Friday, October 31, 2008

Speakers UP! Happy Halloween!

My final October post. Speakers up to dig this:

Nocturnal Depression - Nostalgia

Just two more months left to this blog.

A List Of Blog Novels

Blog Novels: the definitive list
New Writing International is aiming to compile a definitive list of blog novels.

At the time of this post, there are forty-five listed.

That link might be hinky. It's not for the post, but the top level. The post doesn't have a permalink (yet?). Look to the Top Posts on the right side to possibly find it later.

New Writing International has also undergone a redesign.

Hey, Stupid: eBooks Don't Have Returns

Returned Inventory Fees Shutter Impetus Press
"We have been hit with a procession of distribution-related problems which have put us into a financial situation that is forcing us to close our doors," they explain. "For the better part of the year, we have been paying very high return fees to our distributor — many generated by books being sent back by the currently less-than-stable Borders — fees which have slowly been bleeding us dry... Try as we might, we have been unable to figure a way out of this situation as we have never been long on capital and with the economy being in such a disastrous state, there is no hope of finding any money from an outside source."

I wonder what this venture was capitalized at?

I wonder how much frikkin Internet advertising they could have paid for instead of wasting it on print, paper, and shipping?

I wonder how many eBooks they would have been able to sell if they'd put some hardcore effort behind such a plan?

One more dying dinosaur of print drops dead.

Death by self-inflicted cluelessness.

The Great Book Bank Robbery

At last, there is someone else on the Internet who understands the implications of the Google Book Search settlement!

His punctuation is all hell in this post. I expect he wrote it while holding back.

The Morning After the Great Book Bank Robbery
What will be the relationship between authors and publishers as they become tethered for life with no divorces?

Emphasis added by me.

Forget right reversals Google has wiped that of the agenda in one swoop and some major publishers have got their way, albeit with Google’s considerable help. There is now no ‘reprint under consideration’ only a notice saying ‘Go get it from Google’.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh we'll soon see how hard rights reversals are going to get.

I'm seeking them right now.

And my ex-publisher better recall what a mad son of a bitch I am.

Many other writers might have to turn into mad sons of bitches too.

R.I.P. Writer Tony Hoare

Tony Hoare: screenwriter of The Sweeney and Minder

Oh my god, this is one of the best obits I've ever read!
Tony Hoare spent much of his early life in prison for robbing banks, but from this unlikely background he became a successful writer for television, with scripts for such programmes as Crown Court, The Sweeney and, above all, Minder.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. It gets better:
Tony Hoare was born in Oxford in 1938. His father worked in a ball bearings factory and his mother was a waitress in one of the colleges. The family later moved to Luton, where Hoare grew up. He was a bright scholar and might have gone on to college, but on leaving school he went to London in search of excitement.

He found it as the member of a gang of bank robbers. They were never very successful. After a job in Warrington they repaired to a nearby pub but their southern accents immediately gave them away and they were arrested. Although a terrible driver, Hoare was the getaway man. He could reflect that he made far more money writing about crime for television than from his own crimes.

For much of the 1960s he was in and out of prison. He made headlines when he escaped from a high-security jail in Liverpool, had a spell in solitary confinement in Dartmoor and ended up in Hull, where he got a job in the library, read a lot and started writing. He ran a magazine called Contact, with the emphasis on the “con”, and wrote a novel which won an Arthur Koestler Award.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. Here comes the twist:
Most importantly, he came to the attention of Alan Plater, a veteran of Z Cars and much else, who was a prison visitor and gave individual tuition to inmates interested in writing. Hoare was his star pupil. Plater suggested that he try to write a television script. Hoare had no idea where to start, so Plater showed him some of his own scripts, telling him: “Write something that’s like that.”

Hoare came up with a play called The Chaps, slang for villains, which Plater showed to friends in the business and after Hoare was released from Hull it was produced for television. Despite a further spell in prison for driving while disqualified, Hoare’s writing career quickly took off.

Emphasis added by me.

Get this:
Some of the titles of Hoare’s episodes are worth treasuring on their own. In 1984 there was If Money Be the Food of Love, Play On, in 1989 It’s a Sorry Lorry Morrie and in 1994, for the show’s 100th programme, he came up with All Things Brighton Beautiful.

And the final twist:
Hoare was often asked where he got his ideas from and had no convincing answer, though he tended to agree that writers often do their best work under pressure. He cited a Minder commission in 1982 when his life was falling apart. He had been ejected from the family home, was living out of his car and cadging beds from friends. But the script got written.

Emphasis added by me.

Talk about dedication!

Reference: Shrink PDFs

WOiP Tip - Reduce PDFs For Quicker Access
Over the past year I have been moving toward a "paperless" work-style. Most of my important documents and text are now in electronic format - most of the time PDF. As a result, I can literally have an entire reference library with me at all times on either my iPhone or iPod Touch. Unfortunately, PDFs can be huge, and that is where the problem begins.

The handhelds seem to be able to handle rather large files but, unfortunately, they can take a long time to load. Try to resize them and you end up waiting a long time. Moreover, flipping from one page to the next is at best, a slow process.

That's where the tip comes in...

Shrink PDFs!

Most PDF programs offer the option to shrink PDFs. Unfortunately, the quality is often rather poor. Apago's PDFShrink for the Mac, however, offers a huge degree of control over the compression and quality. After a bit of experimenting I found a setting that provided excellent compression but maintained the high degree of image quality that I want when reading documents. A 7MB PFD files was reduced to just 1MB. The result? It loads super fast on my iPhone and, once loaded, is much easier, faster and stable when resizing or flipping pages.

I still haven't gotten around to reading the Sony guidelines for optimized Sony Reader PDFs. I wonder if this added step could make them even better?

Erica Jong: Head Out Of Ass, Dear

Erica Jong Tells Italians Obama Loss 'Will Spark the Second American Civil War. Blood Will Run in the Streets'
If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.

Jesus Christ. What is wrong with her and -- I use this term deliberately -- her fellow travelers?

Has it become inconceivable to these asshats that even if the election is totally honest, Obama could still lose?

I was just thinking about this last night. One in seven voters can still be persuaded. That's enough to make the election go either way.

Obama has been counting his chickens before they hatch. Americans don't go for that shit. Pride before fall and all that.

I also thought last night that an Obama loss might be the best thing for him. He'd have four years to think about how he screwed up, four years to grow up, and four years to create campaign speeches that had some actual substance.

Jong doesn't live anywhere near one of the hundreds of Ground Zeros for possible post-election violence. Jong and her pals also have enough money to pool together to charter a small jet to fly their asses to Canada.

I'm right in a Ground Zero. I'm not packing up my ass and splitting.

But I sure wish Jong and her ilk would!

