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CTKAformerly published Probe Magazine. Most of the articles on this site first appeared in Probe.
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Jim DiEugenio's Upcoming appearances and radio Interviews:
April 13th, Barnes and Noble, Metro Pointe,
901 B South Coast Drive Ste 150, Costa Mesa,
May 4th, Barnes
and Noble, Orange Town & Country
791 South Main Street Suite 100,
NEW DATE! May 18th, Barnes
and Noble Bookstore in Manhattan Gateway Shopping Center 1800 Rosecrans
Avenue Building B, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
October 16-19th Passing the Torch Conference, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh
November 21-24, November in Dallas, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas
JFK: The French Connection, by Peter Kross Review by Seamus Coogan
on Lunch with Arlen Specter on January 4, 2012
KENNEDY & ME: A Very Good Book With A Few Pages of Trouble
Jim DiEugenio analyzes and summarizes Larry Hancock's
interesting and unique new book Nexus:
The CIA and Political Assassination
Jim DiEugenio reviews the work of Chris Matthews on the life and death of President Kennedy, including his latest biography, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive hero".
IN DALLAS: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President
The Connally Bullet Powerful evidence that Connally was hit by a bullet from a different assassin, by Robert Harris
Joseph Green on the late Manning Marable's new full scale biography of Malcolm X.
JFK and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax by Seamus Coogan
- and -
Wikipedia? by JP Mroz and Jim DiEugenio (3 part series)
is Anton Batey?
Exclusive excerpts from Mitchell Warriner's long
awaited new book on
On e-readers and JFK e-books:Part 2
An Overview of Electronic Reading and Publishing for Consumers and Writers.
Section I – Some Things Really Are Free!
In Hearts in Atlantis, a movie inspired by a Stephen King novel, 11 year old birthday boy Bobby Garfield hopes for a new bike but instead gets a library card. “It’s an adult library card”, his widowed, low-income mom points out in response to his sullen face. Later, when the boy’s eccentric but wise neighbor (played by Anthony Hopkins) asks him how he made out present-wise, Bobby tells of the slight, adding “You know why she picked it? Because it was free.” Hopkin’s character replies, “Ah, that doesn’t matter. Don’t you give up on this card. Because books can be solid gold. The great ones have been getting us through the nights for centuries now…Think you can try that?”
In an opinion page letter to the L.A. Times (5-26-11) Stephen Krashen, a professor emeritus of education at USC, debated whether e-books would ever “take over” and maintained that e-readers would have to get cheaper than their $100.00 base price to compete with the library; a valid point. Amazon has already responded and one-upped Bobby Garfield’s mom by giving away complete electronic reading capability to anyone with a computer and internet access. Sure, it’s not the portable Kindle but its solid equivalent in the form of a software application for your P.C. (I’m not an Amazon shill – but I wish I was. My “E-book vs. the traditional book” chapter later in the article will bear this out.)
Just do as I say, and no one will get hurt. Within 5 minutes of reading this sentence you’ll be experiencing the world of e-books on your own personal computer. It’s free, permanent unless you delete it, and won’t even require a credit card to download the software as well as hundreds of thousands of free older and select books. In this manner you can fully explore electronic reading without investing a dime. If you already have a Kindle and have not done this, I highly recommend you do-it’s a nice little addition to your portable reader and automatically and fully synchs your pre-existing Kindle purchases.
But first let’s start with this hypothetical: You’re over 45 (or feel like it), into JFK “research” (a loose term) or you wouldn’t be here, you navigate the web fairly well for your needs but have no interest in owning a smart phone, tablet, Kindle or any other high digit gizmo coming down the pike. Are electronic books (e-books) still for you? I’m betting the answer is yes, and the following experiment is designed to enhance your reading experiences, so let’s get going.[i]
On your PC with Windows 7, Vista or XP open a new window (so you can continue using this as a guide) and go to www.amazon.com/kindleforpc. A Kindle reading application will appear with a bright blue background. Near the bottom left corner click the “Download Now” button. Follow the prompts; if you don’t have an Amazon account you’ll be asked to provide an e-mail and shipping address, a credit card is not required unless you later choose an e-book with a listed price.[ii] Within a matter of seconds you will receive a free Kindle-equivalent e-reader on your computer. (Note: For the remainder of this section “Kindle for P.C” refers to your P.C. with the free software download, and “Kindle Portable”-- my name--refers to the various portable Amazon models which sell between $114.00 and$379.00.)
