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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The Amazon Fire TV up until now has been a US exclusive and now the streaming television and app box has just hit the UK. Customers will be able to order it online or found on the shelves of Tesco, Dixons and Argos.

Fire TV is a streaming multimedia box that allows users to watch television and movies from the Amazon Instant Video service. It also has a number of apps users can install, such as Curzon Home Cinema, Netflix, YouTube, Demand 5, BBC iPlayer, BBC News and Sport, Sky News, and Spotify.

Unlike Apple TV, the Fire TV has a huge library of games that have been optimized for large screen televisions. You will likely want to invest in the official Game Controller,  priced at £34.99.

I actually like the overall design and UI of Fire TV, it gives you a ton of value if you live in the US or UK. It features a quad-core processor and pumping out 1080p HD video with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. Gaming, listening to music or watching a movie is a solid experience.

Categories : Technology
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The new Amazon Kindle Basic 2014 edition is the first entry level Kindle to ever be shipped with a touchscreen. This makes it way more intuitive to interact with reading eBooks or just browsing around. Today, I will teach you how to load your own eBooks on this e-reader.

First of all, Amazon Kindle e-readers read AZW and MOBI as a primary format that are easily found online. Many European bookstores actually sell eBooks in MOBI format and embed them with digital watermarks to curb piracy. There are also many bookstores and websites all over the internet that sell or allow people to download them. Sure you can buy or download, but whats the step steps?

Amazon has feature many people are unaware of. It allows you to send attachments via Email to your Amazon Kindle. If you have have registered an Amazon account and attached your Kindle to do, during the setup, you are half-way done. You need to visit your Account Management Page and then visit Settings. Near the bottom you will see a few email address and the associated devices. It should give your first name and a few random numbers, mine is michael_95121@kindle.com. You can then enter that email has the destination email address and attach any MOBI books you have downloaded from the internet and in a few minutes they will be on your Kindle Basic!

I really like a program called CALIBRE. It does some powerful stuff, like allowing you to add coverart to an eBook you have downloaded that may not have one, or to change the authors name. The feature I dig the most is being able to convert eBooks from one format to another. EPUB is one of the most common book formats out there, and is 100% incompatible with the Kindle. In the video below, I will show you how to convert an EPUB book to a MOBI one and also how to use this program on a very general level.

Finally, many people simply copy books to their Kindle Documents directory via a file manager or Windows Explorer. You can get a sense of the internal directory structure of your e-Reader and where you should be copying books manually.


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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we do a side by side comparison with the Kindle Basic 2013 edition with D-PAD and the enhanced 2014 model with a touchscreen. In this video you will get a sense on how they perform with eBooks, PDF files, Shopping and check out the main differences.

The Kindle Basic 2013 model has physical page turn buttons, a D-Pad for navigation and hardware buttons to bring up the virtual keyboard or access the home screen. Typing on the virtual keyboard is a real  pain, especially when you have to enter complex WIFI passwords or to take notes when reading an eBook. It also lacks a true home screen and main navigation menu to access the store or library. This is as bare bones as you can get, there are no translation features, X-Ray or GoodReads.

The Kindle Basic Touch 2014 edition has the same firmware as the Kindle Paperwhite 2. This gives you a true home screen, with a UI at the top that can easily grant you access to the Kindle Store, GoodReads Search or access your settings. The touchscreen is really refined, I remember not to long ago they were completely woeful.

If you have an older Kindle Basic, without a touchscreen this video will give you a compelling enough reason to upgrade. It costs a paltry $79, with Special Offers, which is a fancy way of saying it displays advertisements on the home screen and screensaver.


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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
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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
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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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