music Online website.
Éramos seis naquela mesa redonda. Editores, romancistas, críticos literários, consultores. Tema da conversa: «Vem aí o e-book… Deito fora os meus livros?» Como se o facto de podermos trazer centenas de romances num aparelho fininho implicasse necessariamente uma guia de marcha para as estantes lá de casa. Quando me deram a palavra, pousei no colo os vários gadgets pelos quais distribuo as minhas leituras digitais (Kindle, iPad e iPhone), o que me fez sentir uma espécie de José Magalhães nos seus tempos de guru da pré-história da internet em Portugal (lembram-se?), e sublinhei uma evidência: o e-book não vai assassinar o livro em papel (pelo menos nas próximas décadas), nem substituir a experiência da leitura tradicional. Mas os dois suportes podem perfeitamente coexistir, com as respectivas vantagens e limitações. Pela minha parte, a adaptação foi imediata e leio agora e-books naturalmente, como se eles sempre tivessem existido.
New York Times E-Book Best Sellers

A version of this list appears in the October 9, 2011 issue of The New York Times Book Review. Rankings reflect sales for the week ending September 24, 2011.

E-Book Fiction

1.                      THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett
2.                      THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE, by Darcie Chan
3.                      THE ABBEY, by Chris Culver
4.                      LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, by Fern Michaels
5.                      LETHAL, by Sandra Brown

E-Book Nonfiction

1.                      HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
2.                      CONFIDENCE MEN, by Ron Suskind
3.                      UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand
4.                      MONEYBALL, by Michael Lewis
5.                      A STOLEN LIFE, by Jaycee Dugard

Rooted Nook Simple Touch

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