February 11, 2008
Harper Collins recently announced that they are going to offer free web editions of some of their most popular titles, starting with Paul Coelho’s (an author that I greatly admire) novel, The Witch of Portobello, a cookbook by Robert Irvine (a Food Network star), a guide to the upcoming presidential election by Mark Halperin, and a children’s book by Erin Hunter.
I think this is a great idea – readers can check out a book before they purchase, like browsing in a bookstore. After all, it is unlikely that many will read the entire book online (eyestrain, computers aren’t exactly easy to curl up with), so this is a good way to offer teasers. And for those that will choose to read the entire thing? Each book is only going to be offered for a month*, and the print function will be disabled.
What do the authors think?
“Reached by telephone in Paris, Mr. Coelho said: “I believe that generosity pays off.” On his own blog, he gives readers links to pirated editions uploaded by readers in numerous languages. “I believe that they are not going to go beyond 20 or 30 pages” when reading on the Internet, he said.
Neil Gaiman, the fantasy novelist, short story and comics writer, is asking readers of his blog to vote on the title they would most like to give as a gift. An electronic scan of the winning title will be offered free on the HarperCollins site later this month. Mr. Gaiman said the online effort was not so different from what has been going on for generations.
“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read,” said the English born Mr. Gaiman, 47. “I read books at libraries, I read books at friend’s houses, I read books that I found on people’s window sills.” Eventually, he said, he bought his own books and he believes other readers will, too.”
Hey, you have to give something to get something – it’s nice to see that a big publisher knows that. Granted, they are not exactly opening the vaults, but it’s a start. And it’s definitely better than the music industry’s model of keeping everything under digital lock and key.
*A different title by Paul Coelho is going to be available each month for the rest of the year.
February 6, 2008
Wondering about the rest of the world’s perception of the candidates in the current U.S. presidential race? Reuters and Global Voices Online are working to capture global opinions via the web – they have partnered to create Voices Without Votes. Here is what it is all about:
Voices Without Votes highlights conversations in non-American blogs and citizen media, with emphasis on the regions covered by Global Voices: Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
Our goals are:
• To monitor global citizen media responses to US foreign and presidential
politics in the run up to the elections.
• To illuminate the effect of US foreign policy abroad and provide a lively
and interactive news experience.
• To enable readers to experience American events through the eyes of
ordinary citizens from outside the United States.
What you’ll find on this site
This website consists of original writing that summarizes and translates from world blogs AND a daily aggregated feed of handpicked posts from websites around the world that provide thoughtful foreign perspectives.
Why is this so important? Because the results of the election are going to have a considerable effect on the rest of the world – and it’s all too easy to get caught up in domestic issues and forget that hey, we’re all on this planet together.
Bonus link: this post by Pascale, a Haitian living Abu Dhabi (talk about global perspective) is particularly eloquent.
If you know of any international bloggers or posts discussing the American election, be sure to submit your links.
February 4, 2008
As some of you may already know, the New England Patriots already had a book dedicated to their undefeated season ready to go – here’s the cached page on Amazon. I hope the poor writer(s) at least got paid well for their efforts.
Here’s the cover on ballhype, where someone had the foresight to save the image.
Yeah, the Patriots are easy shot, but seriously – they had this book almost ready to go. That’s not planning ahead, that’s being ridiculously over-confident. Granted, they are far from the first team to do it (the Pats themselves used Philly’s premature post-win plans to get fired up to beat them), but counting one’s superbowl wins before they are clinched doesn’t work out well.
But really, the Giants are the ones to congratulate – not only did they make the Pats see the error of their overly optimistic ways, they refused to be intimidated and straight-up outplayed them. And let’s watch this Manning to Tyree play again:
That catch is so amazing that it’s too unrealistic to be in a video game.
February 3, 2008
Well, that entire game was surprising. I’m a not a major fan of either team, but the Giants just straight-up outplayed the Patriots. Well done – and proof that defense does indeed win championships. That was one of the best football games I’ve seen in a long time.
Also, it was proof that karma is indeed a bitch. And Belichick storming out before the game was completely over was very classy as well.
February 1, 2008
Congratulations to Jessica Valenti and the other Feministing bloggers for their very complimentary mention in the New York Times today, in an article about the lack of unity among feminists, and women in general. Here’s a key quote:
“That’s part of why she believes the future of feminism lies in online activism, not old-school organizations. Young women today don’t need “the iconic leadership of a NOW or a Gloria Steinem,” she said. With online communities like her own, women have access to vast clearinghouses for information, support, even consciousness-raising. “We have each other,” Ms. Valenti said, “and that’s pretty important.”
It also touches on the 2008 election – and how there is a general feeling that if you don’t support Hillary, you are not a good feminist. I don’ t think I even need to explain how ridiculous that is, but seriously, supporting Hillary just because she’s a woman isn’t being a good feminist, it is being an ill-prepared, uniformed voter. Vote for the person and their future plans, stances on issues, and everything else that is actually relevant, not for their gender (or their race, now that I mention it), please.