Ebook notes

A couple of things related to ebooks. First, Palm Digital Media—the main ebookstore for the Palm Reader format ebooks, and the one that offers (offered?) up the tool for making your own ebooks for free—is now apparently eReader.com. What’s the difference? Well, eReader.com is entirely commercial, it seems; they offer their “eBook Studio” for a nominal price; also, I don’t know if these ebooks are compatible with the Palm Reader software.

The Palm Digital Media site is still up albeit sporadically. I can’t tell if the software and pages for making ebooks is still there, and if it’s free; what a shame if it isn’t. If that’s the case, I may offer the appropriate software to download here.

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who filled out the request form on my free Palm ebooks page over the past year. I got a lot of hits, and I didn’t respond to most of them just because I didn’t have the time to get to each one. Rest assured, I put all requested books that I can convert on my list. And, to everyone who requests current books (like Harry Potter books, Dan Brown’s books, Tolkien, etc. etc.), sorry, but I can’t legally get them for you. Anything that was published in or after 1923, unless released by the author, is still under copyright and only available via legal means (read: commercial means). Yes, I have to cover my ass.

Basically, I’m converting books from Project Gutenberg, and looking for current books that authors like Cory Doctorow have released online for free. So, a good bet if you’re requesting something is to check and see if it’s on Gutenberg first, and let me know.

And, I’ve just tonight released James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer in ebook format. Go to my ebooks page and check it out!

Doctorow on DRM

So, I’m a little behind on this: Cory Doctorow‘s Microsoft Research DRM talk that he presented on June 17 and subsequently made available online for free. Very good. Though I do differ from this opinion he gives on ebooks:

Today we hear ebook publishers tell each other and anyone who’ll listen that the barrier to ebooks is screen resolution. It’s bollocks, and so is the whole sermonette about how nice a book looks on your bookcase and how nice it smells and how easy it is to slip into the tub. These are obvious and untrue things….

First, screen resolution is an issue, because I have yet to see a device small enough to be casually portable that has a resolution that I could stand to read for more than a few minutes. (My Clié comes close, it has a decent display, but it’s too small, so you have to scroll a lot more, which breaks the comfortable reading flow.) The resolution on a desktop monitor, or even a laptop? Sure, those are good enough—I stare at one all day and read everything from plain email to colorized snippets of code—but I ain’t lugging my 17-inch CRT to the couch with me to read.

Second, I think the “tactile” argument for real books that he points out here is really about why real books will never go away, not why ebooks will fail. Seems hollow, doesn’t seem to ring true here. Odd.

But then he’s right back on track:

New media don’t succeed because they’re like the old media, only better: they succeed because they’re worse than the old media at the stuff the old media is good at, and better at the stuff the old media are bad at. Books are good at being paperwhite, high-resolution, low-infrastructure, cheap and disposable. Ebooks are good at being everywhere in the world at the same time for free in a form that is so malleable that you can just pastebomb it into your IM session or turn it into a page-a-day mailing list….

 

Paper books are the packaging that books come in. Cheap printer-binderies like the Internet Bookmobile that can produce a full bleed, four color, glossy cover, printed spine, perfect-bound book in ten minutes for a dollar are the future of paper books: when you need an instance of a paper book, you generate one, or part of one, and pitch it out when you’re done.

Excellent article. Get on over and read the whole thing.

Free? Palm Reader software

Is it just me, or did Palm Digital Media make it a whole lot harder to get the free version of their Palm Reader software? From their front page, there’s no mention of the free version anywhere, and I finally found it when clicking through the ad for the Pro version.

…Oh. I just found this on the free download page:

The free and Pro versions of Palm Reader are now one application. You can try out the Pro features for up to 15 days. After the 15 day trial period, the Pro features will be disabled, but you can continue to use Palm Reader freely.

Well, that seems rather dumb. I mean, it’s still good that it’s free, but not advertising that there’s a free version available is definitely going to turn away a good number of users.

So remember this link: Free Palm Reader download page.

Lovecraft Copyright

Hmmm… I was all set to post up the H.P. Lovecraft ebooks tonight that were sent to me, but when double-checking the publication dates online I found this:

Please note that Lovecraft’s fiction is still considered to be under copyright by Arkham House, and any texts presently available on the web without their consent are in violation of that copyright.

Found this on The H.P. Lovecraft Archive. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so I’m holding off on posting the Lovecraft ebooks for now.

Lovecraft Ebooks

Coming up in the next day or two, some H.P. Lovecraft Palm Reader ebooks, four of his short stories. The cool part of it is they were created by someone else who wanted to donate them for hosting, Leandro Liñares. Once I’ve verified that the stories in question are in the public domain, I’ll have them posted. Stay tuned.