Wednesday Links 10-21-2009

Wednesday again. As usual, let’s start off with ereaders and go from there.
  • The Barnes & Noble ereader (maybe named Athena or Nook) is looking pretty snazzy. It’s rumored to be priced competitively at $259; it’s got dual screens and runs on Android. Not to be outdone, so does the mysterious Spring Design’s Alex. Plastic Logic also released some details on their upcoming device, the QUE, which looks pretty sleek and will be available in just a few months.
  • Google has decided to launch an ebook store called Google Editions., which got the Frankfurt Book Fair atwitter. Walmart wants in too, so they will begin selling ebooks on Walmart.com. For the most part I find Walmart to be just about the most evil corporation on the planet, but it will be interesting to see what effect this has on ebook prices, beyond the current scuffle with Amazon–and what formats they make available.
  • German parliament bought a buttload of ereaders for some reason. And, might we see ebooks in bookstores soon? Aussies will. Corey Doctorow put an interesting piece for Publisher’s Weekly about ebooks and why he thinks they can be free. Read this interesting response to a savage review of Jonathan Lethem’s new book. Find a great “captain” Ahab or Poe tee shirt over at Novel-T.
  • For fun this week: Ugliest Tattoos is funny stuff. Until 10/25 you can get the awesome World of Goo (Mac/PC/Linux) legally and name your own price. This Brit video is pretty funny/clever.
  • And, finally, if you are the Russian spammers overloading our comments, please stop. It’s really annoying. (We’ve been scrambling to get the spam cleaned up, so we apologize to any commenters if your post gets deleted by mistake. Feel free to email us if this happens to you and we’ll get your post reactivated.)

Barnes & Noble eReader Device Revealed (sort of)

There have been a bunch of images and rumors floating around over the weekend about the soon-to-be released Barnes & Noble ereader device, and they’re some pretty slick images and rumors.

If all is to be believed, the machine–maybe named the Athena–is designed by former Apple designers (who also worked on the original Kindle?) and will feature two screens on a single plane. The main screen is black and white, utilizing E-Ink, and the second, smaller, navigation/data entry screen features full color multitouch LCD.

Pretty awesome and innovative. Such a combination could possibly obviate a lot of the discussions on the disparities between the various  ereaders’ screens in the current generation.  The machine supposedly runs on Google’s Android OS, meaning it could stand well above the rest in the firmware department as well.

Barnes & Noble has been selling ebooks at competitive prices in eReader format for some months now. They are clearly aiming to take a big bite out of the Kindle’s (not entirely deserved) pie. No word yet on whether they will take a similar propritary format approach as their competetion, but it would definitely be interesting if the device remians open to other formats (particulary if it can handle library books).

There will be a press conference on Tuesday–most likely a full, official reveal with specs. We’ll know more then. Check back later in the week for the skinny.

via BrighthandDVICE, BusinessWeek, Gizmodo

Stanza Maker Gobbled Up By Amazon


In what could be terrible news, Lexcycle, the producer of the best (by far) reader app for the iPhone, Stanza, has announced their sale to Amazon. If Amazon uses this move to try and strangle the market and push their proprietary Kindle format on mobile devices, this could be very bad news indeed and indicate a big step backwards for mobile device ereading. If however, they stick to their claim to leave Stanza unchanged, or better yet, they open Stanza to the Kindle format without locking out other formats, it could be a step forward. We’ll have to wait and see, but don’t hold your breath.


via Apple Insider.

iPhone Readers: Wattpad

I’m finding it pretty hard to understand why people are still churning out clearly sub-par reader apps for the iPhone, and harder to believe that they’re seeing any sort of profit from these programs. Wattpad brings one innovation to the mix, but its humdrum presentation and centralized online library prevent it from being close to a contender for the go-to reader app.

Wattpad’s innovation is the ability to share. You can tag books you like which will in turn recommend it to readers with similar tags and libraries as you.
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Script Format on an eReader

I’ve been working on a play lately, so I got it into my head to see how well script formatting worked in various file formats on an ereader. Turns out, not that great.

It’s a bit of a moot point anyway, seeing as nobody reads scripts without needing to take notes on them, and no current ereader can satisfactorily do that, so consider this purely curiosity.

The long and the short of is that PDF is the only readable format for scripts. Hit the jump for a complete breakdown, pictures, and more details.

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