Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everything Goes Better With An E

All three regular readers of CAP will be aware that I’m planning to upload a book to Kindle in the very near future, so I’m more exercised by the whole e-book / e-reader phenomenon at the moment than I generally would be. Still, even the luddest of Luddites should be intrigued / alarmed / horrified by a couple of interesting pieces that popped into my email this morning. The first was from the Guardian:
In the first Terminator movie he tried to extinguish all human life. Now, as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make textbooks history in favour of digital formats.
  Schwarzenegger, trying to plug a budget hole of $24.3bn (£15bn), thinks he can make savings by getting rid of what he decries as expensive textbooks. The governor is serious about an idea that might make Gutenberg turn in his grave. He appeared in class yesterday to push an idea he set out in the San Jose Mercury News newspaper.
  “It’s nonsensical and expensive to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “Especially now, when our school districts are strapped for cash and our state budget deficit is forcing further cuts to classrooms, we must do everything we can to untie educators’ hands and free up dollars so that schools can do more with fewer resources.”
  The second piece was from Reuters:
The recent Book Expo publishing industry convention held in New York accelerated the impression that the industry is rapidly embracing new technology. Many attendees remarked that e-books pervaded every discussion they had on the convention floor. “It has tipped,2 tweeted Todd Sattersten, president of Milwaukee-based 800-CEO-Read, an influential online source of business books. “Buckle in for the ride.”
  Indeed, the last few weeks have seen a flurry of announcements across the book-to-technology spectrum. Amazon (AMZN) informed users of a small-but-meaningful tweak to the Kindle that now allows users to export their reading notes. Google (GOOG) revealed its own e-book distribution system, publishers launched book-specific iPhone apps in the United Kingdom, and computer makers unveiled new ways to incorporate e-ink technology into highly portable but robust computing devices [ … ]
  So with all of this fast-paced activity, are we hurtling into a brave new reading world where authors deal directly with their readers and keep more of the profits? Not yet. For all of the publishers’ fumbling with e-books, they retain one important advantage highlighted by all of this activity. There’s a blizzard of standards out there that only a big company can manage. Without an established standard, size matters in the supply chain. Publishers have it; authors don’t.
  Dang, there goes another get-rich-quick scheme.
  Speaking of get-rich-quick schemes … I’d no sooner announced that I was thinking of uploading THE BIG EMPTY, the sequel to EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, to Kindle, when a publisher stepped in and asked to see it before it goes to Kindle. Which was nice. And this morning, I got a call from a movie producer guy saying he’d read THE BIG O, and was keen on optioning it, and was I free to sit down for a meeting next week …?
  Guess I’ll have to postpone washing my hair next week ...