Archive for rumors
If you walk into any major Barnes and Noble or Chapters bookstores, you will notice a slew of people reading. All of these book chains provide couches, desks, and plenty of chairs to chill out and check out some books. Often, people sit for hours, plowing through the majority of the book, and then leaving. Could bookstores get away with charging people to read for hours?
HarperCollins CEO Victoria Barnsley doesn’t think the idea of bookstores charging users to read is “not that insane.” In a recent radio interview in the UK, she talked about how bookstores are facing some downward trends. She predicted that in the next few years, the ebook and traditional book industry will level off, to a 50/50 split. Many stores are facing increased pressure to compete against .99 ebooks from Amazon, and have to look at alternative revenue models.
It is alternative models that have really changed the chain bookstore, all over the world. In Canada, and the US, you now have Starbucks cafes in almost every Indigo, Chapters, and Barnes and Noble store. In the UK, Waterstone’s added a ton of different cafes to most of their larger locations. All of these stores have also added stuffed animals, holiday themed accessories, e-readers, plates, cups, and lots of other stuff. Bookstores these days rely on high margin items to offset the decreased sales.
Chapters has reported a 4.9% decrease in revenue in Q3 2012, according to recently released financial numbers. They cited a lackluster demand for Kobo e-Readers, as the market has reached a saturation point. Barnes and Noble actually reported a very small profit of 2% in the entire 2012 year. Most of this success was pinned on their ebook and e-reader division, which saw a 45% increase for ebooks and 119% for readers. Most stores are not in a position to sell ebooks and readers directly and must do business with Amazon and Kobo, which undermine’s their long-term revenue potential.
Every store you walk into has people chilling out and reading books for free. If you hit the bookstore on your work break, you can often complete a novel in a few days. I know this because I used to do it. Could bookstores charge these regulars that sit for hours reading and never buying anything? How could they police this? Would they issue special cards or incentives with their loyalty program to buy into this? There is many questions up in the air, and suffice it to say, we have it on good authority that many large bookstores are evaluating programs like this.
This seems pretty obvious, given Apple’s present obsession to pack in as many pixels as is technically feasible, making it impossible for the naked eye to differentiate each individual pixel. The Retina craze started out with iPad 3 (among Apple’s bigger screen displays), but has since made it to many MacBook devices as well, not to mention the new iPad 4. In fact, it came as a surprise when iPad Mini was kept out of the Retina display club. However, such a scenario poses the perfect breeding ground for rumor mongers to flourish, and they are back with rumors of Apple already into developing the next gen iPad Mini that will offer Retina display.
However, it’s not as simple as it seems. Apple can;t just add a new higher resolution display to the already existing iPad Mini. A more heavy duty battery and a more capable processor are be required to ensure the same zippy performance levels as well as all day long battery backup times that has already made the iPad Mini one of the most sought after tablet devices. However, a higher capacity battery might add a few precious millimeters to the mini iPad, which boasts of an ultra thin profile, which in turn is one of the tablet’s key USP. The iPad Mini stands for mobility and portability, compared to the regular 9.7 inch iPad, and it would be really interesting to see how Apple manages the Mini’s future. It will be difficult to create an iPad Mini with Retina display while still keeping it slim and snappy.
Amazon is in late stage negotiations with Sweden based Bokrondellen to iron out specific demographics on the entire publishing industry. Bokrondellen basically has access to all of the metadata for the entire Swedish digital and traditional publishing industry. They hold all of the sales figures for the competition and know all about the current distribution pipelines. This is standard practice for Amazon when they are going to be penetrating a new market.
One of the main reasons why Amazon wants to enter the Swedish market is to appeal to the expatriates that live in Germany and the UK. Amazon already has a strong presence in both of those countries and being able to sell books written in their native language is something that would be very appealing.
If Amazon intends on entering Sweden in the next six months, there will obviously be some companies whose market reach will be severely diminished. Bokus is one company that has been around a few years and sells ebooks online in EPUB and PDF format. Elib is another one that does the same thing and has agreements with most of the major publishers. Obviously, Amazon will never do business with an existing company and will approach the publishers themselves to iron out agreements. The main factor right now is evaluating how existing businesses distribute books to other countries and domestically.
