Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

We had a mailshot from the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday.

It said “Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Frankfurt Book Fair are this year asking again for entries to be submitted for the DAM Architectural Book Award 2013. All art and architectural book publishers worldwide are invited to do so.”

Excellent, I thought. Our profusely illustrated Heritage Ebooks will be just the ticket, and will get us some much needed publicity — and maybe some sales as well.

But apparently not.

My proposal was curtly answered: “I am sorry but online publications are not to be considered.”

Well, they are not online publications. They are ebooks, in Kindle and EPUB formats. The titles are not available in print format, as the Active Location Finder we use to physically locate the buildings described in the books can only work in an ebook.

So I told them. Now they have sent us a holding letter while the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Frankfurt Book Fair deliberate as to whether an ebook can be regarded as a book.

Should I be holding my breath?

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

This morning The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent all had front page solus photographs of Steve Jobs holding up the new iPad. If only fotoLibra could have just one day’s worth a year of the publicity Apple gets!

iPad is a much better name than iSlate. Whoever thought iSlate would win out?

So Apple’s latest gottahave has finally been released. It’s as lovely as anticipated and it does several of the things that were expected. No phone, no camera, not even a little one buried in the frame looking at you so you can do video conferencing. Not needed because there’s no phone. But I suppose as it’s an internet browser it can Skype, so it could be used as a phone?

Of course I want one, and I want it now.

But what will I do with it? What basic need does it fulfil?

Most of us in the sedentary Western world live a three screens life — mobile, laptop, TV. When I’m not reading, I’m usually to be found staring at one of these objects. What I’m not so certain about is how much I hanker after a four screens life.

Which was always a good argument against Amazon’s Kindle, that clunky black and white book sales outlet. The new iPad blows the Kindle out of the water. It is incomparably more desirable. Put the two together and they look as if they’ve come from different centuries (which they probably have). Of course the iPad’s bookstore feature only works in the US, as Kindle’s did until very recently.

When all the brouhaha and hyperbole have been swept away, what have we got with the iPad? It’s a big screen iPod Touch with some software packages thrown in. It’s a big iPhone — without the phone.

I can live without it. For now.

But when Version 2.0 comes out …

Kindle for the iPhone

January 13th, 2010
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Amazon announced a Kindle app for the iPhone a while ago; I’ve just got round to downloading it.

Now I’m a fan of ebooks. It’s a great concept, and therein lies the future — but I still have reservations. I don’t think there will be a tipping point from print to ebooks any time soon.

It won’t happen as quickly as many gurus hope it will, because
1. New ebook readers are announced daily. One format must achieve dominance, by which I mean 80%+ of the market.
2. That format has to do everything: colour, sound, movies, the lot
3. They are furiously expensive
4. We’re not there yet

Amazon famously announced that on Christmas Day more ebooks were downloaded than than they sold printed books. The future had arrived.

Well, durrr. Who is going to be on line buying books on Christmas Day? And who is more likely to be sitting in their solitary flat with the turkey pizza shoved under the door, endlessly scanning the internet for stuff to download?

Weren’t 8 out of 10 of their top selling ebooks all giveaways? How many of the print titles were free? I think we’ve been handed some spurious statistics here, and it’s been repeated all over the place.

The chatterati WANT ebooks to succeed. And of course they will. But a lot of people have got to get their acts together pretty damn quickly if it’s going to happen any time soon.

What prompted this? Well, I downloaded the Kindle app, and then I downloaded an ebook from Amazon.

And this is what I saw:

Well, I’m sorry — I gave up right away. There are graphic standards to keep to in this world, and I refuse to dumb down to

THE INFORMAL EXE-
CUTION OF SOUPBO-
NE PEW

which is beyond pathetic as any sort of commercial offering.

Keep trying, chaps. I’m sure you’ll make it eventually.

The ebooks that Neil Smith and I have produced for Aaron’s Apps are attractive, readable, innovative, colourful, non-linear, a new way of presenting a guide book, a new way of presenting history, and (though of course I’m saying all this myself) a genuinely new way of reading a book. These are guide books that follow YOU about, not the other way around. One huge illustration, eight feet by six feet, 160 pages which you can read in any order, and a nifty way to locate yourself in a city 200 years ago, as easily as today. Impossible to replicate in a printed book.

Now THAT’s what I call an ebook. The world should be beating a path to our door.

Amazon’s Kindle is now allowing blogs to be posted. Here’s one user’s experience, which can be read in full at http://www.daniweb.com/blogs/entry4341.html:

When I looked at the preview of what my blog looked like in the Kindle after adding my first blog to the system, I was shocked at the terrible quality.

First of all, it was black and white. My blog has pictures and on the Kindle they were not just black and white, they were low resolution black and white. It changed my carefully chosen font to a Times New Roman. In short it looked horrible. Sure, you can get away with a black and white eBook Reader for books, but if you are going to add other content, you need it to be full color or it just looks ghastly (or you are asking bloggers to come up with a special Kindle design, which is an unreasonable expectation).

It was at that moment, staring at that horribly ugly preview of my blog that it hit me. This is clearly a job for Apple.

Rumours of Apple working on an e-book reader have intensified over the past few months. Would it be like a big slender iPhone? Will it actually come? Or is this just wishware?

To many people, me included, the look and feel of a thing is as almost as important as the content. If I see my work in Times New Roman (a wonderful typeface, drowned by ubiquity) I feel physically sick. Fonts are the clothes words wear, as I quoted in my Encyclopaedia of Fonts.

And from fotoLibra’s point of view, the sooner we have colour e-books the sooner we can sell images to e-book publishers.

It will happen. So we are preparing for it.