Quote: Writer Ann Somerville

In a Comment over at Dear Author:
If your site looks like someone threw up in HTML all over it, your visitors might expect your writing is similarly chaotic (and in my experience, truly lousy websites almost always go with truly lousy writing, just as truly lousy publisher sites are the mark of a business with a less than professional attitude.)


Writer Nick Belardes Get MSM Press

The novel by tweet
Nick Belardes believes in brevity. He hews close to that hallowed maxim, beloved by middle school English teachers and old-fashioned newsmen alike: Keep it simple, stupid.

“People need to be educated to be more concise,” says Mr. Belardes, a journalist and novelist based in Bakersfield, Calif. “Every day, we get these super-long-winded e-mails. You can communicate more if you say a little less.”

Earlier this year, Belardes was cleaning out his desk drawer when he came across an unfinished manuscript for a workplace novel called “Small Places.”

He briefly considered shipping the thing off to publishers for consideration. Instead, he decided to serialize “Small Places” on Twitter, a popular microblogging site.

You can get this novel by Following smallplaces.

Writer Mitzi Szereto: Farewell, Scotland!

Beannachd Leibh (Scotland Part 3)
Right, you’ve stuck it out this long, and for that I give you credit. Do you realise this is turning into a long-term relationship? Hey well, I’ve been told I’m a good catch, though don’t go getting any grandiose ideas here! (And that goes for my mystery texter with the baby oil too!) Let’s just stick to the blog posts for now, shall we? So (drum roll!) it’s on to the final installment in my Scotland series…

Mitzi's post will take you out of this world and put a smile on your face.

It's like taking a mini-vacation. Go read.

Writer Zoe Winters: Social Communism

Social Communism
For some reason, there seems to be a mindless clawing to mediocrity going on. We elevate anyone who accomplishes anything to the level of “magical being” and then we determine that we aren’t that good, or that lucky, or that, whatever. But I think more than personal low self esteem, the problem is a type of social communism. In which we’ve been led to believe that somehow everybody has to be equal.

Excellent post.

Previously here:

Excellent Article About Excellence

Free eBook: Digital Magic

Apologies and freebies
And the freebie? Well I wouldn't want to leave my WATE listeners out, so here... Digital Magic, the sequel to Chasing the Bard, free and complete. Enjoy and spread the word about it and Double Trouble.

Go there for the PDF file.

Free MP3 Song: Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen website

Dear Friends and Fans,

If you grew up in central or south Jersey, you grew up with the "Jersey Devil." Here's a little musical Halloween treat. Have fun!

Bruce Springsteen

Thanks, Bruce! Happy Halloween!

Read This Before You Vote

The Triumph of Ignorance: Why morons succeed in US politics.
It wasn’t always like this. The founding fathers of the republic - men like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton - were among the greatest thinkers of their age. They felt no need to make a secret of it. How did the project they launched degenerate into George W Bush and Sarah Palin?

An excellent post. Go read.

Reference: Internet Video Chat

Internet video finally pays off
Gongora and his wife, Diana, founded Language Assistance Telemedicine in 1999 - and spent the better part of a decade trying to find online video technology that worked. Their story is a profile in persistence. The Houston-based company tried two ineffective tech solutions before coming up with the right combination of hardware and software last year. Its 2008 revenue is projected to rise 25% - no mean feat in a downturn.

Emphasis added by me.

A very interesting story of some interest to writers and future eBook promotion.

Previously here:

How Our Future Does Things
I Am Internationally Persecuted!
Live jkk & Chippy!

Free Book Chapter: Financial Armageddon

Financial Armageddon: Korea and Japan Sign On
I've just learned that my publisher, Kaplan, has sold the rights to the Korean and Japanese versions of Financial Armageddon.

In celebration (or, perhaps, as a final inducement to those English-speaking readers who've not yet gone out and bought a copy of their own), I've just uploaded a PDF version of Chapter One, entitled "Debt," from the hardcover version of Financial Armageddon.

Go there for the link.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Final Sony Reader Revolution Video?

Day 28: Reader Revolution

Hey, where's Day 29 and Day 30?!

At least now I know what the allusion to the "Chuck Norris signs" was about earlier today.

Blog Notes: It Was Cam Day

I spent most of the day watching Dave Farrow on the Sony Reader Revolution Cam.

Now I've been cropping 162 screensnaps to go through for a post tomorrow.

Blogging will resume as abnormally as usual tomorrow.

First, a video from Dave Farrow.

Dave Farrow Has Left The Window!

Dave Farrow -- speed reader and memory expert -- started a read-a-thon thirty days ago in the window of DataVision in New York City at the behest of Sony to promote the Sony Reader and to donate as many eBooks as possible to schools across the country.

Today, around 4:45PM EDST, that mission was accomplished.

Dave Farrow is gone. What remains is a commemorative sign in his former seat.

44,097 pages were turned.

Over 100 eBooks were read.

Sony will donate 4.4 million eBooks to schools.

I have a ginormous number of screensnaps for the final day to sort through to produce the final post for the Sony Reader Revolution cam posts here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is Another Suit Against Google Book Search Coming?

I think so.

Google has arbitrarily stepped in as an uninvited third-party to put "in print" thousands (perhaps millions) of books that have been out-of-print.

Being out-of-print is grounds for an author to demand a reversion of rights granted in the original contract.

That basically ends the business arrangement between writer and publisher.

The publisher took a commercial chance, it didn't work out, the book was never kept alive, it stopped earning money, and the writer should have all rights reverted and be free to make commercial deals elsewhere.

Google has upset this equation by putting those books back "in print" and has suddenly jeopardized the future livelihoods of thousands of writers as we enter this age of eBooks.

Publishers holding contracts that long ago should have reverted can now claim grounds of works being "in print" even though those damned publishers never did the deed themselves.

And what's more: they probably never, ever intended to do that deed, either!

I really don't give a damn what a limited author's group and a limited collection of publishers have agreed to.

Neither one of them speaks for me. Neither one of them can speak for any other writer who is not party to this agreement.

Google is going to find itself having to negotiate with individual writers for the rights they mistakenly believe they have been granted by this "settlement."

This is a settlement only between Google and those two parties.

The two parties suing Google do not at all have the right to speak for every writer out there.

I foresee writers getting together and filing suits either singly or in groups.

That big 67% to "rightsholder" is still bullshit, when it comes to conventional book contracts. Some of these contracts will not contain provisions for electronic rights and I'd damn well bet money that publishers are going to dole out only the printed book royalty rate -- and the lowest rate they can get away with too.

That 67% should bypass publishers who have kept works out of print -- that money justly belongs solely to the writers.

Google, stop dancing around your desks.

