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As Hachette, Amazon, and the laundry list of household name authors who make up the faux-power group Authors United continue to battle and make headlines over the contract dispute, there’s another major player who’s caught in the crossfire of the whole mess: the readers.

While critics and supporters on both sides argue over the costs of doing business, the power of capitalism, even the poor contract terms that many traditionally published authors face, the sad fact is that the readers are being left out of much of the discussion. How the contract agreement–whenever it may come about–affects book pricing will directly impact consumers and their ability to continue to purchase books.

Unfortunately, Authors United, the group of authors who penned an open letter to Amazon asking the retailer to resolve the issue and agree to terms, has now threatened to call on its readers to help stand their ground, despite Amazon’s offer to give Hachette’s authors 100% of the sale price of their books until the matter is concluded. AU has now written a second letter stating that it will write another letter…then post that letter in a full-page ad in the New York Times.

Through author Douglas Preston, AU has made the following bold statement: “We have many loyal and committed readers. They listen when we speak. That represents power; perhaps even enough power to face down one of the world’s largest corporations.”

The level of arrogance required to state that AU can use its own reader fans in its fight to increase the price of books for those very fans is astounding, as this is one of the biggest shows of us-versus-them in publishing to be made public in quite some time. Hopefully these authors will quickly come to understand that if it weren’t for Amazon, many of those readers couldn’t even afford to be their fans.

KDP Pricing
New information and knowledge have come to light thanks to the efforts of a core group of individuals; author Hugh Howey and his mathematical number cruncher Data Guy have released exhaustive information through the Author Earnings reports designed to help authors make informed decisions concerning their publishing.

Rather than fight the Author Earnings efforts and information with their collective heads in the sand, Amazon seems to be reading and incorporating the information into tools for their authors. In the public beta of a new feature, KDP Pricing Support, Amazon has opened a new toolbox for authors to better understand their book pricing and the impact is has on their overall sales.

Amazon’s new tool gives authors who wish to use the free service a snapshot of where similar books are performing and at which price points, thereby recommending a price for their titles. Authors are then given the option to one-click to institute that price for their books. It’s interesting to note that when a Good e-Reader staffer tested the new service, it was discovered that some of the author’s titles were priced as much as seven dollars US lower than the typical book performing at peak sales for that category; other titles were already priced at the recommended $2.99. None of the authors’ books were priced higher than the service’s recommendation, a characteristic that is common among self-published authors who tend to underprice their content.

The tool is available for all KDP authors to try out by clicking on the button in the “Rights and Pricing” section of their dashboards, and Amazon has stated that the beta period is open to all users in an attempt to help them uncover which features authors rely on. Books that are not enrolled in Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program are still eligible for the service, and more information can be found HERE.

Copyright is a hotly contested issue facing both authors and the publishing industry, as rights holders work to strike a balance between safeguarding content and sharing it across a variety of platforms to reach as many readers as possible. In the era of digital publishing, ebook piracy, and open sharing authoring platforms, some industry response has been to tighten the reins even further to combat the over-inflated perceived threat of content loss.

Wattpad, a site which makes discovery possible through more than 30 million reader memberships, is designed specifically for authors to write and post content, then for readers to share that content with their own followers. But one of the chief questions plaguing the concept often comes from new authors to the site: is it safe?

In response, Wattpad announced this week that it has developed Open Stories, a Creative Commons option that authors can choose to let their work reach as many readers as possible while allowing those readers to be a part of the process.

According to Wattpad’s announcement on this new option, “The biggest question facing new writers today isn’t how to protect their work; it’s how to find a readership for it,” said Cory Doctorow, science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger. “It makes complete sense that so many Wattpad writers are gravitating toward Creative Commons licenses: by giving others permission to share your writing, you can open doors to new audiences and new creative opportunities.

“Cory Doctorow has shared five stories on Wattpad under CC licenses, including New York Times best-selling novels Homeland and Little Brother. Today, to coincide with the roll out of CC 4.0, he will share his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, on Wattpad.

Creative Commons is gaining more and more ground as content owners begin to more fully understand the changes that have taken place, largely due to technology and advances in the internet and social media. The original system of licensing permissions to read and share content don’t lend themselves well to the digital publishing age, and CC is working to address the necessary protections while still allowing the freedom of discovery.

“From day one Wattpad has been about self-expression and creativity. With the integration of CC 4.0 creators from around the world will be able to search millions of stories on Wattpad and use them for their own artistic pursuits,” said Co-founder and CEO of Wattpad Allen Lau. “Licensing creative works under CC 4.0 makes total sense in today’s remixing culture.”

An ebook being used by an elderly person
The PA Digital Sales Monitor, new report from the UK-based Publishers’ Association, showed that ebook sales are on the rise for the first quarter of 2014. This report, which showed a 10.5% increase in digital sales, comes at a time when the debate around ebooks and their viability from different angles is starting to make waves again.

According to a press release issued on the first quarter sales, “The growth in sales was also spread across all recorded categories. In the consumer sector digital sales of fiction increased 8%, with a 10% rise in sales of adult non-fiction. Digital sales of children’s titles meanwhile enjoyed a particularly strong performance, with a 33% rise.

