E-Book News - Part 2

Archive for E-Book News


The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks for free.  This massive content pool has inspired Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo researcher at Georgetown to extract over 14 million images from 2 million public domain books and upload them to Flickr.

In a statement on the Flickr blog “Perhaps what is most remarkable about this collection is that these images come not from some newly-unearthed archive being seen for the first time, but rather from the books that we have been digitizing for years that have been resting in our digital libraries. Through the power of big data we are suddenly able to view the world’s books not as merely piles of text, but as individualized galleries of one of the richest and most diverse museums of imagery in the world.

The Internet Archive’s team hopes that this project inspires us all to reconnect with our cultural past and that you will join this exciting journey to unlock the visual tapestry of the world’s books. Check back regularly as more of the 14 million images will be uploaded to Flickr over the coming months!”

The purpose of this image uploading project is to allow the internet at large, to remix existing photos from public domain books. This allows anyone to be able to use them without having to pay a copyright or licensing fee.

If you feel like walking down memory lane, check out the official project on Flickr.

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kindle kids book creator

Amazon has always offered plenty of tools for authors to craft their own eBook, but kids books are a different story. In order to make Kindle Direct Publishing more relevant to children’s authors, Amazon has just unveiled a standalone program called Kindle Kids’ Book Creator.

Kindle Kids’ Book Creator is a free tool for authors and publishers to turn their illustrated children’s books into great-looking Kindle books. Kindle Kids’ Book Creator makes it easy for authors and publishers to import artwork, add text to pages, and preview how their book will look on Kindle devices.

With the click of a button, authors also can add Kindle Text Pop-Ups to make it easy to read their book on any device, including smart phones, tablets, and PCs. Authors then can publish to Kindle and share their story with tens of millions of Amazon customers worldwide.

Kindle Kids’ Book Creator supports multiple layouts for children’s books, including facing page spreads. Kindle Kids’ Book Creator accepts the most popular graphic file types, so authors are free to create art in their preferred design tools. Authors can even import a book from a multi-page PDF, making it easier to ever to take a book originally created for print and turn it into a Kindle book. When you are ready to publish your book, simply go to Kindle Direct Publishing to upload your book.

Kindle Kids’ Book Creator also makes it quick to preview how the content will look across Kindle devices. With an integrated preview feature, authors can validate that their books look beautiful on Kindle Fire tablets.

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Scribd has already posted their year in review infographic that gives as a sense of their most popular reading categories. Over the course 2014 they have had 1 billion pages read,  160 billion words read and readers have spent 17.6 million hours of reading eBooks.


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Kobo has ironed out an agreement with  Blake eLearning to make more than 120 of their award-winning Reading Eggs eBooks available in the Kobo Kids Store.  This marks the first occasion the books are digitized  outside of the Reading Eggs program and are available exclusively on Kobo.

Developed by a highly experienced team of educational teachers, writers and developers, the Reading Eggs program focuses on a core reading curriculum of phonics and word memorization so that kids learn skills and strategies essential for sustained reading success. It directly supports what children learn at school and will help to improve a child’s results at school.

If you want to see what all of the fuss is about and you have a Kobo Tablet or their official app, Reading Eggs is offering a bundle of 4 free educational eBooks.

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HarperCollins is in the midst of a total rebranding effort when it comes to selling books. In July they relaunched their United States website and started to market eBooks directly to customers. This has been a deemed a success by the top executives and they have now expanded into the UK.

The New HarperCollins UK site has been relaunched with the express purpose of selling eBooks directly. The publisher prompts users to download and install their HC Reader app, which is used to read any purchases on iOS and Android.

HC derives 24% of their revenue from eBooks, so there is still a viable market for print. You can order tangible books from the UK website, but instead of buying them from HC directly you are redirected to  Amazon, Waterstones and W H Smith. The publisher hopes to make physical books available directly through the site in December.

One of the most compelling aspect of the HC UK website is author profiles. You can read their biography, check out their social media profiles, get put on a mailing list for book tours and events or look at their upcoming titles.

HarperCollins is no stranger to selling eBooks in the UK, having prior experience with CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and their Narnia website.  These niche microsites did not generate many sales, but it did establish an in-house division for the future of selling eBooks directly.

Publishers reliance on Amazon, as a primarily vechie to sell eBooks, is forcing them to embrace alternative sales channels. Amazon currently has too much power in mandating terms during contract renewals, as we see from the current Hachette dispute. Whether customers buy directly from the publisher, instead of Amazon, Kobo, iBooks or Nook remains to be seen.

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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Young woman reading ebook on an Amazon Kindle, London, England, UKAustralian author Germaine Greer proclaimed on a recent BBC Radio broadcast that eBooks should only cost pennies and that people have a irrational attachment to print.

Germaine was reflecting on the entire Hachette eBook dispute and was in favor of Amazon. “Amazon wants to sell e-books at less, so they should. They should cost less because they don’t have to be put together, stitched, printed, designed, blah, blah, blah. If you skip all that and all you have got is a ribbon of text on a Kindle then it should cost you pennies frankly.”

