Michael Kozlowski

Michael Kozlowski

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com

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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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If you buy a new smartphone from Google Play in the near future, you will be able to use Google as your new wireless carrier. The company has just ironed out agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile to sell voice and data plans directly to consumers.

Google has been experimenting with internet access with its Fiber program in a very limited capacity and via their Loon project sought to provide free WIFI access in remote places. This new endeavor is positioning Google to become a top tier wireless carrier in the US.

Currently, there are four major carriers in the United States: T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, and while T-Mobile has made efforts to shake up the wireless industry with its Un-Carrier initiatives, wireless service in the United States remains much pricier than in other countries, with subscribers getting less data for more money. The thought behind the Google branded service is to be able to directly bundle their data enabled phones at a discounted rate if you buy them from Google Play.

Google will not actually be competing against these big players but has engaged in a licensing program. They will be quite similar to other players in this sector, including Boost Mobile, FreedomPop, and Straight Talk.

The Wall Street Journal has verified this rumor, writing “Google hinted at its wireless ambitions in a letter to the FCC last week, which said higher-frequency spectrum might be used for ‘the next generation of unlicensed broadband services,’ including complements to Wi-Fi networks, ‘or entirely new technologies and innovations.’ ”

It remains to be seen how the Google wireless plans unfold in the real world. We don’t have an actual date or in what capacity users will be able to signup. It looks dubious if Apple will include them as a carrier option to opt into for unlocked iPads and iPhones. Many industry experts seem to agree that the best strategy is to sign up customers who buy Google branded devices, such as the Nexus Phone or Nexus tablet for data.

Categories : Technology
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The dream of an used e-Book site may be over. A Dutch Court of Appeals has ruled that Tom Kabinet must shut down within three days or pay a daily fine of €1,000.

Tom Kabinet is a Netherlands based used e-Book website that was first established during the summer of 2014. Their launch immediately put them at odds with the Dutch Publishing Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights. Research suggests 90% of all eBooks that are listed on the site are pirated and that criminals are reselling books they download from torrent websites.

The core business model of the company is facilitating the sale of e-books that users post on their website.  They don’t actually host the actual book, but digitally watermark each title to prevent reselling of the same copy over and over.  When a book is sold, Kabinet takes a small commission for their role in the transaction.

Things initially looked to be going in favor of the Netherlands e-Book service in July when the court decided that that Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during the court case.  The main argument that was employed was the Oracle and Usedsoft  case that was decided in Germany some months sooner.

“Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a license agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that right-holder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the license agreement prohibits a further transfer, the right-holder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy. He can therefore download onto his computer the copy sold to him by the first acquirer. Such a download must be regarded as a reproduction of digital product that is necessary to enable the new acquirer to use the program in accordance with its intended purpose.”

The entire saga between Tom Kabinet and the Dutch Publishers Association was supposed to be all wrapped  up on December 23rd, but due to the Christmas holidays, the judgement was postponed until just this week.

Where does this leave Tom Kabinet now? Well, it is tricky. The Dutch Court ruled that they have to close up shop within three days or pay a hefty fine. They also said the business model appeared to be legal in principle.

When many other companies would have simply closed up shop, TC is continuing to fight. They are trying to purge all of the questionable books from their site in a bid to be legitimized, but it might be far too late that now. In the courts and publishers eyes they are a pirate site that is leveraging a court case as their sole argument and it failed.  It looks like the dream of a legitimate used e-book site might be over, for now.

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James Patterson has a new book coming out soon, Private Vegas and 1,000 fans will be given a free code to download it for free in the next five days. The catch? Users have 24 hours to read the new title before it self-destructs, disappearing forever.

The 1,000 free e-Book titles will be distributed through a new iPad app and has a 24 hour timer when you open it for the first time.  The book’s website shows which readers are currently devouring the book, how far along they are, how much time is left, and the speed at which they are reading.  There is also a cool map that shows people around you that are also have the digital book.

“I’ve been in the business of thrilling people for almost 40 years,” said Patterson in a press statement. “So much has changed and I want to make sure I keep my readers on the edge of their seat. Faced with imminent destruction, the act of reading against a clock allows fans to become a character in their own thriller.”

The book shows up in shops on January 28th, so these free e-books is the only way you can read it before its released to the general public. If you are feeling financially flush, maybe you just sold your company, there is a real self-destructing book you can buy for $300,000.

If you pay the $300,000 you will receive a first class flight to an undisclosed location. Two nights stay in a luxurious boutique hotel and a well-trained bomb squad to handle the self-destructing book. Users can read the book through a pair of solid gold binoculars and then watch the book blow up in spectacular fashion. Once this is all over, you will get to meet James Patterson for a five course dinner and get a ton of autographed books. This an entire experience should make for a good tale to regale your friends with the next time you get asked “so what did you do this weekend?”

