Rejoin us at The .com version is now just an archive

Cross-posted, the web’s oldest site devoted to general-interest news and views on ebooks and related matters, has just moved back to
Please rejoin all of us there if you haven’t already: Editor Chris Meadows (photo), Associate Editor Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Senior Writer Joanna Cabot, Contributing Writer Susan Lulgjuraj, and me. A former poverty beat reporter in an Ohio steel town, I founded TeleRead two decades ago to advocate well-stocked national digital libraries for all, and today I’m publisher.
In keeping with the .org, we’ll stand up for the commonweal and write on topics dear to us and our long-time community members. We won’t worry so much about pleasing Google and other SEO-related dieties. Hosted at, the new site will cost a fraction of what the .com version did. So no need to chase after ads right now. will remain online briefly as a locked-up WordPress site, then as static HTML.

Original URL:

Original article

How to edit ePub files manually: A handy overview

Here’s a handy overview of the basics of manually editing ePub, the industry standard format for e-books—courtesy of Kotobee.
Yes, sometimes Calibre, Scrivener and the like are enough for creating e-books, especially for your personal use or very limited distribution. But what if you care about the details and know the readers will, too?
Even the people at Kotobee, the developers of Kotobee Author, admit that only so much can be automated.
It’s a huge failing of ePub—the fact it’s been around for years and you may still need to resort to manual editing, even for a simple book, unless you want to use a commercial service.
Why can’t the industry get this right? And now the International Digital Publishing Forum—the group behind ePub—may merge with the World Wide Web Consortium and team up on new standards for other reasons. Let’s hope that this time the standards people are more helpful to publishers of all sizes and early on can develop

Original URL:

Original article

Scholarly Open Access Publishers: Beware the bad apples

Many, myself included, have embraced scholarly open access publishing as an antidote to the ills and exploitative practices of mainstream academic, scientific, and scholarly publishing. However, not all scholarly open access publishing is necessarily good. And one academic librarian, Jeffrey Beall, librarian at Auraria Library in the University of Colorado Denver, makes it his business to track down bad scholarly open access publishers, and spread the word about their wrong-doings.
Beall’s List of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” is one of the best early warning systems around for “questionable, scholarly open-access publishers.” The list is also depressingly huge, and is kept regularly updated, the last update being just the day before writing.
The criteria for inclusion in Beall’s List are exhaustive, and include such obvious scams as “an optional ‘fast-track’ fee-based service for expedited peer review which appears to provide assured publication with little or no vetting,” or a

Original URL:

Original article

Per AP Stylebook, ‘Internet’ officially loses its capital letter today

internetWelcome to the first day of a lower-cased internet. At least, that’s what we’ll have if the AP Stylebook has its way. As I’ve mentioned before, the new edition no longer capitalizes “Internet,” and that edition hits the street today. The AP has a reasonable justification for its new lower-cased stance:

“The argument for lowercasing Internet is that it has become wholly generic, like electricity and the telephone. It never was trademarked and is not based on any proper noun,” Tom Kent, AP Standards Editor, said in a statement. “The best reason for capitalizing it in the past may have been that the term was new. At one point, we understand, ‘Phonograph’ was capitalized.”

I personally still plan to continue capitalizing “Internet,” at least for a while, simply because that’s how I learned the word. It’s not just any old internet, which is what we call a network that connects multiple computer networks together. It’s the Internet. The big enchilada. I suppose I still have more in common with my father, who still yells at the TV when newscasters split infinitives, than I might have expected.

(Found via Slashdot.)

The post Per AP Stylebook, ‘Internet’ officially loses its capital letter today appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

EU to set publicly funded research free for open access

european-union-flag-1-300x238-300x238The European Union has decided that “all scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020,” because “EU member states want to achieve optimal reuse of research data.” This marks a wholesale defeat for the various claims and rationales of the scientific publishers who have sought to keep publicly funded scientific research behind their paywalls.

According to the statement on the website for the Netherlands EU Presidency for 2016, “open access means that scientific publications on the results of research supported by public and public-private funds must be freely accessible to everyone. That is not yet the case. The results of publicly funded research are currently not accessible to people outside universities and knowledge institutions. As a result, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs do not have access to the latest scientific insights that are so relevant to their work, and universities have to take out expensive subscriptions with publishers to gain access to publications.”

The announcement does state that in certain instances intellectual property rights will override the basic obligation for free access. But it’s clear that overall the thrust of the legislation is directed particularly at the high rates and access restrictions championed by the academic publishing industry. It’s also very clear that the industry’s moves to address these concerns haven’t gone anything like far enough to satisfy the EU.

