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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Kobo has announced that they have formed a new partnership with Bol.com, the largest provider of eBooks in the Netherlands and Belgium. Starting today, customers will be able to order the entire Kobo Arc line of tablets and modern e-readers like the Kobo Aura and Aura HD directly on the Bol website. This agreement though, goes far beyond e-readers and may be a blueprint of how Kobo forms relationships with eBook retails going forward.

Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital.

Every so often, a Kobo press release hits the Good e-Reader offices, and it normally involves them establishing new relationships with booksellers to get their e-readers in as many retail channels as possible. One specific element on the official press release piqued my interest “Over the next few months, bol.com and Kobo will launch innovations to make digital reading even more user-friendly.” What exactly does this mean?

I talked to Pieter Swinkels, Vice President, Publisher Relations & Merchandising at BOL. He stated “Starting today we are combining our libraries to offer the widest selection possible in the Netherlands and Belgium. This takes some time; the transition has begun and should be complete very soon. As well, customers will be able to buy books across the two platforms (bol.com store, Kobo store, Kobo device store, apps stores) and be able to access them through one cloud-based library (the Kobo library), they will have the full regular Kobo experience, including Reading Life, Notes and Bookmark Synchronization. We will continue to have the Dutch version of the global Kobo apps for all platforms, but also in coming weeks expect to launch a special bol.com-Kobo app.”

He went on to specifically address Sony users “Customers using a Sony device from bol.com will continue to have the experience they have now, so they’ll buy on the bol.com site and download their purchase with Adobe DE or Watermark. They will also be able to access those books on Kobo devices and apps, with their bol.com or Kobo account. In other words, we’re completely connecting the two platforms and creating one, seamless experience of searching, buying and reading. This is a tremendous departure from the previous bol.com experience, which was, as you write, basically a side loading experience.”

So what we are seeing now with the Bol partnership is Kobo willingly including another retailers digital library into their own. This might appeal towards other online booksellers such as Txtr.

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HarperCollins has introduced new digital watermark technology that will be very appealing towards customers in Europe. Digimarc Guardian watermarks are fully compatible with DRM solutions. The tractability they provide remains fully effective even in cases where the DRM layer has been removed by users, using 3rd party tools.

Digital watermarking technology caught on a few years ago when the entire Harry Potter eBook collection adopted it, instead of going the traditional DRM route. This allows users to seamlessly load their purchased content on as many devices as they wish, without the need for bulky third party programs or apps.

Digimarc’s cloud-based platform offers easy-to-integrate API support for most e-book formats, including EPUB, PDF and MOBI. For each transaction, the platform generates a unique, traceable digital watermark and embeds it throughout the e-book. The imperceptible digital identifiers are extremely difficult for pirates to locate and remove. Adding Digimarc Guardian
Watermarks takes just seconds and is invisible to the end customer.

Digimarc’s anti-piracy service then crawls the web 24×7 searching for watermarked content. When a watermark is detected, Digimarc provides the unique identifier to the publisher to match against its own transaction records. Digimarc Guardian Watermarks do not contain any user information; the Digimarc Watermarks contain only anonymous digital IDs.

HarperCollins confirmed with Good e-Reader that watermarks will have a very gradual roll out, and not all new titles will have this technology. They also neglected to mention if specific markets will have this feature introduced first, such as Europe, where watermarking is the current rage.

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Barnes and Noble wants to change how they are currently selling books online by a massive effort to rebuild their website. They have been working at a feverish pace to insure the new design will make discovering and buying content easier than ever.

In the latest quarterly filings, B&N cut its overall net loss to $28.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, down from $87 million in the same quarter last year, with $50 million in cuts coming from downsizing the company’s Nook segment. Cuts alone won’t return profitability to the ailing e-reader and tablet brand, but selling digital content will.

Barnes and Noble is betting that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will lead to more digital consumption. They have really been hyping the additional $200 worth of free eBooks, magazines television shows and movies you receive from buying the tablet. You can think of it, as showcasing all of the different type of materials that can be purchased in the Nook ecosystem.

If you don’t have a dedicated Nook device, your options to purchase digital content from the largest bookstore chain the USA is questionable. You can have to rely on a slew of apps, with no single app acting as your all-in-one solution. Take Android for example, if you want videos, you have to download Nook Video, the main B&N app just works with eBooks, graphic novels and magazines. If you want kids books, there is a dedicated one for that too, but keep in mind, its US and UK only, whereas Amazon and Kobo are basically global.

