Stanza makes iPod reading doable and other thoughts on electronic books.
The big deal for me is that, at night, I don’t like having a reading light. Seriously. That’s really the big deal for me. Everything else is worth putting up with if you can, at a minimum, read self-lighting material.
When I picked up my iPod touch, I was really excited to try out the Kindle App, and then subsequently disappointed on how little I liked it. Look, my intention was not to buy electronic books. It was to read my collection of electronic books. It was _readable_ yes. And grabbing the sample chapters of books I was thinking about reading is neat and all, but it’s nigh-impossible to get my large books that I’ve been reading onto the kindle app, and it’s surprising how badly formatted they are when they get there.
So I looked around. I remember someone, probably Andy Ihnatko, singing the praises of Stanza’s iPhone App, so I tried it, grabbed a handful of books, and am now happy as a pig in mud.
Over the weekend, I finished Rudy Rucker’s “Postsinglar.” It’s about the singularity, and another singularity, and actually a few more singularities and the subsequent fallouts there from. If you love Rudy Rucker, you’ll love this book. If you don’t love Rudy Rucker, it’s still pretty good. I find him a far more tolerable version of Neil Stevenson. Sci-Fi Nerds, Flame On.
Anyway, one of the many great things about Stanza is that it is automatically tuned in with feedbooks.com, which has as good a collection of electronic books as any I’ve come across. I’ve already downloaded more reading materials than I’ll get to months.
Which gets me to the question here: Why are book publishers so hung up on only _selling_ electronic copies of their books? I can go to a library and get just about any copy of any book I want to read. How is the Internet so different?
I love libraries. I really do. But the electronic books they have at the Milwaukee Public Library are so DRM ridden and locked down (YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO CHECK THEM IN AND OUT (!!??!)) that they’re virtually non-options. I call them “untronic” books because as far as I can tell, they only exist to discourage the library from actually getting an electronic book distribution system that works.
I’m invested in making a living off of writing and selling books. I really am. But I don’t understand how cutting out people who want to read, recommend and share your books on their terms fosters that goal.
If libraries want to remain relevant, and don’t become the second great institutional tragedy since the failure of the newspapers to adapt to the world where data is no longer scarce, they need to find away to make themselves into resources as great, if not greater, than services like feedbooks or even the DRM-riddled Amazon Kindle service.
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