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


On Social Networks

 

STK657873

Frozen by Disney has become the 5th highest grossing movie of all time After sweeping theaters worldwide like a snowstorm for over half a year, Frozen has grossed a whopping $1.219 billion at the box office! According to Variety, the film raked in $400 million-plus in the U.S. alone and $194 million in Japan. Frozen has also become the top-grossing animated flick ever. This has promoted a new graphic novel to be commissioned and will come out November 29th.

The graphic novel costs $14.99 and will run a staggering 394 pages. Over 100,000 have been sold so far on a pre-order basis from customers on Amazon and comic book stores.

The graphic novel is basically retelling the same story that occured in the movie. “Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf along the way, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. Audiences who thrilled to the adventures of Anna and Elsa on the big screen can relive their favorite moments in this oversized graphic novel keepsake featuring an introduction by Leonard Maltin. With hundreds of movie stills and over 300 pages of adventure and laughs, the Frozen Cinestory will transport fans back to Arendelle time and time again!”

A frozen graphic novel will likely sell like gangbusters once it comes out in late November and many parents will be purchasing it for their little kids for the upcoming holiday season. A standalone comic is also planned by Disney for January 2015, and will clock in at 48 pages. No word yet if a digital edition will be available.

Categories : Digital Comic News
Comments (0)

9781400697533_p1_v2_s600

Barnes and Noble has just released the 10.1 inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook Android tablet today, and it joins the 7 inch edition that came out two months ago. The Nations largest bookseller now has two devices that they are marketing across all of their sales channels, encouraging US and UK based readers to invest themselves in the Nook ecosystem.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 10.1 inch screen and a resolution of 1280×800 and 149 PPI. The screen itself won’t win many awards in terms of picture clear clarity, but if you are only reading eBooks, magazines and newspapers it should do the job.

Underneath the hood is a quad-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU with 1.5GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. This model does have support for a 64 GB micro SD, if you need to get more space for all of your music and videos. Unlike Nooks of the past, this model has two cameras, a rear facing 3 MP edition and front facing 1.3 MP for video calls.  It weighs 17.28 oz. (489.9 g) and should garner you 10 hours of battery life via the 6.8 mAh battery.

Barnes and Noble is hyping the fact this tablet costs $299 and comes with $200 of free content. What exactly do you get? Well, there are three free eBooks that come bundled on the tablet;  Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. Customers can get an introduction to the Nook Newsstand system by selecting 4 digital magazines from a pool of 12 for a free two week trial. There is a ton of great content, including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, and US Weekly. Back issues are also available for your selected magazines at no extra cost. Finally, Nook Video is giving free content, such as the hit HBO Series Veep, Hannibal, and Orphan Black.

The resolution on this tablet is actually a downgrade from the Nook HD+ that many customers have, but it does have a modern version of Android 4.4, which will insure almost all of the apps from Google Play will work. I think the biggest strength that Barnes and Noble has when selling this 10.1 tablet is their support network. If anything goes wrong with your device, you can simply bring it back to any bookstore and they can take a look at it. In most cases, they can swap out your old model for a new one right then and there.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
Comments (0)

dig-lib-1 304xx640-960-40-0

If you are passing through the San Antonio International Airport you can now borrow eBooks for free. Two Digital Library kiosks have been installed by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library at a cost of $26,000.

The San Antonio Public Library has introduced a new innovative new feature into the kiosks that will allow out-of-town travelers to get a temporary library SAPL card that they can use right in the airport. The cards are good for 24 hours and have a limit of three items that can be checked out for seven days.

The kiosks are primarily used as a rapid charging station but also allow you to gain a library card. Once you attain a temporary card, you can use it to log onto the libraries main website to  borrow audiobooks, eBooks, music or videos.

I really like this concept. The entire notion of a free library card that expires after three days of use, but allows a traveler to borrow media for a week is really excellent. I hope this idea catches on, it serves as a solid introduction to the library system and hopefully gets the traveler to use their own local libraries digital services when they get home.

Comments (1)

ipad-air-2

Apple seldom gives people a reason to upgrade to each new iteration of the iPad. The last major breakthrough was the Retina Display that made its way to the iPad Mini and iPad 4. This allowed readers to enjoy high-definition comics, magazines and digital media that Android users have been asking for awhile. Is the iPad 2 a worthy investment if you already have the one that launches last year?

Hardware

ipad-touch-id

The iPad Air 2 managed to shave off 18% off the thickness from the first generation Air; it’s now an almost impossible 6.1mm thick, and 1.4mm slimmer than the original iPad Air. At 437g, down from 469g, it’s one of the lightest large-screen tablets on the market.