Will a new website that focuses on search, discovery and a responsive design be received well in the online world? This type of undertaking consumes lots of money and resources, with no clear indication that it will lead to an influx of sales. There is no denying that the US is completely saturated with Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Netflix, Zinio and a host of others all offering specialized content. It remains to be seen that a new website will magically solve all of the forces that work against Nook.

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Macworld magazine has been going strong since 1984 and has been chronicling all things Apple. Due to a decline in print subscriptions the publication has announced they are abandoning the print edition and focusing more on the website and digital version.

There has been a tremendous amount of negative publicity surrounding Macworld since the formal unveiling of the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch event. Most of their senior staff covered the event for six hours and contributed commentary and live event coverage. The very next day most of them were sacked.

So who exactly left Macworld? Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.

Macworld will continue operating their website, with a reduced staff. They will also publish a digital edition via the Apple Newsstand. If you’re a current print subscriber, look for information about your new subscription options in the November issue of the magazine.

Last year PC World, a magazine focused exclusively on Windows announced they were suspending their print edition. If a magazine focused on the most widely used operating system in the world cannot make print viable, who can?

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There is a vast segment of Kindle owners that download pirated eBooks from the internet. It is estimated that up to 20% of eBook downloads stem from bit-torrent or pirate sites. There is a new online threat that is targeting Kindle owners, that may hijack your entire Amazon account.

Digital Books have a great deal of metadata that assists online retailers and publishers in understand reading habits and key metrics. Most of this data is harmless and can be equated to cookies, when you visit internet websites. A new vulnerability has been discovered, that targets pirated eBooks and key metadata in the header or authors name can run external scripts and compromise your Amazon account.

Here is how the vulnerability works. Hackers have been injecting links to external websites in the book’s title or in the field reserved for the name of the author, or in both. The script is triggered when you visit the Amazon Kindle Management page and have used the Send to Kindle Plugin. The Kindle Library takes whatever is inside the book’s title or author fields and inserts it into the Kindle Library web page. As a result, if the title or author fields contain HTML code, this code becomes part of the Kindle Library web page and is treated as if it had originated from Amazon’s server.Send to Kindle remains a very popular function, Amazon has an official version and many 3rd parties have developed alternatives for Android, Chrome, Firefox or iOS. It basically allows you to send documents and eBooks directly to your Amazon account to be read by a Kindle e-Reader, tablet or official reading app.

Piracy has been running rampant ever since the Kindle was first released. The Publishers Association issued 115,000 legal threats to websites to stop free pirated books in 2011, a rise of 130% on 2010. Many websites and file sharing services allow anyone to download them, and the person who cracked it normally just wants to give it away. This new vulnerability should give you pause, that a free eBook may come with a catch.

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Barnes and Noble is offering a discount for online orders for the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. US residents can order it directly from the Barnes and Noble website and get the tablet until September 14th for $169.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a stark contrast to all previous Nook tablets, because it has two cameras, a vanilla version of Android and the ability to really customize your own experience. Prior models of the Nook had a UI that was hard to change, this the Samsung Nook allows you to install your own keyboards, launchers and widgets.

International users can get value from the new Samsung Nook tablet, since you can download apps now from the B&N official app store and get expanded content from Google Play. The only limitations right now is renting to buying television shows or movies directly from Barnes and Noble. eBooks, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and kids books are all easily purchased.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Sep
12

Kobo Aura HD vs Kobo Aura H2O

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Kobo released the HD e-reader in April 2013 and the company expected it to only account for 3% of their overall revenue. This was primarily due to the 6.8 inch screen being unproved in the market and the premium cost. Within six months, it quickly became a bestseller and CEO Michael Tamblyn said now accounts for 25% of hardware sales. This has prompted Kobo to developer a spiritual successor, the brand new waterproof H20 e-reader.

Today, we take a look at the Kobo Aura HD and the Kobo Aura H20. You will get a sense of what the new model brings to the table and check out some of the advancements in e-paper technology. We also test the glowlight capabilities to see if there are any differences between the way the front-lit display functions. If you are thinking of upgrading from the HD to the H2o, you don’t want to miss this video comparison.