There are some very compelling benefits of Amazon’s strategy here. It will give a huge boost to the entire digital publishing segment. People will be more aware of the Kindle line of devices that will undoubtedly be available in the major bookstores. Independent authors will also have viable avenue to self-publish their books with Kindle Direct Publishing.
Earlier this year, Microsoft decided to invest in Barnes and Noble to a tune of $605 million dollars, over five years. This deal is going to bring the Nook eBook ecosystem to one of the premier showcase pieces for the upcoming OS. This gives Barnes and Noble the ability to expand outside of the USA and UK market, to sell books worldwide. This weekend, rumors are swirling about the next generation of Nook Tablets, to have Windows 8 as their new operating system.
When Barnes and Noble originally debuted the Nook Color a few years ago, the company was betting on Android to be one of the prime movers for its growth. It curated its own app store, that allowed developers to customize apps based on the screen and resolution. With subsequent followups to the Nook Color in the form of the Nook Tablet line, the company maintained a heavily customized user interface to give you an alternative to a vanilla Android experience. With Kobo, Amazon, and other companies very invested in Android, is the time right for B&N to give us a new experience?
One of the benefits of Windows 8 for the Nook Tablet 2 would be a more global appeal. The current line of Nook Tablets only allows customers in the USA and upcoming UK launch to tap into the ecosystem. If you live in Canada or in other international territories, you cannot buy books, apps, movies, or even use the unit if you don’t fake a USA address. In order to expand, B&N needs to release a device that would allow all markets to purchase it and buy content. This would give the company a huge advantage over the Amazon Kindle Fire HD line, which only lets you purchase a large number of things if you live in the USA.
The Microsoft and Barnes and Noble partnership may prove fruitful. Despite the rumors surrounding the Nook Tablet gravitating towards a Windows experience, I think B&N has too much invested in Android to make a huge shift. My thoughts are that B&N will produce an Android Tablet AND a Windows Tablet to see which one has the greater ability to effectively penetrate the market.
At any rate, Barnes and Noble normally announces new devices in New York around the end of this month every year. We won’t have to wait any longer than four weeks to find out the scoops. Of course, Good e-Reader will be live on the scene for the announcement, to give you pictures, video, and all the news.
Many companies are announcing new tablets and e-readers today and more are sure to follow in the coming weeks. Barnes and Noble intends on announcing a new tablet within the next month or two and rumors are swirling on what they will release. An anonymous source has claimed that the new tablet will bump up the display resolution to over 243 ppi. It is also said the new hardware will be lighter then previous models, which should make them a bit more pocket friendly.
Other rumors entail a new video store that will offer downloads and rentals straight from Barnes and Noble. This may account for the HD resolution that the tablet is said to have. We should hear some solid information coming down the pipe within the next month.
The Nexus 7 may be ruling the roost in the 7 inch tablet segment, though it still is lacking a crucial aspect: it relies on its Wi-Fi capability to connect to the internet. While that hasn’t stopped millions (presumably) from picking up the Google tablet, that 3G capability will further add shine to its appeal is all too well known. Also, the good news on this front is that such a development is already rumored to be taking place and something concrete on this could be expected soon.
As sources with modaco pointed out, a 3G enabled Nexus 7 could be on sale by the next six weeks. Everything else with the Google tablet is expected to be exactly the same as its Wi-Fi counterpart. However the biggest question right now will be how much of a price premium a built-in 3G modem on the Nexus 7 will command. Price has been one of the biggest pluses with the tablet and it will be interesting to see how much more the Nexus 7 3G will cost.
The Nexus 7 has only recently been made available in more international markets and though its appeal remains intact, its real challenge will be to see off what Amazon throws as it in the form of the Kindle Fire II.
Barnes and Noble might be in the late stages of bringing out a new 7-inch model that features “revolutionary screen technology.” The Nexus 7 is doing tremendously robust sales and Amazon is poised to release the second iteration of the Kindle Fire within the next month, Barnes and Noble has their work cut out for them.
