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Digital magazine consumption has risen 50% in the last twelve months in Canada according to new figures from The Print Measurement Bureau’s Fall report.
The Print Measurement Bureau is not exactly a household name, but they have been chronicling the rise of digital reading habits since 2013. One of the most interesting figures is the fact that only 2.9 million Canadians are reading digital magazines, which is an increase of over 57% from last year.
In a world of heavily customized apps geared towards tablets and smartphones the vast majority of Canadians are continuing to read exclusively on their computers, but mobile is on the rise jumping by 115%.
I think the most interesting statistic is how digital reading is firmly embraced by urban dwellers with higher education rather than rural. Digital magazine reading was 55% higher in Toronto than the rest of Canada.
One of the big reasons why digital magazines are on the rise is partly due to the blitz media campaigns by Next Issue. This is a pure digital service marketed by Rogers Media across all of their platforms, such as television, radio and print.
Apple has just received the green light from a court in New York that will finally begin offering iBooks customers refunds from a pool of prospective pool of $400 million dollars. This specific amount is dependent on the court upholding a 2013 verdict where an appeal brought the figure down to a paltry $50 million.
The final number that Apple will have to pay consumers will be established on December 15th 2014. The Justice Department, lawyers, Apple and everyone involved in the court drama are basically tired and want to get this situation resolved ASAP.
Customers can expect refunds from Apple starting early next year for eBooks purchased from the iBookstore from April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. The exact figure is yet unknown but settlements from Amazon and Barnes and Noble had customers given a $3.00 credit for any New York Times bestseller and all other books from major publishers $1.00.
In 2013 the traditional book selling industry in the US produced 304,912 print titles that were distributed to bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million. Fiction and Juvenile genres continued to dominate the market, accounting for over 27% of new titles.
Self-publishing on the other hand saw 458,564 titles that were produced that actually had ISBN numbers. Companies such as Amazon do not require ISBN numbers for authors to submit their eBooks into Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon currently has 2.5 million eBooks for sale and 400,000 of them are courtesy of indie authors who opted into the program. In addition, over 300,000 titles were submitted by Smashwords.
Barnes and Noble on the other hand has 2.5 million paid eBooks available and another 2 million free public domain editions for download. Self-published titles continue to grow on the Nook Platform and the company said they represent about 25% of all eBook sales on Nook devices and sales are growing roughly 20% each quarter.
You can look at the traditional book selling industry as employing Artificial Scarcity where they selectively choose books that will sell in the current market climate and investing in authors who have an extensive track history of generating perennial bestsellers. Few books slip through the cracks that would be considered elevated literary fiction, the type that wins the National Novel Award or the Man Booker Prize. Self-publishing on the other hand employs Organic Abundance with indie titles being generated at almost a 3:1 ratio vs print.
Print books have a fairly low shelf life, the average title is sitting inside of a bookstore for about three months before its cycled away for the next batch. Major publishers have embraced digital the last four years and they reap the lions share of revenue from all book sales on Amazon, B&N or Kobo. Self-publishers are seeing success on those platforms, as they are regularly in the top 100 bestselling books every week.
There are more eBooks being produced on a yearly basis from publishers and indie authors then at any point in human history. There simply is too much content in the digital world for any sane person to browse and hopefully find the next great read. Books in the digital realm are stacked right next to each other, you can’t filter out self-published titles from traditionally published ones. In the next few years millions of additional books will be published and submitted to Amazon, they will generate a ton of money at the further expense of book discovery and the quality of product.
I am hereby abandoning reading eBooks from this point forward. Something is fundamentally flawed with the entire online book discovery experience. There simply is too much content being generated for search engine algorithms to cope or to browse by subject matter. Instead, I am exclusively going to be visiting my local Chapters on a weekly basis and picking up a few good reads. At least the traditional book selling industry understands product placement, the psychology of colors and makes finding a new book a social experience, rather than a solitary one.
Onyx Boox is not content to just sit idly in the marketplace while the competition rushes out new e-readers for the holiday season. On the heels of the Afterglow 2, Onyx has just released a bare bones Basic reader to do battle against the Kindle.
The new Onyx Boox Classic features a six inch e-Ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024 X 758. This device does not have a touchscreen, instead you will have to rely on the D-Pad to browse and navigate the device. This concept seems to be a bit retro, since most modern e-readers now have a touchscreen display, but the price is only 69 €.
One of the main selling points on the entire modern Onyx portfolio is the fact they all run an open version of Android. This allows users to tap into Google Play to download and install any app they want. Sadly, this reader only has Android 2.3 and does not have the ability to install any 3rd party content.
The Onyx Basic is really designed to compete against the Kindle 5 . On the companies sales page, it basically pits both of the devices head to head and the Onyx comes out on top. This e-reader is available now, and apparently quite the hit in Poland! If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful, this e-reader fits the bill.
There tends to be some confusion among new e-reader owners on what formats their new device reads. Numerous Kindle owners try to buy eBooks at a good price online, only to get disgruntled when they aren’t compatible. In order to solve many of the top customer concerns Kobo now lists the format their eBooks are in and whether or not they have Digital Rights Managment (DRM).
