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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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Are e-books ready for technical content?

If e-book readers are to ever catch on then they must be able to display all kinds of documents and information, from novels to picture albums to technical documents. This presents a challenge for publishers right now because whist e-book readers are catching on, they don’t posses the technology to display anything other than just words and simple black and white images. A lot of publishers are wanting to put their technical documents on to e-ink devices, however technology in the e-ink industry is limiting how those documents can be displayed.

Once such publisher is Dave Thomas from Pragmatic Programmer which publishes technical programming books, as you can imagine, programming books will be full of diagrams, tables, code lists and images — they are really tricky to reproduce for e-book viewing.

This is what Dave had to say

About once a week, we get a request from a reader to have our books available in a format that can be read on an eBook reader (typically, nowadays, the Amazon Kindle).

In fact, we’ve had a prototype form of that capability for a while now, but we’ve always held back. Frankly, we didn’t think the devices worked well with our kind of content. Basically, the .mobi format used by the Kindle is optimized for books that contain just galleys of text with the occasional heading. Throw in tables, monospaced code listings, sidebars and the like, and things start to get messy. The .epub format (used, for example, by Adobe Digital Editions) is slightly more capable, but it also has issues.

You can see exactly what Dave is talking about because he has uploaded his tests, you can see the results here;

kindle formatting testkindle formatting testkindle formatting testkindle formatting test

Dave goes on to say getting to this stage required a lot of hacks, for instance the code listings have been converted to images so that they render better, however they don’t scale when the user changes the font size — i’m sure many more hacks were used to get to this stage, Dave finises with a good question:

So… what do you think. Is this workable? Should we make these available, even though they’re not very good, or should we wait for a later generation of eBook that’s closer to the capabilities we need? Comments are open… :)

What do you think, should publishers wait or press on knowing this is the best possible outcome given the current technology?

Source: O’Reilly, PragDave

How to use the Kindle outside the US

KeyboardIf your one of the many people interested in buying the Kindle, but unfortunately you live outside the US, then until Amazon decides to release Kindle in your local you cant enjoy the benefits of owning a Kindle. Kindle owners here in the US are also interested in knowing whether using their Kindles outside the US is possible. Amazon states in it’s FAQ section that it is working on releasing the Kindle for international markets and asks that international customers to sit tight for the time being.

That’s not good enough for some.

Where there’s a will, there is way. A post by Nerdgirl on her site offers a solution for those unwilling to wait for the official Kindle release in their country. The hack involves tricking Amazon into thinking that your billing address is associated with a US address — apparently Amazon does not verify the address unless you purchase a dead-tree book. This then allows you to associate a Kindle device with your Amazon account, once your Kindle is associated with your account you can use gift certificates to buy e-books. But if your expecting them to be delivered wirelessly then think again, they wont be, you will have to transfer the e-book via USB.

The very fact that someone has discovered this hack proves that people outside the US are itching to get their hands on the Kindle.

You can read the full instructions on Nerdgirls website by following the link below.

Source: Nerdgirl

Kindle is a hit with readers but terrifying to publishers

Amazon Kindle product description and specificationThe Kindle has been around since November 2007 and Amazon has yet released any sales figures. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Amazon has sold anywhere between 40,000 – 140,000 Kindle units per month and that e-book sales are on the increase accounting for 12% of title sales at Amazon.com. Whilst the Kindle hasn’t been a runaway success for Amazon, it has been a hit amongst readers and is slowly gaining acceptance amongst consumers.

Since its launch in 1995, Amazon has become a leviathan in the publishing industry, this spelt good news for the consumers, but not so good for the publishers. Amazon flexed its might in March this year by declaring that if publishers didn’t use Amazon’s in house print on demand wing called BookSurge then the “Buy” button on the Amazon page for their books will be removed. They could then only sell their books on Amazon through a third party.

This amounted to a antitrust suit being filed against Amazon in March of this year, the case is ongoing, Amazon filed for the case to be dismissed, the judge will decide on August 21st if the case can proceed.

The once mighty publishing industry is facing troubling times, with tighter margins on books and more competition from magazines and online publications, publishers are left with little option but to bow to Amazons wishes. Amazon’s cut is 65% when publishing book on the DTP and 25% when published on Mobipocket which gives Amazon even more power over the publishers. Removing their books from Amazon is not an option for many publishers simply because of the amount of revenue they will lose, precious revenue they cannot afford to lose.

The Kindle seems has tightened Amazons grip on the publishers, and as Kindle growth surges it will put the publishers in an even worse position.

