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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Canada is forecasted to be the 5th highest ranked market in 2015 for the adoption of new media technology. This is not only due to the increased ownership of smartphones, tablets and e-readers, but publishers making content that shines on these devices.

The number of mobile phone internet users in Canada continues to increase, projected to reach 23.6 million in 2018. Smartphone adoption in Canada is among the highest in the world at 62% ,behind Spain (66%) and the UK (64%). If you look at tablet ownership, it has only increased from 9% to 21% over the course of 2013 to 2014.

Publishers are starting to realize that if you are targeting English and French speaking Canadians, the smartphone is the primary goal. Among adults ages 18-34 a staggering 83% downloaded or purchased a digital magazine in 2013. Normally these sorts of downloads occur from the Apple Newsstand, Google Play Magazines, or 3rd party apps such as PressReader.

What type of content do Canadians desire? Well for starters, companies that offer back issues tend to fare better. 45% of Canadians prefer to read only the latest magazine, but 55% said they read back issues too. In terms of Genre, the highest performers currently are Travel, Entertainment, Fashion and Cooking/Decorating.

Canada has a population of 35 million people and although not everyone reads magazines tangibly or digitally, its hard to know how many people are actually doing it. The Print Measurement Bureau said in their Fall Report that 2.9 million Canadians are reading digitally on their smartphones and to a lesser degree tablets, which is an increase of over 57% from last year.

If you are interested in lots of statistics, metrics and deep anylsis of the Candian magazine industry, I would recommend the 2014 Fact Book. It shows how digital magazine content has become even more accessible, available and timely, as well as globally inclusive. From email to display ads, audience engagement to retail, the Fact Book confirms that magazines have an impact wherever, whenever and however readers are consuming content.

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Amazon Prime Now is a pilot project in Manhattan and it promises to deliver books and anything else the website sells within two hours. If two hours is too much time, you can pay an extra $7.99 to get it within one hour.

In order to take advantage of the Prime Now program you must subscribe to the $99.99 per year Amazon Prime membership. Amazon has promised that more cities will receive this service in in 2015. Anyone who downloads the mobile app for iOS or Android can receive a notice when the service arrives in their area.

When using the app to order products, Amazon is not reinventing the wheel. If you have ever used the Amazon Shopping app, Prime Now functions the exact same way. You can search for and browse items and then add them to your shopping cart. After you order your item, you can track its delivery. Amazon has confirmed that over 10,000 items are eligible for the Prime Now program.

Amazon is facing increased competition from established players, who have launched new programs. Google has been experimenting with its own delivery service, which in October expanded beyond its early outposts in New York and California to Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. For same-day service, users of Google Express must pay $95 per year, or $10 per month. Online auction site eBay, has also expressed interest about faster deliveries using their own in-house solution.

Free two hour shipping on 10,000 items is very compelling if you are already an Amazon Prime member. Sadly, the only postal code its delivering to right now is 10001.

Categories : Technology
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Macmillan has announced that they intend on entering the e-Book subscription model business, in an attempt to broaden its distribution channels. CEO John Sargent mentioned that the primary reason they are engaging in the whole Netflix for eBooks concept is because Amazon accounts for 64% of all Macmillan digital sales, and this must change.

Sargent outlined Macmillan’s plans for the future to his stable of authors, illustrators, and Agents “In our search for new routes to market, we have been considering alternative business models including the subscription model. Many of you know that we have long been opposed to subscription. We have always worried that it will erode the perceived value of your books. Though this significant long-term risk remains, we have decided to test subscription in the coming weeks. Several companies offer “pay per read” plans that offer favorable economic terms. We plan to try subscription with backlist books, and mostly with titles that are not well represented at bricks and mortar retail stores. Our job has always been to provide you with the broadest possible distribution, and given the current financial and strategic incentives being offered, we believe the time is right to try this test.”

It is very likely in the next few weeks we will hear about Macmillan signing an e-Book distribution deal with Oyster and Scribd. These are two companies not affiliated with Amazon and engage in the pay per read model, which is what Macmillan is looking for.

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There was a time not too long ago that the only way to listen to audiobooks was to borrow a CD or tape from your local library. They degraded with use and most often were a victim of theft, due to its high value nature. In the last five years digital audio content has made things so much more accessible and is a rising force in US based libraries.