This isn't over.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #362: CitiGroup 2

Investors losing faith in Citigroup
NEW YORK ( -- What now, Citigroup?

That is the biggest question that investors are itching to have answered by the nation's fourth largest bank by deposits.

It has certainly been an interesting time for the New York City-based firm to say the least. Earlier this month, it was one of the first nine banks chosen by the Treasury Department to receive a cash injection in exchange for stock. Citigroup will receive $25 billion.

However, since Treasury made that announcement more than two weeks ago, shares of Citigroup have tumbled 15% and are trading only slightly above their 52-week low, leading many on Wall Street to wonder what Citigroup's management can do to get back in the good graces of Wall Street.

The prevailing opinion among analysts is that Citigroup is looking to do what many other banks have done lately - acquire deposits.

Emphasis added by me.

What? Acquisitions?!!?

This is what I wrote in Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #342: CitiGroup:
as the bank sheds more than $400 billion in noncore operations, low-returning assets and toxic mortgages. Citigroup also eliminated 11,000 jobs in the third quarter, bringing the total number of layoffs to 23,000 this year,

CitiGroup has been getting rid of bits of itself -- and now Wall Street wants them to go on a buying spree?

Get this:
Citigroup should be capable of pulling off a major deal now that the banking giant has $25 billion in capital to play with.

What the hell do they mean "$25 billion to play with"?!!? That's our money -- it's supposed to be used to grant loans!
And both Morgan and Goldman are receiving $10 billion from the government, cash they could potentially use to shop for banks.

Emphasis added by me.

OK, fuck these bastards!

They've been granted our money and they're going on greed sprees with it!

It was given to them to keep them alive -- and to relieve the credit crisis!

They should be prohibited from acquiring companies. They're already under the Too Big To Fail category. How much bigger do we want these tumors to become?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #361: Roubini 2

The Nightly Business Report on PBS had Roubini on last night.

One on One with Nouriel Roubini, Economics Professor at NYU's Stern School of Business
GHARIB: So you're saying that the worst is ahead of us. What is going to be the magnitude of it?

ROUBINI: Well, I expect that the recession is going to last two years. We're still at the beginning stages of a recession. I expect that the cumulative fall of output from the peak might be on the order of 5 percent, much bigger than the recent recessions. I worried that the unemployment rate might rise to be about 8 to 9 percent. Right now it's only 6.1 percent. So it's going to be severe and we'll have hundreds of smaller financial institutions (INAUDIBLE) are going to go bankrupt. And even some of the regional banks might be in severe trouble, might have to be closed down or merged with other institutions. So this is a severe crisis.

GHARIB: So how important are falling home prices in all of this?

ROUBINI: As long as they fall, there's a residential construction, recession's going to continue. Secondly, homeowners feel less rich and they're going to spend less. There is going to be less consumption. And three with falling prices so much, there will be about 20 million houses going to be under water with the value of their homes being less than the value of their mortgages and therefore with an incentive to walk away from their homes.

Emphasis added by me.

OK, that's the first time I've heard of the possibility of twenty million homeowners entering negative equity.

That's devastating.

And it's even more incentive for the Feds to finally adopt the plan by Luigi Zingales.

More Bad News For Sony

It's like that company is living under a frikkin curse.

Sony profit plunges 72 percent on strong yen
TOKYO (AP) -- Sony Corp.'s quarterly profit plunged 72 percent as a surging yen wiped out perks from flat-panel TV and PlayStation 3 sales, as well as box office revenue from the movie "Hancock."

Sony said Wednesday it posted a net profit of 20.8 billion yen ($214 million) for the July-September period compared with 73.7 billion yen a year earlier. Sales in the fiscal second quarter slipped 0.5 percent to 2.072 trillion yen ($21.4 billion).

Sony makes about 80 percent of its sales overseas and is vulnerable to fluctuations in exchange rates. A rising yen erodes the overseas profits when converted into the Japanese currency.

"We already expect a poor performance for the Christmas shopping season," Chief Financial Officer Nobuyuki Oneda told reporters. "On how things will fare after Christmas, I can only say we will continue to keep a careful look."

Sony loses 7.5 billion yen ($77 million) in profit for each 1 yen gain against the euro, and 4 billion yen ($40 million) for each 1 yen gain against the dollar, he said.

Emphasis added by me.

I wonder now ... since the Sony Reader division is now completely based here in America, will that grant it some immunity from the currency flip-flips? I hope so. It'd be great if, back in Japan, Sony sees some very surprising -- and high -- numbers from America and eBooks.

I'd like to see some bust-out numbers like this:
Sony reduced quarterly losses in the gaming business as sales in the sector improved 10 percent. Sony sold 2.43 million PlayStation 3 consoles during the quarter, up 85 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Emphasis added by me.

Gambatte, Sony!

Two Links At Mahalo Now

My old blog is there for the gazillion posts I did about the Barbie Bandits:

And the Doctor Who leak got me there too:

Go try Mahalo!

David Tennant Leaving Doctor Who?

That's what the Guardian said in a tweet moments ago!

But the URL is dead.

However, calling up search reveals this:

Update: Moments after posting this, I clicked on that search link and found the Guardian has apparently deleted the item! WTF? I'm glad I got the screensnap!

Update 2: To be sure I wasn't losing my frikkin mind and that I'm not playing some sort of hoax here, I retrieved the tweet from Twitter itself:

Click = big

Update 3: BBC confirms Tennant is leaving Doctor Who:

Thanks to a Guardian screw-up, I had a world exclusive there for a few moments.

Reference: Google Book Search Settlement Site

Google Book Search Copyright Settlement

Because this has suddenly turned personal.

Sony Reader Revolution Cam #11

This is Day 29 of 30!

Tomorrow Dave Farrow emerges from the window!

This is what he looked like at 2:17PM EDST today:

And right now there's a substitute reader -- using the gorg-o-licious red Sony Reader!

Reader Revolution cam live video!

Writer Victor Gischer Gets Library Luv

Why does the Lake Mills Library kick total ass?

I give a hint with this screensnap, but you really have to watch the video. All the way to the end!

Congratulations, Victor!

At The Sony eBook Store
At Fictionwise
At the abominable Kindle Store

All prices are lower than the print edition!

So, Apple Wanted To Buy Palm After All!

Android: First Impressions

Jean-Louis Gassée reveals:
A perhaps little known fact: in the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com’s CEO (the company owned Palm). “Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand.” Nothing happened. Apple’s foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

Book Publishers: Twitter Marketing 101b

ReadySteadyBook alerted me via Twitter that Princeton University Press now has a blog.

And they have almost exactly what I wished for in my previous post: a page devoted to new book releases.

The covers could be bigger, but otherwise this is great.

Now, if they'd just Twitter that URL when there are new listings, it'd be even better.

