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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Skype interview

Recently, I was contacted by Michelle Luhtala, a high school librarian in New Canaan, CT. She interviewed me about my library's ebook publishing venture. Her focus is more on textbooks - which is certainly an interesting area.

The good news: Apple came out with a new tool to create ePub files. The templates are all based on textbooks, and incorporate multimedia. Apple is very good at software interfaces, and that tool will no doubt result in another mini-explosion of writing.

The bad news, the 'catch,' is that if you use that tool, you can ONLY publish the textbook through Apple. Exclusive distribution -- which is what Amazon is after, too.

So I got to poking around, and found Sigil, an open source, multi-platform WYSIWYG editor for ebooks. I'm going to dig into that a little deeper in the coming months. If you use that, then you're NOT tied to Apple, or to Amazon.

But what this blog entry is about is something different: my first Skype video/audio conversation. This was using my Windows 7 machine at work; I don't have a camera for my Linux machine at home, and neither Google+ nor Skype seems as polished on Linux as it is for Microsoft (or, probably, Apple).

But I enjoyed the experience. It was very much like having a conversation with somebody over coffee. Comfortable and easy. Dick Tracy's video wristwatch is finally here. Cool.

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