vanishing books

Image by jenny8lee via Flickr

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reminds me of a fear I previously expressed in “books, extinct?” on 8/13/10. I maintained then, that e-books may be sending physical books the way of the dinosaurs. The news article, written by Stu Woo, “E-Book Lending Takes Off… New Online Clubs That Let Readers Share Have Drawbacks but Worry Publishers” suggests that books, hardcover and paperback, might be on a quick rocket ship to outer space, as we speak.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

E-book lending libraries such as Book-Lending.com and Lendle.me “ have gathered thousands of users, (and) allow strangers to borrow and lend e-books for Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.‘s Nook free.”Another site, eBook Fling is slated to begin offering its services on Monday. The lending procedure is as follows.

1. Lender joins lending website, agreeing to share e-books. Each title is shared once.

2. Lender tells website which Kindle book she owns. The site determines which e-books are eligible for lending.

3. Lender is notified when a borrower requests one of her e-books. Request includes borrower’s name and email.

4. Lender instructs Amazon to send the e-book to the borrower.

The borrowing procedure is as follows.

 

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

1. Borrower searches lending website for e-books that others have made available. 

2. Website sends borrower’s name and email address to the lender.

3. Lender tells Amazon to send the book to the borrower.

4. Borrower has 14 days to read the book and the lender cannot access it. After that time, the borrower loses access to the book and the lender gets it back.

The 3 lending websites mentioned are free to users. When books aren’t available for borrowing, users are referred to Amazon.com. If the references result in purchases, the sites receive commissions. The sites also encourage users to lend their books by offering them incentives.

Lendle requires users to make at least one book available for loan before starting to borrow, and the site has an algorithm that improves users’ chances of getting a book they want if they lend frequently. BookLending has a similar algorithm, though it has no requirement to make books available for loan first.

There are some drawbacks to e-book lending. Selection is limited. Most major book publishers haven’t made their e-books lendable, and the books lent by site users can only be lent once and for only 14 days. So with every successful loan, the sites’ lending library shrinks “unless new users with books to lend join.” Borrowing books is neither guaranteed, nor quick. A desired book must first be available for loan, and if a request is made to borrow it, the lender gets an email request, which she can accept or deny.

The Hunger Games

Image via Wikipedia

But that hasn’t stopped avid readers like Marilyn Knapp Litt from signing up with BookLending. “I really like the idea of being able to borrow a book the way you might borrow a book from the library,” said Ms. Litt, a 58-year-old retiree in San Antonio. She has so far borrowed the first two books of the “Hunger Games” trilogy from BookLending. But she hasn’t offered to lend any, she said, because the books in her collection can’t be lent.

While publishers fear e-book lending deters people from buying physical and digital books, e-lending sites disagree saying “they are helping publishers because their users, after borrowing books, can purchase other books in the same series or by the same author.”

“People are saying I borrowed a book and I bought it because I didn’t finish it,” said Jeff Croft, who created Lendle. “That seems to be happening a lot.”

It’s an undeniable fact that electronic books are here to stay. It’s probable, though unfortunate in my estimation, that they will replace physical books as the primary access to literary works. The statistics tell the story.

Consumers spent $1 billion on e-books in 2010, and that number is expected to triple by 2015, according to Forrester Research. It added there were around 10 million e-readers in circulation in the U.S.. at the end of 2010.

 

The Last Lecture, a book that Pausch and Jeff ...

Image via Wikipedia

as for me…i’ll just keep hoarding my beloved hard and softcover books…hugmamma.  

wordpress “woes”

Seems our host site has had its share of problems, which might be the reason I have mine. Not sure, of course. But possible. They did make the situation known, although if you’re like me, you don’t read everything they make available. So thought I’d help them out by reposting what was said.

Image representing Alexia Tsotsis as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Alexia Tsotsis Mar 3, 2011

You have no idea how hard it was to get this post up, as WordPress.com, our blog host, is currently under a denial of service attack. It’s been almost impossible to access the TechCrunch backend for the past 10 minutes (everything seems to be stable now) and users have been receiving a “Writes to the service have been disabled, we will be bringing everything back online ASAP” error message.

From the VIP blog post:

WordPress.com is currently being targeted by a extremely large Distributed Denial of Service attack which is affecting connectivity in some cases. The size of the attack is multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.

We are working to mitigate the attack, but because of the extreme size, it is proving rather difficult. At this time, everything should be back to normal as the attack has subsided, but we are actively working with our upstream providers on measures to prevent such attacks from affecting connectivity going forward.

We will be making our VIP sites a priority in this endeavor, and as always, you can contact us via xxxxx@wordpress.com for the latest update. We will also update this post with more information as it becomes available

 

Matt Mullenweg during the conference WordCamp ...

