e-Reader News

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The march to the holiday season is upon us and e-reader companies have all revealed their complete product lineup. There is a ton of different models to choose from and sometimes it may be difficult to make an informed buying decision.  We ran a poll on Good e-Reader from September 15th to September 29th 2014 and people all over the world weighed on what was most appealing.

During our polling period 1,221 people cast their vote and by a landslide the new Kindle Voyage and Kindle Basic with a touchscreen won with over 469 votes. This really drives home the point that readers everywhere prefer the Amazon line of devices and something is really compelling about their new product lineup.

In second place with 284 votes was the first waterproof e-reader to be issued by a mainstream company, the Kobo H2O. This device features a very vibrant 6.8 inch display and can be used on the beach, bath or on vacation. For the first time ever, literary fiends will be able to use their device in all environments.

3rd place is where the field got fairly even with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus garnering 81 votes, followed by the first tablet that Barnes and Noble has issued in awhile, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook.

The full list of devices and statistics are in the above picture, so I want go into much more details.  What surprised me the most though, was the fact there is a severe lack of demand for the next generation Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon made a huge announcement with five new devices, one appealing to kids and others hitting every conceivable price point possible. Only 32 people had any sort of plans to upgrade to or buy one for the first time.

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kobo aura movie

A few weeks ago we announced a brand new contest for a Kobo Aura. The premise was to see how it would hold up under extreme conditions. What exactly did we do? Well, we ran a poll on our YouTube channel to see if the Kobo Aura would simply survive and users would simply vote yes or no.

Today, we are pleased to reveal the second part of the contest where we narrow the field down. In true cinematic fashion we determine how the Kobo Aura holds up being run over with a car! The Sony PRS-T2 survived this test, but what about Kobo?

Witness the most talked about contest in Good e-Reader history! Most people just give things away, we go the extra mile and make it worth watching, check it out.


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The European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday issued new safety guidance that now allows e-readers such as the Kindle, Kobo and Nook to be used on airplanes, without the need of putting them in airplane mode. This sets the stage for major airlines to offer on-board WIFI internet access to buy books, magazines and newspapers while in the air.

The use of e-readers, smartphones and tablets will be up to each airline to decide whether to allow them to be used gate to gate. Airlines will first need to go through an assessment process to ensure planes are not affected by signals from the electronics.

Now that the regletory restrictions have been relaxed in Europe it now sets the stage for e-readers to be used in most countries. Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration gave U.S. airlines permission to allow the use of electronic devices at all stages of a flight — including takeoff and landing, though they must be in airplane mode. Canada followed suit in May, and Australia adopted the more relaxed in-flight gadget rules in August.

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Netherlands based e-reader company Icarus has just revamped their wildly successful 9.7 inch Excel e-reader with Android 4.0. This will allow users to not only have a very large screen display to take notes but also install their own e-reading apps.

The big trend of 2014 so far has been the open Android concept with e-readers. In the past, most of them all ran Linux and were physically unable to do anything, other than what the manufacturer intended. When it comes to smaller companies like Icarus, Onyx or Pocketbook, they all found it hard to compete against the juggernauts of the industry. Android levels the playing field, giving customers the option to deal with whatever ecosystem they want. I really like the freedom of choice concept to download Kindle, or Kobo or whatever 3rd party news app.

The Icarus Excel features a 9.7 e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1280×825 pixels and 167 DPI. It has a full touchscreen display, but only responds to the accompanied WACOM stylus. Underneath the hood lurks a solid 800 MHZ Freescale CPU processor and it has 256 MB of Ram. Storage gives you 4 GB to play around with and can be expanded up to 32 GB via the SD Card.

Not much has changed on the hardware front, as this is the same Excel that was released last year. The only thing that is different is the software running Android 4.0. Users can download and install apps from the Good e-Reader App Store, which comes pre-loaded.

The device is fairly expensive and is retailing for 319.95€ from the main Icarus website. If you live outside of Europe, you can pre-order it from Shop e-Readers.

