Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Harry Potter series in Kindle to be in Libraries; Also Kindle bargain alert: One-Volume Collector's Edition of Tolkien Lord of the Rings + a good reference work

The Leaky Cauldron, a huge Harry Potter Social Network, points us to the news at TheBookseller.com that Pottermore has signed an exclusive worldwide e-book and digital audiobook distribution agreement with Overdrive for public and school libraries for J K Rowling's Harry Potter series.

  These aren't available yet but can be pre-ordered by libraries and schools.
"...the e-books will be available in ePub on PCs, Macs, Android devices, iPhones, iPads and Blackberries, plus reading devices including the Kindle and Nook, with Kindle support in the US only.  [The Nook has no international purchase arrangements at all.]   The audiobooks will be available in MP3 format.

Overdrive will "manage hosting and digital fulfillment for libraries" involving editions in 21 languages and over 18,000 public and school libraries globally.

What a breath of fresh air after Penguin Group's latest activities, library-wise, and also when I remember that  HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster all do not want their e-books available in libraries unless somehow it's made much harder for people to borrow them (appearing personally in the library, no matter how far away, etc.).  More on that when I see it.


Regular commenter Mike Perry alerts us to a February 15 Kindle book release of the One-volume Collector's Edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, currently $9.99 instead of the Digital List Price of $20.

  After getting Mike's alert, I did a Kindle book search on this one-volume set and it didn't come up.  That may be why there is only one review of this Kindle Collector's edition and the review is mainly a complaint that it has been $20.  The review is dated February 1, although Amazon's Product Details says this Collectors Edition was published February 15, 2012.

  The 2,059 customer reviews include reviews of other editions, including the hardcover 50th Anniversary edition one.

  Mike points out that there is a full Table of Contents plus maps and that even the Text-to-Speech (TTS) works.  He adds that the Kindle edition of The Hobbit is also marked down, from $13.95 to $7.59, but that's not as striking a deal.

Mike Perry is the author of Untangling Tolkien:  A Chronology and Commentary for Lord of the Rings [Paperback]  (No Kindle version yet).

 It's the only book-length chronology of LOTR.
A bit from the description:
   "Beginning over 1400 years before the major events in Tolkien's epic, it describes, year-by-year, the amazing and imaginative background history that Tolkien created for his masterpiece.  Then for the main narrative, it becomes a day-by-day reference, describing what each character does on that day and all the places where those events are described in Tolkien's writings.  You can find out, for instance, what Merry and Pippin are doing as Sam perpares rabbit stew on the morning of March 7.
... A few facts illustrate how helpful this chronology is.  Most of the narrative is a deliberately confusing sea of next days and third days that leave readers as confused as the tale's main characters.  The middle 60 percent of The Lord of the Rings gives the current date only once.  In the narrative as a whole, the date is given only 23 times, or once for every 43 pages, and most of those come when the plot is moving slowly.  That's why those who want to dig deeper and understand better what Tolkien was saying will find this book a must-have."

For Wednesday, I'll do a roundup of forum recommendations of free books from the last day or two, with links.

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  1. Thanks for the LOTR price drop! I picked it up for my daughter.

    1. That's great! Thanks for writing. I hope people catch this one, since it's probably for a short time.

  2. Thanks for the LOTR tip. There was an earlier 'omnibus' edition that had been listed for $18 or so, and the initial version apparently had a number of typos that were subsequently fixed. But it is no longer available. This edition was just listed Feb 12, and presumably benefits from ebook production workflow improvements that have occurred in the interim. And with a more reasonable price.

    In particular, it is available in KF8, though they aren't using very many KF8 features, so it doesn't look very much different (well: the initial paragraph in each section is not indented in KF8 but is in mobi, and verse formatting is different, and probably more like the print version). The runic characters are just bitmaps (rather than SVG or embedded fonts, which might have looked better).

    I was able to compare the Location mapping, and in this case they are nearly the same, so sync should work okay between mobi and KF8.

    1. Tom, sure thing. That was a welcome tip from Mike Perry in the Kindle Touch X-ray blog entry comments. He'd mentioned the KF8 stuff and we wondered how the sync'g would go. Good to see from your experiments that the location mapping are nearly the same! Thanks for the information on the older edition.

      It's ironic that intentional indentations are omitted in the HTML5 version.

    2. The irony is not so much that the initial paragraph is not indented with KF8, but that it is not the same way in the mobi version also. That's fully supported by mobi. But they must have used some CSS that didn't translate.

      I do think that in general there will be some issues with synching, depending on what KF8 features are used. But probably less than I'd been worrying about.


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