Apple’s iPad Air 2 contains a new chip called the A8X, an SoC that’s faster than the A7 in the original iPad Air or the iPad Mini 2 and 3 and the A8 in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple would only say that the chip’s CPU is about 40 percent faster than the A7 and that it has a GPU that’s 2.5 times faster. It also has 2GB of RAM to keep things speedy on a hardware level.

In practice, the iPad Air 2 is capable of running programs usually seen on laptop computers. This includes the impressive video-editing capabilities of iMovie and the newly launched app Replay that synchronizes photos and videos to music. The processing boost also comes into its own when playing big-name games like FIFA 15, Modern Combat 5: Blackout, or the 1GB download Asphalt 8: Airborne.

One of the new features, not found on an Apple tablet before is Touch ID, the easy-to-use fingerprint reader introduced on the iPhone 5S, which makes security better and is needed to use the new Apple Pay service for buying things without using a credit card or typing in a credit card number. Apple Pay only works when making in-app purchases online, not in stores. Could you imagine waving your tablet around in a store? Anyways Touch ID is even more useful now than it was before; iOS 8 enabled third-party developer support for the fingerprint sensor, so you can use it to access sensitive account information or passwords.

When it comes to cameras, I can’t stand to take photos on my tablet. I have been using iPads since they first came out and buy each new generation. I don’t think I have ever taken a single picture, but than again I am likely not the target demographic. The iPad Air 2 steps up to 8MP resolution, whereas the iPad Air 1 only had a 5MP rear facing camera. The new camera has a Image Signal Processor (ISP) as part of the new A8X chipset. On the software side, the new camera comes with Burst Mode, as well as slow-motion video capture in 720p at 120fps. There’s still no LED flash on front or back this time around, however.

Here’s what the iPad Air 2 doesn’t have: A higher-resolution screen, a bigger screen, longer battery life, a snap-on keyboard, Beats Audio, better speakers,or a lower base price.

Apple Introduces new SIM technology

Apple-SIM

Apple has introduced a new way to change carrier companies for data plans without having the swap out the SIM card. This convenience is limited to just a few countries and carriers at launch — Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T in the US and EE in the UK — but over time, the selection of willing operators may improve.

The way this works is an option in the settings menu for internet access. You can change who you deal with on the fly and the SIM is automatically changed to the carrier you want to deal with. This may pave the way for incentives to keep people loyal or special events to get everything to switch to your company at once for a limited promotion.

Display

17h172lqcggl5jpg

The Apple iPad Air 2 has a staggering resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Nothing much has changed since the iPad 4 and this tablet is still the flagship model that companies turn to, for HD content.

For example, Comixology a few years ago developed a new HD comics standard called CMX HD. This dramatically increased the resolution and vibrancy of digital comics. SD comics often take up about 80 MB of storage, but HD editions often are as large as 300-400 MB. This is a privilege only Apple users enjoy, and has still not crossed over to Android, due to the fragmentation of screen sizes and varying degrees of resolution.

Apple was able to ultimately trim down the iPad by using a laminated, optically bonded, no-gap display similar to the ones used on the iPhone and even the Microsoft Surface tablets. Not only does the new panel save vertical space by eliminating any gaps of air between the display layers, but it also makes the screen significantly less reflective. This is meant to reduce the amount of glare hitting the screen, whether you’re reading in direct sunlight or watching movies under harsh fluorescent lights. I’m happy to report that it works as advertised

Wrap Up

apple-phil-schiller-2

The iPad Air 2 is not worth the upgrade if you already have the Air 1. Aside from the enhanced hardware, better camera and Touch ID, there simply isn’t anything compelling. The Absence of NFC relegates Apple Pay to being able to make App Store purchases, without having to type in your password. This might be useful for busy households with kids, who you don’t want them racking up thousands of dollars with Candy Crush micro-transactions.

The Air 2 is worth it to upgrade to, if you have a three or four year old Apple Tablet, you will notice a dramatic improvement when it comes to reading, but you are better off buying the iPad Air 1 if you can get a good deal on eBay or your local tech store.

Basics

9.7-inch, 2048×1546 display with 264 ppi
Antireflective coating
A8X 64-bit chip, M8 motion coprocessor
8MP iSight (front-facing) camera, 1.2MP FaceTime HD (front-facing) camera
Touch ID
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
6.1 mm thick, under 1 lb
MSRP: Wi-fi – $499 (16GB), $599 (64GB), $699 (128GB); Wi-Fi + Cellular – $629 (16GB), $729 (64GB), $829 (128GB)

PROS

Anti-reflection screen coating
Faster processing
More RAM
Wireless Connection is faster
Touch ID

CONS

Very Minor Upgrade
No Mute button or rotation lock
Apple SIM does not work in Canada or Australia

Categories : Reviews, Tablet PC News
Comments (2)

Kindle Family

The complete modern generation of Amazon tablets and e-readers are now available to be shipped when new orders are being placed. Pre-orders for the Kindle Voyage are also starting to ship, but new orders have a delay of a few weeks.

