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Archive for the ‘e Books’ Category

Fiction Friday: Extract from MiG-23 Broke My Heart by AK Dawson

Today we bring you an extract from AK Dawson’s Border War novel, MiG-23 Broke My Heart, which is currently only available as a Kindle eBook from Amazon. MiG-23 Broke My Heart, which tells the story of eighteen-year-old Thomas Green’s conscription into the South African Defence Force, was nominated as one of the Kindle Book Review Best Indie Books of 2012. The following passage comes from Chapter 1:

Thomas was bored. He was down on his stomach and elbows in a shallow ditch scooped from the side of a dune, his R4 rifle aimed at the border. He was supposed to be watching for terrorists but his eyes were on the only cloud in the sky, a little cotton swab high over the heat and sand of South-West Africa.

‘Hey, bru?’ he said, without looking away from his cloud. ‘Want to smoke a joint?’

‘Shut up, surfer boy. You’re not on Miami Beach.’

Thomas turned and squinted up to the lip of the dune. There, silhouetted against the sun like the periscope of some buried U-Boat, was the head, shoulders and rifle of one Pieter ‘Skeletor’ Venter. He was in the same nutria-brown uniform as Thomas and topped with the same standard-issue bush hat, but his uniform was free of creases and all the floppiness had been starched from his hat.

Book details

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Ground-breaking eLibrary Project Launches at St Francis College in Benoni


The eLibrary Project was officially launched last week at its beneficiary school, St Francis College, in Benoni. The project aims to promote literacy development by providing disadvantaged schools with Kindle eReaders to supplement their access to literature. 60 Kindle eReaders were handed over to the school as part of a year-long study to gain information on the future use of the tablets as aids in education in South African classrooms.

Pan Macmillan have donated a range of eBook titles by local authors including Mandy Weiner, Khaya Dlanga and Jonathan Jansen.

Press release:

Johannesburg, 26 July 2012 – The eLibrary Project officially launched at its beneficiary school, St. Francis College today. The innovative project aims to promote literacy development by providing teens at disadvantaged schools with Kindle eReaders to supplement their access to literature.

60 Kindle eReaders have been purchased by the project directors since the inception of their fundraising activities in May 2012, which focused primarily on their personal networks and some media and publishing corporate donors.

Members of the public, corporate donors, learners, teachers and the principal, Dian Cockcroft, of St. Francis College gathered in a special assembly today to celebrate the hand-over of the devices, pre-loaded with nearly 300 books. Each learner will have their own Kindle for a year which will be accessed in the school library. The excited Grade 11 boys and girls were also tutored today on how to use the Kindles by the project directors, Mark Oppenheimer and David Ansara.

Kindles could play a significant role in improving the reading experience and academic advancement of children. This theory will be put to the test during the pilot project at St. Francis College over the next year, where 60 Grade 11 students will use the devices in the classroom and the school library. This study could provide valuable information for the future use of gadgets in the classroom in South Africa.

David Ansara, co-director of the eLibrary Project says: “We are also very proud to be associated with Pan MacMillan Publishers, who have kindly donated a range of ebook titles by prominent local authors including Mandy Weiner, Khaya Dlanga and Jonathan Jansen.”

For further information on the eLibrary Project please consult the Q&A, below or visit their website on

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The following Q&A covers the major aspects of the eLibrary Project.

What is the e-Library Project all about?

“The eLibrary Project is dedicated to literacy development in South Africa through the use of eReaders,” says David Ansara, Co-Director of the eLibrary Project. “eReaders could play a significant role in improving the reading experience and academic advancement of children in disadvantaged schools and we are testing the feasibility of using these devices on a broader scale.”

When and why was it established?

The eLibrary Project was established in May 2012 by David Ansara and Mark Oppenheimer. Both David and Mark are passionate about education and believe strongly in the power of technology to create positive change in society.

What does the project comprise of?

“There is a strong research component to the project,” says Mark Oppenheimer, Co-Director of the eLibrary Project. “Our research will evaluate the impact that Kindle eBook readers have on a class of Grade 11 students at St Francis College and the pilot project will run over the course of a year, from July 2012 to June 2013.”

“Through the generous support of our donors, we have secured a Kindle for each of the sixty children in the class,” David explains. “We have measured students’ current reading ability in addition to their interest in reading before they are exposed to the devices. This will be used as a benchmark to measure the impact that the devices have on the learners’ reading ability and behaviour.”

