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Auckland University Press has released more than 240 classic books from the region in ebook format. This can be considered a significant development considering many of the books that have been launched in digital format have ceased to be in print for long. Not only do the literary works get a new lease of life, the newer generations too get the chance to get acquainted with past works of literature. This has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Creative New Zealand, the country’s national arts developmental agency, Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund at the University of Auckland.
Among the titles that has been released in ebook format include ‘Keith Sinclair’s Origins of the Maori Wars and M. P. K. Sorrenson’s three-volume, collected letters of Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, Heather Nicholson’s award-winning story of knitting The Loving Stitch, Ian Wedde’s Spells for Coming Out and Roger Horrocks’s superb biography of Len Lye.’
“Over a hundred of the titles were published long before PDFs, so we sent hard copies off to India for conversion and then checked them back in New Zealand. For many of the old books, our information on the author and the title was shaky. Finding covers, updating websites, contacting authors and their estates – all of this work allowed us to get to know again the amazing depth of the Auckland University Press list,” the press release revealed.
Auckland University Press also stated all of their ebooks are available with major ebook retailers, which includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple, Whitcoulls and so on.
“Along with our US distributors IPG, we have been fortunate to partner with Faber Factory who handle our digital distribution outside North America. Rooted in one of the world’s great publishing houses, the Faber Factory team have developed innovative ways to make sure ebooks get out to multiple retailers in multiple formats around the world, to monitor availability, sales and pricing in real time, and to promote ebooks to readers,” the press release stated.
The ebooks are available in epub and mobi ebook format along with PDF for many of the titles.
Queens Library in New York will start offering tablet devices for free to its members from next week, or Nov 20 to be precise. The generosity can be attributed to Google donating 17,000 of its new Nexus 7 devices to the New York State Community Action Association to commemorate one year of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York and adjoining areas. Of these, Queens Library will be getting 5,000 units of the Nexus tablets. Valid card holders of the library will be able to retain the tablet for a month and can be renewed thrice at the most. What this means is that each member will be able to keep the tablet to themselves for four months at a stretch.
The tablets on offer from Queens Library have proprietary software running on top which is based on icons. Further, each of the Wi-Fi capable devices being lent out by Queens Library will come pre-loaded with educational content, job searching resources, information on immigration and citizenship, information about health, and so on. The tablets also come loaded with curated content, which means users have access to lots of information irrespective of them being online or offline. Also, Queens’s move to lent out tablets running its proprietary software is perhaps a first among public libraries in the US.
The other locations in Queens that will be lending the Nexus tablet devices include Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Arverne, Far Rockaway, Queens Library for Teens in Far Rockaway, Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park.
“Google is excited by the Queens Library innovative use of technology to engage their community and patrons,” said William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google. “With this tablet donation, we hope that the residents of this borough will have access to the information and resources they need to strengthen their communities.”
“Public libraries are all about lifelong learning. The tablets provided by Google, coupled with innovative work by Queens Library, puts information and educational resources into the hands of Queens residents. It is a first step toward our strategic goal of bridging the information divide through digital resources, coupled with educational partners. We expect to advance adult learning, language learning, student resources, and more.”
The first Children’s Book Fair held in China ran from 7th till 9th November and publishers who had been part of the inaugural edition of the fair report to having made a killing at the event. Publishers had to themselves two days before the fair was thrown open to the public which was marked by hectic activity. This also proved to be a golden opportunity for the publishers from the west and elsewhere in the world to interact directly with the public and their Chinese counterparts, something that they had to rely mostly on agents to get going.
“It has been phenomenal: overwhelming at times. I have been in back–to-back meetings since I arrived. I planned to have 40–50 meetings but I have had about double that. I could have sold rights 10 times over if I was able to,” said Andrew Sharp, groups rights and digital director for Hachette Children’s Books while speaking to ‘The Bookseller’.
“The culture is very much that children read to learn but I have sensed that this fair is trying to get out the message of reading for pleasure,” said Sharp saying the focus has been more on fiction and picture books. “What this has really done is given us an opportunity to meet Chinese publishers,” Sharp further added.
Abdul Thadha, founder of Leicester-based Sweet Cherry Publishing echoed similar feeling saying: “There was massive interest from librarians who wanted to buy books in different languages, which is a bonus I wasn’t expecting. Picture books have been of the main interest. I haven’t signed any deals but I have got so many leads that I can’t help but think there will be a lot to come from it.”
He also added: “I think this show has been absolutely brilliant. Those who have not come have missed out. I did not anticipate there would be this many publishers here . . . on the first day all my slots had gone, there was no time for lunch and I was meeting with publishers back to back. The only thing I would change for next year is to have more distributors here as there doesn’t seem to be any and obviously they are important.”
The Chinese publishers though weren’t as enthusiastic with the results they met, claiming there were less interest in their titles from UK publishers.
