Ilse's weblog of random thoughts


The return of the headless horseman

Now that even in World of Warcraft Hallow’s End has returned, and I’m once again busy doing lots of tasks (aka as achievements) for the one and only reason that they’ll get Kany another dragon,  I thought it was appropiate to read some ghost stories around this time of the year. Continue reading this entry »

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Saving old books

Cambridge University Press has posted an interesting video to demonstrate their worflow to digitalise numerous of old books in the Cambridge libraries. First, they determine whether the books are in the public domain or whether Cambridge Press holds the copyright. Then, the works are scanned very carefully, and the resulting electronic versions are post-processed, and  made available as e-book. They can also be printed on demand. This way, a book should never go out of print again.

More or less the same as Google is doing with Google Books and the Espresso printing machines of OnDemandBooks, although the Google project received lots of negative response lately due to the extent of the Google Books settlement and the consequences for writers and books all over the world. Lots has been written lately about the Settlement. For those who want to follow up on it, the Google Book Settlement site gives lots of info for the library community. They have a nice 2-page overview of the Settlement and the consequences, for ‘those of us with no time ro read’.


Is an e-reader something for you?

I guess my studies have something to do with it, but it took Mark half a year to convince me to give e-books a go. Before I got my Sony e-reader, I was rather hesitant about the idea. Wouldn’t my eyes hurt from reading from a screen all the time? Wouldn’t I miss the scent and feeling of a brand new book in my hands? Would the lay-out be OK? And what about all these fantasy books with maps in it, would these graphics still be visible? Continue reading this entry »


Kindle’s memory hole

Last weekend, NYT reported that e-book readers who had bought ‘1984’ and/or ‘Animal Farm’ for Amazon’s e-book reader Kindle, woke up, noticing that these books had disappeared from their reader. It seems the publisher changed its mind about offering these two publications in electronic form, and Amazon decided to not only remove the e-books from the Kindle Store, but also delete it from the e-book readers. Sure, they refunded the customers, but still, it feels like someone sneaking into your house and stealing a book from your bedside table.

I’m so glad we decided to buy a Sony e-reader, which does not work through wifi like Kindle, so this can never happen to any of our e-books. I would be very upset if a book I’m reading would suddenly disappear from my reader, and I can certainly understand the fierce reactions of some Kindle owners.

The irony of all this is that it happened with books from George Orwell. It seems the ‘memory hole’, the incineration chute to get rid of all literature that could bother Big Brother in ‘1984’, is now used by Amazon to electronically ‘burn’ these copies of both famous books. It seems that, even in e-book land, some are more equal than others.