• Vonnegut, the Novel, the Object
    I was at a symposium some years back with my friends Joseph Heller and William Styron, both dead now, and we were talking about the death of the novel and the death of poetry, and Styron pointed out that the novel has always been an elitist art form. It’s an art form for very few […]
  • The Kindle has landed.
    So, it’s finally here, and damn, it’s still ugly. Really, really ugly. Go watch the video demos (short one at the top, longer one lower down). But it has some things going for it. There are a lot of touches I really like, like easy ordering of low-price ebooks direct from Amazon without having to […]
  • Paper eBooks
    Tony White, author of one of my favourite books, Foxy-T, and literary editor of The Idler, has just published a series of extracts from Balkanising Bloomsbury, a work in progress, in the Diffusion eBooks format. He writes: The ebooks are the result of a residency with Proboscis that I’ve been undertaking in recent months, working […]
  • The sustainability of the archive
    Citing the crucial need to access records on nuclear waste storage, or census returns, in five, 10 or even 100 years’ time, [Natalie Ceeney, chief executive of the National Archives] said: “This is a critical issue for us, and for UK society as a whole. We assume our personal records are secure, we expect our […]
  • Papering over the cracks
    With new technology comes the need to rethink certain conventions. The above is clipped from a Macmillan ebook (link), and while I don’t wish to do anyone in particular down, and the technology is young, I think it speaks to a disparity in the understanding of ebooks: they are not simply paper books, scanned page […]
  • Google Book Search: Obfuscation & Mystification
    I’ve written about Google Book Search before, but it’s time to do so again – particularly after their PR barrage at the London Book Fair, some aspects of which I wrote up at the time. For a while now, I’ve been broadly in favour of GBS, at least in as much as it’s forcing publishers […]
  • Sophie’s Choice (a partial review)
    With little fanfare, if:book released a very early version of Sophie, their rich content creation tool, last Wednesday. You can download it here. Sophie has been described variously as the next step in ebooks, a publishing tool for the rest of us, the first base of the networked book, so I was eager to see […]
  • Guarding the legacy
    Today’s Guardian has a short piece with more Google follow-upping: The iPod has done it with music, Flickr has done it with photos, MySpace has done it with bands and Saatchi is doing it with paintings. The question is: can Google do the same thing with books by creating an international online market place for […]
  • The deadly mimic
    Best bookish news from this years CES show in Las Vegas: iriver, best known for their pretty iPod competitors, have announced a rather pretty ebook. A direct competitor to the Sony Reader, iriver’s ebook takes the looking-like-a-pbook game to the next level: two facing e-ink ‘pages’, both touch-sensitive for easy page turning. It takes AAA […]
  • ICUE & mBooks
    Yesterday I was given a fascinating demonstration of ICUE, an application which allows ebooks purchased from the ICUE store to be read on a mobile phone. There are three reading modes: a simple down-scrolling page, a sideways-scrolling ticker, and ‘flicker’, which flashes a single word at a time, at a speed of your choosing. The […]
  • The right to copy
    Currently all over the blogs: think tank calls for ‘private right to copy’. If you didn’t know already, every time you rip a CD to your computer, and then copy that MP3 to your portable player, you’re breaking several copyright laws. Clearly these laws are out of date and ineffectual, but that doesn’t stop the […]
  • Study Stick & MP3s
    Via Macmillan chairman Richard Charkin’s blog, an interesting half-way house on the ebook: a USB memory stick that comes pre-loaded with an ebook. The book in question is The Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell, a “best-selling guide to academic success” providing “practical, no-nonsense advice on all aspects of study skills such as writing, revision […]
  • Open Standards
    My recent post on Adobe’s Acrobat-disguised-as-an-eReader Digital Editions software drew a response from m’learned friends over at Mobileread. Alexander Turcic pointed out that DE doesn’t only support PDFs, but also the forthcoming Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS), a new standard for content creators and consumers – about which the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has […]
  • Adobe Digital Editions: Disappointing
    Adobe have just dropped the first fruit of their takeover of Macromedia – and it’s book-related. New eReader technology Adobe Digital Editions is a Flash-based Rich Internet Application – that is, it takes all of the online benefits of connectivity and streams them through a pleasant, pervasive interface that lets you interact with things rather […]
  • eReader round-up
    Following our extended coverage of the Sony eReader, I thought we should point towards a few other ways to read eBooks – chosen, it must be said, pretty much at random, but no less illustrative for that. Engadget on Panasonic’s Word Gear. This looks nice, and is competitively priced against the Sony. Unlike the Sony, […]
  • Sony Reader sells out
    Following widespread hoots of derision from the publishing industry, guess what? From the Bookseller: “Overwhelming demand” for the new e-reader from Sony means that the device has sold out online. Priced at US$349.99, the ebook reader was launched on 27th September and sold out shortly afterwards. Sony states on its website that “due to overwhelming […]
  • Birth pangs of a new literature
    Welcome to This site was inspired by the following piece of writing first posted at This should give you some idea of where booktwo came from, and where it’s supposed to be going. There’s been a bit of a creative block in these parts for a while. Half-formed thoughts. Unfinished articles. Sweaty, 5am […]
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    For Hire is the blog of James Bridle, a book and technology specialist with specific expertise in planning and producing web and new media projects for clients in publishing and the arts. If you'd like to hire me, have a look at my CV and portfolio, and feel free to get in touch.

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