Kindle Photo of the Day #30: Kindle Show

Amazon Kindle

It might be hard to spot, but they are talking about the Kindle. The guy in the middle is actually holding one! Photo by imogen_ph

If you have an image that you would like to submit for Kindle Photo of the Day, then please get in touch! you can send the image via email to email address – please make sure you include your name and a link to your site.

Sunday Night Links: 27 July 2008

Sunday Night Links

Welcome to the BlogKindle.com weekly news round-up!

Every Sunday we compile a list of our favourite stories from the past week, we also bring to you our selection of Kindle and Amazon related links from around the web. Compiled from blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope these links will give you a definitive overview of what’s happening regarding the Kindle and what the Kindle community is talking about.

News Flash From the Cover of Esquire: Paper Magazines Can Be High Tech, Too – New York Times

Warming to the Kindle – Time

Me and my Kindle – CNNMoney.com – Fortune

Jeff Bezos loves his Amazon Kindle – CNNMoney.com

Amazon kindles sales for digital books – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Amazon puts Albom commencement speech on Kindle reader – The Salt Lake Tribune

Can technology re-Kindle boys’ interests in reading? – Lancaster Online

Lost: One poor, forlorn Kindle – cnet

No e-commerce worries here? Amazon doubles earnings – ZDnet

ReKindling, an updated review – Newsvine

Why Kindle Will Not Die a Fast Death – k.indled

Kindle tip: Take that paper clip along for resets at 30,000 feet – TeleRead

Review: Amazon Kindle – Books Were Just A ‘Gateway Drug’! – BC Books

E-readers thrive but paper promises to be eternal – Business Daily Africa

Road Warriors: Take your library with you – Tech Republic

Four Reasons Why Ebooks Are My Preferred Reading Format – Dear Author

the Kindle and the iPhone dance – Publishing Frontier

Kindling My Reading Habit – crystalking @ wordpress.com

The long, slow death of an institution – lazarusanderson @ wordpress.com

Why the iPhone is the best and worst e-book reader ever – Machinist

Hardback Still the Gold Standard? – Murder She Writes

Boy, Was I Wrong About The New York Times… – Kindleville

eBook Readers vs Other Handheld Devices – Pros and Cons – eBook Reader Source

Big Screen Kindle Aiming for $5.5 Billion Textbook Market – Law Librarian Blog

First Kindle complaint: unreadable images – Blahg

A Kindle to curl up with – ocala.com

University researchers develop e-book reader – Diamondback Online

A Beginner’s Guide to Kindle Content – MobileRead Forums

That was amazingly harder than I thought it would be – MobileRead Forums

Wish I could see the future (aka Newbie making a choice) – MobileRead Forums

Made my own Kindle case …. – MobileRead Forums

Opinion: How to make the Kindle a mainstream success – ars technica

“Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases” by Grenville Kleiser – Free Kindle e-book

Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases by Grenville KleiserA practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational, and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write and speak English. By the American author and former instructor in public speaking at Yale University.

American writer, Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953), is best known for his writings on humor, inspiration and positive thinking. Besides Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, he authored Model Speeches for Practice, Successful Methods of Public Speaking, The Training of a Public Speaker, and others, all now published by PDQ Press. Kleiser is quoted nearly as often as Mark Twain thanks to his wit and insight Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. To every problem there is already a solution whether you know it or not. It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one than a little; a great deal may rouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure.

It is a wonderful resource for writers.

Excerpt from the e-book:

INTRODUCTION

The most powerful and the most perfect expression of thought and feeling through the medium of oral language must be traced to the mastery of words. Nothing is better suited to lead speakers and readers of English into an easy control of this language than the command of the phrase that perfectly expresses the thought. Every speaker’s aim is to be heard and understood. A clear, crisp articulation holds an audience as by the spell of some irresistible power. The choice word, the correct phrase, are instruments that may reach the heart, and awake the soul if they fall upon the ear in melodious cadence; but if the utterance be harsh and discordant they fail to interest, fall upon deaf ears, and are as barren as seed sown on fallow ground. In language, nothing conduces so emphatically to the harmony of sounds as perfect phrasing–that is, the emphasizing of the relation of clause to clause, and of sentence to sentence by the systematic grouping of words. The phrase consists usually of a few words which denote a single idea that forms a separate part of a sentence. In this respect it differs from the clause, which is a short sentence that forms a distinct part of a composition, paragraph, or discourse. Correct phrasing is regulated by rests, such rests as do not break the continuity of a thought or the progress of the sense.