Sources today have told CNET that “Barnes & Noble will continue to focus on the “reading experience,” adding new features related to that mission, but the Nook Store would also be expanded with additional media options, including some not seen before on a tablet. The source couldn’t tell us specifically what those options were, but given that the Nook lacks the sort of dedicated music and video store found on the Nexus 7 (Google Play) and Kindle Fire (Amazon video and music), that seems like an obvious avenue for an updated Nook.”
Barnes and Noble is obviously due for a new tablet and has been releasing a new model every single year. Realistically they might bring it into the market by November. The most interesting aspect of this news item is what screen technology will they be using? Will a big name company finally use Pixel QI or will Mirasol find a North American distribution partner? What about Plastic Logic or Samsung Liquidvista? Using either of thesecompeting technologies would bridge the gap between e-reader and tablet.
There is a new iPad rumored to be coming our way, but before you start the celebrations, it’s not going to be a whole new device. Rather, it’s going to be the same iPad 3 with enough modifications introduced to ensure people fall in love with it all over again. Of course, Apple hasn’t confirmed a word of it, though Digitimes is claiming that’s the next step with the iPad.
So it’s a sleeker iPad 3, thinner and lighter than the current version, and the camera hole at the back panel is also bigger this time to allow for a higher aperture camera to be fitted. Sources also point out Apple is bringing about some changes to the battery pack in the iPad 3 which, it is believed, will take care of the tablet getting over-heated.
All of this information has been sourced from a Taiwanese tech journal, who in turn got it from those involved in the actual manufacturing process.
The iPad 3 was released mid-March this year and boasted a superb retina display, among other niceties. However, to support that many pixels, a bigger battery was called for, which in turn added to the weight and thickness. Now with the resolution versus battery life issue being refined, the iPad 3 will go back to being slim and light.
As usual, we are only speculating and anything could happen. In any case, the new iPad is expected to arrive around the holiday season, if it even exists. Though that would hamper the usual yearly cycle of Apple launching a new iteration of iPad during the March-April period.
Needless to say it’s all up in the air right now and an official declaration might not be available soon.
No sooner has the Nexus 7 tablet transitioned rumor to reality, that word of a bigger 10 inch version got out. All the speculation did culminate into a the new 7 inch Nexus tablet and a 10 inch version of the same will be equally exciting if made available at an attractive price point. Also, look at what Samsung had done with their 7 inch Galaxy Tab, following it with the release of its more successful 10.1 inch version.
Digitimes is reporting Google is likely to source the 10 inch touch panels from Wintek and AU Optronics. Wintek is already believed to be involved in the Nexus 7 project, with some sources also claiming the company might have supplied Asus over a million 7 inch touch panels for building the Nexus 7. TPK Holdings is another company that is also touted to be supplying the touch panels for Nexus 7.
Needless to say, there is no further info available as yet about the 10 inch Nexus and it’s anybody’s guess when it’s going to be launched, though there are chances it could happen during the holiday period in December. A Nexus 10 tablet could pinch Apple hard if Google can ensure the Nexus 10 is also just as affordable, though let’s just hope it’s innovative enough to dodge clear of Apple’s legal web.
Zinio continues to be one of the largest digital newsstands on the internet with content available on Android, iOS, Blackberry, and many more. The company is feeling the pinch of Apple’s Newsstand and competing services from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Fortune Magazine is reporting today that the company might be for sale.
The San Francisco-based company has hired investment bank Montgomery & Co. to manage the process, with one source saying that the company is seeking between $50 million and $100 million. No idea yet if there is buy-side interest at that price.
Originally Zinio did brisk business when the Apple iPad first launched. Sources within the company told us that they had developmental models months before it launched and Apple had courted them as a launch partner. Years later, Zinio continues to be one of the all time downloaded apps on the App Store.
They say imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, but not if you lose money. When Zinio first started selling digital magazines they did not have very much competition and allowed them to expand at a rapid rate. When Apple introduced their newsstands as a bundled part of iOS, it cut deeply into the revenues of Zinio. Amazon and Barnes and Noble then launched their own services which comes pre-installed on every e-reader and tablet they offer.
Zinio continues to be most peoples favorite app of choice due to the wide array of content and the low prices. Magazines on the new iPad have been optimized for the retina display and look amazing.
We broke the story a few months ago that Amazon was opening up a retail store in the Seattle area, where they are based. Forbes, Fox News, CNN and many other news-sources picked up on our story and we have a new chapter to report on.
