The Latest News on eBooks, eReaders and Digital Publishing

Despite the reports and rumors that swirl around bookseller Barnes and Noble, the company has managed to keep its head above water in the retail bookselling space, both physically and online. Reports that the chain will close three hundred brick-and-mortar stores over the next several years was one of the first real nails in its coffin as far as critics were concerned, and coupled with lagging sales of devices and ebooks, many were certain that it was an indication of the company’s doom. But with product launches over the last few years that continue to demonstrate B&N’s commitment to its Nook line of devices, there is evidence that the company still stands behind its plan to innovate with the device and to keep moving forward.

One area that B&N continues to hold its own is in the college textbook market. While the company’s off campus stores have suffered, demonstrated by the recent closing of its flagship New York store that had become a college bookstore over the recent years, its growth on college campuses is surpassed only by Follett.

Now, B&N is combining its retail academic strength with its dedication to digital by announcing the pending development of Yuzu for college textbooks. According to an announcement on the Barnes and Noble College site, “Yuzu is a digital education platform by Barnes & Noble that makes the everyday learning experience remarkably gratifying. It’s an online ecosystem that enables the collaborative, free flow of information between learners and educators, making it easier than ever to teach, learn, discover and digest. Yuzu combines the passion of the mentor and the curiosity of the student to create something never before seen in our industry.”

By building a single-app interface that works through tablets or web-browsers (meaning students no longer have to choose what type of device they bring to college), B&N hopes to build a platform where students, educators, and virtually any stakeholder in the academic process can seamlessly interact with the text or material, regardless of the content’s publisher. It will integrate access to the online bookstore in order to keep all of the user’s content in one location for accessing, studying, and collaborating.

While this concept isn’t exactly new, what may make the difference is the iconic logo behind the platform. Many other startups have tried to build this wholly integrated learning world, but they didn’t come with the backing of a relatively successful and known academic brand. While this launch could finally be what it takes to bring this type of digital learning nirvana to a broader audience of users, it could also be the platform that puts to rest some of the rumors and speculations about B&N’s ability to stay afloat.


The Spanish eBook market have increased between 300% and 400% in the past three years. This has prompted a number of e-readers to be announced to take advantage of the digital boom. The latest entrant to the market is Szenio, who is best known for their line of tablets and smartphones. The company has just unveiled their first e-reader, the Szenio DC 1600.

This e-reader uses outdated TFT technology, which is the same screen that the Ectacto Jetbook employed four years ago. The resolution is an abysmal 800 x 600 pixels.

Underneath the hood is a robust ARM9 DualCore 600 MHZ processor and 128 MB of RAM. You have 4GB of internal memory to store your books and it supports a myriad of formats, including; TXT, PDF, HTML, CHM, RTF, FB2, EPUB.  One of the unique aspects of this device is that there is a built in comic book rendering engine. There is no bookstore loaded on it though, but you can use the accompanied internet browser to purchase content via WIFI.

You can see by the design of the reader that it bears a slight resemblance to the Kindle 5th generation. You navigate around via the D-Pad and also turn pages. There are forward, backward and settings to call up various functions.

The Szenio DC 1600 has high availability in Spain at various tech stores and is being sold for 79 Euros. I would give this one a miss if I were you. It is using really outdated screen technology and does not have a touchscreen. There are plenty of Spanish exclusives that are way better than this model, at the same price. I would recommend the Papyre 630 instead.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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The Sony 13.3 inch e-reader, otherwise known as the Digital Paper is hitting the US in MAY. In order to build hype around the $1100 PDF Reader Sony has signed an agreement with Ease Entertainment to have it used in the production process of Hollywood films.

Starting in May, the pilot will be conducted in collaboration with Ease Entertainment, a leading payroll and accounting company serving the motion picture and television production industries. Ease Entertainment will bundle Digital Paper with its Digital Start Paperwork, resulting in significant time-savings and increased efficiencies for studios and production companies.

“Storytelling is a global business,” said Glenn Gainor, President of Production for Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures Entertainment division. “I travel the globe scouting locations, visiting sets and overseeing production teams. Sets have traditionally been buried in paper, from scripts, call sheets, production notes and more. I’ve been testing Digital Paper for months and now I can’t imagine myself being without it. I can now keep ideas, notes and other great ideas in one device.”