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Young people in the UK think that reading on paper provides a more holistic experience, especially when engaging with images and text which can’t be replicated in digital. A new report states that the 16-24 generation is still firmly in favor of print books, with 73% saying they prefer print over eBooks.

A new eye opening survey talked to 900 young people and three-quarters of the respondents said they prefer the print format and only a paltry 27% prefer e-books and 31% said they don’t buy e-books at all.

Luke Mitchell, director of Voxburner, said the research found people in the 16-24 age group think e-books are too expensive. “They told us they like to touch books and see the creases in the spine, but for bargain-driven young people the conversion to e-books will most likely be determined by price,” he said. “In our research, 70% said that £6.99 was a reasonable price to pay for a paperback but only 10% were prepared to pay the same for an e-book.”

The survey really drives home the point that there is a big disconnect between the prices of print books vs eBooks. When it comes to paperbacks, 37% of young people said they would pay £5.00-£7.00 and 35% said they would pay £3.00-£5.00. However, they are less willing to pay as much for eBooks, with 43% saying they should cost less than £3.00 and 27% saying they should cost between £3.00 and £5.00.

One of the big reasons young people are concerned with the price of eBooks is the clear lack of ownership. When you purchase the digital variant, you are merely licensing the title and it is not actually yours to keep. The printed version can be yours forever, for relatively the same price.

What devices are young people in the United Kingdom using to consume the digital versions? 39% use an e-reader such as a Kindle, 37% use reading apps on their smartphones and 36% prefer a large screen tablet device.

I think that this survey is tremendously valid, even though only 900 people answered the questions. Considering it was an online survey, it should drive home the point that young people are tremendously savvy when it comes to the digital life, but do not see a clear reason to read for pleasure on their electronic device. Online retailers like Amazon, B&N and Kobo tend to devote their marketing efforts not to teenagers or young adults, but with older readers who have the disposable income to buy a few books a month. I have yet to see a clear and decisive marketing campaign that is exclusively targeting young readers.

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Barnes and Noble bet big when they decided to forgo hardware design on their latest tablet and instead sourced it to Samsung. This allowed the bookseller to focus on the reading experience and actually devote money to hyping the hell out of it. Apparently their blitz media has earned them the Internet Marketing Association’s (IMA) ‘Innovative Brand Award’ for 2014.

From subway ads to radio station and store integration, NOOK tapped into multiple avenues to get the message out about the new NOOK by Samsung. Created with a hyper-targeted focus in mind, the NOOK ads were designed to be engaging, enticing and inspiring, and to make people want to read even more. Leveraging most every contact channel including email, mobile, online, out of home (OOH) and an online and retail presence in an integrated manner, NOOK created an immersive experience with the goal of capturing the imaginations of potential customers. In addition, NOOK capitalized on the impact of word of mouth and social media by taking the campaign a step further for this launch with one of its most entertaining social media efforts to date, the #NOOKfaces campaign.

“We’re thrilled that NOOK has won the IMA’s ‘Innovative Brand Award.’ The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is the most advanced NOOK ever and we wanted to give this device the exposure it deserved with a creative and imaginative marketing plan that generated lots of excitement and buzz,” said Doug Carlson, Executive VP of Digital Content and Marketing at NOOK Media LLC. “Not only has NOOK demonstrated its commitment to innovation by partnering with Samsung, but we’ve launched the new device in a bold and exciting way that has really resonated with both existing and potential NOOK customers.”

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kobo ebooks

Barnes and Noble experienced a maelstrom of negative publicity last week when it was revealed that they have disabled the ability to download eBooks. Many readers alluded that this would be the final nail in the coffin and a great reason to switch to another online retailer. You might want to think twice about dealing with Kobo as we have breaking news that they also are not allowing customers to download key eBook titles.

Kobo is a company that has developed their own variation on standard ePubs called KePub . They have added a database (SQLite) that helps them read and manage books that come from their bookstore or another bookstore that has adopted their format.

