Tag Archives: eBooks

In the Land of the Non-Reader « The Bygone Bureau

In the Land of the Non-Reader

Jonathan Gourlay stops reading books. This is what happens to him.


Photo by Kim Mason

A few months ago, I stopped reading books.

At night I crawl into bed and thumb my iPhone to life. I watch Star Trek: Voyager on the Netflix app. It’s not a bad show. But somehow it is difficult to compare the weeks it took to complete the seven-season voyage through the Delta Quadrant with Capt. Janeway and the weeks I spent reading my favorite books — thick books by Eliot, Laxness, Dickens, and Pamuk. I know there is an argument that serialized television drama is as complex and soul-nourishing as a good book, but, unfortunately, I don’t care for the shows that are usually held up as modern classics for non-readers: The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc. I have never seen an episode of these shows. If you want to reach me, say it with alien explosions and busty cyborgs.

Back when I was a reader, it often troubled me when friends claimed that they had no time to read. Was it possible that their lives were so full of wonders that they could not spend five minutes here or there to read? How was it that my life, in comparison, seemed to offer so many chunks of reading time throughout the day? A train ride, a late-night break, and an office wait. Through marriage, babies, graduate schools, and new jobs, I always found time to read for pleasure.

Alas, dear reader, the term “pleasure” doesn’t capture the mental and physical need for books I once had. Without a book nearby I felt bereft, purposeless, barely human. Once upon a time I lived in a far-flung foreign swamp with an extended family of non-readers. I frightened them one night when I stumbled home drunk and ransacked the house for a lost tome. A nice cousin had cleaned the house and of course she, like most people, would never feel a deep compulsion to read all of Dickens. So my book got cast off or put away or tossed to the silent frogs in the swamp. (Yes, they were silent frogs.) I screamed, “Sid, where are my drugs!” in my best, cackling Nancy Spungen voice and I laughed for being woozily hilarious to myself but could find no rest without a page of my book to send me to sleep. Books were a long-time lover whose steady weight I needed to feel in bed before sleep was possible. It turned out that the swamp heathens had used Bleak House to balance a very wobbly chair.

Books can steady a chair and a soul. The former use is not recommended for Kindle.

The last book I read was…

continue reading at bygonebureau.com

The Daily Show on how brick and mortar bookstores can compete with the internet

via TechCrunch

The Book is Dead. Long Live the Book


Unscientific Poll: On average, during a typical New York City morning subway commute, Summer 2011, there are four people reading on tablets and e-readers, and five reading print books, up from about 1 to 7 two summers ago. Outside of rush hour, many a toddler can be seen tapping away at an interactive picture book. On the beach, the e-readers (more legible than tablets in direct sunlight, less bulky in the beach bag than print books) proliferate exponentially.

Hard, Cold Fact: In January 2011, Amazon’s ebook sales, up 200% from the previous January, outstripped paperback sales for the first time ever.

The digital tsunami has finally reached the shores of Big Publishing. How is the industry responding? On the whole, sluggishly – with a few notable exceptions.


More here: bigthink.com

The Millions : The E-Reader of Sand: The Kindle and the Inner Conflict Between Consumer and Booklover

“I can show you a sacred book that might interest a man such as yourself” – Jorge Luis Borges, “The Book of Sand”

Like many people who love to read, I exist in a paradoxical state of having both far too many books and far too few. I probably don’t have many more than the average literature lover of my age, but I live in a smallish apartment, and it often feels hazardously, almost maniacally overcrowded with books. A precarious obelisk of partially read paperbacks rises from my bedside table, coated in a thin film of dust. My shelves are all two rows deep, stuffed with a Tetris-like emphasis on space-optimization, and pretty much every horizontal surface holds some or other type of reading material. I haven’t read nearly all of these books (many of them I haven’t even made a serious attempt to get started on) but that doesn’t stop me from accumulating more at a rate that neither my income nor my living space can reasonably be expected to sustain.

This is, on occasion, a source of mild tension between my wife and me. She’s a reader too, and likes having a lot of books about the place, but she also likes to have space for all those other objects that you need to have around if you want your home to look like a home, and not a drastically mismanaged second-hand bookshop. Every time I come through the door with a couple of new purchases, or carefully rip open a padded envelope from Amazon, I can’t help being aware that I am engaging in a small act of domestic colonization, claiming another few cubic inches in the name of the printed page, in the struggle of Lesensraum against Lebensraum.