“In the educational/professional sector the largest growth was seen in Scientific Technical and Medical (STM) books, where sales increased by 16%, however, there were also strong performances by schools/English Language Teaching (ELT) sales which grew 14%, and social sciences/humanities which saw an 11% rise.”

eBooks as a viable source of industry revenue for both traditional publishing and indie has been called into question in the past, especially given the fact that critics love to indicate the plateau that ebooks seem to have hit with readers. While their growth had seemed to slow in recent years, they remained steady with e-reading fans. This growth indicates a forward movement in the format, giving even more credence to the disputes currently taking place between retailers and publishers regarding sales agreements, and between publishers and their authors over royalties.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said, “The Publishers Association Digital Sales Monitor shows the continuing development and growth of digital publishing in the UK. Increases in digital sales in both consumer and non-consumer sectors shows how publishing as an industry has embraced digital technology and continued its strong track record of innovation and service delivery.”


How many people check Facebook more often in a day than they do any local news. Problem is, our friends are sharing details faster than we can consume them –especially because we are often checking in on them while we are on the go! Thankfully, Facebook understands (and finally implemented a feature that we can get behind instead of just redesigning our home pages and making us constantly frustrated). A new save feature lets you put a virtual bookmark in a link, place, movie, TV show, or music clip… so when you have time, you can get properly caught up.

To access the feature, find the drop-down menu called from the top right-hand corner of any post –tap there and choose ‘Save’. Later, view the saved section to recall these items that you thought warranted a closer look. Apparently Facebook will also remind us of these saved items on occasion, popping them back into your news feed (which could be handy or annoying, time will tell).

If you haven’t installed Facebook for Android on your device yet, download it now and get back in touch with those people on your friends list.

Categories : Android News
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Dutch Publishers have failed to convince a court to shut down a popular used eBook website. A potential battle between lawyers would cost millions over the concept of being able to sell your eBooks legally.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled that website Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during a legal battle against the Dutch Publishers Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights, said Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, a copyright lawyer who represents the Dutch Publishers Association (DPA), which has sued to take the site offline.

The Dutch courts have ruled in favor of Tom Kabinet because of the 2012 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which ruled in a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft that the trading of “used” software licenses is legal and that the author of such software cannot oppose any resale. This verdict also applies to ebooks, according to Tom Kabinet.

The essence of Kabinet is that people who own eBooks can upload them to the website and sell them. When a book is sold, a digital watermark is added to the file to insure they will not filter to pirate websites and to add accountability for the buyer and seller.

The judge overseeing the trial has informed the publishers that they can try and mount a case against Kabinet, contending that the Oracle and Usedsoft judgement does not apply to eBooks.

Categories : E-Book News
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Every single day there are 60,000 cruise, cargo and oil rigs in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention. This has opened up a new market for digital publishing companies to keep the staff entertained and use it as perks to keep trained personnel from going to the competition.

Maritime operations, whether its a cruise ship, oil rig or cargo vessel often do not have reliable internet access. The companies often deal with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours, when the internet is more reliable and not congested.

Cargo vessels and oil rigs often have staff that are on the vessel for up to six months at a time. Keeping them entertained is a top priority to keep them loyal and happy. This has opened up a tremendous niche in the marketplace where some companies are taking advantage of the sparse options currently available.

Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from those countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.

Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or lost amidst the huge vessels. This has warranted digital distribution, and PressReader Offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.

PressReader offline has been in a year long pilot project and the system was co-developed by Silver Seas Cruises. It was trialed on a number of vessels to get feedback on how it could be integrated, using existing systems and the limitations of satellite internet. The offline capabilities have been a big hit and is now being used on vessels globally.

Established satellite internet providers are also leaping at the oportonity to fill this burgeoning entertainment niche. InfoSat is currently developing a new system that will allow vessels to have unlimited satellite internet access and offer a wide array of media. Maps, music, Videos, Newspapers, magazines and eBooks will be a top priority for the global launch.

If you are a crewman on a military submarine, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is non-existent, due to security reasons, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy to partner with Findaway World for the NERD e-Reader. It comes with 300 eBooks and audiobooks and has no USB port or WIFi internet access. In essence, it is a tremendously low security risk and provides an alternative to movies or the XBox.

I think this is the perfect time for the maritime industry to embrace audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and digital newspapers as an avenue to retain staff and keep everyone entertained. After all, most just rely on mindless activities such as video games, movies or sports. Reading gives them a taste of home and a widened mind.


The New Yorker exemplifies a high society paper that chronicles commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. The paper has been going strong since 1925 and recently they have been working like fiends to make sure their website is brought up to modern standards. Not only do they have a new responsive design that makes it shine on computers, but now looks stellar on phones and tablets. In order to celebrate, they are giving away any new content they publish away for free and also are opening up their digital  archives from 2007 to 2014.

In a statement on their blog the editorial staff said “Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall. Subscribers will continue to have access to everything; non-subscribers will be able to read a limited number of pieces—and then it’s up to them to subscribe. You’ve likely seen this system elsewhere—at the Times, for instance—and we will do all we can to make it work seamlessly.”

