Your E-Reader is a Spy

Your E-Reader is a Spy I hope you saw this important article in the Wall Street Journal last week: Your E-Book is Reading You. It detailed the ways that e-readers are tracking reader’s habits and as a result, bringing actual market research to publishing—something that has been severely lacking in our industry. The data is still in the beginning phases of being gathered and analyzed, and it will be some time before it becomes clear exactly how (or if) publishers will use the information. Obviously they’re going to want to create a better experience for readers and consequently, sell more books. Some quotes from the article: Barnes & Noble has determined, through analyzing Nook data, that nonfiction books tend to be read in fits and starts, while novels are generally read straight through, and...
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5 Reasons to Embrace the Brave New World

5 Reasons to Embrace the Brave New World I’ve been thinking a lot about how things are changing so fast these days… technology is obsolete the moment it comes to market, there’s a new “must participate” social network every week, and publishing, well, after a good 100-year run, publishing is finally being forced to enter the 21st century. It all feels a little overwhelming sometimes, and I know many people are just plain tired. We raise our glasses to the Dowager Countess who said, “I do dream of a simpler world, as long as we can keep our trains and our dentistry.” I never thought I’d be this young and yet feel so antiquated, but make no mistake, if you’re over, say, 30, you’re an old fogie. You grew up when there was no Facebook, texting wasn’t the primary mode...
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Do Writers Need Skype?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-it8beNjTbS4/Tb4ogpHlLNI/AAAAAAAAEec/6_3JLwrEH-4/s320/Skype+2.jpg 7 Reasons to Consider an Internet Phone Service Time once again for me to encourage you to take advantage of technology! Are you using Skype yet—or another Internet phone service? It’s not a necessity, but it can save you money and be fun, too. Skype is super easy to use, and probably will work without any additional expense unless your computer is a dinosaur. Just download from Skype.com, follow the instructions, and get talking. There are a few technical requirements: You need a microphone, speakers, and preferably, a webcam. Many newer computers have both of these built-in, but if not, you can buy them separately. (Note: a webcam isn’t a necessity for Skype—mine has been broken and I’ve done several Skype calls without it—but obviously, you’ll be limited to voice...
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Margaret Atwood on "The Publishing Pie"

If you have some laundry to fold, or shoes to shine, or possibly some pencils to sharpen… whatever busy work you need to do this weekend, set your laptop next to you and play this video. It’s totally worth it. At the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference, amidst techies and marketing people and CEOs, Margaret Atwood does the unthinkable – or at least the unusual: She speaks on behalf of writers, asking the publishing industry, please don’t eliminate your primary source. She said so many things I resonated with, but I think one of my favorites was: “No author, no book.” This is a 30 minute video – her talk is 20 minutes, then there’s Q&A. Watch it when you have a chance, then come back and tell us what you resonated with! Have a good...
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A Few Hints on Twitter

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/c869ce06f864a4dda3231645b73d1a3a.jpg By now most people either know how to use Twitter, or they hate the whole idea of it and have sworn to never go over to the dark side. Wherever you stand, I’m not going to try to change your mind. But if you’re using Twitter, I have a couple of helpful hints, based on things I’ve seen lately. 1. If I see one more Twitter update that says “New blog post!” I think I will throw my laptop across the room. Please don’t do this. It sounds as if you assume we were all just sitting around waiting for you to update your blog, and now, thank heavens you’ve put up a new post so I can go over there and read it immediately. That’s not the impression you want to make. Are you a writer? If so, be a writer even in your Twitter updates. If you want to send...
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Publishing Smackdown: Let the Games Begin

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S2Wfk16zULI/AAAAAAAADiU/NdZX85T8Pj0/s320/smackdown41.jpg If you think things were starting to get crazy in publishing, the last week just turned everything upside down again. As you know, Apple introduced the long-awaited and much-hyped iPad (here’s a quick overview from PW), which looks to me like it’s going to live up to the hype. (Watch this video if you haven’t already.) Do I want one? You’d better believe it. But I’m not going to buy a first generation iPad. In fact, I’m hoping they’ll eventually introduce a smaller one that will fit into my handbag, at which point I’ll pretty much sell everything I own just to get one. But I digress. The big news for publishing is not just the iPad itself, but the way that Apple has been working with the Big Six publishers to create a new business model for...
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For the Love of a Book

