When it comes to buying an e-reader for the first time or upgrading to the largest and greatest, there are lots of factors to consider. Do you want a very large screen to fit a copious amount of text or are you looking for something with a great ecosystem to buy eBooks? Over the course of the last month we asked the question, what do you look for in an e-reader? 694 people weighed in and today we look at the results.
Arguably the most important factor people look for in an e-reader is a large screen. 25.43% of the voting popular made it apparent that when it comes to reading digital books, a very large screen makes a world of difference. High resolution came in second with 16.62%, which makes it quite evident that high PPI and overall screen clarity matters.
Things were more competitive with the next tier down. 9.68% of the vote said that portability was important while 7.66% mentioned that an e-reader with open Android is important. 7.66% of the population stated that price is most important while 7.23% of the said that a particular e-reader brand, such as Kindle, Kobo or Nook weighed in on their decision.
What was most surprising about this vote is that serious readers aren’t engaged with gimmicks such as GoodReads, X-Ray, Badges, social media or achievements. A paltry 1.01% of the vote said things were totally unimpressive.
Oyster is hoping to appeal to literary buffs that aren’t currently paying for their eBook subscription service. The company has launched a new online book blog that will feature original essays, book reviews and interviews with prestigious authors.
Oyster’s editorial director, Kevin Nguyen described the publication as the company’s “latest discovery project,” explaining that “some readers want algorithmic recommendations, and others want editorial recommendations, or reviews.” He went on to say “We really want to be a part of the publishing community. We want to use the Oyster Review to bring Oyster to a new audience.”
It remains to be seen on what type of traction this book new initiative will get in the greater book community. Many readers are wary of reading this type of content from a company that peddles eBooks. This is the chief reason why many people don’t pay attention to the Amazon book blogs and prefer 3rd parties that are unbiased.
When Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post last year for $250 million, many people were wondering what role it would play on the Amazon ecosystem. There is a new Post app exclusively available on the Kindle Fire line of tablets. Users will get access to two editions per day which the editorial team for The Washington Post will release at 5 am ET and 5 pm ET.
The new app, with pre-loaded stories, pictures and even advertisements, was designed in close collaboration with Mr. Bezos, said Shailesh Prakash, The Post’s chief technology officer. “We talked to him constantly,” Mr. Prakash said, describing feedback Mr. Bezos gave to developers. “He’s our most active beta tester.”
The Washington Post app has been developed to replicate the experience of reading the paper as if it was in print, the “pinch view” feature in this app attempts to replicate that experience.
The app will be free for Kindle Fire owners for six months, and will then cost a dollar for the next six months. A version of the app will be available for Android and iOS operating systems next year, at $3.99 a month.
Simon & Schuster first got involved in distributing their vast collection of eBooks to libraries earlier this year. In order for libraries to carry their titles the publisher was basically forcing 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive to implement a buy it now button as part of the arrangement. Many libraries and consortium’s did not want to sell eBooks on their websites and resisted carrying any titles by S&S. Today, the publisher relaxed their restrictions.
“From the beginning, the ALA has advocated for the broadest and most affordable library access to e-titles, as well as licensing terms that give libraries flexibility to best meet their community needs,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.”
“This change also speaks to the importance of sustaining conversations among librarians, publishers, distributors and authors to continue advancing our shared goals of connecting writers and readers,” Young added. “We are still in the early days of this digital publishing revolution, and we hope we can co-create solutions that expand access, increase readership and improve exposure for diverse and emerging voices,” said DCWG Co-Chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke. “Many challenges remain including high prices, privacy concerns, and other terms under which ebooks are offered to libraries. We are continuing our discussions with publishers.”
I think S&S have relaxed their policies because libraries simply don’t want to be getting themselves involved with retail. Libraries exist because of public funds and forcing them to become a bookstore in order to carry specific titles is tantamount to extortion.
A year after their first smartphone was introduced, Finnish technology company Jolla has successfully funded their IndieGogo project aimed to create a tablet. Looking to raise $380K, supporters have already pledged over $865K (and the campaign doesn’t end until December 9, 2014).
Jolla’s tablet should take specific aim at Apple’s iPad Mini and the recently announced Nokia N1 (though it will not be as thin or have an aluminum-bodied shell), featuring a 7.9-inch display with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, a quad-core Intel processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage… only it will not run iOS or Android –this device will take advantage of the startup’s Sailfish 2.0 operating system (which is able to boast 9 updates, 350 new features, and over 13,000 bugs fixed since their initial release; not to mention compatibility for Android apps).
Several incentives for supporters are being offered, though several have sold out, including among the first to receive a Jolla tablet (for a contribution of $204 USD as long as you live in one of the supported regions: EU, Norway, Switzerland, USA, India, China, Hong Kong, or Russia). For those with less to spend, $10 USD will get your name on the Jolla First Ones webpage.
