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Wednesday Links: 1-6-10

1-6-10. Looks weird. Anyway, here’s some news about books and ebooks from around the web:

  • CES 2010 starts tomorrow. I’m most excited about, predictably enough, a couple of ereaders: the Spring Design Alex, and the Plastic Logic QUE. Presumably both will premiere tomorrow, and hopefully they’ll be selling by the weekend. Among the questions in my mind: First of all, how much will they cost? Are the Alex’s dual screens useful or gimmicky? Is the QUE’s touchscreen as awesome as it first looked? And lastly, how much will they cost? If I had to guess, I’d say QUE-$500, Alex-$350.
  • There are a few pieces of pre- or non-CES news floating around. First of all, there’s the new iRiver ereader, which might or might not be laughably expensive. And everybody’s jumping on the Wall Street Journal‘s story that the Apple iSlate is coming in March for one cool grand. Sooooooooo… wait till April and get it for $700? There’s also the Skiff, the biggest ereader in the world, and the new Cool-er, the smallest (that is, the smallest with a six-inch screen and an overinflated price tag—but it comes in green!). I’m still waiting for a netbook with a detachable, backlightable E-Ink screen. It’s a few years away.
  • To get excited for the coming year from a, you know, reading perspective, here’s the Millions’s list of books to watch for in 2010. I’m looking forward to Robert Stone, David Mitchell, and Ron Rash, whose last novel, Serena, was among the best books I read this year. Salon does the same thing for January, though with sadly only four fiction books on the list.
  • So, this op-ed in the Times, it’s a publisher saying that the role of the publishing industry is basically to have good taste, to find and polish excellent books for people to read. He says, “A publisher — and I write as one — does far more than print and sell a book. It selects, nurtures, positions and promotes the writer’s work.” There have been a lot of responses: at E-Reads, Booksquare, and Salon, among many others. My own response is a little shorter: When there’s more than 70,000 books about vampires on Amazon, maybe publishers should do more selecting, and less promoting and positioning (not to mention less worrying about William Styron ebooks).
  • Random of the week: Did you see the Burj Dubai/Khalifa opening? Think Bellagio fountains plus explosions plus helicopter shots. They might have spent more on fireworks than the Empire State Building cost to build.

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