News, views and what I choose to dos



Tag : book

Talking about Sex.com on NPR’s On the Media

I recorded a show for National Public Radio’s (NPR) On the Media show earlier this week talking about Sex.com, my…

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Sex.com: worth 8p. Or £71.76

I think Amazon is fantastic. It is on the cutting edge of Internet commerce and it constantly pushes at the barriers… I’m a big fan of the Kindle – the first proper e-book; I admire Amazon’s affiliate program which is inventive and generous; but most of all, I love the way it has allowed booksellers across the world to tap into its enormous online presence, enabling independents to name their price and make books easily available that previously would have required a visit to the world’s main book repositories (in the UK that’s the Bodleian Library and the British Library at Paddington).

But I have to say I am foxed when it comes to what Amazon has to say with respect to my own book – Sex.com. While pondering getting a US publishing deal today, I had a look at Amazon.co.uk to see how my book was doing, whether it had any good reviews and so on.

Sex.com is out of print at the moment. So I was pleased to see it has been picked up by second-hand booksellers. The price wasn’t very encouraging though. No author likes to see their book offered for less than the paper it costs to print it on, so seeing Sex.com offered for £0.08 – or 8p – was not exactly exhilarating. But then what’s this – it is also on sale for £71.76. £71.76? What’s going on?

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Can someone please get to the ebook reader before Apple

Amazon's KindleI’m quite excited about the fact that Amazon has brought out a new ebook reader that it calls the Kindle. I haven’t seen one in the real world but I am assuming with the effort they’ve put behind it that the screen technology is what it claims to be – easy to read without straining your eyes.

I believe ebooks are the inevitable future. It’s just another step along the digital revolution. But – and what a but – have you seen the state of the “Kindle”? It looks like a prototype. A prototype designed by 18-year-old students back in the 1980s. Here is good technology and big demand with crappy design – i.e. the perfect opportunity for Apple.

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Review of Sex.com by Kev Murphy

Kevin Murphy, a British IT journo based in the US, has done a review of my Sex.com book on his blog.

He likes it. Which is nice since he is one of roughly three journalists in the world who understand the domain name system and its history. You can read it all here.

I like the opening line: “This is easily the funnest tech industry book I’ve read in a long time.”

I’m still don’t know where things are at with the US publisher, or this bloke in New York was interested in making a screenplay out of the book, or if I’m ever going to make any money from the book. Still, what does it matter in the wider scheme of things? I managed to write a book and people seem to enjoy it.

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Amazon.com now selling my book

This has to be good – I note that Amazon.com is now selling my book – Sex.com.

Unfortunately there is still a four to six-week delivery date on it, which leads me to conclude that my publishers have yet to strike a deal with a US publisher. I also note on a quick perusal of the Net that the Sydney Morning Herald and ran a whole extract in its edition today – Chapter 3, I believe. And I’m pleased to see that Techworld – where I was news ed – ran an extract last week. Alot has happened since I’ve been away.

I’ve also got a lovely review on Amazon.com. Although this doesn’t appeared to have helped my ranking much – it’s still way down at book no 186,461. Anyway, the review:

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Book launch and reviews

I had my book launch on Tuesday at Bar Detroit in Covent Garden. Terrific stuff. Lots of old friends, my publishers (several of the Quercus team pictured above), and my family. Gary Kremen was there and signed various books and generally entertained people. I did that weird thing where you speak to nearly everyone but only for a very sorry time each. I also didn’t eat anything, so I have lost the last half-hour or so of the evening and felt pretty rough the next day, but there you go – if you can’t do that at your book launch, when can you?

Anyway, there are a series of reviews out. And I’ve done a number of interviews so I thought I should quickly stick up links to them while I have a minute. Guy Kewney wrote one for his NewsWireless site, which The Register has decided to buy off him. Which is good news for me because Guy really enjoyed it. My favourite part: “You think you’re going to read a racy description of the high life of a few wealthy California dotcom millionaires, playing at pornography – but what you end up soaking into your soul, is a deep understanding of the pioneering days of the Internet.” Which was exactly what my intention was. He ends it: “It’s a brilliant bit of writing. Read it if you dare.” God bless him.

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Sunday Times article on Sex.com

This is the article that appeared in The Sunday Times on Sex.com today. As I mentioned earlier, the article appears under my byline but was entirely written by a writer the Times brought in. I’m interested to see what people think of the two versions I wrote and the one that’s appeared. I’ll do a poll, but feel free to stick comments on any of my posts.

I think the broad difference is that I was trying to tell the story, and the final piece has taken the tack about the Internet and domains. Perhaps my versions tried to do too much in a short space and so were too complex for easy comprehension. Anyway, the piece is in, there are a few minor mistakes in it, but then I have just been told it is linked to on the Drudge Report, so that has to be good. I only hope all this translates into people actually reading the book.

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Times review of Sex.com

The Times has done a review of Sex.com. Short and sweet: “Sex.com By Kieren McCarthy Reviewed by Iain Finlayson Civil…

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Sunday Times article version two

You should read this blog post before you delve into this piece.

“The Internet? The Internet is for porn!” exclaimed one of the speakers last week [18 May 2007] as the Oxford Union debated the question “This House believes that the Internet is the greatest force for Democratisation in the World”.

Professor John Palfrey of Harvard University was speaking against the motion. And although his point was tongue-in-cheek he accurately reflected an enduring situation with real-world use of the Internet. The Internet is for many things, but one of the biggest is, undoubtedly, porn.

A quarter of all search-engine requests are for pornography, at least a fifth of adults online have accessed a porn site, and there are an estimated 400 million Web pages out there catering for the demand. The adult industry is worth $57 billion worldwide, and the United States –the world centre for pornography – claims $12 billion of it.

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Sunday Times article version one

To find out what on earth this is all about, please read this blog post.

“In all the years you’ve been chasing me, you have never got a single asset in my name. And you never will.”

That was how Stephen Michael Cohen made it plain to the man sitting opposite him – a man who had been on his trail for over a decade – that he would never admit defeat. The statement was all the more poignant given the fact that Cohen was wearing an orange jumpsuit, standard-issue to inmates at the Santa Clara correction facility. Even though he was in jail, with no date set for release, and the man he was addressing was his best route out of there, Cohen remained defiant.

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