According to Ease Entertainment, critical aspects of the entertainment industry such as production management and corporate oversight have significantly lagged in the adoption of new technologies that can offer considerable economic and operational benefits.

“We are committed to taking what is still a ‘paper and file box’ industry and moving it into the current generation of tools, a key part of which is Sony’s Digital Paper,” said Michael Rose, Chairman and CEO of Ease Entertainment. “The combination of our technologies will substantially streamline and improve the onboarding process, which will ultimately lead to reduced production costs. The uses in and around a shooting set, within production offices and at the corporate and legal level, are countless: enhanced regulatory compliance, fewer errors, reduced environmental impact and an increased level of efficiency.”

Categories : e-Reader News
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For many self-published authors, the various ebook distribution platforms that have made it easier than ever to put content in front of readers are the only avenue to publication. But with the variety of companies who have begun to offer legitimate, cost effective ways of offering readers a print edition as well, there’s no reason not to release a book simultaneously in both ebook and print.

Blurb, who began as a limited print company who specialized in niche books like professional portfolios before expanding into genres like indie cookbooks and art books, announced today that it has a host of new features for authors, including free ISBN numbers, direct to Amazon distribution for print, and a new tool called BookWright that lets authors upload without having to have the expertise to submit files through Adobe’s InDesign.

“Blurb BookWright and Blurb to Amazon distribution have both evolved from years of learning, absorbing customer feedback, and the internal desire to bring a fully featured book creation platform to all potential authors,” says Eileen Gittins, Blurb founder and CEO. “I’ve wanted to make an announcement this simple and clear for years: Make your book once and publish it anywhere, for print or for ebook. Today is that day, and Blurb has become the indie author’s best friend. We’re fulfilling our promise to bring publishing to everyone.”

While there will eventually be a reasonable setup fee ($29US) per title, Blurb is currently running a free promotion that allows anyone to give the platform a try. BookWright is also free to setup and experiment with in order to test out features like professionally designed pre-built starter layouts for a variety of book types, an easy-to-use WYSIWYG design process from start to finish, the ability to import book files directly from existing Blurb tools, and more.

One of Amazon’s more hotly contested and expensive legal battles has been what some states so blatantly dubbed “The Amazon Tax.” According to a decades-old Supreme Court decision, catalog retailers and online retailers do not have to charge sales tax in states where they have no physical presence, but state governments realized that Amazon’s distribution centers amounted to a physical presence. In a firestorm of legislation across the country, states began to draft legislation and file lawsuits against the retailer for sales tax.

In some cases, Amazon worked out deals with those states, promising new construction and new jobs in exchange for a delay in the new legislation or a pass on the back taxes; in other states, Amazon simply closed the centers and laid off its employees, thereby erasing its “presence” in the state. A handful of states where Amazon essentially needed to keep the centers open worked out their legislation and concerns with the retailer, and many of them agreed to a delay in Amazon’s collection of the tax.

But now that most of the states are now requiring full compliance with their own tax laws, a recent report has shown a drop in sales in states where the tax was enacted. As much as a ten percent drop in consumer spending to the site has been reported, leading some to question whether there is any truth to the long held criticism that physical retailers, especially independent bookstores, really are losing business to the big-box shopping mentality.

While Amazon maintains that it will continue to thrive for its superior prices, convenient shipping, and above standard customer service, there’s another factor that supports Amazon’s position as it pertains to sales tax. With so many county and city governments within each state charging their own sales taxes on purchases, consumers will still be better off making online purchases, regardless of whether the state collects sales tax. The dubious honor of highest combined sales tax in the country currently goes to the town of Arab, Alabama, where its citizens pay 13.5% sales tax; the state sales tax is only 4%, so online purchases make sense in that area. While some states do not charge a state sales tax on certain items, like Kentucky’s decision not to collect on books, only two states in the country charge sales tax on groceries, Mississippi and Alabama. Consumers in those states are still going to come out far ahead by buying grocery items from Amazon as the retailer is not required to collect sales tax in either of those states yet.

Amazon currently collects sales tax in twenty states, with new states still waiting to enact their taxes. The online retailer has rightfully stated that it supports and will comply with a federal sales tax decision that allows one streamlined system for online retailers, but that the need to establish fifty different modes of taxation on web-based purchases simply wasn’t feasible.

