Archive for E-Book News
Glose to a new e-reading app that is currently available for iOS, Windows and has an upcoming Android App. The premise is fairly unique, the eBooks become a collective experience where you can read other peoples notes on any given passage or see popular phrases that were highlighted.
You can actually buy eBooks from Glose and you can see how many people are in the process of reading the same book and how many times people have commented within the entire digital edition. There are 300,000 titles from major publishers such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette and Macmillan. Basically, there is no shortage of quality content and the prices are on par with Barnes and Noble and Kobo.
I think Glose makes a ton of sense for non-fiction titles. If you want to read a book on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, you can read the comments from history buffs and decide if its worth reading or not. Many people use fiction as an escape and seldom want to engage on a social level.
Not only can users employ highlights and annotations to get their point accross on how they feel about a specific passage but they can also attach media elements such as photos or even videos. Other people can upvote or downvote your annotations so that the next readers can easily find the best annotations.
I really like the premise of Glose, although to take advantage of their social media elements you have to buy your eBooks through them. You cannot import your own titles into the platform, which makes you reliant on dealing with them exclusively. This might be worth checking out as a novelty, but will not be a substitute for your e-reader or favorite online bookstore.
A former advertising executive for Kindle is suing Amazon for wrongful dismissal. The saga begins in 2012 with the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet. Amazon was seeking launch partners in order to build traction with their Special Offers edition. Credit card company Discover signed on, as they normally participated with pilot projects at Amazon. Then things got interesting.
In a signed affidavit to the Washington Attorney office, former executive Kivin Varghese outlined the following “Shortly after the successful launch of the ad platform in September 2012, we ran into an issue with one of our large launch partners, Discover Card. In addition to paying $1.2 million to be part of the launch, we ran a promotion where they paid an extra $500,000 that was intended to encourage Kindle owners with a Discover card, to switch their default 1-click card to Discover (ahead of the holiday shopping season).
The promotion was structured in a way where anyone with a Kindle, who used their Discover card to buy a digital good (e.g. mp3 or movie), would get a $10 Amazon Gift Card. The reason the good had to be digital is because to buy a digital good you need to use your 1-click default card, and Discover’s primary objective for this promotion was to get users who had a Discover card, to make it their 1-click default so Discover could be the card of choice for holiday shopping over the course of the fourth quarter. That was the only way Discover could justify spending $10 when someone ordered a $1 .mp3 music ﬁle.
The ﬁnance team and the ad execution team (who reported to my manager via a Product Manager) put together a forecast for Discover that showed we expected the $500K to last for the full 60 days of the promotion, and it had a wide ranging buffer, so we would monitor it weekly. I was not allowed to see the data that went into the forecast – only the ﬁnance team putting together the forecast was allowed to see that data – I and others were just provided a range.
About 10 days into the promotion, the Ad Execution team found that over $300,000 of the $500,000 allocated for the promotion had been spent. I had our development team look into the data to ﬁnd out how this could happen – Was it fraud? Was it a bug?
What we found was that there were tens of thousands of Kindle e-ink owners, the vast majority who hadn’t even seen the promotion details (as customers had to click on the ad to see the details), were qualifying for the $10 Gift card because every day, there are thousands of customers who own a Kindle and already have Discover set as their 1-click default card, that buy a digital good on Amazon in the ordinary course of their activity. As soon as we found this out, I sent out a 7-step solution that I recommended we implement to ﬁx the issue, which involved being transparent with Discover about the issue and refunding a signiﬁcant portion of the promotional funds that went to subsidized behavior. Munira disagreed with my approach, directing me to spin this as ‘good news, that the promotion is tracking ahead of plan’ and urged me to try to get more budget from Discover. Meanwhile the promotion continued to run and within a few more days we had gone over the $500,000 budget.
Our ﬁnance and ad execution team had missed the key fact when doing the forecast – the forecast should have shown that there was a 100% certainty that the promotion as structured, would go through the $500,000 budget within a couple of weeks given everyday activity. This was clear, the data was available during the forecast, and it was missed.
