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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Writings about e-books

    The latest entry on my Writings about e-book publishing, 2006 is to an e-book - a collection of short essays entitled Books, edited by Michael Maiello and Michael Noer, and published on December 1st. Their introduction begins:

    Are books in danger?

    The conventional wisdom would say yes. After all, more and more media--the Internet, cable television, satellite radio, videogames--compete for our time. And the Web in particular, with its emphasis on textual snippets, skimming and collaborative creation, seems ill-suited to nurture the sustained, authoritative transmission of complex ideas that has been the historical purview of the printed page.

    But surprise--the conventional wisdom is wrong.

    The essays include:

    Dave Eggers' Small Notion
    Joe Hagan
    The staggering genius has built McSweeney's into a modestly sized (and modestly profitable) multimedia publishing empire, all without advertising.

    Giving It Away
    By Cory Doctorow
    I let readers download my books for free. It's a living.

    The Networked Book
    By Ben Vershbow
    On the Internet, you can help write the book you're reading.

    Harry Potter And The Ministry Of Fire
    By David Serchuk
    Thought book burnings were dead? Think again. Medievalism abounds in the 21st century.

    Stop Worrying About Copyrights
    By Jonathan Enfield
    Electronic publishing isn't leading to the death of books.

    Custom-Built Libraries
    By Brandy Slagle
    The sheik loves Benjamin Franklin.

    Publish And Perish
    By Elisabeth Eaves
    Books crumble. Discs degrade. Is the age-old quest to preserve human knowledge just a pipedream?

    How The Internet Saved Literacy
    By Maureen Farrell
    Reading skills are not eroding; they are just becoming more social--and more closely tied to writing.

    The Secret Life Of An Online Book Reviewer
    By Helen Coster
    Donald Mitchell has written 2,923 book reviews for Amazon.com--and made $20,000 doing it.

    We Stole This Headline
    By R. M. Schneiderman
    Universities are increasingly employing software to nab plagiarists. When will the media and publishing houses catch up?

    2008's Hottest Book?
    By David A. Andelman
    HarperCollins is betting big on an American author writing in French about a Gestapo agent.

    My Author, My Life
    By Hannah Clark
    How far will Robert Jordan's fans go to keep their favorite write alive?


    While some of the author-supplied 'abstracts' are more surprising than helpful, this report on the future of publishing makes interesting reading.

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