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Tesco has announced their intentions to close their digital e-Book platform at the end of February. The supermarket chain had been in covert negotiations with Waterstones, but the two sides could not agree on a purchase price.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We have taken the decision to close our e-book service blinkbox Books. We’ve learnt a lot since launching the service and whilst we saw encouraging levels of take up, we believe that we can do more for our customers by focusing on our core business. The service will close by the end of February.” The spokesperson added: “Our focus now is on the colleagues affected and our customers.”

Tesco had been operating their online bookstore since March 2014. They tried to promote their new business unit to their established base of shoppers, leveraging their loyalty cards to get discounts. Not only could customers buy e-books on their website, which included a book blog, but also via their dedicated Android app. This app was available via Google Play, but also came pre-loaded on the Hudl line of budget tablets.

Ultimately the customer will be the one to suffer from blinkbox books shutting down. The app locked content will be unable to be backed up properly and read on any other device. Tesco has not publicly divulged if they will continue to support the app for the foreseeable future or whether they will close it entirely, leaving thousands of customers unable to read their purchased content.

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The publishing industry has extolled the virtues of digital publishing–less waste, lower transport and delivery costs, a reduced carbon footprint–especially where periodicals are concerned, but there is more to delivering e-content in the form of newspapers and magazines than simply browsing through a magazine while you wait for the train.

New data on travel, specifically the numbers that pertain to business travel, may provide a correlation between the increase in individual trips and the steady increase in popularity of digital newspaper and magazine apps. Numbers from the Travel Industry Association of America indicate that:

  • 3% of business travelers travel outside of the U.S.
  • 47% of business travelers reported that their last trip was to attend a meeting, trade show, or convention, as opposed to other activities, such as consulting or making a sales call.
  • The average business trip lasts 3.3 nights.
  • 20% of business travelers report that they combined work and vacation on their last trip.
  • There were 43,900,000 individuals who traveled on business in 1998 — or one out of every five American adults.
  • The average business traveler is 42 years old.
  • 60% of business travelers are men.
  • The average business traveler takes 5.4 trips each year.
  • The average business traveler earns an annual salary of $76,100.
  • In the 1990’s, there were an average of 200,000,000 business trips taken per year.
  • With 25% of business travelers visiting the South Atlantic region of the U.S., it is the most common destination.

With so much travel taking place in far flung destinations when the individual is required to travel, one of the small comforts that airports and hotels have been able to offer is access to internet connectivity and digital magazines and newspapers. This allows the business traveler to connect to content and news from back home, rather than experience the sense of relief from getting away from it all, as when on vacation.

“With todays’ competitive hospitality industry, retention is usually a result of high guest satisfaction,” explains the logic behind digital amenities as offered by digital content app PressReader. “Value added guest amenities, like PressReader, give hoteliers an ideal solution to gain a competitive edge in the market resulting in higher guest satisfaction and repeat visits. With a library of over 2,000 same-day digital newspapers and magazines including the Washington Post, Elle Magazine, Business Traveler, The Globe and Mail and Le Monde, PressReader is a cost-effective luxury amenity that leisure and business travelers alike would appreciate.”

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Many people skip a generation before buying the latest and greatest Apple product. The S line of smartphones tends to get lost in the shuffle between major updates in technology. With the advent of the iPhone 6 Plus, the question is, is it good for e-reading? Today, we look at the iPhone 5 and 6 Plus and put them side by side showing the exact same content. This should give you an indication on how both devices handle manga, comics and e-Books. If reading is important to you and you tend to be invested in the whole Apple ecosystem, you don’t want to miss this!


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The iPhone 6 Plus is the first large screen phone that Apple has ever released and is quite excellent at reading e-Books, comics, manga and staying on top of the daily news.  Unlike iPhones of the past, the 6 Plus actually makes the process of digital reading very enjoyable.

The 6 Plus by Apple features a 5.5 inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and 401 PPI.  The sheer size of the screen and high resolution makes reading HD content extremely viable, such as comics and magazines. It is important to note that if you are consuming a large portion of this type of media to invest in an iPhone 6 Plus with more memory, because the average HD comics for example is around 150 to 250 MB. The base 16 MB model might not cut it.

