Monday, August 16, 2010

The Kama Sutra audio book

Word has it that the Kama Sutra has one basic flaw: it is impossible to try the variation suggested while reading the book at the same time. Now a British publisher has solved the problem by releasing an audiobook of the famous 1600-year-old Indian sex manual. No more turning pages as you get on with the 64 ways of making love. The audio book cost GBP 8.99 per download.

The book was first translated into English in 1883 by Richard Burton, and has been enhanced in many forms by creative publishers since. In 2003 it was published as a pop-up book, and, in 2006, as an "idiot's guide" -- the former being infinitely more interesting.

One presumes the download will be available internationally. Perhaps, in the spirit of good citizenship, and to avoid nasty accidents, the publishers should package it with an idiots guide to British pronunciations and accents. You know what the Brits mean by "ass".

The Guardian

What motivates a book buyer

Arielle Ford writes in the Huffington Post of how she asked her online friends how they chose their next book. This is what she found out:

1    I am in a few book clubs
2    I always buy my favorite authors' books the day they come out
3    I read newspaper book reviews
4    My friends recommend books
5    I just go to the bookstore and see what jumps out at me
6    I go by recommendations from magazines, emails and newsletters
7    I am attracted to them by their title, and story summaries, and eye appealing artwork
8    I am a back cover kind of gal! If it reads well, I buy it
9    At my local bookstore, I read the shelf talkers (written by the staff) on which books they enjoyed and why
10    I'm influenced by cross-promotion campaigns, like Amazon's, where they keep track of book reviews I write and leave on their site, and so I get emails promoting new books coming out in that genre.

Huffington Post

So many books ...

129 million books

As of Sunday, 1 August 2010, Google says there are 129,864,880 books in the world. Boy, is that mind blowing, not to mention humbling. Talk about too little time.

In the story, Books of the world, stand up and be counted!, software engineer, Leonid Taycher, says, ‘Well, it all depends on what exactly you mean by a “book.” We’re not going to count what library scientists call “works,” those elusive "distinct intellectual or artistic creations.” It makes sense to consider all editions of “Hamlet” separately, as we would like to distinguish between -- and scan -- books containing, for example, different forewords and commentaries.”

So how did Google come up with the number? They considered ISBN’s to be an unreliable guide. For one, ISBNs only came into existence in the 60s (even I have several books without those) and were widely adopted only a decade later, and that, too, in the Western world. Many books not meant for commercial distribution, and from other parts of the world, do not bother with it. The story says, ‘... they have been used in nonstandard ways. They have sometimes been assigned to multiple books: we’ve seen anywhere from two to 1,500 books assigned the same ISBN. They are also often assigned to things other than books.’

Collecting data

Anyway, to get to the point, Google collected data from over 150 sources like libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers, to obtain over one billion raw unique data, analysed it for duplication and arrived at a number around 600 million.

Then using further analysis of redundancies and duplication -- sometimes the same book had more than one publisher, or were published under several titles, or even libraries holding multiple copies of the same book, all with unique records -- The number was whittled down to 210 million.

Then, the story continues, ‘We still have to exclude non-books such as microforms (8 million), audio recordings (4.5 million), videos (2 million), maps (another 2 million), t-shirts with ISBNs (about one thousand), turkey probes (1, added to a library catalog as an April Fools joke), and other items for which we receive catalog entries.’ So counting only products between two covers, Google arrived at 146 million.

Then removing duplicates found as a result of numbering the same publication differently (like series and government documents) the final number arrived at (as of Sunday, 1 August) was 129, 864, 880 and counting! So now we can plan our reading.

Google blogspot

Monday, August 02, 2010

Author does not want copyright back

Alan Moore the writer of celebrated graphic novel (aka comics), Watchmen, does not want his copyright back, according to a report in The story says: “Visionary writer Alan Moore claims that … DC Comics made him an astounding offer that only he could refuse.”

“They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels,” the comics legend told

“So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked,” he said. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

The Watchman has been regarded as ‘the most groundbreaking graphic novels in history’ and with some ‘unimpressive, and often terrible, movies’. Moore has even ‘demanded removal of his name from any film adaptations of his comics, and even refused royalties’ said the report.

“I don’t even have a copy of Watchmen in the house anymore,” he said. “The comics world has lots of unpleasant connections, when I think back over it, many of them to do with Watchmen.”

Magazines bypass dead-tree editions

A report says that, fuelled by the iPad, several magazines are going directly into digital.

“While some publishers eye the Apple iPad hopefully as way of migrating the print experience into a rich, multimedia domain as never before, others are already leaping over paper entirely to reach new readers with original digital publications.” says the report.

In one of the latest developments, Virgin (owned by Richard Branson) has announced plans to launch its first consumer magazine on the Apple tablet without a companion print (Kindle or web) edition. Called the Maverick magazine it include actual articles rather than promotions, Virgin says. Maverick will launch in the beginning of October

“By Branson’s logic, the publishers of print magazines cannot price their digital versions low enough, because they don’t want to compete with their higher-priced print editions,” whereas he can price his very low because he does not have the overheads of a print edition. The selling price for the Maverick has not been announced yet.