Wednesday Links 1-27-10

  • Basically, nobody wants to shut up about the new Apple tablet (supposedlydubbed the iPad–consider it nominated for this week’s dumbest new ereader name award). It’s slated to be revealed today, so I’m not going to bother parsing out the rumors. This one bit about pricing strategies and the coming battle between Apple and Amazon is interesting though. Not sure where B&N is in all this. I guess they probably shouldn’t have f-ed up the Nook launch so badly. Perhaps they are waiting for a boost from Apple? If you’re foolishish enough to get a first generation iPad (thus ignoring Apple’s track record of vastly superior second gen devices), here are some other fun uses for it.
  • It looks like Asus’s EeeReader (or are they Asustek?) will have two models. Acer’s got one running Chrome. Then there’s Mustek. And the Lenovo Tianji. And Endless Ideas has a WiFi BeBook Neo. There’s the Oppo Enjoy (dumbest name: winner). Copia is still hanging around. Even Nintendo is getting in the fray, selling romance novels on their DS. Man, the market is officially awash.
  • Amazon has quietly laxed their DRM policies. So quietly that hardly anyone has noticed. In what could be an enourmous shift, Apple will allow iTunes users to store libraries in the cloud, rather than their harddrives (hopefully it doesn’t require a .Mac subscription). Besides fighting with China, Google is also in a tiff with its old buddy Apple. This may lead to Apple dumping Google integration from their devices and adopting Bing, which is of course owned by–Mac geeks are fainting left and right over this, I’m sure–the evil Microsoft. Regardless of Google’s early success (maybe) with Android’s apps, Apple is still the undisputed ruler of App-land.
  • It’s kinda old news, but apparently colleges are being sued for using ereaders  in classrooms because blind students can’t use them. How using a braille edition to supplement a Kindle (which reads books–poorly–out loud) is less fair than if the other students use deadtree, I do not understand. It won’t help the blind, but if you’ve no backlight on your ereader and can’t figure out how to turn on your lamp, try this dongle. This Boogie Board doodle toy isn’t an ereader (and probably isn’t much use to anyone not a basketball coach) but it does seem pretty cool, and uses no power at that.
  • We’ll be posting on Friday about some of the many changes we have planned for our second year. There’s a lot of good stuff planned, and we’ll be getting bigger and better as time goes on. Check back Friday for that.
  • I really like this comic explaining proper semicolon use; there’s also one for the apostrophe. Also at The Oatmeal, the best Twilight review I’ve yet read (yes, I read the books). Everyone in this school district should be given a lobotomy. And Scholastic Surprise! should chill on this one and use their noggins. Finally, Farmville is stupid (no link, just spouting the truth).

Wednesday Links: 12-30-09

Here’s our last links update of the decade. First though, we’ve updated our eReader Comparison page as well as our Best Ways to Get eBooks, so check them out. Both will be seeing quite a few more updates in the coming weeks and months as much is happening with ereaders and ebook sellers. In fact, we’ve got a lot of changes planned for C4 in the near future as well; we’ll be posting on many of them at some point in January. Also, be sure to check out our Best Books of 2009 series if you haven’t already. We’ll be continuing the series through January.

REVIEW: The Death of Bunny Munro plus iPhone Readers: Extended Editions

deathofbunnymunroAuthor: Nick Cave

2009, Faber & Faber

Best ebook deal: (I went for the iPhone Enhanced Edition, read more below)

Filed under Literary

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 7
Entertainment..... 5
Depth..... 4

This review is going to be a little different, as I read this book using the Enhanced Editions iPhone appbook version of the book. The first half will review the book, and the second will be an installment of iPhone Readers.

Nick Cave’s musical background is immediately evident when you begin reading this book. I haven’t read his debut And the Ass Saw the Angel, but I’ve since heard the writing is similar. Cave utilizes strong rhythms and cadences to his syntax. And while he doesn’t turn the crispest phrases, there is a hypnotic and musical feel to his writing, even if it is a bit manic and cacophonous at times.
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Wednesday Links 10-7-2009

  • After a week off, let’s get right to business. First: ereaders. Best Buy and Verizon are teaming up on one of the competitively priced iRex models. Read more here. The Hexaglot supposedly will have handwriting recognition, which would be awesome, if a little unnecessary, if it worked. Despite appearances, the Biblio is not primarily a phone, and the Cybook Opus finally ships. How much will you bet the AUO will be a POS with broken firmware and cheap plastic?




iPhone Readers: Eucalyptus

So after hearing all the hype, I bit the bullet and payed $9.99 to download Eucalyptus. And after reading through a book on it, I have to admit it’s worth the relatively steep price. If only you could import books, rather than be limited to Project Gutenberg’s (admittedly vast) library, it’d be the best reader app available for the iPhone.

The presentation is top notch. Texts are far more readable in Eucalyptus than in the other reader apps I’ve tried. On top of this everything is well organized, intuitive and easy to navigate. They’ve included plenty of animations and graphical touches that give the package a decidedly professional flair. This does wonders negating the fears of buyer’s remorse I had when I first agreed to spend $10.
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iPhone Apps: Xcerpts

Xcerpts is an app that shares a lot of similarities with the IndieBound app. It’s not so much a reader app as a way to browse different books out there and search for new titles that may be of interest to you. Xcerpts main feature is, perhaps obviously, to allow you to read samples (usually the first few pages) of the available books.

The organization is pretty intuitive, and there is a surprisingly large array of categories. Each book’s entry contains a picture of the cover, basic publisher info, and some helpful links allowing you to email the book’s info to a friend or jump to the book’s page on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There is also the option to save selections to a “shelf” for future perusal.  The book excerpts are what separates this app from the pack, and it handles it well.
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iPhone Apps: Audiobooks

I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently. They oprovide a great way to multitask (at work, the gym, driving) while plowing through some new books. Paying hardcover prices on iTunes for audiobooks seems a little rediculous to me, especially seeeing how more or less useless audiobooks are once you’ve finished them. That is, if its not a book you plan to re-enjoy soon, there’s little it can do besides waste space. Revisiting sections and searching for quotesor passages is more cumbersome than it is worth.

So I though about getting into a subscription based audiobook program to keep up with newer books, but then I decided just to start borrowing audiobooks from the library and ripping them to my computer. In the meantime, I began getting audiobooks from a site called LibriVox, where volunteers upload recordings of readings from public domain books. I was immediately (and still am a little) astounded at the high quality of the readings and recordings. They are pleasant and professional. They are also free.
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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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April Highlights from the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog

Lately I’ve been poking around on a great directory called the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (located here), which compiles articles about ebooks published in scholarly journals. In general, scholarly journals don’t get very much love from non-scholars. The articles can be pretty dry, and the gists sometimes tough to parse without a filter. However there’s always a lot of interesting reading provided from some very smart people in them, and they’re usually the first places to learn of new trends, studies, etc., before they are disseminated through newsprint and the internet. 

I’ve filtered out some of the most intriguing and provided brief abstracts for them below, and I’ve only included articles that can be accessed for free in this post.

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