B&N goes international

From ShelfAwareness:

B&N’s International Plan: Nook Stores, Distribution Partnerships

Barnes & Noble plans to launch Nook digital bookstores in 10 countries within 12 months, the Bookseller reported, noting that a 10-K form filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission “said the international expansion plans were part of its partnership with Microsoft, announced earlier this year.”

According to the document, B&N is also “exploring opportunities to give consumers outside of the U.S.” access to its Nook products “through potential distribution partnerships yet to be announced. While there can be no assurances, the company intends to have one or more distribution agreements in place to sell Nook devices in certain countries outside the U.S. prior to the 2012 holiday season.”

Writers and reviewers

Dear reader,

There is apparently a never-ending battle between writers and the reviewers of their work. M. Edward McNally has written a wonderful piece about this, over on Indies Unlimited:

This is not the first time somebody here at Indies Unlimited has opined about the writer-reviewer relationship. Our illustrious Evil Mastermind, Stephen Tiberius Hise, did a not one, not two, but threepart investigation only last year. My weekly habit of ending columns with a real One-Star Review on a “classic” book is always intended as a friendly reminder that somebody out there hates every book ever written. But like the noted philosopher David Coverdale from the University of Whitesnake boldly proclaimed, here I go again.;-)

I’m wading into these treacherous waters one more time for the simple reason that the topic of reviews constantly comes up among any group of writers, whether we are on facebook, kindle boards, or whinging over the third pitcher of boysenberry kamikazes at the local watering hole. And though I’m much more a part of the writer tribe than the reviewer tribe (of course there is a ton of overlap to that Venn diagram), it doesn’t take much poking around at the accustomed places to find threads of reviewers exchanging horror stories about some writer losing their shitake mushrooms and going thermonuclear about a less-than-stellar star rating. Just so you writers know, some of those threads have names like “Why I will never review another Indie book ever again.”

In the interest of establishing accord and respect among our two peoples, keeping six-shooters in their holsters, and stopping anyone from getting defenestrated out of the saloon, I would like to humbly submit a few things for both sides of the lines to keep in mind. Things to think about as we glare at each other across a sun-bitten, dirt street; hands hovering over our peacemakers.

WRITERS: Reviewers do not work for you. Yes, reviewers write reviews for as many reasons as writers write books, and for some “helping” an author actually istheir primary motivation. But not for all that many. Far more just want to speak their own opinion about something they read, particularly in a Social Media environment where 90% of the food chain that keeps the ecosystem going is dependent on everybody sharing their opinion on everything.

If you want to go even further back into an era when book reviews were the purview of literary journals, newspapers and the like, the reviewer’s only responsibility was to READERS, never to WRITERS. Respected reviewers had a following because people trusted their opinions were honest, found their personal taste similar to the reviewer’s, or even, yes, liked the way the reviewers wrote reviews, and so they were “fans.” A lot of book bloggers today still cling nobly to that vestige of times-gone-by, and they only offer their reviews just to share with followers what they thought about any given title. The review-ee, the Writer, is no part of that equation, and nor should they be.

REVIEWERS: Writers do not work for you. By which I mean you, personally, VampirFan2784 or whatever your name is (I just made that name up, apologies if anybody is actually using it). There is a great, yawning chasm of difference between saying “I thought this book moved too slow,” and saying “This book moved too slow.” The first is inarguable: The action of the book moved slower than you would like, and so of course you didn’t like that, and no doubt “took off points” accordingly. The second means there is something wrong with books that move at a pace different than that which you personally happen to like, and presumably there is also something wrong with any other reviewer who liked the pacing of the book, as well as the writer who wrote it the way they did because they also like a particular pacing in a novel. It’s a fine distinction, perhaps, but that “I thought,” or “I feel,” or “for me as a reader,” makes all the difference in the world.

Of course, all that applies only to things that are really a matter of taste. If there are 2 or 3 typos on every page, there is no point in saying “I feel there are 2 or 3 typos on every page.”

Click here if you want to read the entire article – I think it’s worth it.

The localisation of e-readers

Dear reader,

I did a little snooping around over various websites, to find out what is considered the best e-reader for which purpose. The results were not very surprising (at least not for me). Basically it all depends on where you live combined with what you are looking for. There is no real ‘best e-reader’.

When you live in the United States, the selection of e-readers is largest (which is hardly surprising).  According to http://ebook-reader-review.toptenreviews.com/ the best choices are all based on Amazon’s Kindle equipment, with Barnes & Noble’s Nook in there as well. The Sony e-readers are among the least desirable e-readers, although they still score quite good. Interesting fact: Apple’s ipad is missing in their listing.