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The United Kingdom is facing a literacy crisis of epic proportions as 1.5 million youth are unable to read properly. 11 year old’s were the focus of a new study and it proclaims that unless drastic action is taken, by 2025 the UK will be in dire straights. 

A report by “Read on. Get on.” said England is now one of the developed world’s most unequal countries in reading, with the gap between the strongest and weakest equivalent to seven years of schooling.

The problem is acute in low-income groups, in particular white British boys, where 45% reach 11 are unable to read well. A total of 40% of poorer children are not proficient readers – almost double the rate of their better-off peers. The proportion of children reading well by 11 has dropped by 1% in five years since 2008. Even with an average annual improvement rate of 0.5
%, an estimated 120,000 pupils a year will fail to reach a proficient level of literacy – a total of 1,440,000 children between 2013 and 2025.

When children grow up, the ramifications of not reading regularly are having an adverse effect on the economy and higher learning. According to a recent OECD report, it proclaims that three-quarters of UK university graduates do not have high levels of literacy and there are currently  8.5 million adults in England and Northern Ireland with the numeracy levels of a 10-year-old. Basically, the lack of reading comprehension is costing the UK economy £32 billion.

There are various initiatives that are seeking to remedy this situation, such as the Barnes and Noble sponsored “Get London Reading” campaign.  Last year there was a read-a-thon take-over of Trafalgar Square which saw a number of West End shows such as War Horse, Billy Elliot and Matilda perform in front of a mesmerized audience of around 20,000 people. B&N also donated 1,000 Nook e-readers to schools and they all included free eBooks from Hachette UK, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.

Building on the success of the Get London Reading campaign, Barnes and Noble has just announced they are throwing down with the Best Play Award at the prestigious and star-studded Evening Standard Theatre Awards. They will be leveraging this new arrangement to have  actress Cush Jumbo, winner of the Burberry Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Theater Awards 2013, to visit a series of schools to read to children.  It was also announced that a number of other high profile actors will be reading to students all over London.

Its certainly nice to have e-readers, eBooks and publisher donated books to lower income children to build the foundation of reading, but what can really be done to solve the problem? Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said the research highlighted the vital role parents and carers played in reading with children, even for short periods. “They don’t need to find big chunks of time,” he said. “Parents, carers, grandparents and anyone with a child in their life can make a huge difference by reading for just 10 minutes a day.”

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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The highest court in Europe has ruled that libraries can digitize books without publishers permission and distribute them to dedicated reading terminals. The decision rests on exceptions built into the EU Copyright Directive for reproducing and communicating intellectual property. Specifically it says that publicly accessible libraries may make works available at “dedicated terminals… for the purpose of research or private study.”

Under the EU Copyright Directive, authors have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction and communication of their works. However, the directive also allows for exceptions or limitations to that right. 

“The right of libraries to communicate, by dedicated terminals, the works they hold in their collections would risk being rendered largely meaningless, or indeed ineffective, if they did not have an ancillary right to digitize the works in question,” the court said.

This is good news for library patrons that simply need to conduct research. However, libraries cannot permit visitors to use the terminals to print out the works or store them on a USB stick, by doing so, the visitor reproduces the work by making a new copy. This copying is not covered by the exception, particularly since the copies are made by individuals and not by the library itself. 

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The Future of libraries and publishing looks bright, as young people are reading as much or more than adults. A new report by Pew gives us some new data on the reading habits of adults and millennials.

The community and general media-use activities of younger adults are different from older adults. Those under age 30 are more likely to attend sporting events or concerts than older adults. They are also more likely to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast in some format on a daily or near-daily basis, and socialize with friends or family daily. Older adults, in turn, are more likely to visit museums or galleries, watch television or movies, or read the news on a daily basis.

As a group, Millennials are as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past 12 months, and more likely to have used a library website. Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older. Despite their relatively high use of libraries, younger Americans are among the least likely to say that libraries are important. Some 19% of those under 30 say their library’s closing would have a major impact on them and their family, compared with 32% of older adults, and 51% of younger Americans say it would have a major impact on their community, compared with 67% of those 30 and older.

As with the general population, most younger Americans know where their local library is, but many say they are unfamiliar with all the services it may offer: 36% of Millennials say they know little or nothing about the local library’s services, compared with 29% of those 30 and older. At the same time, most younger Americans feel they can easily navigate their local library, and the vast majority would describe libraries as warm, welcoming places, though younger patrons are less likely to rate libraries’ physical conditions highly.

