Archive for e-Reader News
Bookeen has announced their their upcoming Cybook Ocean e-Reader will not be commercially available until early 2014. The company has cited the need to work on the UI and other core features to make it a viable product for people to purchase.
The Cybook Ocean is a well kept secret and the French company has not really divulged much at all. We know its an eight inch e-reader with fairly good resolution and support for a myriad of eBook formats.
One of the big likelihoods that the Ocean is delayed is lack of FCC certification. The government shutdown in October has prevented a number of European companies from releasing and marketing their e-readers for the seminal holiday sales rush. One example of this is the ImCoSys ImcoV6L, which is delayed until early 2014.
Late last week, Judge Denise Cote, the judge who has presided over the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple and five of the then-Big Six publishers, approved the terms of the settlements with the publishers, meaning the doors have finally been opened for the money to begin making its way back to the consumers who overpaid for ebooks.
But one person has been working to block the approval of those terms on the grounds that the publishers will not try to stand up for themselves (the publishers maintain there was no effort to bilk the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars, they quickly settled out of court to avoid what would end up costing them more in legal fees), meaning presumably someone must step in.
Bob Kohn, former CEO and founder of the digital solutions company RoyaltyShare who works with a number of major publishers, did not attempt to object to the settlements posed earlier this year with HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, or Hachette, but objected Friday to the settlement terms for Macmillan and Penguin. His argument was that the actions of the publishers were not in violation of the Sherman Act (which is in place to prevent companies from colluding on the prices of goods to inflate them artificially, for example), but that their actions were necessary to prevent Amazon from growing even larger than it already is.
While some may feel that’s a “noble” reason for breaking the law, Judge Cote disagreed.
Kohn took a huge risk in posing his objection and asking for a Motion to Intervene. The states’ attorneys general were prepared to ask Kohn to foot the bill for a bond to return that money to consumers should he have succeeded in his motion to delay the settlement. While he was unsuccessful, Kohn’s motion in no way impacted the decision or proceedings against Apple for its part in this issue; Apple is appealing its own ruling, handed down by Cote earlier this year in which she found sufficient evidence of price fixing on the part of the company.
As the settlement with the publishers has been approved, consumers should soon start to see refunds–most likely issued in the form of credits on their accounts–for ebooks purchased during the time period of the stated collusion. Some studies of the case found that more than 20 million consumers were affected by the illegal price increases on ebooks.
UPDATE: Bob Kohn is no longer with RoyaltyShare, having left the company earlier this year.
Simon&Schuster UK has recently announced the launch of a genre-specific social media and blog site, meant to entice avid readers of its New Adult and Romance titles. Called The Hot Bed and curated by an in-house team of four Simon&Schuster UK professionals, the site aims to be the source for news about S&S’s top-selling and most well-loved romance authors, as well as a blog for those authors to make appearances.
Fans will also get in on the action as they can connect with authors and with one-another via the site. The Twitter and Facebook feeds for the new site will allow fans to engage with the storylines and offer their remarks. The site also offers Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube landings.
Several authors have already been featured on the site, including S&S authors Jamie McGuire, Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Alice Clayton, and Christina Lauren.
As the site continues to grow, new program offerings will be announced, including reader events for fans. The site has also promised future efforts to promote the brand through connectedness with other presumably romance brands.
Jamie McGuire, Abbi Gilnes, Colleen Hoover, Alice Clayton and Christina Lauren
The staff at Good e-Reader have been working on fumes this year with such a copious amount of e-reading devices that have come out in 2013. We have reviewed close to 70 different tablets, e-readers, smartwatches and the tech that goes into consumer devices. Today, Peter looks at the top 5 e-reading devices of 2013!
Pocketbook is betting all or nothing on their new CAD Reader and this model has the dubious distinction of not being marketed to the general consumer segment. In order to garner mainstream interest before its Q1 or Q2 launch date of 2014, the company has developed a very polished online commercial.
The Pocketbook CAD e-Reader is aimed at business users who find themselves using software such as AutoCad. It features a 13.3 inch display with full WACOM stylus support to draw and make notes on the fly. Unlike tablets this model will garner around 2 months of battery life. Pocketbook makes it very clear that the CAD Reader is not a replacement for your computer or tablet, but seeks to replace paper and have have new architecture plans updated on the fly.
This is one of the highest performing devices Pocketbook has ever released. It is running Android 4.0.4 on a dual-core 1 GHz CPU with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB Flash storage. The CAD Reader is the first device to use E-ink’s new Fina screen tech, which is lighter and thinner than most of the dedicated e-readers on the market.
One of the most potentially useful features of digital publishing was the ability of authors to publish their short stories without the tedious process of anthology selection. In the past, authors who pen short stories had to submit their stories to collections publishers, and those anthologies are typically only published periodically; barring that, the author could try to submit a full collection of his own works, of which few are traditionally published and almost never from a debut author.
