Shelf Life Book news, reviews, trends, and talk

Tag: E-Books (21-30 of 53)

So you got a Kindle (or other e-reader) for Christmas! Here are 10 free books to fill it with

If Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is to be believed, “many millions” of you received a Kindle product as a gift this holiday season. When I unwrapped my brand new Kindle last Christmas, I was itching to go on an e-book shopping bender. It can feel like you have every written word at your fingertips, and you want to read as much of what’s out there as you can. In the early days of Kindle ownership, I got download-happy and made some poor, money-wasting choices because buying books became so easy. If a friend recommended a title over lunch, I’d drop $12 on it on the spot without researching it first, or I’d get impatient and buy a title that someone would end up giving me a few days later.

When my e-book buying habit started getting expensive, I looked to the many free books available in the Kindle Store to feed my hungry reader. Many public domain books are classics, ones that you might want to revisit from school or others that you feel guilty for not having read. Haven’t read Anna Karenina or War and Peace? Now you can’t use the excuse that you don’t want to lug those huge tomes around. I’m ashamed to admit that somehow I’d managed to reach my twenties without having read a Dickens all the way through, so I dutifully made my way through Great Expectations and Bleak House. Even if you don’t plan on actually reading some of these free books (will I actually read my e-copy of Ulysses? Probably not), simply owning them can give you the warm fuzzies. Here are 10 books/authors that won’t cost you a penny in the Kindle store! READ FULL STORY

'Fahrenheit 451' finally becomes an e-book despite Ray Bradbury's opposition to nonflammable media

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s seminal work of science-fiction about the perils of book burning, is finally available as an e-book. Simon & Schuster released the novel for download on Tuesday. It might surprise you to hear that Bradbury, now 91 and apparently a little further into the future than he would like to be, was previously dead-set against making it available in any form other than traditional paper-and-glue, calling the internet “meaningless” and commenting that e-books “smell like burned fuel.” To get the obvious joke out of the way, given his fear of literary conflagrations, maybe he was just uncomfortable putting his book in something called a Kindle.

When Fahrenheit 451 (Celsius 233, in its European editions) was first published in 1953, it was coming only two decades after the infamous Nazi book burnings and in the midst of America’s own wave of anti-literary fervor courtesy of McCarthyism and general think-of-the-children hysteria. But coming in 2011, this e-book release presents an opportunity to ponder the continuing relevance of the novel in a time when words aren’t quite so flammable. It’s pretty difficult to burn an e-book—unless it’s onto a CD—and a thumbdrive is much easier to smuggle than an armful of texts, so you’d think that Bradbury might be willing to forgo his traditional curmudgeonliness to embrace a technology that would spell the end to the act he deplores. Then again, in many cases, firewalls can be just as effective as fire and, as Amazon’s ironically Orwellian faux pas showed us, readers may not be as in control of their electronic library as they are their bookshelf.

Of course, Fahrenheit 451 is not just about the act of burning books in the same way that Animal Farm isn’t just about animal rights (and wrongs). It’s about all varieties of censorship, something from which digital media are far from immune, and in that way its themes are as pertinent as ever. Maybe in fifty years, an updated version will replace Guy Montag’s bonfires with a simple Select All + Delete.

Amazon ships Kindle Fire a day early; read reviews

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Amazon announced today that it would be shipping its best-selling new tablet, the Kindle Fire, today, one day earlier than expected. This is great news to consumers eager to get their hands on the iPad challenger.

Retailing for $199, the Kindle Fire is Amazon’s response to pricier tablets, and it’s clear they are hopeful that the mass quantity they anticipate selling will offset costs. Research firm iSuppli estimates that Amazon spends about $210 to make each Kindle Fire that it sells for $199 — a business model that can’t be sustained long-term. The affordability is the Fire’s main selling point. (That, and the Amazon name, which is already synonymous in consumers’ minds as one-stop-shopping for entertainment needs.)

