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Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia + resource links

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Good e-Reader Radio – Penguin Merger, Microsoft Surface and Daily News
"Today on the show we talk about some of the details surrounding the Penguin and Random House merger. What it means to the industry and what type of control each company will have. This is a huge deal and the effects will reverberate throughout the industry for years to come."

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I am a keen and long-standing user of English dictionaries. My preferred dictionary is the Oxford series, and they have been my preferred digital dictionaries too. For years, I used to rely on a DOS-based version of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which also worked under Windows. Then I was given an upgrade to what was called "The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary", but the version I have doesn't work under Win7-64, so I don't have a client-based dictionary at present. I miss that, and find online dictionaries inconvenient to use, kludgy, slow and seemingly deliberately constrained.
However, the advent of digital dictionaries and other reference works has opened up a brighter potential future for them and us - a potential that did not really exist whilst they had to rest within the constraints and limitations of just being paper-based. Because of this, there is a natural technology-enabled trend to digitise reference works.
Thus I was not too surprised to read in goodEreader that: Macmillan Dictionary To Be Strictly Digital
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks.)
Macmillan Dictionary To Be Strictly Digital
By Mercy Pilkington - 2012-11-05

Macmillan announced today that it will be ending its print edition of the popular dictionary and opting for an online-only format, beginning next year. The new digital dictionary will be found at Macmillan Dictionary Online will be the new home of future updates to the dictionary.

Editor-in-chief Michael Rundell told Charlotte Williams of The Bookseller, “The traditional book format is very limiting for any kind of reference work. Books are out of date as soon as they’re printed, and the space constraints they impose often compromise our goals of clarity and completeness. There is so much more we can do for our users in digital media.”

Rundell basis for the announcement was that digital lends itself better to the kind of updating that dictionaries require. Rather than waiting several years for sales of the outdated dictionary to taper off enough to justify the expense of publishing another edition, the publisher can add new words to the online dictionary as they become recognized.

This news followed the announcement from HarperCollins earlier this year that it will be releasing its iconic Collins World Atlas as a digital edition for tablets, which allows the publisher to take advantage of the interactive benefits that tablets allow. The online destination for the Macmillan dictionary will continue to be found at, along with other features that the publisher hosts at the site.

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For Dictionaries, I think I agree. I've almost never used one myself, and even book donation places say "no dictionaries"! If I want to know what some cutting edge word is, I don't think "let's go check the dictionary" - I get there faster with a web search. I see dictionaries as one of those things where you get one good one, and then it's good for 10 years.

Not sure whether this is a good thing:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)

EU Receives A Settlement Offer from Apple and Top Publishers
By Michael Kozlowski

The Justice Department in the USA earlier in the year launched an investigation against Apple and the big six publishers. The authorities were looking into the entire Agency model, where the publishers determined the price on the digital content. Most of the publishers settled out of court, while Apple, Macmillian and Penguin, continue to fight. The European Union also launched their own investigation a few months before the USA did. Today, the regulatory body has admitted they have received a proposed settlement offer from Apple and all six big publishers.

Apple and most of the big publishers have offered to let retailers set their own prices or discounts for a period of two years. This will allow companies like Amazon to establish their own prices again on eBook. Publishers intend on offering a “recommended price” and online retailers have flexibility in selling it at a discount. Penguin was the only big publisher that did not take part in the proposal.

“The Commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month,” the person said on Tuesday.
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Not sure whether this is a good thing:
-IainB (November 06, 2012, 10:14 PM)
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It's only for two years and it avoids establishing case law precedent by not going to court.

I think it's once again a situation where the businesses have decided to play the 'long game' strategy (i.e. "He who fights and runs away..."), counting on the short attention span of federal regulators, and the constant political pressure being put on same to obtain quick resolution (as in any resolution - including token) rather than tough it out and get the matter settled conclusively. The proverbial "early arrest" and "quick trial" makes for good sound bites, and possibly some witty comment from Conan, on evening television. And that's what half of this is all about as far as the government is concerned.

Sad fact: One of the major flaws with the US government is how little time and thought are ever allocated to doing something right the first time. Mainly because there is a belief there will always be infinite amounts of time and money available to do something over.

Like my GF says: What do they care? Their attitude is that they're stuck in their crummy office 40 hours a week. Might as well do something to fill up the day while you're on the clock.

(Note: she currently works for the government, but has had academic and corporate work experience. She is constantly amazed at what goes on where she works. Her most repeated comment is: Most of these people wouldn't have lasted one day working for a company. They'd be out on the street without a job before lunchtime.)


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