While previous reports from Pew Research have focused on younger Americans’ e-reading habits and library usage, this report will explore in their attitudes towards public libraries in greater detail, as well as the extent to which they value libraries’ roles in their communities. To better understand the context of younger Americans’ engagement with libraries, this report will also explore their broader attitudes about technology and the role of libraries in the digital age.

It is important to note that age is not the only factor in Americans’ engagement with public libraries, nor the most important. Our library engagement typology found that Americans’ relationships with public libraries are part of their broader information and social landscapes, as people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks. Deeper connections with public libraries are also often associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision. As a result, the picture of younger Americans’ engagement with public libraries is complex and sometimes contradictory, as we examine their habits and attitudes at different life stages.

Even among those under 30, age groups differ in habits and attitudes

Though there are often many differences between Americans under 30 and older adults, younger age groups often have many differences that tie to their age and stage of adulthood.

Our surveys have found that older teens (ages 16-17) are more likely to read (particularly print books), more likely to read for work or school, and more likely to use the library for books and research than older age groups. They are the only age group more likely to borrow most of the books they read instead of purchasing them, and are also more likely to get reading recommendations at the library. Yet despite their closer relationship with public libraries, 16-17 year-olds are less likely to say they highly value public libraries, both as a personal and community resource. Older adults, by contrast, are more likely to place a high level of importance on libraries’ roles in their communities—even age groups that are less likely to use libraries overall, such as those ages 65 and older.

The members of the next oldest age group, college-aged adults (ages 18-24), are less likely to use public libraries than many other age groups, and are significantly less likely to have visited a library recently than in our previous survey: Some 56% of 18-24 year-olds said they had visited a library in the past year in November 2012, while just 46% said this in September 2013. They are more likely to purchase most of the books they read than borrow them, and are more likely to read the news regularly than 16-17 year-olds. In addition, like the next oldest age group, 25-29 year-olds, most of those in the college-aged cohort have lived in their current neighborhood five years or less.

Finally, many of the library habits and views of adults in their late twenties (ages 25-29) are often more similar to members of older age groups than their younger counterparts. They are less likely than college-aged adults to have read a book in the past year, but are more likely to keep up with the news. In addition, a large proportion (42%) are parents, a group with particularly high rates of library usage. Additionally, library users in this group are less likely than younger patrons to say their library use has decreased, and they are much more likely to say that various library services are very important to them and their family.

Younger Americans’ community activities, and media and technology landscapes

As a group, the library usage of younger Americans ages 16-29 fits into the larger context of their social activities and community engagement, as well as their broader media and technological environment. Those under age 30 are more likely to attend sporting events or concerts than older adults. They are also more likely to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast in some format on a daily or near-daily basis, and socialize with friends or family daily. Older adults, in turn, are more likely to visit museums or galleries, watch television or movies, or read the news on a daily basis.

About four in ten younger Americans (43%) reported reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, making them more likely to do so than older adults. Among younger Americans who did read at least one book, the median or typical number read in the past year was 10.

Younger Americans typically have higher rates of technology adoption than older adults, with 98% of those under 30 using the internet, and 90% of those internet users saying they using social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%).

Respondents of all age groups generally agree that the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past, and most Americans feel that it’s easy to separate the good information from bad online. However, Americans under age 30 are actually a little more likely than older adults to say that there is a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet. They are also somewhat more likely to agree that people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing.

Relationships with public libraries

Younger Americans are significantly more likely than older adults to have used a library in the past year, including using a library website. Overall, the percentage of all Americans who visited a library in person in the previous year fell from our 2012 to 2013 surveys, but the percentage who used a library website increased; the same is true for younger Americans. Few library users made use of a library website without also visiting a library in person in that time, however, so overall library usage rates did not increase:

Among those ages 16-29, the percentage who visited a public library in person in the previous year dropped from 58% in November 2012 to 50% in September 2013, with the largest drop occurring among 18-24 year-olds.

36% of younger Americans used a library website in the previous year, up from 28% in 2012, with the largest growth occurring among 16-17 year-olds (from 23% to 35%).

