Ebooks This Week: December 21-26
Popular Science Fiction and Fantasy author Ursula Le Guin resigned from the Author’s Guild, protesting the Guild’s role in the controversial Google Books Settlement. The settlement will make millions of out-of-print books that are still under copyright available as ebooks through Google’s scanning efforts, but will also grant Google the license to scan and sell ‘orphan’ works – books under copyright for which rights holders can not be identified or located. The Guild released a letter on its website regretting Ms Guin’s decision and defending its stance on the settlement.
Users began posting the first reviews of Sony’ new Daily Edition ereader, which features a 7-inch touchscreen and wireless access and retails for $400. While initial feedback was generally positive, there were concerns about the reader’s inability to access content outside Sony’s online ebook store. The Daily Edition is yet another attempt by Sony to gain market share against the Kindle, which allows users to download DRM-free ebooks from anywhere on the web using the built-in browser.
Amazon announced that daily sales of Kindle Books topped physical book sales for the first time ever on December 25. The Kindle was Amazon’s most-gifted item this holiday season, and continues to occupy the top spot on its electronics best-seller list. In another indicator of rapidly rising ebook popularity, O’Reilly Media posted statistics showing ebooks outselling physical books 3:1 on oreilly.com. While several O’Reilly ebooks are also available in the Kindle store, ebook purchases on oreilly.com are DRM-free and can be downloaded in multiple formats.
Borders CEO Ron Marshall said in an interview that Borders is not planning to build an ereading device like rivals Amazon and B&N, primarily because of the ‘cost and time’ it would take to do so. Borders owns a stake in Kobo, who have indicated plans to launch a dedicated reading device in 2010.
Amazon released KindleGen – a command line utility to convert HTML and ePub ebooks to the Kindle/Mobipocket format. The new utility runs on both Windows and Linux, and replaces Mobigen by Mobipocket, who were acquired by Amazon in 2005. A new version of Calibre, a popular open source utility to manage and convert ebooks was also released this week.
So that’s it for our final post of the year. We have a lot lined up for Inkmesh in 2010, as we hope to continue to make it easier for you to find your next great eread. Stay tuned, and have a wonderful new year!