For years Adobe has developed and marketed Acrobat, the
program that makes .pdf files. In fact, it is largely Acrobat that made the
e-book a technical reality. However, as with so many innovators, the reward
may become negative. Typically a company with zero investment in the concept
creates a similar product and crushes the innovator. For example, do you
remember the once-undisputed word processor in the office? It was Word
Perfect. Now Word Perfect has all but been exterminated by Microsoft Word.
The first company to raid Acrobat was Glassbook, Inc.
Their program, the Glassbook
Reader, was bought off the market by the Electronic Library.
Microsoft was the next company to imitate Adobe’s
years of work. The rationale
was to introduce fonts which better adapted to reading text on a computer
screen. This was a great idea, but it didn’t include collaboration with
the innovator. It’s called the Microsoft Reader. And the program that
creates the files is called Readerworks Standard.
Microsoft.com to download a free copy of the Microsoft Reader and
Readerworks Standard. The best introduction is found at http://www.microsoft.com/reader/info
Readerworks Standard converts existing files in text or html format,
and integrates closely with Microsoft Word.
Many publishers have taken up the new program, and
there is reason to believe its development will help to open up the market
Copyright - War or...
Copyright law is probably the most abused and misunderstood of all
laws. This causes trouble for writers and publishers worldwide.
Twenty years ago, if Old Man and the Sea had been written as a work
made for hire, Hemingway and his heirs couldn’t have collected a penny
for its new print runs. This problem was resolved over a decade ago, in
favor of writers, but the problem is looming again.
“Writers Waging War” shouts the headline in the August 21, 2000
issue of Editor & Publisher. Free-lance writers, backed by the Authors
Guild Inc. and others, have filed suit against several distribution
services. At issue is online sales of the writers’ work.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the issue, we hear a clamor to protect
publishers’ rights. This battle pits music buyers against the publisher
in several unique, technological ways (MP3). So far, rulings on the issue
haven’t completely supported publishers’ rights. In fact, the
discussion has led to a new possibility. If the courts undermine the
strength of copyright law, we might look for performers to go on tour.
They might stop in town after town, club after club, faithfully playing a
repertoire of uncopyrighted works. Cleverly, Randall Rothenberg of
Advertising Age (August 7, 2000, p. 38) has called this the Troubadour
For those of us who still await success in publication, copyright
problems seem far away. However, once we become free-lance writers, we
will feel eager to join the fray. Meanwhile, we mustn’t feel
discouraged, and our first writings seem destined for Troubadour status.
One More for the Paperless Office
Will the e-book replace paper in the office? Sorry, there’s no
paperless office in the offing, according to “Bad News for Trees” in
the 19 December1998 issue of The Economist. Growth in using paper for
writing and printing is increasing so fast that electronic communications
will never stem the tide. But “Bad News for Trees” was published back
in 1998. Let’s keep an eye on the e-book and estimate whether these
words still hold true today!
Author-me is Reviewed
By Jacqueline Sheils, in THE NATIONALIST AND LEINSTER TIMES, CARLOW
If you feel you have the skill to become a novelist but just haven't
had the courage to show someone your work then this is the site for you.
Simply forward in a copy of your script and you'll get 'real' reviews from
people around the world. You also have the chance to read other people
attempts at becoming the next Stephen King. For a little inspiration this
site is excellent and you might just find that your scribblings aren't as
bad as you thought once you have read some of the other peoples efforts.
Another e-book Advocate
The e-book now has more backing than mere Microsoft, Adobe, or an
assortment of publishers.
Now the e-book has the International eBook Award Foundation on New
York's Eighth Avenue, according to the Books Section of the August 23,
2000 London Times. What does the Award Foundation award? An Author's Grand
Prize of $100,000 (awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October) for the
best original electronic book, and prizes of $10,000 for books originally
published in print and converted to e-book form.
Publishing New Writers, July, 2000 (no.103)
Editor Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL
60118. Fax (847) 428-8974.
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