Archive for E-Book News
One of the big quandaries of buying eBooks is trying to discover new content, without having to break the bank. Sure there are a number of book discovery sites out there that will email you a bunch of cheap Kindle books, but few sites have a wide appeal. eBookSoda has just launched a new free subscription that lets you deal with many different companies and has a huge genre list of specific titles.
One of the more compelling aspects of eBookSoda is the ability to choose what eBook store you want to deal with. Their selection is basically the whose who of the digital book industry, such as Amazon, B&N, Google, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and iBooks. There are also over 30 different genres you can select, this will deliver a curated list of titles that are exclusively relevant.
Indie authors often find themselves getting lost in the shuffle. Sure you might have written a good book, but how do you make it stand out in a crowd? Soda has a new system where indies can submit their books into the daily newsletter, to put their titles in the hands of readers who really like a particular genre. To submit your titles is currently free, but they may start charging in the future as it begins to get traction.
Facebook Paper is an iPhone only app and has proven to be quite popular to consume news items and check out your friends feeds. The app has received a big update today that puts the emphasis on the sharing of digital content.
Previously, if a news item caught your fancy you could only share a link on your timeline. Now, you have the ability to share it via Facebook Message, email or text message. This will encourage more articles to go viral, because you have many options to share the story. Speaking of options, there is new language support for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and a host of others.
This app is flagged US only right now, but we do have a tutorial available for people who want to install it.
Academic publishers are finding that there’s strength in numbers when it comes to launching digital content for classroom settings. At a SXSWEdu event today, McGraw-Hill Education and StudySync announced a partnership aimed at bringing language arts materials that are aligned with the Common Core Standards to digital environments for teaching.
“With information available at the swipe of a finger, education in the 21st century must engage students to inspire academic excellence and foster creativity. To be successful, students must aspire to higher levels of reading and writing, learn how to build knowledge to support their opinions and think critically as they parse the plethora of material so simply at their disposal,” said Robert Romano, CEO of StudySync. “Our partnership with McGraw-Hill Education serves to address those essential changes in education by bringing together substance and form to produce the best teaching resources possible to help students achieve success in college and career.”
Under the terms of this new collaboration, McGraw-Hill will not only distribute the StudySync platform to its secondary school members, but will also work with the company to generate even more engaging digital learning content. But one of the features that does cause StudySync to stand out in an already crowded marketplace of companies who believe they can do it better is their Blast content, which sends out a weekly writing assignment based around current world events; students around the world can then connect to discuss the writing assignments.
According to Peter Cohen, president of McGraw-Hill School Education Group, “StudySync is a standout product that successfully integrates the latest innovations in technology with effective curriculum and pedagogy for an era of more rigorous educational standards. Combining it with our products and services will help educators not only boost engagement but drive results.”
A number of companies have tried to combat the growing problem of ebook discovery by building daily email lists and book websites, landing pages that are supposed to draw readers in order to discover the latest in publishing. Companies like Libboo have recently launched a daily feature based on traffic generated called The Midlist, designed specifically to highlight worthy books that are getting some traction, while not necessarily being top of the list bestsellers.
Today, Simon&Schuster announced its own version of a discovery mailer called Off The Shelf, but one thing that makes S&S’s site standout is its publisher-agnostic focus. By highlighting a variety of books instead of just their own catalog of titles, the publisher is taking a rather selfless move in the direction of connecting authors and readers.
“While it is very easy to learn about the latest, hot new must-have books, we know from experience that many readers are more interested in what’s relevant to them regardless of its moment in the publishing cycle,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, in a press release. “With Off the Shelf, we aim to bring attention to books that were bestsellers you might have read or wanted to, books that you may have missed in the often overwhelming number of titles that get published every year, or simply books that have touched us as readers, left an indelible mark on us, and become friends that we revisit often. These are books that are often spine out in stores, buried on a home bookshelf, or deep within library stacks. We hope that shining a new light on them will help others discover a passion for them as well.”
While more than just a mass email featuring a book or two, Off The Shelf will also offer book reviews, guest posts, author interviews, reading lists, videos, and more. For more information or to sign up for the site’s email list, go to OffTheShelf.com.
Self-Publishing authors have received another boost to their credibility, with the Writers Union of Canada voted in favor of opening up membership to them.
The Writers Union of Canada was founded in 1973 and describes itself as supporting “the country’s authors by advocating for their rights, freedoms, and economic well-being.” Its members are professional writers who must have published at least one book.
“The membership and volunteer leaders of the Union have taken a long, hard, and responsible look at the state of the writing and publishing industries worldwide,” noted current TWUC Chair, Dorris Heffron, “and we have concluded there is a population of highly professional self-published authors who would be well-served by membership in TWUC.”
It looks like the Union will be getting together very soon to hash out the details on what it means for self-published authors to enter the union. We do know that self-published books presented by authors applying to join the Union must demonstrate commercial intent, and must be peer reviewed before being forwarded to the membership committee of the Union for approval based on existing criteria.
What is the peer review process for self-published authors? Will existing unions friends and family get the first crack at joining? Looks we will have to wait and see.
Google Play Books has a little known feature that allows users to upload their own PDF and EPUB books from their PC or Android device to their Play account. This makes Play Books a fairly good little e-reader app, because you can load in your own books you downloaded from the internet or eTextbooks. Today, Google has announced that they have increased the file upload limits to 100 MB.
When it comes to PDF files, they are often large in size. This is due to lots of images and documents that can range between 500 and 100 pages. When we have reviewed various tablets over the years, we tend to always throw large files with a complex layout. We can really get a sense on how an e-reader or tablet can perform when we do things like this, such as the Kindle Paperwhite actually crashing when you load these in.
Google Play Books first launched an app to basically just sell users eBooks that Google had scanned themselves or resell from the publishers. It has matured into one of the premier reading apps with the ability to load in your own content. One of the most notable things people do is load in their digital textbooks from school or Role-Playing books or just books they pirated from the internet. Instead of relying on the thousands of indie apps out there like Moon+ or Aldiko, Google is seeking to be the definitive goto reader.
The Atavist is a boutique publishing company that launched in early 2011. Evan Ratliff and New Yorker senior editor Nick Thompson started the digital exclusive service to promote short and long-form Fiction. One of their new titles features an interactive eBook cover, done by legendary cover artist Chip Kidd.
Karen Russell is a New York Times bestseller who wrote the novel Swamplandia! Her new book is an imaginative and haunting novella about an insomnia epidemic set in the near future. “Sleep Donation explores a world facing the end of sleep as we know it, where “Night Worlds” offer black market remedies to the desperate and sleep deprived, and where even the act of making a gift is not as simple as it appears.”
This new interactive cover is actually a fairly solid marketing campaign and is giving the book some early buzz. It is being sold exclusively as an eBook and will be available at the end of March on Amazon, Kobo and iBooks.