I have been a Blackberry user for a number of years, so reading on my phone has never really been a viable option. The square screen really prevented landscape mode, which a lot of e-reading apps require. Things improved when I bought my first iPhone 5 a few years ago, and started using news apps such as Digg and Thompson Reuters. The screen on the 5 was only 4 inches, which made reading e-books, magazines, newspapers and manga a lackluster experience. I found myself constantly having to pinch and zoom to find that virtual sweet spot, only to lose it when I flipped a page and had to reconfigure the zooming levels again.

When I gravitated to the iPhone 6 Plus it really felt large and unwieldy for the first couple of days. I constantly found myself bending and flexing it to see if the entire “Bendgate” saga were true and to put my mind at ease that I was not going to bend the thing completely in half.  I have never had an Android phone such as the Galaxy Note, so this was my first “Phablet.”

Its now been a few weeks since I have been using the iPhone 6 Plus as my primary smartphone and find myself reading more on it than my Kindle. This is not because its new and therefore novel, but it can more easily install dedicated apps for the content I really like. My standard e-reading apps are Manga Rock, Crunchyroll  Manga, Kindle, Zinio, Pressreader, Pulse Reader, Reuters, Digg Marvel comics.  Almost all of these apps don’t even require pinching and zooming, all of the content really shines on the large screen.

Do you come for a dedicated e-reader background? I am talking about e-ink based readers such as the Kindle, Kobo Nook or Sony readers. These brands for the most part have been going strong since 2007.  These companies all realized early on that six inches made the ideal device, in terms of portability and overall e-reading experience. The iPhone 6 Plus is only half an inch smaller and is always in your pocket due to the fact it functions as your primary phone.

In the video below, you will get a sense on how e-books, manga, comics and how dedicated news apps function on the iPhone 6 Plus.  If you are on the fence about buying or upgrading to this model, watching this video should lend the assist.


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When the digital revolution kicked off, it sparked a wave–for better or for worse, depending on which supporter or critic you ask–of self-publishing opportunities that many were quick to take advantage of. But there were key groups who were left out at first, namely children’s book authors, graphic novelists, photo array creators, and similar content developers. But thanks to companies like Blurb, Draft2Digital, Story2Go, and many more, there are now opportunities for a wide variety of publishing types.

This has led to an increase in interest in private self-publishing, or a model of publishing in which an individual simply wants to have a professional-looking print or digital edition of a book that will not be listed for major sale. While outlets like CreateSpace function to list a professional-grade print copy on Amazon’s retail website, others like the addition of print services from Nook Press simply make print-on-demand copies available for the author to purchase.

A recent article for Economic Times highlighted the need for cookbooks to have a publishing process, as more and more people are sharing their old family recipes within their group of relatives, and are looking for a professional option. While church cookbooks in particular have long been a fundraising option, the results were often shoddy plastic spiral bindings between two pieces of card stock, while the books themselves had to be ordered in minimum shipments of bulk that the organizations then had to turn around and sell at an astounding price, just to make a return.

With print-on-demand, though, not only is the option available for single-purchase at much lower prices, the option to list the book on sites like Amazon is still there if organizations choose to direct their customers to the retailer and make their royalty that way. Of course, they are also free (and encouraged, even) to order their own copies at a significant savings and sell them at events as impulse purchases.

In the case on the family cookbook featured in Economic Times, the book actually went on to be picked up by HarperCollins India, given that it was a large collection of regional favorites and nothing else like it was available at the time. The publisher has gone on to actively seek out other cookbooks for the same reason.

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One of the early adoption markets for tablet use, K12 digital textbooks, and a thriving e-commerce site to offer ebooks was India, but recent reports have shown somewhat stagnant responses, which experts have attributed to a lack of reliable wifi and internet connectivity throughout the country, as well as concerns about posting credit card information on unreliable digital infrastructure. But a new multi-billion dollar initiative from the Indian government in conjunction with a major telecom provider may change all that with the institution of free wifi in 2,500 cities across the country.

The Digital India project will create some 50,000 to 60,000 hotspots in various cities, and offer citizens data plans through telecom-provider BSNL. These data plans, which will function in much the same way that consumers currently subscribe to data plans, will offer the free data packages, with the option to purchase additional data each month after the free threshold has been reached.

According to an outline of the project, the goals include:

  • Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  • Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  • Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  • eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  • e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
    Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs
  • Early harvest program

How does this affect the publishing industry? Nearly all sectors of publishing have seen lagging adoption–slower than predicted, at least–due to concerns of connectivity. While educational initiatives have put devices in place, retail websites like Flipkart and Amazon India have introduced easy ebook purchasing, and even major self-publishers have brought the platform to authors in India, the lack of internet connection has been blamed for disappointing results in publishing.

