Category Archives: Digital & Mobile

All things e-book and e-reader related

Stuck In A Historical Fiction (And All Its Sub-Genres) Rut

So I was perfectly happy reading my Young Reader adventure fiction and YA dystopian melodramas. Then I was sucked into the Steampunk world, and later into the historical romance and medieval fiction realms. For 3 months, that’s where I lived. Every morning commute. Every before bed, I-should-be-sleeping-so-I’m-coherent-for-work-tomorrow hour. I was in the world of proper English, chivalrous men, dignified women, and more than a few dragons/airships/hackneys.

I am thrilled to announce, however, that I have now returned to the slightly 21st century. And while I definitely enjoyed some of the virtually unknown titles—
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Steam & Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape

Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey

I missed some of the simple things. Non-horse-drawn or steam-powered cars. The Internet. References to reality television. The use of popular slang like “fo shizzle” and “WTF”. A girl can only go so long without these basic necessities to modern-day life.

So What has brought me back? Why, Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well (Apple iBookstore), or course! I’ll let you know how it turns out, but to tell the truth, I think I’m already hooked. I mean really? Who doesn’t love that cover???

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Filed under Bio & Memoir, Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Historical Romance, Humor, Non-Fiction, NYCBookGirl @ Work, Picks by nycbookgirl, Pop Culture, Recommendations, YA & Children's, Young Reader

Divergent, A Book I’m Using As A Diversion From Everyday Stresses

First, it must be credited that my good friend (from Kristinaradke) mentioned this book to me many months back. While I put it on a “To-Be-Read” list in my head, that, like most things in my life, became cluttered with other nonsensical mismash. So, while I “discovered” the title for myself by browsing the iBookstore, it did technically come highly recommended by a person of substantial reading reliability 🙂

The first book in the Divergent series.

So, I shall refrain from going into the ENTIRE soliloquey that is my grown-up-life stress. For those of you who are young, living with roommates, paying bills in a big city, and owing a great deal of money to the Student-Loan Sharks, I’m sure you understand that life has been daunting (*pun unintended but amusing)/tiresome/frustrating/emotionally draining. Therefore, last Fall, The Hunger Games became my escape from reality, and a temporary reprieve from responsibility (ironic). When that ended, I roamed aimlessly in the land of historical romance (no judging you book snobs :P), humor audiobooks, and a little manga. Nothing, however, could fully relieve me from my everyday worries and anxiety.

Then comes Divergent. Now, I will in no way claim this to be as-good-as OR better than The Hunger Games. As it is the first book in a trilogy, and I still have 1/4 of the ebook to read, I cannot justify such a monumental statement.

However, consider these factors:

  • This is a debut novel. I generally find debut novels to be lacking, mostly because the author is trying so hard to say so much, their work often times comes across as exhaustingly complex.
  • This is a rapidly growing sub-genre. YA Dystopian novels are explosive right now. This is not in any way a NEW sub-genre, but thanks to some of the titles that have come out these last couple of years, it is gaining speed and attention for many readers, especially adults. In my experience, 80% of the titles that come out in a “new” or “popular” sub-genre are COMPLETE crap. This, in my opinion, isn’t one of them.
  • The author is 22. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to momentarily put aside both your astonishment that anyone at that age has the skills to NOT bore you with mellow drama, as well as your not-so-subtle loathing for someone else accomplishing something so monumental as being published at such a young age. This is an impressive piece of work for someone so young and so new to the game. Color me envious.

The characters are relatable, the storyline is interesting and exciting, and the social structure created w/in this futuristic world is rather engaging. I have to say, I’m seeing a lot of promise for both the series and the young author. So if you want to escape for a bit, try Divergent by Veronica Roth.

BTW: This was the first ebook read on my new toy, the iPad. Gotta say, love the experience, but STUNK to try and read outdoors. Will still be keeping/using/loving my Kindle…they’re like my two children: I love them equally, just in varying ways.

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Filed under Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Reviews, YA & Children's, Young Reader

Enter the Digital World: Media Zone Speakers at BookExpo America (Day 2)

Moving to the Downtown Stage at BEA, the first set of speakers were from the newly renamed “New Media Zone.” There was one presentation in particular that stood out to me, by the Australian developers of DNL eBook format, DNAML.

The format is for your computer, and has a pretty clean, clear look to it. I was excited to see it used the page-turning feature, and has smoothly embedded video and audio into the pages of the eBook. Here’s a great way to promote a book by the publisher, and a great way to give a book a more creative outlet (just imagine the fun you could have with guest “speakers” in your book, like Sarah Vowell’s The Partly Cloudy Patriot with guest readers Colbert, Stewart, O’Brien, and others).

What was truly interesting was at the end when he presented the Children’s Picture Book Lucy Goosey. The pictures were bright and colorful, the read-along voice was engaging, and the overall quality was good.

And for the publisher, this program offers some great perks, like view the sales made in real time, utilize tools for user information gathering, promote/generate additional eBook sales through program, and use the program for in-house production “as well as outsourcing the production to 3rd party companies”.

Overall its a pretty impressive system, and with the hopeful advances of the portable digital readers, there is a chance this system could help solve some of the concerns currently faced by Kindles and EReaders.

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How Much is that E-book in the Window?

Well the first debate seems to be whether or not one includes a ndash in the product name or not…

Personally, I find it sexier with, but there’s also a cute and sassy appeal to the without look. But, seeing as how I haven’t yet conducted any control group researching, I’ll leave that discussion to the general population.

NOW to address other concerns: How do publishers work with e-books and not sacrifice their prices, or forfeit their “control” over piracy?

Happy to say that publishers sat down this past week at the London Book Fair to discuss just this. To credit them, they have fully accepted the necessity to embrace the ebook and learn how to profit from it. And as its a common topic in the industry, their concerns are valid: look at what piracy has done to the music and movie industries. Once the tangible product becomes digital, all bets are off.

So here are the sides. Take your pick, or give me another option to consider.

Pro-Publisher: Sell e-books at the exact same price they are sold for in their current form, and find a way to police illegal distribution of their material. This is an understandable argument. As PW reported, there is the belief that “publishers are “short-changing authors” if they don’t price e-books the same as physical books.” And lets not forget that even without the killing of trees and over-seas shipping costs, there is still a large staff to pay at the end of a publication (publisher, editor, marketer, publicist, art design, seller, finance, legal, agent, author, etc.). And as for piracy, well, we all know it’s technically wrong (what with it being illegal and all). So lets not dwell on that yet…

Pro-Consumer/User: Not to say that the publisher isn’t concerned for the readers, but they are trying to run a business. So what is there to say for the audience? Well, do we or do we not buy these digital contraptions to make life easier, and to save money by online purchases (see iTunes and/or Netflix)? So shelling out a few hundred for an e-book reader seems like a good idea…until suddenly the consumer is paying $25 for a new release that didn’t kill the homes of millions of woodland creatures or take multiple gallons of bankrupting ink-jets. Production costs cannot be that high. And as far as piracy goes, face the facts: if its online, its fair game. Maybe not legally, but try and explain that to the average user. Also, there is the argument that allowing some piracy actually promotes a product and encourages users to purchase the legalized content (again, see iTunes).

So what’s the solution? Sorry to say, but it’s still pretty unclear. As pointed out by the Guardian (who also covered the book fair), while publishers are still unsure of any solution, “readers are doomed to be confused for the foreseeable future.”

For some older articles and blogs discussing these concerns, check out the Huffington Post, the NYTimes, Boing Boing (really old), Techdirt, and NYTimes blog Freakonomics.

And finally, a bit of irony, brought to you by Mr. Walt Disney: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates‘ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main.”

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