“Once the pilot is complete we will submit our research outcomes to policy-makers and NGOs and we hope that our findings will assist these stakeholders in determining whether eBook Readers should be implemented more widely,” says Mark.

What are Kindle eReaders?

Kindles are easy-to-use devices that are designed specifically for reading. Unlike other tablet devices such as the iPad, the Kindle uses e-ink technology which makes for a much more comfortable reading experience. Although the Kindle has basic web-browsing ability, it is primarily designed as a reader which means that students won’t be distracted as they would be with other multi-media devices.

What are the advantages of the Kindle?

The advantage of the Kindle is that it provides learners with access to a large volume of information. The Kindle can store up to 1400 books, has a battery life of a month, and typically costs around R1200 including taxes and shipping. Many books prescribed at school level are copyright-free and Kindles may be a cost-effective way of providing students with access to great literature from around the world.

Would learners from disadvantaged areas be able to benefit from the Kindle?

“Absolutely. The Kindle is relatively cheap, has a long battery life and is easy to use. As we have seen with the recent textbook crisis in Limpopo, the cost of printing and distributing a large amount of traditional books is prohibitive. Kindles could potentially overcome some of these problems,” says David.

The eLibrary Project is also working closely with Pan MacMillan Publishers, who have kindly donated eBooks from prominent South African authors including Mandy Weiner, Eye Witness News journalist and the author of the bestseller, Killing Kebble. The authors of The Youngsters series (edited by Mandy Weiner) have also donated their books. These include popular homegrown talent such as Danny K., Khaya Dlanga, Nik Rabinowitz, Anele Mdoda, and Shaka Sisulu. University of the Free State Professor Jonathan Jansen has also donated two titles, including his latest, Letters to My Children.

What are the objectives of the project?

Mark: “The objective is to get young people in South Africa to read more and to fall in love with reading. Reading is not only about passing or getting good marks, it is a way of unleashing your imagination and inspiring you to dream.”

What has the response from schools been?

“The response from the staff and learners at St. Francis College has been overwhelmingly positive,” says David. “In order for a project of this nature to succeed you need the right partners and a supportive environment. Despite scarce resources, St. Francis College prides itself on its strong community focus and high academic standards, and it is the perfect partner for our pilot study.”


Image courtesy eLibrary Project

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Fiction Friday: Extract from Pride of the Spider Clan by Odili Ujubuonu

Earlier this month, Lagos-based author Odili Ujubuoñu was longlisted for 2012 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa for his novel Pride of the Spider Clan. Today we are delighted to be able to bring you an extract from the book, courtesy StoryTime:

“Welcome, Dara Isikamdi.”

Isikamdi dropped his gourd instantly, turned and faced her. “How are you?”

“I am fine.” Her lips unfolded into a smile. “Grandfather wants you.”

“Eze Kambite wants me?” He gazed at her. She gga-toothed, and this stoo out from the rest of her features.

“Yes.” She nodded. Her one hand fondled the anti-convulsion talisman around her long neck. Her other hand swung slowly beside her as though controlled by a mind detached from the one answering Isikamdi.

Book details

Photo courtesy EverythinLiterature

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Van Schaik to Offer eTextbooks Through Ingram’s VitalSource Platform

South Africa’s largest academic book chain, Van Schaik, has closed a deal with Ingram Book Company to offer eTextbooks through Ingram’s popular VitalSource platform from July 2012.

Press release:

As more students, educators and institutions adopt digital course materials for study, more booksellers, such as Van Schaik Bookstores, South Africa’s leading supplier of academic, trade and reference textbooks, are adding e-textbook solutions to their offerings, using Ingram’s VitalSource® online platform.

In April 2012, Van Schaik concluded a deal with Ingram to use VitalSource® and aims to launch its e-textbooks offering in July 2012.

“Having served the academic market in Africa for nearly a century, we have a clear understanding of the needs of our unique customer base” said Stephan Erasmus, Managing Director, Van Schaik Bookstores. “We believe that e-textbooks are a growing and important part of the future of education, and working with an international market leader like VitalSource®, we have the resources to enhance learning throughout Africa and meet the digital needs of the academic community today and into the future.”

With an online store, a library division and 55 stores, located on or near academic institutions, Van Schaik is the leading provider of academic resources in South Africa and Namibia. As e-textbook use in higher education continues its dramatic growth worldwide, the Vital Source reseller solution provides Van Schaik with tools to sell and deliver e-textbooks to its widespread customer base without costly infrastructure investments. Through the reseller program, Van Schaik will administer publisher and institutional relationships, content, contracts, orders, and financial management.