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Announcements made at this year’s Secret Wars comic event brought an official end to the complex and sophisticated Marvel Universe (video coverage of the kick-off event is linked below so you can see for yourself). Once crowned the kinds of continuity, Marvel intends to apply almost 60-years of lessons-learned to a fresh universe (while trying desperately not to alienate die-hard fans of the franchise).

Instead of being an update on the original Secret Wars released in the mid 1980’s (within which, a variety of heroes and villains came together from universes near and far to battle each other), the plan appears to be a mash-up intended to bring all universes into one: Battleworld.

The good news? We don’t have to feign amnesia for the 616-universe. All of that history remains in tact, delightfully free from the complications and confines of current storylines.

The bad news? Marvel has confirmed the slaughter of at least a few beloved characters (though Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso also promised that other heroes will survive and thrive… or even see resurrection). Trying to anticipate who will remain is a guessing-game at this point, but it seems reasonable to assume that Captain America will make the cut ahead of Howard the Duck.

Three sets of comics will get things started:

    Secret Wars: Last Days – These titles will address what the characters from the Marvel Universe have planned for their final days before the start of Secret Wars.

    Secret Wars: Battleworld – If you want the full story, Battleworld is set to deliver a much-needed overview. Marvel Editor-in-Chief promises us answers to the questions already keeping us on the edge of our seats: “Who polices Battleworld? How do the various domains interact? What happens when those domains go to war? What strange, never-before-seen creatures inhabit this world? What familiar faces will make appearances?”

    Secret Wars: Warzones – Once you are ready to dig a little deeper, Warzones will deliver stories of the individual nations found in Battleworld… with a teasers that will offer a glimpse of the future.

Think of Secret Wars as a means for Marvel to do some streamlining and restructuring –but certainly not simplifying. An encyclopedic knowledge of their publishing history may be a value-add here, but in a world filled with bottom lines it seems wise to capitalize on new-comers who may have only hopped on board after enjoying Marvel’s highly-successful feature films.

If this all sounds a little familiar, DC tried a similar reboot of their universe called “The New 52″ that combined bits and pieces of their existing material into a fresh product –though hopefully Marvel has more success maintaining interest beyond the initial launch excitement.

We don’t have long to wait now, with the first issue (written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Esad Ribic) readying for launch on Free Comic Book Day in May.

Categories : Android News
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LibreOffice

You may already be familiar with LibreOffice, known for being an incredibly popular open source office application (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). The good news, is the developers at Collabora are making the move to Android –beginning with a beta version of their LibreOffice Viewer. They warn that it’s not stable (and therefore not recommended for mission critical tasks), but they are also welcoming of all feedback and bug reports in an effort to make this app as successful as possible.

Easily capable of becoming a go-to app, LibreOffice Viewer can handle nearly any document type that is thrown at it:

  • Open Document Format (.odt, .odp, .ods, .ots, .ott, .otp)
  • Microsoft Office 2007/2010/2013 (.docx, .pptx, .xlsx, .dotx, .xltx, .ppsx)
  • Microsoft Office 97/2000/XP/2003 (.doc, .ppt, .xls, .dot, .xlt, .pps)

Functionality is pretty basic at this point, but future releases (available weekly) promise to work with URLs and accessing external SD storage.

Ready to try an alternative for reading documents on your Android devices? Download LibreOffice Viewer Beta for free now!

Categories : Android News
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digital-magazine

Internet news devotees have had to become very selective about the articles they read due to the abundance of available content, which has led many to adopt dedicated digital platforms that only display news from sources they choose. Apps like PressReader and Newsbeat have stepped up to fill the gap, and offer customizable options for current news, including region-specific content and categorical selection. Digital newspapers and magazines have also grown in popularity, possibly in relation to the unreliable options flooding social media; OverDrive reported on its growth of digital content yesterday, citing the convenience of access to news through public library portals as a chief patron service.

One platform in particular, Press Reader, released a new video that explains its all-you-can-read digital news model, as well as its emergence as a leading provider of digital newspapers and magazines to the all-important library sector.

Press Reader bills itself to users as a premium content provider, meaning its not the same old headlines that are available scattered across news blogs. This has helped the crucial lending market make a trusted choice in subscribing for their patrons to access digital content.

