Hello, Futurists of Reading!

Throughout 2011, I’ve followed the amazing evolution of the intersecting worlds of reading and of e-books. In New Things to Read and More Ways to Read Them, I noted some of their fascinating new developments, more of which appear every day.

Right this minute, there is far-ranging discussion going on all over the world about the future of reading, of books, and of publishing. As a lifelong reader, librarian, e-reader owner, and science fiction fan, I’ve been riveted by the minute-by-minute evolution of all of this. In fact, I’ve decided to turn New Things, More Ways into a series. So please stay tuned!

Here are some of the latest happenings in the worlds of e-books and reading:

  • Major publisher Springer is digitizing all of the books that it has ever published! These ~65,000 books, dating back to 1840, should be available by the end of 2012. Yes, they include books by Einstein and many other famous people. About 70% of the collection is in English and most of the rest in German. Medical books will make up 20% of the collection. Libraries will be hearing subscription details soon.
  • Principles of Biology — For $49, you buy “lifetime access.” This is more of a website than a book, and you’ll never have to buy a new edition because the site will be continuously updated. Principles of Biology is written as 200+ stand-alone modules, which instructors can teach in any order. (The first 2/3 of the linked Principles article is about Pottermore, so scroll down.)
  • Editors Needed! No, your eyes haven’t been imagining those annoying extra spaces, hyphens in the middles of words, or run-together words that you’ve been seeing in your e-stories. E-books do have errors. The basic explanation is that “software will get you 90 percent of the way, but …to ensure top quality, you need quality control editors to look at every line and every page…” So think about adding “e-book editor” to your list of possible careers!

Here’s hoping that none of the current e-book pitfalls have happened to you, but in case they do, our guide to e-books can help.

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