Reference: iTrail For iPhone

When we were up in Vermont earlier this month, we rode the single chair to the top of the mountain at Mad River Glen and then hiked down. Before we left, we installed iTrail on Meg's phone. iTrail uses the iPhone's GPS capability to track your progress along a trail, jogging path, etc. The reviews at the iTunes Store aren't glowing but we found that it worked pretty well for us. Here are a couple of graphs generated by iTrail of our hike:

Go look at the graphics. This is really neat.

Book Publishers: Twitter Marketing 101

As I mentioned earlier, I'm currently getting tweets from three publishers.

And I'm beginning to get annoyed by the lack of real information from them.

What these publishers should do is one of these two things:

1) Tweet the books that are being released on that day.

- or (and this would be preferred) -

2) Set up a section on their websites with a chronological list of releases and tweet that URL daily.

The second one would be more effective because it could be a tweet sent out every 2-3 hours (as news sites cycle their tweets) and would still allow room for PR tweets dealing with writers being interviewed or other things.

I'd really like to know what is being released each day, so I can check it out.

And publishers, make sure the book descriptions include a large version of the cover so, if I want to, I can reproduce it 440-pixels wide in my blogs.

Finally, Follow me, publishers, so I know you exist and can Follow you back (you can then stop Following me, if you choose). Trying to dig through the jillions of Twitter users for book publishers -- or anything else -- is a royal pain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sony Reader Revolution Cam #10: SMOOCH!

My timing is perfect. 7:40PM EDST tonight:

The Smooch heard round the Internet!

More hot action at the Sony Reader Revolution cam.

Google Book Search: Medialoper FTW

The Google Book Search Deal: Winners and Losers

Two items. I didn't realize this:
Google: It’s hard to overstate how important this agreement is for Google. Google has essentially acquired the digital rights to the long tail. At least the portion of the long tail that’s locked up in out of print books. That’s a VERY long tail.

Emphasis added by me.

And I didn't know this bit at all:
Amazon: Amazon’s 190,000 Kindle titles look puny compared to the millions of books Google now has access to. Granted many of those Kindle titles make up the big head of consumer demand, as opposed to the long tail. Still, Google now has the ability to monetize millions of books Amazon can’t, if for no other reason because they’re out of print. What’s more, under the new agreement Google has the right to sell printed copies of those books via print on demand. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Google still has a few more surprises in store for us. Android may turn out to be more than just a mobile phone platform.

Emphasis added by me.

Holy cow. Millions of out-of-print books are now POD candidates!?

Yes, that's good for Google, but now all those contracts in the hands of the dying dinosaurs of print will never, ever be prised from their greedy, grasping claws!

Amazon lost, yes. But writers have just been screwed again!

Google Book Search: Now Legal

I don't have to link to the settlement stories. Besides, the only one that really matters comes from the Non-Suit Suits over at Pan Macmillan who are -- just like Suits -- on the ball when it comes to the dough:
[. . .] the settlement money will partially be used to fund an independent, not-for-profit Book Rights registry which will work towards ensuring authors and publishers receive the money they are owed under the agreement, and the revenue split between the rights holder and Google is set at 63-37 respectively, which is surely the right way round.

Emphasis added by me.

Unlike Amazon's criminal split: 65 to Amazon and 35 to be fought over tooth-and-nail between dying dinosaur print publisher, writer, and writer's agent (or simply given as chump change in one paltry coal lump to a writer who direct publishes).

I noted Google Book Search once before.

Then I noticed what it was doing to writers -- and I stopped.

Now I can go back to linking to it, since it will mean money in the pockets of writers.

This is going to take some getting used to for me.

And all of this puts Google one more step closer to crushing Amazon's eBook monopoly ambitions.

O.M.G.: Toilet Tattoos!

Toilet Tattoos

-- Via Twitter from SpreadTheNewsPR

Print Is Dead. Again.

The Monitor Ends Daily Print Edition
After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first national newspaper to largely give up on print.

The paper is currently published Monday through Friday, and will move to online only in April, although it will also introduce a weekend magazine. John Yemma, The Monitor’s editor, said that moving to the Web only will mean it can keep its eight foreign bureaus open while still lowering costs.

“We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years,” Mr. Yemma said

Emphasis added by me.

Oh, it's going to be brutal. The economy itself will force changes, not just the impetus of the Internet.

At some point, say when the Sony Reader has added wireless, we'll see a new thing: I'm coining it ePrint. Formatted editions for e-reading devices. As great as access to the Internet is, there is still no device that can deal with web pages that are formatted for desktop monitors. The iPhone tries, but it's still not good enough.

The Christian Science Monitor now joins Playgirl.

-- Via Twitter from michaelcasey

Does The Internet Make Reviews Obsolete?

I think so.

This is something I've been meaning to write about for some time.

I could never read a music review. It was like encountering a foreign language that looked like English, but was some sort of bizarre code.

Today, is there any need for music reviewing? Anyone can pop over to their favorite online music store or even a band website and immediately listen to samples. Would a bad review matter if you listened on your own and liked the music?

Book reviews usually set my teeth on edge, as mentioned in an earlier post.

Is there any need for book reviews today? Anyone can pop over to a publisher's site, or an eBookstore, or a writer's website and immediately read a free excerpt or an entire free chapter. Would any review -- good or bad -- have an effect if you personally liked or didn't like what you read?

What inspired this post today was this review: The Swap
But what works against the novel most is Moore’s maddeningly elliptical prose style. He seems to take forever to get a point across. As a result, all attempts at humor — be they bone-dry or over-the-top — are completely lost in verbiage. The same goes for most plot developments, including the relationship that results when the wife of one Harvey’s schoolmates leaves her husband during a post-reunion party and takes up with Harvey. Then there’s the murder investigation, which ought to add suspense, but instead reads like a distraction. And, as if all this weren’t disappointing enough, the novel doesn’t end so much as it simply … stops.

What exactly does any of that really mean? Especially when it begins with an expectation on part of the reviewer:
With its Roy Lichtenstein-inspired cover illustration and graphic title design, Antony Moore’s THE SWAP looks promising. And the back cover synopsis makes it sound like a Donald E. Westlake-like comedic romp of murder, misunderstandings and related mishaps in the world of comic book dealers and readers. Would that it were! Sadly, this debut novel is a clumsy, ill-conceived work that never really delivers on any such promises.

So how can I believe anything that proceeds from that premise?

I did some investigation and it seems the publisher of this book has spent a bit of money to give it a shiny website.

That tells me this book isn't the disposable thing the reviewer considered it to be. It also hints loudly that he missed the entire point.

I went on to Random House's site to read an excerpt.

I liked what I read. So what did that review actually accomplish?

The most that can be said for it is that it inspired this post.

