Notes: Scribd's Mobile Option; Publishers & the iPad Effect
Scribd's "send to device" feature, which allows users to send documents to their e-readers or smartphones (Shelf Awareness, February 11, 2010), launched this week. Wired
magazine showcased the option and noted that it will support
most smartphones, as well as e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle,
B&N's nook, Sony Reader and Cool-er. Scribd also plans
to offer apps for the Android OS, iPhone and other devices by late
Company CEO Trip Adler told Wired, "These apps will synchronize with Scribd on other platforms--so you could leave off reading a long document at your desk and pick up where you left off on your iPhone. Like the Scribd website, the apps will also include social features, so you can share documents you particularly like with your friends, for instance."
Dan Brodnitz has been speaking with e-book and book publishing professionals since the Apple iPad's unveiling last month to get "their impressions of what they saw and their thoughts on what the iPad might mean to electronic book publishing." He shared some of their reactions at PBS's Mediashift.
"It seems as though we may be moving from a world where retailers compete on prices to a world where the publisher will fix the price, all the different retailers will have the same price, and it will be up to the publisher to innovate and try different prices and see what will work best," said Hadrien Gardeur, co-founder and CEO of Feedbooks.com. "If we have a fixed-price model, we'll likely get much better innovation and more retailers. We can really create an ecosystem with this kind of model, where with the other model it was very hard for smaller retailers to compete."
Citing the iPod, Peter Balis, director of digital content sales for Wiley, said, "Apple has an incredible track record of late of converting consumers to digital adoption. If anybody has the power to follow up on the great work that Amazon has already done to create the tipping point, it's Apple."
Roger Stewart, editorial director at McGraw-Hill Professional, observed that the "reason publishers have long believed the iPad would have the potential to be a game changer is not because it was designed to be an e-book reader. It's a game changer because it does everything else well and, by the way, it also happens to be a great e-book reader."
Andrew Savikas, O'Reilly Media's v-p of digital initiatives, suggested that "most of what the publishers seem to be looking for in the iPad... is a large scale market for digital books with a platform that provides the opportunities for rich media and has reasonably attractive payment terms, including the ability for publishers to set their own price. All of that has actually already been part of [Apple's] existing App Store really since it launched."
Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, called the iPad "an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary step.... Really, all they've done is replicate the book experience on a digital device. It's begging to go so much further."
Urban Books Store, Pleasantville, N.J., was profiled by Atlantic City Weekly, which praised the "black themed, owned and operated bookstore... that reminds me of my favorite Philadelphia book store. The one exception is that at Urban Books, I can shop for more than 15 minutes without running out to a meter/kiosk to make sure my car is alright.... Inside the store are books on every subject you could imagine."
South Hadley, Mass., has chosen Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at Time for its community reads program, according to the Republican. South Hadley Reads started in 2002 as a cooperative effort of the Odyssey Bookshop, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley Public Library, Gaylord Memorial Library and the South Hadley Senior Center, with sponsorship from People's Bank.
"I think the simplicity of Chinese bookstores and the complexity of U.S. bookstores actually reflect differences between the two cultures," wrote Li Yajuan in the Global Times, suggesting that while "bookstores in China are simply stores that sell books," U.S. bookshops "are more like a mix of Grand Central Station and a kid's playground."
While conceding that "tattoos aren't always the product of a good decision," Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog gave high marks to the upcoming Penguin Inks series, for which the publisher commissioned tattoo artists and illustrators to reimagine the covers of J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, Martin Amis's Money, Keri Hulme's The Bone People, Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System and Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love.
The Washington Post's Short Stack blog featured the eulogy Robert B. Parker's son David read at his father's memorial service earlier this month.
A mint-condition copy of the rare Action Comics No. 1 sold for $1 million in a deal between a private collector and buyer that was brokered by Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner and COO of the ComicConnect.com and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, the Washington Post reported. The comic, published in 1938, was the first to feature Superman.
"The person who bought it is an avid Superman fan and was extremely excited to get it," Zurzolo said, adding, "This sale is groundbreaking. It changes the game for comic-investment collectibles.... As a collectible and an investment, comic books have trailed behind other categories. This sale is putting us into a similar playing field as even rare gemstones and antiques."
Salman Rushdie plans to write a book about his years living under the threat of a fatwa issued against him by the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Guardian reported.
"It's my story, and at some point, it does need to be told," he said at Atlanta's Emory University, where an exhibition of his correspondence, notebooks, photographs, drawings and manuscripts will open on Friday. "That point is getting closer, I think. When [the archive material] was in cardboard boxes and dead computers, it would have been very, very difficult, but now it's all organized."
Book trailer of the day: John Wray, author of Lowboy (Picador; now in paperback), interviews Zach Galifianakis--co-star of The Hangover--playing the role of John Wray. Dry and hilarious.
Aifric Campbell, who chose her top 10 jobs in fiction for the Guardian, wrote: "Work--and its absence--shapes our destinies and lays our souls bare."