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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Barnes and Noble has been experiencing a dramatic executive shuffle in the last few years.  Not only has the Nations largest bookseller replaced the CEO of the entire company, but the entire Nook division has seen every single key person leave. Today, B&N has announced that Mitchell Klipper, Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Group, will retire by May.  The Company said it has begun a search to fill Mr. Klipper’s position and that he will help with the selection of the new Retail CEO and in the transition process.

Klipper has been working for Barnes and Noble for over 28 years and previously acted as the company’s operating chief and chief financial officer. Before taking over as retail CEO, he oversaw the company’s development segment, which is responsible for its real estate operations.

Over the cost of his vast history with the company he picked new locations for bookstores, oversaw construction and design for more than 600 Barnes Noble’s superstores in the US.

Barnes and Noble reported during a recent earnings report that booksales will will be flat this year, which is better than the projected decline they made late last year.

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A new library has broke ground in Vancouver and will serve the poorest postal code in Canada. The Downtown Eastside is rife with poverty, drug use, sex, crime, and violence.

The building that will be constructed will have six different floors, two for the library and four for social housing called Cause We Care House, designated for single mothers. It is being financed by a joint initiative between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library and YWCA Metro Vancouver.

“We’ll have medical and employment services, a mother and tot program, and we’ll offer support to families with infants who have been diagnosed with developmental delays,” YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Janet Austin said at a news conference at the site.

The naming convention being employed for the upcoming library is entirely unique and is the first major civic building in Vancouver to have an official aboriginal name. The word nə́c̓aʔmat ct encompasses the idea of “we are one” in the Musqueam language.

The Downtown Eastside, Chinatown and Strathcona community are the last neighborhoods in Vancouver without a public library. Sandra Singh, the city’s chief librarian, said the library, which will measure about 11,000 square feet, will be among the largest branches in the VPL system. Incidentally this will also be the first official library to be constructed in Vancouver in the last 20 years.

This library is going to have thousands of book and e-book titles available to patrons. Beth Davies Neighbourhood Services Manager at VPL said that “Our selections team is just starting to acquire books and other materials for the new branch, having developed a collection profile based on neighborhood demographics and feedback, and circulation patterns in other similar locations. The collection will be newly acquired for this branch; the children’s material at our current Strathcona branch will remain with the school when the library becomes a school-only library. We are not relying on community donations.”

She went on to say “E-book and digital collections will be available to patrons at this location, just as at other locations, and are intended to complement the print collections.”

Currently, the VPL deals with Overdrive which accounts for the largest segment of audiobooks and e-Books. Digital Newspapers will also play a key role via PressReader.  I have a feeling that the digital adoption rate will be low at this new location, as the low-income patrons likely don’t have cutting edge smartphones or tablets.

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The Harry Potter saga comprises of seven novels by British author J.K. Rowling.  Many kids grew up reading  these books in their youth and a soft spot remains for all things Potter.

Do you ever wonder if J.K had any idea about Dumbledore’s Army or horcruxes when she wrote the Sorcerer’s Stone?  She planned ahead more then you think. A recent manual spreadsheet has just surfaced, giving us all an introspective on how a novel is constructed.

This spreadsheet was the main story arc for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She keeps track of all the book’s subplots in every chapter and how they are developing in the real world of the book, even if they aren’t mentioned on the page. So, there’s a full column on “The Prophecy” which is the main subplot Harry is worried about throughout the book. Then there’s a column for the romantic subplot, titled “Cho/Ginny” followed by “D.A.” which follows what’s going on with Harry, Ron and Hermione’s resistance group “Dumbledore’s Army,” one called “O of P,” a column about what’s the latest with the “Order of the Phoenix,” a.k.a, the people who believe Voldemort is still alive, then separate columns for Snape and the Hagrid and Grawp story.

I think this hand drawn plot outline really shows us that a riveting and complex story doesn’t have to be totally over thought. A one page document that outlines all of the key events is basically all you need to construct a story.

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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Chapters and Indigo have announced that the Vancouver flagship bookstore at Robson and Howe will be closing its doors on June 30th 2015.

The Chapters flagship retail location has fallen victim to a high rental increase for the  50,000 square feet of space over three levels of retail, including a dramatic entrance with soaring ceilings. The ground floor features a Starbucks shop-in-store, and a huge technology area. This is where Apple, Beats Audio, Kobo and a myriad of other gadgets are found. The second level features an 1,800 square foot licensed American Girl doll shop and a huge selection of non-fiction content. The store’s third level features a wide open spaces with thousands of square feet, this is primarily where the magazines, romance and YA fiction are housed.

In a statement, Indigo’s Chief Executive Officer, Heather Reisman said “As we gain great momentum with Indigo’s transformation strategy we are continuing to review all elements of our operations. With a very significant rent increase recently at our Chapters Robson store, the new terms are simply untenable for us to stay in that location. An increase of this magnitude would quite simply make this vibrant, profitable store unprofitable. As a result, we are actively pursuing another location to serve the Robson trade area which we fully intend to open in 2015. In other key markets we are also looking at new real estate opportunities for Indigo that will best serve our unique needs.”

