Archive for Top News
The Week in Review is a play on words, as we have reviewed a ton of new e-readers during SID Display Week 2013 and got our hands on some tech we never thought we would see. We reviewed over six new e-readers, and as for cool examples of tech, that should be hitting store shelves by the end of summer. If you missed reading our publication for a few days, here is the gist of what we extensively covered.
The Sony Prototype e-Reader is the finest example of a company gearing an E Ink display for academics and PDF reading. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. Our second look at the e-reader takes all of the user emails we got over the week and we went back to the show to get a true hands on. View it HERE.
Onyx E Ink Android Phone
Onyx intends on releasing a new phone this summer that is the first one in the world to use a front-lit E Ink screen. This is the same type of screen tech you would find in your run of the mill e-reader, such as the Kobo Aura HD and Kindle Paperwhite. On a phone, you will get a few weeks of battery life and will be able to load in your own apps. It is certainly a bold new step in the right direction for the future of mobility.
Book Live Reader by Lideo
The Booklive Reader by Lideo features an older version of E Ink Pearl with a resolution of 600×800 and 16 levels of grey. It has 4 GB of internal memory, but you only have 3 GB of practical use. There is no expandable memory, so you will not be able to load more content in via MicroSD. There is a 800 MHZ processor, which tends to make things fairly speedy. It is certainly not the best e-reader we have ever reviewed, and really has more going against it than going for it. I would give this one a miss, but read the full review and judge for yourself.
Trust me, this e-reader does not have the kissing disease, but its namesake is based on the E Ink display. It features a six inch e Ink Pearl Display with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. It uses IR technology from Neonode instead of the traditional capacitive touchscreen. Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX508, 800MHz processor, and 512 MB RAM. It has 4 GB of internal memory that can be expanded further via the Micro SD card. This is a fairly solid reader, and if you are a fan of manga, graphic novels, and ebooks in Japanese, you might want to take a closer look. This model is only available in Japan and is one of the newest devices to hit the market.
Pocketbook Touch 2 or the Pocketbook Touch Lux
The Pocketbook Touch Lux features the same HD E Ink Pearl display found on the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo. The exact resolution is 1024×758 and it has a front-lit display, which is optimal for reading in the dark. It also has 256 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory, and a SD card support for up to 32 GB of memory. Battery life should be good up to 7,000 page turns. It also has an audio jack so you can listen to audiobooks and music. This e-reader really gives you nothing special and will likely be overpriced, considering the weak hardware underneath the hood. Still, Pocketbook is very solid about native support for almost every single ebook format currently being used.
The Tolino Shine
The Tolino Shine features a six inch E Ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. You will be able to garner around seven weeks of battery life and store 2,000 ebooks on it with 4 GB of storage. If you need more memory, you can upgrade it via the Micro SD card. It primarily will read EPUB and PDF files. It does have support for Adobe Digital Editions, so you can read books you purchased from other stores. It will also be running on the Google Android operating system. This e-reader stemmed from a partnership between Thalia , Weltbild, Hugendubel, Bertelsmann Club, and Deutsche Telekom.
Mirasol Smart Watch and Phone
Mirasol screen technology used to have two display screens, that gave readers a very muted color scheme. This was very evident in the first onslaught of tablets they released a few years ago. Qualcomm went back to the drawing board and developed the second generation and demoed it in a smart watch and a new Android phone. The phone is especially interesting because it has a secondary screen on the back of it and is meant to be paired with the watch.
Digital Signs and E Ink
One of the big aspects of SID Display Week was that everyone and their mother was pimping out digital signs. E Ink developed two new technologies that are aimed at grocery stores, billboards, airports, and supermarkets. One piece of the technology is meant to replace paper price tags, the other will work in fridges, freezers, and up to -25 c environments.
Thor – Lord of Storms
Peter is starting to do Android app reviews on the Good e-Reader Youtube channel. we started with a new game that just came out, Thor – Lord of Storms.
What’s Happening Next Week?
The entire Good e-Reader team will be in New York covering Book Expo America and the IDPF. We are proud to be the main media sponsor of IDPF, alongside Publishers Weekly. We will be covering all of the sessions and publishing six to 12 stories a day about the future of publishing, self-publishing, ebooks, libraries, magazines, newspapers, EPUB3, HTML5, big data, and bringing you interviews with Sylvia Day, Otis Chandler, and tons of other industry movers and shakers. I am super excited that everyone will be there and it should be fun! Make Good e-Reader your one stop shop for next week for full coverage.
Sony announced a new 13.3 inch e-reader last week that uses technology the company developed internally and in conjunction with E Ink Holdings. The new Sony e-Paper reader will seriously appeal to anyone that has lamented that their PDF reading and editing experiences have been sub-par on six inch devices. At SID Display Week in Vancouver, we caught up with Giovanni Mancini, the head of RND at E Ink, to check out the new Sony e-Reader.
