Lulu.com reports big rise in ebooks

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Lulu.com is reporting that it was the top source of independent content on the iBookstore and Nook Bookstore last year.

According to a Friday post on the Lulu site, ebook creators published 115,517 new ebooks on Lulu.com in 2011, an increase of 22 per cent over 2010. More than 60,000 of those titles are now available in the iBookstore or Nook Bookstore.

The self-publishing partner says it now has 620,000 titles in its ebook catalogue and is planning for “the next generation” of ebooks.

 

iBooks Author seen as boon for journalists

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Rabble.ca writer Wayne MacPhail is enthusiastic about the new Apple iBooks Author as a tool for journalists and publishers of long-form content.

Apple introduced the iBooks Author last month as part of its plunge into the educational/textbook market, but MacPhail thinks the publishing software could serve as a platform for a new form of media-rich journalism.

And not just journalists. Magazine and newspaper publishers should also find the new platform useful.

“Here’s a free tool that’s a better alternative than an ad hoc paperback, or special section, as a way to package a multipart series,” he says in a January 25 column. “Here’s a platform that encourages readers to touch, listen to, watch, engage with and learn from your story. Here’s software that gives anyone the opportunity to tell great stories, in new ways.”

MacPhail says he found the software quick and easy to use. You’ll need a Macintosh computer running the latest version of OSX (Lion) and an iPad to preview and test your book on, however.

A veteran print and online journalist, MacPhail writes regularly for rabble.ca on technology and the Internet.

‘Freedom’ writer spurns ebook trend

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Jonathan Franzen is definitely not jumping on the ebook bandwagon.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph’s Anita Singh, the author of Freedom and The Corrections said he prefers a more permanent technology.

“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom,” he told Singh. “I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it’s pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model.”

Speaking at the annual Hay Festival Cartagena in Colombia last month, Franzen argued that e-books will never have the magic of the printed page.

“Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do,” he said. “When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that’s reassuring.

“Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

Franzen’s Hay Festival press conference was the first in his career.

Apple hype grows ahead of Thursday event

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MacRumors suggests Apple may be gearing up for a major announcement this Thursday on a new eBooks publishing tool for authors and publishers.

Citing the Wall Street Journal and ArsTechnica, MacRumors said Apple may be coming out with a tool that would make the publishing process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

MacRumors suggested Apple may also be preparing to announce support for the ePub 3 standard as well, and hopes to open the door for publishers to create interactive ebooks.

MacRumors also points to other sources, however, who are pooh-poohing the GarageBand prediction and say the event is being over-hyped. They’re looking for something more modest on support to the textbook industry.

Apple planning iBook upgrade?

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Rumours are swirling around the Mac world that Apple is planning an iBook-related announcement in New York at the end of January.

Neither the location nor the topic of the announcement has been confirmed, but speculation has it that the event will focus on publishing and e-books sold through the Apple’s iBooks platform.

Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch says the event may unveil improvements to the iBooks platform, at least according to one of her sources. That same source says the event will not be a major one.

She promises to stay on top of the story, as does Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.