Despite their higher rates of library usage overall, younger Americans—particularly those under age 25—continue to be less likely than older adults to say that if their local public library closed it would have a major impact on either them and their family or on their community. Patrons ages 16-29 are also less likely than those ages 30 and older to say that several services are “very important” to them and their family, though those in their late twenties are more likely than younger age groups to strongly value most services.

As with the general population, most younger Americans know where their local library is, but many are unfamiliar with all the services they offer. However, most younger Americans feel they can easily navigate their local library, and the vast majority would describe libraries as warm, welcoming places, though younger patrons are less likely to rate libraries’ physical conditions highly.

Views about technology in libraries

Looking specifically at technology use at libraries, we found that as a group, patrons under age 30 are more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computers and internet connections, but less likely to say these resources are very important to them and their families—particularly the youngest patrons, ages 16-17. Even though they are not as likely to say libraries are important, young adults do give libraries credit for embracing technology. Yet while younger age groups are often more ambivalent about the role an importance of libraries today than older adults, they do not necessarily believe that libraries have fallen behind in the technological sphere. Though respondents ages 16-29 were more likely than those ages 30 and older to agree that “public libraries have not done a good job keeping up with newer technologies” (43% vs. 31%), a majority of younger Americans (52%) disagreed with that statement overall.

About these surveys

This report covers the core findings from three major national surveys of Americans ages 16 and older. Many of the findings come from a survey of 6,224 Americans ages 16+ conducted in the fall of 2013. A full statement of the survey method and details can be found here: http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/13/methods-27/.

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The Sony Digital Paper is a massive 13.3 inch PDF reader that is chiefly geared towards note editing and editing. This is the first device Sony has made that leveraged its decade of experience in the e-reader sector to carve out a niche in the business world. Recently, I was tremendously dismayed to find out that this $1,100 device only has a ten page limit in note taking.

There are two ways that you will use the Sony Digital Paper on a daily basis; editing PDF files and making notes. Note taking is especially excellent because you can write, while resting your wrist on the screen and it only recognizes the stylus. When you craft a note, you can add an annotation, which either can be a written with the stylus or with the keyboard. When you are all done taking notes, using the standalone app, it is automatically saved as a PDF file, you can then export to your PC or send to Dropbox.

Sony markets the Digital Paper towards students, lawyers and entertainment professionals. The type of people that are known for taking a massive amount of notes on a daily and weekly basis. The ten page limit on an individual PDF document makes little sense, as power users will easily exceed this threshold.

Categories : E-Paper
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HarperCollins has struck new partnership with JD.com and China National Publications Import and Export Corporation. Starting today, over 800 backlist eBook titles will be available in English.

The Chinese publishing industry generated an astounding $42.89 billion in 2013 and should reach $57.74 billion in 2014. This is the first time HarperCollins has entered the market in a digital capacity.

Some of the titles available include; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Divergent by Veronica Roth and several titles from bestselling authors C.S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket, Beverly Cleary and Neil Gaiman. Additional titles will be rolled out in the coming months.

“JD.com has been a key partner in selling HarperCollins print books in China for years and we are happy to work with them on our e-book business,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer for HarperCollins Publishers. “By expanding our international e-book distribution we’re opening up a new market for our authors’ works.”

“The e-book market in China is poised for tremendous growth. We’re excited to bring great content from HarperCollins to our readers,” said Haifeng Yang, Head of Books, Audios and Videos from JD.com.

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oyster

The publishing industry has been trying to crack the Netflix for eBooks concept for a number of years. Oyster is one of the bright spots, offering 500,000 eBook titles and has established relationships with over 1,600 distinguished publisher partners. Today, Oyster is celebrating their one year anniversary and offers some key metrics on their ecosystem.

500,000+ titles– including New York Times and national bestsellers like Steve Jobs, Under the Dome, The Happiness Project, Beautiful Ruins, The Great Gatsby, Onward and hundreds of thousands more.

1,600+ publishers – from Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster to prestigious independent houses and self-publishing aggregators, including Houghton Mifflin, Rodale, Melville House, Other Press, Smashwords and Verso.

6 platforms — after an iOS-only launch, Oyster is now accessible on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Web, Mobile Web Reader, and Android!

You can now find 46 genres, 1,289 lists of books, and more than 200,000 authors on Oyster to satisfy any type of reader.

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