Archive for E-Book News
Sony is developing a new form of digital rights management to combat Adobes stranglehold on the eBook market. The new encryption system will have an SDK that can be integrated into any existing e-reader or mobile app. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this new security system is a viable platform in which eBooks can be resold.
Adobe Digital Editions is the current industry standard when it comes to eBooks having a layer of security to curb piracy. If you purchase a digital title from one store and want to load it onto your favorite e-reader or tablet you have to download and install the ADE Software, make an account and enter your credit card details. This software is also required for people who borrow eBooks from the library and aren’t using an official app from 3M, Baker & Taylor or Overdrive.
The new Sony encryption system has been a product of three years of development at Sony DADC. This is a Sony subsidiary that primarily focuses on the development of storage media (CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays), but in addition offers Digital Rights Management Services.
Sony plans on making their new eBook encryption system very appealing towards publishers and e-reader manufactures. The developed a brand new SDK that will play nice with any 3rd party reading app on Android, iOS or Windows. It also can integrated directly into any e-reader on the market. The key selling points of the Sony DRM are; to make eBook rentals viable, to lend an eBook to a friend easier, to define a clear path of ownership, better pay per chapter (metered) support and the ability to resell a book.
The big problem in the eBook industry right now is the lack of clear ownership. When you click the BUY button on Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or Google you are simply licensing the book and it is never truly yours. Sony wants to change this and define a clear path of ownership, this will allow people to sell a used eBook and it will actually physically disappear from the original owners account.
Sony plans on shopping their new DRM system in the spring of 2015 and will likely be conducting private meetings at notable events like the London Book Fair, Book Expo America and IDPF gatherings. I have heard from a reputable source that Sony already has six publishers locked up and will be leveraging those relationship in order to establish new ones.
There is no denying that there are more smartphones in the world than tablets and dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle. It is also important to note that the overall reading population in the US is massive. The books market, in terms of total books sold worldwide, is bigger than both movies and music. In a recent interview with Willem Van Lancker, the creative co-founder of eBook subscription service Oyster he said that future of books is not your tablet or e-reader, but your smartphone. This is quite the bombshell, but is it due to availability bias?
Availability bias is a human cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the probability of events associated with memorable or vivid occurrences. Because memorable events are further magnified by coverage in the media, the bias is compounded on the societal level. You only have to look at the blitz media coverage of any phone issued by Apple to see the societal impact and lifestyle psychology.Very rarely do you see the same type of effect on a new e-reader or tablet.
There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide in 2014, according to estimates The International Telecommunication Union. This is equivalent to 95.5% of the world population. Tablet sales so far in 2014 have only accounted for 270.7 million units.
Every major report by statistical organizations all proclaim that people are reading more on their smartphones than any other device. This is primarily due to it always being in our pocket and easily accessible. The devices also are heavily subsidized with phone carriers often giving you free upgrades every few years, whereas e-readers and tablets do not enjoy the same type of upgrade cycle, you basically have to pay full price.
Some people see phones as gateways to dedicated e-readers and tablets. Once you become immersed and maintain a habit of reading on a daily basis, making the switch to an e-reader or tablet makes you a more valuable consumer that is more likely to spend more money on eBooks.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Oyster, and Scribd all report that its their Android and iOS apps that get the most traction and they are all primarily optimized for smartphones. These companies realize that that is that their audience are using the most to buy and read digital books or fan-fiction.
What device is everyone using to read on a daily basis? Is it the quintessential smartphone? Are you using it primarily because its the one device always with you? Is there something to the availability bias argument? Weigh in on the comment section below.
A few months ago Amazon unveiled their first Netflix for eBooks service, Kindle Unlimited. For a low monthly fee you get access to over 700,000 titles, mostly from indie authors. So far, not a single major publisher has committed themselves to the platform, which makes finding quality content fairly difficult. Today, Amazon has announced that their woeful subscription platform is now available in Italy and Spain.
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service currently available to customers in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Spain, and Germany. With Kindle Unlimited, customers can read as many books as they like and keep them as long as they want for a monthly subscription fee. Any customer can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. They don’t need to be Amazon Prime members, they simply need to pay the subscription fee.
Amazon has some excellent programs, but Unlimited is not one of them. I would look at Scribd or Oyster as alternatives because their business model is more solid and they have plenty of quality eBooks.
Parable Books has just closed their online digital bookstore and will no longer be selling eBooks. The Christian company has declared that their users had three days to backup their past purchases, so they can continue to read them on other devices, if you missed the October 31st cutoff, you are out of luck.
Parable is a brick and motor chain of Christian Book Stores and they experimented with eBooks two years ago. If a customer wanted to support their nearest location, they could buy eBooks and by using a special referral code, the store would get a small commission.