“Van Schaik was looking for a robust e-textbook solution that would serve even the most remote of its customers,” said William Chesser, Vice President of Sales, Vital Source Technologies, Inc. “The VitalSource® platform is a true online/offline e-book solution, with robust iOS and Android apps complementing Mac, Windows, and browser-based access. The multiplicity of access options is crucial in an emerging environment like South African higher education.”

Van Schaik easily incorporated its online store and in-store kiosks with the VitalSource® fulfilment engine through industry-standard web integration. Students and educators who purchase e-textbooks from Van Schaik enjoy all the benefits of the VitalSource® platform including integrated download, online and mobile content options, advanced searching, and annotation, note-sharing, and accessibility features.

Becoming a reseller of the VitalSource® solution allows Van Schaik’s stores to consolidate their position as the key content service provider on campus. “They become the go-to local experts in e-content, and are able to help their client campuses solve not just content aggregation and access challenges, but the critical integration, finance, support, and training challenges that come hand-in-hand with migration to a digital education world,” said Chesser.

“As resellers reshape their business and enhance their offering for today’s students, the Vital Source reseller solution is perfectly suited to support those efforts,” said Kent Freeman, Chief Operating Officer, VitalSource® Technologies, Inc. “Using VitalSource®, Van Schaik will connect more students and educators to the newest interactive learning tools and e-textbooks from the leaders in education. We are pleased to support Van Schaik in their efforts to make e-textbooks available to all that want them.”

VitalSource®, with more than 2 million users, is the most used e-textbook platform in education today. With a presence on 6,000 campuses in 180 countries, educators and students have access to tens of thousands of titles from the world’s leading textbook publishers.

About Van Schaik

Van Schaik Bookstore is a leading supplier of academic, trade and reference textbooks in Southern Africa. With 54 stores in South Africa, an online store –, a library division and a store in Namibia, our service is accessible to students, lecturers as well as professionals nationwide. We have more than 97 years of experience, and are the largest specialist academic book chain in South Africa. Van Schaik is part of Avusa Limited – a leading South African media and entertainment company, boasting prominent brands, innovative content, delivered across a variety of channels. Avusa is a public company listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) Limited.

About Ingram

Ingram Content Group Inc. provides a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry. Ingram’s operating units are Ingram Book Company, Lightning Source Inc., VitalSource® Technologies, Inc., Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Tennessee Book Company LLC, and Coutts Information Services. For more information, visit


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Hands on the DODOcase Classic iPad Case

I see and evaluate a lot of cases and covers – both protective and designer (and occasionally both) – every year, primarily for the iPad but also for phones. Most are high quality and serve their intended purpose well but few really make me go “I want that”. The DODOcase Classic, for the iPad 2 and the 3rd generation iPad, is one of those exceptions.

DODOcase Classic for the iPad

The name and product itself play on the theme of extinction (or, more accurately, attempts to protect from extinction). The products use eco-friendly materials and the company “supports local” but the primary intention is to keep artisan bookbinders, whose skills are increasingly becoming irrelevant in our gadgetified e-book culture, employed and relevant by inventing new uses for their skills.

The cases comprises a black exterior of Moroccan cloth over boards and inside you will find linen in one of four colour options (red, sky blue, charcoal, or green). The case I was sent to evaluate is sky blue and I absolutely love the colour, which is somewhere between a cobalt blue and a blue teal. The tray is (presumably machine) carved from bamboo and there is an elasticised strap that you can either wrap around the ipad in the case or around the case when it’s closed. Each corner of the tray is protected with a piece of rubber so when the lid is shut no scraping wear and tear occurs on either the lid or the tray. The rubber pads also help to fit the iPad snugly in the tray and prevent its corners from scraping against the inside of the tray.

DODOcase Classic for the iPad: rubber protective corners

I tested the DODOcase Classic with an iPad 2 and most of the cutouts in the tray were suitable – you can access the headphone jack on top and the connector dock on the bottom. The speaker on the bottom is also unobstructed at the base (though of course the section that wraps to the back isn’t). There is a cutout on the right-hand side to give you access to the volume and lock buttons but due to the curve of the iPad 2 you can’t really reach them without lifting the iPad 2 slightly out of the case. The same is true of the power button on the top right.

However, I would argue that this case is designed more for stylish storage and transportation, not for in-case use, although the case lid can be folded completely backwards and underneath to allow for elevated typing (“Typing Mode”) or at an angle to make it easier to watch videos (“Perch Mode”).

