Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tracking a Forgery - That book was written by... me?

Yesterday I heard an amazing and amusing story on NPR that I just have to share with you. It's the tale of how British Middle Eastern correspondent Robert Fisk used his journalistic talents to track down the culprit who forged his name on a new biography of no less than Saddam Hussein. This journey took Fisk all the way to Cairo, and in the end, the journalist believes he found his man.

To hear the "Weekend Edition" story and Scott Simon's charming chuckling, visit:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Book Biz News: Amazon to Buy Audible, Leading Online Provider of Audio Books

The news of the Amazon/Audible deal broke last Thursday. The story was picked up by Publishers Weekly and the wire services, and it generated significant interest by the financial news outlets.

Audible Inc. specializes in providing audio editions of books, as well as magazines and newspapers, TV and radio subscriptions, and other programming. According to Audible’s website, most of its customers download the audio content from directly to their computers and then transfer it to MP3 players, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or smart mobile devises (SMDs). Content can also be delivered wirelessly directly to SMDs.

Speculation is that wishes to expand its audio content. The purchase price for Audible is a reported $300 million. Audible has about 80,000 audio programs in its current catalog, including the books The Secret, Skinny Bitch and Sex and the Brain. Categories run from fiction, to self-development, to business, to memoirs.

The acquisition will go through customary regulatory approvals, and it is expected to close within the second quarter of 2008.

Interestingly, within the last year, Amazon has made changes in its handling of digital content, including introducing its Kindle interface. The Kindle, an Amazon product, is a new wireless reading device that has a screen that “looks and reads like real paper” (according to Amazon). As of this writing, the Amazon device had become so popular that it was temporarily sold out.

Amazon also purchased Brilliance Audio last year.

Commenting on the Audible deal, Steve Kessel, Amazon’s Senior Vice President, said: “Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience.”

I’m thinking that it might just be time to sign up for a digital subscription to The New York Times. Look, Ma, no messy newspapers stacking up! Unfortunately, as of this writing, The Los Angeles Times is not yet available via Kindle. Both are great papers!... or should I say both would be great digital reads?