The Man Booker prize one ups Radiohead.
October 19, 2007 6:32 AM   Subscribe

I've heard good things about short list nominee, Mr Pip.
posted by drezdn at 6:32 AM on October 19, 2007

This is a really good idea; the publishing industry is really hurting at the moment, and I wonder if this will open the floodgates.

Finding fiction online is a real pain; there are things like the New Yorker fiction section online, but I really wish there was a central repository for long and short form online stories, or even just links to them. (Or non-technical non-fiction, come to that.) Hell, if I had any contacts at all in the mainstream publishing industry, I'd try and start one.
posted by bwerdmuller at 6:52 AM on October 19, 2007

Anyone want to bet that this *doesn't* create a sales boost over last year's shortlist? Cause I bet it does. Reminds me of the Baen free library thread from a while back.
posted by mediareport at 6:57 AM on October 19, 2007

See now if only I had a decent ebook reader that wasn't made by Shitfuckers IncSony.
posted by Skorgu at 7:08 AM on October 19, 2007

This is great news. Now if I could just jump out of this slow reading rut and get some stuff done!
posted by OmieWise at 7:10 AM on October 19, 2007

Awesome! I love the Booker Prize (may I recommend to you some Ishiguro?), so I can't wait to have online access to all of these! Sweet!

On preview, pardon my gushing. But still: sweet!
posted by dead_ at 7:32 AM on October 19, 2007

Cool. Now can anyone recommend a good ebook reader? Preferably not by Sony.
posted by sveskemus at 7:35 AM on October 19, 2007

Remind me of this when they actually become available...
posted by amro at 7:55 AM on October 19, 2007

Hooray for free stuff, but who could possibly want to read an entire novel off a screen? My head hurts just thinking about it.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:56 AM on October 19, 2007

kitty, almost no one would read an entire novel on their computer screen. But you could browse the novels to see if they're any good and buy the good ones on dead trees. Or get an ebook reader.
posted by sveskemus at 8:00 AM on October 19, 2007

Cool. Can we have another big argument about how pointless / brilliant ebooks are?
posted by rhymer at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2007

I have a friend who demonstrated to me over the weekend how she was reading Moby Dick on her Palmpilot. She said it was brilliant (and that the novel was too).
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2007

I'll make sure to add a link to the place to actually download the books when it's available. The idea in itself was noteworthy to me though. I really hope they didn't announce this with out talking to the publishers first.
posted by drezdn at 10:03 AM on October 19, 2007

can anyone recommend a good ebook reader?

I have tried a number of methods including Sony and the only method I've found that works well is Internet Archive's "FlipBook" feature - Google Books can work also if you adjust the reader settings, same with a PDF file.

Digital reading needs these features:

1. Scan of the original paper copy. This preserves all the look and feel of a paper copy - fonts, style, page numbers, headings, etc.. style and presentation of text is just as important as the content. The "page flip" look and feel also adds considerably to the experience (IA has it, Google Books does not).

2. Screen size has to be at least 14" otherwise it feels claustrophobic - the biggest downfall of the Sony is the tiny reading screen and constant page flipping.

3. Needs to be in color - gray-scale digital-ink media just doesn't cut it over the long term it feels like Maoist China, depressing.

I've read dozens of books on Internet Archive seated on a couch with a laptop, it's really no problem at all.
posted by stbalbach at 10:13 AM on October 19, 2007

I've been reading ebooks for years now, and they've made dead trees nearly as obsolete as cds or dvds. It took a little while to adjust, but I'm back to that "virtual reality" feeling where the words on the screen go away and you just experience the story and prose inside your head.

The main advantage is the convenience. Early to an appointment? Boring meeting? Waiting in line? Whip out the reader and get a few minutes of book time. The back-lit screen is particular handy for reading as you go to sleep at night without annoying your partner. Then there is full-text searching to enhance their use for reference which is making me question all my jam-packed bookshelves just taking up space. About the only advantage of a bound book is that you can read it in the bath.

My first and still favorite reader is my trusty Zaurus with opie-reader, but lately I've been using a Treo with Adobe Reader for the all-in-one factor. Opie reader has an auto-scroll feature that aids in immersion.
posted by Manjusri at 10:22 AM on October 19, 2007

I read treeware-formatted fiction (a.k.a. "books") all the time, but I have difficulty reading fiction online, whereas I'm fine with online-reading of 'fact-based' writing, like essays. Does anyone else here have the same problem?

/my 2¢
posted by spoobnooble at 12:15 PM on October 19, 2007

spoobnooble: I am the same way. I read reports and journal articles online all the time, and have not troubles. But fiction doesn't work for me. Maybe if I forced myself to read an entire book online I would feel differently.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 12:50 PM on October 19, 2007

I don't know. I'm pretty happy with my PalmTX, using either Plucker (for HTML base documents) or Mobipocket (I prefer eReader Pro for a more lightweight solution, but it just does some really odd things once in a while), with FontSmoother installed to make the text extrapurty.

In my experience the Palm based Adobe tools strike me as slow, clunky, awkward and outdated.

I also have a couple of programs I registered with ProcessText Group, ABC Amber LIT Converter and ABC Amber PDF Converter which natively support PDB (Palm Database Format) files for output.

I am famous for wandering around, at work and away, with my face happily stuffed in my Palm, reading away.

And, if anyone cares, you can read your Palm in the tub.

Just don't drop it.

Like I, ahem, never did.

If anyone has any questions about my trials and travails with Palm based ebook reading, just drop me a line.

(Running off to work, so no time for linkage, but I'll throw something together once I get settled in there.)
posted by Samizdata at 12:52 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hell, read em on your Ipod.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:31 PM on October 19, 2007

I've heard good things about short list nominee, Mr Pip.

I enjoyed it, and it's worth a read, though I don't think it's the greatest thing in literature this decade (which is apparently compulsory in New Zealand at the moment...).

This is an interesting idea, I'll be sure to check out some of the other books when they become available.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:56 PM on October 19, 2007

how cool! yay! I wish all publishers would do this--especially for backlist and/or older novels of current novelists.
posted by amberglow at 2:18 PM on October 19, 2007

For a long time I thought that the fact of a screen was the big problem with reading ebooks. Eventually I realized the problem was actually the size and shape of text blocks - one grows accustomed to reading certain book shapes - and I was just being an old fogey about the machines (oh noes the machines). With this in mind I have been easily and sucessfully reading ebooks on my laptop for a couple years now. Let me count the ways:

Web browser - resize the window to be long and narrow, approximately 9-10 words per line. Not great but it gets the job done. I've set up a couple of bookmarklets to resize my window (and back) and I do this for most longer articles or text. Surprisingly effective and for a nobrainer it took a long time to realize.

Mac - there is an excelent program called Tofu that reads a ton of text formats and displays the text in a beautiful columnar book form. Once you set it up, bliss. I love this program.

Everything else - fbreader: a very nice free ebook reader - not quite as awesome as tofu, but pretty close. I recently shelled out $130 on a nokia 770, and it's worth it for fbreader alone. The screen is just slightly narrower than one would like, but its cheap and a great size.

and that's my word. Take heed!
posted by 31d1 at 4:46 PM on October 19, 2007

i use lit2html (direct download, it's for mac), and then resize the text in firefox--works great for me.

Tofu sounds cool too.
posted by amberglow at 6:10 PM on October 19, 2007

Highly recommending Booker Prize winner Possession by AS Byatt. Superbly written.
posted by nickyskye at 8:56 PM on October 19, 2007

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