Do-It-Yourself Book Scanning

Do you have a library of books that are not available in eBook form? Do you love combining power tools with classic novels? Then give this DIY book scanner a shot! Apparently it can scan up to 1200 pages an hour, depending on how fast you can manually turn the pages. I highly recommend watching the video, as not only does it explain the reasons why the inventor created his book scanner, but he also gives a succinct, persuasive argument for the proliferation of eBooks over paper books. Plus it’s always worth watching when the instructions for how to build…

What’s in a Name?

(image courtesy fromoldbooks) Welcome to another State of the eBook! To start off, the big news this week was publishers plotting to make eBooks second-class citizens by delaying their release. You can read all about it here. It isn’t pretty and it is time to let publishers know how we feel! Then there is the other big news… It’s NOOK WEEK!

First Impressions of the Barnes & Noble nook

All day I have been perking up at the sound of trucks on the street, each time hoping it would be the UPS truck delivering my much-anticipated Christmas present from my wonderful husband–the brand new Barnes & Noble nook eBook reader. My husband pre-ordered my nook on the very first day, so I knew I would get it before December 9.  I did a little dance of joy yesterday to learn that he had gotten the tracking number for the shipment and that the nook was winging its way to me overnight!

Sony Store Moving to EPub

We have an official date for the Sony move to ePub… this Friday, December 11th. Going forward, ALL Sony eBooks will be available only as ePubs, and the proprietary BBeB format will be removed. If you did not opt into the PRS-500 upgrade/trade-in program, be sure to back up your library! Also on Friday, the Sony Reader software is coming to Macs and PCs, so presumably you can read your Sony content on your laptop if e-ink drives you nuts! Finally, Sony is renaming their eBook store the “Reader Store”, to better tie in with their Sony Reader line. What…

Nooks, Kindles, eBooks, and Pirates, Oh My!

Welcome to another State of the eBook! First and foremost, a nook update: As Dan reported yesterday, Spring Design has been denied an injunction that sought to prevent B&N from selling Nooks! This is good news and will hopefully stimulate Nook availability. Teleread argues that if Barnes and Noble doesn’t get nooks out to stores, the backlash could undo all the goodwill and positive word of mouth they’ve built so far.

Questia iPhone App Review

When I first downloaded and played with Questia, I thought, “I don’t get it.” I understood that it offered access to loads of academic humanities texts, and had a free public domain section, but what was the value in it? You could hit up your university library if you needed to do research, and public domain books are available in loads of places. Then I had the chance to talk with Tim Harris, CEO of Questia, and that’s where I learned the true value of this application. “We are a research library, for people who want to access as much…

Year of the eBook?

Yes, it is that time of the week again. State of the eBook is back to bring you the latest eBook news and commentary, just in time for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

The Brave New Digital World: An Interview with K.C. Blake

Welcome to another State of the eBook! This week we’re bringing in an expert to share some thoughts on eBooks, music, and movies, and where the future is taking digital media. Read on for Gear Diary’s interview with K.C. Blake of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California.

Amazon Kindle for PC Review

(courtesy of Amazon.com) Just a few short weeks ago Amazon announced the Kindle was coming to PCs, and today it landed! Windows-only for now, with Mac OS X support promised “shortly”, Kindle for PC represents Amazon’s first attempt to strike back against Barnes and Noble’s eBook expansion. Does it succeed? I’ve been playing with it all day, read on for my review and thoughts!

Book Review: Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed by Paul McFedries

A few week ago, I received a copy of this book to review. I’ll admit it, I’m primarily a Mac user, but I use Windows XP at work, and I run it on my Mac in a VMWare session so I can support my Windows Mobile devices and do those things that are available only for Windows. And yeah, I’m one of the many, many, people who played with the Windows 7 betas – and I like it. Not enough to give up my Mac, but it’s nice to see what Vista should have been finally come to fruition. It’s…

Backing Up Your Mobile Data

My father’s favorite phrase is “People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” I’m quite sure a very expletive-laden version of this concept was bandied around Microsoft after the Sidekick backup debacle. So I posed the question to the Gear Diary Team: How do you back up your smartphone data?

eBook News Avalanche!

