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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Result Source has been one of the premier businesses that appeals to writers looking to game the system and get their book on bestseller lists. Due to a myriad of factors the company has shuttered their online presence, all but disappearing.

Result Source was making millions of dollars from charging authors up to $250,000 for them to buy their own books via bulk discounting. Result Source would break up the sales into organic chunks that made it seem like thousands of people were buying them. This would fool book reporting agencies like Nielsen Bookscan and the book would make the Washington Post, New York Times or Amazon bestseller lists.

Good e-Reader and the New York Times both reported on this company, many times. This has prompted Result Source from deleting all of their social media accounts and taking down their website. There is a single landing page with a contact form and it looks like the company has taken the money and ran with it.

Why exactly is Results Source abandoning their business model? Most of their client base of authors are clergyman and priests. The most notable one was Mark Driscoll who pastors a large church in Seattle and recently paid Results Source more than $200,000 to get his book onto the New York Times bestseller list. The scheme included hiring people to purchase 6000 copies of the book in bookstores, then ordering another 5000 copies in bulk. Apparently the IRS is now investigating Results Source and the Churches for misappropriation of Church funds.

Result Source is no longer a viable option for authors looking to get that extra boost in their book sales and make the bestseller list. The fact that they have abandoned their operations leaves an opening for another company to take their place.

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Publishers have been heavily resistant about selling their catalog of eBooks to libraries in the US and Canada. It took years of lobbying from the American Library Association and companies such as 3M and Overdrive to finally sway them over. Now, in one way or another, every major publisher has a pilot project or distributes select titles to libraries.

In 2013, both Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, which had not been selling ebooks to libraries, began pilot programs which were eventually expanded. Macmillan now sells its entire back-list of 11,000 titles to libraries nationwide and Simon & Schuster expanded its first pilot to a dozen libraries. Penguin Book Group ended its embargo policy so that all ebook titles would be available to libraries at the same time as in the consumer ones are issued. Hachette Book Group made all its ebooks available to libraries at the same time as print books. Smaller publishers such as Smashwords have also got involved in the distribution of eBooks from their wellspring of self-published content.

Major publishers still see libraries as devaluing their digital product by giving it away for free. Jeannette Woodward, author of a number of books, including The Transformed Library: E-Books, Expertise, and Evolution said “Trade publishers have always had an unrealistic idea of library circulation,” she says. “They imagine that library books circulate 50 or more times, causing them to lose 49 sales. This attitude, of course, ignores the many books that circulate rarely and assumes that library readers would purchase every book they borrow. Because the industry is in financial difficulty, it may be even more anxious to lay blame on libraries.”

Major publishers and publishing associations seem to fear that libraries could circulate ebooks to thousands of readers, decimating their profits. “These fears are, of course, largely unfounded,” Woodward says, “but they are making it very difficult for libraries to purchase the ebooks
demanded by their patrons. Some publishers refuse to work with libraries
, while others insist on charging libraries many times the prices paid by their other customers. “Since individual libraries have very little clout, professional organizations like ALA will need to devote considerable time and resources to resolving this conflict,” Woodward says. “On the one
hand, publishers need to be educated about the real world of libraries and understand that libraries can actually help their bottom line. On the other, libraries need to show their muscle, making it clear that when they act together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Helping the bottom line is what companies like 3M are doing with their Cloud Library Service. They recently unveiled new tools that actually allow libraries to sell eBooks and make a commission. This puts money in the pocket of the library, the digital distributor and publisher. Libraries as retail, this is a trend that will continue to grow in 2014.

As much headway as Overdrive, Baker & Taylor, 3M and ALA make with publishers, many people still don’t think its enough. Clifford Lynch, executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, called the library ebook situation “appalling,” explaining that denying libraries unfettered access to ebooks threatens the library mission to “preserve cultural heritage, provide accommodation for people with disabilities, and protect individual privacy,” according to the report.

If you want to find out more about the recent ALA report, in all of its glory, click HERE.

Apr
20

54% of USA Adults Read eBooks

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A new study conducted by Nielsen has proclaimed that 54% of USA adults currently read eBooks. Not only is digital on the rise but overall the average person is reading more books on a yearly basis.

Interestingly, there appears to be an intersection at work between how Americans read and how much they read. Those who read either more or exclusively in the eBook format are more likely to read over 20 books in an average year (30%) than either those who read more/only in hard copy (18%) or those who read in both formats equally (21%). They also report a higher average readership per year than either hard copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).

