Friday, May 22, 2009

A bad-apple decision and other news

The Net is abuzz with Apple's strange iPhone App Censorship of a reader app (Eucalyptus) because people can search the Project Gutenberg and find (gasp) the Kama Sutra and even download and read it.  The Wired article by Brian Chen includes Apple's explanation in its rejection letter, and a later email from Apple requested that access to the Kama Sutra be removed, despite its actually being a part of the Project Gutenberg and not the app.  So the beleaguered author, Jamie Montgomerie, has installed a filter to block that particular search.  Will Apple approve it?  Why not?  And Montgomerie couldn't have bought that kind of advertising.

  In the meantime, Technologizer's Harry McCracken writes, "Judging from its Web site, it’s more or less comparable to Amazon’s Kindle application–except all the content is free, and the interface looks to be prettier. The asking price is $9.99–steep for an iPhone program, but I’m tempted."

Well, actually, the Project Gutenberg books are available to all Kindle owners, free, direct to their Kindle, since the catalog can be placed on the Kindle, and the Kindle search feature within that book/catalog for the author or title plus a click on the found title will download the book to the device, though that might cost 15c with Amazon's new Whispernet charge for "personal documents" (meaning documents that don't come from Amazon).  These primarily-text books are usually less than one megabyte each, but if a stray one is 2 megabytes then it's 30c for the wireless delivery.
  There is always the option to instead download it to your computer from the Project Gutenberg site and transfer it to the Kindle with the included usb cable if 15c is a problem.

See the earlier entry on this blog for instructions on how to get that catalog onto the Kindle, thanks to James Adcock.

. Those awaiting an Apple announcement in June '09 about a Kindle-challenging Apple Tablet will have to wait until the "first half of 2010" for whatever it is that'll use a 10" screen and cost between $500 to $700.  If the product includes wireless access it'll certainly also cost at least another $30/month for that, judging from Apple's history.
  Thoughtful article at ITworld.

. Kindle owners who have iPhones and like to sync their reading between the two will be happy to see that Amazon has put the Stanza team to work already, improving Amazon's Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod so that the Kindle books can be read in landscape mode; you can tap on either side of the device to NextPage or PrevPage; and change the colors of the background and text.  The latter's especially useful for dimmer light.  A look at the black against white example made me realize it looks very nice but I was surprised to have to squint my eyes after a bit because of the energy of the white while the gray is easier for a longer period of time.  It's been documented that a gray background is easier on the eyes, but that of course is dependent on how dark the foreground text is.

. Will Kindle sales crash Nielsen Bookscan?.  In an earlier entry here, it was noted that Jeff Bezos claimed that when Kindle titles are available, they now represent 35% of those books' sales.  Bookscan can't include those sales, for reasons given in the article, and this would have a rather large impact on their reports.

. And if Amazon hasn't given publishers enough to worry about lately, they now have Amazon Encore:
'AmazonEncore is a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate. Amazon will then partner with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store,, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers.'
. Is the Kindle hurting Barnes and Noble sales?

UPDATE - 5/27/09: Apple relents and allows sales of Eucalyptus app. (Surprise) Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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