This really seems to be the month for Kindle and book news. First up, some exciting news about the Kindle itself:
Amazon Kindle coming to Walmart by the end of the month
and a related announcement from Amazon on the new scope of their Cloud computing (which is where all your Kindle books live, when they say they are archived): Up, Up, and Away - Cloud Computing Reaches for the Sky.
It seems that other attorneys are watching the Kindle with interest (and not just in connection with any TTS or DMCA lawsuits). All 800 attorneys and 200 Paralegals at an undisclosed BigLaw firm are to receive Kindle 2's, preloaded with the entire National Reporter Sets, US Code, CFR and Federal Register. No official word on whether they'll be able to download fiction as well (or will have to have a second, personal Kindle for that purpose), but the firm looks to pay for the Kindle's just in personnel reductions in the mail room, while getting more space to use for trial prep instead of storing musty old books.
A major announcement that Kenyon Review Acquires Random House will be sure to please Kindle fans who have been boycotting their books due to the TTS (text-to-speech) controversy. Let's hope the new guys will let Tom read to us anytime we want.
The financial crisis continues to pressure the publishing industry, this time driving a nearly two century old newspaper online: Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink. Not only will their costs be lowered, but the 140 character limitation of the new format is hoped to be responsible for getting people to read the news once again. All those paragraph or two articles, full of pesky details apparently detracted from the headlines, so only headlines will be retained. This also eliminates the personnel costs of those reporters, copy editors and fact checkers, leaving only the headline writer's as a major obstacle to a cost-free edition in the future.
Harper Studio is also making a major move to Twitter and has announced a new ebook pricing policy for twitter reviewers. Other reviewers are feeling the pressure to print only glowing reviews, as evidenced by the newly revised Mrs. Giggles review site, features lots of fluffy bunnies. Those who fail to comply or reveal secrets of the publishing trade risk being shut down, as evidenced by the takedown notice at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
In a stunning victory for an indie/self-publishing press, comes this news:
J.K. Rowling Publishes Harry Potter Ebooks on Smashwords
Best of all are the prices, almost as low as a paperback, but which let's JK pocket even more profit per book, which was the main reason she considered the move.
Another author has finally released a long awaited book, but as a series of novelletes rather than in a single tome: George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons to release later this month
Lastly, if you are tired of all your bibliophile and librarian friends complaining that your ereader (Kindle, Sony or whatever) lacks that book smell, be sure to check out the new and improved Smell of Books. Frankly, I don't see the appeal of those volatiles from the ink (like new car smell and new house smell, no doubt these cause cancer and many other illnesses that we haven't discovered yet), but at least most don't say they prefer Old Book Smell as that seems to be a blend of mold, stale tobacco and random spoiled food (at least from what you find in used bookstores and the library) or Eau de Cat. If your friends are smelling that on their books all the time, I can see why they prefer the smell of new books (but suggest they buy some flowers or step outside now and then). It seems I'm not alone in being tired of this argument, as these articles also take on the issue: Enough With The Smell of Books, Okay? and Smell of Books Fails the Sniff Test.
Well, that wraps up today's news coverage - be sure to tune back in next April Fool's Day for an update...