This was the lightest device I have ever played with in the history of e-readers. The 13.3 inch screen is beguiling to behold and you would figure from looking at it that it would weigh significantly more than the Kindle DX. In truth it weighs only 12.6 oz, compared to the Kindle DX, which weighs a hefty 18.9 oz. The e-paper screen glides like a feather when dropped, as I found out.
The screen itself is quite respectable in terms of resolution and pixel density. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. It is dubbed Mobius by E Ink and the company is actively shopping it around to the who’s who list of the e-reader world. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. I have personally reviewed over 83 different e-readers since launching Good e-Reader in 2009, and this was the first one to give me a quality PDF experience. I have received emails from airline pilots, heads of research divisions, and publishers about what device they should buy to read their PDF Files. I would implore everyone to buy this Sony one when it comes out; it changes the game. I don’t normally gush about things like this, but when it comes to school, work, newspapers, gaming guides, and technical PDF documents, this is solid.
The software right now is quite buggy, and we often found ourselves hitting a function key many times before the feature loaded up. The digitizer pen has a small button it that allows you to erase things when pressed. One of my concerns, along with some of the other media people there, was that the “erase” button was placed where you naturally grip the pen. This may result in you pressing down on it during your natural tendency to grip the stylus like a pencil. We noticed that when you are holding down the button, you can’t launch any commands or click on any of the GUI buttons. This forces you to write on the e-reader in a very unconventional way that may take some getting used to.
The world of self-publishing is rife with unfriendly, non-intuitive platforms that demand a strong technical knowledge to be able to produce compelling ebooks. Barnes and Noble is hoping to solve this problem with the unveiling of its Nook Press platform. Announced today, it is a direct follow-up to the company’s first generation PUBIT initiative that was launched in 2010.
Theresa Horner, the VP of Digital content at Barnes and Noble, explained the company’s process in an exclusive interview with Good e-Reader. “When we launched PUBIT, we had no idea how big the community would be,” she said, and went on to describe how difficult it would have been forming direct relationships with authors without PUBIT. “If we did not start PUBIT, we wouldn’t have been able to get content from all of these great indie authors. We are investing two times into the new platform than we originally did PUBIT.”
Nook Press provides an all in one solution that allows authors to upload existing Microsoft Word documents and instantly see how they look in EPUB, or create EPUB documents from scratch using the online tools. One of the barriers to ebook creation is being able to constantly refine your work; many self-publishing platforms do not allow you to make changes in the web-interface and demand you make the changes locally and then re-upload the finished result. Nook Press allows authors to make any changes on the fly and even create an interactive table of contents, something that makes everyone’s life a little bit easier.
When you have selected your cover art and added your metadata, it is time to list your book on the Barnes and Noble ecosystem. US publishers and authors can select whether they want the book for sale both in the US and the UK, and establish different prices accordingly. You also have the option to choose whether you want your finished product to have DRM or not. Having the option to avoid encryption and allow your ebook to be free and open will resonate with the segment of outspoken authors that love freedom of information. Another thing most people will love is the ability for all ebook titles to be included into LENDME—Barnes and Noble’s social sharing feature—that allows users to loan a title out only once to a friend for up to two weeks.
The entire ebook creation is done in EPUB2 and there is no functionality to include interactive content, videos, or animations with EPUB3. Also, there is no way to export your ebook as a PDF, so self-publishing comic books may not be the easiest thing in the world to smoothly accomplish. The Nook Press program is exclusively available for US residents only and will not accept submissions from any other market. The company may look at the United Kingdom at some point, but does not have immediate plans to make publishing available there.
Many authors love to know how their sales and metrics are doing for a title they have just released. Nook Press has new analytical functions that can give you an immediate report on every single purchase made. It is on a 3 hour delay for sales reports, as the company has to verify credit card data and other purchasing information. You can see the raw numbers, or juggle the graph data to show how it is performing over time.
First time authors have lots of questions when they are self-publishing for the first time. Barnes and Noble is making customer support for authors its top priority by introducing a new live chat feature. From 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays, authors can talk directly to a Nook specialist to get help for anything that they need. Theresa told us that she recognized B&N’s support for self-publishing has been very weak in the past, and the company is remedying it with Nook Press.
Many first time authors want to share their books with their friends and family. Whether you have added a new chapter, or are just starting out, there are new tools to involve collaborators. You can invite people via email to get access to your book in the cloud. They can leave their impressions on specific sentences or chapters via the notes tool. Currently, the ability to edit an ebook as a collaborator is not included in the first release, but is on the company’s roadmap to introduce in the future.