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The digital revolution and its subsequent self-publishing hey day have perhaps sparked more change in literature and publishing than any event since Gutenberg started tinkering, but for all of the great talk of “equalizing” and breaking down barriers, what industry watchers were really referring to was text-based novels. A number of demographics in the publishing business were left out, such as comic book creators, graphic novelists, children’s book authors, and more.

But as startups began to recognize the self-publishing and digital platform spheres were overloaded with options for authors, a few other companies began quietly meeting the needs that other companies had overlooked. One such market was the image-heavy ebook space, where books had to be converted into apps for consumption in various operating system-specific app stores rather than sold through e-reading sites like Amazon or B&N.

Story2Go, first interviewed by Good e-Reader at Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013, launched at the time with an inexpensive iOS app that allowed authors and creators to essentially build their ebooks with simple drag-and-drop and uploading features, then rely on the bigger guns to actually distribute the book to a variety of app stores. While the process of creating the file isn’t entirely intuitive–this is no “Children’s eBooks for Dummies” level of process–there are clear-cut instructions at each step of the way to help authors along.

For a limited time, the Story2Go app is free in the Apple App Store, and despite the time that the company has producing and distributing books on behalf of authors, the price to distribute is still only a one-time $99 fee for the first platform, and $149 for multiple app stores.

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Book Walker, one of the largest digital bookstores for IOS, android, and PC, owned by Kadokawa, announced today it’s sales ranking of 2014 for 10 categories. They are based on the sales made between December 1, 2013 and November 30th, 2014 from it’s 151,000 titles.

This year the Book Walker award goes to the top selling digital book of 2014 to Mamare Touno’s fantasy adventure series Log Horizon. The series follows Shiroe, a socially awkward gamer and his friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki trapped in an MMORPG with thirty thousand other players that were trapped in the game after an expansion pack gone wrong. Donning their in game avatars, they must face the game world which has now become their reality, while facing challenges and obstacles.

Largely the success of Log Horizon is thanks to the fact it’s digital edition is only excursively available to Book Walker and had the two anime adaptions airing at the same time. Other winners include;

No Game No Life

“Sora and Shiro are two hikikomori step-siblings who are known in the online gaming world as blank who remains as an undefeated group. One day they are challenged to a game of chess by Tet, a god from another reality. Winning the game, they are offered to live in a world that revolves around games, accepting the prize as a joke, they find themselves in a reality called Disboard.”

Again My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong”

“This story follows loners, Hachiman Hikigaya and the beautiful Yukino Yukinoshita, who despite their varying personalities and ideals offer help and advice to others as part of their school’s service club.”

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

“By 2039, global warming had cause sea levels to rise and large amount of territory to be lost. A group of warships clad in mist appear in every corner of the ocean and begin attacking himan ships. Seven years later, a humanoid life form that pilots a sub appears before Gunzo Chihaya and offers her assistants to man kind.”

Appraisal Case Files of the Omnicompetent Q

“Featuring the heroine Riko Rinda, an appraiser with an incomparable gift for instantly seeing through all mitigating facts and circumstances to the true value and essence of whatever is presented to her for assessment.”

Invaders of the Six-Tatami Mat Room?!

“Kōtarō Satomi decided to live on his own at the beginning of his high school life and chose Room 106 of Corona House due to cheap rent. Unfortunately Kōtarō soon discovers that numerous other supernatual girls also want his room for various reasons and aren’t willing to back down. As a result, Kōtarō and the girls find themselves forced to live together as they try to settle who will end up with the room. ”

Knights of Sidonia

“The story follows Nagate, a low-born youth in a society of genetically engineered humans, refugees that escaped the destruction of Earth one thousand years earlier and now occupy the massive ship Sidonia. When Nagate’s talent as a pilot is revealed he becomes one of Sidonia’s elite defenders against the Gauna, shapeshifting aliens bent on eliminating humans from existence.”

Tokyo Ghoul Remastered

“Strange murders are happening in Tokyo. Due to liquid evidence at the scene, police conclude the attacks are result of of ‘eater’ type ghouls. Friends, Kaneki and Hide come up with the idea that ghouls are imitating humans so thats why they have never seen one. Little did they know that their theory will become a reality.”

Okitegami Kyoko no Bobiroku

“This story follows a detective named Kyōko Okitegam who is also known as the forgetful detective. She forgets everything in a day but can solve cases the same day. An unlucky yung man named Yakusuke Kakushidate somehow ends up as the suspect in every caseand he always asks for the detective for help.