Audiobook publishing is certainly starting to be big business for major publishers and companies involved in distributing the content. In 2007 a paltry 3,073 digital titles were available and rose exponentially to over 20,000 published titles in 2013. The entire industry is said to be worth over two billion dollars, which is a huge jump from $480 million selling tapes and cassette in 1997.

There are a number of major players providing audio services to libraries,  3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive. For the most part, these are the exact same companies that provide the libraries e-Book portfolio. In the US, 95% of all libraries have a digital collection and audio content is starting to play a more central role.

Audiobooks actually works fairly differently than e-Books do, on a business level. Many of the top distributors lean on 3rd parties for a full catalog of content. 3M and Baker and Taylor both get their audio editions from Findaway World, which is current market leader in production. Findaway has a catalog of over 50,000 titles and maintains production studios, narrators and crew in New York. Overdrive has their own internal solution, where they approach publishers directly and don’t do business with companies such as Audible or Findaway World.

Tom Mercer, Marketing Manager of 3M Cloud Library said “we see a tremendous opportunity to grow in the Audio space in 2015. Right now we’re two weeks into the “real world” of Audio, but customers really seem to like our solution. Our initial Beta feedback from very positive.”

Hoopla is an audiobook solution for libraries that floats under the radar, but are quickly making a name for themselves. The company has a catalog of 13,000 titles with 1,000 added each month. Hoopla deals with over 100 libraries in the US and charges no licensing fees with setting up the system, which is quite appealing to the average library. How does Hoopla make money? The company has employed the Pay Per Use model, which only charges the library when a specific title is checked out by a patron. Librarians can establish a weekly or monthly threshold, so they can ensure they will not go over budget. This financial model works for Hoopla because they can promote their entire catalog, while curating the bestsellers on the main page, so finding quality content is ridiculously easy.

Audiobooks are certainly finding their grove in libraries, but one of the big challenges is that the audio editions are not released at the same time as the print or e-Book versions. Library staff and patrons need to be aware of this issue. In addition, digital audiobooks often have some fairly high costs, compared to digital books. The average price of a new audiobook is between $30 to $60.

How well are the publishers doing in the audiobook sector? Cheryl Herman, marketing director for Penguin Random House’s Books on Tape & Listening Library said. “Our library sales for digital audio are up nearly 30% over 2013, we’re offering more and more titles on audio, and we’re not alone in that. There are also more players entering the market, and more titles overall being published than ever before.”

When it comes down to audio in libraries, certainly audiobooks are not the only game in town. PressReader offers a vast catalog of over 4,000 newspapers and magazines with audio functionality. Using the companies app for Android or iOS every article can be read aloud, giving people the ability to stay current in local, regional and international news. This certainly appeals to people with vision problems or other disabilities.

In the end, the biggest trend in libraries in 2014 has been the adoption of audiobooks in Canada, US and United Kingdom. Likely, in 2015 international expansion will be a pressing concern, as libraries based in Europe, Australia and New Zealand will want to get in a piece of the action.

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e-Readers have come a long way since the original Kindle was unveiled in 2007. e-Books have drastically altered the way we read and many bookstores have went out of business because their once loyal customer bought a Kobo.

There are hundreds of e-readers that have come out in the last few years, some have offered some very innovative features, but the vast majority have been “me too” products. We asked the question last week, what features should the ultimate e-reader have? Thousands of people listed to the podcast and commented on what their ideal device would comprise of.

Today, Michael and Peter discuss their ideal e-reader. Jointly they have reviewed over 100 different models since 2008 and really have a sense on the types of features the public would want. In an epic 40 minute extravaganza you can get schooled on the history of e-readers and e-paper.


Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Thalia is the largest bookstore chain in Germany with over 300 locations and is facing some serious problems. Sales are at record lows due to stiff competition from Amazon and for the last few months an investment bank has been exploring opportunities to sell the retail chain to another buyer.

The parent company of Thalia, Douglas has commissioned investment bank Macquarie to explore options to sell the company. The price tag was apparently too high for anyone to outright purchase the bookstore chain and is now off the market.

Thalia is going to undergo a restructuring and modernization program that will transform the retail experience. Most of their stores are dull and drab. Bookselling today is about bright lighting, friendly staff, cleverly designed bookcases that display new hardbacks, an espresso coffee machine behind the checkout counter and many unbookish things such as novelty items, jigsaws, games, children’s toys, Paddington bears, greetings cards and upmarket stationery. Bookstores in the UK and US are not all about books anymore, but they have transformed into lifestyle stores. In order for Thalia to fend off e-Books and Amazon, they need to change.

