Indie bookstores normally are swamped during the holiday season, as people ravenously buy everything in sight. Giving the gift of a good book can actually be a life changing event and HarperCollins has announced a new Holiday Express Shipping beginning November 3, 2014 and running through January 16, 2015. All qualifying orders from participating stores received by 1:00pm (EST) will ship out the next business day or two.
“We are pleased to provide this service to the Indie channel in the busiest time of year in order to help them have HarperCollins titles in stock and meet the demands of their customers,” said Brian Grogan, senior vice president of sales for HarperCollins Publishers.
“We are equally thrilled to be able to offer this additional level of service to independent Christian retail,” said Tom Knight, senior vice president of sales for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “It is our hope that this program will encourage independent retailers during the critical holiday selling season.”
Chromecast is enjoying increasing support from app developers, which is good news for those of us with Android devices and the desire to make them interact with our televisions. Thanks to recent updates, this capability has been added to: Twitch.tv, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, iHeartRadio, and DramaFever.
What will you enjoy with these apps? With the three channels provided by Disney (free, if you have a cable provider subscription that includes this content), you will see kid-friendly shows broken down into roughly sorted age groups. Music lovers will be excited to try out iHeartRadio, well known as a free and well-populated audio service. Twitch.tv lets the gamers in your life enjoy videos of their favourite titles being played live, while DramaFever is all about International content (in Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Spanish, among others).
Every one of these additions has to make Apple a little nervous –especially when the Chromecast device comes in at under half the purchase cost of the Apple TV.
If you are fans of the music by Avenged Sevenfold, and you really like the horror genre, news that the band is about to release a new action-RPG game for your iOS and Android devices will be very exciting. In Hail to the King: Deathbat you are invited to fight your way through Nightmare and Bat Country, parts of an animated web series already developed and released.
Describing their project, Avenged Sevenfold stated:
“Hail to the King: Deathbat is a brutal romp through the darkest depths of the underworld with an epic tale of redemption, devastating melee combat, towering boss fights, 7 hellish landscapes and classic Avenged Sevenfold cuts along with a new and original score composed by the band.”
The game will feature 8 new theme songs from the band that you can listen to while collecting swords, magic, and powers. Little else is known about the game just yet, other than news that those gamers who love to collect achievements will be richly rewarded.
Hail to the King: Deathbat is due to be released for Android and iOS devices on October 16, 2014, so there isn’t much more time to wait!
There are plenty of action hero games available in the mobile world, but few that capture the true essence of their comic book beginnings. In Spider-Man Unlimited, Gameloft has found a way to marry an action-packed arcade adventure game with the hand-drawn charm of a classic Marvel comic.
The aim of the game is to defeat the Sinister Six. They have opened a dimensional portal in New York (in an effort to bring forth endless versions of themselves). Grouped by issues, the first two are ready to go –with each one featuring 5 boss battles and 25 missions. For those among you who are competitive, daily and weekly events offer rewards while in Event Mode. In Unlimited Mode you can fight your way to the top of the leaderboards.
Gameplay is easy to learn but difficult to master; when you are getting used to a new endless runner, you have to think fast and let the controls become second nature. The best part of the game might just be the storyline and the character voices (giving way to their personalities). A tutorial will get you started on your way, but before long you are on your own.
The graphics are colourful and fun, the text is very easy to read on the screen, and the animations are just detailed enough to make the game enjoyable without seeming over the top (or making you wait for them to load or play through). I am especially fond of the little things, like being able to see that Spidey is breathing by the movements in his chest (making him seem that little bit more realistic).
Feel like making the world a safer place? Download Spider-Man Unlimited for Android and try your hand at playing the hero. The app is free, but be warned –there are opportunities to purchase virtual items.
Television and Radio programs often have to rely on sponsors and public donations to keep everything running smoothly. Bookshout is pioneering a new eBook program that can be used to give literary rewards to donors and philanthropists.
