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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

A few mutterings on publishing and tech stuff

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


I'm at the coffee shop, limbering up my fingers and getting injections of caffeine. Not sure which one is more important this morning. And since I'm waiting on someone, I thought I'd fill the time with a few semi-random musings. All the open browser windows with links are at home, so pardon me for not linking to much source material. I'll try to give you enough information to find it.

First up is the latest kerfuffle over e-books, and how some writers are concerned that e-book lending equals piracy. Dear Author has a pretty good article with lots of interesting comments. Amazon's Kindle seems to support six devices per account. (Someone correct me if I got the number wrong). B&N's new Nook reader has a "lending" feature. A Nook owner can "lend" an e-book to another Nook owner for up to 14 days, and during that time the book is unavailable to the original Nook owner. And, of course, the DRM seems to lock the books down so much that they don't really belong to the owner of the device anyway.

Speaking as both an author and an avid reader, I fail to understand how lending a book equates to piracy. I'm certainly not going to suggest you buy one copy of a book for each member of your family, like you have to do with software. (Hey, I won't stand in your way if you WANT to do that, but I don't think it's necessary.) How many readers discover new authors on the basis of having a book lent to them? The answer is probably "a lot." Most avid readers I know that discover an author that way will go out and buy more books by that writer. Do you object to having your books in libraries? I've read that some authors do. To me, that is incredibly selfish. Part of our job is to promote literacy. Reading shouldn't be a hobby available only to those with the money to buy books.

Okay. I'm rambling. This attitude just burns me up sometimes.

Next up, rumblings about midlist authors getting advances cut, being dropped by publishers, and so on. I seem to recall that this happened during the other recession earlier in this decade. The publishing industry bounced back. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but lots of people are out of work. Many who aren't are working for less money (points at self). I hate to see this happening, but I don't see it as a harbinger of doom. People have less money to spend right now. See note about libraries above.

And now, tech!

Yesterday was Windows 7 release day, which probably left you either excited, envious, or irritated. Ah, yes. Let the OS dogs of war be unleashed!

I'm typing this on what will probably be the last few hours of Windows Vista on this laptop. I'm looking forward to shorter  boot times. This laptop takes forever to boot. I've been running the beta version of Windows 7 on my desktop and have been fairly pleased by the faster start.

I'm going to go get the 3-pack upgrade license that's selling for about $150. While I've been running the Ultimate version on my desktop, I'm going to wipe the drive (yes, again) and go back to Home Premium. Unlike Vista, most of the features I need seem to be available with Home Premium. I can't see spending $100 for features I probably won't use. If you have multiple computers at home to upgrade, you might want to look at the 3-pack. A single upgrade of Home Premium is $120 or so,. And if you have a university e-mail address, you can get a copy for $30. Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe all have some serious deals for students. Check your college bookstore.,

So what's on tap for today? Upgrades! Along with the aforementioned Windows 7 upgrades, I have a new hard drive to install in the desktop. I've been holding off on that until the OS upgrade.

Well, Chris just showed up. Time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some conversation. Have a good weekend, and thanks for dropping in,.

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Filed under: Writing   Technology   Life      
10/23/2009 10:56:45 AM
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