[This article also appears in a slightly edited form as a TeleRead entry] Ever tried learning a foreign language? Noticed how the books you could read were often boring, and the books you wanted to read were just that bit too hard to understand? Wished, you could have a quick translation of a complex passage or precise meaning of the word from the spread of twenty that dictionary entry offers? With paper books, you are pretty much stuck.
I have 100+ blog and search feeds that I keep track of in my online world. A couple of them are general techie feeds that many other people subscribe to as well. Most, however, are very specialised in topic and theme they discuss. I guess I am one of those people that helps to wag the long tail of online distribution model. Among those feeds, TeleRead is a blog that I rate very highly.
There is a lively discussion around the article by one of the authors of Freakonomics on whether the internet is good or bad to the publishing industry. My take on it is that the internet is bad for publishing industry as it was a year ago. But having to respond to the internet, has actually spurred some long desired growth and innovation in the industry. Specifically, to respond to the greatly increased used books market, some publishers now provide interactive internet content that is free with a new book, but can be purchased separately for a used copy.
I like reading books. But the inventor of BedBooks must like reading them at least couple of degrees more. So, he sells books printed sideways. It has to be seen to be believed. (via LibrarianInBlack) In fact, if he were not selling them, this method would be a perfect candidate for the halls of ChinDogu. On a serious note, it is interesting to note that the business like this must only be possible due to 2 factors: Copyright expiration (currently under threat) and Print-on-Demand technology.
I have always wanted to read through the classics of the Western literature. But the life is too short and too busy to try slogging through the volumnous writings. Now, the “Squashed Philosophers” website (via StingyScholar) offers condenced versions of materials where only the important points are kept - in the original language - and the long rambles are excised. And for those who don’t like reading from the screen, they have a printed version.