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 Post subject: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #1 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 8:03 am 
Oza

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GoGoD is pleased to announce a new e-book for the Kindle.

It is “The Life of Honinbo Shuei”, Volume 1 of a trilogy, "The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei", by John Fairbairn.

Shuei was a famous go player in Japan at the end of the 19th century. As the” Meijin of Meijins” he is still esteemed as the best model for even modern professionals to follow, and his commentaries are specially prized. But his life was full of hardship and controversy. He overcame this not only to dominate the go world but to do so in his forties. He is a classic example of "great talents mature late".

Part 1 (The Life) provides a full-length (text-only) biography, recounting all this. It is probably the first-ever detailed and thoroughly researched biography of a go player in English.

Part 2 (forthcoming), spread over several volumes because of file size, will provide detailed commentaries on about eighty of Shuei's games.

Part 3 (forthcoming) is devoted to commentaries by Shuei himself on games by other players.

Both these parts focus on a discussion of Shuei's famous but elusive style, and also expand on episodes recounted in Part 1.

“The Life” covers not just Shuei’s own life in detail, but sets it firmly in the background of the go scene and the social and political scene at the time. In particular, the long-running spat between the Honinbos and the Hoensha is explained. From this book you will learn:

* The tragic end of Honinbo Shuwa
* Shuetsu’s breakdown
* The fate of the Driftwood Board
* The sordid truth about Shusaku’s Castle Games
* Why Shuei disappeared from the go scene for years at a time
* How Shuei abused his pupils
* How boorish players can upset Japanese patrons
* Why Shusai was expelled from the Hoensha
* The Shuei-Shusai fix
* How “10,000 fusekis” on a remote tropical island made Shuei strong

The base price has been set at US $9.99. The price in other countries is based on this but may also have VAT added. (UK price initially was £6.42)

At present, editions for other formats are under review. There are more difficulties (for me) with other formats, which include not just the work of re-formatting but also the need to buy ISBN numbers and possibly new devices – expense which has yet to be justified.

But the first priority is to issue Parts 2 and 3 for the Kindle. Expect announcements on these fairly soon, and also on the complete Gateway to All Marvels (Xuanxuan Qijing) and Shikatsu Myoki, though we have yet to find out whether the process copes with the massive files required (33MB for GTAM).

The link is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008453I0W


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Post #2 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 8:08 am 
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Excellent. I'll be buying it next month when I finish these courses I'm taking and have a little time, unless I lack the willpower, in which case I'll buy it this afternoon.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #3 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 8:53 am 
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I don't want to re-ignite the war regarding paper books vs e-books but is there any chance these books will eventually be published in on-paper versions? I note that Kiseido's Modern Master Games Volume One was originally issued as an e-book but is now available on paper.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #4 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:17 am 
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It may be noted that it's possible to read kindle purchased books on a PC, though I don't know if this is only for people who own a kindle already.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #5 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:54 am 
Tengen

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John Fairbairn wrote:
other formats are under review


I would buy softcover or hardcover (if the price is still reasonable) or PDF without electronic DRM. I do not buy proprietary formats such as Kindle-ebooks.

FYI, digital printing from a PDF (in particular PDF/A) file of 1/1-colour-contents softcover books is reasonable even for small print runs such as 40 or 50. If your text editor does not already have a print to PDF function, you could use a PDF file printing tool / driver; they are cheap or free (but take one creating PDF/A). The remaining difficulty is finding the right printing shop, which creates good binding on reasonable paper and good cover colours. This should be easy in London.

It could be a very different (possibly expensive) matter if the contents contained many coloured pages.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #6 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:19 am 
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This shift to a locked-in proprietary device is disappointing. I have bought several of John's books and I would buy more, but I don't have a Kindle and don't intend to buy one. I already have an e-ink reader. There're industry-standard formats like epub that work on any device.

The whole issue is ethically unpleasant - Amazon is trying to corner the digital publishing market by introducing its own locked-in format, and people like John are helping Amazon become a monopoly. This is just plain not cool.


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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #7 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:32 am 
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palapiku wrote:
This shift to a locked-in proprietary device is disappointing. I have bought several of John's books and I would buy more, but I don't have a Kindle and don't intend to buy one. I already have an e-ink reader. There're industry-standard formats like epub that work on any device.


I agree with the sentiment, but on the plus side Kindle is supported on vastly more platforms as compared to Smartgo Books. A device supporting Kindle books is also significantly cheaper. I hope a physical book is eventually added though.

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Post #8 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:43 am 
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Smartgo actually provides extra functionality that would not be possible on an e-ink reader and is difficult to make portable.
Kindle stuff is just locked in for no good reason.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #9 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:47 am 
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palapiku wrote:
Smartgo actually provides extra functionality that would not be possible on an e-ink reader and is difficult to make portable.
Kindle stuff is just locked in for no good reason.


It doesn't seem like there is much Smartgo provides that wouldn't be hard to write readers on other platforms. It's just a method the author choice that is no different than choosing Kindle. Buying a Kindle book means you either need a less than $70 device or just read on a PC. SmartGo requires a > $400 device. That's a fairly big difference for me.

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Post #10 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:52 am 
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First of all, I'd like to say welcome back JF, we miss your postings very much and hope to see you post more often hereafter.

