Book Bench – “Last week, Amazon announced the launch of @Author, a new feature for the Kindle that will enable readers to highlight a particular passage of an e-book in order to ask its author a question about it. As yet, it’s operating only in a limited beta version, but a number of high-profile writers—among them Susan Orlean, Steven Johnson, and Timothy Ferriss—have already signed up. (There’s been no announcement thus far on whether Thomas Pynchon and Cormac McCarthy plan to get on board). It’s a development of which Holden Caulfield might have approved. “What really knocks me out,” as he put it, “is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” Holden’s creator, it should be said, was not himself noted for his openness to such overtures from readers”
ebookNewser – “Twitter is a buzz Sunday night with the news that Amazon had added social networking features to the Kindle support site at kindle.amazon.com. Kindle users can now create a profile page, follow other Kindle users, share details about their reading habits, and so on. I’m not sure that this qualifies as news, other than the fact it happened so quietly. The new features appear to have been launched quite some time ago; there are some users with hundreds if not thousands of followers.”
Dallas Morning News – “E-readers are superior to paper books for a lot of reasons, from the massive number of volumes a single device can hold to the ability to wirelessly download titles without your ever setting foot in a bookstore.
But if you just don’t feel right reading without a physical book in your hand, husband-and-wife team John and Connie Cullen have found a way to bring both worlds together. The inBook case is a hardback book with the pages carved out to hold models of the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers.”
Teleread – “Amazon just issued a press release announcing the opening of their Kindle Textbooks store. Titles will be available to rent for periods from 30 days to 360 days, and students can increase the rental period in increments as small as one day, or purchase (license) the book outright at any point. The other compelling feature is that any notes or highlights will remain stored on Amazon’s servers under the customer’s Kindle account, just like other notes and highlights, so that they’ll remain accessible even after the rental expires.”
Bloomberg – “Sony Corp. (SNE), Japan’s largest exporter of consumer electronics, plans to introduce a line of upgraded digital book readers in the U.S. as early as next month to challenge Kindle maker Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) The current Sony Reader, now priced from $180 to $300, will probably be offered with hardware and software improvements in August, Phil Lubell, vice president of digital reading at Sony Electronics, said yesterday in an interview in San Francisco.”
LAT Opinion – “Kindles are convenient, but they just aren’t as good as books.”
AP – “Amazon says its Kindle e-reader will get the ability to load e-books from 11,000 U.S. public libraries later this year. Most U.S. libraries already provide e-books, which work with nearly all e-readers except the Kindle. They’re also accessible on many smartphones and tablets like the iPad.”
NYT – “Amazon’s announcement that it will start selling an advertising-supported Kindle at a discounted price has provoked some grumbling about the commercialization of the reading experience.
But books haven’t always been an ad-free zone, as this 2007 essay by Paul Collins from the Book Review shows. Back in the mid-19th century, readers of Dickens serials were bombarded with paeans to Freeman’s Spermazine Wax Lights and Dr. Lucock’s Pulmonic Wafers. And in the 1960s and 1970s, you could hardly open a mass-market paperback without encountering a pitch for Q-Tips, Sanka or Canadian Club.
BusinessWire – “Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that customers who subscribe to The New York Times for Kindle will be receiving access to The New York Times Web site at no additional charge. The date for Kindle New York Times subscribers’ free online access is yet undetermined; subscribers will receive further communication via e-mail in the coming weeks. “Customers love reading The New York Times on their Kindles,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “Given The Times’ transition to a digital subscription model, we’re excited to be able to offer Kindle subscribers online access to all the digital content available at NYTimes.com at no additional cost.”
Bloomberg – “Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos cut prices and added features to the Kindle to defend it against a threat from Apple Inc. in the fast- growing market for electronic readers. Amazon introduced two new versions of the device today, including a $139 model that works with Wi-Fi. A second version, with 3G mobile technology as well as Wi-Fi to download books, costs $189. Bloomberg News reported details in May about Amazon’s plans for the Kindle, its bestselling product.”