Just finishing another batch of ebooks, and it’s a varied selection. We have rain-soaked, neon-lit urban squalor, strippers, murder, vampires terrorising a posh school, linguistics & the art/science divide, plus some recipes.
Amazon recently announced Kindle Format 8 (KF8), the new ebook file format they plan to use instead of Mobi 7. It’s a shame they didn’t switch to epub as rumoured, but KF8 offers much needed improvements to layout and typography. However, my heart sank when I read that only the latest Kindle devices will support KF8. The Kindle 3 or earlier will be stuck with Mobi format ebooks, which could make things difficult. Imagine the following scenario: A client comes to me with a proposal for a graphically rich title such as a cookery book. I think “Ah, KF8 provides the layout controls we need for this and it will look fantastic on the new Kindle Fire”. Quite reasonably, the client wants to sell as many copies of her book as possible so doesn’t like the idea of limiting it to owners of the latest Kindles. Therefore, I’ll have to create two versions of the ebook, doubling the time and cost for the project. Also, the version for older Kindles won’t look very good because of the limitations of the Mobi format. And that’s before we start looking at a version for the iPhone, iPad, Nook…
When the iPad appeared there were dismissive comments about it being a ‘content consumption’ only device, suitable for reading, web browsing and so on, but not for creative work. That was untrue, but maybe the strength of the new Kindle Fire tablet will be that it really is a device for the content consumer, backed up by a tried and tested online store. Amazon marketing for the previous Kindle focussed on the ease of reading, wide choice of ebooks and speed of delivery. Now they have a device which offers this, but also hooks into their video streaming service and has a more intuitive interface. Add web browsing, email and a carefully managed selection of apps and it could be a winner. However, bright LCD screens really aren’t good for reading lots of text, so if you’re looking for a book reader it’s probably best to stick with the e-ink devices. Or buy both types of Kindle, which is what Amazon really wants.
As expected Amazon announced new Kindle models today. The existing e-ink devices have been updated, with both models losing the physical keyboard and one of them gaining a touchscreen. As before, these models use a greyscale e-ink display and are designed specifically for reading. However, the new Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet device intended for reading, web browsing, game playing, music and more. Amazon clearly want some of the iPad market with this one, and the low price indicates they hope to sell millions and recoup their costs through content sales. However, I think there’s plenty of room for both Amazon and Apple. The direct competition is Barnes & Noble, and companies such as Samsung and RIM who tried to copy the iPad but couldn’t match it on cost, design, ease of use and content availability. (Of course, this is just me thinking out loud and I might change my mind when I get hold of a Kindle Fire. Just what you need, eh? Another blog with unqualified, unverified speculation on a product that isn’t available yet.)
Trick or Treat by John Gatehouse and Dave Windett is now available, so visit the Little Lemming Books site to help Neela stop those rampaging monsters! The ebook is currently available from Amazon and Lulu. The Amazon version can be viewed on the Kindle or the Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC. The Lulu EPUB version can be viewed on a range of devices and apps such as the iPhone, iPad, Nook, Adobe Digital Editions and more.
‘Monsters from the closet, monsters from the back of beyond, and monsters from the fridge!’ I’m working on an ebook of ‘Trick or Treat’ by John Gatehouse and Dave Windett. Strictly speaking, I’m not in the target age range but the pictures of rampaging monsters make me laugh every time.
A while back I worked on the ebook edition of ‘Never Never Stories’ for Jason Sanford, and it’s done so well Spotlight Publishing have picked it up for a print run. More information and offers on special signed editions are available at Jason’s website.
‘Plague Birds’ by Jason Sanford has been announced as co-winner of this year’s Interzone Readers’ Poll. The other winning story was ‘Flying in the Face of God’ by Nina Allen. This is Jason’s third win or tie in the poll and you can download a copy of ‘Plague Birds’ from his site. You can also find out more about the sequel which will be published soon.
The new Barnes & Noble ebook reader has been announced, and as expected it’s a touchscreen e-ink device. The new Nook is like a Kindle 3 with a touchscreen instead of that infuriating keyboard. Now if only I could get hold of one outside the US. A similar device, the Kobo eReader Touch has also been announced. It’ll be easier to get hold of this one in the UK as WHSmith are stocking it.