Printing a physical book obviously costs more due to the industrial-age process involving paper mills and printing presses manufacturing the title and then its distributed by ships,trains and trucks delivering them your local bookstore.

Should eBooks only cost a few pennies? It costs Amazon almost nothing to make and distribute 100 copies of an ebook file to sell to 100 different customers. Credit cart fees are probably the largest per-ebook cost for each incremental sale. Distributing an eBook has no industrial-era components and no industrial-era advantages for Big Publishing.

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The global bookselling industry has been experiencing many trials and tribulations over the last decade. Indigo books in Canada has been losing 20 million each quarter for the last year, Borders Books in the US went bankrupt and everyone else is feeling the pinch of Amazon. Are eBooks destroying our bookselling culture.

The Canadian bookselling industry is dominated by Chapters Indigo. You can get a good indication on how many people are buying print books by looking at their overall financial profitability. The bookseller announced a loss of $10 million last November and a massive$20 million decline in June. The latest figures published a few weeks ago have their resources shrinking further, with a $14 million loss and C$180.8 million in total revenue. One of big reasons the losses were not nearly as profound as they could have been, was primarily due to the fact seven bookstores closed.

On February 16, 2011, Borders applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and began liquidating 226 of its stores in the United States. It liquidated 399 retail outlets on July 22, with the last remaining stores closing their doors on September 18, 2011. Rival bookseller Barnes & Noble acquired Borders’ trademarks and customer list.

Bernard Terrades is a bookseller in Paris and recently said Amazon is dominating in France, and is robbing the country of its culture. “It’s completely empty,” Terrades said. “There is no connection with customers. People have lost the curiosity to go out and find books.”

The battle in Europe is as much cultural as it is financial. In France, the government moved to protect independent bookstores, as it has for years, because books hold a revered spot in a country that’s produced literary giants such as Voltaire and Proust. Last year the French government enacted a new law that prevents the free shipping of physical books online. Amazon countered by charging a simple penny for shipping, which is a token amount and still causes problems.

According to a recent feature in the Seattle Times, the paper said “Many French see bookstores as the heart of that culture. They aren’t just shops to pick up the latest best-seller, but a civic space that helps keep its citizenry engaged and informed. To many, preserving bookstores isn’t merely about saving an industry; it’s about perpetuating ideals integral to being French.”

Many of the top publishers, such as Random Penguin, Hachette and Simon and Schuster derive around 25% of their global revenue from eBooks. It is a rising segment that is helping them make extra revenue due to the affordable nature of creating and distributing them.

Amazon is battling cultural currents globally,  as demonstrated by their recent behaviorisms. Whether its stiff Hachette negotiations or battling German warehouse workers. The UK government has publicly chastised them for diverting their revenue offshore, resulting in a huge tax dodge.

eBooks have their downsides, aside from disrupting the traditional bookselling industry. A recent study had 28 copies of the same book distributed half in paperback format and the other half on the Amazon Kindle.  Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study said “The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure.” The readers struggled to make sense of the key 14 plot aspects. The researchers suggest that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does”.

“When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right,” said Mangen. “You have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual … [The differences for Kindle readers] might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story, is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading. Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story.”

Bookstores a place where like minded souls conglomerate for the love of literature. The average person is shopping for books, chilling on a couch and skimming through a magazine or socialize. The minute you walk into a bookshop you are engulfed by sensory immersion. Shopping for eBooks do not offer a social experience, but a solitary one.

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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Amazon has been selling Kindle e-Readers and eBooks in Brazil for the last two years. You might say the Seattle based company has digital locked up, but print titles have been non-existent, until today.

Over 150,000 print titles in Portuguese are now available to be ordered on Amazons Brazilian website. If customers spend over R$69, there is free shipping. These titles are in addition to the 35,000 eBooks they have available, also in Portuguese.

In a statement, Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the site would be “the largest and most convenient site for Brazilian readers to find and buy” print and digital books at low prices.

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When it comes to converting eBooks from one format to another, you have likely heard of Calibre. It remains one of the most popular tools out there, and is deeply expansive. In the past, they have catered exclusively to users, but now that Sigil is not actively developed anymore, they are trying to appeal towards creators.

Calibre 2.0 is now available and the eBook Creator package that debuted last year has undergone a severe revisement. One of the most compelling is the spell check system, which now allows for the manual importing of dictionaries. It also has newfound support to extrapolate PDF metadata  and the ability to click on any HTML/OPF/NCX tag name or CSS property and the editor will open some help for that item in your browser.

Many users are attracted to Calibre for a number of reasons. Some want to simply make eBooks out of popular websites, and read them on their ereader or tablet. Others download 3rd party plugins to strip the DRM off of purchased content.