Second of all, excited to hear about your new book, but definitely would prefer a physical book rather than an ebook. Hope that we will have a chance to physically hold the book in our hands as with all your other books.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #11 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:02 pm 
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I would definitely buy these if an EPUB version were available. Shuei is probably my favorite classical era pro, and an English Xuanxuan Qijing would be wonderful.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #12 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:24 pm 
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palapiku wrote:
The whole issue is ethically unpleasant - Amazon is trying to corner the digital publishing market by introducing its own locked-in format, and people like John are helping Amazon become a monopoly. This is just plain not cool.


In fact, Amazon is having a HUGE party celebrating the fact that their goal of attaining global domination is virtually assured thanks to a go book by John Fairbairn. The Facebook IPO knocked it off the front page, but if you listen closely you can hear the evil laughter.

Seriously, John Fairbairn is responsible, directly or indirectly, for over half of the information available to non Asian language speakers about Go. He does NOT make significant money for these efforts, yet he has to take all this abuse. 3 hours was all it took this time before folks take a shot at him.

Could you manage to thank him for his efforts, and encourage him or offer to help him pursue other formats - something he states he is evaluating, before you attack him?

"People like" John Fairbairn deserve our thanks. Most pros of the 20th Century consider Shuei to be the greatest of the hereditary Honinbos, yet we have almost nothing in English about his life and games. "When the mountains of the Honinbo House stretching from the distance crumble and fall into the sea, one lone peak will remain soaring proudly into the sky - Shuei"

Thanks John, and sorry the Toffees spoiled the Toon's final day (not really).

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #13 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:46 pm 
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HKA wrote:
John Fairbairn is responsible, directly or indirectly, for over half of the information available to non Asian language speakers about Go.


Do you mean "history information about Asian players, associations, games" instead of "information" in general? If so, over 50% seems still a bit of an exaggeration. (Although roughly, say, one fourth is still impressive.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #14 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Glad to hear it -- I have always (err, for the 3 years I've been playing go) wanted
to know more about Shuei and really enjoy John's other books.

Leaving aside the worries about proprietary formats -- which are quite reasonable --
I am worried that Kindle is not a good choice for books 2 and 3. For book one... sure, and in fact I
already purchased it.

But for books with lots of diagrams the Kindle doesn't seem to work very well. I have one Kindle go
book, and the problem is that it's hard to control how the text appears relative to the diagrams. So
I find myself flipping back and forth a lot trying to match the text to the diagram, and that becomes
very irritating. While e-book readers are great for some things (like going on a long trip without
a suitcase of books), in cases where precise control of the layout is important, they do seem to
fall flat on their face.

Not that I have a solution here, presuming that physical printing isn't really an option.
Smartgo books seems very cool, but it does raise the lock in issues to an even higher level.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #15 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:00 pm 
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HKA wrote:
Could you manage to thank him for his efforts, and encourage him or offer to help him pursue other formats - something he states he is evaluating, before you attack him?

John is the best Western go writer, and he already knows that. I think it would make a greater impact if I "thank him" by actually buying his books. Something which at the moment I'm unfortunately not able to do because of his decision to go with Amazon's vendor lock-in format.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #16 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:36 pm 
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Is it for Kindle (hardware) only or maybe it is available for Kindle app too? If latter it mean you can read it on almost every mobile device (iOS/Android/anything else with Kindle app).

@Oren - SmartGo Book can be used on almost every iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad (every model, even 2010) so it is not $400 deal, i guess the price range is starting from about $50 or even less. You don't need to get the newest apple hardware.

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 Post subject: Re: The Life of Honinbo Shuei
Post #17 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:37 pm 
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lobotommy wrote:
Is it for Kindle (hardware) only or maybe it is available for Kindle app too? If latter it mean you can read it on almost every mobile device (iOS/Android/anything else with Kindle app).


It's available on any platform that has the kindle software. I have it on my phone right now.

You're right. I didn't consider the iPod touch. That would be $200 to start and a tiny screen.

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Post #18 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:48 pm 
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I'm in a desperate scramble to find my kindle charger. I have been looking forward to these books ever since I heard John was working on them.

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Post #19 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:07 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
HKA wrote:
John Fairbairn is responsible, directly or indirectly, for over half of the information available to non Asian language speakers about Go.


Do you mean "history information about Asian players, associations, games" instead of "information" in general? If so, over 50% seems still a bit of an exaggeration. (Although roughly, say, one fourth is still impressive.)

Without meaning to minimize John Fairbairn's worthy contributions, I am also puzzled by HKA's claim.

I would say this title belongs jointly to such people as Richard Bozulich (especially him), John Power, and James Davies of Ishi/Kiseido, Dr. Sidney Yuan of Yutopian, and other translators such as Robert J. Terry. (And I'm probably overlooking many others.) Some have been bringing go to the west for over 40 years. The level of go played in the west (or at least, in the English-speaking part) would be much lower without their efforts.

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Post #20 Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:10 pm 
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L19: We will catch your hyperbole!

Kindle charger found (how on earth did it get back there?), reading commencing. Kindles are affordable, accessible and pleasant, though I'm nothing like an expert on these things.

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