Wednesday, March 05, 2008

E-book no A-plus

I'm still now totally down with the art of headlining.

Anyhow, I meant to post this before the hilarious Margaret Jones scandal (that's an updated link), and before Barack's not winning Ohio and Texas, which was stressing me last night. Yes, let me just come out and say I'm an Obama supporter.

But Publishers Lunch reported on HarperCollins' less than stellar attempt to make a book available online for free while publishing it. The best criticism, it seems, came from e-gadfly Cary Doctorow, on his blog, BoingBoing.

The book in question was Neil Gaiman's American Gods. This seems like a sensible choice given Gaiman's particular fan base, which is absolutely massive and generally techie. But of course, let the leader of the demographic, Senor Doctorow, then find fault:
They've put the text of American Gods up in a wrapper that loads pictures of the pages from the printed book, one page at a time, with no facility for offline reading. The whole thing runs incredibly slowly and is unbelievably painful to use.

Don't anger the nerds, Murdoch!

So because of such technical inefficiency, HC is not doing something exciting to note, as Doctorow further explains:

We take our books home and read them in a thousand ways, in whatever posture,
room, and conditions we care to. No one chains our books to our desks and shows us a single page at a time. This experiment simulates a situation that's completely divorced from the reality of reading for pleasure. As an experiment, this will prove nothing about ebooks either way.

So no point in putting up a Book: E-Book scoreboard here, as we're dealing with one team sorely unequipped for now.

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