16 December 2009

Signs of panic?

Today's Guardian has an interesting article on Stephen Covey's digital rights deal with Amazon startles New York publishers. There are two stories: the first is about authors doing deals directly with Amazon for e-book publication of their work, bypassing the traditional print publisher, while the second is about publishers attempting to claim digital rights for their backlist of publications, in spite of the fact that a ruling by the New York courts, upheld on appeal, found that copyright for books that were written before digital publishing existed, remained with the author.

Like anyone else, I have no idea whether or not the e-book is actually going to take over from print. I'm promised a Sony Reader for my birthday, so I'll let you know of my experiences, in due course. I can imagine using it on a journey, and I've been looking at what can be downloaded freely - pretty well all the classics, of course, but a lot more besides. A lot of people are taking advantage of the Gutenberg Project to download thousands of the books there and selling DVDs loaded with them - I have one with about 17,000 works on it, but it is a pretty random, eclectic mix of stuff, thousands of which I shall never look at.

Whether that stuff is on the Reader or not, the fact that it is on my Mac means that there is an immediate store of material for reference, if for nothing else. But I can't see myself forsaking the printed book for ordinary leisure reading - a well printed book, on good paper (such as the Folio Society editions) is still a joy to handle and to read.


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