Ars Technica's John Siracusa, a veteran of early ebook startup Peanut Press, does a fabulous job of cutting through the fuzzy thinking, excuse-making, bad history and missed opportunities of the past decade's worth of ebook ventures. This is a must-read essay for anyone thinking about the future of books and reading.
You'd think that publishers would have learned from the travails of the music and movie folks, and they did, in a way. Unfortunately, what they learned was fear. Early on, publishers saw what happened to the music business when Napster arrived on the scene, and they were shaken to the core. In fact, some of the very same executives, casualties of the the digital music wars, ended up at publishing houses, arriving with the digital equivalent of PTSD and harrowing tales of a business model's collapse. And so, the order of the days was "DRM everywhere," or, just as likely, "no digital distribution at all."
The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age
This position is even more insane once you understand how the traditional, non-digital publishing business works. As in the music and movie industries, there's the usual, shockingly small cut given to the actual content creators, plus the physical mechanism of manufacturing and distributing the products. In the case of books, there's an extra dose of nonsense layered on top.
Businesses like Adobe Stock use large, visible watermarks to deter copyright infringement; a new paper presented by Google Researchers to the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition shows that these watermarks can be reliably detected and undetectably erased by software.
US court records are not copyrighted, but the US court system operates a paywall called “PACER” that is supposed to recoup the costs of serving text files on the internet; charging $0.10/page for access to the public domain, and illegally profiting to the tune of $80,000,000/year.
Semihandmade started out as a Los Angeles cabinetmaker called “Handmade,” but when they got a commission to design aftermarket doors for a cheap and surprisingly robust set of Ikea kitchen cabinets, they realized that they could supply excellent-looking, high-spec kitchens at a tiny price by just manufacturing replacement doors for Ikea’s ubiquitous cabinetry.
Toaster ovens are the perfect appliance for small things like toasted sandwiches and roasted garlic (try it!), but anything more involved usually requires a full-sized conventional oven.However, despite its small size, the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven can handle anything from baked pastries to broiled meats. This kitchen appliance has a minimal countertop footprint, and cooks […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]