Categories : Bookselling
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Bookmate, the leading social ebook reading service, is available in Singapore. Boasting a comprehensive library of over 500,000 ebooks from 600 publishers, Bookmate empowers reading fans to search, discover, interact and read as much as they want, wherever they are.

Available at a flat monthly fee of SGD 9.98, the service offers books from major publishers such as HarperCollins, Head of Zeus, Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail and others.

As part of its international expansion efforts, Bookmate is exclusively partnering Singapore’s fully-integrated info-communications provider StarHub to introduce its book-streaming service to the local reading community and engage local publishers to offer their books on the platform.

Simon Dunlop, Founder of Bookmate, said, “Our mission is to make reading easy, accessible and fun for everyone with a smart phone. By expanding into Singapore, we have made a significant first step in increasing Bookmate’s footprint in Southeast Asia and thanks to our partnership with StarHub and their highly engaged customers we will be able to reach millions of new readers.”

Michael Sim, Lead Futurist–Entertainment of i3 (Innovation, Investment, Incubation), StarHub, said, “Singapore consumers are fast growing accustomed to getting easy access to an unfettered catalogue of premium online content, for instance, video and music streaming, across multiple devices for a flat monthly fee. This advancement is changing the way people consume content, and we believe the time is ripe to bring this same convenience to book fans, providing a timely boost to Singapore’s ebook scene. Through our partnership with Bookmate, local readers can now enjoy unlimited access to Bookmate’s vast collection of ebooks through its comprehensive association with leading publishers.”

Bookmate’s move into Singapore follows its agreement with HarperCollins, announced earlier this year, which saw Bookmate add hundreds of new authors to the service. This announcement also marks Bookmate’s first foray into Asia-Pacific. Bookmate currently has over 1.5 million active monthly users in countries including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, U.S. and Germany.

The Bookmate app, available for free download on Apple App Store, Good e-Reader and Windows Store, includes a social feed that allows users to follow their friends, favorite authors and celebrities on Bookmate, while also sharing their favorite books and passages. The service is also available through a supported web browser

Categories : E-Book News
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A number of years ago when the iPad became popular, the digital magazine scene was bright and vibrant. A number of companies were leading the download charts and inclusive apps that gave you access to hundreds of publications became standard.  When Apple unveiled their Newsstand, companies started developing their own apps to offer unique experiences. Instead of relying on companies like Zinio for distribution, they decided to do it themselves. One of the last magazine companies still standing is PressReader and they just hit a major milestone.

PressReader has just announced that they have they have attained 1,000 magazines.  Condé Nast International France has joined PressReader, adding favorite titles – including Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Glamour – to their growing list of  top publications like T3, Martha Stewart Living, Men’s Health, Inside Golf, Elle Italia and many more.

In terms of digital magazine distribution, PressReader does things a little bit differently than their competition. On the consumer level they sell a subscription package that gives customers access to over 3,500 newspapers and magazines from 100 countries in 80 different languages.  Instead of paying per issue, you can basically read and download as much as you want for a low monthly price. The company also leverages their portfolio directly to libraries, airlines, cruise ships and hotels.

Most of the digital players still in the game normally use proxy services when they market their treasure trove of content to libraries or other sectors. Zinio for example deals with Recorded Books to market their content to libraries, whereas Next Issue and Magzter simply focuses on consumers and not B2B.

I think the one thing PressReader has done really well is establish a strong branding message, no matter what space they are selling magazines and newspapers in. They do everything themselves, without having to lean on 3rd parties to do the marketing for them.

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When Sony and Amazon first got into the e-reader business, they were considered a new breed of luxury items. The first generation Kindle retailed for $399 and the PRS-500 was $349. Needless to say, only the most hardcore of readers were buying into the new way to consume digital books. In the last few years, you can pick up a ultra modern device for $79. Whats changed?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo are in the race to the bottom. They are forgoing a number of critical features to be able to compete against each other in the lucrative US and UK market. Overall build quality is suffering, internet browsing has never improved and the lack of audio bucks the trend of technological convergence.

In 2011, we started to see e-readers come down in price. The Kindle Keyboard was massively discounted from $189 to $99. Barnes and Noble discounted their Simple Touch Reader to $99 and Kobo did the same. This was the last year that we saw a new reader have speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack that was capable of playing audiobooks and music files.

