I have made a commitment to balanced blogging, since I Could Have Cats took me to task for my recent rant on the PIR debate. But then something like this comes along: Kindle hits Australia this month.
Regular Speakeasy readers will remember that one of the key issues preventing the sale of Kindle outside the US was the complexity of Amazon’s negotiations with local telecommunications providers, whose 3G networks are required for distribution of Kindle books. According to cnet:
A spokesperson for VHA said it hadn’t signed a deal with the bookseller. Telstra has yet to respond to queries. Optus said it "had nothing to confirm". On the site, however, it is possible to check wireless coverage that the device will access, which seems to be quite extensive.
So everyone’s being very coy, but if you compare coverage maps (and thanks to the very clever Mark Bahnisch for this tip), it looks like a pretty good pattern match for Optus. Don’t take my word for it.
Now, let us all take a brief moment to grok out on the fact that the gadget uses real ink. Mmmm, lo-fi…
I alluded to a little rant about this issue, and here’s the thing. Well, there are many things, as non-Optus (I’m postulating) customers will soon realise, but here’s my thing: Prices are all in USD! For some, this would be no biggie – your actual price information is just a conversion rate away. But it represents a barrier to the seamless integration of e-books into users’ experiences, one of the strongest benefits of digital publishing. It also makes me feel totally coca-colonised.
Still, if you look at this comprehensive list of kindle services, Australia is better off than most countries, especially Islamic countries, and even poor old Canada, still out in the Kindle wilderness…
From Publishers’ Lunch:
Simon & Schuster is taking their successful Simon Spotlight Entertainment line and merging it with Pocket Books’ hardcovers and trade paperbacks to create a new imprint, Gallery Books. Pocket itself will return to focusing entirely on mass market publishing, as partner for all of the S&S imprints and continuing with paperback originals for "rising authors" such as Kresley Cole and Thomas Greanias.
The new line is expected to launch in spring 2010. CEO Carolyn Reidy writes to employees that "as a company we need to insure that each of our imprints has sufficient strength and support, especially in this difficult environment." Reidy notes that Gallery will have immediate strength in areas where Pocket and SSE "have already forged well-earned reputations, such as women’s fiction, pop culture and entertainment," while it "will also operate with a mandate to acquire top authors and hot prospects in a broad range of publishing categories, both fiction and nonfiction."
Large publishers often lack agility in the marketplace, constraining their ability to respond to economic and cultural trends. It will be so interesting to see how Gallery Books performs.
Budding scriptwriters pease note, next week is your last chance this year to throw your hat into the Neighbours pool:
The Australian Writers Guild has once again joined forces with FremantleMedia Australia to present the Neighbours Scriptwriter Training Initiative. The initiative provides the opportunity for two writers to join the Neighbours writing team for six weeks as trainee storyliners and learn what it takes to write for Australia’s favourite serial.
FYI, Speakeasy will now be posting once weekly, as we move into the production schedule for the next AWM print edtion.
Write on, everybody!