Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2010 Issue

<i>In The News:</i> One New E-Reader, One Cancelled, A Cavernous Library, Abe's Top 10

Borderskobo

The new Kobo e-Reader is offered by Borders for $149.99.


By Michael Stillman

Orders are now being accepted at Borders.com for the new electronic reader from Kobo. Shipments are scheduled to begin June 17. It joins a growing list of electronic readers, including both devices dedicated to books such as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook, and devices with a broader range of uses such as Apple's iPad.

Don't look for any spectacular new features from the Kobo. That is not its aim. What it offers is the lowest price yet for an electronic reader. Its price tag of $149.99 puts it at least $100 under that of any of its competitors. The Kobo lowers the price to the point where even the occasional reader may consider joining the new electronic world of books.

The Kobo offers a six-inch "e-ink" screen (easy on the eyes) in grayscale. It is best suited for text, not images. The major advantage of the Kobo reader, besides its price, is the weight - under 8 ounces. The Kindle weighs a little over 10 ounces, the Nook just over 12. Borders states that the Kobo can store around 1,000 books, and if that isn't enough for you, a card can raise it to 4,000. It comes preloaded with 100 classic books. It does not connect directly to the internet for downloads like other e-Readers. You connect it to a computer via a USB cable or wireless Bluetooth connection to load books.

Electronic books can be purchased from Borders or Kobo, or other vendors who supply texts in the appropriate Adobe format. In other words, unlike Kindle, which is a reader dedicated to books in the format provided by Amazon, the Kobo is meant to receive books from many vendors. Similarly, electronic books received in this format can also be read on other devices such as RIM's Blackberry. While Borders is selling the Kobo readers, and offering the 1 million books Kobo has available on their website, this is really a Kobo project, not a Borders' one. The major shareholder in Kobo is Canada's largest bookseller, Chapters/Indigo, although Borders and others are also invested in the company.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced that it has dropped its "Courier" project, at least for now. The Courier was to be an electronic device to compete not only with the Kindle and Kobo, but more sophisticated devices such as the iPad. Along with being an electronic reader and internet accessing device, it was also supposedly going to include handwriting recognition. It is not known whether any prototypes were ever built, or whether it was still in the conceptual stage when cancelled. One interesting aspect of the Courier for book readers is that it was to contain two screens. It would have opened like a book, to reveal facing screens like facing pages of a book. That certainly would have made for a more book-like feel when using it as an electronic reader. Whether this would have been a major selling feature or a quaint vestige of the past is unknown.

On May 26, iPad maker Apple's stock value exceeded that of rival Microsoft. Ten years ago, Microsoft's value was 35 times that of Apple, and many doubted the latter would survive. As the above news reinforces, Apple has been on the cutting edge of technology in the past decade; Microsoft has not. There are consequences.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>The Sportsman's Portfolio of American Field Sports.</i> 1855. Est: $600 to $900
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Bishop's Birds. Etchings of Water-Fowl and Upland Game Birds.</i> 1936. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting Big Game in Far Northwest British Columbia</i>. 1904. Est: $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Mananaland. Adventuring with Camera and Rifle Through California in Mexico.</i> 1929. Est: $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Grand Canyon Trails.</i> 1924. Est: $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>A Sporting Trip through Abyssinia. A Narrative of a nine months’ journey..</i> 1902. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting in Tanzania [...in Zimbabwe; ...the Sudan; ...in Botswana; ...in Ethiopia; ...in Zambia; ...in South Africa; ...in Kenya]</i>. 1991-2000. Est: $800 to $1200
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hounds and Hunting through the Ages ... with an Introduction by the Earl of Lonsdale</i>. 1928. Est: $600 to $900
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000

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