GRENVILLE KLEISER, who has devoted years of his diligent life to imparting the art of correct expression in speech and writing, has provided many aids for those who would know not merely what to say, but how to say it. He has taught also what the great HOLMES taught, that language is a temple in which the human soul is enshrined, and that it grows out of life–out of its joys and its sorrows, its burdens and its necessities. To him, as well as to the writer, the deep strong voice of man and the low sweet voice of woman are never heard at finer advantage than in the earnest but mellow tones of familiar speech. In the present volume Mr. Kleiser furnishes an additional and an exceptional aid for those who would have a mint of phrases at their command from which to draw when in need of the golden mean for expressing thought. Few indeed are the books fitted to-day for the purpose of imparting this knowledge, yet two centuries ago phrase-books were esteemed as supplements to the dictionaries, and have not by any manner of means lost their value. The guide to familiar quotations, the index to similes, the grammars, the readers, the machine-made letter-writer of mechanically perfect letters of congratulation or condolence–none are sententious enough to supply the need. By the compilation of this praxis, Mr. Kleiser has not only supplied it, but has furnished a means for the increase of one’s vocabulary by practical methods. There are thousands of persons who may profit by the systematic study of such a book as this if they will familiarize themselves with the author’s purpose by a careful reading of the preliminary pages of his book. To speak in public pleasingly and readily and to read well are accomplishments acquired only after many days, weeks even, of practise.

Foreigners sometimes reproach us for the asperity and discordance of our speech, and in general, this reproach is just, for there are many persons who do scanty justice to the vowel-elements of our language. Although these elements constitute its music they are continually mistreated. We flirt with and pirouette around them constantly. If it were not so, English would be found full of beauty and harmony of sound. Familiar with the maxim, “Take care of the vowels and the consonants will take care of themselves,”–a maxim that when put into practise has frequently led to the breaking-down of vowel values–the writer feels that the common custom of allowing “the consonants to take care of themselves” is pernicious. It leads to suppression or to imperfect utterance, and thus produces indistinct articulation.

Download the free ebook for your KindleDownload “Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases” by Grenville Kleiser for your Kindle:

“Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases” by Grenville Kleiser [.azw file]

Create a personal newspaper for your Kindle with Feedbooks

feedbooksFeedbooks.com — a site we have previously mentioned on this site —  has a new feature which allows Kindle users to download RSS feed directly onto the Kindle in a way creating your very own personal newspaper from multiple feeds.

From MobileRead forums by Hadrien;

Feedbooks provide an easy way for Kindle users to download and read RSS feeds directly on their device:

  1. You can create a file for a single feed: http://www.feedbooks.com/feed
  2. … or you can create a newspaper with multiple feeds: http://www.feedbooks.com/newspaper/create
  3. Generate a Mobipocket/Kindle file and transfer the file to your Kindle through USB or e-mail
  4. Once the file is on your Kindle, you can directly update your feeds inside the file, through the link on the cover or in the main menu of the file
  5. You can also subscribe to these feeds/newspapers from the main website and download those subscriptions from the mobile website: http://feedbooks.mobi

Here’s an example, just add this file on your Kindle to read the feed from Mobileread: http://www.feedbooks.com/feed/743.mobi

It is a smart idea to provide feeds in an “offline” format for those times when your Kindle had no wireless signal.

One of the most interesting things to try once this feature is online will be to read a blook (blog+book), which is basically a serialized novel published on a blog. For the last 2 years, Lulu even created a Blooker Prize to award the best blooks. I’m not a huge fan of LCD screens for reading, but with an e-paper device on my hands, things are much different and I’ll probably start reading a few blooks and hope that I’ll find one that suits me pretty well.

Create your own newspaper for you Kindle at Feedbooks: http://www.feedbooks.com/news. It will be interesting to keep your eye on this service and see how it evolves.

Source: MobileRead forums, Feedbooks

Esquire magazine will publish next months issue with an e-ink cover

esquire cover 2008 colbertEsquire Magazine celebrates its 75th birthday this year. To celebrate this milestone Esquire has partnered up with a Cambridge, Massachusetts based technology company, E Ink Corporation (the same company which makes the Kindles e-ink display), to become the first magazine to be printed-or should I say manufactured-with an e-ink cover.

The special 75th anniversary issue will focus on exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century.

“This cover is both a breakthrough for magazines and an expression of the theme of our anniversary issue,” said David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire Magazine. Whilst the cover uses “rudimentary e-ink technology” primarily because the cost associated with having a high resolution e-ink display is still very high, Mr. Granger hopes this is only the beginning of an explosion in the use of e-ink technology.

