Left to our own devices: Limited distribution

Over the weekend, Amazon.com removed the sales rankings from books it deemed “adult,” apparently to protect unsuspecting readers from being exposed to such literature. Because this was done via some sort of algorithm, rather than by a human, a whole slew of books with gay and lesbian themes, many of which had no sexual content at all, were deranked, while such wholesome fare as a book of Playboy centerfolds and the notoriously erotic graphic novel Lost Girls remained in full view, as it were. Amazon claims it was just a “glitch” and has begun restoring the ranking info, but ero-manga publisher Simon Jones points out that this demonstrates the risks inherent in using a closed distribution platform, whether it’s Amazon or iTunes.

A company called Plastic Logic is out to exploit the limitatins of the Kindle with its “Kindle killer” device, an e-reader designed specifically for newspapers and magazines, with a larger display, flexible screen, and—this is key—color! This article in the New York Observer starts out with an interview with the designers but then goes on to the rumor that Apple is working on a Kindle killer of its own, basically a bigger version of the iPod Touch. (Via Journalista.)

Newsarama asked its readers what they would pay for downloadable comics, and less than 50% expected to get their downloads for free. On the other hand, a surprising number of the people who bothered to respond felt that comics belong on paper, not screens, so it’s probably not a terribly representative sample. (Via Down the Tubes.)

Weekly Tezuka Osamu Magazine is a new iPhone/iPod Touch app that is just what the name says: about 100 pages of Osamu Tezuka manga downloaded directly to your device. The good news: It’s all free. The bad news: It’s all in Japanese.

John Jakala points out that one possible feature of manga e-books would be the ability to toggle between English and Japanese sound effects.


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