The DODOcase Classic doesn’t feature a camera hole (some of the other cases in the range do by default) but I doubt that that would be an issue for most owners. However, if this is something that will bother you, you can pay an extra US$4.95 if you buy directly from the manufacturers and one will be added for you. You can also add monogramming or text in one of three places (spine, centre top, front), which will be stamped with hot foil in gold or black, at an extra cost of US$9.95 (monogram) or US$12.95 (free-form text).

DODOcase Classic for the iPad

This is a high-end case – you will pay a premium, though the price set by the local South African distributors (R600) is about the same as the price of a number of other iPad cases I’ve seen – but think of it as contributing to the preservation of some endangered skills.

For book lovers struggling with loss associated with the transition to electronic reading devices this is a beautiful compromise that should go some way to easing the conscience.

More Information

Official Site:
South African Distributors: Wintec Solutions, 011 467 2360,

Images courtesy DODOcase

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“Why Can’t We All Be Friends?”: An Alternative View on the Digital vs Print Debate

Print versus eBooks

Joe Vaz, editor of the digital-only Sci-fi and Horror magazine, Something Wicked, has added his voice to the ongoing debate on the merits of eBooks versus print books. While remaining tentative about adding yet another opinion to a topic mired by repetitiveness and uninformed commentary, Vaz says that a view that has been neglected regards the simple factor of cost.

Every so often the eBook debate explodes on the internet – for example, with Jonathan Franzen’s recent declaration that eBooks are “corroding values”. His argument? “The combination of technology and capitalism has given us a world that really feels out of control” (two words Franzen: modern medicine).

A quick dip into the Franzen debate, for those wanting some background:

The author of Freedom and The Corrections, regarded as one of America’s greatest living novelists, said consumers had been conned into thinking that they need the latest technology.
“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it’s pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model,” said Franzen, who famously cuts off all connection to the internet when he is writing.

On a recent holiday I read Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Freedom. It might amuse him to learn that the reason I read it is because I knocked my Kindle, carefully stocked up with a holiday’s worth of books, off a bar and onto a stone floor, breaking the screen and forcing me to pick up a few emergency replacements in the airport.

In his timeous response to the debate, Vaz tries to gently side-step the “either/or” approach and simply bring into view some considerations which show that both have their value – that “both mediums are needed”. He points out that since buying a Kindle, he has read more classics than ever before thanks to the availability of out-of-print public domain books. They make access to reading “super-efficient”, “immediate”, and cheap.

On the other hand, Vaz reminds us that similar problems of cost and availability emerge when one considers that “an e-book is only cheap if you have a $100 e-reader”, making the medium exclusive mainly for “us children of the internet”. The medium also makes transference of books difficult. As Vaz points out, “how will you donate your old books to your library, or your gardener if they’re all tied up in licensing restrictions and, more importantly, sealed shut inside your Kindle or iPad”?

Diplomatically following the words of Franzen, Vaz says “there is a sense of permanence to books; they can be lost, or wet, or forgotten or donated or tossed in the bin, but they can also be re-discovered by someone else”. Or, as Stephen Colbert rightly points out, “You can’t burn a Kindle”.

Also responding to Franzen’s claims that eBooks lack a sense of permanence, Jeff Alexander in TIME Ideas writes that “Franzen was overlooking another factor that should be dear to any literary traditionalist’s heart: e-books are also keeping the classics alive.” Corresponding with the points raised by Vaz, Alexander says that eBooks have made out-of-print public domain classics like Anna Karenina available to a new audience:

“If you’ve just dropped a couple of bills on an iPad, Nook or Kindle, you may not be in the mood to pile on another $20 or $50 or $100 worth of the latest bestsellers to read on it, especially in the current economy. On the other hand, that pang of guilt you feel every time you pass Tolstoy or Austen sitting unopened on your shelf now has an electronic remedy and one that didn’t cost you more than a little download time.

Read the article at Something Wicked‘s blog:

As most of you know, I run an online/e-book fiction magazine called Something Wicked. My entire market is people who own e-readers and enjoy downloading our magazine, so it is fair to say that I depend on e-reader customers to finance my magazine. I myself own two Kindles, and have downloaded dozens and dozens of books and magazines. I have subscriptions to six short-fiction magazines, five of them e-mags, and only one in print.

I think it is fair to say that I am a fan of e-books and the e-reader technology.

