Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book News, In Brief

The Guardian UK has a unique take on why e-books aren't bigger: There aren't enough 'illegal' copies floating around the net yet.

Related: Amazon.com's Kindle2. For a brief encapsulation of yesterday's unveiling, head on over to Publishers Weekly...you traitorous f**ks.

Alright, enough about e-books. The 'coming soon' news that has me giddy is DC Comics' NYCCC announcement regarding their upcoming Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers mini-series. The world has waited far too long for an all-ages comic book featuring a teleporting bulldog, a dragon from another planet, and a frog Thor. (Well, I have, anyway.)

With their advertising dollars dwindling daily, newspapers and magazines are wondering if micropayments -- small payments made by readers for individual articles or other pieces of a la carte content -- will save them. Not likely, says Clay Shirky: The essential thing to understand about small payments is that users don’t like being nickel-and-dimed. We have the phrase ‘nickel-and-dimed’ because this dislike is both general and strong. The result is that small payment systems don’t survive contact with online markets, because we express our hatred of small payments by switching to alternatives, whether supported by subscription or subsidy. To read Shirky's whole piece, click here.

This might be the most extreme example of customer service...ever. The Dayton Daily News reports: When Wittenberg University professor Dan Fleisch read on Amazon.com that Michel Cuhaci of Ottawa had received a flawed copy of Fleisch's book A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equation, he posted a comment, identifying himself as the author and promising Cuhaci he would try to send the book via overnight courier. The only problem was, it was Christmas Eve...His next thought — he'd drive to Canada and deliver the $26 book himself. "I looked at my iPhone and there was this massive blob (snowstorm) over the whole Northeast," he said...(But) it appeared there'd be a break in the snow by morning. At 6 a.m. Christmas Day Fleisch was sitting in a plane at the Dayton airport waiting to head north. "I'm sitting there. The plane is fairly empty, and I think, 'Am I nuts?'" Click here to continue.