The earlier release date also moves up the all-important reviews. Gizmodo has called the Kindle Fire “puzzlingly simple” and has highlighted the Amazon Prime membership as a selling point. At a time when Netflix is struggling, Prime is picking up the slack, allowing users to instantly stream everything in their Prime catalogue on the Kindle Fire. This kind of ease could spell major trouble for Apple and other tablets.

Engadget is also rather positive in their detailed review, stating that its biggest competition is still to come: The Barnes & Noble-backed Nook tablet, slated to release November 16.

Shelf Life-ers: Excited about these developments? Will you be picking up a Kindle Fire?

Read more:
Amazon unveils gamechanging new products, including Kindle Fire tablet 
Barnes and Noble removes Sandman, Watchmen, and other graphic novels from its shelves
Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet unveiled — CEO calls Amazon’s Kindle Fire ‘deficient’

Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet unveiled -- CEO calls Amazon's Kindle Fire 'deficient'

As many anticipated, Barnes & Noble announced its entry into the tablet race this morning, and it’s clear that the bookseller is positioning its new 7-inch NOOK Tablet ($249) as a “faster, smaller” alternative to Amazon’s similarly sized Kindle Fire ($199). In fact, B&N CEO William Lynch devoted a large portion of his presentation, given to a room full of journalists in the Union Square Barnes & Noble bookstore, to disparaging the Kindle Fire, which ships Nov. 15. READ FULL STORY

Barnes and Noble removes Sandman, Watchmen, and other graphic novels from its shelves

My attention was caught this morning by a tweet from Neil Gaiman: “Really? Barnes and Noble will no longer sell Sandman or Watchmen?” It turns out to be true: The company was angered by DC Comics’ deal  with Amazon to sell 100 graphic novels –including Gaiman’s — exclusively on the Kindle Fire. So it ordered stores to begin stripping the DC books from their shelves. Later today, B&N issued a statement to CNN that said, in part,

“Regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format…To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms and not have the e-book available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customer to make available any book, anywhere.”

Some Barnes & Noble stores — like the one nearest EW’s office — had completely removed the graphic novels in question by midafternoon. Other branches, like the one not far from my house in upstate New York, appear to not have heard the corporate message.

Has anyone seen this today at a Barnes & Noble? What do you think about it?

Pottermore delays 'Harry Potter' e-books

pottermore_website_1

For all you Harry Potter fans who can’t wait to conjure up some Hogwarts magic on your e-readers, you’ll have to wait just a bit longer. The Pottermore website — currently available to a million people using it in a trial period — will be open to everyone by the end of the month, but the online store, which will be stocking the e-books, won’t be open until the “first half of 2012.” This news might be disappointing for some, but at least the Harry Potter universe is still giving us something to anticipate, even after the book and movie series have ended. Anyway, this delay will give you plenty of time to get acquainted with your Kindle Fire before the e-books hit.

Read more:
Pottermore Finally Opens for Business
Pottermore: First impressions of the new interactive Harry Potter site

On the Books Aug. 25: Steve Jobs biography to be updated with resignation news, and more

++ Steve Jobs’ biography Steve Jobs: A Biography will include the Apple CEO’s point of view on last night’s announcement of his resignation. Biographer Walter Isaacson “speaks to Jobs regularly and is still working on final chapter of the book,” a Simon & Schuster rep told PCMag. This is the first biography with the famously closed-off Apple chief’s blessing, and we’re promised unprecedented access — Jobs didn’t even request a final review before the book goes to print. Steve Jobs will hit bookstores in November. READ FULL STORY

'L.A. Noire' videogame inspires a crime fiction anthology featuring Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew Vachss, and more. PLUS: Read an exclusive excerpt

