31 March 2010

EXTRA, EXTRA . . . read all about the iPad

i just had to post these REAL live reviews of the iPad from REAL live experts. walt mossberg at the wall street journal has this to say - the iPad "has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop."

yes, he said it here.

david pogue of the new york times provides TWO reviews - one for techies and one for everyone else here.

after my previous post earlier this evening, in the interest of fairness, i wanted to post these right away. maybe the iPad will be the laptop killer.

happy reading . . . no matter what the format!

kindle vs. ipad - muhammad ali vs. haystacks calhoun

what? you never heard of haystacks calhoun?? the greatest wrestler ever??

well, after you edify yourself in the finer aspects of wrestling, my analogy will make more sense. for all the things boxing and wrestling have in common, they are quite different sports.

the same is true, in my opinion, about the amazon kindle and the apple ipad. please see exhibit a: an article on pc magazine's website published on january 28, 2010 entitled "will the ipad kill the kindle? of course not." the following is from the article: "E-readers are purpose-built devices, and will be relatively less expensive. Tablets like the iPad will do a lot more and will cost more as well, but may not be quite as good at providing a reading experience." (note init caps)

exhibit b: today, pc magazine's website provides this little gem: apple ipad won't be used for reading. survey says. i'm shocked, shocked i say.

i have long maintained that the amazon kindle is perfect for what it was invented and designed to do. make reading lots of books easier and more accessible. not to browse the web, not to play mp3s, etc., etc., etc.

and i'm not alone. stephen king in his april 2nd column for entertainment weekly is quoted as saying "I have no plans to get an iPad. I know it will do more things than my Kindle, but I don’t want more things. If I want other stuff — movies, TV shows, weather forecasts, the forthcoming Josh Ritter album — I have my Mac. When it comes to reading, the Kindle supplies everything I want, thanks."

so there you have it! if it's good enough for stephen king . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

29 March 2010

kids say the darndest things.

well, not kid kids, but older kids, say college students. current wisdom suggests that college kids wanna be all over these new "e-books." especially, textbooks. they're not heavy, they say.

well, here are the opinions of two such college students. the first, madelyn kearns from the university of maine, is titled digital age opens new chapter on how people read books.

i'm afraid i don't agree with her viewpoint (she of the "i love the smell . . .") variety. she also makes note of "the way they (books) contrast with one another on my shelf. To scroll through my literary gems in a digital playlist feels as though some of the culture and tradition would be lost." funny, that somehow doesn't apply when mp3 users scroll through their music playlists. i haven't heard a lot of wistful nostalgia about scanning my library of CDs in their jewel cases. but, i'm just being argumentative. ok, CRANKY!

the second op-ed is from marina cella at marist college. her article is titled e-books detract from bookstore browsing experience. once again, the smell of new books seems to be the new aphrodisiac (who knew?). along with the smell of coffee. this article, i admit, made me a little cuckoo. although i think it is the author who is a little cuckoo (and, self-admittedly, clumsy). i'll let you judge this one on your own.

btw - make sure you read the comments too! the proverbial coin . . .

so, there you have it. two college students who seem to like the old-fashioned way of doing things, as long as it holds some nostalgia for them. sorry, vinyl records. maybe if you smelled better . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

23 March 2010

RIP . . .ex libris?

i read. sometimes, i read a lot. and, more often in the past, i buy books. yet, i admit, that i never thought to use bookplates in my books. i've passed them in the bookstore, occasionally notice them in books, but i never thought of myself as a bookplate person.

and what does that mean, anyway? while on the googles after reading this article on the death of the bookplate, i realized that you don't have to be 'somebody' to use bookplates. as a matter of fact, it seems that'everybody' uses bookplates. even regular people, like you and me.

apparently, bookplates have been on the minds of several people lately. here's an article on bookplates from the irish times (yes, THAT ireland, where, as of this writing it is 8 degrees C in dublin which is the equivalent of the temperature here in greenville, sc. and, according to thomas cahill, "They saved the books of the Western world and left them as gifts for all humanity." but, i digress).

don't let names like rudyard kipling, charles de gaulle, george washington and harpo marx intimidate you. HARPO MARX!?!?!?!

maybe reviving an interest in bookplates will save the printed book itself? i doubt it. but a bookplating project for your own library? that's a good thing.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

22 March 2010

OMG! a serious blog!

well, for the most part. i'm linking to a video from the university of michigan press regarding scholarly publications in the digital age. i think sometimes libraries and institutions of higher learning get a bad rap as being resistant to technological innovations and digitization efforts. this short video proves otherwise. so, of course, after i watched it, i went in search of . . .

here's what i found:

Open Humanities - imagining the future of libraries [it's a long one, might wanna grab a cuppa]
university of cambridge's arcadia project [damn those brits]

i don't wanna overwhelm you since i've been away so long, so

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

13 March 2010

lazy e-reader update . . .

it's saturday morning. the sun is shining (they predicted rain), the birds are chirping, the dog is waiting, etc, etc, etc. so here's the lazy update for a naked library?

here's an updated guide to e-readers presented by the blog printes row.

and if you think you're hooked on the iPad (even though you don't even know what it is, yet), check out these alternatives from the folks at crunchgear.

and, lastly, if you'd like the soothing (okay, not so soothing) voice of a human being, check out the wall street journal's walt mossberg and his take on seeking the best e-reader.

happy reading . . . no matter the format.

