CMAP #9: Ebooks - Charlie's Diary
As always with Mr. Stross--and especially with his recent essay series explaining the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry--this essay is fascinating and erudite and easy to read.
He lays out the history of e-books, the present, and likely scenarios for the future including some strengths of teh form that had never occurred to me.
Below is a tiny bit from his preamble; please click through for the whole thing.
The lessons I'd like you to draw from those two earlier essays are:
1. A manuscript is not the same thing as a book. Just as a random sampling of 100,000 words is not a novel, so too does a finished book differ from a manuscript (the text an author writes, which forms the core of the book). In particular, about 80-90% of the cover price of a book has nothing to do with the paper and ink object you buy in a shop; indeed, using current production standards, ebook production requires nearly as much work as paper book production. (Paper and ink are dirt cheap; proofreaders and marketing teams aren't.)
2. Ebooks differ from paper books insofar as you need a device to read them with. This device, which may be hardware, software, or both, I shall henceforth refer to as a platform. Amazon's Kindle software (or reader) is a platform. The ePub file format standard is part of a platform, which may be the Sony Reader Store/Adobe Digital Editions, or Apple's iBooks (which is just a variant implementation of ePub), or Stanza. The hardware the platform runs on has hitherto been either a PC, or a PDA, or more recently an e-ink based ebook reader, and now (with increasing frequency) a smartphone.
. . .