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S0nwfrlE0bI/AAAAAAAADgU/NYyeB7yEDdU/s200/skiff-thumb-250x272.jpg Last week Publishers Lunch featured a guide to the latest eReaders coming down the pike (here). It’s fascinating and makes me think of all kinds of possibilities for the future. The new readers will have terrific uses in business, for games, for keeping up on news, for editors and others in publishing, and many more. Cool. But I started asking myself: What does this mean for the future of the plain old book? I’ve read dozens of articles lately that predict books in the future will be “so much more” than just words on a page (and they always say it as if it’s a good thing). Books will be “more interactive” with links embedded, and games, and choose-your-own-endings, and video pop-ups at certain points in the story… and who knows what else. The possibilities are...
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On Being a Twitterbug

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SYEesluru6I/AAAAAAAACoI/QMXHIMXj4go/s200/Q4U+smaller.bmp Phew! Those last three days of posts were intense! I enjoyed talking with you about elevator pitches, but I gotta tell ya, that was a lot of work. So today’s post will be brief. I want to say a few words about my new favorite way to waste boatloads of time stay connected with people. Many of you are already following me on Twitter so you know what I’m talkin’ bout. If you don’t know what Twitter is… well, thank your lucky stars you’re living under that comfy rock, and pray that you’re able to stay there. But if you ARE on Twitter and you’re following me, let me give you some hints about how this works. Other people may be different, but the bottom line is, I don’t do business on Twitter. Just like I don’t do business on Facebook...
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One Last Post about the Kindle

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SXOIAoPOTrI/AAAAAAAACjo/ucllU1sFg5g/s200/kindle.jpg I hope you don’t get too annoyed with me for doing another post about the Kindle. There were several great comments and questions after last week’s post, and I wanted to take the discussion a little further.Here are my answers to a few of the issues raised: → What if I lose or destroy my Kindle? Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of all those book downloads. Amazon saves all your downloads, so if you delete them from your Kindle, or even lose or destroy your Kindle, you can re-download the books without paying again. → Reading on a computer hurts my eyes. The Kindle uses a new and completely different technology from a computer. It’s a high resolution, similar to reading paper-and-ink, and doesn’t hurt your eyes. For me, it’s even better than reading...
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It’s the 21st Century, Like it or Not

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SWwl2uzIYTI/AAAAAAAACgw/LD_dtMY5-A4/s320/ipod+2.jpg As I said yesterday, it was fun and enlightening to read your answers to Friday’s questions. One thing surprised me: the number of people who are still thumbs-down on Kindle. Now admittedly, it’s not for everyone. But it is a legitimate and valuable tool for people who read a lot. To all of you who say things like, “I love the feel of a book in my hands,” or “I love the smell of the paper” or “I love collecting books on my shelf,” I get it. I’m one of those people with books in every room, spilling over the shelves, tabletops, nightstands and sitting in stacks on floors. That’s not going to change just because I have a Kindle. As a kid, I spent my summers at the library, deep in the stacks, reading my way through the teen fiction...
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Kindle Thoughts

I’ve been using my Kindle for a couple of weeks now and wanted to give you a report. First, I really do love it and I’m glad I got it. The convenience has been amazing and already has helped me start catching up on reading, simply because of the portability. Here are a few more thoughts: Design: Many people already reported on the design that makes it easy to inadvertently turn pages, so I was ready for this. They’re right, it’s annoying sometimes, but I’m getting used to it. Reading: The screen is SO cool, it’s NOTHING like reading on the computer. It’s not hard on the eyes at all. You can even change your font size. As I’ve had it with me while out in public, many people have taken a look at the screen and been amazed. It’s funny, at...
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