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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Welcome back to another Good e-Reader exclusive contest. Today we are giving away an e-reader we just found in our review labs, the Sony PRS-350.

The Sony PRS-350 and 650 were the most popular Sony e-readers the company ever produced. When they were first released on August 2010, they couldn’t keep them in stock on the retail level, due to ravenous demand.

I really liked the five inch display because it made it really pocket friendly. The resolution is 800×600 and features a touchscreen to flip the pages of your favorite book. There is no WIFI built into it, so you will have to load in your own PDF or EPUB books.

The 350 is in fairly great condition, as it was just used for the purposes of unboxing, reviewing and comparing against other readers on the market. In order to enter, you merely have to subscribe and like our YouTube channel and comment on the video, letting us know you have done all of the above.


Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Blackberry is betting big on their new line of smartphones, headlined by the Passport. It bears a resemblance to the Bold, but with a larger screen and a more intuitive keyboard.  The Waterloo company is also winning back corporate clients who are disenchanted with the entire concept of bring  your own device.

One of the big concerns over Blackberry and the primary reason many corporations have switched away was due to the app ecosystem. Many of the top apps like SalesForce and Teamviewer do not have native apps and these are essential to doing business. In order to win back customers Blackberry signed a new agreement with Amazon to bundle their phones with the Amazon Appstore, as the primary destination to download content. This will open up the availability of a wider selection of apps and make it easier for your average user to install what they want, without having to sideload anything.

At a well-known investment firm in New York City, something strange is happening: Mobile app performance issues and privacy concerns have sparked a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolt, and now many employees are asking for their corporate BlackBerry back. “It’s a nightmare,” says an IT executive speaking on condition of anonymity.

Battery draining, stress on the corporate servers from many different devices are hindering app updates and providing security. “Things like this drove a wedge between IT and the users,” says the IT executive. “We became Big Brother. Everyone was convinced that we were doing this because we wanted to see what the hell they’re doing. In reality, it’s all about protecting the data.”

There is a movement now to step away from Android, iOS and Windows and embrace Blackberry once more. BlackBerry’s new BES10 and soon to be BES12 really takes care of many issues I.T departments are having now. Blackberry Balance helps segregate the work and personal life and new firmware updates will make them more viable.

Categories : Smart Phones
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Amazon has just released a new firmware update for the second generation Kindle Paperwhite.  One of the big enhancements is for the PDF experience and now users will see a small preview pane on the top lefthand corner. This helps orient you when you are pinching and zooming, to insure you know were you are in the document.

When you buy physical books from Amazon, you normally have to wait a few days for it to be shipped out. Now, whenever you purchase a book, the sample eBook version will be automatically added to your library, so you can read the first few chapters.

Finally, Amazon has unveiled cross platform syncing on the last page read. This has been on their Android and iOS apps for sometime, but is now available additionally on the Paperwhite 2.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Dutch Publishers have failed to convince a court to shut down a popular used eBook website. A potential battle between lawyers would cost millions over the concept of being able to sell your eBooks legally.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled that website Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during a legal battle against the Dutch Publishers Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights, said Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, a copyright lawyer who represents the Dutch Publishers Association (DPA), which has sued to take the site offline.

The Dutch courts have ruled in favor of Tom Kabinet because of the 2012 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which ruled in a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft that the trading of “used” software licenses is legal and that the author of such software cannot oppose any resale. This verdict also applies to ebooks, according to Tom Kabinet.

The essence of Kabinet is that people who own eBooks can upload them to the website and sell them. When a book is sold, a digital watermark is added to the file to insure they will not filter to pirate websites and to add accountability for the buyer and seller.

The judge overseeing the trial has informed the publishers that they can try and mount a case against Kabinet, contending that the Oracle and Usedsoft judgement does not apply to eBooks.

Categories : E-Book News
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Every single day there are 60,000 cruise, cargo and oil rigs in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention. This has opened up a new market for digital publishing companies to keep the staff entertained and use it as perks to keep trained personnel from going to the competition.

Maritime operations, whether its a cruise ship, oil rig or cargo vessel often do not have reliable internet access. The companies often deal with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours, when the internet is more reliable and not congested.

Cargo vessels and oil rigs often have staff that are on the vessel for up to six months at a time. Keeping them entertained is a top priority to keep them loyal and happy. This has opened up a tremendous niche in the marketplace where some companies are taking advantage of the sparse options currently available.

Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from those countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.

Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or lost amidst the huge vessels. This has warranted digital distribution, and PressReader Offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.

PressReader offline has been in a year long pilot project and the system was co-developed by Silver Seas Cruises. It was trialed on a number of vessels to get feedback on how it could be integrated, using existing systems and the limitations of satellite internet. The offline capabilities have been a big hit and is now being used on vessels globally.

