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Kindles for the troops? Yeah, if they lasted…

August 23rd, 2010

The nice part of the story is that there’s a plan in motion to donate Amazon Kindles to the troops when users upgrade.  That’s great, especially since a problem in wartime in any generation has been reading material for soldiers who are deployed and then wait and wait and wait.  A remarkable educational opportunity exists in active military life, and this is one way to address it.

But my Kindle became a brick months ago.  I’m convinced it was planned obsolescence with a design so flimsy that it died on me in California.  I never bothered getting another one because my laptop is slim and light enough to use as a reader, so I have Kindle for PC installed on it and with it I can’t quite figure out why anyone would spend all that $$ for a new reader.

Moral of the story?  Not much except that I hate/love Amazon and my relationship to the Kindle.  Electronic books are very important to my daily reading habits (they have renewed my ability to keep up with newer books by reading along with my friends — this bookish job had destroyed my leisure reading time as a busman’s holiday), but the readers themselves tend to be fragile, clunky and pricey.

Solution?  I dunno.  But if you’re upgrading, then consider donating your Kindle to a soldier.

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GUEST BLOGGER: What Google Books Can Mean For You

February 27th, 2010

Lewis Levenberg, a graduate student in Georgetown’s Communication, Culture and Technology program, works with Booklab from time time, giving us fresh ideas for using the internet and various social media to promote authors and books.  I invited him to guest-post some of his thoughts about digital books online:

What Google Books Can Mean For You

A lot of confusion and controversy surrounds the ongoing saga of the Author’s Guild and Association of American Publishers‘  legal action against Google. Since 2005, these two book-world powers have been locked in protracted argument with the search giant’s books division over copyright and payment issues. This complex, long-term negotiation seems to be drawing to a close, with Google honing in on the rights to expand what they hope will become the largest-ever “digital library.” However, the fact that this vast database of scanned texts is well on its way to becoming the primary reading and retail source for books on the web does NOT mean that authors are left high and dry, only to watch as their work becomes available to view (at least in part) online.

Read more…

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Is Chicago brave, crazy, or both?

February 1st, 2010

I’ll go with brave.  For one day only, you can get the new book Piracy by Adrian Johns as a free e-book.  Given the topic, I think this gimmick by the University of Chicago Press is Pretty Darned Clever.  PiracyHere’s publisher copy about the book:  “Since the rise of Napster and other file sharing services in its wake, most of us have assumed that intellectual piracy is a product of the digital age and that it threatens creative expression as never before. The Motion Picture Association of America, for instance, claimed that in 2005 the film industry lost $2.3 billion in revenue to piracy online. But here Adrian Johns shows that piracy has a much longer and more vital history than we have realized—one that has been largely forgotten and is little understood.”

The press will offer a new free title next month, and I’ll post it here.

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