Thursday, October 28, 2010

107-Year-Old Woman Plays the Piano Every Day

Alice Herz-Sommer is the world's oldest living survivor of the Holocaust. She plays the piano every day, and fills the world with music and optimism.

See her on YouTube:

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Video: Tim O'Reilly Talks at Publishing Point

O'reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly gives a talk, on Publishing Point, about publishing, technology and innovation. Watch the first of 7 parts here; the other parts are easily accessed from the right-hand menu.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

InDesign CS5 Visual QuickStart Guide by Sandee Cohen (Book Review)

InDesign CS5 for Macintosh and Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide
by Sandee Cohen
Peachpit Press, 2010, 552 pages
Book Level: Beginning / Intermediate
Paperback: $ 26.99. Also available as an ebook from the publisher's website:

Last week, in answer to the question, "Why should I learn about ebooks and electronic publishing?", I described for my readers a book that offers 50 significant reasons. This week I have 4 reasons why you should borrow or buy this excellent book by Sandee Cohen, a book that skillfully introduces us to all the essentials of the latest version of InDesign.

1. To learn InDesign efficiently, you need a good book.

There are some new benches in the parks in the Republic of China. To use the bench, you insert a coin. When your time runs out, small sharp spikes — made of steel — emerge from the bottom of the bench. (The goal is to prevent one person from hogging the bench all day.) I wouldn't say it's impossible to sit on these spiked benches, but it would be very uncomfortable.
One could say the same thing about the InDesign software. It's not impossible to learn it by noodling around, clicking on the menu items one by one. But this method would be tedious, inefficient, and time-wasting -- about as comfortable as sitting too long on a park bench in China. InDesign contains too many features, and many that are far from obvious to the untrained hand and eye.

2. This book teaches InDesign expertly.

It's obvious that Sandee Cohen has years of experience teaching InDesign in a classroom setting. If the author is not experienced, then these kinds of books about complex software (and especially complex Adobe software) can never get off the ground, as the author bores the reader with page after page of how to navigate the scores of items on the menu. By the time you read through Cohen's succinct opening chapter, "Getting Started", your 5 o'clock shadow isn't out yet and you aren't bored to death. Instead, you're impressed by InDesign's vast feature set, and enthusiastic about learning how to use it.

3. You don't need a computer to read this book.

Lately, I've been spending so much time in front of the computer, I celebrate any opportunity to do something productive (such as mastering essential tools) that gives me a break from the screen. Like the "Maran Illustrated" books (which appears to have ceased) and O'Reilly's HeadFirst series (which is now going strong), the Visual QuickStart books, in general, are a pleasure to work with. The books contain many illustrations and screen shots; the information is always divided into small and easily-assimilated chunks.

And more: Cohen has a laid-back writing style that never uses jargon, and often adds a dash of humor. I would have laughed out loud at Cohen's anecdote about "Rules" — except that I have done something similar.

4. After you read the book once, you can keep it on your desk as a handy reference.

The book is so well organized that you can use it for two purposes: as an introduction to InDesign, and as a reference book. My copy is already filled with yellow sticky notes.

If you are publishing in today's market that demands not only paperbacks but ebooks, not only ebooks but ebooks in many formats, not only ebooks in many formats but "enhanced ebooks" that sing and dance and sell coffee — then it's likely that you will need to use InDesign. Cohen's clearly-written book takes all the sweat and struggle out the learning process for Adobe's powerful and complex software for design.

== Story Tools ==

For more information about the book, and for an interactive chapter that teaches you how to use InDesign's interactive tools, visit the book's companion website:

To access this site you will need to create an account, but that process is free, fast, and worth the trouble.

—Michael Pastore,Editorial Director
Epublishers Weekly

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Just Published: 50 Benefits of Ebooks (2010 Edition)

50Benefits of Ebooks: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution has just been published in a revised and expanded edition by Zorba Press. The PDF and EPUB editions are available now; in the next weeks Zorba will release the paperback edition and other ebook formats including .AZW (for the Kindle) and an EPUB for the iPad sold at the iTunes iBookstore.

Learn more or buy the book at the Zorba site:

50 Benefits of Ebooks
A Thinking Person’s Guide to The Digital Reading Revolution
Edition: October 2010
by Michael Pastore
Published by Zorba Press, ISBN: 978-0-927379-17-5
Companion blog site:
Paperback, 368 pages, Indexed, $ 20
Ebook versions (PDF, .AZW, and EPUB): $ 3.99

A revised and expanded book about ebooks, published today, is packed with information about how to understand, and enjoy, the digital reading revolution. The book, soon to be released as a 368-page paperback, is first being released in ebook editions — which contain all the same information as the paperback — yet sell for less than four dollars.