When you are browsing the online Kobo catalog their is a new section at the bottom of the description. It is called Download Options and lists the eBooks are EPUB 2, EPUB 2 (Adobe DRM), PDF, PDF (Adobe DRM).
When you buy an eBook with DRM on it, the title is only compatible with Kobo e-readers and tend not to play nice with any other device. Things get easier if you manage to find something that does not have any encryption, this means you can basically load in on your smartphone, tablet, e-reader or loan it out to a friend and not need Adobe Digital Editions to facilitate the transfer.
The new download system is live in most countries. We have confirmed reports that Canada, US, Australia, UK all have it, but sadly not New Zealand.
When it comes to buying an e-reader for the first time or upgrading to the largest and greatest, there are lots of factors to consider. Do you want a very large screen to fit a copious amount of text or are you looking for something with a great ecosystem to buy eBooks? Over the course of the last month we asked the question, what do you look for in an e-reader? 694 people weighed in and today we look at the results.
Arguably the most important factor people look for in an e-reader is a large screen. 25.43% of the voting popular made it apparent that when it comes to reading digital books, a very large screen makes a world of difference. High resolution came in second with 16.62%, which makes it quite evident that high PPI and overall screen clarity matters.
Things were more competitive with the next tier down. 9.68% of the vote said that portability was important while 7.66% mentioned that an e-reader with open Android is important. 7.66% of the population stated that price is most important while 7.23% of the said that a particular e-reader brand, such as Kindle, Kobo or Nook weighed in on their decision.
What was most surprising about this vote is that serious readers aren’t engaged with gimmicks such as GoodReads, X-Ray, Badges, social media or achievements. A paltry 1.01% of the vote said things were totally unimpressive.
Oyster is hoping to appeal to literary buffs that aren’t currently paying for their eBook subscription service. The company has launched a new online book blog that will feature original essays, book reviews and interviews with prestigious authors.
Oyster’s editorial director, Kevin Nguyen described the publication as the company’s “latest discovery project,” explaining that “some readers want algorithmic recommendations, and others want editorial recommendations, or reviews.” He went on to say “We really want to be a part of the publishing community. We want to use the Oyster Review to bring Oyster to a new audience.”
It remains to be seen on what type of traction this book new initiative will get in the greater book community. Many readers are wary of reading this type of content from a company that peddles eBooks. This is the chief reason why many people don’t pay attention to the Amazon book blogs and prefer 3rd parties that are unbiased.
When Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post last year for $250 million, many people were wondering what role it would play on the Amazon ecosystem. There is a new Post app exclusively available on the Kindle Fire line of tablets. Users will get access to two editions per day which the editorial team for The Washington Post will release at 5 am ET and 5 pm ET.
The new app, with pre-loaded stories, pictures and even advertisements, was designed in close collaboration with Mr. Bezos, said Shailesh Prakash, The Post’s chief technology officer. “We talked to him constantly,” Mr. Prakash said, describing feedback Mr. Bezos gave to developers. “He’s our most active beta tester.”
The Washington Post app has been developed to replicate the experience of reading the paper as if it was in print, the “pinch view” feature in this app attempts to replicate that experience.
The app will be free for Kindle Fire owners for six months, and will then cost a dollar for the next six months. A version of the app will be available for Android and iOS operating systems next year, at $3.99 a month.
Simon & Schuster first got involved in distributing their vast collection of eBooks to libraries earlier this year. In order for libraries to carry their titles the publisher was basically forcing 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive to implement a buy it now button as part of the arrangement. Many libraries and consortium’s did not want to sell eBooks on their websites and resisted carrying any titles by S&S. Today, the publisher relaxed their restrictions.
“From the beginning, the ALA has advocated for the broadest and most affordable library access to e-titles, as well as licensing terms that give libraries flexibility to best meet their community needs,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.”
“This change also speaks to the importance of sustaining conversations among librarians, publishers, distributors and authors to continue advancing our shared goals of connecting writers and readers,” Young added. “We are still in the early days of this digital publishing revolution, and we hope we can co-create solutions that expand access, increase readership and improve exposure for diverse and emerging voices,” said DCWG Co-Chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke. “Many challenges remain including high prices, privacy concerns, and other terms under which ebooks are offered to libraries. We are continuing our discussions with publishers.”
I think S&S have relaxed their policies because libraries simply don’t want to be getting themselves involved with retail. Libraries exist because of public funds and forcing them to become a bookstore in order to carry specific titles is tantamount to extortion.
Nintendo Extra is a new digital magazine that was designed to appeal to a younger audience. The first issue includes an introduction to The Legend of Zelda by producer Eiji Aonuma, basic tips for Mario Kart 8, a Captain Toad comic, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby features, and the first episode of the ‘Cat Mario Show’.
The new magazine is completely free and is primarily available through the Nintendo official website. There is no word yet if the publication is planned to launch via a series of apps for iOS or Android.Last month we saw the closure of Official Nintendo Magazine and this new endeavor is likely a second attempt to help market core Nintendo properties and appeal to a new demographic.