Speaking of the future, introducing new features is something most people love when they are self-publishing on any given platform. Since PUBIT was first released in 2010, there has not been a single new enhancement added. The entire point of Nook Press is to create a scalable product in which new enhancements can easily be pushed out for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of PUBIT, the entire platform will be retired once Nook Press sees a broader rollout.
Considering where PUBIT left off, there is a night and day difference with the unveiling of Nook Press. The entire process of creating an ebook is actually very intuitive and easy. The platform eliminates anything that would be a barrier to you proudly launching your first title.
Amazon is no stranger to the world of advertising, with the Seattle based company launching their own network six years ago. The company is forging ahead with plans to allow companies to run targeted adds on the entire line of Kindle Fire Tablets and e-Readers.
Amazon has some very big data that it is using to leverage themselves against the likes of Facebook, Bing and Google ad networks. 185 million customers buying habits are cultivated by Amazon to deliver more concise recommendations on eBooks, devices and even shoes. Currently Amazon has launched new advertising options for companies looking to target Kindle users exclusively.
Advertising for Amazon is big business. The company never releases breakdowns like they do in the UK, but according to recent filing reports they make around 1.7 billion dollars a year. This new program would act similar to Google Adwords, where you can customize specific ad units and have them displayed.
Amazons Special Offers program was originally launched in 2011, with the release of the Kindle 3, or known now, as the Kindle Keyboard. The essence of the program is that customers buy $30.00 less on the hardware to have advertisements served on the homescreen and screensaver. Amazon continued rolling out the program to the Kindle 4th Generation, Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire line of tablets. People often were quite happy to save some money, because all of the advertising was fairly unobtrusive.
When Amazon was originally developing the program they had their key properties like Audible being advertised. You could see they maintained synergy between their various products, including eBooks.
During the last three years, Amazon knows how many people are buying their “Special Offers” editions and is pitching the metrics to advertisers. Companies can now elect to exclusively run a month long campaign on your Kindle. If you are a company looking to put an add, the Kindle e-Readers are only available to run campaigns in the USA. The Kindle Fire line allows for the USA, UK and Germany for their targeted markets.
Previously we reported on Douglas County acquiring 10,000 self-published ebooks from Smashwords. Now, an article in The Digital Shift outlines how much work was required to complete the deal as the parties had to weed, filter, and tweak a list of indie titles to develop the optimal collection for library patrons.
“It was a lot more complicated for us than we expected,” said Smashwords founder Mark Coker, “We’re giving libraries the option to slice and dice by multiple categories and multiple filters. And, along the way we discovered some cool ways to surface titles more accurately, that we think better reflect the interests of readers.”
The list began with Smashwords’ top 10,000 bestsellers—titles that have proven their appeal through sales. However, DCL and Smashwords soon realized that relying exclusively on a sales ranking could cause problems, such as leaving popular book series incomplete. Focusing instead on bestselling authors, and simply purchasing everything they had written, wasn’t an ideal solution, either. Hypothetically, what if an author had published 1,000 books, each of which sold only a few copies,” Coker said.
Smashwords developed a new mathematical ratings model and then based the bestseller list on it. To this was applied specific filters requested by Douglas. The filters included price caps and limits on specific genres, the exclusion of certain genres, such as erotica, and special dealing with such items as romance titles.
“There were just some really racy covers,” Nemechek explained. “As you know, our catalogs are very visual now. And it’s not that we don’t buy that stuff, but I was afraid that there would be so much of it, and that it was going to flood our system. So I was a little more careful with covers than I probably otherwise would have been… We usually select erotica based on professional reviews or sometimes patron demand. But we try to sift through that stuff more carefully. Given that we had 10,000 titles to work with, excluding the erotica would give us more science fiction, mystery, romance, and the genre fiction that our readers really love.”
According to the University of Chicago Library News, the original manuscript of Walt Whitman’s The Bible as Poetry has been digitized, along with related pieces of Whitmaniana, and is now online. The manuscript includes a letter sent from Whitman to his publishers and Whitman’s edits of his own work. The complete essay was published in The Critic in 1883.
Being a rabid Doctor Who fan, I just had to cover this story from The Guardian. Doctor Who is up for its 50th anniversary! To celebrate, Puffin and BBC Worldwide will be publishing a series of original Doctor Who stories by famous children’s authors, who are described by the publishers as ranging from commercial blockbusters to literary-award winners. A new story will be released as an ebook on the 23rd of each month and will cost £1.99. The article does not say whether the stories will be available outside of the UK.
The first author will be Eoin Colfer, who is the creater of Artemis Fowl and who “finished” the Hitchhikers Guide
series. The story will feature William Hartnell’s portrayal of the Doctor and future ebooks will each re-imagine a different one of the eleven Doctors.
