A real book. Is it what you hold in your hands?

Dear reader,

Many a question’s being asked about what is a book. A real book. I think that’s a valid question, and also something that only can be answered from the right point of view. Books

A book always used to be something made of paper, with a cover around it, and words inside that smell of ink.

 

 

 

 

ebook

The digital revolution bestowed the e-book upon us, with a cover around it that looks like a little machine (e.g. e-reader, tablet or even a smartphone), and the smell of ink is absent for now (but wait for it, technology will catch up on that!).

So what is a book? Is it the medium that carries the story, the paper, the ink, the weight that comes with it? Or is it the story that’s conveyed, regardless of the medium it’s read from? Do you read a book or do you read a story? I think it’s fair to say that both options are true and real, and books are books, be they paper or e. As for the weight that comes with a book… e-readers have weight too and that can be a blessing for people who have problems holding up the big paper tomes.

There will always be paper books. There will always be e-books. And that’s the grand thing. Stories appear on both media, so you can take your pick. There is no absolute in what’s the best. The absolute could be your personal preference, and that’s not even a fixed point because there are people who appreciate a heavy, smelly book when they’re at home, but who take their e-reading device along when they travel (for instance when they don’t want to risk damaging the paper version).

The choice is yours.

Hilda’s 13th adventure, Hilda – The House – is now available!

Dear reader,

Did you know that 13 is Hilda’s lucky number?

Crappedy crap, scribe, let me do this. I can see you’re going down Babble Road again and that’s not what people are waiting for! So here is the news for anyone who’s interested in news: THE NEW BOOK IS OUT!

Hilda 13 the house 320
You can find the newest book in the series at Amazon.com, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple iTunes and in print at Lulu.com. For Kobobooks you may need a bit of patience.

As 13 is indeed my lucky number, you can get the book at a discount for the first 13 weeks that it’s out. After that you’re not in luck, you’ll have to pay the full copper for it.

And while we’re talking about that, why is it only copper, scribe? Don’t you think my books are worth at least a silver?

 

Lily Marin – The Novel is available!

Dear reader,

Lily Marin Novel CoverYes. It’s done. This book, the novel about Lily Marin is available as of now, and I present it to you with great pride.

You can find Lily Marin – The Novel at Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, Apple Itunes and Amazon, while more stores are coming as soon as possible.

In print the book is already available via Lulu.com.

If you like the book, I’d appreciate it if you were to write a review about it, and if you like it so much that you’d love to see a sequel to the book, please tell me about it!

Hilda 12 goes live.

Dear Reader
hilda extreme

Yes, it is with great pleasure that I can let you know that the latest Hilda the Wicked Witch book is now available online.

You can find it at Smashwords (for all formats and all e-readers), on Amazon (for your Kindle device or app), and Lulu.com will gladly supply you with a paperback version. It’s also up at Apple’s iTunes already!

Please keep an eye on the page with published books for other sources of the book if you’re more comfortable with the Sony e-reader store or Barnes&Noble.

Electronic reading

Dear Reader who uses electronics to read,

Here is a critical question for you: what to do when your battery runs out?

empty battery warning

Panic? As someone who likes to read, I know of this problem first hand. Do you too? And if you do, what is your line of action to make sure you can read on in case this kind of disaster strikes? I’ve heard of people carrying paperbacks with them. Paperbacks, although much larger than e-readers, don’t run out of power, so that makes sense. My strategy is a bit more complex, but so far it’s worked great for me.

Strategy. I fixed my problem the electronic way. I have a 7″ tablet and a rather large phone, both running Android. Both devices have the same e-reading software on it, called Moon Reader + Pro. Why the Pro version? There’s the trick. I have configured Moon Reader to save the last-read location of each book online. You can choose between Google Drive and Dropbox, or use both. If the tablet runs out of power, I fire up the reader on my phone, open the book, and Moon Reader checks where I stopped reading. It then asks if I want to continue at the latest saved location, I say yes, and off we go. :-)

Tips. If you need some tips on saving power on your e-reader or tablet, follow this link to E-readers In Canada!

 

A domino chain – with books!

