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This week in new book technology

There’s no shortage of evidence that the tanking global economy is having a disastrous effect on the book trade south of the border. But this week, there have also been several news stories pointing to a slight boom in e-books.

On Monday, Random House U.S. announced that it would be doubling its output of e-books after reporting triple-digit sales growth in that sector in 2008. Now, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which put a freeze on new acquisitions this week, is launching a new series of e-books geared to the iPhone, and downloadable through iTunes. The move could cut into Amazon’s healthy sideline in e-books, which Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says accounts for 10% of all book sales.

Elsewhere on the Web, horror author Aaron Ross Powell discusses how easy it was to post the first draft of his own novel onto the Kindle store without the intercession of a publisher (or an editor, for that matter). The result? Priced at $3.49, he was able to sell some copies of the manuscript, but didn’t generate the kind of reader feedback he was hoping for.

Finally, a German author has written what seems to be the world’s first geo-novel, a Web-edition of a novel in which each page of text is indexed to a Google Earth map.