Tag Archives: digital books

A Discovery of Good Fiction

Yes, my post’s title is a play on a new release’s title. Yes, I am feeling THAT little creativity today…(usually “bite me” would be inserted here, but w/ the Bronx Zoo Cobra thing, probably not a safe expression at the moment).

As per usual, I finished one of my genre binges this past month (I was on a big historical kick, focusing first on Edwardian, then Victorian, then going back to Medieval). Having done so, I went to my ever-reliable managing editor at work, requesting a new suggestion. Her response, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
A Discovery of Witches (Kindle Edition)
Now, when she recommended this title she described in the following way: “It’s like The Historian meets the Twilight series.”

If you’re response to that sentence was discomfort and silence, don’t worry. So was mine.

But, seeing as she’d yet to lead me astray, and she’d been the miracle worker to introduce me to The Hunger Games, I figured I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. Have to say, second greatest choice I’ve made (first being to borrow her Kindle one weekend last Fall, leading to my love of ereaders and utter consumption of all things ebook).

If you’re like me, you enjoy a little of everything in your “Contemporary Fiction”: mystery and intrigue, romance (but not bodice ripping), adventure and excitement, and as nerdy as it sounds, something new to learn. I’m a major history fan—though I have absolutely NO brain capacity to remember anything I learn. This explains my love of biographies, sports books, and certain Dan Brown novels (no judging).

So if you are in fact like me, I absolutely recommend this one. I don’t like giving too much away, but here are some fun facts to look forward to:

  • References to the Salem Witch trails, the Crusades, the Templars, and MANY more historical conflicts
  • Travel: US (New England and New Orleans), UK (mostly Oxford w/ a little Scotland), France
  • Witches, Vampires, and Demons (oh my!)
  • Yoga, Rowing (think Crew), and a little Chess (no, its not a sport)
  • A surprisingly more comprehensive translation of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species
  • Alchemy and geneology
  • And of course—here’s where the Twilight reference comes in—forbidden love

Check it out, but be forewarned (I discovered this too late), this WILL be a series, and this first book was released in Hardcover last month. For those of you not sure what that means, it’s going to be a long wait for book two (well, long if you read more than one book a year).

Enjoy!

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Twilight

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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Filed under BEA, Digital & Mobile

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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Filed under Digital & Mobile