If you are still looking for religious eBooks there are plenty of stores that still sell them Christianbook is one of the largest one that I know of and they are still in business. Lifeway sells ebooks and is a relatively big chain (and is the retail arm of B&H Publishing), but the digital content only works with their own apps. Also, a bunch of Christian publishers sell their own eBooks directly, though (Crossway, Ignatius Press, New Leaf Publishing.
The closure of Parable really drives home the fact that there is no clear path of ownership when you purchase eBooks. You are merely paying for a limited license that could be suspended at any time. This is one of the pitfalls of purchasing eBooks, they can disappear at a moments notice.
Many of the top e-reader apps out there handle reading eBook really well. The vast majority of people tend to read fiction titles and the Amazon, Nook and Kobo apps are all optimized for this. What about non-fiction, such as cookbooks, textbooks or research papers? Google has just updated their Play Books app to handle them better than ever.
“Skim” mode allows you to zoom between pages in an endless stream rather than forcing you to flip through page by page.
“Quick Bookmarks” lets you set multiple saved spots in the book and quickly jump back and forth between them — perfect for when you’re required to refer to some reference table 200 pages away from what you’re trying to read.
You can now view all of your notes and highlights on one page and quickly jump to the correlating passages. The study benefits there are pretty obvious.
The Kindle Voyage is the latest generation flagship e-reader from Amazon. Many people find themselves exclusively relying on the online bookstore and are aware they can load in their own PDF files or eBooks from the internet. Today, you will learn how to load in your own books.
First of all, Amazon Kindle e-readers read AZW and MOBI as a primary format that are easily found online. Many European bookstores actually sell eBooks in MOBI format and embed them with digital watermarks to curb piracy. There are also many bookstores and websites all over the internet that sell or allow people to download them. Sure you can buy or download, but whats the step steps?
Amazon has feature many people are unaware of. It allows you to send attachments via Email to your Amazon Kindle. If you have have registered an Amazon account and attached your Kindle to do, during the setup, you are half-way done. You need to visit your Account Management Page and then visit Settings. Near the bottom you will see a few email address and the associated devices. It should give your first name and a few random numbers, mine is email@example.com. You can then enter that email has the destination email address and attach any MOBI books you have downloaded from the internet and in a few minutes they will be on your Kindle Basic!
I really like a program called CALIBRE. It does some powerful stuff, like allowing you to add coverart to an eBook you have downloaded that may not have one, or to change the authors name. The feature I dig the most is being able to convert eBooks from one format to another. EPUB is one of the most common book formats out there, and is 100% incompatible with the Kindle. In the video below, I will show you how to convert an EPUB book to a MOBI one and also how to use this program on a very general level.
Finally, many people simply copy books to their Kindle Documents directory via a file manager or Windows Explorer. You can get a sense of the internal directory structure of your e-Reader and where you should be copying books manually.
Apple has dispatched an email to authors who publish through iBooks, informing them on a number of new policy changes. The first, is to decrease the amount of time that the editorial staff approves for new titles for inclusion into the Apple Bookstore, it went from ten days to one business change. The second should really help authors in giving out free copies of their digital book for review, with 250 promo codes.
Apple has revised the iBooks experience with the advent of iOS 8 and the new line of iPhone 6 smartphones. It is far easier to purchase and discover new content with the UI changes on the bottom of the screen. In the past, the store itself, was buried in sub-menus at the top of the screen, now it is more intuitive.
One of the big new initiatives on the iBooks app is the curation and editorial content. There is now more seasonal and topical lists that abide by cool themes. Oh, and one of the biggest cleanups was removing Breakout Books, which was sourced by Smashwords. Indie authors have been booted off from the platform, in order to help readers find more quality content. In the future, you will soon be able to get book recommendations before and after purchases with technology leveraged by Booklamp, a company Apple bought a few months ago.
The cost of eBooks are poised to dramatically increase at the beginning of the new year, due to changes in VAT. Readers will end up having to pay anywhere from 17% to 25% more on each title, depending on the country they live in.
The European Commission recently unveiled a new ruling where member states will be taxed in the European member state in which the consumer is located, as opposed to the country from which the product is sold. Starting in January 2015 the new tax rates will be in effect for eBooks.
The new VAT laws will prevent Amazon, Nook and Kobo from getting away with charging a paltry 3% tax on eBooks, magazines, graphic novels and newspapers sold to European countries, because their headquarters are in Luxembourg. In a few months, UK customers will have to pay the 20% VAT on eBooks from Amazon, instead of the 3%. This will increase eBooks accross the board by 17%.
The Luxembourg government stands to lose around €800 million a year from the ruling, while the UK and Germany stand to gain around €350 million each by the higher VAT rates.
Patrons of Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Europe are obviously going to be disgruntled that they will be paying more money for books, but the evening out of the VAT will allow Waterstones, Thalia, Txtr, Ciando, and Virtualo to compete better on price and hopefully gain more traction in the industry going forward.