The worst that can be said is so obvious, I won't state it.

Reviews of music and books: obsolete.

Mike Cane Does FAIL!

Searching for a prior post, I was confronted by my own words here:
If I ever encountered someone who told me to check out his goddammed Twitterfeed or FriendFeed or FacebookFeed, I’d tell him to fuck off. Any one of those three — as well as a few others — automatically indicates to me that I’m dealing with a narcissistic twit who is deep in the grip of self-delusion, believing that what he does is worth knowing by everyone.

Hey, Cane, you eejit! Who's on Twitter now, huh? Huh?

How many times have you had Twitter as a source for a blog post here, huh?

Who the fuck are these people who think they can tell others what to do?

Oh wait.

That's me!

Oh, more FAIL! to come. That's part of this life.

Covers And Spelling: Both Matter!

Another bread crumb trail led to this, which began at The Life of a Publisher blog.

I was meaning to follow the Blog Book Tour mentioned here, only to have it somehow hijacked when I saw this great cover:

I followed that to an interview with the writer and then, alas, to the site for the book itself where my interest was just about derailed by a book trailer for it. A book trailer that contained this spelling land mine:

Three things:

1) That's inexcusable

2) As soon as it was pointed out, the trailer should have been pulled and corrected

3) It makes me wonder if I'd find the book itself filled with such sloppiness

My initial enthusiasm to read this book has hit a speedbump. (Which really is bad, as it's available in Sony Reader eBook format!)

How many others might have been repelled by that too?

Penguin Books Has Podcasts

Gee, you think I'd, you know, be told this via their Twitter presence.

Marketing FAIL!

As I type this, I'm listening to a six-minute podcast with David Lynch. A part of the production values are sub-par, even below amateur -- at least where the questions posed to Lynch are concerned. Lynch's voice is pro-quality.

Here are the previous podcasts right now:

Click = big

There are also a few videos, including one with William Gibson. (Does he really type like that?)

Book Trailers: Um, No.

Weekend Chat: 3 Reasons Why Book Trailers Don't Work
Every week I receive and search for great book trailers to promote on Christian Fiction Blog. In the beginning I was excited about what I found. It was a new concept, so I was game. However, after a few months of posting book trailers and reading others I've come to a conclusion. Book Trailers Don't Work and here's why:

She's right.

I have in my Bookmarks a site that collects book trailers. I rarely go there.

What's better than a book trailer?

Video of an author reading an excerpt of his work, like Christopher Fowler does here.

Audio of an author reading his work, as Cliff Burns does here.

Look what audio did for Mark Jeffrey:
His first podiobook, Max Quick 1: The Pocket and the Pendant, has received over 2 million downloads to date.

Go on, point me to a book trailer with as many views!

I was initially excited about the idea of book trailers too. But the more I saw, the less I liked them. So many are just so bad, I can't see how they can generate any interest in the book being flogged.

Plus, the very idea of watching a video for something to be read seems, to me, just bizarre. A local talk radio station once spent a great deal of money advertising on TV. That seemed bizarre to me too.

I believe there is a hierarchy:


And each one competes against the other. I'd rather read a book than listen to it. I'd rather listen to radio than see it. I'd rather watch video for stuff that's best suited to it. (On this last point, how many of you have read a book based on a TV series and came away with the uneasy feeling that something was simply ... missing?)

Also, since most books being sold have free excerpts available to read, why settle for someone else's poor video advertising interpretation instead? Why, in fact, run the risk of repelling people from a book? Attention is precious on the Internet.

The money being spent on book trailers could be better used hiring a temp to do nothing more than go through the Internet day after day and find likely blogs to market books to via email invites. I really doubt that people going to YouTube, Vimeo, Veoh, et al, are there to find something to read.

Hmmm ... and you know, even hiring a temp isn't cost-effective. Why should each publisher reinvent the wheel? This is a business for someone sharp out there. (And if such a business already exists, the people running it aren't very sharp. Why the hell hasn't my email box been swamped with book stuff? I receive tweets from three publishers. But have they even tried to follow-up with emails? Noooo!)

Generating interest in eBooks as eBooks is going to be even more difficult because the most likely way people will encounter them is via an eBookstore, a promo email from such a store, or a website or blog. There are no shelves to browse. On the Internet, the shelves are invisible.

Just before I was about to post this, I got this via Twitter: Study: When it comes to influence, bloggers beat friend lists
Half of all those surveyed who identify as "blog readers" (people who read more than one blog per month, a fifth of total survey respondents) say that blogs are important to them when it comes to making purchasing decisions. But they don't necessarily find them to be all that reliable: only 15 percent of blog readers, and five percent of all those surveyed said that in the past year they had trusted a blog to help them make a purchase decision.

That's still higher than the number of people who said they used social-network recommendations, though: ten percent of "blog readers," and four percent of all those surveyed.

I have a MySpace account. For a time, I used it daily. Now, hardly ever.

I disagree with the philosophy of such aggregator sites. MySpace has gotten singularly annoying, outright censoring links that are passed on to me via MySpace Mail or Bulletins. Plus, MySpace pages tend to be bloated as hell and I dread clicking links because I never know if that click is going to freeze up my browser and force me to crash-restart it.

I can see the appeal of such sites for those who really want to network with people they actually know. But beyond that, it becomes a very annoying marketing machine with a very high noise-to-signal ratio.

I know that writers and publishers are on MySpace. I'm beginning to think that's a mistake. I don't see it being a good strategy for eBook awareness except to that limited MySpace audience. And if you're going to put that amount of effort into MySpace, why not the larger Internet?

Classic Typography

Via Twitter from top_book:

Scanning Around with Gene: The Best Type Book with No Typesetting
The 1927 edition of Studio Handbook by Samuel Welo is 233 pages of beautiful type and timeless design advice. Only this book comes with a twist – every page was hand-lettered by Welo.

This is stunning and beautiful work.

It also contains some type and design tips for those who are blind to that sort of thing.

Sony Reader: More Distribution

Hmmm ... Sony PR needs to get on the ball here and put me on their email list. I'm finding major Sony Reader news in rather obscure places!

Zondervan distributes Sony Reader (scroll down)

Zondervan is a major in its field. It's clear now that the eBook reading device most Americans are bound to encounter in person is the Sony Reader.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #360: MiniEuro

Emerging Europe Scrambles to Contain Crisis Threat
Hungary's government braced for a possible recession in 2009 and Poland's approved a timetable to adopt the euro on Tuesday as ex-communist Europe struggled to contain the spread of the financial crisis.

The head of the IMF urged lawmakers in Kiev to quickly pass legislation to underpin a $16.5 billion rescue package and other governments across the region scrambled to rework their budgets and take other steps to ward off economic collapse.