The University of Michigan’s most famous papyrus is now available to users on the iPhone or iPad. High-resolution images of the third-century codex, which is the oldest known copy of the Letters of St. Paul, can be flipped through like the pages of a book.
The app includes a translation from Greek to English, either word-by-word or by the page, along with annotations which explain where the papyrus differs from the Standard Version in the New Testament. The codex was originally made up of 104 pages, of which 86 survive. “This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection.
More info in the University of Michigan Record.
Once again Smashwords is showing up the mainstream publishers. According to ALA TechSource, the Douglas County Libraries acquired 10,000 titles of self-published ebooks from Smashwords. This means that DCL will now own a total of 21,000 ebooks. The titles purchased from Smashwords include fiction, romance, mystery, and science fiction. Rather than leasing ebooks from third-party vendors, the library purchases the books directly and owns them.
Jamie LaRue, director of DCL, said, “We’re eager to connect our readers to fresh streams of digital content… Smashword’s average price per title [about $4] allows us to do that more readily than we could from the big publishers [now charging as much as $84 per ebook]. This looks like the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”
Once again, Smashwords takes steps to reform digital publishing.
Chitika is a online ad network and data analytics firm. It presents 4 billion targeted ads each month to a network of 200,000 sites. By analyzing the traffic on these sites, it was able to come up with the following figures for December 1st to December 27th. This data is for the US and Canada only.
According to Chitika, the Kindle Fire gained 3% in usage, followed by the Samsung Galaxy tablet (7 and 10 inch) at 1%, Google Nexus at 0.92%, and the Microsoft Surface at 0.17%. The iPad declined by 7%, leaving the iPad with a 79% share of the market. In market share, the iPad was followed by the Samsung Galaxy tablets at 4% and the Google Nexus at 2%. Prior to the Christmas period, Chitka says that the iPad had an 86% market share. The firm expects the iPad to return to the 80% range after the holiday period as users return from vacation and browse with their new devices less frequently.
Frankbooks is out of Hamburg, Germany and it has a new iPad platform with an integrated Facebook connection. The platform allows publishers to add additional features, such as photos, videos, and links on each page. The additional features can be hidden so that the book can be read as a normal ebook if the reader so desires.
It’s best described by watching Frankbooks’ video above. You can find the site here.
B&N just released sales figures for the nine-week holiday period ending December 29, 2012. The company’s retail segment, which is made up of B&N bookstores and BN.com businesses, had revenues of $1.2 billion, decreasing 10.9% over the prior year. The decrease was because of an 8.2% decline in store sales, store closures, and lower online sales. Sales of NOOK products in the retail segment declined during the holiday period, as well.
The NOOK segment, which makes up the company’s digital business—including readers, digital content and accessories—had revenues of $311 million for the holiday period, decreasing 12.6% as compared to a year ago. However, digital content sales increased 13.1%, while NOOK device unit sales declined compared to the prior year. Digital content sales include digital books, digital newsstand, and the apps business.
From the press release: “We entered the holiday with two great new products, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, both highly rated media tablets of phenomenal quality,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “NOOK device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday. We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward.”
As a result of the poor NOOK sales, B&N expects NOOK Media revenues of about $3 billion and NOOK segment to run a loss.
On January 16th and 17th, the annual Digital Book World conference takes place in New York. It’s always an excellent event and this year we should have coverage by Mercy Pilkington and Paul Biba.
Stay with us and get all the info from this excellent event. Among the speakers will be the Digital Director of the Obama campaign, the President of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, CEO of Sourcebooks, a VP of Barnes & Noble, the Chief Digital Officer of HarperCollins and representatives from Wiley, Random House, Hachette, Bloomsbury Press, Scholastic, Dutton, Penguin, Open Road Integrated Media, Random House, St. Martins Press and more.
Should be a blast! Stay tuned to our website as we will be the difinitive source for this event! We will cover ALL of the sessions and bring video interviews with all the major digital publishing players.
The Internet Archive is one of the most important, if not the most important, digital archives on the planet. If you haven’t gone to their site and poked around I suggest you do so—if you want to lose the rest of the day! According to their blog, they raised $1 million in contributions last year. With that, they are going to purchase 4 petabytes of storage.
In 2012 they brought readers 50,000,000,000 web pages, 1,000,000 hours of television, 370,000 new audio/music items, and 100,000 new videos. In addition they launched the TV News Search & Borrow service, making almost 400,000 TV news programs searchable and made all of Balinese literature available online. Looking at their front page I see that they make available 1,111,430 movies, 110,485 live concerts, 1,475,402 audio recordings, and 3,782,168 texts.
All one can say is Wow!