Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘e-readers’

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Soundtracking a story

Earlier this week, I mentioned Heidi Julavits’ novel The Effect of Living Backwards, and how she thanks Track 4 of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in the acknowledgements. She suggests she listened to it over and over while writing the novel—but knowing this, would be interested to read the novel while listening to that track, wouldn’t it? The concept of a soundtrack to a book isn’t exactly new. For some time, the fabulous book and music blog Largehearted Boy has asked writers to make playlists for their books, and the resulting lists include the author’s notes on how the song relates […]


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Kindle-proof your manuscript

Okay, so maybe you are a confirmed Kindle-hater. And you’re also a writer. You’ve sworn to yourself that you will never, ever, allow your words to be displayed on a Kindle. But as a writer, you don’t always have control over the format of your book. What to do? At The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg offers 7 ways to “Kindle-proof” your manuscript. For example: Play With Text, Typeface, and White Space eReaders currently use two approaches to rendering text. One is quasi-photographic, but the Kindle’s remains the more battery-efficient method of imposing a standard typeface. This makes the effects of […]


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A Kindle for Dickens

If Charles Dickens had had a Kindle, what would it have looked like? That’s the question art student Rachel Walsh tried to answer for her design class, which asked her to explain something modern to someone who died before 1900. Walsh’s explanation involved creating a visual metaphor: Since a 19th-century author wouldn’t have had any concept of downloads, e-readers, or the Internet, Walsh had to create a metaphor for the device that would resonate with Dickens. Realizing that a Kindle is just a lot of books inside a big book, she created an old-school version consisting of literal little books […]


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How to sign an e-reader

Aside from copyright and industry-related questions (will they make pirating too easy? Will they kill/save publishing?) e-readers have sparked one other conundrum. If you meet the author, what do you ask them to sign? Some readers have asked the authors to autograph the e-reader itself—David Sedaris, for instance, inscribed “This bespells doom” on one. Those who’d like more than one author’s signature, however, now have a new option. Florida resident T. J. Waters has developed a program, Autography, that allows authors to sign an ebook: “Basically, what you do is pull up a copy of your book as the author, […]


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Marginalia and the e-reader

Partway through his essay on marginalia, Sam Anderson tells the story of lending a friend his copy of Infinite Jest—complete with his own annotations—then borrowing it back partway through: The fresh one, she told me afterward, felt a little lonely by comparison: she missed the meta-conversation running in the margins, the sense of another consciousness co-filtering D.F.W.’s words, the footnotes to the footnotes to the footnotes to the footnotes. On our wedding day, my husband received a copy of Infinite Jest from his childhood friend as a wedding gift, complete with dogeared pages and scrawled marginal notes. “This book,” said […]


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Psst! I'll give you print books for that Kindle.

Having post-holiday Kindle regret? Microcosm Publishing, of Portland, OR, will trade $189 worth of paper books for your used Kindle. (Via.) Says the publisher’s website: Beginning RIGHT NOW you can bring in your Christmas Kindle to the Microcosm store in Portland (636 SE 11th) and trade it in for its worth in new or used books and zines! That’s right! Why let fad technology kill print when you can take a stand and fill up your shelves in the process. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell your parents.) And make sure to bring a friend to help you carry all your […]


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Harder than walking and chewing gum at the same time…

Serious bookworms don’t read just on the train. They read anytime they have a minute—sometimes at their peril. The father of a certain Fiction-Writers-Review-editor-who-shall-not-be-named has been known to read the newspaper while driving. And in high school, I knew a girl who read books while walking: down the hallway AND down the sidewalk. I was never quite able to master this skill. As usual, technology has come to the rescue. Inkstone Software has added the “Walk N’ Read HUD (Heads-Up Display)” feature to their e-reader MegaReader—and it does just what it says on the box. Explains the company’s press release: […]


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Evolution or Devolution: Where is literature taking us?

The following guest post is by Josie Keenan, an FWR intern and second-year student at the University of Michigan. More and more these days, I find myself bemoaning the fate of books. As Lee discussed in her recent blog “Let’s get digital”, downloadable books have been available for some time now. Digitization is one aspect of the way literature is changing, but what we are reading is also changing. Where novels were once belabored, deeply considered works in which every word of every sentence was deliberately placed, today it seems a more manufacturable task. One can write a novel just […]


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Let's get digital

This post stems from a conversation with my brother – who recently moved to Chile – about what he’d loaded onto his Kindle. As a recent college grad, with limited disposable income, he was pretty stringent in choosing the books he bought. But he’s a voracious reader. His solution: he loaded up his e-reader with a clutch of classics that have entered the public domain. Let them read (old) books! Though beautiful books draw my eye, the trump card for me will always be the words on the page. I love books for the story, which means I keep reading […]


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New Skiff, likely to include the ads

We’ve all known it’s coming, but it seems it is now just a matter of time before ads start showing up in e-readers of all stripes. The Hearst corporation’s “Skiff,” an e-reader they plan to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (Jan 7 – 10, 2011). Website eReader Chat is skeptical about the viability of the Skiff taking off in an already crowded e-reader marketplace, but notes: Just about the only thing about the Skiff that really strikes me as intriguing is the partnership they’ve inked with Nielsen and comScore to handle advertising analytics for the device. Presumably, they’ll be […]




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