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Many publishers often think their current Digital Rights Management solutions are enough to combat e-book piracy. This is why the vast majority end up using Digital Watermarks or Adobe DRM in order to make it hard to upload material you have purchased to file sharing websites. Rightscorp, likely the biggest anti-piracy player in movies, music and television shows told Good e-Reader that “we estimate that there were 500 million e-Books distributed in the United States on peer-to-peer networks in 2013 and this will grow to 700 million by 2018.”

Rightscorp has developed digital loss prevention technology that tracks copyright infringement and ensures that owners and creators are rightfully paid for their IP. They developed extensive tracking analytics that allows them to see what content is being distributed through Bittorrent and file sharing sites and then goes after the people involved. In April 2014 they made the company decision to market their services to the publishing industry and actively go after eBook pirates.

Business is booming for Rightscorp right now. The company has just announced that it has closed over 170,000 cases of copyright infringement to date, up 40,000 since November 2014, representing an approximate 30% growth within a 2 month period. They have received settlement payments from subscribers of more than 200 ISPs and has approval to collect on over 1.5 million copyrights.

We are firing on all cylinders and have been able to consistently generate growth on many of our operational metrics,” said Christopher Sabec, CEO of Rightscorp. “The latest count includes more than 1,000 cases closed on the Comcast and Google Fiber networks, which control the largest markets in the U.S. It seems clear that the entire industry is now beginning to recognize our solution as the most effective in preserving the rights of copyright holders – artists and content owners. We will continue to work hard to protect those who create and own intellectual property.”

Overall, the publishing industry is not really concerned with eBook piracy. Many of the top companies such as HarperCollins, Hachette, S&S and Penguin have told me that piracy is a minor blip on the radar and does not hamper sales to any discernible degree. They all admit it is an extreme minority of tech savvy individuals and statistically people who pirate eBooks tend to be the biggest purchasers of digital content. There has even been some notable authors such as Tim Ferris that harnessed the power of Bitorrent to promote his book, the 4 Hour Chef. He recently said “Torrent conversion is NUTS. Of 210,000 downloads earlier this week, more than 85,000 clicked through “Support the Author” to the book’s Amazon page. We all had to triple and quadruple check that to believe it.

Sales of eBooks reached $3 billion at the end of 2012, up from $68 million in 2008 according to a recent article posted onYahoo! Finance. The article also cited that Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, said that “Kindle owners buy more books now than they did before they owned an e-Reader”. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates “consumer eBooks will drive $8.2 billion in sales by 2017, surpassing projected print book sales, which it thinks will shrink by more than half during that period.”

Rightscorp has not seen the traction in the e-Book space as they have with other media. The company has told me that “While Rightscorp has closed some cases with e-Books, we do not yet have large catalogs of e-Books like we have with movies, television and music.”

This goes to show that publishers believe in the power of DRM to such a large degree that they don’t really care to go after e-book pirates at this stage in the game.  They are more concerned with Amazon having too much power in e-book sales and distribution and trying to find alternative avenues to generate revenue, such as  e-Book subscription websites like Scribd and Oyster.

Categories : E-Book News
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Amazon launched their Japanese e-Book store in 2012  and in order to read e-books,  manga or comic books you basically needed to use the dedicated Kindle app for Android or iOS.  Now users have another option, Kindle for PC has officially launched in Japan.

The premise of Kindle for PC is to keep your content synchronized across multiple devices. It also allows for a ton of versatility for Japanese text and displays anything you would buy from the Amazon digital bookstore.  All of your purchases will be able to be viewed in both landscape and portrait mode.  Customization options include changing the background color, font size, font type and access the dictionary.

Amazon launched the Kindle Cloud Reader in Japan last September, this is their online based HTML5 e-reading app. It was fairly limiting, because it was relegated to only reading novels, not magazines, newspapers or manga.

The debut of Kindle for PC comes at an opportune time for Amazon. Earlier in the month the company launched Kindle Free Manga Magazine. This is a platform that has a revolving pool of single issues and magazines, all available for free.  The initial lineup includes the recent issue of Shueisha’s Grand Jump magazine, as well as Manga Action, Comic Ran Twins, Comic Zero-Sum, Manga Box service, and Square Enix’s Hobo Gekkan Otameshi Gangan.

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