Dear reader,

Via Teleread I came upon this amazing bit of text and video about a world record breaking event: a domino chain by books, done by students and taking place in the Seattle Public Library:

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an actual book domino chain in person. I’d never even seen a video of such a thing until earlier this afternoon. But apparently enough of them have been created over time that an actual Book Domino Chain World Record holder exists out there, somewhere.

And yet that person (or that institution, as the case may be) had its world record stripped away roughly four weeks ago by none other than the main branch of the Seattle Public Library. Officially known as the Central Library, the building became architecturally famous worldwide back in 2004, thanks to its fantastic and futuristic design by Rem Koolhaas.

As reported today on BoingBoing, the library “kicked off its Summer Reading Program by smashing the world record for a book domino chain,” which was “laid out in the library’s beautiful main branch, and was made up of 2,131 library discards and donations.”

According to a note on the library’s website, the books used in the domino chain (which required 27 college-aged volunteers to construct) will be sold as souvenirs at an upcoming Friends of the Library event. Watch the video below, and see if it doesn’t completely blow your mind.

When paperbacks were the publishing industry’s enemy

Via Teleread:

By Dan Eldridge:

From mental_floss: Half a century before e-books turned publishing upside down, a different format threatened to destroy the industry.

The next time you find yourself tangled up in one of those endlessly frustrating conversations about how e-books and e-readers and the digital culture in general are threatening to destroy the publishing industry as we know it, you’d better believe you’re going to wish you had a photocopied version of Andrew Shaffer’s latestmental_floss feature on hand.

Why? Simple: Because instead of huffing and puffing and arguing yourself hoarse, you could instead simply hand the photocopied article to whomever you happen to be engaged in conversation with, and then, without saying so much as a single word, simply turn around and walk away. (With a knowing grin on your face and an intellectually superior spirit in your heart, of course.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Shaffer’s article, “How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read,” is a near-perfect example of the old chestnut that “those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.” To be a bit more specific, you could probably even say that “those who know nothing whatsoever about the history of the publishing business probably shouldn’t go around prognosticating about it’s forthcoming demise, lest they make complete asses of themselves.”

But regardless of all that, Shaffer’s article does a wonderful job of reminding us that as recently as 1939,  the American paperback book was a newfangled invention that many publishing industry insiders assumed would destroy the business as they knew it. At the very least, it was widely assumed that readers everywhere would abandon the hardcover book in favor of the significantly cheaper paperback. (Sound familiar?)

Some seven decades on, of course, we all know what happened: Hardcover books are still very much being produced today, although most readers regard them as something of a luxury or niche item. American companies that once produced nothing but hardcovers eventually branched out into paperbacks, and all was well with the world.

In fact, the history of the hardcover book is not entirely unlike that of the vinyl record. The cassette tape, after all, didn’t destroy the record, nor did the CD, and nor will the MP3 or whatever might arrive next. The vinyl record has simply become an enthusiast’s item, and indeed, the music industry somehow manages to march on. Today, musicians make money primarily by touring and selling merchandise. And in another 50 years, the model will almost certainly have reinvented itself once again.

If you happen to have a spare 30 minutes, click over to Shaffer’s article and give it a good, slow read. (And don’t forget to forget to print out a few extra copies. I suspect they’ll come in handy before you know it.)

Preferred ways of reading.

Dear reader,

What is your favourite medium to read from? Do you prefer books? Tablets? E-readers? Your telephone?

The Daily Telegraph posted an interesting article on this topic a little while ago:

Design of de Servière

Design of de Servière

Electronic readers ‘better than books’ for older people

Elderly people should use e-readers or tablet computers rather than books because they place less strain on the eyes while reading, a study has found.

Digital reading devices allow older people to read the same text more quickly and with less effort than printed pages, without affecting their understanding of the text, researchers said.

But when asked which device they preferred reading on, traditional books were twice as popular as electronic devices among older readers, backing up previous surveys.

The results suggest that despite digital book sales overtaking print in the UK and the US, readers are still more attached to the culture associated with books than the convenience of electronic devices.

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, tracked the eye movements and brain activity of 36 younger participants aged 21-34, and 21 older adults aged 60 and above as they read text from e-readers, tablet computers and printed pages.

(You can read the full version here.)