Continues here: themillions.com

Melville House Goes Hybrid with Novellas by Chekov, Conrad | The New York Observer


Indie publisher Melville House announced today that it is publishing what it’s calling HybridBooks, “an innovative publishing program that gives print books the features of enhanced eBooks.”

The idea is that users can aim their magic phones at one of those barcode thingies (known as a Quick Response or QR) on the back of a print book to access supplemental material that the publisher is calling “illuminations.” Purchasers of the electronic books will have access to the extras within their digital copies.

Continue reading here: observer.com

Internet archivist seeks 1 of every book written – Yahoo! News

RICHMOND, Calif. – Tucked away in a small warehouse on a dead-end street, an Internet pioneer is building a bunker to protect an endangered species: the printed word.

Brewster Kahle, 50, founded the nonprofit Internet Archive in 1996 to save a copy of every Web page ever posted. Now the MIT-trained computer scientist and entrepreneur is expanding his effort to safeguard and share knowledge by trying to preserve a physical copy of every book ever published.

“There is always going to be a role for books,” said Kahle as he perched on the edge of a shipping container soon to be tricked out as a climate-controlled storage unit. Each container can hold about 40,000 volumes, the size of a branch library. “We want to see books live forever.”

So far, Kahle has gathered about 500,000 books. He thinks the warehouse itself is large enough to hold about 1 million titles, each one given a barcode that identifies the cardboard box, pallet and shipping container in which it resides.

That’s far fewer than the roughly 130 million different books Google Inc. engineers involved in that company’s book scanning project estimate to exist worldwide. But Kahle says the ease with which they’ve acquired the first half-million donated texts makes him optimistic about reaching what he sees as a realistic goal of 10 million, the equivalent of a major university library.

“The idea is to be able to collect one copy of every book ever published. We’re not going to get there, but that’s our goal,” he said.

Recently, workers in offices above the warehouse floor unpacked boxes of books and entered information on each title into a database. The books ranged from “Moby Dick” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” to “The Complete Basic Book of Home Decorating” and “Costa Rica for Dummies.”

At this early stage in the book collection process, specific titles aren’t being sought out so much as large collections. Duplicate copies of books already in the archive are re-donated elsewhere. If someone does need to see an actual physical copy of a book, Kahle said it should take no more than an hour to fetch it from its dark, dry home.

“The dedicated idea is to have the physical safety for these physical materials for the long haul and then have the digital versions accessible to the world,” Kahle said.

Along with keeping books cool and dry, which Kahle plans to accomplish using the modified shipping cointainers, book preservation experts say he’ll have to contend with vermin and about a century’s worth of books printed on wood pulp paper that decays over time because of its own acidity.

Peter Hanff, acting director of the Bancroft Library, the special collections and rare books library at the University of California, Berkeley, says that just keeping the books on the West Coast will save them from the climate fluctuations that are the norm in other parts of the country.

He praises digitization as a way to make books, manuscripts and other materials more accessible. But he too believes that the digital does not render the physical object obsolete.

People feel an “intimate connection” with artifacts, such as a letter written by Albert Einstein or a papyrus dating back millennia.

“Some people respond to that with just a strong emotional feeling,” Hanff said. “You are suddenly connected to something that is really old and takes you back in time.”

Since Kahle’s undergraduate years in the early 1980s, he has devoted his intellectual energy to figuring out how to create what he calls a digital version of ancient Egypt’s legendary Library of Alexandria. He currently leads an initiative called Open Library, which has scanned an estimated 3 million books now available for free on the Web.

Many of these books for scanning were borrowed from libraries. But Kahle said he began noticing that when the books were returned, the libraries were sometimes getting rid of them to make more room on their shelves. Once a book was digitized, the rationale went, the book itself was no longer needed.

Despite his life’s devotion to the promise of digital technology, Kahle found his faith in bits and bytes wasn’t strong enough to cast paper and ink aside. Even as an ardent believer in the promise of the Internet to make knowledge more accessible to more people than ever, he feared the rise of an overconfident digital utopianism about electronic books.

And he said he simply had a visceral reaction to the idea of books being thrown away.

“Knowledge lives in lots of different forms over time,” Kahle said. “First it was in people’s memories, then it was in manuscripts, then printed books, then microfilm, CD-ROMS, now on the digital Internet. Each one of these generations is very important.”