The Fund also said it was not in talks with Romania -- a country whose debt was cut to "junk" status on Monday -- but said its external environment, or its ability to borrow cash to fuel its economy, was "very difficult." The financial crisis has come as a shock to most countries in Central and eastern Europe, a region of states ranging from those still struggling with fundamental economic problems to those fully integrated in the European Union and euro zone.

Once seen by economists as insulated due to its low exposure to toxic debt, the region shuddered this month as foreign investors dumped assets and fled to developed markets in a selloff that has hammered currency, debt and stock markets.

This is CNBC using the term "economic collapse."

We are lulled into thinking this mess is on its way to being fixed.


The original plan didn't work. Plan 9 isn't working, either.

I still believe only Luigi Zingales has the right solution.

But by the time his plan is finally adopted (I think its adoption is inevitable), even that will fall under the category of Too Little, Too Late.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #359: Shadow

So, my post about American Gotterdammerung was far-fetched?

Letter Re: The Depression of the 1930s--Why No Societal Collapse?
The bottom line: If America were to experience a Second Great Depression, given the high level of debt and systems dependence, there would be enormous rates of dislocation and homelessness. And with modern-day immorality and the prevalent "me first " attitude, I have no doubt that riots and looting would absolutely explode.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #358: SAP

SAP Scraps Outlook, Cuts Operating Margin Target
Germany's SAP scrapped its 2008 revenue outlook and cut its forecast for its full-year operating margin amid a global economic crisis that hurt demand for its business software.

"In light of the uncertainties surrounding the current economic and business environment, the company decided to no longer provide a specific outlook for Non-GAAP software and software-related service revenues for the full-year 2008," SAP said in a statement late on Monday.

OK, this is bad.

When SAP came out several weeks ago and said business had fallen off, it sent a cold chill throughout European stock markets.

Everything is getting worse faster.

I think it's time to revisit this post: Depression: 2009

Abominable Kindle And The Oprah Effect

Kindle fanboi site* says: Oprah Effect on Kindle confirmed by Google Trends - Oprah creates highest Kindle interest since launch.

Which, gee, the uninformed might be very impressed by seeing.

However, let me dispel that malarkey.

This first chart is Google Trends for Kindle vs. Sony Reader for all time periods across the entire world:

Click = big

Notice how the Sony Reader is no laggard and has massive interest outside the United States!

OK, well those scores mean nothing, Kindle fanboiz shout, because the Sony Reader has been out longer.

Fine. Let's compare around the world for the just the past thirty days:

Click = big

Again, the daily searches for Sony Reader outpace the Kindle!

And finally, let's just do within the United States for the past thirty days:

Click = big

And there's the Oprah Effect. Without it, the pace would have favored the Sony Reader.

But has the Sony Reader been trumped by Oprah?

No. I'll come back to this chart in the days after Dave Farrow emerges from the DataVision window.

Let's see The Farrow Effect.

I expect the Sony Reader to be higher and the Kindle to have plummeted back to earth.

*(He characterized me as a "Sony Reader fanboy" -- but who's the one with an entire site devoted to one device, hm?)

Update On Sony Reader Sold

Blogging about the Sony Reader from 38000 Feet

I'll quote only a little.
3. The interface is slow and clunky. I said the same thing about the iliad - but the iphone has spoiled everything else. Friends who were with me when I bought it couldn’t get their brains around the lack of a touchscreen and the slow responses of the physical buttons. The PRS-700 seems a lot better.

4. The flash between page turns is pretty annoying. Hard to tell how annoying after only a quick ‘read test’ - and that was going to be what *this* flight was for. Sidetracked by the net instead!!

Once I’ve read a whole book on the Sony, I’ll post more comments. But it seems like a pretty cool toy so far. (And there’s *plenty* at the Borders in Silver Spring if you’re taking this as a recommendation!!)

Go see the rest.

-- Via Twitter from sell_ebooks

Previously here:

One More Sony Reader Sold

Quote: Isaac Asimov

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.

-- Isaac Asimov

eBooks: Rent Or Own?

Are eBooks Wise Dot Com?
An interesting opportunity from the current download ‘buy to own’ is ‘rent to read’. As libraries of works become permanently available why would you want to own digital books, which are hard to share and offer little other than convenience? Why not rent on demand? It doesn’t stop the consumer buying perpetual access, or a physical digital bundle; we merely question why you would buy a download that could be as obsolete as an 8 track in only a short time? The file could be read online with rich functionality, reference linking, multi media materials such as podcasts, videos and even games tied in. Imagine you want a quick read and log on via the mobile, you continue your read in a café via a laptop, then at a friends house via their PC and finally to bed with the physical book itself. The digital access control is not in the device but the centre making it friendlier.

If library can offer digital books for free, why buy them anyway? Now is that wise?

Emphasis added by me.

For me it's still wise to buy and own.

In another post he slams the Plastic Logic device this way:
Imagine carrying a tablet around with you with a screen 2.5 times larger than the Kindle, weighing two ounces more and a third of the Kindle's thickness. It will enable you to read your daily news digitally and is the latest ebook eink device to hit the market. Today many of us get our news feeds free direct to our mobiles and PCs, but that obviously is not seen as the answer for these technology people. Some may say that it is technology for the sake of technology.

Emphasis added by me.

I'd say his argument for rental over ownership is "technology for the sake of technology" too.

How many disasters must we witness? New Orleans after Katrina. Houston after Gustav. And even small personal ones: the missed train, the delayed or canceled flight.

In the case of Big Disaster, no electricity. No WiFi. Sometimes not even cellphone service. Oops. There goes the rental model. Whereas, with ownership, advance notice of possible disaster makes a person fully charge their devices. And with eBook ownership, those books are right there to be read on-demand.

In the case of small disaster, there is no guarantee of wireless access. Will the plaint of the future be, "I wish I had downloaded it!"?

And, oh, notice in the first quote he mentions a physical book. What, a rental? (No, I won't allow you the wiggle room of a library loan. That is premised on "infinite libraries," having every book a person wants. In New York City, the NYPL doesn't have every book I want.)

The Coming Obama Landslide

And just five days ago, Drudge ran this:

More On Oprah And The Abominable Kindle

Oprah's Favorite New Gadget

He gets it ...
The problem with the Amazon ebook model is that it is Amazon format, through an Amazon store, at an Amazon price point, over an Amazon connection to an Amazon device – a truly ‘exclusive’. If Amazon were to dominate the ebook market we would have a monopoly where scarcity should not occur and it is illogical to have a monopoly.

