July 30th, 2004


Downloading books?

Charles Stross wrote,

"If we see a novel with an online sample that looks interesting, we may look at the sample. But if it's limited to, say, two chapters, we hit a brick wall: we have to put the book down unless and until we stumble across a copy of it in a bookshop and remember reading it. Whereas if we run across a complete online ebook we can begin reading it and, if we like it, we keep on going. Because reading online sucks, the pain slowly increases -- but we get more and more hooked. Some of us get so hooked that we finish the ebook, but in a large number of cases we get hooked enough to want to finish it badly, but pained enough to be motivated to buy the hardcopy. And in those cases, the motivation to go out and buy a copy and finish the story is a much stronger one than in the cases where the experience is artificially truncated at the end of chapter #2.

So why isn't giving away the full text as a free download a more widespread practice?

Here we run up against the realities of the publishing industry.

For starters, the idea of giving something away in order to make more money is not intuitively obvious, especially to people who have been brought up in a business revolving around physical lumps of paper and cloth, rather than fungible data. The publishing business is not incredibly profitable for the most part, and non-net-savvy editorial folks (and marketing and sales people) are likely to be suspicious of a new-fangled idea that smells of dot-com snake oil. They'll be asking "where are the hidden costs?" all the way to the royalty statement."

More here.

Sin City film.

i'm a big fan of frank miller's sin city series, and idea of a film being made from it didn't exactly fill me with joy, especially since it was being directed by robert rodriguez, who appears to have a machine line to produce his mediocre films so quickly.

but, i think i might change my mind. check out these quotes from an article here.

"The bulk of the movie will be black-and-white, like the graphic novels, but spots of color will show up here and there, again just like Miller’s comics: a red dress, crimson lipstick, the Yellow Bastard, etc. Filming in color and then processing the film into black-and-white makes this possible. Some other interesting effects will include white silhouettes and even white blood against a black background. When Rodriguez says he’s sticking to the books, he means it.

Perhaps the most amazing quality about the Sin City movie is that Rodriguez and Miller are capturing the graphic stories shot-by-shot and frame-by-frame, using the graphic novels themselves as storyboards, reference sheets, and scripts all in one. Miller’s exact dialogue will be the dialogue in the movie, and the angles, backgrounds, and lighting are all coming directly from the comic pages.

Superstar director Quentin Tarantino is directing a crucial scene in the movie. One can only assume it’s the big slaughter scene that is the climax of The Big Fat Kill. In order to accommodate Miller and Tarantino as co-directors, Rodriguez had to resign from the Director’s Guild of America. At the panel, he didn’t seem too worried about this, since Tarantino isn’t a member of the DGA either.

and, for the dvd,

"While the movie will be divided into chapters, each representing a different graphic novel, all the stories’ timelines overlap, as they do in the books themselves. However, on the planned DVD version of the Sin City, each chapter will be its own individual menu feature, so viewers can watch each story separately, or watch them together as they will be in the theater version. For the individual chapter versions, extra footage will be included, since not every piece of footage will fit into a two-hour movie, said Rodriguez."

sounds interesting, doesn't it?

there are some images of the film posters at the link, if you're curious. didn't feel like linking them.