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress did not mention the origin of the attack (DDoS =! Anonymous) and I have contacted founder Matt Mullenweg for more information. WordPress.com currently serves 30 million publishers, including VIPs TED, CBS and TechCrunch, and is responsible for 10% of all websites in the world. WordPress.com itself sees about 300 million unique visits monthly. 

Update: Automattic and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg tells us that this is the largest attack WordPress.com has ever seen, and is likely to be politically motivated:

“There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our datacenters in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.

This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.”

You can check here for the latest status updates.

Image via: blogohblog

Update 2: Looks like everything’s back to normal.

  
  
Wow! And I thought I had problems. Think I’ll crawl back into my cave.
 
…let me know when the “all clear” siren sounds…hugmamma.

don’t pick up the phone!!!

Just got a call on my home phone from 714-551-5502. We have “caller ID” so we don’t pick up unrecognized numbers. Thank God for “caller ID!” It has saved me days and nights stressing over crazy people calling to sell me things, ask for money, ask me endless questions for surveys. If I ever met the person who invented “caller ID,” I would kiss the ground she walks on.

Of course, I’m not unlike the famed cat in that old saying “curiosity killed the cat.” So after much brain wracking, I decided to google the phone number. And lo and behold, there are numerous posts referring to 714-551-5502, none of them good. After my recent virus scare, I wasn’t about to click on any of the sites because I’ve no idea if they’re secure. That much curiosity I don’t have, after being “stung by a bee!” I mean bitten by “virurses.” I don’t need to be killed like the curious cat too! Uh, uh, no sir. Been there. Done that.

The Caller (2010 film)

Image via Wikipedia

Thought I’d share the info, in case the phantom caller dials your number…dum da dum dum…

learned my lesson…i hope…(fingers and toes crossed)…hugmamma.

a bad bout of “virus”

Am writing this to warn you that scammers hover nearby, even at the tips of one’s fingers. Long story short, my computer alerted me to a virus attack a couple of days ago. Not sure if you’ve ever witnessed flashing icons on your screen that silently scream “viruses, viruses, viruses!!!” I immediately felt I was physically under siege. My heart began palpitating. My brain went into lock down mode. My eyes bugged out of my head. Words were roiling around inside my head, none of which I could organize into thoughts that made sense.

Running my fingers across the computer keys, I finally ran the McAfee virus scan system that came with my 17″ Acer laptop, which I purchased at a great price on QVC. The scanning completed, I was asked if I wanted to remove the viruses that were detected, or did I want to leave them be. Yeah right, I thought. That’s like asking me if I wanted to let bedbugs live in my bed forever! I tried texting my husband for advice. When none was quickly forthcoming, I took action…and have regreted it.

One option offered was to activate the automatic removal system. The catch was that I needed a password. Hmmm… I couldn’t remember even discussing anti-viral security with my hubby. He normally buys Norton. But I didn’t recall him giving me a password. So I went for the second option, signing up for “System Tool.” Popping up on McAfee led me to believe it was part and parcel of the scan system.

Unable to reach my husband, and thinking the viruses would gain a bigger stranglehold the longer I delayed, I tried to purchase “System Tool.” Well try as I might, the transaction kept being declined. Customer service at Master Card’s 1-800 number kindly offered their assistance. But even they couldn’t complete the transaction. The whole thing was crazy. That should have signaled a “red flag.” Finally the credit card’s computer technician explained that I was probably locked out because of several failed attempts. He suggested I might want to try again later.

Thinking the viruses were gaining an increasingly greater foothold the more time I wasted, I tried a Visa credit card. Same thing, I kept being declined in trying to purchase “System Tool.” Giving up on the online option, I decided to seek technical help from someone in town. When I pulled up their website, there was an alert on the first page indicating that “System Tool” was a scam which would infiltrate with viruses, not remove them. I couldn’t drive to the computer tech’s office fast enough.

The good news is that my hardware was not affected. The bad news is my laptop had to be thoroughly cleaned and a new security system installed, all for $199. The pro also suggested emphatically that I cancel my credit cards because the scammers were probably after credit card information from the outset. Needless to say I’ve done as he recommended. 

Lesson learned? Even writers have to know something more than just banging away at the computer keyboard. And it’s true, seniors like me can learn new tricks. We might have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by our gray hairs. But in the meantime, our brain cells are growing by leaps and bounds. This is never a bad thing, although too many growth spurts like this, and I might have a heart attack.

Something which concerned me was that QVC sold a product, Acer, which offered McAfee security, which in turn offered “System Tool” as a means of removing viruses, which is, in fact, a scam. This is probably an oversimplification, but the outcome is that I bought an Acer computer, which my husband and I’d never heard of before, because of its great deal on QVC. Like many, I consider the online retailer highly reputable. I wonder if it’s even aware of Acer’s link to McAfee, and its link to “System Tool?” That a scam could be furthered by a QVC backed product is mystifying. I’ll probably be expressing my concern to QVC in writing, unless they come calling on me via my blog, as Comcast has done in the past. We’ll see.  

