I am announcing the launch of a new Internet mailing list, EBOOK-List.
This mailing list is open to all individuals and organizations
interested in developing, researching, producing, authoring, publishing,
distributing, reading, and even dreaming about electronic books. That
should include just about everybody!
It's important to first of all attempt the "impossible" and define an
electronic book. An electronic book is a text document (of the size and
subject matter which if printed on paper would be regarded in our
culture a "book") that is stored as an electronic data file and viewed
electronically using a dedicated program on a computer or a specialized
reader (which is yet to be developed and marketed.) Although text is
emphasized, it is obvious that electronic books can also contain image,
sound and video files, just as paper books today can and often do
contain printed images. One can properly regard electronic books as
being a subset, albeit a fuzzy one, of the more general and equally
hard-to-define technology called "electronic publishing."
The primary long-term goal of EBOOK-List is to create a unified
community of individuals and organizations (both commercial and
non-profit) which will promote the continued research, development and
improvement of electronic books, viewing software for computers, and
portable electronic book readers.
A second, and obviously more immediate goal, is to provide a convenient
and centralized forum by which information and ideas about electronic
books are exchanged.
Everybody is welcome to contribute to EBOOK-List, even those who do not
support the primary goal. All viewpoints are welcome, as long as they
are electronic-book related in some way.
A sample list of topics to discuss on EBOOK-List include, among *many* others:
1) The electronic publishing formats currently available that could be
used for producing electronic book titles. What are their comparative
advantages and disadvantages? Does there now exist the "ideal" format?
2) Should a "standardized" electronic book format be developed for the
long-term future? Is it even possible?
3) The advantages and disadvantages of electronic books over their paper
cousins -- present and future. What are the social ramifications when (or
"if", for the skeptics out there) electronic books become dominant in our
4) What will the electronic book reader of the future look like? What
technology development is required to make such readers attractive to the
point that electronic books will become dominant over paper books? How
many years from now will this happen? Do we have the technology today to
make a marketable portable electronic book reader, or do we have to wait
for substantially cheaper and much higher resolution flat screens to be
5) Network vs. local access of electronic books. Do consumers prefer to
actually possess their own copy to store on their own computer/reader
rather than pay to access it elsewhere over a network?
6) Publishing issues: Will electronic book publishing allow authors to
gain more control over their works? Will it allow authors to bypass
publishers and self-publish? How will electronic book titles of the
future be marketed -- over the Internet or via portable media like CD-ROM
and its successors? How will the electronic book consumer be able to
sort through the expected huge number of electronic book titles produced
outside of the "big" publishers?
7) Copyright/security/encryption issues: Is it possible to develop
electronic books and readers that provide copyright security to authors
and publishers, such as the use of machine-specific passwords (e.g.,
SoftLock), data encryption, etc.?
Hopefully the above *partial* list of topics to discuss should give you a
better idea of the purpose of EBOOK-List.
Now, for the important administrative details. Although this list is
open to all viewpoints, and it is unmoderated (meaning I don't
pre-screen posts), I will not tolerate obviously off-topic posts,
personal attacks, blatant, hyped-up promotional advertisements, and
anything else that disrupts the goals of this mailing list outlined
above. As the creator and current administrator of this list, I reserve
the right to remove any subscriber for whatever reason I choose, and
even for no reason at all (obviously, in these litigious times I have to
state this policy to cover my kazisky.)
However, those who know me from administering other mailing lists and
Usenet newsgroups know that I am fair, that I tolerate and even promote
differing viewpoints, and I give people the benefit of the doubt (I
*usually* play by the three strikes and you're out policy, but for
unusually egregious violations I might waive this policy.) Call me a
benevolent dictator if you will.
Once the mailing list begins to mature and hit its stride, I will entertain
the idea of transfering administration of it to a committee using written
objective criteria to decide on what is a "proper" post. But for now it will
be a benevolent dictatorship. You just have to trust my judgement -- I will
do my best to keep a "hands off" policy. We'll see how this works and if it
doesn't, I'll make changes under advice from the majority of the subscribers.
I also hope that many of you will become active participants and do more
than just occasionally post. Since my free time is limited, and will be
devoted to administering this mailing list, I'd like to see someone else
put together, periodically update and post a FAQ (Frequently-Asked
Questions). I'd also like to see somebody put together a list of
electronic book resources (e.g., publishers, authoring tools, research
projects, companies, etc.). And possibly somebody could take on the
huge task of cataloging all the existing electronic books out there. Of
course, I'm sure there are other similar things that could be done which
I have not thought of -- feel free to take the initiative and make
something happen. Who knows, this mailing list could eventually lead to
the establishment of an electronic book advocacy organization (if one
doesn't exist now -- I am not aware of any.) I also see new companies
being created because of collaboration and partnerships developed on
this list. Entrepreneurship will definitely be encouraged.
[One important note about advertising. I have no difficulty with
commercial advertising on EBOOK-List *as long* as it follows the goals
of EBOOK-List given above, AND that the advert is *informational* and
NOT *promotional* in nature -- there is a BIG and easily discernable
difference. Most of us know a *promotional* advert when we see it -- it
is usually full of sales/marketing hype and jargon, while an
*informational* advert is written in a much more objective, and even
boring, "here's the information" manner. Information exchange is one of
the goals of this mailing list, not demonstrating how good you are at
manipulating others by obfuscating information using hype and
emotionally-laden words. I *highly* encourage those who wish to post an
advert to first run it by me ([log in to unmask]) for evaluation and
criticism. Of course, you can post it without me evaluating it (since
this is an unmoderated mailing list), but then you run the risk of
having your subscription revoked if the post is outside the guidelines I
How to Subscribe to EBOOK-List
It's very simple. Send an e-mail message to:
[log in to unmask]
In the body of the e-mail message (and not the Subject: line as it will be
ignored) place the following line (note the case!):
An informational file will then be sent back to you telling you how to
post to the EBOOK-List mailing list and other administrative matters.
Hope to see you on EBOOK-List !
OmniMedia Electronic Books | URL: http://www.awa.com/library/omnimedia
9671 S. 1600 West St. | Anonymous FTP:
South Jordan, UT 84095 | ftp.awa.com /pub/softlock/pc/products/OmniMedia
801-253-4037 | E-mail: [log in to unmask]
OmniMedia Electronic Books -- http://www.awa.com/library/omnimedia/