So in other words, Discover was essentially paying $10 to tens of thousands of users who had no idea the promotion was going on, and were just subsidizing existing behavior – Discover was paying $10 mostly to consumers that already had Discover set as their 1-click default and were unaware of any Kindle promotion. That was not Discover’s intention, nor was it Amazon’s when we ran the promotion. But it was our mistake to rectify.”
A number of internal emails were sent between project managers of the advertising platform, trying to get Discover to pay more money, without divulging that e-Ink owners were the ones taking advantage of the promotion. According to the emails, Amazon executives directly downplayed the amount spent directly to Discover. Also, according to the legal filing Amazon lied to Discover about specific metrics and page impressions on the custom landing page for the promotion. When Discover pulled out of the promotion, this is when it all hit the fan.
The Ad executive was brought in for his monthly PIP meeting, where they went over milestone goals. He was scolded for not asking Discover for more money, even though he knew all of the funds were spent and Amazon still had not fixed the bug for e-ink Kindles. He was asked to transfer to another department, and upon refusing went to HR and was promptly fired.
The legal brief ended with “To me, it seems like a culture of treating its employees like robots and numbers. And perhaps that is what spawns and encourages the kind of dark behavior I saw at Amazon. Employees aren’t just Bezeos-Bots and numbers. Customers aren’t just a source of free-cash flow at any price.”
You can read the entire legal briefing HERE. It is very long and a compelling read for Amazon intrigue.
Hachette Book Group and Amazon today announced that the companies have reached a new, multi-year agreement for ebook and print sales in the US.
The new ebook terms will take effect early in 2015. Hachette will have responsibility for setting consumer prices of its ebooks, and will also benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers. Amazon and Hachette will immediately resume normal trading, and Hachette books will be prominently featured in promotions.
This entire contract situation went on for far too long and I am glad its finally over. It seemed that people used this contract dispute to write millions of news items on the predatory nature of Amazon and Hachette.
Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO said, “This is great news for writers. The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”
“We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike,” said David Naggar, Vice President, Kindle.
Barnes and Noble is experimenting with a new initiative this holiday season called Sync Up. There will be a special curated section of paperback books in each bookstore location and upon purchase you can also elect to buy the Nook eBook edition for up to 70%.
The B&N Sync Up! program will only be in effect until the end of the year at 650 stores nationwide. Here is how the program works, you want to look for the new B&N Sync Up! display in any store and chose one or more of the select paperbacks. Simply bring it to the register, and the clerk will activate the NOOK Book offer upon checkout and a unique access code will be printed on the customer’s store receipt. For additional convenience, customers can also choose to have the code printed on a gift receipt or emailed to them. To redeem the offer, the customer or the gift recipient can visit www.BN.com/redeem, enter their code and download the digital edition within seconds.
Through the new program, customers can choose paperbacks from a collection of perennial favorites and bestsellers including Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, Outlander (Outlander Series #1) by Diana Gabaldon, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, plus many more fantastic reads. More details are available at BN.com/sync-up.
I think this new sync up program is a tremendous idea and something they should have tried a long time ago. Barnes and Noble is in the perfect position to try out pilot projects like this, to distinguish themselves from Amazon and Kobo. Could you imagine a future where this is the norm? Walk into any B&N bookstore, buy any book and get the eBook for a huge discount? I for one, love the sync up idea.
A new report by Strategy Analytics predicts that the global consumer eBook market will more than double from $7 billion in 2013 to $16.7 billion in 2020. eBook subscription websites and emerging markets such as China are the two main facets contributing to the dramatic increase.
Currently less than 10% of the population reads eBooks in 2013, but in 2020 this figure is set to increase to 25%. One of the big reasons is the shift towards reading on smartphones and tablets over dedicated e-readers and desktop computers.
Wei Shi, an analyst at Strategy Analytics’ wireless media strategies division, said that a significant development in the eBook market is subscription-based services launched by platforms like Amazon Unlimited, which have a model similar to how Spotify and Pandora work in the music industry. “We expect to see subscription services gaining more momentum in the second half of this decade, and contributing to close to a fifth of the total market by 2020,” she said.
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.