smitty777 writes "The NY Times is running a piece on the tug of war between publishers and libraries for e-book lending. In one corner are the publishers, who claim that unlimited lending of e-books 'without friction is not a sustainable business model for us.' For example, Harper Collins claims in this corporate statement that unlimited lending would lead to a decrease in royalties for both the publisher and the writers. The NYT author further states that 'To keep their overall revenue from taking a hit from lost sales to individuals, publishers need to reintroduce more inconvenience for the borrower or raise the price for the library purchaser.' Their current solution is to limit the number of readings to 26 before a book license must be renewed. In the other corner are the libraries, who are happy that e-books are luring people back to libraries, bringing with them desperately needed additional funding. With e-book sales going extremely well this year and the introduction of more capable e-readers, this debate is likely to get worse before it gets better. The Guardian also has an interesting related piece on the pricing practices of the Big Six publishers."
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brothke writes "If there ever was a book that should not be judged by its title, Defense against the Black Arts: How Hackers Do What They Do and How to Protect against It, is that book. Even if one uses the definition in The New Hackers Dictionary of 'a collection of arcane, unpublished, and (by implication) mostly ad-hoc techniques developed for a particular application or systems area', that really does not describe this book. The truth is that hacking is none of the above. If anything, it is a process that is far from mysterious, but rather aether to describe. With that, the book does a good job of providing the reader with the information needed to run a large set of hacking tools." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Ian Bogost is a professor of game theory at Georgia Tech, a game designer, a prolific writer, an entrepreneur, and a bit of a prankster. These roles which sometimes overlap, notably in his surprise success satirical Facebook game Cow Clicker, which you can think of as the Anti-Zynga. Wired has a fresh article up about Bogost (which cleverly embeds a sort of micro version of Cow Clicker). It also mentions another game — my favorite of his projects — that should be on the mind of every TSA employee, the 2009 release Jetset. Ask Ian about clicking cows, being an academic provocateur as well as a participant in the world of gaming, and breaking into the world of social gaming. (Please break unrelated questions into multiple comments.)
badeMan writes "I will be traveling a third of the way around the world this Christmas, and that means a lot of time on a plane. I have decided I am not going to do any coding or technical reading during the flight. Outside the realm of technology and all things related to work, what do you find interesting to read? What books, genres, and authors do you enjoy?"
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times: "Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62. He took pains to emphasize that he had not revised his position on atheism, articulated in his best-selling 2007 book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, although he did express amused appreciation at the hope, among some concerned Christians, that he might undergo a late-life conversion. Mr. Hitchens's latest collection of writings, Arguably: Essays, published this year, has been a best-seller and ranked among the top 10 books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review."
Nate the greatest writes "Got a Kindle Fire? Here's your chance to try the new Kindle Format 8. The new format is in beta testing right now with a limited number of publishers, and a few days ago one of those publishers leaked the tools and the guidelines to me. It turns out KF8 isn't all that new. I've looked at the code, and I'd call it an attempt to graft a number of Epub features onto the existing Kindle format. It simply adds a lot of new formatting and is only slightly more capable than Epub. There's a number of screenshots at the link as well as a demo file. You can probably also find more KF8 ebooks in the Kindle Store; look for the Kindle Fire exclusive magazines and graphic novels."
destinyland writes "Amazon's released their list of 2011's best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn't even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books. The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren't even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn't make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. 'It couldn't be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,' notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon's best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only 'Singles,' including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he'd released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson's 'Reamde' was Amazon's #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn't even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year. 'People who own Kindles are just reading different books than the people who buy printed books,' reports the Kindle site, which adds '2011 may be remembered as the year that hundreds of new voices finally found their audiences.'"
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Students and teachers in grade school through higher education are using the iPad to augment their lessons or to replace textbooks. Jennifer Kohn's third grade class at Millstone Elementary School in Millstone, New Jersey, mastered the iPad with minimal training. For the most part, the students didn't need to be taught how to use their apps, Kohn says. College students are also turning to the iPad to do what they do instinctively well: saving themselves money. Marianne Petit, a New York University staff member, recently began taking credits in pursuit of another certification, and uses her iPad in place of textbooks. 'The price of the iPad pays for itself after a single semester,' Petit said. 'iPad books cost so much less it's a legal alternative for students who are using BitTorent [to pirate books].' Like the PC before it, Kohn noted that the iPad isn't a panacea for educators: It has its appropriate time and place. 'I don't use them with every lesson or even day. It's not always appropriate to lesson or objective of what I'm trying to teach,' Kohn noted."
Nate the greatest writes "Can you play an MP3 file? Then you can jailbreak the new Kindle Touch. A new hack was posted this morning that roots the Kindle Touch/K5 and opens the way for future hacks. The hacker also reveals that the K5 runs on HTML5, which should make it a lot easier to come up with new apps. Epub, anyone?"
Nate the greatest writes "Amazon just announced a $6 million pool of money that it plans to pay authors. All you have to do to get a share of the loot is commit to sell your ebook exclusively through the Kindle Store and agree to let your ebook be lent to Kindle Prime members. Amazon has already signed up a number of authors, including 31 of the top 50 self-published ones (J. Carson Black, Gemma Halliday, J.A. Konrath, B.V. Larson, C.J. Lyons, Scott Nicholson, Julie Ortolon, Theresa Ragan, J.R. Rain, Patricia Ryan, and more). It looks like Amazon launched this to support the Kindle Owners' Lending Library that Amazon launched just over a month ago. When it launched it had around 5 thousand titles as well as some less than voluntary participants. But there's a catch. Authors are required to give Amazon an exclusive on any title in the program. That means they're giving up the rest of the ebook market. Would any authors care to weigh in on the deal?"
dave562 writes "The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers. A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that the probe involved the possibility of 'anti-competitive practices involving e-book sales.' Attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas, have also begun inquiries into the way electronic booksellers price their wares, and whether companies such as Apple and Amazon have set up pricing practices that are ultimately harmful to consumers."
nk497 writes "The European Commission is investigating Apple and five publishers regarding ebook pricing, after raiding ebook firms earlier this year. 'The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition,' the watchdog said."
angry tapir writes with an update on the drawn out legal battle between Google and everyone else over their Books service. From the article: "After a so-far fruitless three-year effort to settle the case, Google and the plaintiffs suing it for alleged book-related copyright infringement apparently are moving away from seeking a friendly solution. Google has notified the court that it intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by authors and publishers in 2005, in which they allege copyright infringement stemming from Google's wholesale scanning of millions of library books without the permission of copyright owners. Google Books has been at the center of copyright-related controversy since 2005 when the Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers sued the search giant. This has been followed by other legal wrangles, including a 2010 suit by the American Society of Media Photographers, lawsuits in France and Germany and conflict with Chinese authors over the book-scanning project."
Michael J. Ross writes "Web designers and developers alike are increasingly enthused about the capabilities offered by HTML5, which is generally considered the combination of the latest version of the Web's primary markup language and its related technologies. Consequently, publishers have rushed to market a wide variety of books that purport to explore the inner mysteries of HTML5, even as the standards — and how browsers implement them — are still in flux. In characteristic fashion, O'Reilly Media took the time to wait for some of the dust to settle, and attempted to create a resource more approachable and solid than those thrown together quickly. The final result is Head First HTML5 Programming." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.