Your download should also include some full and unabridged classic novels.
I received three: Aesop’s Fables, Pride and Prejudice,
and Treasure Island. Now it gets fun.
Notice that on either side of the page (or cover, that’s where we are now) are two large, gray margins. Put the cursor anywhere within these margins and a white arrow will appear; left margin/arrow for turning back one page and right margin/arrow for going forward. You don’t have to put the cursor on the arrow, just anywhere within the margin will do.
Your new Kindle for P.C. has functions that actually work better than the Kindle portable. For starters, since all P.C.’s have back-lit reading you’re good-to-go for night time. The Kindle Portable requires an attached mini-lamp. I have a small ASUS netbook laptop and I choose my P.C. over my Portable for bedroom reading because of this. The flip side to this lighting situation is the Kindle Portable’s amazing readability in the glaring sun. Computer screens, on the other hand, weren’t designed for this.
Here’s another neat function. Go to any page of your new e-reader and click the “Aa” symbol at the top. A box with the following 4 options will appear: font size, words per line, brightness and color mode. Slide the “knob” on the font size bar and text size will shrink and expand to your desire! My Kindle Portable has only 8 incremental font size options; the PC model has about 20 to 25 size options. Also you will notice 3 background color choices under “color mode”; my Kindle Portable doesn’t have this feature.
Now, for some of the most noted features that both models share. We can cover these in one quick and easy lesson. Go back to a page in your ‘free book’ and highlight any sentence or paragraph- like you would in a Word document. After highlighting, a bar automatically pops up with these four options, Highlight, Add Note, Copy, More. Click the highlight button and your sentence/paragraph will remain highlighted. I’ll explain how to easily retrieve all of your chosen options in a minute. Now highlight a different sentence, and this time choose the Add Note option. A text box will pop up and invite you to write away. Go ahead and type anything in here - your name will do for now. Your entry will, of course, be saved in reference to the sentence you highlighted. The third option of Copy is for copy and paste functions. More gives you six more choices, including a dictionary and Google look-up. Lastly, if the entire page was filled with such juicy information that you want quick re-access to all it, instead of highlighting find the + symbol at the top of the page on the left side of the tool bar. Click on this and a big blue ribbon pops up on the page. This is the bookmark. The plus symbol (+) has now become a minus (–) symbol. If you change your mind click on the minus symbol and the book mark disappears.
Now for retrieval. You have made three different types of saves, a simple highlight, a highlight with your own personal notes attached, and a full-page bookmark. As with many other computer-redundant features there’s about four ways to do this. For now simply go to the very top bar where you see File, View, Go, Tools and Help. Click View and then Show Notes and Marks and all of your saves will appear neatly in either the left or right column (it switches sides for some reason).
Both Kindle formats also have functions to view the most popular highlights of others who have read the same e-book. You can choose to share your own highlights or not.
At this point I’d like you to order one of the thousands of absolutely free Amazon e-books. Just seeing how quickly they transmit wirelessly and in their entirety is a small “wow” moment! In my mind, the fact that you can get Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes free and in the palm of your hands (or in our case, the screen of our P.C.) in seconds is worth the experiment alone. Or you can try this Amazon provided link, http://amazon.com/freebookcollections for over 2 million free pre-1923 and otherwise out-of-copyright titles.
How about JFK books? Say you’ve been interested in reading William Davy’s highly praised book Let Justice Be Done on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, but the listed Amazon book prices of between $120.00 and $188.00 of this out-of-print read were off-putting. Let Justice Be Done is now available on Amazon in e-book version for $9.99.
Barry Ernest’s very fine book The Girl on the Stairs (which I’m
mid-way through), about Warren Commission witness Victoria Adams, is $19.95
in paperback and $2.99 in e-book! Both Barry Ernest and William Davy
were kind enough to share their thoughts with me on their e-book publishing
experiences which I’ll cover in the next section.
Section II – E-book publishing: A new frontier, complete with outlaws.
The best thing about electronic publishing through Amazon is that anyone, regardless of writing experience or ability, can get their book published quickly and easily with no up-front costs. The worst thing about electronic publishing through Amazon is that anyone, regardless of writing experience or ability, can get their book published quickly…
The new world of self e-publishing has ignited instant debate and controversy among writers, consumers, and publishing houses on a multitude of issues including royalty rates, quality control and “spam”.