Need a crash course on eBooks? Take a look at these infographics (click to view):


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Carolyn Meads ondersoek die aanpasbaarheid van e-boeke

Anita en Deon Meyer se kookboek Kom eet!, Koos Kombuis se memoir In die tyd van die kombi’s en die biografie Anton Rupert: ‘n Lewensverhaal deur Ebbe Dommisse en Willie Esterhuyse is al drie voorbeelde van boeke wat, om verskillende redes, kort ná hul verskyning bygewerk moes word.

Kom eet!Die tyd van die kombi�sAnton Rupert

Met gedrukte boeke moet daar gewag word totdat die eerste oplaag uitverkoop voordat veranderinge in die tweede druk aangebring kan word. Dit gebeur egter al hoe meer dat jy ‘n bygewerkte weergawe van ‘n e-boek met die druk van ‘n knoppie kan aflaai.

In ‘n artikel wat ek vir By geskryf het, ondersoek ek die aanpasbaarheid van e-boeke en gesels ek met verskeie uitgewers oor die moontlikhede wat dit in die toekoms vir die bywerk van boeke kan inhou:

Daar is die geval van die onskuldige tikfout, of die vermiste kopieregreël, of die sin wat jy tik in ’n oomblik van onbesonnenheid wanneer die muse met jou tiekiedraai. En voordat jy jou oë uitvee, is die boek in druk en is jou fout in swart-op-wit verewig… Maar met e-boeke hoef dit nie meer so te wees nie.

Kort nadat hulle die splinternuwe Steve Jobs-biografie deur Walter Isaacson as e-boek aangeskaf het, het sommige kopers ’n e-pos ontvang met die versoek dat hulle hul ou weergawe van die boek uitvee en ’n nuwe weergawe aanlyn aflaai. Dit was nie omdat ’n fout of sappige leuen met die publikasie van die eerste uitgawe ingesluip het nie.


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James Lee Burke’s Feast Day of Fools Will Delight

By Andrew Donaldson for The Times:

Short, sharp guidance and observations from a journalist with attitude


Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke (Orion), R195

Recalled to active duty after about 40 years in 2009′s Rain Gods, sheriff Hackberry Holland finds himself investigating the murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration informant and the disappearance of an escaped hostage wanted by the CIA, against a backdrop of drug trafficking and people smuggling in a morally insane American southwest. It really is a country for old men. Vintage Burke fans will be delighted.


South African crime writers are routinely asked: “Don’t you think that there’s enough crime? Why write about it?”

Spare a thought then for Norway’s crime writers. At the weekend, The Observer canvassed them about Anders Behring Breivik’s killing spree on Utoya island in July, which tore apart the country’s reputation as one of the safest places in the world, with a murder rate of just 0.6 per 100000 people.

As the newspaper put it: “Norwegian crime writers have got used to defending themselves against the charge of pure fantasy. They usually respond by pointing out that, contrary to the global image, Norway does suffer from crime and social dysfunction, and there are dark forces abroad behind the facade of the social democratic idyll.”

The events on Utoya no doubt demonstrated this. Jan Kjaerstad, author of a celebrated postmodern trilogy on a television presenter who is charged with murdering his wife, told the newspaper: “Norway is a small country. We have this history of no war from 1814 to now, with the exception of the Nazi occupation. Everyone knows someone who had some connection to these killings.”

And that includes the crime writers Anne Holt, Thomas Enger, KO Dahl, Gunnar Staalesen, Karin Fossum and Jo Nesbo – some of the genre’s best, incidentally. We await their explorations of the Utoya horror with interest.


Penguin is to become the first mainstream publisher to launch a digital-only list of titles by big-name authors.

In a sign of how the eBook revolution is reshaping the industry, the range of specially commissioned short stories and essays, published from next month, will not be available in hard copy.

Unlike most eBooks, they will be short – fewer than 25000 words each – and cost between R12 and R24, says the publisher.

They include a novella by Anita Brookner, the Booker prize winner, a short story by Helen Dunmore, an Orange prize winner, an essay about immigration by Elif Shafak the Turkish writer, and a cook book with Christmas recipes by Felicity Cloake.


“I am married to the German people and their fate!…No, I cannot marry, I must not.” – Eva Braun: Life With Hitler by Heike B Görtemaker, translated by Damion Searls (Alfred A Knopf).

Books brought to you in association with

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Incredible Connection Partners with Amazon, Stocks the Kindle for Christmas


Alert! News that had been circulating in South Africa’s books and electronics circles for the last few weeks was made official yesterday, when it was reported that Incredible Connection, the local electronics retailer, would be stocking‘s Kindle e-reader for the festive season this year.


