When an ebook is not available directly through a publisher, I’d like to purchase it through Kobo rather than Amazon. A nice part of Kobo is the option to associate your account with an independent bookstore. Once associated, the store receives some amount of money for any ebook you purchase. This...
Vox looks back at the ebook. It hasn’t made progress in a decade. Publishing spent the 2010s fighting tooth and nail against ebooks. There were unintended consequences.
Watch out: 2019 is sneaking in some last kicks to the crotch before it’s done. Overdrive, the leading provider of ebooks to public libraries, is being sold by Rakuten to the investment firm which “bought and bankrupted” Toys R Us.
Over the past month or so, I’ve been experimenting with some fiction to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of a workflow for status updates around reading books, writing book reviews, and then extracting and depositing notes, highlights, and marginalia online. I’ve now got a relatively quick and painless workflow for exporting the book related data from my Amazon Kindle and importing it into the site with some modest markup and CSS for display. I’m sure the workflow will continue to evolve (and further automate) somewhat over the coming months, but I’m reasonably happy with where things stand.
The fact that the Amazon Kindle allows for relatively easy highlighting and annotation in e-books is excellent, but having the ability to sync to a laptop and do a one click export of all of that data, is incredibly helpful. Adding some simple CSS to the pre-formatted output gives me a reasonable base upon which to build for future writing/thinking about the material. In experimenting, I’m also coming to realize that simply owning the data isn’t enough, but now I’m driven to help make that data more directly useful to me and potentially to others.
As part of my experimenting, I’ve just uploaded some notes, highlights, and annotations for David Christian’s excellent text Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History which I read back in 2011/12. While I’ve read several of the references which I marked up in that text, I’ll have to continue evolving a workflow for doing all the related follow up (and further thinking and writing) on the reading I’ve done in the past.
I’m still reminded me of Rick Kurtzman’s sage advice to me when I was a young pisher at CAA in 1999:
“If you read a script and don’t tell anyone about it, you shouldn’t have wasted the time having read it in the first place.” His point was that if you don’t try to pass along the knowledge you found by reading, you may as well give up. Even if the thing was terrible, at least say that as a minimum. In a digitally connected era, we no longer need to rely on nearly illegible scrawl in the margins to pollinate the world at a snail’s pace. Take those notes, marginalia, highlights, and meta data and release it into the world. The fact that this dovetails perfectly with Cesar Hidalgo’s thesis in Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, furthers my belief in having a better process for what I’m attempting here.
Hopefully in the coming months, I’ll be able to add similar data to several other books I’ve read and reviewed here on the site.
If anyone has any thoughts, tips, tricks for creating/automating this type of workflow/presentation, I’d love to hear them in the comments!