Until the second quarter of 2015 when these little beauties are expected to ship, we will have to satiate ourselves with the product video created by Jolla.
Nintendo Extra is a new digital magazine that was designed to appeal to a younger audience. The first issue includes an introduction to The Legend of Zelda by producer Eiji Aonuma, basic tips for Mario Kart 8, a Captain Toad comic, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby features, and the first episode of the ‘Cat Mario Show’.
The new magazine is completely free and is primarily available through the Nintendo official website. There is no word yet if the publication is planned to launch via a series of apps for iOS or Android.Last month we saw the closure of Official Nintendo Magazine and this new endeavor is likely a second attempt to help market core Nintendo properties and appeal to a new demographic.
Amazon is gearing up for the holidays by slashing some of the prices on their tablets and also positioning themselves to push lots of Fire TV sticks.
The Fire TV Stick is a cheap alternative to the Fire TV system that launched earlier this year. In essence, the $39 stick connects to the HDMI port on your HDTV for instant access to movies, TV shows, music, photos, apps, and games. It features a dual-core processor, 2x the memory of Chromecast, dual-band, dual-antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming. Plus, it comes with a remote control for simple and easy navigation. You can also use the free Fire TV Remote App for Fire phone, Android phones, and coming soon to iPhone to search using just your voice.
The Amazon branded stick is shipping today, but new orders might be a bit delayed, due to the sheer amount of people opting to try out this new system. It is currently estimated that if you place your order today it won’t get shipped out until early January. Hopefully Amazon will get more manufactured and reduce the wait time.
Amazon is also discounting some of their tablets. The new Fire HD 7 normally costs $139 and is now on sale for $119, also the variant released last year, the seven inch HDX is only $179.99.
Also, if you are thinking of subscribing to Amazon Prime for the first time or renewing your membership you can get a $40 discount on the new Basic Touch 2014 model. Simply start/renew your membership and then add the product to your cart for the free voucher.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight is the only e-Ink based reader the bookseller is currently marketing. It normally costs $119.99, but starting November 21st, it will be discounted to $99.99 and this price point seems to be locked in stone for the rest of the year.
Barnes and Noble is also having a “Discovery Week” sale this weekend where lots of things are being discounted store wide in order to get a jump start on buying gifts for the holidays. In a limited time promotion from November 21 to November 23rd the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK devices have new low prices. You can pickup the seven inch version for $149.99 (after a $50 instant rebate) or purchase the 10.1 inch variant for $249.99 (after a $100 instant rebate).
Barnes and Noble has formally unveiled their Nook Audiobook app for Android. The Nations largest bookseller is putting a company wide priority on the audio experience. This is the first time they have ever got serious about it and they intend on marketing it towards the types of people who buy books on a regular basis or have never listed to one before.
There are over 50,000 audiobooks from major publishers available to purchase and the vast majority of them have free samples that range between two and four minutes in length to preview. As part of the launch promotion every week there will be five free audiobooks and new users to the platform can download two for free. There is no signup required or credit card needed for the account in order to take advantage of this promotion. The titles were exclusively vetted to span multiple genres and picked especially for the overall quality of the narration. During the first week the following titles will be available; Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Ender’s Game (Ender Quintet #1) by Orson Scott Card, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Heist (Fox and O’Hare Series #1) by Janet Evanovich and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand.
Kashif Zafar, Vice President of US Digital Content at NOOK Media told Good e-Reader exclusively “The mission of the design was to be very crisp and engage the broad mainstream audiobook customer. This was one of the first apps we built from the ground up and we feel it provides a user friendly experience.
Barnes and Noble is sourcing their compete audiobook collection from Findaway World via their AudioEngine imprint. This is the same organization that powers the vast majority of libraries digital catalogs.
This is not the first time the bookseller has got involved in audiobooks. For the last few years they sold them exclusively online and the titles were provided by Overdrive. When customers purchased an audio edition they had to download the Media Console app and had to register an account. Kashif mentioned that this distracted from the overall user experience and was quietly killed a few months ago.
The Nook Audiobook app will be made available via a firmware update for the Nook HD, Nook HD+ and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7 and 10.1 inch models sometime in the near future. B&N did not confirm exactly when these tablets will get the update, but the priority right now is the Android app. Kashif made it very clear that the marketing efforts behind the app is simply not pushing it out to the devices and hoping for the best. “We are implementing a marketing program across all of our bookstores to really drive home the fact we are serious about audiobooks. We also encouraging our publishing partners to advertise it across their own networks.”
