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Old 03-01-2008, 06:20 PM   #1
DMcCunney
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Oxford University Press releases Kindle editions, stunned by results

And a deal with Sony in the works.

http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/2/p...ndle_royalties
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:35 PM   #2
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Seems that it is getting harder and harder for publishers to claim that "no one wants to buy ebooks."

Those churches made of cellulose are starting to quake.
;-)

This really is encouraging news, especially the bit about a deal with SONY. Would really enjoy some better non-fiction than the conjectural truth/self-help stuff there that clogs the Connect catalogue.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu View Post
Seems that it is getting harder and harder for publishers to claim that "no one wants to buy ebooks."

Those churches made of cellulose are starting to quake.
;-)

This really is encouraging news, especially the bit about a deal with SONY. Would really enjoy some better non-fiction than the conjectural truth/self-help stuff there that clogs the Connect catalogue.
I'm pleased to see it, as a lot of what OUP issues is the sort of thing that benefits from electronic editions, particularly in terms of search capability.

A deal with Sony is also a nice thing, as it broadens the potential market.

Now, if they will look at supporting other formats, like MobiPocket, things will be very nice indeed. Right now, it's only really useful if you have a Kindle. Adding the Sony Reader will help, but there will still be a huge potential market that doesn't have (or want) either of those devices, but might well buy the books if they could get them in a form they could read on what they do have.

(Since Amazon's AZW format is Mobipocket format, supporting other devices that have a version of Mobi reader should be trivial.)
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:29 AM   #4
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OUP should know - they've been selling ebooks for a long time. I bought the Shorter OED from them in 1999 or so as a fairly rudimentary PC-only program with 160MB database. I still have it and still use it. I really hope they upgrade and extend their e-dictionary efforts, because I still dream of a combined "all the Oxford English dictionaries" version.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:19 AM   #5
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Man... it'd be wonderful (the OED) but you'd know they'd make you pay SOOOOO much for it.
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:13 PM   #6
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The OED people (I guess that would be OUP mentioned above) have been very helpful in the electronic realm. In the early to mid 1990's, they released a tape of their old version (v1, 197x) of the OED to universities for compu-linguistic research purposes. It was a version with printing markups in it. I got 99% of a PhD (no thesis) working with a group who were trying to teach a computer to understand and parse sentences by use of the OED dictionary. [ It's surprising what extra knowledge the human brain adds, from life experience -- that's the part that is hard to teach a computer! ]
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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Dennis:

Indeed, there should be a third, non-crippled form put out there. However, owing to many businesses being wary of piracy, and whatnot, getting the text in a proprietary format is welcome. Perhaps once sales in two locked formats will create a positive feedback loop that emboldens them to release a simpler copy.

On the subject of non-fiction, that sailor author I mentioned wrote me back, saying that his fans aren't crooks, but other people are, so he will resist digital texts as long as possible. So even though I helped pay for his boat (his words), he doesn't trust me not to rob him.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu View Post
Indeed, there should be a third, non-crippled form put out there. However, owing to many businesses being wary of piracy, and whatnot, getting the text in a proprietary format is welcome. Perhaps once sales in two locked formats will create a positive feedback loop that emboldens them to release a simpler copy.
It doesn't have to be unprotected: Mobi offers DRMed texts that must be unlocked to read. But it needs to be in a format you don't have to have a Kindle or a Sony Reader to deal with. Those devices are still a tiny fraction of the total market for ebooks. Mobi has reader versions that run on PCs, PDAs, cell phones, and Blackberries, and the Mobi format is what Amazon uses for the Kindle. Only the PID differs, so it should be trivial to offer texts in Mobi format for both markets. Same text, just slightly different DRM scheme.

Quote:
On the subject of non-fiction, that sailor author I mentioned wrote me back, saying that his fans aren't crooks, but other people are, so he will resist digital texts as long as possible. So even though I helped pay for his boat (his words), he doesn't trust me not to rob him.
I see a lot of that.

I always want to ask folks with that opinion why they make that assumption. "Is it because that's what you would do, and you assume everybody else is a good for nothing low life, just like you?" The alternative is that they wouldn't do that, but assume everyone else would.

The late psychiatrist Eric Berne described this in his book "I'm OK, you're OK", where the two types fell into the "I'm not OK, you're not OK", and "I'm OK, you're not OK" classes. I have little patience with either attitude.

I may be too optimistic, but I have a better opinion of my fellow man than that. I think a large enough portion of the market is honest and ethical that you don't have to jump through those hoops to protect your interests. Yes, some folks will rip you off, but while there are always a few who will, there aren't enough to justify draconian measures.
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