Finally, Google can put millions of books online

On October 28 2008, Google announced a huge development in the course of its work with books. It is potentially the biggest single development in the book industry since the founding of Amazon. As a result of a settlement agreement in a class action suit involving authors, publishers and libraries, which has been hanging over…

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The ebook scramble

Much of the buzz at Frankfurt Book Fair this year was about ebooks, and particularly the impact that the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader have had on that part of the industry over the last year. According to IDPF spokesperson Michael Smith, ebook sales this year are up 53% in the US, and for August…

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Boost the economy from your desk: Pay a small business on time

Do you earn a salary? Salaries are like love and hot water. You only miss them when they’re missing. This is a little shout-out to all you salaried folk, especially those who have anything, anything at all to do with making payments to small businesses and freelancers: pay up on time. I don’t mean write…

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‘Bush is linked to torture ring’: An alternate reality

This week Americans have been rocked, according to the New York Times, by Governor Eliot Spitzer’s patronage of a high-end prostitution ring. Just for my own entertainment, I’ve made a few simple changes to the paper’s report, imagining what it might be like if the public reacted as viscerally to Bush’s recent veto of a…

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Trains, tragedy and the light at the end of the tunnel

This morning a colleague of mine saw a man killed at Retreat Station. Trying to force the door of a moving train, my colleague tells me, he slipped onto the rails and was cut in half by the train’s wheels. This is all I know at this stage, and this from a traumatised colleague not…

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Cricket Australia says cricket isn’t news

When you watch sport, are you watching news or entertainment? Well, both, of course. But the distinction is becoming rather important, in one regard at least: for sport fans, cricket books may soon have far fewer photos in them. It’s like the melting ice caps: you may not care now, but just wait till all…

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An original idea? Beaten to it by 600 years

My friend Mike and I have been working on a plan for a new product. Mike likes to look me in the eye and say: “Arthur, we are not geniuses.” This is his way of reminding me that we need to get a move on, because somewhere, someone else has already thought of the same…

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Web 2.0: The emperor’s new code

Every time I hear the term “Web 2.0”, I throw up a little. The man behind the phrase, Tim O’Reilly, is a legend, sure. His publishing company, O’Reilly, is a thousand-megawatt leading light whose ideas I filch regularly. But, oh, what a turdy little storm he started when he coined the term back in 2004….

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Need a sticky marketing idea? Try offending someone

For many of us small-business owners, marketing is the hardest part of the job. At EBW, we’ve learned the hard way that none of our four members are much good at it. We’ve taken to hiring freelance publicists project by project, which is fine, though we’re yet to generate the kind of social epidemic we…

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Legalese vs the little guy

In a telling op-ed piece in the New York Times, legal-lingo expert Adam Freedman cuts to the chase on the debate about the “right to bear arms” mentioned in the US Constitution’s Second Amendment: it’s all about a comma that means everything to us now, but meant very little to its writers. The article is…

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