Sunday, January 04, 2009

Guardian reports e-books as games

I have had a good look at the books review section of the Guardian from yesterday and cannot find anything about e-books, the condition of the publishing trade or the implications for access to knowledge resources. All the blog links have gone and the Bookseller extracts also.

So I do not feel I was too sweeping in stating that the ePUB format and the clarity of e-book acceptance at Online Information have not been reported.

Meanwhile the games page in the Guide reports that Harper collins have packaged 100 classic titles for the Nintendo DS at only £19.99. Dickens, Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters with others presumably also out of copyright. Apparently "from the dustier recesses of the HarperCollins back catalogue". It may not be off topic to recall that some New York publishers never paid royalties to Dickens anyway. The comment in the Guide is that some people will be disappointed and will try to swap it for a "proper game". There are several other issues to consider. Do the schools have a duty to inform pupils about Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and other free sources for the classics? Literary review publications try to sell advertising to publishers but also should inform readers of what is on offer. Sony also claim "free" titles as a benefit for the Sony Reader but promotion in Waterstones fails to mention other free stuff available. The cost of the Sony Reader is enough to put a lot of people off so information on savings is relevant. There is also publishing scene around Creative Commons ideas and the Feedbooks service creating ePUB from blogs and RSS.

Last week the guide covered "Pop" as distinct from literature etc as found in the Review. It will be interesting to see how this works out over time. "Pop" might include anything on a portable device while the critics only recognise hardback books.

Perhaps the HarperCollins package includes some software but this could still be free. Stanza for the iPhone/iPod is being downloaded in larger numbers that the Kindle is delivered. Similar free software for existing mobile devices may be a large part of the scene around e-books, however described. Maybe the Guardian will report this on a Thursday.

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