Categories : E-Book News
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Kindle e-Readers and tablets tend to be one of the sole joys of a voracious readers life. You carry your entire library of books that you have read, intend to read or want to buy next. It can be devastating if you lose your Kindle Fire or Kindle e-reader or someone steals it. What should you do if this situation were to occur?

If you lose your Kindle, chances are it’s going to be very hard to track down who found it or get back again. The first thing you want to do is deregister the device,  you do this by visiting and clicking on Your Apps and Devices.  Next, click on your devicesClick the Actions button, and then click deregister device. Deregistering your device prohibits Appstore purchases on that device, and disables the use of any app purchased from Amazon Appstore for Android and downloaded to that device. You can re-enable purchasing from the device by signing in to the Amazon Appstore for Android again.  Once you deregister  your device someone can’t make any purchases via the One Click Checkout or access anything to do with Whispernet.

When you unregister your Kindle, you do not lose any of your past purchases or digital content. If you were to buy another Kindle Fire or an e-Reader you can simply use your login and password on the new hardware and sync all of your past content. One of the big drawbacks of newspaper and magazine subscriptions is that you can’t get the back  issues via sync, instead you can only get the most current one.

If you want to insure that a stolen Kindle cannot be sold on the blackmarket, eBay, Craigslist or the local pawnshop you may elect to blacklist it.  The best thing to do is phone Amazon, and ask them to “blacklist” the device. When it is blacklisted, it can not be registered by someone else. You can do this by calling Toll free: 1-888-280-4364 or international: 1-206-266-2992. If you manage to find it, or someone returns it in a lost and found bin, you can call  Amazon back  and they can unblacklist it so you can re-register it.

If you want to be an especially vigilant and upstanding citizen, you may elect to file a police report. Chances are if the value is less than $400, it is considered a petty crime and normally the boys in blue move slowly on this. So it might not be the best course of action to file for that lost Kindle Keyboard, but might be worth it for that shiny new 4G Kindle HDX 4G.

Most of Kindle loses occur on while flying and you just want to get off the plane after a long trek. If you realize you left your Kindle on the plane, you don’t want to call the airline or talk to them in person. Instead, most major airlines all have online claim forms that you can fill out. This normally takes weeks to reach a resolution but many customers have found that they get an email eventually if they have found it and then pay the postage to ship it back to you.

Kindle Fire tablets work a bit differently than most of the e-readers. If someone finds it they do  have access to all of your apps and email accounts that you have on file. I recommend that you add a password to your device, to provide a barrier for a bandit. Try and make a password that is not “password” or “123456789.” Find my Kindle is next to useless and should not be depended on.

Tablets are the type of item where it is next to impossible to get back once its stolen or lost. Blacklisting it from accessing core Amazon services would be a sufficient strategy to insure that a thief cannot use the device for their own dark ambitions. Often, a thief quickly resells it on Craigslist, and an unknowing customer cannot actually do anything with it. In this situation, normally Amazon will open a dialog with the new owner and get them to send it back in return for a discount on a new model.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Apple TV is expecting a major new hardware update in 2014 and the big rumor is that it will include iOS, which will allow companies to develop custom apps and games. Until then, we will have to settle for incremental additions whenever opportunity arises. Today, Apple unveiled three new channels with A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel.

Starting today you can get your fill of American Pickers, American Restoration, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and tons more! This is only available for American subscriptions and it is a bit of a pain to actually watch all of the shows on-demand. Instead of subscribing with iTunes you have to write down codes from the TV, visit the television providers website and make a new account. The whole process takes basically 15 minutes, which is quite daunting.

Categories : Technology
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Tapa ¡Te lo regalo! con título dibujado

Barnes and Noble has unveiled a new pilot program with a Spanish-language Storytime at select stores across the USA. Barnes & Noble kicks off the inaugural Storytime in May with a reading of ¡Te lo regalo! by Gabriela Keselman and other stories for toddlers. Customers can listen to stories read in Spanish and enjoy word practice and fun activities.

