Tech Tip: Erotic E-Books and the New iPad
From the unveiling of a new Apple iPad to the unexpected popularity of an erotic e-book, the past couple weeks have been full of surprises in the world of digital literature. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know:
E-books are heating up: This week, let’s just say the “e” in e-books could also stand for “erotic.” Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel by British TV producer E.L. James, has shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, causing quite the stir among industry onlookers.
The story, which began as a piece of Twilight fan fiction, is bound to turn heads and start heated conversations. It focuses on a relationship between a young, female reporter and a successful, male entrepreneur that develops after an interview for a college magazine. Call it a passionate romance or “mommy porn” (the books are widely popular among suburban women), the book holds nothing back when it comes to sex scenes, featuring bondage, domination, and other topics that you typically don’t find on the bestseller list.
There’s a lot to say about this phenomenon. But, for a column focused on books and technology, it’s worth making a couple points. First, the book’s unexpected popularity shows that secrecy is one of the perceived benefits of e-books. No nosy booksellers or bus riders are asking readers about the sexually suggestive books in their hands.
Also, the craze over the novel is actually nothing new. It has been all the rage on book blogs over the past year. If keeping up with hot topics in romantic literature is something you’re interested in, check out Smart Bitches Trashy Books or Kirkus Reviews – Romance. You might hear about the next hit erotic novel before everyone else.
And while we’re on the subject of sexually graphic e-books, Paypal took steps on Tuesday to ease its policy against processing sales of e-books “focused on rape, incest or bestiality.” The controversial policy, announced earlier in the month, drew large protests from various players in the publishing world, who blasted the move as a threat to free speech. Under the new provisions, the company would only restrict sales of digital books that contain potentially illegal images.
Update on the New iPad: Apple, of course, released its new iPad earlier this month with the usual fanfare. The new tablets include a “Retina display” feature, giving it a sharper picture than most HDTVs. It’s hard to see this as anything other than good news for e-book lovers. It means sharper page images, since consumers will be able to download upgraded versions of iBooks 2 to take advantage of the enhanced screen features.