Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Kindle

Should an E-Book Merely Copy a Print Book in Style and Function?

It seems certain folks in this day-and-age love innovation for the sake of innovation.

That kind of motivation usually indicates that deep and effective change is beyond the efforts of those who are “innovating”…

It could also mean that the “innovators” are bored silly…

Take e-books.

I do a lot of scanning of news and other sites looking for material I can report on here; and, one of the trendy fads for the last few years is to encourage changes in how e-books function and how they’re constructed (there have also been actual “new and improved” versions of ebooks produced).

Most of the articles didn’t make the cut for what I consider “worthwhile”; yet, the senior editor at Digital Book World, Daniel Berkowitz, gave me a reason to introduce the idea of e-book “innovation” in his article, Do We Really Need to Innovate the Reading Experience?

As usual, I’ll excerpt enough of the article to give a hint of what you’ll experience if you take the link :-)

Daniel introduces the topic:

“I hear a lot of talk about how ebooks didn’t innovate enough, or how ebooks are unsatisfactory—that they’re stuck in this ‘print-under-glass’ model that offers nothing new to the reading experience.”

Daniel challenges that:

“…for those of us who grew up on print books and for whom ebooks and audiobooks are viable alternatives, what is it in our reading experiences that we are so sorely lacking?”

He elaborates:

“…what is so wrong with the print-under-glass model of ebooks? What else were we expecting? To my eyes, an ebook on my Kindle looks a lot like a print book in my hands. And that’s exactly how I want it to be.”

Are you pretty much like Daniel?

Are you, rather, a person who wants all the innovation possible?

I encourage you to not only take the link to Daniel’s article and read the complete version; I encourage you to read the fascinating comments folks have left after that article………
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Why Are There Still So Many People Who Don’t Have Books to Read?

Many organizations and individuals work very hard to get books to those who have none… worldreader

One individual is linked-to in the left side-bar—his organization is called GoneReadingyou can buy really cool gifts for readers; yet, they give “100% of after-tax profits to fund reading-related charities…”.

I have an interview with the founder of GoneReading.

Another organization I’ve written about is WorldReader (here are the posts I’ve done about them…).

Here’s just a bit of explanation of what WorldReader does:

Literacy is transformative

It increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty. Books are necessary for the development of literacy skills yet millions of people still have limited access to books.

We’re changing this.

WorldReader does its work by supplying folks with e-readers stocked with books appropriate for their age and culture

Plus, today on TechCrunch, there was an article involving WorldReader called, Amazon Launches the Kindle Reading Fund to Expand Digital Reading Around the World.

Do read the full article to find out how broadly Amazon‘s initiative reaches; but, here’s an excerpt about their affiliation with WorldReader:

“The company says its new collaboration with Worldreader will see Amazon donating thousands of Kindle e-readers to developing nations. The two have worked together previously, however. For example, Amazon recently supported Worldreader’s LEAP 2.0 library partnership in Kenya, which reaches around 500,000 people by bringing digital reading to 61 libraries in the country.”

It’s been said there are one billion people on our planet with no access to books

If you want to be inspired to do something about this, watch these two videos

This one was done in association with Kindle:


This one is from WorldReader, directly:

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Can Creative Writing Survive Our Digital Obsessions?

I use a Kindle.

I also still read physical books.

Sometimes they feel like different activities but, usually, as I fall into the words and sentences, I forget to notice whether I’m holding a book or a digital device.

Yet, there are folks who absolutely love one way of reading and heartily damn the other

And, there are many people working hard to take reading further from its traditional environs.

At least, with a Kindle, the words and sentences still add up to an enchantment with creative writing.

A week ago, in the post, A Mild “Rant” About An Extremely Serious Situation, I shared a link to an article about the Head of HarperCollins UK talking about taking storytelling back from digital rivals. Here’s some of what I said:

“You might think the boss wants a war with rivals over traditionally published books.

“Nope, this man’s war is ‘going beyond ebooks to apps, games and video’.

“Nothing about the quality of books or the importance of the author as creative producer—merely a move to make more money

I usually try to stay just this side of spilling my biased guts on this blog but there are times I feel, if I don’t speak out, I’ll burst

The Atlantic recently had an article called This Video Game Could Revolutionize Publishing—and Reading.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“When the Best Books of 2013 are listed, the most important may not make the cut. That’s because the most exciting literary innovation of the year is not a book at all, but a video game for iPad and iPhone.”

O.K., they say it’s not a book but also imply it should be on a best books list

A video game pretending it’s a book?

Another quote:

Device 6 is a metaphysical thriller in which the world is made almost entirely from words. Playing it is like reading a book—except, in this book, the words veer off in unexpected directions, rather than progressing in orderly fashion down the page. When Anna, the game’s protagonist, turns a corner in the narrative, the text does too, swerving off to one side at a right angle, forcing the player to rotate the screen.”