Each new format as it emerges tends to be hailed as the end-all way to package information. But Kahle points out that even digital books have a physical home on a hard drive somewhere. He sees saving the physical artifacts of information storage as a way to hedge against the uncertainty of the future. (Alongside the books, Kahle plans to store the Internet Archive’s old servers, which were replaced late last year.)

Kahle envisions the book archive less like another Library of Congress (33 million books, according to the library’s website) and more like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground Arctic cavern built to shelter back-up copies of the world’s food-crop seeds. The books are not meant to be loaned out on a regular basis but protected as authoritative reference copies if the digital version somehow disappears into the cloud or a question ever arises about an e-book’s faithfulness to the original printed edition.

“The thing that I’m worried about is that people will think this is disrespectful to books. They think we’re just burying them all in the basement,” Kahle said. But he says it’s his commitment to the survival of books that drives this project. “These are the objects that are getting to live another day.”


Marcus Wohlsen can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/marcuswohlsen


Tips for picking a great book

Summer offers an incredible amount of activities to keep you and
your family busy all season, but sometimes the peaceful solitude of
curling up with a good book is a welcomed escape.

“I like beach reads — books that are easy and fun,” says Carla
Zollinger, the adult and teen services manager at the Provo City
Library. The Daily Herald went behind the shelves to get
Zollinger’s advice for finding a book that will keep you
entertained, informed or whatever you are looking for in a summer

Zollinger received a master’s degree in library science and has
worked at the Provo City Library for 13 years. She manages the
collections, services and programs that serve teens and adults at
the library. Here are her tips for picking the perfect book:

Article continues here: heraldextra.com

Electronic publishing changing the face of libraries | Addison County Independent

ILSLEY LIBRARY ADULT Services Librarian Chris Kirby holds one of five e-readers now available to library patrons in Middlebury. Kirby, who also serves on the Regional Technology Team, focuses some of his time on how technology is changing the way people use libraries.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the changing role of information technology in various sectors of Addison County life.

The series looks beyond the push for universal broadband, asking how Internet access and the advances of technology is changing life in Addison County. It stems from the discussions of a regional technology plan being worked on by the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. The plan will be one of 11 regional technology plans offered to the state to help define next steps and needs in the various sectors. We welcome your responses and thoughts on the article or on technology in general, which will help the team incorporate as many viewpoints as possible into the plan.

ADDISON COUNTY — The Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury has stacks full of nearly 72,000 paper books, 5,000 recorded audiobooks, and 3,876 videos and DVDs.

But in a sign of changing times, the library offers downloadable audiobooks and e-books through its website, its 20 public access computers are nearly always in use, and signs at the checkout desk offer a handful of e-readers and MP3 players to try out.

As the largest library in Addison County — serving residents of the town of Middlebury, students enrolled in Addison Central Supervisory Union schools and Middlebury College students — Ilsley Library makes an effort to follow the latest technology. Its catalog is digital, accessible from anywhere in the world on the web, and it offers patrons access to a variety of online databases and learning resources.

As it becomes easier for people to click a button from their home computers and find page upon page of search results on any given topic, Ilsley adult services librarian Chris Kirby said evolving and re-imagining the library’s role in the community is key.

“There is a real concern about how we maintain our relevance as more people rely on Google for information,” said Kirby.

Article continues here: addisonindependent.com

Smashwords – 21st Century FEMA Study Course: Disaster Basics (IS-292)

Any EMs have an opinion on this?

21st Century FEMA Study Course: Disaster Basics (IS-292) – FEMA’s Role, Emergency Response Teams (ERTs), Stafford Act, History of Federal Assistance Program

Ebook By Progressive Management


Not yet rated.

Published: July 18, 2011

Category: Non-Fiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Current affairs

Words: 27295 (approximate)

Language: English

Ebook Short Description

This Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) independent training course manual from the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) introduces the student to the basics of disaster assistance and the role of FEMA.

Smashwords – 21st Century FEMA Study Course: Disaster Basics (IS-292)

Any EMs have an opinion on this?

21st Century FEMA Study Course: Disaster Basics (IS-292) – FEMA’s Role, Emergency Response Teams (ERTs), Stafford Act, History of Federal Assistance Program

Ebook By Progressive Management


Not yet rated.

Published: July 18, 2011

Category: Non-Fiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Current affairs

Words: 27295 (approximate)

Language: English

Ebook Short Description

This Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) independent training course manual from the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) introduces the student to the basics of disaster assistance and the role of FEMA.