Digital publishing and self-publishing threw open the doors to short story publication, and a resurgence in the genre has been enjoyed by readers of short form literature. Companies like Vook, Atavist, and Now & Then Reader have contributed to the renewed interest in the essay or pamphlet publishing of centuries ago, and today, Amazon Publishing announced its effort to bring short stories to the forefront of publishing.
StoryFront, the company’s short story imprint, not only will focus on publishing high quality short fiction, but will also be the source of a weekly digital literary journal that will specifically feature short stories and poetry from new and veteran authors.
“Based on the continued success of short fiction on Kindle as well as the enthusiastic response to Day One—we received thousands of subscriptions in the first week—we know readers are hungry for short stories and excited about exploring new genres,” said Daphne Durham, Publisher of Adult Trade and Children’s Group. “With StoryFront, we’re feeding that enthusiasm by offering a wide range of stories curated by a team of editors who are committed to the craft.”
StoryFront already has quite a number of stories released from several bestselling authors, including works that are closely tied to existing novels but that didn’t require another full-length novel in order to share with readers. The platform is also bringing translations of well-known international short stories to US reading audiences.
The Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader (DPT-S1) has been well received by the reading community because of its large and lightweight screen technology. Few e-readers ever produced have garnered such buzz and people are visibly excited about a wide-spread commercial release in May of 2014 in North America. Starting December 8th it will be available in Japan for around $1200 US or 98,000 yen. The sad part is that it will not be available in a retail environment. Instead, it will only be available for business customers via Sony’s own website and obviously through the grey market, such as Rakuten.
Many people were hoping that they could pick one of these readers at the big electronic stores like Edion or Bicamera. Unfortunately Sony is making the call to sell it only to business customers, which for the most part are schools. It is not really a product designed for the casual reading audience because it can only read PDF files. So for example, the Sony Reader Store would not be bundled on it, obviously leading to confusion if a newbie reader got their hands on one.
Amazon has relaunched its reader-centric promotion from last year’s holiday season, Twelve Days of Deals. Each day, different titles will be steeply discounted in both ebook and print editions. The promotion kicks off each day at 12:01 PST, and runs for twenty-four hours.
Today’s deals are titles that were selected from Amazon’s Best Books of 2013, so features the following titles:
• Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch—$2.99 (80% off the list price)
• Philipp Meyer’s The Son—$2.99 (82% off the list price)
• Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites—$2.99 (77% off the list price)
Print book deals will be discounted throughout the day (8 am PST – 8 pm PST) in four hour increments. Today’s deals in print books are:
• Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch—$8.99 (70% off the list price)
• Philipp Meyer’s The Son—$12.99 (53% off the list price)
• Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling—$11.99 (54% off the list price)
“We’re so excited to include our pick for the best book of the year, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, in 12 Days of Deals, and we have many great books lined up for every day of this promotion,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Books & Kindle at Amazon, in a press release today. “We think giving the gift of reading is always thoughtful, whether you’re wrapping a book for under the tree or gifting a Kindle book.”
For more information on the specials, click HERE.
Kobo has pulled their Windows 8 e-Reading app from the Microsoft App Store a few weeks ago. This move will now prevent owners of the Microsoft Surface or anyone on a Windows 8 PC from downloading or reading eBooks.
The Windows 8 Reading App by Kobo was originally developed before Windows 8 officially launched. The Canadian based company had the app all ready for the first wave of Beta testers way back in February 2012. Before the app was pulled, thousands of readers were using the app every day to buy eBooks and other digital content and then read it.
We have reached out to Kobo many times during the last few weeks to get an official comment. I had originally thought that they pulled the app to allow for the integration of their new magazine and kids book services, but it seems they have totally abandoned it. It seems basically that the entire app was not up to Kobo’s standards and many users have moaned that it was barely functional.
In the meantime, you can use the internet browser on any Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet by visiting the Kobo Instant Reader. This is an HTML5 reading app that was originally developed to give Apple iPad users the ability to buy eBooks using the Safari web-browser. It was basically a clandestine effort to bypass the mandatory 30% commission Apple takes from in-app purchases.
Pocketbook is a well known brand that specializes in e-Readers and has a somewhat devout following of people who like to load in their own books. The company has always released devices that appeal to a wider consumer market since 2007 and is about to aim a new product at the business segment.
The PocketBook CAD Reader will be 13.3 inches and uses a powerful 1GHz dual-core CPU running Android 4.0.4 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage making it very responsive with a large capacity for storing designs. With built-in Wi-Fi and 3G modules, large 8000 mAh battery.