I have to admit that, when I’m writing, the words in my head sometimes do things like that; but, I have this obsession about taming their antics before I put them into my computer

I also use mind maps when I’m in the initial stages of the writing process; yet, again, I straighten them out later in the process.

Device 6 is only the latest in the digital “war” against books; though, I’m sure most of the developers aren’t thinking about supplanting books—they’re mostly just being creative and probably trying to make money

Nothing wrong with making money—I recommend it to all aspiring humans—yet, when money drives the creative process, I’m more than fairly certain the project becomes less than truly creative (as in, Creative Writing).

My personal answer to the question in the title of this post—Can Creative Writing Survive Our Digital Obsessions?—is, “Absloutely!“.


I’m concerned about the folks younger than me

How hard will it be for their offspring to re-discover the magic of surrendering their minds to the creativity of another person and coming away from the experience refreshed and more than likely a bit wiser?

We shall see

Now, I lay before you evidence of the attempt to highjack creative writing, to interfere with the reader’s ability to create their own mental and emotional interpretation of the written word

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Does Loving Their Kindle Make A Writer A Traitor? ~or~ Does Liking Amazon Make An Author A Saboteur?

Amazon is huge—most everything you can think of is or could be sold there

Many people, bookstores, and publishers are mad as hell about Amazon.

How dare they sell books for less than they pay for them?

How dare they sell their reading devices at cost?

How dare they do business better than many other companies?

Sure, they get some things wrong—really, there is nothing perfect in this world—but, analogically, if you get a hit in baseball only one out of three times ( .300 ), your doing great—so, Amazon, imho, has a batting average of around .598.

And, even if I still like holding a book in my hands and will never tire of it, my Kindle is my literary treasure house

So, all that to build up to introducing you to author Art Edwards and an article he wrote on The Nervous Breakdown, Amazon is the Devil, and Other Reasons to Love Them.

A few excerpts from the article:

“Has a more imposing windmill than Amazon ever been chased? In less than twenty years, the online monolith has established itself as the unalterable king of the book-buying world. And isn’t every company pretty much out to destroy its competition?”

“Amazon seems to be my online equivalent of Starbucks, another bare-knuckles Seattle company going out of its way to crush the little guy at every instance.”

[ in regard to Amazon challenging legacy publishers ] “Traditional publishing has published ninety percent of the books I’ve valued over the years, books that changed my life and made me want to be a writer. But the last decade or so has seen them get undeniably safe with the books they choose to publish and promote. I would even go so far as to say much of the valuable literary talent in the country today isn’t being published by New York publishing but by independent presses.”

“As evil as Amazon is, they’ve been completely supportive of the idea that anyone can be a publisher

Do go over and read Art’s complete article—lots of details that Fair Use won’t let me copy

Do you own a Kindle?

Do you love your Kindle?

Do you buy books (or, other things) from Amazon?

Do you think Amazon is the Devil?

Do, please, share your thoughts and feelings in our Comments :-)
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Press Coverage and Media Reviews Don’t Help Sell Books?

I’ve been around the block quite a few times and it’s common for the Hype to be much bigger than the Facts.

The sad thing is how much folks believe the Hype

Joe Konrath has been referenced here many times. Yesterday, he posted an article called, The Value of Publicity.

Among a raft of bomb-shell statements, this derived excerpt is somewhat mind-boggling:

“…I often get interviewed….You’d think all of this publicity has lead to increased sales of my ebooks.  You’d think wrong.

“The people who buy me are readers, and the vast majority have never heard of me. Readers find me on Amazon, because Amazon has made it easy for my books to be discovered.”

He says that his press and publicity is read by writers and those in the publishing industry; and, he keeps track of his sales spikes so he has proof that the Hype isn’t true.

This is a man who’s made $140k in the last 30 days. He says, “I made it because I positioned my titles [on Amazon] properly.”

The article also has 8 points to prove his sales aren’t affected by publicity and 6 points for writers to ponder in their effort to reap sales.

And, as for the effect of social-networking, he ends the article with this comment: “And feel free to tweet this. It won’t help me sell many ebooks, but it could help your peers.”

Can Konrath’s experience be extrapolated to other writers? Many of Joe’s commenters seem to be justifying that

I’ve always found Konrath’s experiences fascinating.

What do you think?

Is Konrath the Hype and traditional reviewers and media’s coverage the innocent victims of one writer’s vilification?

Is the traditional publishing industry blind to the ineffectiveness of their standard methods?

Is Konrath an anomaly?

Do writers need to consider Amazon as their go-to platform for sales success?

I’d love to hear your ideas, feelings, and opinions
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