Monthly Archives: January 2024

In Response to Jonathan Franzen

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

I read Jonathan Franzen’s attack on ebooks with that pained internal wince I experience when a friend I respect dislikes an off-beat movie I thought was fantastic. Of course, Franzen’s not knocking one book or movie or thing but an entire technology I’m invested in — which makes the incident a little more piercing. In his comments at the Hay Festival in Colombia, Franzen seems to be opposing ebooks on the basis they’re ephemeral and easily tampered with—let’s say temptingly   Read more…

Digital Book World Recap

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

Digital Book World 2024 marked our third visit to the conference and our second time with a booth and a banner and a strong company presence. We spoke on panels, live demoed the platform twice (creating a styled eBook in just over five minutes), and had the usual variety of encouraging meetings, new connections and oddball observations—most notably the impressive quality of distribution company representative’s side projects. I’ve long had Scott Simpson’s Twitter stream and blog bookmarked, this year I learned Kobo’s   Read more…

Vook in Motion

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar
Screen shot 2024-01-23 at 5.38.35 PM

Watch the Vook video! We demo’d our platform today at DBW (without a hiccup!) and fielded lots of curious eBook creation questions at our booth. For everyone who couldn’t be at the event, please check out this video. We’re launching it in honor of of our DBW appearance. It gives you the complete picture of what’s in the works at Vook.

eBooks (and Vook) everywhere

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

Apple’s iBooks 2 and iBooks Author announcement ahead of next week’s Digital Book World lit up eBook discussions like a bonfire of paper books or, you know, End User License Agreements—which is exactly what many commenters seemed to want to make of Apple’s EULA for iBooks Author, which requires books created with the application to be sold exclusively through iBooks. EULA brouhaha aside — Apple’s an innovative company, a valued distribution partner and we think they’ve made a sharp tool.   Read more…

iBooks 2 and iBooks Author: Another opportunity & headache

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

People wax nostalgic about the smell of books, but no one pines for the smell of textbooks. They smelled like glue, they were heavy, and they were—usually—boring. So we were happy to read Apple’s announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author: finally, a kind of book everyone wants to see go digital fast. It’s a great announcement for digital publishing, for readers, and for platform and tool creators like us. It also raises some interesting complications that we’ve spent months   Read more…

Inside the Vook Beta

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

Before posting more on cloud-based reading experiences, I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the Vook beta. Everyday, users are working in Vook and helping us identify issues we need to address. Our engineering queue is essentially a cue taken from our users — ha! (Like that? Wait til you read my Vook produced comic memoir!) Last week we fixed 48 issues that users caught — items ranging from Kindle file generation to adding the ability to delete projects.   Read more…

Where can the caged eBook sing?

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

I used to say I thought Amazon saw Kindle more as a brand than a device—reading that now, I don’t know what I meant. Of course Kindle’s a brand. In plain talk, I should have said, “Kindle’s a device, but it’s more accurately an eReader service that’s impressive for its cross-platform versatility and accessibility.” (Then I sound like an Amazon marketing rep but at least I make sense.) The Kindle reading service is available on Android, on BlackBerry, on Windows Phone   Read more…

The good, the bad and the Guggenheim

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

The Guggenheim’s usually ahead of the curve (probably inspired by their geometry),  so it’s no surprise to see them move into eBooks. They’ve recently launched, which offers a “newly digitized selection of essays and historical material dating to the 1937 founding.” The offer fits our vision of the future, where non-traditional publishers quickly become publishers.The museum has an audience and a content back-catalog, and most of that content is ideal for eBooks. I went and tried out the service   Read more…

The first read for technology

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

Writers can’t just write for the drawer; technologists can’t just program for themselves. At some point, the work must emerge. And that first draft always requires editorial review. Software companies need their equivalent of Thomas Wolfe’s Maxwell Perkins — the Scribner’s editor who famously (and justly) reduced Wofle’s first novel by 90,000 words. As book editors are readers first, so tech ‘editors’ have to be users. Vook’s in closed beta and hundreds of people are pounding on the platform. The   Read more…

We live next door to Comixology

Posted on by Matthew Cavnar

We’ve been working — and in the case of customer support honcho Jeffrey Yozwiak, sometimes kind of living — at Vook’s office on 25th and 7th since July, but it still feels new and shiny and interestingly sophisticated. One floor down is the iconic agency Magnum Photos. In 2024, a friend of mine interned there and would invite me over for lectures from the likes of Bruce Davidson and Philip Jones Griffith, who I remember saying, “We’re all anarchists right?   Read more…