“More schools are embracing dual immersion language programs, helping children become fluent speakers in two languages by the time they graduate high school,” said Sarah DiFrancesco, Vice President of Business Development for Barnes & Noble. “We’re hearing from parents that they want to immerse their children in language learning at a young age, when language acquisition is easy and fun. We believe Spanish-language Storytimes fill a growing demand for this type of early childhood foreign language programming.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share our favorite Spanish-language books with customers attending our new monthly Spanish-language Storytimes,” said Denise Duarte, Spanish-Language Children’s Buyer for Barnes & Noble. “The May selection, ¡Te lo regalo!, was just nominated for a Latino Book Award in the category of ‘Most Inspirational Children’s Picture Book – Spanish.’ It’s an important story about learning to share with adorable animal illustrations the children will love.”

Categories : Bookselling
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One of the downfalls of a dedicated e-reader is that you are limited in dealing with the company who sold it. When you buy a Kobo, Nook, Sony or Kindle you are locked into that ecosystem. This presents challenges when Sony closes their North American bookstore and forces customers to switch to another retailer. Tablets overall are a bit more agnostic, because readers can choose what app they want to download and can deal with more than one company. The new Onyx Zeus e-Reader is poised to bridge the two worlds and offer a new experience.

The Onyx Zeus is a new 9.7 touchscreen e Ink Pearl Reader with a resolution of 1200 x 825. It lacks the frontlite of the competition, which will warrant customers investing in a reading light.

Underneath the hood of the Boox M96M Zeus  is a 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite processor and 512 MB of RAM. You can store your data efficiently with the 4 GB internal storage and boost it up via the MicroSD.

The most compelling aspect of the Zeus is the fact it is running a pure version of Android with version 4.04. This means you can easily load in your own apps and not do business exclusively with a specific company. It does not have access to the Google Play market obviously, but you can load in the Good e-Reader App Store and install things like Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony or a number of indie apps. Speaking of indie, the e-reader comes bundled with a bunch of notable ones such as FBReader, Cool-ER and more.

This e-reader is fairly expensive at $400 and is available exclusively in Russia. You can order it directly from Onyx in a few weeks for 14990.00 p. We will try and get a copy of this and do a hands on review shortly.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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The World Book Night organization is best known for its mission to share one million books each year on April 23, attempting to foster a love of reading in people around the world. This year, a special bonus title is available as well, starting stateside on April 22nd. This free ebook, which can be found HERE, is a compilation of essays from a wide variety of book givers, outlining their experiences in being book givers in 2013. The ebook was powered by Livrada and made available in conjunction with this year’s event.

“As a company, we are thrilled to bring our technology and resources to support World Book Night,” said Livrada’s CEO and co-founder Leonard Chen. “We strive to meld our passion for technology and books, and hope this ebook brings joy to many people this WBN 2014.”

WBN’s executive director Carl Lennertz added, “We’ve discussed a digital component for WBN since year one, but it didn’t come together until the great people at Livrada stepped forward, and until two authors who were givers agreed to contribute pieces. Then we sought and received the fun bookseller and library contributions to the ebook. This is a supplement to our primary mission of printed books, not a change in direction. It’s short and fun original material, and we wanted the givers to have this to offer anyone they meet who might not read often on their smart phones or tablets. Our main mission is still to find a half million people without means or access to printed books, but this digital extra is a nice plus. We also feel it’s a great thank you to the 25,000 volunteer givers to enjoy as well. And now, we have the giver contest to be in next year’s ebook!”

The contest, which lets this year’s givers submit essays on their giving experience this year, will run through May 31st for feature in next year’s ebook. The winner of the essay contest will receive two roundtrip airfares in the US. The library winner will receive two air tickets to the ALA conference, while the bookseller winner will receive two airline tickets to BookExpo 2015. Full contest details can be found HERE.


Welcome back to the most captivating edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of DBW discuss all of the major digital publishing events of the last week.

Today on the show Michael and Jeremy discuss Barnes and Nobles latest eTextbook platform called Yuzu. The Founder of B&N has also been selling a ton of stock this year, what are the reasons? They also talk about the newfound synergy between Amazon and Goodreads, with the ability to add paid Kindle books to your shelf.  A great show as always, with a special feature on people editing open source and royalty free eBooks to get a quick sale.

