We Have To Go Back (And Read This Book)

Thanks to John Gruber/Daring Fireball, I’m now anxiously awaiting the Nook re-release David Kazzie’s The Jackpot.

Here’s David’s recap of the whole experience of offering his book as an Amazon exclusive:

“The download rate increased steadily during the course of the morning, and by lunchtime, it was being downloaded more than 1,000 times per hour, occasionally pushing 2,000 per hour. And it was rapidly climbing the Free bestseller list. It got featured on a number of the big Kindle reader blogs that showcase free books each day (this was easily my luckiest break, especially since I didn’t know that people often submit their books to these sites in advance of their scheduled free dates). By Wednesday night, the book had hit the top 10, with about 14,000 downloads. Thursday proved to be nearly as successful, with another 11,000 downloads, and the book spent much of the day ranked No. 5.”

A funny thing happened on my way to waiting for the book to be available in my format; a friend on Twitter noted an interesting aspect of the book’s cover.

I’ll post the book cover here and see if you can spot the hidden message.

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In case you still can’t figure it out, SPOILER ALERT(!), the numbers featured on the cover are the Lost numbers with one added to them.

Instead of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42
We’ve got 5, 9, 16, 17, 24, 43

One of the reasons David theorizes for the success of his book? The cover.

“Other factors that might have kept things snowballing: I write in a pretty popular genre (suspense/thrillers), and I’ve got a pretty cool cover.”

I may have to jump the gun & buy via Amazon instead of waiting for the exclusivity to end.

If you’ve read the novel, leave a comment.

Until the zombie season airs … we have to go back!

😉

Feeling Bookish

I’m simultaneously reading an eBook on the Nook (The Handmaid’s Tale) and a hardcover (Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk) and it’s proving to be pretty easy since the topics are so divergent.

I’m also thinking a lot about (if not actually doing) my own writing. I hope everyone can/will appreciate the increased blogging output as of late, but my Google Docs have also grown in number and measure.

If you’re curious what I’m up to – and I’ve been very coy – check out these two innovative approaches to the future of the book:

I’m no developer, I’m more of a hack(er), but I get excited when I think about extending some of the ideas on this blog, marrying them with my non-blogging past-times and dreaming up something new. It also doesn’t hurt to have spirited (albeit brief) conversations with folks at the forefront of eBooks.

Needless to say, I’ve done the whole novel writing thing and the flash fiction thing – and I like to revisit both concepts now & again, but this is something new.

If you’re curious about more thinking on the future of the book check out this video from the Social Books Panel (#sociabooks) at Social Media Week 2011.

You should probably also check out Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes as well. Transformative found art, I’d guess you’d call it.

Happy Reading & Writing!

Ficly Friday: I Was Promised A Flying Car

For a long time I’ve been turning around the phrase, the exhortation, “I Was Promised A Flying Car“, in my mind.

I always saw it as the beginning of a post-apocalyptic movie or novel or maybe even a long-form magazine piece on all the crushed dreams of kids like me who never went to Space Camp but got Epcot instead. Whatever.

I’ve finally (or potentially for the second time, but no more than third) put the line down as the beginning, middle and end to a Ficly Friday story.

Please enjoy “I Was Promised A Flying Car” and leave me comments here or there.

If you’re participating in Ficly Fridays – either regularly or haphazardly – let me know and we’ll exchange links.

Happy Ficly Friday!

Kindling

After spending our most recent vacation with my in-laws (two of whom, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law own Kindles) I’d made up my mind that a refurbished Kindle might make a nice present, perhaps for my 33rd birthday or Christmas.

Then a funny thing happened. Amazon got all “Big Brother” with two books by the George Orwell (naturally), Animal Farm and 1984.

You can imagine what happened next:

Lots of folks up in arms.
Tons of “isn’t it ironic” tweets.
Folks (me included) thinking about switching their allegiances to Sony’s eBook reader.

Then the truth came out, stranger than fiction as it always seems to be. Turns out the real culprit in this crime were the publishers who told Amazon they had the rights to sell the book digitally when they did not, in fact, have those rights.

So Amazon’s actions actually protected well-established, prior-art-style copyright as most folks know it?

This isn’t some gigantic bait-and-switch that amounts to theft of a users’ property?

The entire concept of DRM & internet-enabled device/software/media management hasn’t just been dealt a deathblow (Don’t tell the RIAA)?

Yes and no.

In the short term, it’s not good for eBooks which have been exposed as nothing more than portable book-renting kiosks.

In the long term it’s good for Amazon, which keeps the relationship with publishers and (some) customers who see them vigorously defending copyright.

For me: I don’t want any part of a remote-controlled, technology-crippled, tether-bound money pit.

Unless, of course, I could distribute my blog there.

In which case, sign me up. 😉

What do you think about Kindle? Own one? Still want one (despite this news)?

I see digital distribution/engagement/consumption as a forgone conclusion, I just don’t know if I’m willing to tie myself to Amazon & the Kindle just yet.

Ficly Friday: The Big Death

Not too long ago I got a line from the book/film Dune stuck in my head and that got my subconscious mind doing some background thinking:

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains. The stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

I couldn’t tell you why, but that particular quote lead me to thinking about the French phrase “la petite mort” or “the little death” a euphemism for orgasm or the afterglow. Maybe it’s because of all that Fremen language and weird wording in Dune.

Whatever it was it lead me to my story for this week’s Ficly Friday, The Big Death.

The title is a play on the French phrase and also a little nod to Raymond Chandler’s novel The Big Sleep, which I read for the first time earlier in the year.

It’s less than 1024 characters of your time so please give it a read and I’ll try to keep writing short stories for Ficly Friday each and every week for the rest of the Summer.

Thanks!