Amazon is gearing up for the holidays by slashing some of the prices on their tablets and also positioning themselves to push lots of Fire TV sticks.
The Fire TV Stick is a cheap alternative to the Fire TV system that launched earlier this year. In essence, the $39 stick connects to the HDMI port on your HDTV for instant access to movies, TV shows, music, photos, apps, and games. It features a dual-core processor, 2x the memory of Chromecast, dual-band, dual-antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming. Plus, it comes with a remote control for simple and easy navigation. You can also use the free Fire TV Remote App for Fire phone, Android phones, and coming soon to iPhone to search using just your voice.
The Amazon branded stick is shipping today, but new orders might be a bit delayed, due to the sheer amount of people opting to try out this new system. It is currently estimated that if you place your order today it won’t get shipped out until early January. Hopefully Amazon will get more manufactured and reduce the wait time.
Amazon is also discounting some of their tablets. The new Fire HD 7 normally costs $139 and is now on sale for $119, also the variant released last year, the seven inch HDX is only $179.99.
Also, if you are thinking of subscribing to Amazon Prime for the first time or renewing your membership you can get a $40 discount on the new Basic Touch 2014 model. Simply start/renew your membership and then add the product to your cart for the free voucher.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight is the only e-Ink based reader the bookseller is currently marketing. It normally costs $119.99, but starting November 21st, it will be discounted to $99.99 and this price point seems to be locked in stone for the rest of the year.
Barnes and Noble is also having a “Discovery Week” sale this weekend where lots of things are being discounted store wide in order to get a jump start on buying gifts for the holidays. In a limited time promotion from November 21 to November 23rd the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK devices have new low prices. You can pickup the seven inch version for $149.99 (after a $50 instant rebate) or purchase the 10.1 inch variant for $249.99 (after a $100 instant rebate).
Barnes and Noble has formally unveiled their Nook Audiobook app for Android. The Nations largest bookseller is putting a company wide priority on the audio experience. This is the first time they have ever got serious about it and they intend on marketing it towards the types of people who buy books on a regular basis or have never listed to one before.
There are over 50,000 audiobooks from major publishers available to purchase and the vast majority of them have free samples that range between two and four minutes in length to preview. As part of the launch promotion every week there will be five free audiobooks and new users to the platform can download two for free. There is no signup required or credit card needed for the account in order to take advantage of this promotion. The titles were exclusively vetted to span multiple genres and picked especially for the overall quality of the narration. During the first week the following titles will be available; Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Ender’s Game (Ender Quintet #1) by Orson Scott Card, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Heist (Fox and O’Hare Series #1) by Janet Evanovich and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand.
Kashif Zafar, Vice President of US Digital Content at NOOK Media told Good e-Reader exclusively “The mission of the design was to be very crisp and engage the broad mainstream audiobook customer. This was one of the first apps we built from the ground up and we feel it provides a user friendly experience.
Barnes and Noble is sourcing their compete audiobook collection from Findaway World via their AudioEngine imprint. This is the same organization that powers the vast majority of libraries digital catalogs.
This is not the first time the bookseller has got involved in audiobooks. For the last few years they sold them exclusively online and the titles were provided by Overdrive. When customers purchased an audio edition they had to download the Media Console app and had to register an account. Kashif mentioned that this distracted from the overall user experience and was quietly killed a few months ago.
The Nook Audiobook app will be made available via a firmware update for the Nook HD, Nook HD+ and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7 and 10.1 inch models sometime in the near future. B&N did not confirm exactly when these tablets will get the update, but the priority right now is the Android app. Kashif made it very clear that the marketing efforts behind the app is simply not pushing it out to the devices and hoping for the best. “We are implementing a marketing program across all of our bookstores to really drive home the fact we are serious about audiobooks. We also encouraging our publishing partners to advertise it across their own networks.”
I got a chance to play around with the final release version of the Android app as apart of the soft-launch program. I actually found it really intuitive to use, it doesn’t bog you down with advanced features, but makes listening and purchasing new content really easy. The main store features the aforementioned free content any user can download. There are a few sections that are curated by the new Nook Audio team and there will be seasonal themes and update provided every few weeks. There is also a featured audiobook of the week, which offers a tremendous discount.
When you listen to an audiobook, you don’t have the advanced features that Audible has. You can’t adjust the speed of the playbook to read faster or slower, you are stuck with the default setting. This isn’t all bad, as much I as do use the iTunes and Audible Players I have never adjusted the narration speed, but some people do, so it bears mentioning. You also are limited to two simultaneous downloads at a time, but once the first chapter is is complete you can listen to the book as its downloading.
The Nook Audiobook App is available as a free download from Google Play but is only available for US customers. I found that living in Canada you can buy and listen to audiobooks, so there seems to be no geographical restrictions on content. Kashif also wanted to make clear that an iOS version should be available in early Spring 2015. There is no timeline for official expansion into the UK or other international markets.
The entry into the audiobook market is perfect timing for Barnes and Noble. It perfectly rounds off their Nook Media catalog so they now sell everything a reader could possibly want. Apps, eBooks, comics, graphic novels, magazines, music, newspapers, and video.
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