What makes the EU”s argument especially damning for the defenders of restricted access in scientific and academic publishing is that it explicitly links economic and technological progress, and even employment and social stability, across the whole of Europe to open access. The Competitiveness Council of the EU was responsible for the decision. Netherlands State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker, who led the process, said that: “Research and innovation generate economic growth and more jobs and provide solutions to societal challenges. And that means a stronger Europe. To achieve that, Europe must be as attractive as possible for researchers and start-ups to locate here and for companies to invest. That calls for knowledge to be freely shared. The time for talking about open access is now past. With these agreements, we are going to achieve it in practice.”

The EU plan may not end the run for pro-open access initiatives like Sci-Hub, but it certainly puts a big cramp in the arguments of their opponents. But with the likes of Joseph E. Stiglitz arguing for open access, it’s no surprise that the EU finally decided to follow their arguments and do something. I’ll be watching Reed Elsevier’s stock price with great interest over the next few days.

The post EU to set publicly funded research free for open access appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

Kindle Direct Publishing writers to get electronic-only payments from Amazon

kindle-direct-publishingAmazon will begin an all-electronic payment system for Kindle Direct Publishing writers as of September.

Word came in a notice I received this week.

KDP authors are being asked to update their information to include bank account information, and payments will occur automatically every 60 days.

This was welcome news for me. When I first signed up for an author account, I was unable to receive electronic funds transfers because Canadian banks don’t use a BIC number as their branch ID, and Amazon could not accept a bank account which didn’t have one. I was told I would be paid by cheque as soon as I accrued $100. Each country (, and so on) had to accrue $100 individually before they would send out a cheque, so even though I had sales, I had yet to receive an actual payment.

So, we’ll see what happens in 60 days! The update process was straightforward enough—just sign into your Amazon account, and under ‘royalty payments’ click ‘add a bank account.’ All the information I needed was available in the code at the bottom of an empty cheque, but you may have to Google to find out where specifically your particular bank places it all. I needed my account number, branch number and bank code.

I look forward to seeing what my first royalty payment will be. I have slacked a little on promoting and producing new stuff because I was starting to despair that it would ever go anywhere. Now that I can get paid more frequently, I feel the urge to hustle a little more!

The post Kindle Direct Publishing writers to get electronic-only payments from Amazon appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

Issuu launches collaborative e-publishing layout tool

spotlightWe’ve covered digital magazine service Issuu a few times. The latest news about the service is that it’s launched a new digital collaboration platform, called Collaborate.

The general idea seems to be that it’s like Google Docs on steroids, or a collaborative version of a writing and layout tool like Indesign. Instead of simply collaborating on a document, you set up your layout (or import it from Indesign) and then you and other users can import text, pictures, and other content. Once you’re done, you can publish it via Issuu’s publishing platform or export it as a PDF. The collaboration platform requires a subscription to Issuu’s Optimum plan, and it works on both the desktop and tablets.

This is certainly an intriguing development. It’s more suited to e-magazines than e-books, but all the same, it’s certainly a step beyond simple document collaboration tools like Google Docs. Personally, though, I wish there was a collaborative version of Scrivener—I don’t need layout in my writing, but I could use access to its document organization capabilities at the same time as I work together online with friends. It would also be nice to have access to a tool you didn’t have to pay a subscription fee to use.

Still, this could be the first of many more fully-featured collaboration tools. If one company has the idea, it isn’t hard for another company to have a similar one. It will be interesting to see if any competitors crop up.

The post Issuu launches collaborative e-publishing layout tool appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

Supreme Court declines to hear Authors Guild appeal; Google Books remains legal fair use

It’s deja vu all over again. For the second time this year, a long-running e-book-related court case has ended with the Supreme Court declining to take a hand. With characteristic terseness, the Supreme Court announced it would not hear the appeal of the Authors Guild’s case against Google Books. This means the appeals court decision finding Google Books to be a legally-protected fair use of copyrighted content will stand.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. It’s hard to believe it’s been over ten years since the Authors Guild first brought suit against Google and its academic partner in crime HathiTrust for the unpardonable offense of scanning and indexing publishers’ books without their consent. They filed their suit in late 2005, though the earliest mention I can find of it on TeleRead is this exchange in 2006.

The Authors Guild and Google spent years negotiating their infamous settlement agreement, but Judge Chin finally threw it out in 2011. The case looked like it would drag on in the low court forever. But then the Second Circuit appeals court threw Judge Chin a lifeline when it replied to a question of whether the Authors Guild could properly claim class action status with a suggestion that he should rule on whether Google Books was fair use first, because if so, the entire question of class action status would go away. So Chin ruled it was fair use, and up the case went to the Second Circuit.

