bryant: (Default)

2009 is not exactly getting off to a good start with the news of Donald Westlake’s death.

He was a consummate professional. The guy knew how to write mysteries; his range went from the comic caper Dortmunder books to the hardboiled Parker novels. He was primarily a novelist, but he did a few screenplays too. The Grifters was probably too quiet a flick to get noticed a ton, but it’s one of my probably top twenty movies and the last scene still disturbs me like very few other cinematic moments.

Just a smart writer. The funny in his comic mysteries came from an understanding of darkness, I think. One of his later novels, The Ax, is about a laid off paper company exec and the lengths he goes to in order to get a job. It’s bleak and understated and oddly believable, particularly right now.

I’m really bummed out about this.

Originally published at Imaginary Vestibule.

bryant: (Default)

I mentioned last night that Oz was in the public domain, and that there was a thriving subculture of fans writing and publishing Oz books. I would not be me if I were unable to provide a link or two. Or three. I find this whole thing inexpressibly charming.

Originally published at Imaginary Vestibule.

bryant: (Default)

eBooks on the iPhone are pretty obvious; I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good reader. Here’s the first cut: Stanza (App Store link).

The key is being able to download your own books, which Stanza allows. Grab Stanza Desktop and load your books into there, then select Enable Sharing from the Tools menu and fire up the iPhone Stanza app. Shared Books -> Books on Macintosh displays the list of currently open books in Stanza Desktop. Select the ones you want, and there you go.

(Helpful hint: go back to the Mac to tell Stanza Desktop that it’s OK for the iPhone to connect. I couldn’t figure out why the iPhone app was hanging at first.)

Stanza Desktop supports a nice list of file types, including Open eBook, Kindle, Mobipocket, HTML, PDF, LIT, PalmDoc, RTF, and Word. It does not support Sony Reader or PDF files. Good enough for my purposes but not perfect.

The iPhone UI could use a little polish but it’s very functional. I’m happy for the nonce. The apps are currently free; the web site says the Desktop will cost something once it’s out of beta.

Originally published at Imaginary Vestibule.

bryant: (Default)

Amazon now has a Print on Demand service. The pricing is a bit more complex than the competition (namely, Lulu), but everything gets an ISBN and you can publish into Amazon. Which is pretty huge.

I don’t think this is a Lulu killer, but it’ll definitely be competition, which hopefully will spur both companies to improve.

Originally published at Imaginary Vestibule.

January 2017

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