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Microsoft Takes Aim

At e-book

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.

Visit 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

/selfpublish.htm.  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 for e-books.





Copyright -  War or... Troubadour?

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 Economy.

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


Author Me?


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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