Welcome to another round of State of the eBook! There’s been an avalanche of eBook news and releases, so let’s dive right in! Barnes and Noble releases the nook upon the world B&N’s nook came out swinging, with a dual screen design and an Android foundation. Check out Gear Diary’s coverage of the nook’s release here, and commentary on a B&N conference call that answered some questions and raised new ones here. In related B&N news, Plastic Logic has announced that their Que reader will be not only using the Barnes and Noble eBook store but will also be sold…

Disney Digital Books Review

It’s a ritual around my house, and I imagine it’s done in households everywhere — the bed time story.  Whether one of my kids is laying down for a mid day nap or getting tucked in for the night, they always get a story before they close their eyes. With three girls at home we’ve become fans of many of the Disney characters, so when Disney Digital books asked us to review their new online service I jumped at the chance.  Disney Digital Books provided me with a one month test subscription to try the service out at home with…

The Dark Side of eBook Popularity?

Welcome to another “State of the eBook”. We’ve got some quick news to review, and then a discussion of something that keeps publishers up at night; piracy in ebook-land. Is it an epidemic of music proportions or is it the straw-man argument that publishers use to justify high prices, digital rights management, and slow ebook adoption?

Make Memories Last with Picaboo Photo Books

Do you have summer photos just hanging around on your hard drive, abandoned now that fall is here?  (Well, or almost here if you live in Texas!)  Don’t let them get forgotten–upload them to Picaboo! Picaboo is a service that allows you to create photo books and cards from your digital photos, starting at just $9.99 for a softcover book. They offer easy-to-use software that guides you through the creation process with tons of  layouts, backgrounds, fonts, and sample albums to help spark ideas.  Possibly the coolest feature of the software is the ability to auto-create a photo book in…

eBook Gains and Losses

Welcome to another installment of “State of the eBook”. A few quick news-y items, and then onto the major heart of today’s discussion, where we’ll be tackling the greatest debate in the book world today. Interested? Read on… First, in the “cut up your nose to spite your face” department, we have the news that both Sarah Palin’s book “Rogue” and Ted Kennedy’s book “True Compass” will not be released as eBooks until some time has passed after the hardcover release. Let’s consider that for a moment. At a time when people are looking for better deals, trying to find…

An eBook Introduction

Welcome to a new series we are starting here at Gear Diary called “State of the eBook”. Every two weeks or so (more if the news warrants it) I’ll be bringing you the latest news in ebooks, publishing, and the general digitization of our reading lives.

Flatworld Knowledge offers open source textbooks you can listen to or print

Flat World Knowledge is combating the insane price of college textbooks by making open source textbooks an easier solution for colleges. The catalog for now is limited to a few titles per school but eventually they’d like to have more colleges adopt open source online distribution of textbooks. The company sells affordable alternative formats such as print-on-demand full color and black and white print versions, PDF versions, podcast and .mp3 versions, as well as Flat World Knowledge and user-generated study aides such as mobile flash cards and web quizzes to support the books. Naturally social media is in the cards…

Only read this book if you are interested in your universe!

Ever tried to understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?   Or even just wondered if time travel was possible?  How about if the ever wonderful warp speed in Star Trek was feasible? These and many other questions have a serious grounding in the new book Why Does E=MC2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw

Big Ideas by Alex Hutchinson Book Review

One of my favorite parts of the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is how the historical characters are both fascinated and frightened by the modern world. I’m a sucker for a good “Joan of Arc leads an aerobics class” gag. In all seriousness, we surround ourselves every day with inventions and innovations that we take for granted. The computer you are reading this review on, the clothes you are wearing, the medicine you’ve been given in your lifetime…how many of them didn’t exist 50 years ago? How many of them have changed the world? In this Gear Diary Book…