What does hubby say about all this? I’ll have to wait and see when he returns from his European business trip this evening.

getting in and out of trouble…par for the course…hugmamma.  🙂

“rehashing vs. recycling”

Thought I’d call attention to a recent text addition at the very top of the sidebar, to the right of my main blog area, where my postings are viewed. The words inscribed are

Use of my material: “rehashing” is a mess; “recycling” is ok, if credit’s given, where credit’s due…hugmamma.

I’d debated early on, when I first began posting, as to whether or not I’d try to restrict use of the contents of my blog, “Hugmamma’s Attention to Detail,” and now, “Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul.” As a novice blogger my goal was to write, and then get what I’d written out to readers on the internet. At the time, maintaining ownership of my printed words, was relegated to the “back burner.”

Cat Rambo, my Blogging 101 instructor, at Bellevue College, touched upon the subject of copyright. She’s a prolific author of fantasy, her work appears on bookstore shelves as well as on the internet. One such is the “Surgeon’s Tale.” You can peruse the many references to her on Google. One that had me smiling and saying “aha,” is that Cat Rambo has an MA from The Writing Seminars of John Hopkins University. No small feat there. She is also credited as being the fiction editor of the award-winning Fantasy Magazine.

With her depth of writing and blogging experience, and with views of her website probably past the 200,000 mark at this juncture, I paid close attention to what Cat Rambo shared during her trio of classes. While she did pursue one case of copyright theft in court, our instructor maintained that such a path is expensive, and without guarantees. She added, that, generally speaking, she considers “recycling” of her words a way to broaden her audience. From time to time Cat Rambo does share what she’s in the process of writing on her sites. But she does so with deliberation, putting out just enough to whet the reader’s appetite. Smart woman, I think.

My decision regarding “use of my material” has evolved over the 6 months in which I’ve been blogging. It seemed initially other sites were hijacking my posts and inserting them into what they’d written, or even going so far as to intimate that my words were actually theirs. The end results looked like a mess, in my opinion. They seemed a hodgepodge of sentences, assembled without thought. So I shrugged my shoulders, and decided that readers weren’t dumb. They’d see through the ruse. At least any readers who value good writing.

With my nose to the grind, I kept Cat Rambo’s words emblazoned across my mind, “If you write something of value, they will come.” She may not have uttered those exact words, but I got her meaning, for sure.

The message that I leave with you then, dear readers, is that my words are to be shared, but not coveted. Just as they are no longer mine to keep safe once I’ve clicked “publish,” they shouldn’t be “rehashed” to appear to be someonelse’s. What was once mine is meant to be recycled again, and again, and again. I only ask that its origins be credited to…

hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul….with aloha…hugmamma. 

you can check out Cat Rambo on several sites: www.kittywumpus.net, catrambo.livejournal.com, www.catrambo.com. And if you leave a comment, tell her “hugmamma sent you.”

downside of “tweeting,” “stumbling” and “facebooking”

In an effort to attract readers to my blog, I’ve spread the word on Twitter, Stumbleupon and Facebook. Wordpress.com makes doing so very easy. They provide “buttons” which when clicked, take me to those sites where I can share my posts. First, I “stumbled,” then I “facebooked,” and more recently, I “tweeted.” Traffic increased, in each case, sizeable at first. Then those who liked my writing continued to return, while the browsers went in search of “greener pastures,” more to their liking, whatever that was. But an in-between category of visitors to my blog has surfaced, and they can be a nuisance.

It may be that “tweeting” brought many more of these folks to my blog. Fortunately WordPress.com spams all comments left by these readers. I mention this in case you decide to start a blog, and would appreciate this information beforehand. Many of the comments left for me to read and approve, make little sense relative to what I’ve written in a post. Furthermore, they seem scripted. Many times several of the comments read like duplicates, with a word modified here and there. They also contain information directing readers to their websites. These have included dog grooming, financial loans, stock purchases, drug purchasing, exercise regimens. Like me, they are attempting to attract readers, but they do so by latching onto the efforts of others.  But, hey, ours is a capitalistic society, so I guess if people can think it, they can try it. None of them further my blog’s message, so their comments are being “returned to sender.”

Fortunately WordPress.com provides their bloggers with a way to empty out all the spams with one click. Thank you WordPress!  Credit should also be given to my family who advised me that these kinds of comments are self-serving. So I wish all who are trying to sell something, good luck doing it “on your own dime.”

 for my spam “button,” huge hugs…hugmamma.