Friday, April 30, 2010

Books - no power, no problem. Just read away.

The printed word must be one of the greatest inventions ever. You can be stranded on a desert island and still read. No electricity, no wifi, no cable, no lights, no battery, no power, no problem. Just read away. When you have cut down the last tree for firewood, scratched out the last blade of grass for kindling you can still read. You can even burn that book for warmth.
Ah yes, all those trees. There's the rub. Back here in the real world we have gadgets for saving the trees: computers and digital everything. I published a book once on paper and have just taken the plunge to the ebook format.
I read all the tips, tricks and how-tos, downloaded the mobipocket converter, and I was off to the races. I uploaded the file to Amazon on a Saturday and the Kindle version was available online on the Monday following. To judge from the comments on the digital platform forum, this is a record. Perhaps ironically, the book is called "Escaping the progress trap".
Now, as if that wasn't grabbing the techno-bull by the horns, along comes iPad, hitting the market the very same day I kindled my er, kindling. And if there is one thing that will send an old-school publisher into a frenzy, it's a gadget that scoops the story.
But wait - there's an app for that. Kindle for the iPad. It seems Apple's eBook offerings at the iBookstore are well behind the Amazon Kindle in terms of being ready for publishers and writers who are not contemporaries of Gutenberg. Thanks to the smart developer who came up with that app! A twist is that you need Apple's iTunes application to get it. And other stuff. But as a publisher I can relax for five minutes.
If you happen to be reading this on a desert island, using the smartest electrogadget, you can find out how to make paper at the Make Paper! website.
Article first published as Warp Speed Publishing Progress and the iPad on Technorati.