Looking at the number of books purchased in the past year, with a reported average of 14 books, those favoring eBooks purchased roughly twice as many as those preferring hard copies, who purchased an average of less than seven.

However, in terms of overall users, the hard copy format is still king. Nearly half of Americans (46%) say they only read hard copy books, with an additional 16% saying they read more hard copy books than e-books. Seventeen percent (17%) read about the same number of hard copy and e-format books, while 15% read more and 6% read exclusively in the electronic format.

The Harris Poll was conducted on behalf of Nielsen and surveyed 2,234 adults in the USA. The results in this report tend to conflict with the ones in the Pew Research report that was conducted in January. Pew mentioned “The percentage of adults who read an eBook in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14% of adults listened to an audiobook.” Interestingly, only four percent of the survey respondents stated that they are strictly ebook readers, shunning print entirely.

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The newspaper industry has lost billions of dollars in the last 10 years in advertising revenue due to Google and has seen a decline in subscriptions. A new report from the Newspaper Association of America paints a bleak picture of revenue in 2013.

The Newspaper Association of America said revenue fell 2.6% to $37.6 billion in 2013. Meanwhile advertising revenue fell 6.5% to $23.6 billion in the same period.

These losses were slightly offset by increases in digital advertising and Paywalls from the New York Times and a myriad of others. This contributed to a 3.7% jump in circulation revenue. Still, digital advertising growth, while not growing as fast as some in the industry have hoped, continued to climb. Mobile ad spending soared 77%, although it still accounts for less than 1% of total newspaper revenue.

In order to build a better future for digital advertising revenue, some companies are betting big on developing their own add exchanges. One initiative that launched last year was the News Corp Global Exchange, that brought together the ad space of 50 websites and mobile/tablet products including Times.co.uk, TheSun.co.uk, NYPost.com, TheAustralian.com.au, MarketWatch.com and News.com.au. It allows advertisers to use one portal to advertise in the entire network, or just a specific publication.

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Magzter has been a breakout success story in India with userbase of six million and 35,000 digital magazine downloads a day. The company is experimenting with new content delivery methods to appeal to a new demographic via Groupon India.

The new Groupon Campaign is poised to appeal to new and existing users of Magzter. Right now you can save 50% on 24 different magazines that target several key segments, including Women, Men, Health, Lifestyle and Travel, among others.

“Magzter believes in innovating constantly to reach our desired goal of becoming a first choice for the entire digital reading community. Our partnership with Groupon is a step in the right direction. We look forward to promoting other publishers as well and are certain consumers will be thrilled with the exciting reading content that we have to offer,” said Vijay Radhakrishnan, Co-Founder and President, Magzter.

This marks the first time that a digital magazine platform has done business with Groupon to expand their business. It is a very interesting move to see if users respond to the discounts and end up being solid customers. Likely other companies such as PressReader, Zinio and Recorded Books are eyeing how it all plays out, to see if its viable for them.

Groupon has wrecked havoc in the retail and service based industry. For the most part it is a losing proposition to throw down with a big Groupon campaign. Digital though, is very interesting, since Magzter can afford to take a hit with their digital magazines, because of the low-costs in content delivery.

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A few months ago Conde Nast proclaimed they were undergoing a dramatic rebranding effort and focusing more on digital. The publishing company has finally made headway with Glamour Magazine and the new spinoff Lipstick.

Conde Nast announced the new website Lipstick.com and it will feature “immersive storytelling” and “actionable tips” from the fashion and beauty industry’s best stylists, makeup artists and dermatologists, as well as on-trend ideas from contributors, celebrities and brands

Conde Nast is trying something new with Lipstick, making a fully responsive website geared specifically for mobile. This is a savvy move because “half of Glamour.com’s 7.5 million readers are reading from their phones.”  All of the current magazines Conde publishes are in app format for iOS or Android. Lipstick is departing from the standard native app and is more scalable with the new format.

“As Glamour’s first digital spinoff, Lipstick.com marks a major milestone for our brand,” said Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief. “It offers us the opportunity to provide our digitally savvy readers with deeper, more specialized beauty content – which our existing site tells us they’re hungry for more of. We believe Lipstick.com will offer readers Glamour’s beauty authority in a true, digital-native environment.”

