Bulk delete for your Kindle 3’s “Archived Items” folder

If, like me, you have a trillion Instapaper editions lingering as useless ghost files in your Kindle 3’s “Archived Items” folder, it’s annoying that you can only delete them one by one. You need a Bulk Delete option, which Amazon doesn’t provide. Pepa’s Check and Delete to the rescue! It works perfectly, as a simple browser bookmarklet.

A Soft Landing on Normandy

Peter Brantley reports on the future of ebooks for Publishers Weekly, A Soft Landing on Normandy

“Almost every single startup that is delivering authoring tools — either for designing and producing content, maintaining a full-bore content management system, or simply supporting an interim level of annotations or fragmentation — is building their own proprietary web-based layer that is largely HTML5-based yet also capable of linking to software development kits and libraries needed to support the export of rich app experiences. In other words, everything is baroque, and nothing in the standards space works well enough across the range of possible uses to be a default rendering environment. It is very much as if we are back in the Middle Ages scribbling on parchment, whittling our own quills from feathers we have on hand, drawing up whatever ink we have available. Our 21st Century parchment is a world-wide digital canvas, but our quills are hand-crafted.”

That can potentially make sense for presenting high quality specialist non-fiction/textbooks with complex layouts, which I’d suggest is where these startups are going with these tools. If they can create something that is easy enough for publishers to use, but which can produce good looking easy-to-update expensive non-fiction in iPad editions, then they stand a chance of a buyout by a major publisher.

Scivener 2 for Windows, due any week now

Scivener 2.1 for Windows should be landing fairly shortly. It’s one of the most acclaimed Mac suites for authors, and it certainly does look shiny and it gets good review mileage. It offers outliners, research snippet management, all the usual writing tools including daily wordage target-meters and snapshot-ing, and a variety of output options including ePub. It gets pretty good puffs from some big-name authors. The current free beta demo expires on 7th November, and the Scivener developers have promised a 2011 release for Windows. So a release sometime in early/mid November would seem like a good bet. It will cost just $40, and they accept PayPal. Sadly Kindle output seems clunky — via HTML output, then third-party post-processing with some alpha tools that are not yet even in version 1.0.

Blurb adds ebooks

The quality photobook print-on-demand service Blurb has made its first move into ebooks. Although at the moment it’s only added tools for creating £1.49 ebook previews for the Apple iPad and iPhone. The new “single click” tool for this is embedded in Blurb’s existing bookmaking tools ‘Bookify’ and ‘BookSmart’. Adobe InDesign users who uploaded a PDF to the service are left out of the loop.

Word 2007 for HTML output

Here’s a simple experiment newcomers to Kindle publishing can do to show you the kind of bloat that Word adds to HTML output, if you were tempted to take that route. Save a big book-length Word file as ‘filtered HTML’ in Word 2007. ‘Filtered’ removes all the cruft, right? Wrong. Open your filtered HTML with Notepad or your “doesn’t hide the scary code” HTML editor. I had 3,500 lines of utterly superfluous code, before I managed to scroll down to the actual content.