LA-noire-shortstories
Last year, Rockstar Games released the western saga Red Dead Redemption, a flat-out videogame masterpiece by bringing to life a particular time and place in American history with extraordinary detail and telling a rich, engrossing story that challenged the mind and engaged the emotions. Hopes are high among fans and critical admirers of Rockstar’s sophisticated, decidedly adult work that their next major title will prove equal to its Red Dead triumph: L.A. Noire, a murder-mystery adventure set in late '40s Los Angeles, a sprawling and stylish videogame iteration of the film noir and neo noir genres, typified by movies like
The Big Sleep (1946) and Chinatown (1974). Of course, vintage film noir owed a debt to crime fiction by the likes of Raymond Chandler (who wrote The Big Sleep) and Dashiell Hammett. To acknowledge the literary roots of its newest offering – and to expand L.A. Noire into a larger "transmedia" entertainment franchise – Rockstar commissioned several prominent authors to pen short stories inspired by the game and stand on their own as crime genre fun. An eBook compilation from Mulholland Books, entitled L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, will be available June 6, about three weeks after the game’s scheduled May 17 release. "The concept behind L.A. Noire was to create a crime thriller that built on the classic tradition of noir, not just in film but also evoking the great body of crime fiction that exists within the genre," says Alex Moulle-Berteaux, Rockstar's VP of Marketing. "Chandler, [James] Ellroy, and Hammet were as much touchstones for the atmosphere and characters of the game as anything from cinema, so there was something appealing about [the]

idea of setting some of the genre’s finest contemporary writers loose within that world.”

Among the authors who’ve written original stories for the anthology: READ FULL STORY

On the Books Apr. 21: Kindle lending, remembering Tim Hetherington, Tina Fey's booksigning techniques, and more

Amazon announced yesterday that it will offer library lending capabilities for the Kindle, but is there a catch? Key details remain fuzzy, or pixilated: When will libraries roll out the program, and how long will the lending period be? Also, not all books may be available as part of the program.

Intrepid photojournalist and Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya yesterday, had published a book in 2009 called Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold. According to the publisher, the book “entwines documentary photography, oral testimony, and memoir to map the dynamics of power, tragedy and triumph in Liberia’s recent history. It depicts a past of rebel camps, rainforest destruction, Charles Taylor’s trial as a war criminal, and other happenings contrasted with the hope for the future.”

Funnylady Tina Fey has to keep herself entertained while on her Bossypants promotional tour, so she’s been mixing it up while signing book after book. As she mentioned on Tuesday night’s Conan, she sometimes signs entirely different names (like Ina Garten) in fans’ books and at least once has inscribed, “Help, I’m stuck in a Korean Tina Fey autograph factory!” Maybe by the time her book tour is over, she really will have those man arms.

Do you know what’s truly dead? Spouting off little soundbytes about how books and traditional publishing are dead. Check out these common 21st century nuggets on non-wisdom that really should be put to rest.

The Long Island mansion believed to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald in writing The Great Gatsby was demolished earlier this week, but not before writer Christine Lee Zilka snapped some final photos of the home that had been standing since 1902.

Two anthologies have been marketing classic poetry to children along gender lines. Are some poems for boys and others for girls?

On the Books Mar. 23: Self-publishing phenom Amanda Hocking courts major publishers, 'Cold Mountain' author to pen new novel

Charles-Frasier

Twenty-six-year-old self-publishing whizkid Amanda Hocking is shopping a four-part series for a traditional book deal, reportedly bringing in offers from major publishing houses of over $1 million. She began publishing her own e-books last year via retailers like Amazon and BN.com and has sold more than 900,000 copies of nine books since then. But will Hocking lose her under-the-radar cool factor if she goes with a major publisher? Thriller writer Barry Eisler seems to be going in the other direction: He turned down a huge six-figure deal to publish his own e-books.

Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier’s first novel since 2006′s Thirteen Moons will be released this October by Random House. Nightwoods will tell the story of a young woman living in rural North Carolina in the 1950s raising her murdered sister’s children.

Anyone out there have a book hoarding problem? Read confessions of some compulsive collectors who are in serious need of a good e-reader. They should really make a Hoarders: Book Edition. There’s already an animal spin-off.

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