How exactly does this new program work? Jason Ilian the CEO of Bookshout spelled it out out. ” Existing radio and television stations that do fundraising campaigns are normally in touch with Forest Incentive. Forest has integrated the Bookshout API, so free eBooks can be given out with the campaign. The station will work with Forest to choose which book(s) they want and a special link is set out to the receipt via phone or email. The link will take them to a branded one-time redemption page where all they have to do is enter a username and password. Then the donor will be reading the ebook on BookShout. They can use the iOS, Android, or web app at any time for their ebooks.”
Publishing giants such as HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Open Road Integrated Media, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, Workman Publishing, and numerous others have committed to participating in the program. “HarperCollins is honored to provide our great content to all public broadcasters via the BookShout!/Forest partnership,” said Chantal
Restivo-Alessi, the Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins. “We believe this will be a powerful new sales channel for our ebooks and authors.”
The European Court of Justice has just concluded that EU member states are free to charge differing rates of VAT on eBooks and paper books. This will allow all countries in Europe to basically change their VAT on all books and not break ‘fiscal neutrality’, an EU concept whereby markets for the same goods are distorted by varying tax rates.
There have been major disagreements between member states and the European Commission on this subject over the past three years. Luxembourg dropped eBooks from the standard 15% VAT rate to 3% in 2012. France then followed suite with a drop from the then standard French VAT 19.5% to 5.5%.
Most countries in Europe have different VAT prices on digital content and were remiss to change their policies because they did not want to get smote by the European Court of Justice. With their new ruling, member states are now totally free to change the taxes on eBooks, without worry.
The 3% VAT based in Luxembourg was very advantageous to Amazon, Apple, Google and Kobo as an entry point to Europe. By basing their operations there, they could sell books in most European countries at a reduced VAT rate. This really helped them penetrate the lucrative UK market, where the established VAT rate is 20% on digital content.
Publishers, bookstores and small presses have been lobbying the UK government for change. They found that being based in the United Kingdom was inherently disadvantageous, because they had to charge 20% VAT, while Amazon could get away with 3%. This has prompted the EU to change their legislation in early 2015. Ebook companies will have to charge VAT at the rate where the customer is who buys the e-book, rather than at the rate where the servers of the e-book business are based.
Kobo has announced that they have formed a new partnership with Bol.com, the largest provider of eBooks in the Netherlands and Belgium. Starting today, customers will be able to order the entire Kobo Arc line of tablets and modern e-readers like the Kobo Aura and Aura HD directly on the Bol website. This agreement though, goes far beyond e-readers and may be a blueprint of how Kobo forms relationships with eBook retails going forward.
Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital.
Every so often, a Kobo press release hits the Good e-Reader offices, and it normally involves them establishing new relationships with booksellers to get their e-readers in as many retail channels as possible. One specific element on the official press release piqued my interest “Over the next few months, bol.com and Kobo will launch innovations to make digital reading even more user-friendly.” What exactly does this mean?
I talked to Pieter Swinkels, Vice President, Publisher Relations & Merchandising at Kobo. He stated “Starting today we are combining our libraries to offer the widest selection possible in the Netherlands and Belgium. This takes some time; the transition has begun and should be complete very soon. As well, customers will be able to buy books across the two platforms (bol.com store, Kobo store, Kobo device store, apps stores) and be able to access them through one cloud-based library (the Kobo library), they will have the full regular Kobo experience, including Reading Life, Notes and Bookmark Synchronization. We will continue to have the Dutch version of the global Kobo apps for all platforms, but also in coming weeks expect to launch a special bol.com-Kobo app.”
He went on to specifically address Sony users “Customers using a Sony device from bol.com will continue to have the experience they have now, so they’ll buy on the bol.com site and download their purchase with Adobe DE or Watermark. They will also be able to access those books on Kobo devices and apps, with their bol.com or Kobo account. In other words, we’re completely connecting the two platforms and creating one, seamless experience of searching, buying and reading. This is a tremendous departure from the previous bol.com experience, which was, as you write, basically a side loading experience.”
So what we are seeing now with the Bol partnership is Kobo willingly including another retailers digital library into their own. This might appeal towards other online booksellers such as Txtr.