Established satellite internet providers are also leaping at the oportonity to fill this burgeoning entertainment niche. InfoSat is currently developing a new system that will allow vessels to have unlimited satellite internet access and offer a wide array of media. Maps, music, Videos, Newspapers, magazines and eBooks will be a top priority for the global launch.

If you are a crewman on a military submarine, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is non-existent, due to security reasons, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy to partner with Findaway World for the NERD e-Reader. It comes with 300 eBooks and audiobooks and has no USB port or WIFi internet access. In essence, it is a tremendously low security risk and provides an alternative to movies or the XBox.

I think this is the perfect time for the maritime industry to embrace audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and digital newspapers as an avenue to retain staff and keep everyone entertained. After all, most just rely on mindless activities such as video games, movies or sports. Reading gives them a taste of home and a widened mind.

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The New Yorker exemplifies a high society paper that chronicles commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. The paper has been going strong since 1925 and recently they have been working like fiends to make sure their website is brought up to modern standards. Not only do they have a new responsive design that makes it shine on computers, but now looks stellar on phones and tablets. In order to celebrate, they are giving away any new content they publish away for free and also are opening up their digital  archives from 2007 to 2014.

In a statement on their blog the editorial staff said “Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall. Subscribers will continue to have access to everything; non-subscribers will be able to read a limited number of pieces—and then it’s up to them to subscribe. You’ve likely seen this system elsewhere—at the Times, for instance—and we will do all we can to make it work seamlessly.”

So the New Yorker intends on borrowing a page out of the New York Times playbook to implement a paywall for all of their online content. This will make the majority of it be indexed on Google and used as reference by other online publications. Users will be able to read X articles per month for free and if they want to read more, they have to subscribe. This is likely why they are giving away everything for free right now, to drum up a new readership base and then try and get them to pay.

Jeff Howe, a professor of multimedia journalism at Northeastern University, called the new paywall strategy a good one. “Paywalls aren’t the silver bullet news outlets thought they would be back in the Jurassic period of the internet’s development, but a limited and intentionally leaky one becomes one of a bunch of revenue streams to staunch further declines, and maybe even help ward off that terrible vortex of losses leading to layoffs leading to readership declines leading to losses.”

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Over the course of the last few years our News App for Android was not very compelling. It was slow, unwieldy and not indicative to the simplified vision we had for reading our stories on your phone or tablet. We have solved this situation by launching our updated News App for Android Smartphones.

In the last few weeks we have launched a brand new mobile version of our website that appeals to readers who have an iPhone or Android devices. When you visit our news site on your phone, you will be greeted by a new mobile theme. The text is readable right off the bat, and there is no pinching or zooming required to keep informed on all of the latest happenings in the eBook, e-Reader and digital publishing world.

The News App for Android is your gateway to accessing our mobile version of the site, but with a few extras. We have a new commenting system for the app, that shows you how many comments a story has on the frontpage and has the ability to connect your favorite social media account to easily weigh in on a specific news item.

Doing a mobile version of our website has always been a huge priority with us and we now have an excellent solution. We have attempted three different versions in the past, and they all were terrible. I am honestly very happy with our app and implore you to check it out and download it today.

Download Good e-Reader News for Android or visit our website on your smartphone.

Categories : Android News
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Welcome back to the Monday Edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of DBW. Today on the show we talk about Kindle Unlimited, an overview and if its good for indie authors. We also talk about non-conventional eBook distribution methods such as Twitter, Facebook and Bittorrent. Finally, we talk about the Forbes sale, bundling eBooks with print and Author Earnings as viable data.


Categories : E-Reader Radio
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One of the largest book publishers in the world, HarperCollins, has announced they are starting a pilot project to give away the digital version of a book when you buy the printed version.

HarperCollins has partnered with BitLit, a Canadian based startup that get the eBook of a print book you already own. As long as you own the book, you can use BitLit to download the eBook for FREE or highly discounted. There are over 20,000 titles that are available through BitLit as bundled eBooks from publishers.

Claiming your free or heavily discounted book is quite easy, simply take a photo of your book cover. Write your name on the book’s copyright page and take a photo.  Once you have your eBook, you can read it on any and all of your devices: Kobo, Nook, Kindle, or iPad.

HarperCollins is the largest publisher to date to get attracted to BitLit platform. Smaller companies like Angry Robot Books, Baker Publishing, Barrett-Koehler, Chicago Review Press, Coach House Books, Echo, Greystone, Kids Can Press, Morgan James Publishing, Nimbus Publications, O’Reilly Media, Orca, Other Press, Poisoned Pen Press, Roaring Forties Press and TouchWood Editions all do business with BitLit.

The pilot project is starting with only six titles, Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave, Kim Harrison’s Black Magic Sanction, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles, and Andrew Gross’ 15 Seconds.  Each eBook will only cost $1.99 to $2.99 if you have the physical version.