The new CAD Reader is the first device using a new E Ink technology called Fina ePaper. It is designed specifically for displaying drawings generated with Autocad from Autodesk. It comes pre-installed with a number of free and paid CAD-applications. There is enough internal memory to hold the plans for up to 200 construction projects, which can be edited and shared through the collaboration workspace. The built-in touch screen and precise Wacom digitizer support both touch and a stylus.
“Our goal was to develop a device to be used on construction sites. We created a highly portable large format display device with a rugged and weatherproof case that could hold all the CAD drawings a team needs. This makes designs available virtually anyplace and anytime,” – said Dmitriy Shemet, head of research and development at PocketBook. “We chose the E Ink Fina 13.3 inch display because it has exactly the right properties we were looking for to develop PocketBook CAD Reader. The PocketBook CAD Reader delivers a new user experience for architects and specialists in construction trades allowing them to work on site”.
I am quite surprised that Pocketbook actually is intending on releasing a new device with such great specs. The company has been somewhat notorious over the years of consistently selling modern devices with single core 800 MHZ processors and 512 MB of RAM. This makes the bulk of their products woefully slow, this new one is aimed at a different segment and is optimal for bringing it out in the field.
Throughout the recent controversy over inappropriate and explicit content being listed in ebook retail websites alongside children’s and middle grade titles, the same questions kept coming to the surface: how did this happen, and how do we prevent it? Unfortunately for the authors and publishers of much of the questionable content, the immediate solution was to block nearly all titles with adult themes. Two retailers shut down their ebookstores altogether, while Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo all removed titles that they felt were in danger of being found by young consumers.
While the content has been slowly replaced in a one-at-a-time fashion, statements from at least one retailer have announced the position that they are under no obligation to sell any titles that do not meet their standards for appropriateness. Another retailer, Amazon, has taken the steps to evaluate the keywords that self-published authors associate with their titles and has begun the process of removing ebooks whose metadata and keywords seem intentionally misleading.
But in order to protect consumers, OverDrive announced today that it has created an online children’s reading room for its partner libraries. The purpose of this cyber sphere is to provide a safe and vetted location for young patrons to enjoy all of the same features and benefits that other patrons can have through the main OverDrive portal.
“eBooks are not just for adults, and we believe this site will help us highlight some of the great children’s content that we have to offer,” said Sharon Grant, Digital Branch Manager at Kitsap Regional Library where the digital reading room was piloted. “More importantly, we believe this site will save people time because it effectively highlights books by reading levels, age groups and interests.”
According to the press release on the launch of this child-safe library environment, “The eReading Room is a safe environment for children, independent of the larger digital collection, yet easily accessible and fully integrated – seamlessly working with your existing catalog. OverDrive offers clean, friendly, simple design options and the choice of including juvenile and/or young adult fiction and nonfiction titles. All titles in the eReading Room are also cataloged by reading level, ATOS scores, and other reading metrics to help parents and teachers select titles to aid in literacy campaigns. Adults and kids can sample titles in OverDrive Read prior to checking out a title.”
Hopefully, efforts such as this one will be sufficient to protect the interests of all parties involved. While young readers should not be subjected to material that is willfully mislabeled with the express purpose of attracting children, authors who have taken the appropriate steps to put their content only in front of mature audiences should not suffer under the sweeping changes that retailers have had to make.
Last month, Amazon’s traditional publishing arm and its host of imprints at Amazon Publishing announced a new incentive to get people reading on their Kindles: Kindle First. Each month, the editors at Amazon Publishing will select several titles from a variety of genres to be released a month early to Kindle users and Prime members. While these titles will be pre-released for $1.99–or free, for those Prime members–readers can select only one title each month to have at the steep discount and early date.
Today, Amazon Publishing announced the list of Kindle First titles for December, which include:
• Soy Sauce for Beginners, a beautiful debut novel about family bonds and personal identity by Kristin Chen,
• The Widow File, a political thriller of industrial espionage and military intrigue by SG Redling,
• Sweet Nothings by award-winning romance author Kim Law, which tells the story of a bachelorette baker and the man who convinced her of true love,
• Timebound by Rysa Walker, a fantastical novel about a 16-year-old time traveler that won this year’s overall grand prize as the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Inclusion in this selection may be especially poignant for Rysa Walker, as this year’s young adult ABNA winner who eventually won the grand prize as well. Originally a self-published title, Walker didn’t think much beyond her indie roots when she entered the contest. As she explained to Good e-Reader at the time of the announcement in June, “I self-published because the traditional publishing industry wasn’t working for me. I tried for a year to get attention from an agent and in almost every case I didn’t even get an email back from them saying why they weren’t interested or even that they’d gotten my email with the attached file.”
Are customers really responding to the opportunity to be the first to read a book? Possibly, as last month’s Kindle First titles all became number one bestsellers in their respective categories, as well as held spots in the Top Ten for all books. To find out more about Kindle First, click HERE.