Posted by: billpurdue | June 22, 2013

Combatting pirated e-books

With the advent of e-readers, it’s become much easier to make pirate copies of books. As you might expect, people have been investigating ways of curbing this activity and a university in Darmstadt, Germany (incidentally the town where the famous German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived for a time) has come up with a piece of software that might just do the trick- but it has provoked some controversy.

Apparently the software, called SiDiM, makes each copy of an ebook unique by varying very slightly the text of the book, so that each ebook can be traced back to its source. The variations would be hardly noticeable to the average reader, but some worry that the alteration of the text in any way could go against what the author intended.

The variations might be a slight alteration of punctuation, the insertion of a synonym or a change in the format of the paragraph. There are worries that the alteration of the text in this way could affect alliteration or pace or destroy the nuances of the text. For more on this topic, go to

Where will it end?

Cuts to library services in various parts of the country continue. The Bookseller magazine reports that Lincolnshire is considering closing 32 libraries leaving only 15 left in the county. This would mean 170 job cuts and a reduction in mobile library routes. A county councillor told The Bookseller that the libraries were inefficient and 82% of the Lincolnshire folk did not access libraries. This could be for a number of reasons, but I wonder if anyone has bothered to try and find out why – reduced opening hours perhaps could be one.

The councillor went on to say that people are using smartphones, e-readers and so on these days and this was “changing the way we do things”. Yes, well that may be true for a lot of people, but there are some including me, who can’t justify the expense of buying an e-reader, or a smartphone, so I still use my local Nottinghamshire library to borrow real books – that is when I can get to it when it is open. For more, go to

Meanwhile the union UNISON has surveyed 2,000 library staff to find out about cuts to library outreach services, particularly services to schools. Many respondents said their library has become an ‘income generation target’. This is nothing new, but the scale of cuts to services revealed by this survey is very depressing. If you aren’t too depressed, go to for more information.

Jumping on the bandwagon?

Bared to youLet’s forget about all the doom and gloom for a moment while I give a mention to the successor to “Fifty Shades..” – Sylvia Day and her “Crossfire” series: they are, in order: Bared to You, Reflected in You and Entwined with You. These three are, according to what I have gathered on the internet, much better written than the E L James “Fifty Shades” series. Already there are six million English-language copies in print and international rights licensed in thirty-eight territories as of February 2013. Ms Day has already written a large number of books, not just the ‘bodice ripper’ type, but also in the fantasy, paranormal and historical genres, as well as one or two non-fiction books, so she’s quite an accomplished author. She also writes under the pseudonyms S J Day and Livia Dare.

(This sort of thing is not my cup of tea, you understand!)

I’m reading: Capital by John Lanchester. Very good, but in a way slightly frustrating.


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