Download the BitLit app for Google Android or IOS.

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Many of the top e-Paper companies have developed flexible display screens that are relevant in smart watches and e-readers. The big problem is many of the internal components are not flexible, which results in bulky and cumbersome products. A new California startup has is developing a long-lasting, bendable, and rechargeable battery.

Imprint Energy, of Alameda, California, has been testing its ultrathin zinc-polymer batteries that are printed cheaply on commonly used industrial screen printers.

The batteries that power most e-Readers and smartphones contain lithium, which is highly reactive and has to be protected in ways that add size and bulk. This is why e-readers such as the Wexler Flexx One really never took off, although the screen was bendable the large battery prevented it from being truly flexible.

Brooks Kincaid, the company’s cofounder and president, says the batteries combine the best features of thin-film lithium batteries and printed batteries. Such thin-film batteries tend to be rechargeable, but they contain the reactive element, have limited capacity, and are expensive to manufacture. Printed batteries are nonrechargeable, but they are cheap to make, typically use zinc, and offer higher capacity.

3D printed batteries that are flexible and can be printed on a screen protector is especially compelling. e-Reader companies could eliminate the traditional Lithium Ion batteries and cut down on the weight of the device by almost half.  This new technology could pave the way of a simple screen protector powering your eBook reader and when its low on juice, pop another one on.

Categories : E-Paper
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Decentralized technologies like BitTorrent allow people to share books, films, music and pictures. The essence is software allows people download a file for multiple sources at the same time. The more users you have sharing the same file, the faster the downloads are for everyone. There are many companies that have their own clients for different operating systems, but the spirit of the software is  uniform. Over the past few years one  of the original pioneers, Bittorrent,  has offered paid downloads and bundes. This has piqued the interest from the digital publishing world, as an avenue to sell audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, newspapers .

Bittorrent has a free and paid system to distribute your digital content. It is tremendously customizable an artist can use to deliver their songs. Instead of paying web-hosting fees or arranging a complex relationship with a streaming service, Bitorrent makes good business sense. Lets say I have a music album, I can give select tracks away for free and offer a few that are paid.

Bittorrent also runs a bundling solution, where companies can offer a few movies, television shows or showcase different artists. Since bundling launched in 2013 free and paid downloads have reached over one hundred million, this is attractive to publishers.

Monthly Bundle site visitors have increased from 2.1 million, to 25 million (+1,095%). 25% of visitors share the content with their network across some social channel. And fans are coming back, over and over again. 75% of Bundles site traffic is coming from returning users.

Bittorrent makes distributing legitimate content fairly compelling. Of the 7,500 films made in 2014, only 100 will ever be seen. Netflix took down 1,800 titles in 2013, and another 470 in January. Things look pretty dire, even if you’re in a position to have your content played. They’re worse if you’re looking to get paid. Youtube, the world’s largest streaming platform, offers artists $1,750 in exchange for a million streams. Being able to tap into an ecosystem for hundreds of millions of people in a global market to distribute copyrighted work is fairly awesome.  Moby. Madonna. Cut/Copy. De La Soul. Diplo. Death Grips. Werner Herzog. Hundred Waters. Lee Scratch Perry. Lucy Walker. Joshua Oppenheimer. Gabe Polsky. Public Enemy. Amanda Palmer have all gave away free tunes or charged for it.

Many people are obviously wary that Bittorrent as a distribution method, somehow thinking that it is a haven of piracy and not an avenue for real content.  This has resulted in the development of a new system called Pay Gate.  Movie Studios and artists use it to monetize their content. Once payment is received using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex or PAYPAL, the Bundle is unlocked and downloading will begin.

Publishers have been the one segment who have not gravitated towards the concept of distributing royalty free content, DRM-Free or otherwise on Bittorrent. Authors such as Tim Ferriss and Megan Lisa Jones both employed torrenting their own books to build awareness on new titles. Publishers on the other hand, have not thrown done on the system yet, but some are in a prime position to make it work. 

There are plenty of imprints such as science fiction specialized TOR. They sell their books with no encryption, which makes it perfectly viable to load it on your phone, e-reader and tablet. Pottermore, the publishers behind Harry Potter also do not employ DRM, and instead use digital watermarks.

Digital book sellers have been disappearing in the last few years and major publishers are trying to find away from exclusively relying on Amazon to distribute their books. Publishers can sell their EPUB and PDF books with DRM, and their customers can read them with their favorite e-reader or tablet via Adobe Digital Editions.

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There are a ton of gossip in the digital publishing and e-reader sector that transpires every single week. Most of these short snippets simply wouldn’t do as a singular article. Today, we look at all of the little tidbits we have gleaned from interviews and research.

Zinio is at a crossroads in the digital magazine sector. The company has fired most of the staff in their California office. This is where most of the app development and research and development occurs. Most high level staff have now abandoned the company as they try and rekindle some of the success they had when the iPad first came out.