... while others don't:
However, some would argue that this ‘exclusive world domination’ approach could be the best thing for the market. The likes of Sony would probably disappear as fast as ‘live book search’ and the others settle for the scraps. Importantly the mobile market would seriously take off and that’s one Bezos has got covered and where there are truly giants at work today. The online offer would become increasingly attractive to many. We may finally understand that downloading is not the only solution and hording loads of titles on a device just to own them is crazy in this networked age.

I doubt Sony would disappear. Don't bet against Steve Haber.

Previously here:

Debrief: Oprah And The Abominable Kindle
Oprah With Kindle In Hand
Sony Reader Items For Oprah Friday
Oprah To Flog Abominable Kindle?!

It Will Make You Breathless

This tumblr blog

-- via Twitter from top_book

Writer Mitzi Szereto: Second Glasgow Report

On the Prowl in Glasgow (Scotland Part 2)

I had no idea what she was holding in that picture. Then I found out. And gasped.

You will too.

Also, it looks like she missed bumping into The Doctor:

She's got new photos on Flickr too.

UFO: Timelash

I don't often go about posting pirated YouTube clips (other than, you know, the stuff everyone else does ... like TV theme music videos!), but this one is special.

It's from the Gerry Anderson TV series UFO. Perhaps the best episode of the entire series, Timelash.

Veteran watchers of this series will notice some oddities in the theme visuals. Some shots have been reversed and "1980" has been replaced (badly!) with "1986." I don't know why. Nor do I understand why it starts with the NBC peacock logo. Plus, the Barry Gray theme music opens with a painfully slow tempo not present in the unmolested original.

Teleplay by Terence Feely, directed by Cyril Frankel.

It's important for people to understand that this was done decades before CGI. With that perspective in mind, the time-freeze special effects are even more incredible in retrospect.

This is a great piece of writing. The very long pre-UFO logo setup. Then the quick cutting summary to establish the mystery.

UFO was syndicated in the U.S. at the time. Several stations refused to air this episode due to the drug use. True to form, New York City didn't ban it. For some people who saw UFO at the time, this episode would have been brand new when buying DVD boxed set!

If you have an understanding of physics, this episode might irritate you. At the time, I didn't know the relevant physics, so I enjoyed it.

To see the rest, go to the post at the WordPress blog.

Gerry Anderson: Not UFO Season 2

Trawling through YouTube for some posting inspiration today, I found this:

U.F.O. II - TV Show Opening Sequence
Music to a never realised second season of the very famous SciFi-Series from England, named "UFO (1970)".

I've made this music in 1993 with Korg-DSS1 and Roland-Pro E, but without any computer sequencers freely after the UFO-Melody, but strictely after the composition-method by Barry Gray.
Also my tribute to this awesome TV-Series by Gerry Anderson.

I've "stretched" the following video-opening sequence a little with scenes from the episode "Identified".

It's those tubular bells that raise it above the level of Neil Norman.

R.I.P. Writer Tony Hillerman

Acclaimed author Tony Hillerman dies at 83
PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Hillerman's daughter, Anne Hillerman, said her father's health had been declining in the last couple years and that he was at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque when he died at about 3 p.m.

Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. He kept tapping at his keyboard even as his eyes began to dim, as his hearing faded, as rheumatoid arthritis turned his hands into claws.

"I'm getting old," he declared in 2002, "but I still like to write."

-- thanks to copywriter SD via Twitter

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #357: Halt

Nouriel Roubini: I fear the worst is yet to come
What does Roubini think is going to happen next? Rather worryingly, in London last Thursday he predicted that hundreds of hedge funds will go bust and stock markets may soon have to shut – perhaps for as long as a week – in order to stem the panic selling now sweeping the world.

Emphasis added by me.
But it was a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September 2006 that earned him his nickname Dr Doom.

Roubini told an audience of fellow economists that a generational crisis was coming. A once-in-a-lifetime housing bust would lay waste to the US economy as oil prices soared, consumers stopped shopping and the country went into a deep recession.

The collapse of the mortgage market would trigger a global meltdown, as trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unravelled. The shockwaves would destroy banks and other big financial institutions such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, America’s largest home loan lenders.

“I think perhaps we will need a stiff drink after that,” the moderator said. Members of the audience laughed.

Emphasis added by me.

My January 1, 2008 post:

He was laughed at too!

eBooks: The Issue Of Covers, Again

I really wasn't intending to link to Zoe Winters' post in which she mentioned covers. Because her mention was in passing and not the central subject.

Now it's all blown up in my face here because of this article: When selling books means getting the right look
It is worth reading a comment on Shipley's blog from Emma Barnes, the managing director of independent publisher Snowbooks. She explained why she's gone for a lighthearted "garden parties and designer clothes" approach for Sue Hepworth's Zuzu's Petals, despite this not really fitting with the tone of the book.

Her first attempt didn't work. The bookshops were absolutely uninterested in ordering stock, and she got just 19 orders after six months of trying to sell it in. "So at the very last minute, I redesigned the cover, and it was promptly selected for three-for-two or front-of-store promotion in two major retailers. We've sold several thousand copies so far," Barnes writes.

"A publisher's role is to get our authors' writing in front of readers," she says. "Cover design is one of the main ways to do that. By designing this cover, I've done my job by ensuring that several thousand people have the chance to read, assess and hopefully enjoy Sue's writing, compared to 19 people - and Snowbooks has stayed in business to bring even more writing to readers."

Emphasis added by me.

OK, now let me get to Zoe's comment in passing, in a post that is actually about retaining eBook rights and possible publication for the abominable Kindle:
One problem might be covers. I can see a publisher being unwilling to let an author use the cover for his/her own book to upload their own electronic file version of the book into Kindle because that’s taking potential money out of their pocket. They’re going to want to be able to maintain electronic rights especially for something as hands off and basically “free money” as the Kindle edition. So if that’s the case, one might have to worry about an ebook version cover. Still, it’s not prohibitively expensive to have an ebook cover designed that is in keeping with the original theme of the original cover but not the original cover and not infringing on the original cover copyright.

I’m not sure how much covers matter on a kindle. Maybe they matter a lot, but I’m not really sure if that’s the case or not.

Emphasis added by me.

I left a Comment, but because it had a few links, it's probably wallowing in her Akismet spamtrap.

Basically, I pointed her to this post, this post, and this post here at this blog.

I also made the point that the cover is what people will see first when they look at an eBook's Internet listing. That's the first impression they'll have.

A cover will attract or repel potential readers.

Look at this infamous one:

Would you ever think anything other than gay erotica?

Now look at this one for the same book:

That's pretty unambiguous, isn't it? (Still rather misleading, however; it makes it seem like a thriller potboiler; it's really one of the first -- if not the first -- alternate history novels: "What if America had lost World War II?")

So, yes, covers do matter. They can make or break a sale.

