Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES (the e-book edition)

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e-books roundup Part I
The New York Times has reported that Amazon suits tried to do an end rush around Steve Jobs while the computer exec was on stage last month debuting the iPad to media. Apparently Amazon phoned publishers to try to lock in new deals that would guarantee its pricing on e-books would be lower than Apple's, but the tactic failed. Instead, publishers have now used Apple as leverage to force Amazon to up their prices—from about $9.99 to about $14.99—and that has angered Kindle users.

e-books roundup Part II
Meanwhile, the Toronto-based e-book service Kobo launched its UK site last week, which promises to to be the first of many international sites for the company in the coming year. It could be a shaky year, however, if they are unable to secure better reviews for their site than that given by a thoroughly unimpressed Shane Richmond of London's Telegraph.

e-books roundup Part III
The Guardian's Bobbie Johnson erroneously calls the Canadian e-book service Kobo an American company in his report about Kobo rival,, which has launched a mobile e-document service of their own, based on the same device-agnostic "open format" principles as Kobo's.

e-books roundup Part IV
As reported on Sci-Tech Today, Nintendo announced last week that they, too, are getting into the e-reader game, with their new DSi XL Handheld, a game console that will double as an e-book platform. Apparently the only e-books the device will be able to display are those that come with a program called 100 Classic Books, which costs $20US and provides a whack of literature by writers such as Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Jane Austen. Oh yeah, right, because as everyone knows, when kids tire of playing Super Mario, they love nothing more than to hunker down to a good, archaic read.

e-books roundup Part V
Google's attempts to get into the e-book market continue to, well, if not unravel completely, then fray badly at the seams. The Guardian reports that, according to court documents, due to concerns over copyright infringement more than 6,500 authors and literary agents have chosen to opt out of the Google Book Settlement, including such notable scribes as Quentin Blake, Jeffrey Archer, Louis de Bernières, Thomas Pynchon, Zadie Smith, Bret Easton Ellis, Philip Pullman and Jeanette Winterson . Funny, isn't it Google, how people insist on actually owning the things they own?

e-books roundup Part VI
Here's a number to watch over the coming year. The New York Times reports that stats released by publishing analysts at Bowker show e-book sales in the US comprised just 2% of book sales for 2009. I've spoken to some execs in the industry who say that number could climb as high as 50% within 5 years. It remains to be seen, however, if consumers will actually embrace e-readers and e-reading services, which they will have to do en masse if such numbers are to be realized. Meanwhile, Mark Muro of The New Republic says that a Harvard Business School professor named Willy Shih thinks the rise of the Kindle may be a signal of the decline of the US.

"You're pretty enough to be a gorilla..."
Okay, this has absolutely nothing to do with e-books, but I couldn't resist. io9 has a fun gallery of classic comic covers from the age of apes. My favourite is number 15, depicting a space-alien gorilla smitten by Wonder Woman.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page