We have heard from many users that if you buy an eBook, where KePub is the only format available, it won’t download to your PC and while it will appear on your Kobo reader, it doesn’t show up in the files if you connect the device to the PC in attempt to load the book into Calibre. It is also not available to download on the main Kobo website, where you can access all of the books in your library. This makes it very difficult for the average reader trying to back up their books.

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FireTablet_Family

Welcome back to another installment of the Good e-Reader Round Table Discussion Series! Today, Michael and Peter talk about all of the new Amazon products that were announced last week. They break down all of the e-readers and tablets to let you know if they are worth upgrading or what new features Amazon is bringing to the table.

Good e-Reader has reviewed every single Amazon e-reader and tablet since the Kindle 2. We are in a great position to look at the evolutionary growth of the Kindle hardware and software to let you know, is this worth buying?

In this video, Michael and Peter discuss the new Kindle Voyage, Kindle Basic, Kindle Fire HD6, HD7, Kids Edition, Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX, the new Sangria operating system and features like Kindle Family Sharing! If you missed the announcement last week, we break it down!


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The new Amazon Kindle Voyage e-reader is experiencing ravenous demand since pre-orders went on sale last week. The device is poised to ship this October and already is sold out. New orders on the basic WIFI model with Special Offers will not be shipped out until November 28th and the 3G edition without Special Offers will be available December 7th 2014.

Amazon tends to release new e-readers and tablets every year, close to the holiday season. This insures that the demand will be very high to purchase them for yourself or a loved one. Since new orders will not be shipped out until December, shipping may take longer than normal due to the inundation of packages all couriers have to deal with.

The Kindle Voyage is the only e-reader that is basically sold out on Amazon. The new Kids Tablet, Fire 6,7 and 8.9 models will all be shipped out on the October 2nd. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is still a strong market for e-ink based readers.

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Many companies involved in the e-reader sector are paying attention to what Amazon has created with the new Kindle Voyage. This new device has a number of innovative hardware features such as Page Press and the front-lite controlled by an ambient light sensor. Amazon has also developed exciting new software that even allows you share content with family members. Has Amazon set the bar so high now that no one else can compete?

The Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080. It has 300 PPI, which is the highest we have ever seen for an e-reader. The upcoming Kobo H20 has a 6.8 inch screen with the same resolution but a lower 265ppi. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight is the most affordable one, but only has a resolution of 1024 x 758 and 212 PPI.

Lets face it, people are used to interacting with touhscreen smartphones and tablets on a daily basis. All prior Kindle models had a sunken screen and employed infrared touch. The Voyage has the screen completely flush with the bezel, which is the same sort of tech that the Kobo Aura and Tolino Shine used. A capacitive touchscreen allows for better interaction and better pinch and zoom capabilities.

Instead of physical page turn buttons, the new Kindle Voyage has a feature called PagePress. This is a custom-designed force sensor made of carbon and silver, which reacts to a subtle increase of pressure, triggers a page-turn, and provides a haptic response only your thumb can perceive. Because PagePress has no moving parts, the haptics provide you with the most minimal indication that you have pressed the button, to reduce distraction from reading.

The Kindle Paperwhite 2 had one of the best illuminated screens in the world. Unlike tablets and smartphones that have light emitting from behind the screen, most e-readers have five small LED lights on the bottom of the bezel that project light evenly access the screen. Many companies got this technology wrong, by having splotches all over the screen, or by a pale blue hue, as seen on the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display’s brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness.”

According to The Verge “The ambient setting is actually smarter than you’d expect. If it detects you’re reading in the dark — say, in bed — it will slowly lower the brightness. The idea is that your eyes naturally adjust to darkness over time, so what seems bright enough at first will be too bright once your pupils dilate. It’s a thoughtful, clever feature, and Amazon also says that you can fine tune the behavior if you don’t like the default.”

Sure, the hardware is really good on the new Voyage, but what improvements has Amazon made on software front? Likely the most important one is the Kindle Family Library, which allows users connect their Amazon accounts to share content with family members. The new feature “links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content,” according to the company. What is even better about the sharing program is that Amazon says it will work across Amazon devices and Amazon’s third-party apps for platforms including iOS and Android. It can link the accounts of two adults, who can, in turn, manage up to four child accounts.