This can be made for the words of Zhu Jing, foreign rights manager for Zhejiang Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House as revealed to The Bookseller: “We publish about 500 new titles a year, of which around 20% are imports. We do a lot of business with Dorling Kindersley in the UK. We really hope to sell more titles into the UK but right now we don’t have much understanding of what the young readers are looking for or interested in. We have been to the London Book Fair, Frankfurt and Bologna and tried different agents to sell titles to the UK but it hasn’t been very successful so far.”
The first Children’s Book Fair held in Shanghai saw attendance of publishers such as Publishers Association, Hachette Children’s Books, HarperCollins, Nosy Crow, Top That!, Windmill Books and Brown Bear Books, World of Books, Digital Leaf, Sweet Cherry Publishing and Small World Creations, along with several other from around the world.
The Harry Potter interactive website Pottermore is now available on mobile connected devices such as tablet PCs and smartphones. Up until now, the same was limited to just web browsers on traditional computing devices such as notebooks or desktops. Good to see the same transcending to the new age devices such as tablets which has emerged the most preferred device for personal computing needs. Pottermore though didn’t reveal which platforms the site is compatible with except that it has got ‘leading tablet devices’ covered. This should include iOS and Android platforms at the least.
As for the site itself, Pottermore has been found to be just as responsive and interactive as it has been known to be when accessed via a browser on a PC. Sure the smaller screen of a smartphone can’t make up for the all the fun that the site provides for when viewed in a bigger display of a PC or even a tablet, though nevertheless, its availability in a smartphone provides a greater penetration than that was possible when it was exclusive to web browsers to be viewed on PCs.
As with the site to be made accessible via mobile devices, there is also a huge demand for a Pottermore app and the good news here is that sources – though unconfirmed – have announced a collection of apps is already under development.
Getting into book publishing business isn’t generally the most preferred post-retirement plan that most sportsmen would opt for though Derek Jeter, that is exactly what he had set his sights on. The New York Yankees shortstop and captain has already got on to the act, having sealed a deal with Simon & Schuster that would act as a partner to his own firm, Jeter Publishing. Jeter spent the most of this year nourishing injuries that had limited him to feature in just 17 games. However, that also provided him enough time to introspect what he’d like to achieve once he hangs up his boots.
“I’ve had a lot of time to myself to think,” he said. “The whole last year has been sort of a blur. Being away from it for so long gave me the opportunity to think about what the future may hold after baseball.”
As for his getting into the publishing business, Jeter explained that saying he has always harbored interest in business and content which made enough sense to set up Jeter Publishing.
“I’ve always had an interest in business, and my interest in business has really expanded over the years,” Jeter said. “And I have an interest in content. So this gives me the opportunity to really combine the two. And it gives me the opportunity to curate and share interesting stories and share content with the public.”
Among the first titles that Jeter Publishing wishes to release will be ‘Derek Jeter guide to baseball’, which is hardly surprising. Jeter also added the book will be updated every year. Among the other titles forthcoming from Jeter Publishing include children’s titles, picture books as well as adult fiction, middle grade fiction, biographies among others.
“I understand how important content is this day and age,” Jeter told reporters for the Daily News. “You get an opportunity to share people’s stories–it doesn’t necessarily have to be baseball–that I find interesting, I’m happy I get an opportunity to do it. I’m looking forward to it. This is my publishing imprint. It has my name on it. I’m going to try and make everyone proud.”
Jeter though said his number one priority right now is to bow out of the game on a high. The 40 year old has recently been signed for one year in a deal worth $12million.
Meanwhile, Jeter Publishing will have a working relationship with Wicked Cow Entertainment, a firm ‘that manages strategy for sports and entertainment brands and will be looking for “brand extensions” for books.’
Calvin & Hobbes, the famous comic series has finally entered the digital realm. This applies to three titles as of now: The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, and The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes which makes up the most read and treasured titles of the comic strip. The three volumes, which have been priced at $13, also covers the majority of what the comic strip offered for the ten years (1985 – 1995) it ran. The titles have made their debut at the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iTunes. Unfortunately, the Google Play Store is not among the recipients as of yet, which means a sizable community will be kept out of all the fun. The comic strip has been seen in numerous newspapers all over the world–even in digital form–though this is the first time that it will be available as an ebook.
The Yota smartphone, which comes with a secondary e-ink display, is all set to arrive at markets in December, just in time to make the most of the coming holiday shopping frenzy. The device breaks new ground in that, apart from a regular 720p color LCD display at the front, the Yota smartphone also includes an e-ink panel along the rear which can be used to read or hold images for an extended period of time without draining the battery. E-Ink displays have been known for their lesser drain on battery power, which has been put to ingenious use by the Russia-based Yota.
As for specs, the Yota dual screen device comes with a 4.3 inch 720p display, 12 megapixel camera, 2,100mAh battery, and features 4G LTE support. The device is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 Plus chip and is based on Android 4.1 at the time of its unveiling almost a year ago. What this implies is that we can expect the final product to see several of its specs updated when it is finally launched in December.
