Surfing the e-book wave

So today Apple announced its new e-reader that it’s been priming the press on. I love that they think it’s news they’re opening a new e-book store to go along with it. “Really? And can I get fries with that?” But my favorite part of Steve Jobs’ talk is him “[taking] a jab at netbooks, which, according to Apple, aren’t really good at doing anything,” unlike an iPod (which we, frankly, got as a gift from my husband’s work and are still keeping in the kitchen hutch until we decide we actually need it, you know, to screen out all those pesky real sounds out there in the real living world).

Digital Book World opened today, unleashing a whole plethora of talks about e-books on the interested masses. That’s all reported in the Publishers Lunch email I get from Publishers Marketplace.

Here are some interesting notes taken on talks by four different small publishers on the future of e-books.

Hey, did you know Kindle’s definition of “best-seller” now includes the category most-often-accepted-as-a-freebie? Funny. In my dictionary it says if you give something away for free, technically, you didn’t sell it. They’re going to have to change that to Kindle’s “top-giveaway,” which I’m afraid doesn’t sound nearly as complimentary to the writer.

But, lest we get too cocky about freebies, try these confessions of a book pirate on for size. Piracy: it’s not just for e-books anymore. Maybe this guy’s never heard of second-hand bookstores.

And, on the writer’s side of the picture, someone has written a pretty interesting analysis of using sci fi as a tool for human survival. Are you writing speculative sci fi? Maybe you should be.

Me, I’m going to keep waiting for the retro backlash, when someone says, “You know what I really want? Something small, flexible, and indestructible enough to tuck in the back of my belt when I go for a walk; something that allows me to see multiple pages simultaneously in real-time; something that acts on my brain to build links between perception and understanding without by-passing essential cognitive functions for intelligence; something made of recyclable materials that don’t give Third World children cancer from digging through dumps looking for scrap to sell for food; something that doesn’t off-gas toxins but, in fact, when it gets old smells good in its own distinctive little way; something I can drop, even in the tub, without destroying or even damaging that badly; and something people tend to re-sell constantly, making it cheaper than a Big Mac for us poor folks, so if I do accidentally destroy it or loan it out and never get it back or leave it on a park bench because I’m so blown away by what I just read. . . I can just replace it. Man, I wish someone would invent something like that. They’d totally take over the market!”