As for the consumer: buyer beware. Anybody really can get published
on Amazon. Hypothetically you could write your name 10,000 times, entitle
your masterpiece My Name, and get it out to the e-reading
public in two days. This is only a slight exaggeration, for the semi-unregulated
technology has invited thousands of both non-traditional and other
books which, in the words of publishing industry expert Albert Greco (Fordham
University) “Probably should never have seen the light of day”.[iii]
As for the ‘outlaws’ suggested in this section’s title, New Zealand writer Shayne Parkinson found her debut novel Sentence of Marriage being sold on Amazon under another person’s name![vi] And on a more ominous note, Bob Stein, an early creator of electronic book reading software in 1992, predicts that e-books will ultimately be pirated like music, devaluing the text to nothing.[vii]
That was a small peek at some of the darker aspects of e-publishing. The
spectrum seems to stretch equally on the positive side – depending on your
perspective. Between 2007 and 2010 Amazon sold more than 7 million Kindle
now sell more e-books than traditional books, and claim 76% of the U.S. digital
For writers the possibilities are wide open. Established crime author Joe Konrath is waiting for his books to go out of print so he can reclaim them. He plans to self-publish them on Amazon and other online retailers which will enable him to collect 70% of sales rather than the 6% to 18% he now gets from Hyperion Books.[xi] This demonstrates how easily authors can now sell directly to their readers and bypass the agent and the publisher, those two entities that Los Angeles Times writer Alex Pham says “…were once the gatekeepers.”[xii] Pham further writes that “…hardly a month goes by without a well-known writer taking the leap…”[xiii] This includes the prolific master of horror Stephen King who self-publishes some of his works exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle store.
Aforementioned authors William Davy (Let Justice Be Done) and Barry Ernest (The Girl on the Stairs) had mostly positive things to say about e-publishing.[xiv] Davy’s decision was ignited by numerous requests for his out of print work, as well as an opportunity to actually make a profit, or at least break even from the original effort. Regarding whether or not his future books would be electronic Davy wrote, “Yes, only because that seems to be the trend. Personally, I prefer hard copies.”
Ernest weighed many factors, including his desire to maintain control of content. Initially, interested publishers implored him to speculate in his book as to “who did it”, but Ernest - citing JFK researcher Harold Weisberg’s policy of sticking to the facts - opted to self-publish through Amazon in both e-book and hardback (using their format called Createspace). This gave him full control. Ernest was further driven by the main figure of his book, Victoria Adams, who wanted the truth of her experience available to all interested. Ernest wrote, “That request by her compelled me to want to get her story told quickly and in front of a broad audience. The e-book was instantaneous and went world-wide. Her dream and my goal were achieved.”
Both writers maintain the e-publishing process was incredibly easy and fast with no upfront costs incurred. Davy said the time from initial contact with Amazon to final e-book publishing was 48 hours!
Both are sole publishers/owners of their books. Davy wrote, “As long as you’re the sole copyright holder of the material, Amazon makes the process incredibly easy and offers a generous royalty plan.”
In Ernest’s case this meant he was able to pursue other e-book distributors such as Barnes and Noble, Sony and others with, as he put it, “…absolutely no conflicts of interests or hassles whatsoever.”
If you’re interested in what other published Kindle authors have to say visit one of the discussion forums in the Amazon.com Kindle section.
Section III – The Books; including a revised list of JFK related e-books.
In my first article I presented the JFK e-books offered by Barnes and Noble and Amazon and compared the prices. Now the field between the two has broadened even more in Amazon’s favor. Amazon maintains a big edge in the number of e-books dedicated to the assassination of JFK. In addition, Barnes and Noble used to list many of the various official government investigations available on the Nook. For instance, they previously had the entire 26 volumes of hearing and exhibits, for free. However, I could not locate these anymore, nor could a Barnes and Noble agent whom I called. In my opinion, this rules out the Barnes and Noble Nook as a viable e-reader if your interest is in the field of the assassination. Since I could find no notable works in the Barnes and Noble catalog that Amazon doesn’t already carry, I am presenting further below only Amazon e-book entries.
