coming from Publishers Weekly that Sony and JK Rowling have reached an agreement that gives Sony the exclusive right to sell the Harry Potter e-books for at least a two-month period starting this November. Considering the fact that e-books cannot easily be transferred between any of the Big Three E-readers, is the deal really going to be worth the millions of dollars Sony is said to have paid Rowlings? Are Harry Potter fans so rabid that they will spring for a Sony Reader just to get electronic copies of books they already know by heart? Does Sony believe that this will be the deal that makes or breaks the company's ultimate survival in the e-book market? If the deal is really only for two months, I can't see this having all that big of a positive impact for Sony. Rowling must be laughing all the way to the bank today.`
...about the class action lawsuit against Apple for conspiring with publishers to fix the price of e-books. This all started in 2010 when the original iPad (and iBooks) was introduced to the world. Suddenly, all those publishers that had been forced by Amazon to sell new e-books at what had become a fairly standard $9.99 price were given the opportunity by Apple to set their own prices. The result? E-books prices have literally soared, moving into the $12-$15 range on average, and they don't seem likely to come down anytime soon despite some level of customer resistance. Matthew Ingram believes it is less a case of conspiracy and more "a desperate move by a fading industry." Personally, I'm not paying those prices because e-books don't have nearly the value to me that physical books have...not even close.
...about the guy out in Utah who is claiming to have Butch Cassidy's autobiography in manuscript form. Brent Ashworth claims that the manuscript was written in Cassidy's later years, long after he survived the 1908 showdown with the Bolivian army everyone else in the world believes killed him. Nice try, Brent, but I'm not buying it. As one historian is quoted in the LA Times books section, "...total horse pucky."
...and about all hours I've spent with the audiobook version of Jonathan Franzen's massive novel, Freedom. This thing is 19 CDs long, probably 22 or 23 hours worth, and I'm about to finish up disc 16. Sixteen discs and I'm still wondering what the point is. OK, I get it..."it's an epic of contemporary love and marriage," an intense look at three or four people (and their children) as they move from their own youth into the trials of middle age marriage. But, geez, Mr. Franzen, I got the point about five discs back and it just goes on and on and on with these people. If I were reading this heavyweight thing, I would have given up a few hundred pages ago. As it is, I will finish the final three discs with another week's commuting, so there' no point in quitting now. But what am I going to say about it later?