RIP iTunes

images.jpgApple has unofficially announced that it is decommissioning their iTunes program. Word on the street is that this should have happened years ago: the iTunes concept of purchasing songs or albums is no longer relevant.

I remember when all this started. Napster was willing to give songs away for free and Apple’s concept of charging a reasonably small amount for each tune made sense. Other services attempted to grab the market, not by selling songs but by selling instances of listening to a song. I was probably unduly biased in favor of Apple but I thought this competing business plan was stupid.

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There are some good books being published …

images… and never forget that the old books (the classics) have withstood the test of time and despite their inclusion in the ranks of public domain, publishers are still printing new editions regularly.

Also, it’s no secret that many of the classics are available for free on the internet. Most online booksellers actually have free or ridiculously cheap editions available of all those great novels like Little Women or Pride and Prejudice but I recommend spending some time over at Project Gutenberg where they have just about any public domain text you want available in many different formats including those for digital readers.

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Don’t Burn Your Books

Nicolas Carr writes in the WSJ,

Don’t Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay
The e-book had its moment, but sales are slowing. Readers still want to turn those crisp, bound pages.

Lovers of ink and paper, take heart. Reports of the death of the printed book may be exaggerated.

NookEver since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital. Opinions about the speed of the shift from page to screen have varied. But the consensus has been that digitization, having had its way with music and photographs and maps, would in due course have its way with books as well. By 2015, one media maven predicted a few years back, traditional books would be gone.

Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.

Read the entire essay at The Wall Street Journal.

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The other day I mentioned a title by Jack London to an avid reader and was reminded that most people, including me, have only read the obvious titles by any author and might not be aware of the less-well-known or obscure titles that are never stocked on the shelves at the big-box-bookstores. Despite its shortcomings, I find Wikipedia an excellent source for the bibliographies of most authors (I like the clear lists and not the essays which obscure the titles). So my recommendation is to check the full bibliography of every author you read.

Let’s check Jack London at Wikipedia:


  • The Cruise of the Dazzler (1902)
  • A Daughter of the Snows (1902)
  • The Call of the Wild (1903)
  • The Kempton-Wace Letters (1903) (published anonymously, co-authored with Anna Strunsky)
  • The Sea-Wolf (1904)
  • The Game (1905)
  • White Fang (1906)
  • Before Adam (1907)
  • The Iron Heel (1908)
  • Martin Eden (1909)
  • Burning Daylight (1910)
  • Adventure (1911)
  • The Scarlet Plague (1912)
  • A Son of the Sun (1912)
  • The Abysmal Brute (1913)
  • The Valley of the Moon (1913)
  • The Mutiny of the Elsinore (1914)
  • The Star Rover (1915) (published in England as The Jacket)
  • The Little Lady of the Big House (1916)
  • Jerry of the Islands (1917)
  • Michael, Brother of Jerry (1917)
  • Hearts of Three (1920) (novelization of a script by Charles Goddard)
  • The Assassination Bureau, Ltd (1963) (left half-finished, completed by Robert L. Fish)

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