50 Benefits of Ebooks is a lively introduction to the brave new worlds of ebooks and electronic publishing. This revised edition (at 66,000 words) is 25% larger than the September 2009 edition, and contains ten new chapters. The ebook is priced at $ 3.99.

Written for a wide audience — from ebook newcomers to ebook experts — in 36 lively chapters, the book explores five essential aspects of ebook reading, writing and publishing:

A. Benefits of Ebooks and Paper Books
B. Reading Ebooks
C. Ebooks for Authors and Publishers
D. The Value of Reading; and
E. The Education of An Ebooklover (resources)

Ebook newcomers will find all the basics here. And ebook experts can debate and debunk the author’s wild predictions for the rosy and thorny future of ebooks, by reading the essay, “Reading the Future: Ten Tremendous Trends in 2011.” Authors will discover tips, tricks and resources for ebook publishing; and library professionals will enjoy the book’s glossary, index, links to leading-edge ebook sites, and sections about how and why ebooks are good for libraries.

A new chapter included in this edition is Pastore's essay The Depths: How Ebooks Can Fix Your Concentration, Increase Your Intelligence and Renew Your Distracted Brain.

“Ebooks are changing everything,” says author Michael Pastore. “We are now at the dawn of a seismic shift in the way that books are published, distributed, read — and even written. And the epublishing industry is changing so quickly and dramatically, even an updated edition of this book, published yearly, can hardly keep up. ”

One of the most significant benefits of ebooks is ecological: Ebooks are good for our environment. Pastore writes:

“How many trees are used to produce one week’s worth of paper in a Sunday New York Times newspaper? … One weekly issue of the New York Times consumes 75,000 trees. … One year of Sunday papers produced by the New York Times is responsible for the destruction and consumption of more than 3,900,000 trees.”

At the book’s companion website, the author urges: “Don’t buy the paperback. The 368-page paperback edition is $ 20, while the ebook version cost 4 dollars, saves trees, and contains all the same content as the paperback — except the paper!”

The ebook editions will be released in three formats: PDF, AZW and EPUB. The PDF format is primarily designed for reading on desktop and laptop computers. The AZW format is for the Amazon Kindle. The new EPUB format is primarily for iPads, iPhones, iPods, and a number of PDAs and many ereading devices. “The EPUB format is the next big thing,” says Pastore. “It’s quickly becoming the industry standard, capable of being read on more and more software programs and hardware devices.”

Pastore is a strong proponent for the new EPUB standard for ebooks; and an equally strong opponent of DRM (Digital Rights Management), which he claims is a disservice to ebook consumers. He writes: “Ebooks were never meant to be hidden like the lost city of Atlantis, buried like the treasures of Monte Cristo, or guarded like the gold in Fort Knox.”

The author loves paper books, and hopes that they are never completely replaced by their electronic progeny. But Pastore is optimistic about the future of ebooks. He writes: “Every day, ebooks are growing in use, in sales, and in significance. After a dozen false starts over the past ten years, the Digital Reading Revolution is here at last.”

To buy the new book or ebook, readers can visit the the Zorba Press website for the book's web page:

Release Schedule:

Available Now: ebook in PDF (from the Publisher's website)

Available Now: ebook in EPUB (from the Publisher's website)

Available Now: ebook in EPUB (for the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone) from the iTunes iBookStore

October 21: ebook in AZW for the Kindle

November 1: paperback (368 pages; 66,000 words; 6"x9")

About the Author, Michael Pastore

Michael Pastore is the editorial director of Zorba Press. He is the author of more than 20 books: novels and non-fiction works on various themes. His articles and essays have appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. He edits the blogs EpublishersWeekly (.com), and actively supports the causes of reading great books, independent publishing, and Amercia’s transition to a sustainable society. Currently he lives, cycles, reads and writes in Ithaca, New York.

About Zorba Press

A small, independent publisher in Ithaca, New York, Zorba publishes works by Michael Pastore, and a number of other authors including Dorothee Krahn, Rae Foley, Alicia Dattner, Lisette Rimer, Dr. Thanasis Maskaleris, and renowned author and film-maker, Michael Tobias.

For more information, contact Victoria Weise via this email: ebook AT


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