This is in bleak contrast with the Dutch site http://www.ereaderstore.nl/category/4863/top-10-ereaders.html, which lists the newest Sony PRS-T1 as the best buy, and the Kobo Touch as the runner-up . This for the simple reason that Kindles and Nooks are not (yet) available here. Also e-readers by BeBook and Archos are listed as good e-readers. Again, the ipad is not in the list.

And how are things in the land of the rising sun, Japan? According to http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/which-e-reader-will-conquer-japan/, Fujitsu’s FLEPia e-reader has tried to make an impact, but still that has not proven to be a match for the mobile phones that people use everywhere to read and watch other content. Also Sony has not been able to get a strong foothold in their own country; most Sony readers are sold in the USA and Europe.


Bill Gates Doesn’t Believe Tablets Belong in the Classroom

from The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder

 Bill GatesLove him or hate him, Bill Gates has been a strong influence on tech, education, and many other fields. The Chronicle posted an interview of Bill Gates yesterday, and they talked with him about a wide variety of topics. The complete interview is well worth a read, but I’m mainly interested in what Bill had to say about tablets. He’d rather see laptops in the classroom. Rather funny that, considering Microsoft announced the Surface Tablet only last week.

Here’s an excerpt from this particular answer:

Just giving people devices has a really horrible track record. You really have to change the curriculum and the teacher. And it’s never going to work on a device where you don’t have a keyboard-type input. Students aren’t there just to read things. They’re actually supposed to be able to write and communicate. And so it’s going to be more in the PC realm—it’s going to be a low-cost PC that lets them be highly interactive.

Given that I don’t think I can get my blogging done without a keyboard, you might be surprised to find out that I think he’s wrong. It’s not just that you can add a wireless keyboard to a tablet, or that you can use the onscreen keyboard. Nor is it that the small size of many desks in the average high school classroom.

I simply don’t think you need a keyboard to create nor do you even need one to write. If it were necessary then schools would have issued typewriters or word processors to students decades ago. Most all the HS I attended had either typewriter labs (older schools) or computer labs (newer schools), and yet I did nearly all my schoolwork by hand, including writing papers.

What’s more, his position ignores the fact that there’s far more ways to create content that simply typing. I don’t believe I have the space to list them all, but it would start at drawing  and email and continue to scribbled notes and go on from there. About the only type of creation where a KB would clearly win out over a touchscreen would be long form typing. That’s not enough of a reason to require a laptop over a tablet.

And I think I already have proof that Bill is wrong.  The San Diego USD recently switched from issuing laptops to issuing iPads. They bought 27 thousand iPads this year and plan to pass them out next fall.  In past years they purchased netbooks. While battery life was likely a driving factor for the switch, I bet the SDUSD looked at how students would use the iPads (vs laptops) and realized keyboards weren’t that important.

via The Chronicle

Bill Gates Doesn’t Believe Tablets Belong in the Classroom (video) is post from The Digital Reader

Paper books. E-books. The core is…

Dear reader,

I think that for myself I have decided that the brawl over paper books and e-books and what is better is a non-issue. It is the same kind of argument as why people like a specific colour better, or a brand of car, or a particular kind of cereal.

The core part in the debate is book. It is the text that is in it, the story, the information. Does it matter how it is presented? In a hard-cover book, a paperback, a spiral-backed set of prints, or in any of the formats that e-books come in? I suddenly realised that all that doesn’t really matter. E-books only add to the versatility and ease of getting to the information and stories.


Lily Marin’s steampunk adventures

Dear reader,

I am wondering about something. I’ve written a set of short steampunk stories, 3 are out in a book, 3 are pending for that. I discovered however that writing these stories is very… difficult. Cumbersome. Slow. I really like the stories how they come out, but they drive me insane. Also, the number of downloads is not that high (the book is free) probably because of the niche genre.

I am really wondering if I should keep writing these stories, or if it is better to focus on what goes more easily, gets done faster. It would be the easy way out, though. The steampunk shorts are challenges, and I dare to think that those push my writing in a particular way.

Time will tell what happens.

Indie promotion

My my, dear reader, how time keeps fleeting.

One Monday goes by, and the next is on the threshold again. I guess this means it is time once more for today’s Indie Promotion:

The Dark Lake

by Anthea Carson

Ebook Short Description: Something is wrong with Jane. Something that dates back at least twenty years and that involves her little blue Chevette ending up at the bottom of the lake. Jane is obsessive about not thinking about that night. She won’t think about it in therapy, at her home, at AA, or anywhere else. And yet that night dominates Jane’s thoughts. This intricately plotted story is told from the point of view of either a disturbed human mind or a wandering ethereal stream of consciousness. I’m still not sure whether Jane is alive and ill, alive and seriously ill, alive and episodic, or dead and wandering the city and lake and her old home.

The Dark Lake is best described with the words literary/psychological/ghost.

Where to find.
You can find the e-book on Amazon.com.