If you still disbelieve me, here are two different covers with the same "story" underneath:

Which one screams "superhero" to you as a potential car customer? (Underneath both wrappings is the same car!)

Clicky Clicky Leads To New Book

I won't describe the breadcrumb trail. It happens to us all.

In my case it led to a book with a intriguing title. A print book also offered as an eBook. An eBook listing that doesn't yet exist (because the print book won't be released until November 4). But the author wrote a book I read within the last year.

And because I liked that book, now I want to read his new one:

The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford
Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.

The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

OK, how can any writer not want to read that?

(For those who have already read biographies of Dickens: Shut up. In my Infinite Backlog.)

An interesting note regarding the eBook: No ePub version! (And, um, Random, update that blurb about the Sony Reader.)

The previous book I read was:

Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America, in which I learned that capitalist icon Andrew Carnegie launched his fortune with insider trading. So much for the Horatio Alger myth of pluck and luck, strive and succeed!


Writer Les Standiford's website

R.I.P. Scarlett The Cat

Scarlett, the cat that saved kittens from 1996 Brooklyn fire, dies
Scarlett the cat, a calico hero who drew worldwide acclaim after rescuing her five kittens from a 1996 Brooklyn fire, has passed away.

Free eBook: Casting the Runes

Casting the Runes by M.R. James
A gift from us this week before Halloween, the story that Olivia Laing recently called, "Scariest story ever, so horrifying that to this day I can't keep it in my house"[.]

It's a PDF file available at that post.

-- via Twitter from Hello Kitty terrorist KatMeyer (who now also owns a Triffid, so you better Follow her -- at a distance)

Book Tours 1.0: Endangered Species

Writer Tess Gerritsen:

How book tours have changed over the years
But even as my sales were growing, the tours themselves were getting less bang for the effort.

The media was harder to get. Even if I had some cool new nonfiction hook (corpses who wake up in morgues in VANISH. Or the how-to of shrinking human heads in THE KEEPSAKE) the TV and radio spots weren't there as they used to be. I'm not the only novelist who faces this dwindling of interest; it seems to be a problem for all of us. The publisher pays to fly you into a new town, puts you up in a hotel, all to speak at a bookstore where you end up selling maybe thirty hardcovers. Without any TV or radio or print coverage, does that make economic sense?

Emphasis added by me.

No. It doesn't.

That's why I see Blog Book Tours as one wave of the future.

Another wave is Mini Book Expo for Bloggers.

The third wave is How Our Future Does Things.

And the fourth: eBook Signings: The Postcard Solution?

As the reading world moves towards eBooks, a shift in the culture will happen too.

eBooks = Internet. Thus the Internet should become the primary pipeline and meeting place for eBook readers.

With no physical copies to sell -- except maybe some POD done for the leftovers and retrogrades -- an author having to be physically present somewhere becomes pointless.

And economically nonsensical.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #356: Resentment

U.S. has plundered world wealth with dollar: China paper
BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States has plundered global wealth by exploiting the dollar's dominance, and the world urgently needs other currencies to take its place, a leading Chinese state newspaper said on Friday.

The front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily said that Asian and European countries should banish the U.S. dollar from their direct trade relations for a start, relying only on their own currencies.

A meeting between Asian and European leaders, starting on Friday in Beijing, presented the perfect opportunity to begin building a new international financial order, the newspaper said.

The People's Daily is the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party. The Chinese-language overseas edition is a small circulation offshoot of the main paper.

Its pronouncements do not necessarily directly voice leadership views. But the commentary, as well as recent comments, amount to a growing chorus of Chinese disdain for Washington's economic policies and global financial dominance in the wake of the credit crisis.

Emphasis added by me.

I'd be fearful of this China threat, except they've got a land of nothing but goons, thugs, and cheats.

They can't do milk properly without poisoning tens of thousands of people in their own country and setting off a worldwide panic recall of food that contains their poisonous milk as well as poisons in other products.

Here's a clue for you, China; The Dollar remains strong and the last-ditch currency of the entire world because we have a reputation unlike yours.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #355: EastBloc

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard with:

Europe on the brink of currency crisis meltdown
The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.

Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

“This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

Emphasis added by me.

Ah, new Doom!
The latest data from the Bank for International Settlements shows that Western European banks hold almost all the exposure to the emerging market bubble, now busting with spectacular effect.

They account for three-quarters of the total $4.7 trillion £2.96 trillion) in cross-border bank loans to Eastern Europe, Latin America and emerging Asia extended during the global credit boom – a sum that vastly exceeds the scale of both the US sub-prime and Alt-A debacles.

Europe has already had its first foretaste of what this may mean. Iceland’s demise has left them nursing likely losses of $74bn (£47bn). The Germans have lost $22bn.

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, says the emerging market crash is a vastly underestimated risk. It threatens to become “the second epicentre of the global financial crisis”, this time unfolding in Europe rather than America.

Emphasis added by me.

After all this time of living under the shadow of European accusations of "American greed," it turns out they've been piggy little bastards on their own too:
Austria’s bank exposure to emerging markets is equal to 85pc of GDP – with a heavy concentration in Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia – all now queuing up (with Belarus) for rescue packages from the International Monetary Fund.

Exposure is 50pc of GDP for Switzerland, 25pc for Sweden, 24pc for the UK, and 23pc for Spain. The US figure is just 4pc. America is the staid old lady in this drama.

Amazingly, Spanish banks alone have lent $316bn to Latin America, almost twice the lending by all US banks combined ($172bn) to what was once the US backyard. Hence the growing doubts about the health of Spain’s financial system – already under stress from its own property crash – as Argentina spirals towards another default, and Brazil’s currency, bonds and stocks all go into freefall.

Emphasis added by me.
“The system is paralysed, and it is starting to look like Black Wednesday in 1992. I’m afraid this is going to have a very deflationary effect on the economy of Western Europe. It is almost guaranteed that euroland money supply is about to implode,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Could it be there might be a window of opportunity for me to go to Europe with an American Dollar that's actually worth something over there?

Quote: Frank Rich On This Election

In Defense of White Americans
The first, and easy one, is that Republican leaders have no idea what “real America” is.

Direct Publishing With POD

6 Ways Authors Can Succeed by Self-Publishing Books
When most authors write a book, they go the traditional route: pitch it to publishers, wait months for a reply, shop it around, wait some more, go through rewrite, and wait some more... But when blogger Sramana Mitra partnered with Amazon's BookSurge to self-publish her new book, she was taking a different route.

For a book about web technology and online business, she found self-publishing to be the way to go.

This is about non-fiction using POD.

-- via Twitter from top_book

One More Sony Reader Sold

Via Twitter from top_book came a link to The Book is Dead site, where I also saw this goodie of a post:

Click = big

This is a big one. Sony better pay attention!