So the New Yorker intends on borrowing a page out of the New York Times playbook to implement a paywall for all of their online content. This will make the majority of it be indexed on Google and used as reference by other online publications. Users will be able to read X articles per month for free and if they want to read more, they have to subscribe. This is likely why they are giving away everything for free right now, to drum up a new readership base and then try and get them to pay.

Jeff Howe, a professor of multimedia journalism at Northeastern University, called the new paywall strategy a good one. “Paywalls aren’t the silver bullet news outlets thought they would be back in the Jurassic period of the internet’s development, but a limited and intentionally leaky one becomes one of a bunch of revenue streams to staunch further declines, and maybe even help ward off that terrible vortex of losses leading to layoffs leading to readership declines leading to losses.”

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When smartphones began, BlackBerry ruled the land and everybody fell in love with their messaging app (fondly called BBM). It behaved like iMessage, long before such a thing existed, offering up multi-person chats, read notifications and other more dynamic features. These days, fewer (and fewer) people have BlackBerry devices, but the beloved BBM has been extended to work on other platforms –the most recent being the Windows Phone.

Features of the BBM app for Windows Phone include: BBID setup and log-in, BBM profiles, invite a contact and suggested contacts (based on people you know), 1-to-1 and multi-person chat, contact categories (handy for separating out work colleagues, family, and friends), and BBM groups. Each of these things combined with their cross-platform expansions have turned BBM into a serious contender as a universally adopted instant messaging app.

To give this app a test-drive on your Windows Phone, you must be a part of the BlackBerry Beta program. If you haven’t gotten on board, or you don’t have a Windows Phone, BBM Messender for Android is also available as a free download.

Categories : Android News
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Do you have a fantastic idea for a new Android app, but lack the development skills to bring it to market? Udacity would like to help you turn inspiration into reality with their new course called “Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals.” Delivered entirely online, this class is aimed at developers who understand the fundamentals of programming (using other languages such as C++, Objective C, or Python for 3 years or more) but may not have any experience with the Android operating system.

The course commitment is approximately 6 hours of study during each of 8 weeks, throughout which Android development fundamentals will be covered. By the conclusion of the course, graduates should enjoy an understanding of the tools, principles, and patterns leading to the creation of Android apps.

Becoming comfortable with Android development may be a lucrative move for many software development professionals, especially when you consider that the mobile operating system is branching out to other platforms as well, including: wearables, desktop computing, and cloud-connected solutions.

Interested? You can get started immediately with a 2-week free trial, after which the tuition will cost you $150 per month –a bargain when you consider the earning potential of successful Android apps.

Categories : Android News
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News of an upcoming superhero movie is always exciting for fans of the genre, so when Marvel announced one was in the works –everybody was wondering who the star of the show would be. Turns out the next big feature is all about the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you’re among those who aren’t familiar with these heroes, you aren’t alone, but playing a little of the co-branded Android game will help you learn and get excited. In Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon (TUW), the brilliance of Marvel crossed with Disney comes to life.

The team fighting evil is a rag-tag crew, comprised of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax –a group of assassins, grouchy aliens, and one that resembles a tree. Together with their allies, your job is to help them through real-time battles while trying to recover the five pieces of The Universal Weapon so that it isn’t built by the villainous Ronan the Accuser! Once you make it through the story, keep playing and enjoying the game while testing your survival skills in Arena Mode. For added fun, the more you play, the more combo moves and crushing attacks you can unlock (plus gain access to over 25 characters).

Download Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW for $4.99 USD now (and enjoy the fact that there are no in-app purchases to get in the way of your villian-hunting)!

Categories : Android News
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Over the course of the last few years our News App for Android was not very compelling. It was slow, unwieldy and not indicative to the simplified vision we had for reading our stories on your phone or tablet. We have solved this situation by launching our updated News App for Android Smartphones.

In the last few weeks we have launched a brand new mobile version of our website that appeals to readers who have an iPhone or Android devices. When you visit our news site on your phone, you will be greeted by a new mobile theme. The text is readable right off the bat, and there is no pinching or zooming required to keep informed on all of the latest happenings in the eBook, e-Reader and digital publishing world.

The News App for Android is your gateway to accessing our mobile version of the site, but with a few extras. We have a new commenting system for the app, that shows you how many comments a story has on the frontpage and has the ability to connect your favorite social media account to easily weigh in on a specific news item.

Doing a mobile version of our website has always been a huge priority with us and we now have an excellent solution. We have attempted three different versions in the past, and they all were terrible. I am honestly very happy with our app and implore you to check it out and download it today.

Download Good e-Reader News for Android or visit our website on your smartphone.

Categories : Android News
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Welcome back to the Monday Edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of DBW. Today on the show we talk about Kindle Unlimited, an overview and if its good for indie authors. We also talk about non-conventional eBook distribution methods such as Twitter, Facebook and Bittorrent. Finally, we talk about the Forbes sale, bundling eBooks with print and Author Earnings as viable data.

Categories : E-Reader Radio
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