Amazon originally announced their complete modern lineup of devices on September 17th and actually never orchestrated a media event for it, which was a stark departure from previous product releases.

The Kindle Voyage is likely the most innovative e-reader to be released in quite sometime. It has very high PPI and a new page turn mechanism that is meant to provide haptic feedback.

“Kindle Voyage is designed to disappear so you can lose yourself in a story,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices. “This is the most advanced Kindle we’ve ever built. Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re working to build more as fast as we can. We can’t wait to get Kindle Voyage into the hands of readers starting today.”

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
Comments (2)

onyxsmartchw

Onyx has been making e-readers for the last five years and has recently expanded their portfolio to include an e-ink based smartphone. The company is expanding into the smartwatch arena, and unlike the Pebble, it will have a true e-ink screen.

The new prototype features a 1.56 inch e-Ink display and is bundled with a plastic wristband. It was designed to be waterproof, so it should be able to deal with the daily trials and tribulations.

The Onyx smartwatch can synchronize with a phone over Bluetooth, includes a pedometer for tracking steps, and has three buttons on the side of the device for navigating watch faces, menus and other settings.

One of the obvious benefits of the SOSMART watch is the fact it has true e-ink display. This should dramatically increase the battery life, because the screen does not draw power unless activity is occurring. The Pebble, likely the poster child of smartwatches only has a two day battery life, the Onyx should last a month.

Charbax from ARMdevices got a chance to check out an early prototype at the HKTDC show in Hong Kong recently, where he found out that future versions of the watch could include touchscreens, GPS, and other features.


Categories : SmartWatches
Comments (6)

Screen Shot 2012-05-06 at 6.53.48 PM

Simon and Schuster has just reached a new agreement with online bookseller Amazon, and empowers the publisher to once again establish their own prices on eBooks. The deal has been in the works since July of 2014, and has remained under the radar, as the Hachette saga has taken center stage.

One of the benefits of the new contract is that the royalties that authors earn will remain the same. It also allows S&S to determine the pricing of eBooks and print titles, but allows Amazon to give discounts as they see fit.

Simon & Schuster titles also will be well promoted on Amazon’s website, a source close to the situation has said. The contract that had been in place previously was set to expire in two months.

Amazon on Monday evening confirmed the deal, adding, “The agreement specifically creates a financial incentive for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers.”

Over the course of 2015, Amazon has new contracts to negotiate with Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and HarperCollins. The Hachette dispute has been ongoing since May of 2014, and has still not been resolved.

Comments (2)

RCNA Nominees

Barnes and Noble is orchestrating the first annual the Readers’ Choice Newsstand Awards. This new program looks at the best magazines published over the last year and allows users to vote on the most compelling ones. Each category has four nominees to choose from and all nominated content will be available to be read for free online with a browser based reader or on your smartphone or tablet.

All of the magazines that Barnes and Noble has selected for the Newsstand Awards will  receive a special in-store promotional display at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide for the print edition during the open voting period. If you have a Nook branded tablet, upon visiting the newsstand you will get a chance to check out all of the nominees.

Throughout the voting period, which occurs from October 20th to November 19th, readers can enter into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a fantastic grand prize of a trip for two to New York City and a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, as well as other great prizes including $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Cards and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK devices.

I think organizing a contest centered around magazines is a solid idea. There is certainly no shortage of movie, music and television awards. Once in awhile we have awards for the best author or best book, but seldom do we see anything for magazines.

The Newsstand Awards will accomplish a few things. It will give people a chance to discovery the online web-browser to read digital magazines, giving people a reason to subscribe. It also serves as an introduction to the Nook ecosystem of magazines, something that is rarely promoted. Finally, it is interesting simply to check out the shortlist of magazines that the editorial staff at Barnes and Noble has selected.

Comments (1)

ebook_2267280b

The Polish eBook industry is starting to see some significant gains and rose 28% in 2013. There are some differing opinions on the exact figures when it comes to digital publishing. Biblioteka Analiz research exclaims that eBooks are valued at $16.3 million USD, while Pricewaterhouse Coopers is more conservative at $8 million USD.