Calibre has a very clunky and unintuitive interface and may alienate the average user. It has very extensive options to edit meta data or to optimize an eBook for a specific device, such as a Kindle, Kobo or Nook. It is a little known tool in the hardcore e-reading world, but lead developer Kovid Goyle hopes that indie authors and small publishing companies will take a second look at it.

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The Dutch eBook market has seen excellent growth in the last two years and recent Q2 financial figures from the publishing industry has seen it increase by 18%. We now see eBooks accounting for 26% of all sales, but print books are still strong with 74%.

The Netherlands has a different dichotomy than North America in regards to the way encryption is handled. Only 1 eBook in 50 has the standard DRM, with the vast majority relying on digital watermarks. In North America, the trends are basically reversed with publishers exclusively relying on DRM to safegurd against piracy.

Ditch publishers are certainly seeing eBooks as being viable, despite the fact they only account for 4.7% of book sales. In the first half of 2013, the Dutch eBook market had three million titles digitized and at the midpoint of 2014 there are over five million.

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humble bundle

HarperCollins has been one of the most forward thinking publishers of 2014. They have not only supported Vancouver startup BitLit, which gives you a discounted eBook if you prove you own the print edition, but also Bookshout. Today, HarperCollins has announced a massive new campaign that is running in conjunction with Humble Bundle.

The essence of the Humble Bundle campaign with Harpercollins is that customers can pay what they want for a collection of digital literary works from bestselling authors, like Neil Gaiman and James Rollins, while helping support the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund, a non-profit organization for authors of science fiction and related genres, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community.

Humble Bundle allows for multiple tiers of donations, normally you can get a number of great titles for any amount you want to pay and gives incentives, where if a donation threshold is met, readers get additional titles.

Pay whatever you want and get the following eBooks;

– The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
– Twinmaker by Sean Williams
– Busting Vegas by Ben Mezrich
– American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and
– Map of Bones by James Rollins with an excerpt of The Sixth Extinction

Customers who pay more than the average price will also receive:

– Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake
– The Wasteland Saga by Nick Cole
– By the Blood of Heroes by Joseph Nassise, and
– The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Customers who pay $10 or more will receive all of the above, as well as:
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison and Trouble on Reserve by Kim Harrison, a Humble Bundle exclusive novella.

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kindle reading on the underground

A new European study has found that Kindle owners have a harder time recalling key plot points than paperback readers.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.

Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study said “The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure.” The readers struggled to make sense of the key 14 plot aspects. The researchers suggest that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does”.

“When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right,” said Mangen. “You have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual … [The differences for Kindle readers] might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story, is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading. Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story.”

“We need to provide research and evidence-based knowledge to publishers on what kind of devices (iPad, Kindle, print) should be used for what kind of content; what kinds of texts are likely to be less hampered by being read digitally, and which might require the support of paper,” said Mangen. “I’m thinking it might make a difference if a novel is a page-turner or light read, when you don’t necessarily have to pay attention to every word, compared to a 500-page, more complex literary novel, something like Ulysses, which is challenging reading that really requires sustained focus. That will be very interesting to explore.”

This report makes a lot of sense when it comes to the mental processing of reading digitally vs reading the print edition. You get a sense of accomplishment when you are making significant headway in the paperback, you can see the tangible progress.

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The seminal J.K. Rowling Pottermore website is more than just an eBook store to sell the entire series of Harry Potter eBooks, but also acts as an interactive game and a wellspring of original content. Today, a new 500-word entry about Celestina, who is sometimes known as the “singing sorceress,” provides never-before-known facts about this obscure character whom readers never “meet” in the Harry Potter series although she is mentioned several times and is Molly Weasley’s favourite singer.

Pottermore.com also posted today the audio track of one of Celestina’s songs, “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart.” The song is a recording by Universal Orlando Resort featuring Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees who perform live every day at the brand-new, spectacularly themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” is the first song ever posted on pottermore.com.

The new writing by J.K. Rowling offers colourful new details about Celestina’s early years, career highlights and tumultuous personal life. Rowling calls Celestina “one of my favourite ‘off-stage’ characters in the whole series”. Rowling also reveals that she “stole” Celestina’s first name from a colleague at Amnesty International’s Headquarters in London where she once worked. The story has been posted today because August 18 is Celestina’s birthday, a fact which is revealed for the first time in this new writing. Both the audio track and the new writing can be found in the ‘Floo Powder’ Moment in Chapter 4 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on pottermore.com (new users will need to register).

Celestina is referenced in three of the Harry Potter books. The first mention is in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) when Harry hears her name on the Wizarding Wireless Network (wizard radio) while visiting the Weasley home. She’s referenced again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) when she appears on a wizarding radio Christmas broadcast and once more in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7). In the charity companion book by J.K. Rowling, “Quidditch Through the Ages”, Celestina is credited with recording Puddlemere United’s team anthem “Beat Back Those Bludgers, Boys, and Chuck That Quaffle Here” – another of the four songs featured in the singing sorceress’s live show at Universal Orlando Resort.

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