In the United Kingdom Amazon accounts for 75% of all eBook sales. They have been able to capture the vast majority of readers due to the low prices and solid discovery experience. Will customers remain loyal if the prices increase dramatically?
Amazon has just taken the beta sticker off their new author and reading community, Kindle Scout. The essence of this program is to give authors a chance to pitch their upcoming books to the public and readers cast their vote on what ones get published.
Amazon is throwing their marketing and financial efforts behind authors to publish their next book exclusively through them. They are giving an advance of $1,500 and a 50% eBook royalty rate to authors who successfully woo the crowd to get behind their next title. The book will then get hyped with Amazon, and likely the books in the early stages of the Scout lifetime will get a ton of media attention.
“We’re always looking for new ways to add meaningful connections between readers and authors,” said Dina Hilal, General Manager of Kindle Scout. “We’ve been delighted by the submissions so far and are excited to give readers a say in which books they want to read. We also hope they’ll have a lot of fun getting to know authors and their work.”
I think Scout is a really great idea and will assist in a huge problem in the publishing world, the dirge of indie author titles. Every week, thousands of horrendous books are released that pollute the digital ecosystem and hinder the eBook discovery process. In all honesty, indie authors are destroying literature as we know it. Scout attempts to vet out the wheat from the chafe, and hopefully we will only hear about the best of the best and not indie generic title number 19281210912.
According to a new report from the United Kingdom, 50% of readers tend to use their mobile phones books. This research is quite telling because e-reader and tablet sales are quite robust and have a high rate of availability in the retail sector.
Overall, 50% of UK mobile reading consumers used the Amazon Kindle app to read on their mobiles, followed by Apple iBooks with 31%. Reading platforms Kobo and Nook are in third and fourth places with 9% and 6% respectively. Among younger readers, iBooks is closing ground on Kindle. The study found that 41% of 18 – 24 year olds who use their mobile to read are using Kindle, versus 39% who are now using iBooks.
So how many people are actually reading eBooks on their mobile phones, outside of this report? Deloitte UK’s estimate that there are currently 35 million smartphone users in the UK. If we assume that 44% of these smartphone owners read just one eBook on their phone, that’s equivalent to 15,400,000. Then, if Nielsen is correct when it says that 323 million books (print and digital) were sold in the UK in 2013, that means 4.7% of the total UK book market’s total output was read on a smartphone.
Despite the mobile phone’s overall growth in appeal and popularity as a reading device, the survey discovered that readers, particularly those in the UK, tend to read on their handsets fairly infrequently and in much shorter bursts, compared to the amount of time they would spend reading printed books or eBooks on tablets and e-readers.
Over the course of the last decade, eBooks have become second nature to savvy readers. Not only can you purchase them in your pajamas, but they are more economical viable than new releases that come out only in hardcover.
One of the big questions that readers always ask, is what are the direct benefits of reading digitally? Is there a big difference between reading in print and an eBook? Today, we look the big reasons why buying an eBook makes a ton of sense.
Table of Contents – One of the big benefits with an eBook is a clickable TOC. It makes it really easy when reading an academic or textbook to be able to quickly go to the exact page that you want, with minimal fuss.
Cloud Syncing – If you have a smartphone, tablet or e-reader in the household and often read the same book on many different devices, cloud syncing makes things really easy. Amazon and other vendors have the ability to monitor the last page read. This insures that you will pick up exactly where you left off on a book you were reading when you were going to sleep on your e-reader and then pick up where you left off on the subway with your smartphone.
Highlights and Annotations - Writing your own notes or making highlights is ridiculously simple with an e-reader or e-reading app. Anything you do with an eBook is also synced to the cloud, insuring any change will follow you, no matter what device you are on. This is especially beneficial with digital textbooks that you rent for a few weeks or a semester. The title may not be in your library anymore, after the loan period is up, but any note you make are yours to keep and is stored perpetually in the cloud.
Some companies have really taken the note taking features on hardware to new and exciting levels. The Sony Digital Paper is a 13.3 inch reader, that is billed as a replacement for read paper. Instead of exclusively typing on touchscreen keyboard, like most smartphone, you use the pen to quickly draw your notes out save them as an independent file. The Galaxy Note line of phones is also super solid for note taking because of the accompanied Stylus.
Dictionaries and Translations – When reading fiction or non-fiction title, inevitability you will be unsure on the exact meaning of a word. It might be something you never heard before, or may use idioms from another country. Many of the top e-readers by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo all have dictionaries pre-loaded on their devices, with the options to download additional ones, for free. If you buy an English Kindle, but want to load in a German dictionary, no problem. I also really like some of the translation software on the new Kindle Voyage, you can click on a word or body of text and translate it from the language its in, to over 15 ones. Oh, you can also get diverted to Wikipedia and Google to look up a specific word too!