Categories : E-Reader Radio
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Verdict: 3 Stars

I expected a lot from Haunted Empire, and I did get a lot of information. It just wasn’t the stuff I thought I would read about. Where was the controversy? Where was the speculation about Apple’s downfall? Basically, where was the information that CEO Tim Cook took issue with?

There was a lot of background information, and I will say that the beginning of the book contained an even closer look at Steve Jobs. It’s funny to read a book that contains information on how Jobs fought with the guy writing his book! There was a lot of really in-depth and thrilling–both heartwarming and negative–information on who Jobs was, told only through the most hidden conversations that made me ask several times, “How did the author find this out?” That’s not to question Kane’s veracity, but to really highlight that she included conversations no one else would have known about.

But while the content within the book gave detailed information about Apple’s woes since the untimely passing of Jobs–I’m not above admitting that I cried several times during Kane’s depiction of the CEO’s last few months and final death–there was nothing of note about where the company is headed with Cook at the helm, at least not in terms of the uproar that followed the book’s publication. Yes, there is certainly mention that Apple hasn’t released anything profound since losing its original dreamer, but it’s also understandable. Kane even paints a picture of a company that is still reinventing itself as a new company, having gone through downturns in the past with various underwhelming CEOs.

At the same time, Kane herself gives so much insight into not only the legal woes that have plagued Apple lately (and kept the company fairly busy with its leadership and its finances tied up in courtroom drama), but also unintentionally details the cyclical nature of Apple’s innovations. It’s hardly newsworthy that the company that brought us the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and resulting app and music stores in the space of such a short time frame would rest on its laurels for a moment before attempting to launch anything quite as world changing again.

Haunted Empire was insightful and interesting, but hardly earned its reputation as the tell-all, “bearer of bad tidings” book that the hype told us to expect.


This week saw a number of apps released from Google for Chromecast and new picture app. We have also seen a number of great new games unveiled, but we are all eagerly waiting the new Angry Birds Epic to finally depart iOS. Today, out of the thousands of new apps issued last week, we look at the best ones you need to know about.

Cross DJ Free – Mix your music – The best pro DJ app on Android. Mix tracks in perfect sync on a powerful audio engine. Engineered by Mixvibes, digital DJing pioneer for 15 years.

The Brave Summoners – Brave Summoners” is an RPG that takes place in a breathtaking, dark, fantasy world. With gorgeous cards to summon, simple and easy tap-and-select action, and a rich soundtrack, you won’t wanna miss out on all the thrilling action!

The Gate – Free RTS CCG game – Another soul passes through The Gate only to discover an underworld of demonic armies and infernal battles. Your journey unfolds as you capture disciples and train them in combat. Can you unlock mysterious skill upgrades and build an army powerful enough to help defeat fire-belching world bosses? The Gate uniquely combines Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Card Collecting Game (CCG) mechanics. Battles are rendered in hand animated 3D while collectable cards are presented as beautifully illustrated artistic masterpieces. Solo battles provide a chance to strengthen your army, while Raids, Arena Battles, and World Bosses get your friends in on fight.

Followers+ for Instagram – Track your lost/gained followers… PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Chrome Remote Desktop – Securely access your computers from your Android device.

Google Camera – Google Camera snaps quick and easy photos and videos, and has creative picture modes like Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Panorama.

CONTRA EVOLUTION – Contra: Evolution is the first official Contra game for Google Play, bringing all of the run-and-gun action of the 1987 original with 21st century graphics and controls to the palm of your hands.

Enchanted Fairy Spa - Get ready for a magical makeover with Enchanted Fairy Spa treatments! Use 12 magical instruments to transform your fairy into the most beautiful fairy of them all! Mirror, mirror on the wall– check out the magic mirror and mesmerizing spell in this enchanted app!

Mountain Sniper Shooting 3D – The beautiful mountain range, which was a key tourist attraction is now taken over by enemy forces. The authorities of the area is sick of their weird ideas about the mountains and its habitat. They are looking for a brave and smart sniper, who is willing to take all the necessary risk, and make full use of his sniping skills in this hilly tourist resort to finish this problem once and for all.

Top Farm – A totally new way to enjoy a good ole farmin’ experience is now available for your tablet or smartphone!
In this fantastic farm you can grow, harvest and craft lots of products, manage orders and sell your goods! Managing and making your own business prosper was never this easy!

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