However, the all crucial pricing details remain quiet, though unconfirmed sources maintain it could be priced around 20,000 rubles. This translates roughly to about 600USD which, if true, will no doubt be applicable for the unlocked version of the device. Of course the price will come down once the carrier subsidies comes into the picture. The device, no matter how innovative it is, has to be priced right for it to be translated into a commercially successful entity.
Readly launched a new app that follows the Netflix model for reading emagazines. The subscribers pay $9.99 a month, which allows them unlimited access to all the magazines listed on the Readly catalog. The app is available for Android, iOS, and Windows 8, which pretty much covers the entire mobile devices landscape. Readly also allows each subscription to its app to be shared on up to five different devices, which mean enough reading material for the entire family.
“Readly opens a new era in digital magazine publishing,” said Per Hellberg, CEO of Readly International. “For people like me who love magazines Readly will become a new best friend. With so many people taking advantage of the power and convenience of tablets and smart phones Readly also offers an entirely new source of readers to magazine publishers with no additional investment.”
Also, an inherent advantage of the Readly app is that it provides a variety of reading material, which makes it redundant to keep separate subscriptions with separate apps for specific magazines. With the unlimited browsing offer, users no doubt will also be tempted to try out other magazines as well, something they perhaps would not have attempted had they been required to subscribe to them individually. There is also a huge collection of past issues which should prove handy for research purposes.
Readly stated they have also worked hard with the user interface which they claim has been made to mimic a print-like experience. The app also comes embedded with several advanced technologies such as “high-resolution graphics and reader interactivity” which optimizes the graphics to ensure the best possible reading experience. Users also have the option to bookmark pages or share articles with friends and associates.
“Interest in Readly among US publishers has been fantastic,” added Henrik Barck, Readly Co-Founder and VP Global Sales & Business Development, “we have forged agreements to add new titles to our catalog almost every week. It is a clear endorsement of our business model and speaks to a marketplace that is primed for what Readly offers. We are launching Readly with 75 titles and anticipate a major announcement regarding our catalogue in the very near future.”
Here is a surprise waiting for Agatha Christie fans. One of her works, Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly, which was considered lost, is now being sold in ebook format. Written in 1954, the book depicts her immortal creation, Hercule Poirot, making his way through what is described as a parlor game of murder. The book was written to help raise funds for her church to have stained glass windows installed.
Many of Agatha Christie’s novels have already been digitized and are being sold by various ebook stores around the world. These continue to be most sought after even decades after they were first written.
Vodacom, the mobile service provider with a pan-African presence, is partnering with Read A Book South Africa to promote the cause of reading in the country. This is of vital significance in a region where just 15 percent of the population enjoys access to a proper library. Vodacom plans to implement the program by installing an ereader app in the 45 tablet devices that will be available freely in the 9 Vodacom ICT resource centers. The ebooks that would be made available belong to the following genres: African literature, History, Business and Entrepreneurship, Fiction and so on.
Speaking about the development, CEO of Read A Book SA Tebogo Ditshego said: “According to the South African Books Development Council, only 15% of South Africans have access to a nearby library. This initiative will play a role in addressing this problem by creating access to literature for the communities around Vodacom’s ICT centres nationwide. The tablets will be updated with reading material regularly to ensure that visitors have constant access to new reading material.”
Apple’s new iPad Mini has now joined its full sized sibling in making it to the company’s online stores throughout the world. Both the new gen iPad variants were announced towards the last week of October. With the iPad Mini 2 now on sale, this marks the end of iPad Air’s dominion in the market which it had to itself for more than two weeks. Shipping times mentioned is 1 – 3 business days for the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi only variant for the tablet, which goes up to 5 – 10 days for the 64 and 128 GB versions as well as LTE versions of the tablet.
Pricing starts at $399 which goes up by $100 each time the memory size is doubled so that the highest specced 128 GB LTE version of the same can be yours for a cool $829. Also, the biggest change with the new iPad Mini, apart from the incorporation of the much touted Retina display, is largely centered around its internals. This includes the new 64 bit A7 chip as well as the M7 “motion coprocessor” both of which made its debut in the new iPhone 5s. There have also been a few issues reported with the functioning of the M7 chip which led to the iPhone 5s returning erroneous results. Apple has been attending the fault and a number of iOS upgrades too have been released.
Meanwhile, the new iPad Mini continues with the same form factor as its predecessor, except that the tablet in its present form is a bit thicker and heavier. This can be attributed to the tablet now coming with a Retina display though on the whole the new iPad Mini still can be counted among the lightest and slimmest around. However, with the new iPad Mini finally entering the retail scene, how much of an impact it makes on the newly redesigned iPad Air will be keenly watched. The first gen iPad Mini had outstripped sales of its stable mate, the iPad 4, though with the iPad Air now sporting looks similar to the mini variant, it will a good contest to watch.
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