According to leaked sources from design firm NBBJ, the new Amazon store will be on the ground retail level in one of the towers the are constructing. It will feature a large bookstore where books published by Amazon will be sold. There will also be a cafe attached to it and is it unknown if Amazon will do their own in-house operation or contract it out to another Seattle based company, Starbucks.
In February, Amazon reached an agreement with Clise Properties to purchase the land in downtown Seattle. This was the companies first foray into actually buying land and developing a mega project on it. The online retailer has filed preliminary plans with the city to build three office towers of one million square feet each. Each tower would include a parking and sit on its own block. Seattle architecture firm NBBJ was commissioned to design the project.
The proposed store is slatted to face 7th avenue but it could take as long as eight years to finish, a project architect has revealed. The store and retail center is slatted to be designed first. John Savo of NBBJ recently told the city board that “On the block likely to be developed first, a small bridge would link the tower to a 40,000-square-foot auditorium type of building seating 2,000 that Amazon plans to build along Lenora Street, Savo said. The online retailer’s current Seattle offices lack such a meeting space, he added. It would be “more like a ballroom in a hotel” than an auditorium. The block closest to downtown — between Sixth, Seventh and Westlake avenues and Virginia and Lenora streets — probably would be developed first”, he added.
It is only a matter of time before Amazon starts their retail store and the plans for its construction are being finalized. This would give them an excellent place to sell their eBooks from their fledgling publishing division and also give incentives for authors who use Amazon Create Space and Kindle Direct Publishing. Patrons would even be able to purchase audiobooks and gain access to the internet via WIFI. Amazon has been pioneering NFC technology famously over last holiday season where customers could scan products and get cheaper deals on Amazon. Likely the company will introduce this type of technology in their stores for people to buy digital content right on their devices.
Don’t forget, Amazon is paving the way for a solid infrastructure right now. They recently introduced a Locker type system in Seattle and now Washington. This gives people a physical place to visit to pick up their online purchases. Slowly but surely they are laying down a foundation for a physical empire that is smaller in scale.
In the last few days we have given you a clearer picture of what the whole situation is all about with the new Microsoft Surface. The one crucial missing link (among several) is the extent of damage that will inflict on our wallet. However, news coming in from Taiwan isn’t making the Surface tablet a rosy proposition. As revealed by Digitimes, the consumer version of the Surface will be priced above $599, which makes it a $100 more than the base version of the iPad and a lot more in a disadvantage in the great tablet game. That said, Microsoft’s marketing strategy may be to target only the higher end model of the tablet as specs reveal the tablet will comes in memory options of 32 and 64 GB. In contrast, the iPad lineup starts with a 16 GB model, with 32 and 64 GB model higher up in the range. Similarly, the Surface Pro running Windows 8 is expected to cost a minimum of $799. Digitimes further reveals its Pegatron Technology that has contracted for assembling the Surface tablet though there are no firm estimates of the order volume available as yet.
In the end, it will be worth remembering the above mentioned prices has been nothing but rumors and will remain so until Microsoft comes clean with their plans. However, what is a certainty is that the Richmond, Washington based company will have to push really hard on the price front if they wish to see the Surface raking in numbers anywhere close to the Apple iPad. The Surface can be Microsoft’s golden chance to finally put to rest the ghost of its failed hardware ventures such as the Zune music player or the Kin smartphone.
Things seem to be picking up pace with the 7 inch Google tablet now that the Nexus 7 has been spotted in benchmark tests. Google is readying the device with Asus as the hardware partner. The test though does not paint a clear picture of the device that is slated for a release in June, possibly during Google I/O conference.
That said, a few interesting facts has come to the fore. Like the tablet may eventually be seen running Android’s next version — Jelly Bean. Jelly bean in turn is considered to be a minor upgrade over Android ICS and is believed to incorporate some tablet specific features. The benchmark tests reveal the tablet to be based on Android 4.1 which is labelled as JRN51B. Experts believe this is an indication of it being based on Android Jelly Bean.
This apart, the other features the Nexus 7 will come with include a 1280 x 768 pixel display and a 1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad core processor.
More of it is expected in the coming days.