11 March 2010

no more paper, no more books, no more librarian dirty looks?

even in noble institutions, at some point, there comes a sticky wicket . . . profit. profitability. profit center. revenue generation. yes, even libraries.

over on the tele-read blog, 'joanna' writes about 'another e-advantage,' no more lost library books.

she tells of her encounter with her previous local library over a 'lost' book. she claims (is sure of it) that it was returned. the library says otherwise (isn't that always the way). and now she has been billed $18. whereas, when she 'borrows' e-books, they are downloaded to her computer, read (or not) and then, 'poof, be gone,' they are gone. nothing to track, nothing to search for, nothing to return to the library (late or otherwise).

this tale of woe led me to think of other things as well, namely overdue fines. if there is no physical book to check out and/or to lose, how will that affect the income of libraries? do fines/replacement fees make up a significant amount of revenue for libraries? at the usual rate of $0.10/day, it doesn't seem like it would, but multiplied by thousands of pages and multiple branches . . .? and wouldn't it also depend on the number of scofflaws out there? are there more late book turner-inners in des moines than dubuque?

and why won't patrons renew??? it's so easy and you can usually do it online. at the most it would take a phone call to the branch. then that gives you time to find that book that you absolutely, positively know you turned back in (wink wink).

03 March 2010

my affair with the physical book continues

i've tried to leave several times. that new, flashy (well, matte white finished) kindle calls and calls. leaves messages. beckons with it's potential. and yet, i keep running back to . . . the physical book.

i came across this in my daily trawling of that darn internet thing. it's an article on the millions website, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite book-related websites. it compares the book covers of US and UK releases. very interesting. i even played a little game comparing which one i liked better with the columnist's choices. and then, of course, i started thinking of the books i've bought over the years simply based on their covers. or the blurb on the back. or the synopsis on the inside cover. yea, i know, you can get that from the online description but it's just . . . not. . . quite . . . the . . . same. [sigh]

and then i found another article on the millions website. this time about, guess what? deckled edge pages. which, faithful reader, you will recall i mentioned in my previous post, cutting edge vs. deckle edge. yes FAITHFUL reader, you DID read my last post, didn't you? i'm sure you did - i apologize for that last outburst.

so, maybe i'm not ready to go gently into that good night of e-books and e-readers. not yet, anyway. not when there are so many talented artists out there who are giving us reasons to open a book, simply by illustrating it on a book cover. and speaking of illustrating, what about all those pictures books out there with illustrators like loren long and jerry pinckney, and tasha tudor and, and, and . . .

hey, sounds like the makings of another blog posting. until then . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format.

01 March 2010

Deckle Edge vs. Cutting Edge

so, in my quest to overwhelm myself with reading materials, i found yet another book i want to read. it's titled the infinities and the author is john banville. standard contemporary fiction, nothing out of the ordinary. and, since i've picked up a bad habit i dropped last year of buying books, i was actually thinking of purchasing said book. i did a price comparison, found the cheapest version but then i decided to check out the amazon kindle edition to see if it was $9.99. the book comparison website i used did not include the kindle edition in it's results. hmph. so off i went on an adventure and lo, and behold, i came across not one but TWO surprises. the first was that the kindle edition of the infinities was NOT, i repeat NOT, $9.99 but a WHOPPING [insert sarcasm here] THIRTEEN DOLLARS AND SIXTY-FIVE CENTS!!!!! outrageous!!! okay, maybe not so outrageous, but amazon has conditioned me to expect $9.99 and i want $9.99. somebody start a petition, stat.

but the second surprise is more surprising than the first surprise. the second surprise is that i paused while thinking about my purchase because the hardcover of the infinities comes with deckle-edge pages. oooooooh, shivers just went up me spine. you know, deckle edge? the fancy little thing they do on the edges of paper to make it look old and handmade and not machine-cut? and that reminded me of one of the physical reasons why i like reading. it also made me wonder if people got their unmentionables in a bunch when machine-cut pages came out. did it de-personalize the book? those sharp machine-cut pages can give you a nasty papercut. okay, okay, but i was just wonderin'

oh, i don't know which one i'm gonna get. knowing me, i'll probably get it from the library. but it did give me pause.

that's all. go away. nothing more to read here. what? can't you go for one post without a link? oh, okay, fine. how about this story on the future of books. printed on the kansan.com website and written by anna sobering, it sums up this post pretty well.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!