Mr. Granger, also has high hopes for the covers place in history saying “I hope it will be in the Smithsonian […] Magazines have basically looked the same for 150 years,” adding “I have been frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the magazine industry.” – you can include the publishing and the newspaper industry’s to that also.

Whilst some might see this as a marketing gimmick, Esquire is hopeful that the technology behind the device will last, Mr. Granger thinks “The possibilities of print have just begun. In two years, I hope this looks like cellphones did in 1982, or car phones.”

Esquires publishers have had to invest a six figure amount in order to get the project off the ground, so a big-time sponsor was needed in order to turn a profit, Ford was brought in to help with some of the costs in exchange for a 2-page e-ink advertisement.

The Esquire team has been planning to use an e-ink cover for a long time, back in 2000, Mr. Granger visited E Ink Corporation in Cambridge for a technology demonstration, but conceded that it was too premature for magazines. In 2006 the technology had improved sufficiently that only limitation to creating an e-ink magazine was having a battery small enough to power it-and the associated costs-, so for the past 16 months Esquire has been working with a Chinese manufacture to create a battery which will fit inside a magazine, the battery is expected to last 90 days.

It would be interesting to see what magazine stands would look like in a decades time if the e-ink cover catches on. Magazine stands are already a visual assault on the eyes, every magazine is competing for you attention with bright colours and scantily clad women, one can only imagine the stands if they were filled with animated e-ink covers!

Now I suspect that the e-ink display will be a segmented type as opposed to a high resolution graphic type available on the Kindle, given the cost of manufacturing. The Esquire cover will probably have a few frames of animation or some flashing text – nothing fancy, but still quite cool. Esquire has an exclusive deal with E Ink Corporation on the use of e-ink technology in print through 2009, however only a 100,000 e-ink covers will be produced, they will only be available on Magazine stands and the 620,000 Esquire mail subscribers will get a printed copy of the issue.

Source: New York Times

Quick update, get the free Tor.com e-book directly from Amazon.com

tor free ebook

Just a quick update following on from the previous post.

Tor.com has made 24 e-book available to download, you can now download some of them directly from Amazon.com and get them delivered to your Kindle through Whispernet.

The book available from the list of 24 are;

1. Mistborn: The Final Empire
2. Old Man’s War
3. Spin
4. The Outstretched Shadow: The Obsidian Trilogy: Book One
5. Crystal Rain
6. Lord Of The Isles
7. Through Wolf’s Eyes
8. Reiffen’s Choice
9. Sun Of Suns

You can get them by following this link.

Source: Amazon Kindle official blog

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Tracey Rowley who informed me that Amazon had put up a new link for all the free Tor.com content, right now there are 15 e-books available–there were 20 before–which you can download to your Kindle via Whispernet:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_7205842_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000255371&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=right-3&pf_rd_r=1A34K6V7WQ8EJ7RKVZKC&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=418894601&pf_rd_i=133141011%3Cbr%20/%3E

Tor.com goes live, get 24 free sci-fi and fantasy e-books

Tor.com logo beta

Back in May we got wind of a new social fanzine site especially for science-fiction and fantasy readers, Tor.com was due for launch we were told imminently, but as with these things the launch actually didn’t happen for a couple of month – over the weekend Tor.com was launched.

If you read the earlier post you know that had you signed up for the newsletter, Tor was giving away a free e-book every week in their weekly newsletter. Now that the site has launched, Tor will make available all 24 titles that were given away in the newsletter–only till the 27th of July, so head on over to the site and download them–in their Freebies Bonanza, there is a selection of artwork for download as-well, some would make an excellent desktop wallpaper.

Here is the list of all the available e-books;

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
PDF || HTMLnew! || HTML zipnew! || Mobinew!
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Farthing by Jo Walton
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedies Lackey & James Mallory
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Lord of the Isles by David Drake
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Reiffen’s Choice by S.C. Butler
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Starfish by Peter Watts
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Orphans of Chaos by John Wright
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Midnight Hour by Patti O’Shea
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Soul by Tobsha Learner
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Darkness of the Light by Peter David
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosanew!
PDF || ePub

If your a fan of science-fiction and fantasy  books then you might want to bookmark Tor.com, and sign up for access to more advanced community features, whilst the site is still in officially in beta there is a lot there for you to look at and read. There are already some lively discussions going on in the community forum with Tor and Macmillan employees and the blog on the front page is filled with interesting news and stories.