The lack of audio in modern e-readers prevent them from being rolled out into schools and institutions of learning. The chief reason is because visually disabled people cannot use the devices and feel excluded. The National Federation of the Blind have been overzealous in this regard and have prevented Amazon from starting pilot projects to get e-readers in schools. They went as far as organizing protests right outside Amazons Seattle headquarters, saying at the time “no student should be left behind.”

The e-reader industry as a whole has lost most of its innovative spirit, the vast majority of companies that were around from 2007 to 2011 are not around anymore. There was some truly interesting e-paper technology that could have changed the game, such as Bridgestone e-paper, Liquavista, LG, Mirasol, Pixel QI, and Plastic Logic. The reason why most of these companies abandoned the e-reader space, was because all of the notable players were risk adverse. After bringing the entry level price from $399 to $99 for an e-reader, the price could never dramatically increase again, which limited their options of dealing with new companies, whose technology would be expensive to manufacture at first.

The race to the bottom  has not only limited consumer options, but it has effectively edged out smaller companies that offer alternative e-readers. Icarus, Onyx Boox, Pocketbook and Wexler aren’t exactly household names, but have been making e-readers in Eastern Europe, Russia and China for years. All of these guys initially focused on the western market, but they simply couldn’t produce enough units, in order to get big discounts at the factory, which effectively relegated them to markets where Amazon and Kobo haven’t entered yet.

I have been following the e-reader industry since the first generation Sony and Kindle e-readers. I was at CES in 2010 when e-readers were everywhere, there were literary hundreds of companies wanting to enter the space, looking for strategic partner. In 2011, there were hardly any to be found, as the industry gravitated towards multi-purpose tablets. e-Readers were on the cusp of doing some really amazing things, but now we just have a selection of products that all look the same. Put a Kindle Paperwhite 1  side by side to a Paperwhite 2 and see if anyone could tell the difference.


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European libraries have been experimenting with the concept of digital in libraries. The United Kingdom has had the most success, and other countries are starting to make moves to offer similar services. France has just approved a new mandate to implement a digital lending platform, which means in the new future you will be able to borrow audiobooks, eBooks and digital newspapers.

An innovative agreement was announced on December 8th in Paris to facilitate e-lending in French public libraries. The agreement was signed by the French Minister of Culture and associations of librarians, booksellers, authors and publishers, including IFRRO’s member Syndicat National de l’Édition. Twelve recommendations are set out in the agreement in order to make available digital editorial output within and outside the public libraries’ premises while ensuring fair remuneration for rightholders.

Now that a blueprint has been established for digital lending in France, a number of companies will be eyeing this market with glee. The first major challenge is getting an ILS system in place, such as Polaris or Triple iii. This is critical because collection managers need tie in their print and digital collections in a singular platform to monitor everything.

The next stage in facilitating the loaning of digital content will be up to Overdrive, 3M and Baker & Taylor to pitch libraries the virtues of their systems for e-Books, audiobooks and streaming video. Vancouver based PressReader would also be a valuable industry partner because they already carry all of the major French newspapers such as Le Monde, Le Figaro and L’Express.

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Zoe Sugg may not be a household name, unless you have teenage daughters. The 24 year old amasses millions of views on each video she posts on Youtube and has just published her first book. Girl Online is a YA romance novel and has sold a staggering 78,000 copies in her first week. This has seen her surpass the first Harry Potter and 50 Shades of Grey book in the same period.

Zoe started her YouTube channel in 2009, primarily aimed at beauty tips and fashion advice. She is playful and has a candid approach that is absolutely infectious with her teen audience. Zoe has more than six million YouTube followers, and two million Twitter followers. Recently she took home the Best British Vlogger Award at the 2013 at the  BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards, but also won the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award earlier this year.

When any book sells a ton of copies in a short period of time, there is normally drama that ensues. In Zoe’s case she has been getting a  ton of flack from the media about having the book ghost written for her. Penguin, her publisher outsourced the actual writing to Siobhan Curham—an established author of both YA and adult fiction. The three sides sat down over the period of a few weeks and bantered back and fourth about the logistics. The Girl Online Book is not an autobiography, but does borrow heavily from Zoe and her day to day activities.

The young writer has been getting lambasted in the media for failing to explicitly state that she did not write the book alone, despite thanking Curham in the acknowledgments of Girl Online for having been with her “every step of the way”.