It appears that spam has raised its pesky head among the JFK books. I hesitate to call out any titles, for I haven’t read any of these in full. But there a few things to look out for. Some of these ‘books’ aren’t attributed to any specific author. Most of them are priced at $2.99 or less. (Low price is not always an indication of low quality-The Girl on the Stairs is a good example.) Some have similarly generic looking covers. And the sample chapters I tried tended to read broad and general, like a Wikipedia entry. You’ll know them when you see them.
I was pleased to see The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X (DiEugenio, Pease) now in e-book at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble (B & N charges $1.20 more). And to debate logic, JFK Assassination Logic: How to think about Claims of Conspiracy (McAdams) will be out by the time you read this.
JFK books continue to clock in with world record length titles. Many of the following titles are abbreviated.
JFK related e-books offered by Amazon
Section IV: The e-book versus the traditional book.
I’ll cut to the chase. All things being equal, I’ll probably always prefer
a hard or paperback read over my Kindle. When I want to refresh an earlier
point of reading, I just can’t skim ane-book back and forth the way
I’m accustomed to. Sure, the Kindle has a few ways to search, or you can flip
one page at a time, but it can be a little frustrating.
But nothing is ever equal, is it? The electronic technology has several benefits. There are out of print and otherwise exorbitantly high priced books that are only attainable through e-books, unless price is no issue for you.
E-books allow authors the ability to revise and reissue, a trend that is gaining speed. A good example is Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio. Because he wrote that book before the AARB, he was recently given the opportunity to expand the text to include relevant information which came from that investigative board.[xv] Like Barry Ernest’s The Girl on the Stairs, DiEugenio’s book will be available both electronically and in hard cover. Amazon appears to have used the success of e-books to expand these options to established writers.
I’ve spoken to several younger folk who read more now because of their Kindles. That includes two of my own sons. My oldest, a senior at Syracuse University, was able to buy most of his texts in e-book format. Not only did this free him from a cumbersome and heavy backpack, but he (we) saved about 70%, nothing to sneeze at. More telling, he prefers Kindle reading, and has absolutely no problems navigating his texts, with more on the line (grades) than I do. Perhaps this is because he grew up with computers.
The issue of reading format preferences may become a moot point in the future as it seems inevitable that e-books will only gain in popularity. All you have to do is look at the digitalization of music for a good indication. To what extent e-books dent mainstream publishing is anybody’s guess. (I read that one of Border’s Books downfalls was their inability to get a competing e-reader out in a timely fashion; once they did it was too late.)
Amazon’s electronic books—and to a lesser extent Barnes and Noble’s-- have become a game-changer in the book business. Though sometimes change is hard to accept, for now I’ll embrace the positives.
[i] Amazon’s Kindle for PC is available for many of the above mentioned devices including Apple iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and other e-readers. An Amazon representative told me they even have a Kindle application for the newer model Barnes and Noble Nook, Kindle’s main competitor!
[ii] Amazon only requires an e-mail and physical shipping address to open an account. The physical shipping address is mandatory even though e-books aren’t physically shipped.
[iii] Reuters. “Spam clogging Amazon’s Kindle.” Los Angeles Times 17 Jun 2011: B4
[iv] Click on the book title to get to the purchase page. Under the “Buy now with one click” button there’s a “Try it now for free” with a “Send sample now” button.
[v] Reuters. “Spam clogging Amazon’s Kindle.” Los Angeles Times 17 Jun 2011: B4
[vii] Popper, Nathaniel. “The book as collaboration.” Los Angeles Times 29 Dec 2011:B1
[viii] Pham, Alex. “Amazon’s Kindle business looking toward next chapter.” Los Angeles Times 29 Dec 2010: B1
[xi] Pham, Alex. “Authors writing off publishers.” Los Angeles Times 26 Dec 2011: A1
[xiv] All information from William Davy and Barry Earnest via e-mail in response to this writer’s questions.
[xv] DiEugenio told me via e-mail that he expects the revised version to be available by mid-2012.
The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm X
FLASH! This book is now available on KIndle for the lowest price ever, of $10.99
New Edition, Updated!
Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and
the Garrison Case by James DiEugenio
Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics
and the Kennedy Assassination
Forensics can be a complicated subject, yet Fiester provides the reader with easily understood, accurate, information. Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics and the Kennedy Assassination is so comprehensive in its approach, this work should be used in the instruction of all new crime scene investigators nationwide. William LeBlanc, CFCSI