I got a chance to play around with the final release version of the Android app as apart of the soft-launch program. I actually found it really intuitive to use, it doesn’t bog you down with advanced features, but makes listening and purchasing new content really easy. The main store features the aforementioned free content any user can download. There are a few sections that are curated by the new Nook Audio team and there will be seasonal themes and update provided every few weeks. There is also a featured audiobook of the week, which offers a tremendous discount.
When you listen to an audiobook, you don’t have the advanced features that Audible has. You can’t adjust the speed of the playbook to read faster or slower, you are stuck with the default setting. This isn’t all bad, as much I as do use the iTunes and Audible Players I have never adjusted the narration speed, but some people do, so it bears mentioning. You also are limited to two simultaneous downloads at a time, but once the first chapter is is complete you can listen to the book as its downloading.
The Nook Audiobook App is available as a free download from Google Play but is only available for US customers. I found that living in Canada you can buy and listen to audiobooks, so there seems to be no geographical restrictions on content. Kashif also wanted to make clear that an iOS version should be available in early Spring 2015. There is no timeline for official expansion into the UK or other international markets.
The entry into the audiobook market is perfect timing for Barnes and Noble. It perfectly rounds off their Nook Media catalog so they now sell everything a reader could possibly want. Apps, eBooks, comics, graphic novels, magazines, music, newspapers, and video.
The Amazon Silk Browser is fairly innovative because it can buffer in advance websites you visit on a regular basis, to cut down on the load times. One feature that has sorely lacking is private browsing, so you can cut down on the footprint you leave online and avoid some of the cookies that tend to follow you around. Today, Amazon has announced that this critical feature is now available.
In a statement issued on the official Silk Blog the lead developer said “In response to customer feedback, we are excited to announce support for Private Browsing. With Private Browsing, you can surf the web without saving a record of your visits. For example, if you use Private Browsing while researching travel destinations for a surprise trip or shopping for presents, these sites will not show up in your browsing history when someone else uses your device. Private Browsing is now available on our 2012, 2013, and 2014 Amazon Fire tablets as well as the Amazon Fire phone. Pages you view during a Private Browsing session do not remain in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after the session is over.”
In order to download the new update for your Amazon tablet or phone you have to download the largest update. This is normally pushed out via WIFI, but if you want to get it right away see the Software Updates page on the Fire & Kindle Support site.
The Sony Digital Paper is the first large screen E Ink device aimed at business professionals and a stark departure from consumer e-readers. The product up until this point has only been available through key Sony partners and sold online, prospective owners have not got a chance to try it out to see if its the right fit for them, until now.
Sony executives have announced that the DPT-S1 Digital Paper is now on display at Sony Stores to “touch and feel” the device, especially to realize the lightness and also the fluid handwriting. It is currently available at the Sony Store at Stanford University in Palo Alto and the 550 Madison Avenue Store in New York.If a customer likes way they see, these locations have plenty of units in stock for $999.99. Not to mention that people from overseas have another option if they, a relative or colleague is in the neighborhood!
Sony has also confirmed they are engaging in direct advertising for the first time “We’re running some ads in the The Stanford Daily digital edition. There’s been considerable interest from individuals in the Stanford community, and from the Bay Area in general.”
I think being able to give the Digital Paper a test drive is tremendous. Up until this point if you wanted to check it out, you had to watch one of our extensive YouTube Videos, which demonstrates the full user experience. Actually being able to hold one in your hands and play with it for awhile is likely the best way to actually push more device sales.
The Slush conference in Helsinki brought news that Nokia hasn’t been twiddling its thumbs in the seven months since their devices and services unit was sold to Microsoft (for a cool $7.2 billion). It appears the company was hard at work preparing to deliver the N1: a 7.9-inch, aluminum-shelled, Android tablet (running Lollipop OS). It looks a lot like Apple’s iPad Mini (complete with the placement of the camera, buttons, and headphone jack), but will sell at a far more attractive $249 price-point.
Luckily (and cleverly) for Nokia, the sale to Microsoft may have included a ban on making smartphones or handsets for 30 months –but other devices, including tablets, were not included in that agreement.
Nokia’s head of devices Sebastian Nystrom indicated that the N1 is targeted toward users who have yet to find the Android tablet of their dreams (meaning those out there who love the classy look of an aluminum-bodied tablet, but would prefer not to buy an iPad). Other specifications for the N1 include the use of Gorilla Glass 3, a weight of 318 grams, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera, 2048 x 1536 screen resolution, and Wi-Fi (only) network connectivity.
Nokia’s reveal video is linked below, offering an excellent overview and visual guide to the N1.
The initial launch of the N1 will be limited to China and is expected around the Chinese New Year (February 19, 2015), with delivery to Russia and select European countries shortly afterward. There is no word yet on when we might see Nokia’s new tablet in North America, but I suspect that will depend greatly on how is is received following the initial release.