Amazon has also improved their internal searching feature to work smoother when browsing the Kindle Store to discover new books. It previews results based on your past purchases and GoodReads. In addition Amazon has added a small timer on the books you are reading. Based on your reading habits it will let you know how long it will take you to complete the chapter or the book itself. Take THAT traditional page numbers! I really like the About the Book function, which tells you all about the author and if the eBook apart of an established series.

Amazon has many advantages over their competitors. Apple sees the iBooks business as an afterthought. During their entire iPhone event they never mentioned their bookstore once. Barnes and Noble is floundering, continuing to lose money and is still piggy backing technology from late last year. Kobo is going to release their H20 e-reader very soon and is likely going to generate strong revenue. Many of the smaller companies such as Onyx, Ectaco, Tolino, Bookeen and Pocketbook are very hard to come by. They are mainly sold by small websites in Poland, France or Russia. Shipping alone to the US or UK is enough to frighten off any prospective buyers.

When you buy the Voyage e-reader you are going to have access to over 600,000 titles, by legitimate bestselling authors and indie ones. It has arguably the best eBook social networking site, in the form of GoodReads firmly integrated into the entire eBook discovery experience. I think one of the big strengths of Amazon, that no one really talks about is their user review system. Whenever someone leaves a written review, its automatically populated in their e-readers, tablets, apps or websites. Companies like Kobo fetch their reviews from 3rd parties, and even their Android app is comprised of reviews left just on that specific platform.


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Sep
18

Top 5 e-Readers of the Summer

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A reader uses her Nook ereader
The summer of 2014 saw many new e-readers get released and some old favorites get used on the beach and cottage. Today, we take a look at the top five e-readers that either came out during the summer or remained perennial favorites.


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A few days ago Good e-Reader broke the news that there was a 10 page note taking limit on the Sony Digital Paper DPTS1 e-reader. This prevents people from making a note from scratch and going beyond 10 pages. Today, Sony has responded  to this limitation with a promise that a future firmware update will remedy it and also provided us with a 25 page PDF document, that can be used to bypass the limitation.

“Sony is highly aware of the 10 page limitation and we already have plans to address this limitation in a forthcoming release of firmware which will be available toward the end of the year.  Users will no longer be limited to 10 pages of notes.  The improvement will be available to everyone via Over The Air update (or by connecting Digital Paper via USB to the computer).” said a Sony rep.

Ray Zwiefelhofer and his team at Worlddox has done some experimentation and they have developed some fun forms and other features from which Sony Digital Paper users might enjoy http://www.worldox.com/products/sony_digital_paper_tools and if you are looking for a 25 page PDF that can be used to take bigger notes, you can download it from HERE.

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ipad-amazon-two

Amazon has updated their Kindle e-reading app for iOS and added a ton of new features to take advantage of the new iOS 8 that was released yesterday. It makes reading multiple books easier with the handy Kindle Today Widget. Customers also get the ability to copy passages from their books and paste them into text messages, e-mail, and other applications on iOS outside of Kindle. Readers who encounter words or phrases in other languages can quickly comprehend the author’s meaning with a convenient translation feature.

New Features

Kindle Today Widget (iOS 8 only) – Multi-book readers can now surf between books from anywhere on the device by pulling down the ‘Today’ view and tapping on one of the three titles in the Kindle Widget. They can choose from their most recently opened library titles, like the ‘jump’ function on a TV remote.

Copy & Paste – Customers asked and we listened. Version 4.5 includes the ability to copy passages from your books and add them to the iOS clipboard for pasting into a text message, e-mail, social media, or other iOS applications outside of Kindle.

Smart Lookup Translation Card – Authors often include phrases in other languages to add depth or meaning to a story. Readers can now get a full understanding by selecting the word or phrase and viewing the translation card.

iOS 8 support, bug fixes, and stability improvements.

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