Go To Hellman: Why GitHub is Important for Book Publishing

Go To Hellman: Why GitHub is Important for Book Publishing. http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2015/01/why-github-is-important-for-book.html

Introducing the GitBook WebEditor

Introducing the GitBook WebEditor. – https://www.gitbook.com/blog/releases/webeditor After the native editor for GitBook, we are now releasing a web editor fully integrated with the GitBook platform and GitHub.

Kindle Gets Audio/Video… On the iPad and iPhone

Amazon just introduced a audio and video to the Kindle, but the only way to experience the new Kindle multimedia books is on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. A baker’s dozen of titles already come in multimedia editions, including Rick Steves’ travel guides, Best of the Beatles For Acoustic Guitar, and Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds In Song.

via TechCrunch – Amazon Introduces A Video/Audio Kindle . . . But Only On The iPad And iPhone.

Interesting development., but a couple of things are worth noting here. First the entire collection of multimedia editions numbers just 13 indicating this may be a test as much as anything else. Second, while it seems odd that they would sell ebooks that have features that aren’t usable on the Kindle, think of it as simply expanding their market by offering more ebooks to a wider market by including other features.

Think of it this way, a Kindle now costs $189. For your money you get what is considered the industry standard in readers. A great device for reading fiction and non-fiction works that are primarily text. It is a device that is aimed at casual reading and it works very well for that.

Of course text is hardly the only content type that can be used effectively in ebooks. By their very nature ebooks can be multimedia works incorporating color graphics, images, audio, and video. Amazon knows this and they also now that selling those works requires a platform that is different than the Kindle. No problem, the Kindle software turns your iPad or iPhone into a Kindle and it will handle multimedia quite well. So, Amazon offers audio and video enhanced ebooks for the Kindle on the iPad/iPhone. If you want ebooks with those features get your self the more expensive iPad[1], starting at $499, and buy those books Amazon.

I think this move is really designed to enhance the Kindle app and make it more appealing than Apple’s own iBooks. No need to have 2 separate accounts for your ebooks, just use the Kindle for all your ebook needs. Of course I would expect that we will see the multimedia features of the Kindle app turn up on the Windows and Mac versions of the software. And at some point Amazon will introduce a color Kindle of some kind.

[1] Yes, you can get the features on the Kindle iPhone, I suspect that you will find it more satisfying on the iPad.

Free PC app for the Kindle will soon be downloadable | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home

“Kindle for PC features Amazon’s Whispersync technology that automatically saves and synchronizes bookmarks and last page read across devices. Whether you read Kindle books on a Kindle, Kindle DX, or one of the free Kindle applications, you can always have your reading with you and never lose your place. With Kindle for PC, you can read some on your PC, read some on your Kindle, and always pick up right where you left off. Whispersync helped make the Kindle for iPhone application the most popular books app in the Apple App Store.”

via Free PC app for the Kindle will soon be downloadable | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home.

It was inevitable and seems timed right to get Kindle content onto PCs just as the nook hits and competition heats up in the p-book market. Now if they would only deal with other formats and that pesky DRM.

FastPencil Brings Self-publishing To The Web

FastPencil is self-publishing with a twist. The traditional publishing process is a daunting one that can take many months of effort and more money than most writers anticipate. It’s no wonder authors get discouraged.

You shouldn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to write and publish your own book! We have removed the hurdles inherent in traditional publishing by combining amazing advances in print on demand technology with a sophisticated online workflow system.


This site provides a one stop resource for writing and publishing a ‘book’. On the authoring side it provides a light weight web interface for creating an outline and entering text so you can write in the browser. It provides tools for importing blog posts, adding collaborators, assigning editors and more.

Once you’ve committed your work to ‘paper’ the publishing features allow you to categorize the work, set copyright, including Creative Commons licensing, add cover art, and select formats. You may publish your work as an EPUB e-book or as a printed book. If you opt for a physical artifact, you can select typeface, paper size, set a price, and more.

FastPencil is free to use up to the point where you want to order physical books. Packages are available that provide services such as professional review and editing, cover art design, retail distribution and more.

So, it looks like FastPencil may be a good choice for authors interested in retaining complete control over their work or those interested in publishing their work but not inclined to clear all of the hurdles imposed by traditional publishers.

CK-12 Big Winner in CA Free Textbook Initiative

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the first report of California’s free digital textbook initiative – which outlines how high school math and science textbooks submitted under the first phase of the initiative measure up against the state’s rigorous academic content standards. Of the 16 free digital textbooks for high school math and science reviewed, ten meet at least 90 percent of California’s standards. Four meet 100 percent of standards, including the CK-12 Foundation’s CK-12 Single Variable Calculus, CK-12 Trigonometry, CK-12 Chemistry and Dr. H. Jerome Keisler’s Elementary Calculus: An Infinitesimal Approach.

via Gov. Schwarzenegger Releases Free Digital Textbook Initiative Phase 1 Report .

Sony Reader Goes EPUB Only

On Thursday, Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, plans to announce that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers like Random House and HarperCollins.

via Major news: Sony goes EPUB only; scraps its own format!! | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home.

This is a big deal and puts some pressure on Amazon to open up the Kindle to more formats natively and let its ebooks onto other devices.

Should e-Books be Dumb?

Universalis is an e-book. It gives psalms, prayers and readings for the seven daily Hours of the Catholic Church, plus Mass readings and a couple of other goodies. These all change every day, so the table of contents is a calendar. Tap on the date you want, select an Hour, and start reading. Obviously an e-book.

The new definition of an e-book is “something that comes in an ePub file” (or .mobi, or AZW, or PDF – it doesn’t change the argument). No-one notices the change, because all e-books come as files anyway, don’t they?

No. They don’t. They can’t. Universalis is the example I know best but I’m sure it isn’t the only one.

via e-books that aren’t | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home.

This article raises and interesting and important question. Appliances like the Kindle and the Sony e-Readers are really just substitutes for books, presenting a linear artifact in a digital form. Yet there is so much more possible that is just ignored by the Kindle and its ilk. Authors have at their finger tips great power in creating engaging interactive works that can draw a reader into the core of the story (or event, or idea). Simply dumping the latest best sellers into a locked-down markup and loading them on a screen in dazzling gray scale doesn’t really represent what e-Books should be.

For my part, I plan on providing law faculty and, later, students with a tool set in eLangdell that will allow for the creation of highly interactive course materials and case books which will not have direct print counterparts.

The Rocketbelt Caper: Free eBook, Print Too

“When three men set out on a quest to build a real-life Buck Rogers-style flying machine, their obsession with the Rocketbelt 2000 shattered their friendship and set in motion an astonishing chain of events involving theft, deception, assault, a bizarre kidnapping, a ten million dollar lawsuit and a horrifically brutal murder. From sci-fi to reality, this is the incredible true story of the amazing rocketbelt.” – Description at Feedbooks, where this gripping history from the annals of aviation tech is free.

via ‘The Rocketbelt Caper: A True Tale of Invention, Obsession and Murder’: Free in E and even P | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home.