Meanwhile, following Chin’s lead, a separate court ruled in 2012 that HathiTrust’s behavior was also fair use, and up that case went to the Second Circuit, too. And over the next couple of years, the Second Circuit dispatched both the HathiTrust case and the Google Books case in fairly short order. They were both, in fact, fair use, as Second Circuit Judge Pierre Leval explained a month later.

Then came all the frantic certiorari request filings as the Authors Guild desperately tried to get the Supreme Court to overturn the rulings that had gone against it every step of the way. The Authors Guild was just so sure that if the Supreme Court only listened to its arguments, it would surely see reason.

And now we finally get to the clincher: just as with the Apple agency pricing antitrust suit, the Supreme Court didn’t find this one worthy of consideration. The lower court decisions stand. Google Books is fully legal. The Authors Guild is extremely disappointed. Let the schadenfreude commence!

I’m honestly a little surprised, as I had really expected the Supreme Court might want to take this one up. After all, it hasn’t rendered a big fair use decision since before the general public flocked en masse to the Internet. It would have been a chance to lay down the law as to whether the same principles that apply to fair use of copyrighted material offline apply to it online as well.

Perhaps I was just blinded by the overall frantic tone of the Authors Guild’s filings. To my layman’s eye, it looked like they might be convincing enough to get the Supreme Court to give the ruling a look-over. But I suppose in the end it really was just an open-and-shut fair use case, just as the Apple case was open-and-shut antitrust.

And that closes the book on one of the longest-running e-book-related decisions of our time. Where does that leave the participants?

As I noted in pieces I wrote well before the decision was rendered, Google Books has been a smashing success by the criterion of the project’s original goal—which didn’t have anything to do with selling e-books of orphan works to hold the money in escrow, the way the Authors Guild wanted to do in its settlement. Google has successfully digitized and indexed millions of books. Now anyone who wants to search for any book on any topic can hit Google and find results much more useful than the very best library catalog, whether in drawers full of cards or in some library’s computer.

As for the Authors Guild, they get to tally another mark in their book of resounding failures that have made the e-book world a better place. Maybe we should point them at the question of digital rights management next. I wonder if they could fail badly enough that the publishers decide to stop using DRM at all? Although some people don’t think my April Fool’s Day joke post about the Authors Guild just not liking innovation was very funny, from here it still looks like it was right on point.

The post Supreme Court declines to hear Authors Guild appeal; Google Books remains legal fair use appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

How indexes could evolve with e-books

indexesarticleLast month I wrote how indexes seem to be a thing of the past, at least in e-books. I’ve revisited the topic and would like to offer a possible vision for the future.

Long ago I learned the value an exceptional indexer can bring to a project. A huge difference exists, for example, between simply capturing all the keywords in a book and producing an index rich in synonyms, cross-references and related topics. While we may never be able to completely duplicate the human element in a computer-generated index, I’d like to think value can be added via automated text analysis, algorithms and all the resulting tags.

Perhaps it’s time to think differently about indexes in e-books. As I mentioned in that earlier article, I’m focused exclusively on non-fiction here. Rather than a static compilation of entries in the book I’m currently reading, I want something that’s more akin to a dynamic Google search.

Let me tap a phrase on my screen and definitely show me the other occurrences of that phrase in this book, but let’s also make sure those results can be sorted by relevance, not just the chronological order from the book. Why do the results have to be limited to the book I’m reading though? Maybe that author or publisher has a few other titles on that topic or closely related topics. Those references and excerpts should be accessible via this pop-up e-index as well. If I own those books I’m able to jump directly to the pages within them; if not, these entries serve as a discovery and marketing vehicle, encouraging me to purchase the other titles.

This approach lends itself to an automated process. Once the logic is established, a high-speed parsing tool would analyze the content and create the initial entries across all books. The tool would be built into the e-book reader application, tracking the phrases that are most commonly searched for and perhaps refining the results over time based on which entries get the most click-thru’s. Sounds a lot like one of the basic attributes of web search results, right?

Note that this could all be done without a traditional index. However, I also see where a human-generated index could serve as an additional input, providing an even richer experience.

How about leveraging the collective wisdom of the community as well? Provide a basic e-index as a foundation but let anyone contribute their own thoughts and additions to it. Don’t force the crowd-sourced results on all readers. Rather, let each consumer decide which other members of the community add the most value and filter out all the others.

This gets back to a point I’ve made a number of times before. We’re stuck consuming dumb content on smart devices. As long as we keep looking at e-books through a print book lens, we’ll never fully experience all the potential a digital book has to offer.

Reproduced with permission from Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies.

The post How indexes could evolve with e-books appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

Original URL:

Original article

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: