Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2018 Microsoft ebook predictions

In 1999 Microsoft came out with a series of ebook predictions that was part of a marketing campaign as they started into the ebook industry.

Here are the predictions - note the prediction for 2018:


2000- Microsoft's Reader software for PCs and laptops ships. Customers buy more than one million eBook titles the first year it is available. 

2002- PCs and eBook devices offer screens that are as sharp as paper, with 200 dpi physical resolution, and an effective resolution of about 500 dpi with ClearType. 

2003- eBook devices weigh less than a pound and run for eight hours on a charge. Costs run from $99 for a simple black and white device to about $899 for the most powerful, color magazine-sized machine. 

2004- The Tablet PC becomes a mainstream option for computing. It is a pad-sized device that supports writing as well as eBook reading, and runs powerful computer applications in a slate form factor. More than half of all eReading is done on PCs and laptops, but dedicated eBooks, handheld machines and now Tablets account for the other half. 

2005- eBook title and ePeriodical sales top $1 billion. Many serial publications are given away free with advertising support that now also totals more than $1 billion. An estimated 250 million people regularly read books and newspapers on their PCs, laptops, and palm machines. 

2006- eNewstands (kiosks) proliferate on street corners, airports, etc. As usual, airlines offer customers old magazines on the flight, but the magazines are now downloaded to eBook devices. 

2008- eBook titles begin to outsell conventional volumes in most countries. The price of a new bestseller title is about $8-$10, but unit sales are much larger than average paper sales for similar titles a decade ago. 

2009- Several top authors now publish directly to their audiences, many of whom subscribe to their favorite authors rather than buy book-by-book. Some authors join genre cooperatives, in which they hold an ownership stake, to cover the costs of marketing, handle group advertising sales and sell "ancillary" (that is, non-electronic) rights, including "paper rights." Major publishing houses survive and prosper by offering authors editing and marketing services, rather than arranging for book printing. Printing firms diversify into eBook preparation and converting old paper titles to electronic formats. 

2010- Popular eBook devices weigh eight ounces, run for more than 24 hours, offer beautiful non-backlit displays, are available in flexible/foldable form factors, and hold more books and magazines than most university libraries. They cost less than $100 and are often given away free with the purchase of several books or a magazine subscription. 

2011- Advances in non-volatile chip storage, including Hitachi's Single Electron terabit chip, allow eBooks to store 4 million books - more than many university libraries - or every newspaper ever printed in America. 

2012- The pulp industry mounts its pro-paper "Real Books" ad campaign, featuring a friendly logger who urges consumers to "Buy the real thing - real books printed on real paper." 

2018- In common parlance, eBook titles are simply called "books." The old kinds are increasingly called "paper books." 

2020- Ninety percent of all titles are now sold in electronic rather than paper form. Webster alters its First Definition of "book" to mean, "a substantial piece of writing commonly displayed on a computer or other personal viewing device.".

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Norway's National Library Discovers Rare Atlas — With A Little Help From Reddit

Anders Kvernberg was deep in the vaults of the National Library of Norway when a beautiful atlas caught his eye.
So, you know. "It was an ordinary day at work," he says.
As a reference librarian, Kvernberg spends his days digging through the library's collections to answer questions from the public — on absolutely any topic. Writing a history book and want to know when a train would run from city A to city B on a particular year? "We find the old timetables," he says.
He was chasing down an unrelated request last month when he saw the atlas. He couldn't read the title or any of the text, but he could make out the printing year, and could identify it as an Ottoman atlas — a very, very early Ottoman atlas.
"And on top of that it was a beautiful copy — it was hand-colored, it had very nice printing, so it was fascinating," he said.
Full article here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reference books for a small library

In the 1903 book "A Library Primer" chapter 12 is "Reference books for a small library". The list contains 75 books and there is a line that says these books will cost around $550. If we adjust for inflation that amount in 2015 dollars would be roughly $16,000.

When you look at the list of books and their prices consider that each $1 has the value of $28 in 2015 dollars. So a $2 book would cost $50 now.

Some examples:

Brown, E. and Strauss, A. Dictionary of American politics. 1895. D. Burt, cl., $1.
Cost adjusted for inflation = $28.57

Appleton's annual cyclopædia and register of important events. Q. Appleton, cl. $5.
Cost adjusted for inflation - $142.86

Century dictionary and cyclopædia. (Century dictionary and the Century cyclopædia of names combined with the atlas of the world.) 10 v. Prices from $60 to $150. Often can be picked up second-hand.

Cost adjusted for inflation - $1700-$4200

When you look at the list of books what do you notice? What books (updated) would be most or least  useful in a modern reference collection?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Citizenfour and Cory Doctorow

Citizenfour (2014) is a documentary film directed by Laura Poitras concerning Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal. (Wikipedia)

Science fiction author Corey Doctorow wrote a book called Homeland.

Overview: In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother,(prior book to Homeland) young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state. 

A few years later, California's economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

Well here is the real world meets book. Edward Snowden had a copy and he had it in his hotel room as he was disclosing information about the NSA. At his website Doctorow has a clip from the film where you can see the book sitting in the hotel room.

I have to wonder if the Doctorow book was what actually pushed Snowden over the edge to disclose the NSA information. I don't say that it a way like Doctorow was insighting illegal activity or that Doctorow was the cause. But books can influence and I have to wonder if that influence had been removed would we be in the same place we are now.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Unique gift inscription in book

I purchased this used book at a thrift store. I had never read a work by this author before but I had read numerous positive reviews of her work. I was just going to buy the book on that basis but then I found the gift inscription in the front of the book and I had to buy it.

Usually a gift inscription is positive (e.g. I loved this book.) not it left me paranoid and apprehensive.

If you think you know what the book is leave a comment to this post with your guess. I will reveal the title of the book on December 12th unless someone guesses it first. If a correct guess is provided in the comments I will confirm that it is the correct answer within 24 hours of the guess being posted.

Another hint about the book - It was published in the 1990's.

Update - The book is --- "The Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler

No More Word Puzzles: Google Can Tell You're Human With One Click

A squiggly word puzzle pops up as you're trying to buy concert tickets. You stare at the words, scratching your head, as time disappears for you to purchase those tickets. Your first few attempts are utter failures, and you wonder why confirming your humanity on the Internet has to be so difficult.

Those mind-bending days are over. Google announced Wednesday the launch of "No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA," which gets rid of CAPTCHAs — those complicated distorted word puzzles — and can tell you're not a robot with just one click. Now the person just has to click a checkbox next to the statement "I'm not a robot."

Full story here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control

 Ted Striphas argues that, although the production and propagation of books have undoubtedly entered a new phase, printed works are still very much a part of our everyday lives. With examples from trade journals, news media, films, advertisements, and a host of other commercial and scholarly materials, Striphas tells a story of modern publishing that proves, even in a rapidly digitizing world, books are anything but dead.

From the rise of retail superstores to Oprah's phenomenal reach, Striphas tracks the methods through which the book industry has adapted (or has failed to adapt) to rapid changes in twentieth-century print culture. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and have established new routes of traffic in and around books, and pop sensations like Harry Potter and the Oprah Book Club have inspired the kind of brand loyalty that could only make advertisers swoon. At the same time, advances in digital technology have presented the book industry with extraordinary threats and unique opportunities.

Striphas's provocative analysis offers a counternarrative to those who either triumphantly declare the end of printed books or deeply mourn their passing. With wit and brilliant insight, he isolates the invisible processes through which books have come to mediate our social interactions and influence our habits of consumption, integrating themselves into our routines and intellects like never before.

Link to book on Amazon: The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control

Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

For nearly five centuries, the world of book publishing remained largely static. But at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the industry faces a combination of economic pressures and technological change that is forcing publishers to alter their practices and think hard about the future of the book.

John Thompson's riveting account dissects the roles of publishers, agents, and booksellers in the United States and Britain, charting their transformation since the 1960s. Offering an in-depth analysis of how the digital revolution is changing the game today, Merchants of Culture is the one book that anyone with a stake in the industry needs to read.

Link to book on Amazon: Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

Monday, November 03, 2014

Saccharin ebooks

What if a company paid to have their product placed inside the story line of a book?

If this idea leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you may find it ironic that this idea has been done and the company that did the sponsoring was Sweet 'N Low. The book is titled Find Me I'm Yours and the previously mentioned sugar substitute has been worked into the story line in several places.

The book is tied in with a series of websites. A small alternative media universe has been created to go along with the book. NYT article with additional details - E-Book Mingles Love and Product Placement