Piotr Kubiszewski is an independent expert in digital publishing in Poland since 2005. He notes that there is only 40,000 eBook titles currently in circulation and 80% of new books that come out are digitized.

Untitled-1

Publishers are not overly concerned with digitizing their backlist titles right now, because there aren’t enough sales to make it financially viable. In 2013 the book selling industry was valued at $800 million USD, and only around $8-%16 million USD derived from eBooks.

On a consumer level, one of the barriers of eBook adoption is the VAT. Currently in Poland if you buy a digital title you are paying 23%, meanwhile print books are only taxed at 5%. The lower tax bracket on physical titles might be one of the deciding factors when libraries, schools and academia are establishing book acquisition budgets, it simply goes further with print.

One of the bright spots that have really increased the viability of eBooks is the unilateral acceptable of watermarks by the publishing industry. This is a stark contrast to North America, which bogs readers in a mire of Adobe DRM. In North America, the average digital reader is locked into dealing with one particular ecosystem, because of the way they package their encryption. You can buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo, but their formats are not interchangeable. You simply can’t buy an Amazon title and read it on your Kobo.

Polish readers benefit tremendously from watermarks, because it does not restrict or hinder your ability to load the book on your e-reader, smartphone or tablet. No third party programs are needed and this makes the entire process more intuitive and encourages the loaning them out to your friends. Piracy is actually reduced because of watermarks, because there is a clear path of ownership and removing the marks is an arduous process, few practice.

The Polish eBook industry is dominated by a number of homegrown companies that have managed to flourish in the last five years. Virtualo.pl, Publio.pl, Nexto.pl, Woblink.com and eBookPoint.pl are the current industry leaders. Piotr’s research has noted that when it comes to eBook sales, 90% stem from EPUB or MOBI, while PDF files only account for 10%.

Amazon currently does not have an official presence in Poland, but that has not stopped the vast majority of readers from using them regularly. Kindle adoption is at record highs, 84% of all book sales from Publio.pl and 73% of Virtualo.pl are sold in MOBI, which is the main Kindle book format. It is very apparent that people are loyal to the Amazon brand over e-readers that are more common in that part of the world, including Tolino, Pocketbook, or Onyx.

i8O2b.gNBhJc

Amazon has confirmed to Good e-Reader that they are opening up two pop-up stores in California to take advantage of the holiday season. The first location will be in Westfield San Francisco Centre and Sacramento, in the Westfield Galleria at Roseville.

Amazon has been testing the waters of retail for a number of years with pop-up stores, lockers and vending machines. Industry experts are wondering if this is a larger push for permanent physical retail presence, similar to the likes of Apple’s retail stores.

There will be a number of devices that will be on display with product specialists on hand to answer any questions or concerns. The Kindle Voyage, Kindle Basic, Kids Tablet, HD6, HD7 and Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 will be available. Amazon will also be showcasing their Fire TV and Fire Phone and they will also insure you can buy a data plan with AT&T for all of the new hardware.

It is interesting to note that the Westfeld Galleria has hosted their fare share of pop-up stores in the past. Google opened up a Play Store there recently that allowed people to play with Nexus phones and tablets.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
Comments (1)

video-stream

Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we check out the Amazon Kindle Basic 2014 Touch Edition and the Kobo Aura H2O. Both of these readers are the latest and greatest and are getting a ton of media attention. Today, we look at the overall reading experience with eBooks and PDF files and also evaluate the big differences between them.

The Kobo H2O has a dynamic home screen, whenever you open up books, the internet browser or other core functions, they are added to the home area. This enables you to quickly access content, without having to constantly jump into various sub-menus. The Kindle Basic home screen is basically your library shelf.

Kobo gives more flexibility and control over the eBook reading experience, but the advanced options may be overwhelming for some users. They tend to have scroll bars that you can employ to augment the size of the font and even allow you to load in your own font styles. Amazon aims for a more simplistic system, which just gives you different font sizes, margins and line spacing.

The Basic really excels in reading PDF documents. You can pinch and zoom to isolate particular regions and you get a small preview window on the top left corner. This assists you in determining where exactly you are in the document if you have really zoomed in. One of the things I really liked was the ability to use highlights, take notes or use the translate feature on PDF Files. The H2O does not have pinch and zoom, and instead you have to utilize manual zoom, which is not very intuitive.


comics-spider-man-newspaper-collection

The Spider-Man  newspaper strip debuted in 1977 and was drawn by master Spider-artist John Romita Sr. and written by none other than Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee. IDW Publishing has announced that the first three years of the strip will get the graphic novel treatment in early 2015 and will likely be available digitally.

