First, Walter Mossberg reviews another entrant in the e-book reader wars, the Irex. He wasn't thrilled with it. I wouldn't be since it doesn't have a note-taking feature. The one aspect of it which really intrigued me was that it's tied in with Newspaper Direct, which offers facsimile editions of tons of newspapers from all over. Talk about love! That's the kind of site where I wonder if I had an iPad to access a facsimile subscription to the Washington Post just how close to heaven that might be.
Second, there's a little article about an arrangement in Norway to arrange electronic copying of all of the books in the national library. All of the publishers are signed on, all of the author's groups, if you're a Norwegian author you are included, though you can opt out. This sounds like --- The Google Settlement !!! I'll continue to advocate for that to go through in some form, with the continued caveat that I wish Google would supply authors with a digitized copies of their scanned books. In the US, we're terribly unlikely to get a non-profit government arranged thing like was worked out in Norway, but we need something like this.
A couple other publishing news items. Books a Million had a 1.3% drop in sales for last year but increased profits by $700K thru tight inventory management. And bookstore sales in January were up 2% according to the Census Bureau statistics. Both of these were reported in the Publishers Weekly news daily, and you can enjoy the Books a Million conference call by clicking here. You can't find a better way to spend ten minutes. The 4th quarter was worse than the year as a whole, which they blame in part because of tough comparisons against the Twilight books a year ago.