A Break from the Heat

Posted On Aug 8 2007 by

My wife and I just decided that we would rather live without heat than air conditioning. We decided this after living for four days without it, during the hottest week of the year in Raleigh. A mixture of bad luck and some repairman incompetence made for a very long weekend. I remember when I first started at NC State, I jokingly asked one of the older staff why everyone in N.C. walked so slow. She replied—quite wisely—that you can separate North Carolinians into two camps: those who lived here before air conditioning and those who moved here after it became …


Books More Digital

Posted On Mar 28 2007 by

I’ve always had a hard time explaining my position on e-books. Some of my esteemed colleagues are quick to point out the minor dent that e-books have made in overall book sales in this country and others. But when I started evangelizing about e-books back in the late 1990s, we were still talking about what I call the “curl-up factor.” I grew so tired of hearing people complain about not wanting to curl up with an e-book, or the inability to take an e-book to the beach, that as soon as I read either phrase in e-book commentary, I simply …


Children’s (e)Book Week

Posted On Nov 17 2006 by

I did something really radical for Children’s Book Week this year–I read a book to a group of children! It was my second time being invited to Olds Elementary in Raleigh, and with no offense to my Libraryland colleagues, it was once again one of the most rewarding speaking engagements of my career. I think I have even hit upon a recipe for success for talking to the kids in Mrs. Gordon’s media center (I still wish they would call it a library). I talk about being a writer, about being a reader. I tell them that if you can …


Whole Lot of Scanning Going On

Posted On Oct 20 2006 by

I have to admit that “mass digitization” is one of those phrases that makes me laugh a little. It’s one I like to hear people attempt after a couple of drinks in the conference hotel bar. It’s what George Carlin would call “euphemistic language” that softens what is going on–a whole lot of scanning. But I will admit, digitization sounds cooler than scanning. Kirtas Technology announced this month that it has signed an agreement with Microsoft Corporation for the digitization of both publisher partner copyrighted works and select collections of public domain materials. The books will be available to Windows …


Re-kindling the E-book Fire

Posted On Oct 12 2006 by

Can Amazon rekindle the the smoldering fire of e-book devices? I’ve waited a month since Engadget put this scoop out on their website–the Amazon Kindle. News of Amazon’s apparent attempt to go head-to-head with Sony by launching its own e-ink reader were thwarted, however, by a withdrawn FCC application and relative silence from the online book retailer. We were all left guessing. This slightly less-than-casual observer still believes that there is a market for good e-book devices that will be born out by mass digitiztion projects, increased wireless access, and an awakening on the part of publishers (OK, maybe that last …