Newspaper Spider-Man is quite possibly the worst version of the character ever made. Newspaper Spidey is never quite that offensively terrible, but he also has a pretty dismal track record from when it comes to actual superheroism. He’s generally pretty cowardly, gets conked on the head a lot, and doesn’t actually seem all that concerned about this whole using-great-power-with-great-responsibility thing, instead preferring to just sort of lay around waiting for things to sort themselves out.

Early story arcs in the newspaper strip were paced much like a comic book, and a complete story unfolded in about 2 months of Sunday and daily strips. While the strip and the comic book feature the same characters, they do not share the same continuity. The strip differs from the established story lines of the comic books, most notably in the villains who Spider-Man fights and the women who Peter Parker dates. Many villains were introduced that have never appeared in other media, including the Rattler, a man who acquired snakelike characteristics. A rare exception was the 1987 wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson which occurred in both the comic book and the comic strip.

The comic strip rebooted in 2008 and is still going strong today. The early days are really good for a laugh due to the cheesiness of the story-lines.

sleepy

Spidey03

Categories : Digital Comic News
Comments (1)

Untitled-1

Newly appointed Kobo President and Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn took to Twitter today to post a rambling diatribe on why Amazon might not be the best call for indie authors to self-publish with. If you have a bone to pick with our favorite e-commerce whipping boy, you might take a depraved amount of glee from the complete notes below.

1) Indie authors take note: Amazon is, among other things, a machine designed to optimize product prices in order to gain share and sales.

2) Amazon, like every retailer that reaches a certain size, turns to its suppliers to grow profitability by demanding more favorable terms.

3) The Hachette-Amazon fight is an especially public manifestation of that Big Retail process. Nothing new there (Walmart, Target, B&N et al)

4) Some vocal traditionally published authors (but not all) support Hachette and criticize Amazon and…

5) Some vocal independent authors (but not all) support Amazon and criticize Hachette…

6) Defense of Amazon by indie authors makes sense on one level. For them, Amazon is the well-spring, where the self-pub revolution started.

7) But it seems like self-published authors believe they are protected somehow – that what is happening to Hachette won’t happen to them.

8) Some indie authors even muse that the best possible strategy is exclusivity with Amazon, leaving readers on other platforms behind.

9) In the long run, I don’t think that Amazon makes a big distinction between a publisher and an indy author – they are both suppliers.

10) Hachette and the rest of the big 5 sit at the top of a list of suppliers to be “improved” from Amazon’s perspective.

11) Hachette is first because one negotiation with a big publisher makes a lot of bestselling books more profitable. That’s efficient.

12) I don’t think anyone believes that Amazon will stop with Hachette. With a successful conclusion, all pubs will go through the same thing.

13) They will move down the list. Midsized or smaller publishers come next. (Assuming this all isn’t being pursued quietly in parallel.)

14) From Amazon’s perspective, how is an independent author any different than a publisher? Still a supplier, to be made more profitable.

15) The indie author’s situation is most tenuous of all. If >80% of sales come from Amazon, *no leverage when it’s your turn to be “optimized”

16) An indie author, like any publisher, can take her books away if in conflict with Amazon. But it hurts the author *way more than Amazon.

17) A reasonable author response to the Amazon threat wdb: “they won’t need to do that to us. Our prices are already where they need to be.”

18) (Indy authors on Amazon are penalized if their books are too expensive, so that’s largely true.)

19) But that assumes that the Amazon battle is about price. It’s not. It’s about profit. And _any_ supplier can be made more profitable.

20) If indie authors are 20% of Amazon’s total sales, then it’s hard to imagine that indie authors aren’t on that list to be improved.

21) But if the Amazon battle extends to indie authors, authors will have less leverage. Especially if they are exclusive.

22) The mechanisms for the Amazon squeeze are in place, agreements allow it. Self-pub inclusion in Select, Unlimited, KOLL are early examples.

23) Selling other publishers and authors, Amazon can survive without Hachette, but uncomfortably and less profitably.

24) With a diverse base of retailers, Hachette can survive without Amazon, also uncomfortably and less profitably.

25) Both parties having other options is why this dispute wasn’t over in a week or a month.

26) The litmus test for an indie author: could your income survive a conflict with Amazon? If not, it’s worth thinking about how you could.

27) To paraphrase: “First they came for the big New York publishers, but I wasn’t published by a big New York Publisher…”

28) Then they came for the mid-sized publishers, but I wasn’t published by a mid-sized publisher…

29) Then they came for the academic presses…

30) Then they came for the literary presses…

31) Then they came for me.

Comments (6)
Google Circle
Join my Circle on Google+

Plugin by Social Author Bio