Despite the online backlash that erupted against Sugg, Curham had stayed quiet on the controversy. But on Wednesday, Curham posted a defense of both herself and Sugg to her blog. Writing that she had signed on to help Sugg with the book not to become “famous” or “rich,” Curham said that she’d agreed because she loves writing and “helping others write books.” She did, however, note that it wasn’t an entirely enjoyable process, saying “I did have some issues with how the project was managed. Issues which I expressed on more than one occasion. Issues which I’m afraid I’m not allowed to go into. And issues which have nothing to do with Zoe. I’ve seen at first hand how caring and considerate Zoe is. I’ve been very impressed with how she finds ways to use her (completely unexpected) fame to help others, whether that be through her vlogs, blogs, books or becoming a digital ambassador for the mental health charity MIND.”

I honestly think the media is more fixated on the inner workings of the publishing world, than actually talking about the book. It is more interesting to stir up controversy and crucify a young girl for doing what people only dream of, starting a successful business, amassing millions of followers and publishing a book.

Categories : E-Book News
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Archie has been chasing Betty and Veronica through the halls of Riverdale High school since 1941. Not much has changed over the years, but starting in 2015 the entire Archie comic book line will be rebooted.

Jon Goldwater took over as chief executive and publisher of Archie Comics five years ago, from his father that founded the company in 1939. He has been evaluating the entire Archie line of comics, digital comics and graphic novels to get a sense on what the public wanted.

Afterlife with Archie was very dark in its overtones and capitalized on the obsession with zombies in our culture. Life with Archie also was more mature, as it featured Archie in his later life and much publicized death. These comics sold very well, bookstore sales have increased 736%, and direct-market sales, which include those in specialty stores like comic book shops, rose 226%

Starting in early 2015 the entire Archie comic book series will be rebooted with a new creative team, featuring Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Mr. Waid said his primary goal was to return Archie to a modern audience, which included restoring the contemporary attitudes that the teenagers of Riverdale had lost.

Not much is known yet on the exact formula that Archie will employ. The only hints that were dropped was that it would be fresh, modern and the teens would face most of the same issues as they face nowadays. The traditional Archie digests will still be published, but the company priority right now is on the reboot and making it more modern.

Categories : Digital Comic News
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Amazon may not be selling eBooks in their iPad or iPhone Kindle app anymore, but there is a new reason to open it up again. If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, the app has now been optimized so you can browse over 700,000 eBooks, borrow them and immediately start reading.

The  new Kindle reading app update for iOS is certainly one of the largest in recent memory, in terms of cool new features and overall enhancements. Whether you listen to audiobooks, want to find out more about an author or tend to lurk around GoodReads, there is something for everyone. It is important to keep in mind that Unlimited is only available in the US, UK and a few European markets, not everyone will be able to browse for eBooks or take advantage of the 30 day free trial. Check out the full change list below.

Book Browser (for iPad): Kindle Unlimited subscribers can now browse over 700,000 books, including popular titles such as Lord of the Rings series, Harry Potter and Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, and start reading immediately, without leaving the app. Tapping on a book cover displays a detail page that provides information about the book, including the book description and customer reviews. Book Browser also provides customers with the ability to search for any title from Amazon’s entire catalog of Kindle books, where they can view book details, download a sample, or add it to a wish list. You can start a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited to get the most out of Book Browser by visiting amazon.com/kindleunlimited.

Welcome experience: New customers can get started reading right away! By selecting favorite genres, rating books you’ve read, and choosing books you want to read, you will get personalized book sample suggestions (powered by the Goodreads recommendation engine) to download and read for free.

Goodreads integration: Goodreads customers can now share reading progress updates, highlights, and more from inside the Kindle book they are reading. Once connected (click on the Settings icon in the bottom right hand corner of the Library or Home page, then click on Social Network and select Goodreads to link accounts), customers can share reading progress updates using the new [g] button in the reader controls; share quotes on Goodreads, Facebook or Twitter; or rate and review a book on Goodreads and Amazon from the “Before You Go” screen at the end of a book. For more details and screenshots, see the Goodreads blog post at goodreads.com/blog.

Next In Series Information: Customers finishing a book in a series like A Game of Thrones can learn about the next book, A Clash of Kings, and instantly add it to their wish list from the “Before You Go” screen.

Book Detail Pages in the Library: By customer request, book details can now be viewed by long pressing a book cover in the library and selecting “Book Details.” Customers can now see a synopsis of the book, Amazon reviews, and more.

Audible Progressive Play: Start playing audiobooks as they’re downloading (no need to wait for the entire download). Audiobooks can be played once you’ve downloaded past your current reading location.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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