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Watch Dogs is one of the most eagerly anticipated video games in years. Ubisoft Studios has been working on a cyberpunk themed game that brings back memories Shadowrun. The company is going to be releasing a new eBook soon entitled Watch Dogs //n/Dark Clouds.

The upcoming eBook is written by John Shirley, the storyline picks up where the Watch Dogs video game leaves off, allowing fans to further explore the world of Watch Dogs. The ebook is a first for Ubisoft, as it was conceived in-house and will be released exclusively via digital channels.

“Working on Watch Dogs was enormously interesting to me because its world offers the convergence of cyberpunk and the edgy tech reality of our times; it all plays out with action and energy against the inner city backdrop that I thrive in” said John Shirley. “With hack tech in one hand and gun in the other, Aiden Pearce is a believable fusion of hacker and action hero who deliberately slips between the cracks of society to relentlessly pursue his agenda. The novel introduces Mick Wolfe, an ex-military, who get caught in a dangerous game in Chicago’s hyper connected and violent underground. Working with Thomas Geffroyd and Kevin Shortt at Ubisoft to develop the book was a rocking experience – Ubisoft is right out there on the frontier of videogame development. I couldn’t ask for more inspiration”.

Watch_Dogs //n/Dark Clouds will be available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish at the game’s release on May 27, 2014. It will be available in two digital formats: an upgraded e-book version with interactive elements including videos and image and a classic e-book. For more information, click here.

Categories : E-Book News
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Book Expo America sponsored the first official Hackathon next year, which saw a few notable young startups pitch angle investors and the industry at large. Things are getting a little bit more serious for the upcoming publishing event in New York.

For the first time ever, there will be a Startup Alley at BEA, bringing together the best of Silicon Alley and the book publishing industry on Thursday, May 29th, 2014. Startups will compete to appear before the judges that will decide prizewinners and potential investment candidates on the spot. The first prize of $10,000, is sponsored by ICG Ventures Inc., an Ingram Content Group company. The second prize, $5,000, is sponsored by Sourcebooks. All Startups at the event are eligible for consideration. A select few will have the opportunity to make their case to the judges at this year’s event.

“Last year at BEA, we brought the tech community and the book publishing industry together for the first publishing hackathon and we saw the great kind of innovation that comes out of bringing these communities together,” said Joanna Stone, CEO of Librify. “This year we are continuing that tradition by creating a place at BEA for the growing book publishing startup community to gain access to traditional publishers and top venture capital and investment professionals.”

The judges will include well-known names from venture capital and publishing including David Roland, Chief Venture Capital Officer, ICG Ventures Inc., Brian Cohen, Chairman of NY Angels, Jordan Bettman, Bain Capital Ventures, Dawn Barber, co-founder of NY Tech Meetup, Dominique Raccah, Publisher of Sourcebooks, and more. BookExpo Startup Challenge will be accepting applicant startups at bookexpochallenge.com , where they can submit their pitch for our judges.

“BookExpo Startup Challenge is poised to be a fantastic event for BEA and the industry that will put a spotlight on innovation and technology at BEA, an important component of the publishing ecosystem,” said Steven Rosato, Event Director for BookExpo America, Reed Exhibitions. “We expect this event to attract wide media coverage and to bring in solid venture capitalists looking for unique opportunities.”

Librify and BookExpo America have made a limited number of entry-level registration packages available for qualifying startups. All registered startups will have access to additional benefits including interactions with executives from major publishing houses (including the Big 5), access to coaching and strategic advice from investment industry professionals, coaching from NY Tech Meetup founder Dawn Barber, and much more.

Startups seeking to participate in the BookExpo Startup Challenge should visit bookexpochallenge.com to apply. Others seeking more information regarding this year’s BookExpo America at the Javits Center should visit www.bookexpoamerica.com.

Categories : Book Expo America
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Oyster is one of the more prominent eBook subscription websites and it is starting to distinguish themselves from a crowded marketplace. The company is trialing new speed reading technology from Spritz.

Spritz has been in the news a ton lately, as their speed-reading technology is going to be integrated in the Samsung Galaxy S5. The essence of the platform is to allow users to crank up how many words per minute a body of text will produce. Spritz is fairly useless on large screen displays, but really shines on smartphones, where reading lots of text is daunting.