It is highly unlikely that the closing of the Chapters flagship bookstore in downtown Vancouver will result in any big deals. Instead, the existing stock will be sent to existing bookstores in the Lower Mainland, such as Metrotown, Lougheed Mall, Surrey’s Strawberry Hill, Coquitlam’s Pinetree Village and Langley. All of the rest will be sent to the main Candian distribution center for processing.

The Granville and Broadway Chapters bookstore will benefit the most from the downtown location closing. It isn’t too far away and will see a dramatic increase in book buyers.

So what will happen to the prime piece of real estate when Chapters moves out? Business In Vancouver says it has received confirmation that FGL Sports is taking over the lease. This company operates Sport Chek and Atmosphere.

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Energy Sistem, a Spanish tech brand that has recently launched its new range of e-Readers. The Energy Reader Slim, Energy Reader Screenlight and Energy Reader PRO all have wildly different specs and the pricing structure makes them all tremendously affordable.

Likely the best model this company has just released is the Energy Reader PRO. It features a six inch e-Ink Pearl HD display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. It has a touchscreen, which makes it easy to click and navigate around the UI or just simply flip the pages in your favorite e-Book. It also incorporates a front-lit screens, you may elect to read in the dark and customize the different levels of illumination. Underneath the hood is a ARM Cortex A9 1.0Ghz dual core processor and 8 GB of internal memory. It also has the option to expand the memory up to 64GB with a SD/SDHC card. This model costs 119 Euro

The mid level model is called the Energy Slim, which has a 6 inch screen with a resolution of 800×600.  It also has a front-lit display, to allow you to read in the dark, but does not have a touchscreen. Instead, it has a D-Pad and manual navigation buttons to flip pages.  This e-reader will run you 84 Euros. The entry e-reader is named the Energy Slim, it doesn’t have a front light or a touchscreen display, and is aimed primarily at people new to e-readers or are on a budget, the cost on this unit is 69 Euros.

I like the fact that all three models have support for EPUB, PDF and MOBI, this means it will play nice with the vast majority of books you will download or buy from the internet. In order to get you reading right away, there is 1,500 titles that come bundled on all three models, in different languages.

In the near future will be reviewing all of these readers, so if any of them look especially compelling to you, we will be doing a comprehensive hands on review, unboxings and comparisons.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Magzter has been an anomaly in the digital magazine space, its primarily competitors have all been offering  unlimited magazines for a low monthly fee for quite sometime.  Instead of jumping into this space right away, Magzter has focused on securing more publishers to their platform and currently and developing their in-house tools to allow other companies to self-publish on Android and iOS. Today, Magzter is ready to jump into the whole Netflix for Magazines concept with the advent of of Magzter Gold.

Magzter currently has 5,000 digital magazine titles in their extensive library, but only 2,000 are available via their Gold subscription package.  The entry level cost is $9.99 a month to read them all, or you can opt into paying $4.99 per month for full access to 5 preferred titles.

Magzter Gold  will get you a number of notable publications, such as Maxim, ESPN The Magazine, and Fast Company, as well as many top magazines from different countries –  including the UK, Singapore, and India.

“It’s still early days for digital magazine reading,” said Girish Ramdas, CEO & Co-Founder of Magzter. “Barriers to entry, like paying for and managing multiple magazine subscriptions, have stalled true adoption. With Magzter Gold, we’re delivering a better experience, giving readers instant access to the largest collection of digital magazines anywhere, on any device, and for one low monthly price.”

This is a tough industry for Magzster to get into, as their primary competition Next Issue, PressReader and Zinio have been offering unlimited magazine subscriptions for a number of years.

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The Kindle Keyboard is close to five years old and Amazon is still supporting it. The Seattle based company has just issued a new firmware update that seeks to resolve a security issue with the internet browser.

The vulnerability with the internet browser stems from accessing online content utilizing the 3G connection. Modern websites often have heavier security credentials when it comes to accessing email or using the login forms. The Kindle Keyboard had used an antiquated version of security, which resulted in this e-reader getting locked out and not being able to connect to certain sites.

The very small update that is currently available resolves this issue, the exact version number is 3.4.1. If you are having problems connecting to the internet I would recommend you download the firmware update manually. It can sometimes takes months for updates to hit all devices, because Amazon does it in a staggered release, so millions of people aren’t doing it all at once.

The Kindle Keyboard was the last Amazon branded e-reader that used 3G to access the internet, all subsequent models use WIFI.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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We have unboxed and gave a comprehensive hands on review of the new InkCase Plus secondary e-ink screen for Android smartphones and now its time to do a giveaway! We have two units available in their original retail packaging!

The Inkcase Plus connects up to your Android phone via Bluetooth. You can install the e-reading app from Google Play and use it as an autonomous e-book reader. It lasts about a month before you have to recharge it, and is a very unique piece of technology.

In order to be in the running you have to simply Like our Facebook Page, Like the video and drop a comment on the video itself, to let us know you are in the running. In two weeks we will do the draw, good luck to everyone!

Categories : Contests
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