ImCoSys imcoV6L e-reader never really took off in North America, due to FCC certification really coming really late, and the official launch has been continuously delayed. The company has been selling them in Europe for a few months and has attracted investment capital. imCoSys has confirmed they will present a successor model, as well as another world novelty at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. They also said “In the US we are in exclusive discussions with big partners for the successor of the imcoV6L.”

Barnes and Noble will be putting together an announcement in mid-August about the two new Nook Tablets, done in conjunction with Samsung. Likely a media event will happen towards the end of August, where they will do something at Union Square in New York.

PressReader, the Vancouver based digital newspaper company is unveiling PressReader Offline. It is a solution for airplanes, oil rigs, cargo vessels and cruise ships. It basically uses satellite internet in non-peak hours to download newspapers from the internet and then allow anyone on the vessel to download them to their smartphone or tablet via WIFI.

Netherlands based e-reader company Icarus is going to be releasing a six inch and 9.7 inch Open Android ereader around August. It will be running Android 4.2, which is way better than what Onyx is using.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week to talk about eBooks. There is no definitive word on whether it was the early stage talks on a new contract, something to do with Kindle Unlimited or some sort of bargain about the possible outcome of the Hachette dispute.

On July 22, Flickr will be removing the option to sign in with a Facebook or Google account. You must have a Yahoo account in order to sign in to Flickr.

JK Rowling has said that writing seven more Robert Galbraith is a “no brainer”, describing the Harry Potter novels as “six whodunits and one whydunit” – and admitting her “dirty secret” – that she never reads fantasy.

Pocketbook will be releasing the Ultra e-reader in a few weeks. This e-reader has a camera that they are billing as a tool to make scanlation copies of books and read it on your device. They just made the first waterproof e-reader, the Aqua, available last week.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo self-publishing platforms have started to crack down on erotica featuring Sasquatch, minotaurs, aliens, and boar gods.

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Amazon has officially launched Kindle Unlimited, a US based service that has 600,000 eBooks and audiobooks available at $9.99 per month. The Seattle based e-commerce giant is now competing against companies such as Oyster and Scribd, which have friendly terms for self-published authors. Is Kindle Unlimited viable for indie authors and is it worth it to make your titles available?

In order to be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, indie authors must opt into the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. This allows you title to be showcased in the Kindle Lending Library and made available for people to read for free. It also provides many advanced tools, such as free promotional pricing. KDP Select authors are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and this is how it works. If someone reads your eBook past the 10% mark, you will get paid on average about a dollar. The money is paid from a revolving pool of revenue that Amazon has on a monthly basis. They inflated the pool an additional $800,000, bringing the total allocated funds to $2.9 million. The royalty payments actually pay up to 70% of your list price if eventually someone from Japan, Brazil, India, or Mexico read your book.

In order to enroll in Kindle Unlimited you have to exclusively publish your title with Amazon for 90 days. This means, if you also have your book listed on Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life or Smashwords, you have to remove it or Amazon will ban your book. Unlimited basically forces authors to exclusively publish with Amazon and forgo earnings from alternative sources.

According to many reports Amazon earns $5.25 billion dollars from current annual book sales. This results in them controlling 65% of the US eBook market, with only Apple, Barnes and Noble and Google having a minority share.  Amazon has publically stated many times that self-published books make up 25% of the top 100 list.

Unlimited is only being launched in the US right now and this results in a limited audience to offset an author’s ability to earn revenue from international sales. Being able to sell your book on a worldwide stage, can equate to big bucks.  Barnes and Noble makes their self-published titles available in many countries in Europe and Kobo has the largest footprint of all.  Smashwords also distributes titles to many markets, piggybacking a bunch of companies. Sadly, compared to Amazon, they do not earn as much as Amazon generates with kindle book sales.

Many industry experts are very much against the Kindle Unlimited program, saying it hurts indie authors. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords had this say – “For all of Amazon’s good deeds, it does not mean we indies should kiss their feet unconditionally. Their business methods are not beyond reproach. We should encourage a healthy debate about Amazon’s practices and how they can do better for authors and readers. I can admire Amazon yet still oppose exclusivity. We should also recognize when Amazon’s business interests don’t align with author interests.”

Joel Becker, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association stated ”I am concerned about author royalties. Authors are already getting a smaller cut when it comes to eBooks and when you look at the music subscription services, it is the music companies who are making money and the artists who are getting less.”

Is Unlimited good for indie authors? I would say yes. Amazon has not signed any of the big publishing companies, so that means you aren’t competing against the James Pattersons or Neil Gaimons of the world. Instead they are only doing business with Algonquin, Bloomsbury, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Open Road, Scholastic and Workman. Amazon intends on paying them a wholesale rate for each title opened and read, so indies might actually make more money.

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