Fonts - If you have a vision deficiency and love to read, going to your bookstores large print section used to be your only option. These large font titles are really expensive too, often costing two or three times that of a paperback and they are normally just available in hardcover. The benefits of eBooks is being able to adjust the font on a title to your own personal preference. If you don’t like the default font eBook comes with, you can switch that too. Most e-readers and e-reading apps often have six fonts you can switch to, but Kobo goes one step further by allowing users to load in any font they want, allowing for more flexibily and control.
You can Loan an eBook out, and always get it back – I have six big book shelves full of books, but used to have more. I have loaned a ton of books over the years to friends who really dug what I was reading or wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I am also not ashamed to say, there were times I gave an awesome book to a girl I was sweet on, only to never get them back. Amazon and Barnes and Noble developed eBook lending programs that allow you to loan an eBook to a friend, one time, for up to two weeks. The only problem, is that your friend, also needs the same e-reader as you do. Many European companies sell digital books with watermarks, which makes it infinity easier to give out a copy of your book, while still preserving ownership of the original.
Many people in their social circle of friends are the only one with an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook. This makes loaning out titles impossible and borrowing books super hard. A number of eBook loaning services have been developed over the years that connect readers with each other, who don’t know one another in real life. Lendle and eBook Fling are the two most popular.
Buy eBooks in your Pajamas – The one aspect of eBooks that I really like is being able to buy a title at any time. There has been many cases where I complete an amazing book and want to see what else the author has written. In many cases at the end of the book, you can click on a series of links to bring you to whatever online bookstore the author recommends to find additional titles. If the book you just read was apart of a series, you can immediately buy the next one.
eBook pre-orders are proving to be fairly popular on iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Google. You can have a book immediately sent to your device at midnight, on the day of the release. Its like when new movies come out, and you can see it hours in advance if you checkout the midnight showing, its the exact same thing with digital books.
Fan fiction – If you grew up loving My Little Pony, GI.Joe, Harry Potter or boy bands, there is fan-fiction for that. Millions of stories are available to read for free, on WattPad, Kindle Worlds or fanfiction.net. Some fanfic authors have transcended their humble beginnings, such as Anna Todd and landed publishing and movie deals. incidentally, her book about a One Direction signer has had billions of reads.
Fan Fiction normally flies under the radar in the standard eBook conversation, but some of the websites like WattPad do gangbuster business. Readers spend two billion hours a day reading free books on their site and social media elements allow authors to converse directly with their fans to help them become better writers. Fans will frequently offer advice on serialized novels, on what they want to see, or to help in the direction of the plot. Its interactive, which is why so many people love it.
Beyond the Book/X-Ray – If you are like me, sometimes I find myself juggling many books at once. I may begin a book and something I have been waiting for finally comes out, and I instantly switch and devour it. When I come back to the original book I started, sometimes I feel lost. Sometimes names of minor characters can blur together, and I think “how was he again, whats going on?”
To solve this situation Amazon developed X-Ray, which gives you a comprehensive list of all the major and minor characters in any given book. It also tells you about the locations, objects and how many times they are referrences throughout the book. No longer will readers be confused on a book they are reading, because they can easily access a small biography.
eBooks have less of a carbon footprint – There are higher environmental costs involved in manufacturing an e-reader unit, compared to a unit of paper, and there are also on-going operational effects. However, one e-reader can hold any number of eBooks, newspapers and magazines — which means that e-reader users purchase fewer printed publications. Producing a Kindle creates the same CO2 as 30 books. So you need to read that number or more to offset the carbon emissions it takes to make it.
eBooks Allow you to be Anonymous – Our taste in books no longer have to be a guilty pleasure. The entire 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon showed us that many women were reading the eBook on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader on public transit and they weren’t advertising what they were reading like they would a print book. The social stigma of reading trashy romance, fantasy or erotica have been firmly removed with the advent of portable e-readers. Not advertising what you are reading may remove some of the public transportation flirting, but it allows you to immerse yourself in a book you love, without attracting too much attention.
eBooks are Cheaper – Many readers cite the price of eBooks as one of the primarily aspects of why they choose to read digitally. A new report by Books and e-Books UK 2014 is trying to quantify the parallel between cheaper books and reading more. Their data suggests 26% of consumers who have bought an eBook in the last year are reading more than they used to, because eBooks cost less than paperbacks, a figure that rises to 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds.
You don’t need reports to say that eBooks cost less than print. When a new book comes out, it is normally exclusively in a hardcover. The average cost is around $29.99, sometimes more, depending on the title and publisher. When it comes to eBooks, new titles are anywhere from $9.99 to $12.99, in rare cases they go all the way to $18.00.
When people ask me what I do for a living, inevitably they ask me about the benefits of an e-reader or eBooks in general. I always cite, if you love to read, you can read more books, while spending less.