Monday, January 12, 2009

Oops! I almost forgot!

I’m now working on other people’s corrections to the ms of my new novel. The end is in sight! However, I just resurfaced for yet another cup of coffee and realized that it’s Tuesday. Time for Type M.

I’ve been moving ahead on the e-book project. Up until now, most of this has been research. Now I’m about to move past the kicking the tires stage, but you should know some of the things I’ve discovered.

Last week I said that ipod = e-book reader. Sadly, that’s not really true. We have a little bit of the old VHS vs Beta format thing going on(if you can remember that long ago). The two big wheels in the electronic reader category are Sony with their PRS-700 and Amazon with their Kindle. Both, who are beginning to look rather like Microsoft in their use of proprietary software, have manufactured their readers to primarily rely on their own special formatting for e-books. Sony seems to support more file types, but some of them are handled very clumsily by their readers. The only standard formats they both share are PDF and XHTML. For formatting and reading books, both of these are problematic.

So it seems that until one format becomes dominant, e-books are going to have to be published in several formats -- unless publishers want to drive their customers crazy with hard to read and manipulate publications -- or risk cutting themselves off from potential sales.

Since I’m running a bit late this week, and my novel beckons, I’m going to leave you all with several articles from Wikipedia which you should peruse -- assuming this topic interests you:

These articles lay it all out for you. Which one of these giants will win? Are you going to be stuck with the book equivalent of a Beta machine and beta-formatted videos? Only time will tell.

And yes, there will be a test on this next week, so you’d better study!



Vicki Delany said...

Except that today is Monday, not Tuesday.

Rick Blechta said...

Yeah...I know...(sigh)

Being locked in a garret for a whole week has its drawbacks. I was so convinced it was Tuesday yesterday that I hurriedly did the blog entry, went to bed early because today I have an early appointment. Except that today is tomorrow and yesterday was the day before.

The alarm went off at 5:45 this morning and my wife was NOT a happy camper!!!!!!

(HUGE sigh)

Susan D said...

Okay, it's Tuesday now.

All this variation in e-readers is why I'm waiting (and quite patiently, thank you) until it all settles before even thinking of buying one. As with the introduction of electronic calculators, digital cameras, VCRs and the like, the price is always inversely proportionate to the functionality. I don't believe they're there yet.

Rick Blechta said...

That's my feeling, too. However, the publishing industry is marching ahead and I want to stay with them if I can.

It may simply be a matter of having to use a few formats when you publish an e-book. Since computers are good at handling templates and other onerous things, it's just a matter of working it all out. Software manufacturers put out their products for at least two operating systems as a matter of course. They may not like it, but they do it nonetheless.

I guess we'll just have to do the same -- at least for the short term.

Thanks for wading in!