The store will apparently carry two Kindle models: the Kindle Keyboard 3G and the “keyboardless” Kindle, a new model that was announced by Amazon in September. They are set to retail for R2500 and R1500, respectively (more on that below).

Incredible will not, however, be stocking the much-slavered-over Kindle Fire tablet, or the new Kindle Touch. broke the story:

Incredible Connection is the first officially approved retail chain in South Africa to make Amazon Kindle e-reader devices available to consumers.

Through an exclusive deal with Amazon, Incredible Connection is able to offer both the Kindle Keyboard 6” 3G and Wi-Fi device, providing 3G connectivity for life in areas that are supported, and the Keyboardless 6” Wi-Fi device.

Incredible Connection also provides support for readers of Kindle e-books, with in-store technicians trained to set up customers’ Amazon accounts – making the experience of buying and using a Kindle product seamless.

While Incredible is not the first retailer to stock the Kindle locally – Makro put the device on its shelves earlier this year – this will be the first time that it will be seen in major retail centres in South Africa.

It has been pointed out in several places that Incredible’s price point is rather high, given that Amazon also ships the Kindle directly to South Africa (you’ll have it less than a week after you order it from

Unfortunately for Incredible Connection’s customers, the listed retail price is incredibly high compared to the list price on Amazon. The K3 will be selling for R2,500 and the K4 will be priced at R1,500. Assuming that Google converted the prices correctly, the price for the K3 comes to $314 USD with the K4 listed at $188. That’s a little much, even considering the import duties that may be involved.

Despite the high price point – and the likelihood that Incredible is only making money off the sale of the devices, not the content (one simply can’t imagine the likes of Amazon entering a revenue sharing agreement on content with any local player) – the chain will probably do well with its offering, as it removes the various perceived threats related to shopping online. Customers who want a Kindle but were reluctant to go through Amazon’s portal can now simply drop in at their local mall.

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e-Piracy an e-Blot on e-Books’ Future


With electronic books growing in popularity, the publishing world focuses on fighting the threat of digital book pirates.

Publishing experts from the United States and Britain attending the world’s biggest book fair here say ebook theft is unlikely to go away, but is a manageable problem with vigilance and action already underway.

Ebook readers — devices such as the Kindle by Amazon and Apple‘s iPad — are fuelling demand for digital books, which account in the US for about 20 percent of book sales, Claire Holloway, of publishing services provider Bookmasters said.

“If you give normal, regular, upstanding citizens a legitimate route to your material they are most likely to attain it legitimately, most people do not want to steal,” she said.

However, failing to offer a legitimate digital version of a book plays into the hands of pirates, who often simply distribute a scanned version of the book on the Internet, said the Ohio-based operations manager.

Academic and text books tend to be illegally copied more than fiction due to their high prices and the fact that students often only need them for a term prompting student pirating networks, she added.

According to the German Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association, some 60 percent of electronic books in Germany, where the market share is still under one percent, are being downloaded illegally.

But Richard Mollet, chief executive of The Publishers Association, said it was difficult to calculate the size of the problem in Britain, where about four percent of combined print and ebook revenues come from digital works.

“It’s a very hard thing to do a study of because you have to ask consumers ‘those ebooks that you downloaded illegally, how many of them are actual direct substitutes for sales’?”, he said.

Unlike in music where illegal services developed faster than legal ones for downloads, he said ebook retailers were used to dealing with publishers so “the ecosystem that built up around digital was legal”.

“We are in a happier place than music was in this stage of its digital evolution,” he said.

However, he warned against complacency.

People will always try to get pirated ebook content either because they believe it should be free, simply because they can, or because they do not want a corporate account or are underage, he said.

“All these factors mean infringement will be present in our market, but it’s likely to remain a manageable proportion,” he added.

One of the steps The Publishers Association has taken is to set up an online service that allows members to identify where their content is on an infringing Internet site anywhere in the world.

A legal notice is sent, which in 86 percent of cases results in the offending site agreeing to remove the content, Mollet said.

For Thomas Mosch, of the Federation of German Technological Companies, it is a question of finding a balance and not scaring off well-meaning people willing to pay for legal content with over-rigorous measures.

“You will never be able to do anything about 10 to 20 percent of piracy,” he said.

“But with 80 to 90 percent of people ready to pay, the publishing industry should be able to live.”

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