There is only a single title right now using Spritz and is available at OysterBooks.com/Spritz, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — the renowned business title by Stephen Covey with over 20 million copies sold to-date – is available for free. Oyster is challenging the public to complete the 432 print-pages of the book in  under 2 hours.

This offer is a first-of-its-kind collaboration and Oyster and Spritz are excited to hear from users about the experience. They’ll evaluate the response and consider bringing additional full-length, in-copyright books to the public together again in the future.

Categories : E-Book News
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eReatah originally launched their Netflix for eBooks subscription service back in September and changed their name to Entitle a few months later. The service heavily competes with Scribd and Oyster for users wanting to subscribe to their websites and download books  on a monthly basis.  While the competition relies on iOS and Android apps to appeal to the widest demographic of readers, Entitle is now supporting dedicated e-readers, such as the Kobo, Nook and Sony. 

Entitle has been testing their e-reader system for a number of weeks and now the books are available for primetime. In order to get started you first need to download Adobe Digital Editions. This is a free app and allows you sync paid and borrowed eBooks directly to your e-reader. Once the book has been downloaded to your computer, you can use ADE to copy it to your Kobo Aura or Nook Glowlight. Once its on your device, it will pop up under your library and you can begin reading on the go.

The support for e-readers when it comes to dedicated eBook subscription services is quite weak. Amazon is the only company to offer this functionality with their Prime Kindle Lending Library. Scribd offers apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, while Oyster is limited to iOS. Entitle has apps now for Android, iOS and now dedicated e-readers. Obviously when it comes to reading, sticking with an e Ink device is better for long reading sessions.

Entitle manages their eBook subscription service quite differently from their competitors. The company only offers a limited number of books a customer can borrow on a monthly basis. For $9.99 you can download two books a month and lots of big name publishers are supporting the efforts.  The company has deals with major publishers including Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, HarperCollins Christian, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with more than 100,000 professionally-published titles from authors like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Basically, it is a book of the month type club for a digital world.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Samsung has announced that they have reached terms with Amazon to have a custom built Kindle store for its flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The store will launch in two weeks and phone owners will be able to download 15 eBooks for free as part of the deal.

The plans for the custom version of the Kindle Store will launch exclusively for the S5 for the first few months and older phones will get the service later in the year. Samsung wants to make the new Kindle store a big selling point of the phone.

The free books will be available from a pre-determined list. Users will get four “prominent” titles a month to choose from and be able to select one to download for free and read.

Amazon already has an Android app that people all over the world use to install on their phones and tablets. The one for Samsung was built exclusively for the resolution and specific screen size. Likely, you will get a better experience with this iteration, than the stock one. Still, free books is fairly compelling and the Kindle store will be preinstalled on all S5 phones, which is good promotion for Amazon.

Categories : E-Book News
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Men are giving up on reading books and instead are switching to movies, internet and blogs. Overall men are starting to realize that they are not reading as much as they should, but according to a new study, there are many other factors.

OnePoll did a study on behalf of UK based Reading Agency and talked to over 2,000 young and adult men. 63% of men admit they simply don’t read as much as they think they should. Many blamed a lack of time while, a fifth said they find it difficult or don’t enjoy it.

As men start to get older they tend to read less, as life gives them more distractions. 46% of the men reported reading fewer books now than they did in the past; a third prefer the internet and 30% engage more with film and TV. Not surprisingly a staggering one in five men confessed that they have pretended to have read a specific title in order to appear more intelligent. Meanwhile 30% stated that have not read a single book unless it was mandatory reading in school.

The study also drew the interesting conclusion that men are not visiting libraries or bookstores anymore. They tend to shop for more practical things or zone out on a movie on television or Netflix. Women on the other hand tend to loan books to each other and participate in the bookstore scene.

Categories : E-Book News
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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Roundtable discussion with Michael and Peter. The topic today is what is the better operating system overall, Android or iOS? The two tech stalwarts talk about personal experiences with them both and make some valid points.

One of the real benefits of the Apple ecosystem is the first party developer support. If you want to deliver magazines, newspapers or games, you only have a few screen sizes and resolutions to choose from. You rarely deal with aspect ratio problems and get the content as they intended. Android on the other hand has so many different screen sizes and resolution, that you encounter errors more often.

Android on the other hand allows for more customization options in the form of keyboards, widgets, live wallpapers and launchers. You get more freedom to craft your own experience.


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