Round up 106: Authorobots, Happy birthday KDD

Round up 106: Nimble Books, Happy birthday KDD

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Happy birthday, Kindle Daily Deal!

The Kindle Daily Deal is one-year old today (hmm…I think one year is the pixel anniversary). 😉 To celebrate, they are repeating 25 titles that have been the KDD before. The price is $1.99 each, which seems to be standard now. I know at least one of these was $0.99 the first time, but this is still a good deal.

KDD 25 for the 1st

There are some good titles in here. Here are just a few:

DoJ’s latest response in the Agency Model action

I think this case has more filings than a nail salon (rimshot!). 😉

In this latest

PDF

the Department of Justice responds to concerns expressed by Apple, Penguin, Macmillan…and Barnes &  Noble and the American Booksellers Association (even though the last two aren’t even really part of the case).

I can sum it up in six words:

“Aw, go sit on an egg.”

😉

Basically, the DoJ says that the comments don’t have merit (and explains why), and asks for us just to get to the decision, already.

I thought Apple had a point the last time about contracts being terminated with Apple before Apple had gone to court.

However, the DoJ handily refutes that by pointing out that the contracts have the clause that allows the publishers to terminate the contract with a thirty day notice (basically), meaning that the government isn’t changing the terms.

That makes a big difference, and satisfies me on that point.

A couple of quotations (although you might enjoy the whole statement):

“Suggestions that the antitrust laws are of no use when it comes to e-books are especially remarkable in light of the unmistakable consumer harm that resulted from the conspiracy in this case. The conspirators eliminated the “wretched $9.99 price” that so attracted the reading public and so infuriated publishers…”

“…the Court should reject the suggestion that the “public interest” is determined by the ability of interested parties to muster the largest number of comments in a Tunney Act proceeding. Certainly, it is not unprecedented for parties to oppose a settlement because they have a stake in an anticompetitive status quo”

I have to admit that the DoJ does seemed to be surprised and astounded a lot by what the other folks say…at least, they write it that way. It reminds me of Renault in Casablanca saying, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”  🙂 I’m not at all saying that the DoJ was participating, as was the case in that classic movie. It’s just that their shock seems a bit…theatrical.

Authorobots

We all know it’s going to happen eventually…we’ll read books written by computers. Oh, it will be some time before they write good novels, although I can see how they could learn to do that. They could start with something like the Harlequin formula, and then learn to judge people’s reactions to it and adjust based on that before full publication. Certainly, a neural net could be applied to this task, but that’s just geeky. 🙂

Non-fiction, though? We don’t have to wait for that, it’s here.

You can go to

http://www.nimblebooks.com/magento/index.php/

answer four (!) questions, and have it assemble a book for you from Wikipedia…which they then sell for you and you get a royalty.

No, it’s not really writing anything new, it’s “combining” things that already exist.

It is, in a sense, more of a robotic research assistant than an author, but you still end up with a book.

I think natural language production (and understanding) is going to quantumly increase in the next few years.  While we didn’t have HAL 9000 by 2001, 2021 may not be out of the question (in terms of conversational capability).

It’s really not that different from what the free Flipboard app does for me, or what your Tivo does by making suggestions based on what you’ve been asking to see.

We’re talking “instant books” on current events being available in seconds. Somebody appears in the news who wasn’t famous yesterday, and you get a book telling you all about them within a minute of you requesting it.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be as good as a human…they won’t have the perspective (not right away, anyway). I think these “robobooks” will be part of the average person’s reading mix quite soon.

Brick-and-mortar news

Just a little bit on a couple of stories about independent book stores…

The first one makes it clear that you run an independent bookstore because you love it, not because you plan to make a lot of money. That’s one reason they can survive…it was never about the bucks, it was about the books. 😉

The second one just really struck my fancy. It was about a local bookstore which is basically revived every year at the state fair…you know, like donkey rides led by faux pioneers. 🙂

It reminded me of my story, A Trip to the Bookstore.

Catching up with Andrys Basten and A Kindle World

Andrys Basten’s

A Kindle World blog

has always been a strong recommendation of mine. Lately, Andrys has been particularly good. One thing was reporting rapid changes in Amazon’s Kindle product pages, suggesting a change. Another one has been an evaluation of the restated requirements for the Department of State EBR (E-Book Reader) deal. These can not be called anything except good solid reporting. I’d recommend you check them out.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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