HarperCollins has introduced new digital watermark technology that will be very appealing towards customers in Europe. Digimarc Guardian watermarks are fully compatible with DRM solutions. The tractability they provide remains fully effective even in cases where the DRM layer has been removed by users, using 3rd party tools.
Digital watermarking technology caught on a few years ago when the entire Harry Potter eBook collection adopted it, instead of going the traditional DRM route. This allows users to seamlessly load their purchased content on as many devices as they wish, without the need for bulky third party programs or apps.
Digimarc’s cloud-based platform offers easy-to-integrate API support for most e-book formats, including EPUB, PDF and MOBI. For each transaction, the platform generates a unique, traceable digital watermark and embeds it throughout the e-book. The imperceptible digital identifiers are extremely difficult for pirates to locate and remove. Adding Digimarc Guardian
Watermarks takes just seconds and is invisible to the end customer.
Digimarc’s anti-piracy service then crawls the web 24×7 searching for watermarked content. When a watermark is detected, Digimarc provides the unique identifier to the publisher to match against its own transaction records. Digimarc Guardian Watermarks do not contain any user information; the Digimarc Watermarks contain only anonymous digital IDs.
HarperCollins confirmed with Good e-Reader that watermarks will have a very gradual roll out, and not all new titles will have this technology. They also neglected to mention if specific markets will have this feature introduced first, such as Europe, where watermarking is the current rage.
If you are feeling equal parts creative and entrepreneurial, Makr by Happy Media could be the app you need to succeed (using only your phone). Using your own visual identity or logo, create custom swag (like t-shirts, tote bags, or temporary tattoos). Once your items are mocked-up and looking just right, you can then sell your merchandise in the built-in online store (letting Makr handle all aspects of production, shipping, and payments).
The whole process is a little like Etsy, minus the handcrafting. Makr wins by capitalizing on your ideas while absorbing all of the risk so you don’t have to (by working with vendors). So what’s in it for you? If somebody buys an item that you designed, $2 goes directly into your pocket!
It may seem like a small profit margin, but consider that you really aren’t doing any of the heavy lifting.
Filled with design and marketing tools, Makr promises professional products that are easy for anybody to create. Need a little help? Try one of their templates, giving you a head-start on: business cards, party invitations, wedding materials, stickers, postcards, stationary, greeting and holiday cards –or maybe you want funny or themed clothing for an event you are hosting.
Makr – a design + print shop is only available for iOS devices currently –download it for free from the App Store now!
Barnes and Noble wants to change how they are currently selling books online by a massive effort to rebuild their website. They have been working at a feverish pace to insure the new design will make discovering and buying content easier than ever.
In the latest quarterly filings, B&N cut its overall net loss to $28.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, down from $87 million in the same quarter last year, with $50 million in cuts coming from downsizing the company’s Nook segment. Cuts alone won’t return profitability to the ailing e-reader and tablet brand, but selling digital content will.
Barnes and Noble is betting that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will lead to more digital consumption. They have really been hyping the additional $200 worth of free eBooks, magazines television shows and movies you receive from buying the tablet. You can think of it, as showcasing all of the different type of materials that can be purchased in the Nook ecosystem.
If you don’t have a dedicated Nook device, your options to purchase digital content from the largest bookstore chain the USA is questionable. You can have to rely on a slew of apps, with no single app acting as your all-in-one solution. Take Android for example, if you want videos, you have to download Nook Video, the main B&N app just works with eBooks, graphic novels and magazines. If you want kids books, there is a dedicated one for that too, but keep in mind, its US and UK only, whereas Amazon and Kobo are basically global.
Will a new website that focuses on search, discovery and a responsive design be received well in the online world? This type of undertaking consumes lots of money and resources, with no clear indication that it will lead to an influx of sales. There is no denying that the US is completely saturated with Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Netflix, Zinio and a host of others all offering specialized content. It remains to be seen that a new website will magically solve all of the forces that work against Nook.
Macworld magazine has been going strong since 1984 and has been chronicling all things Apple. Due to a decline in print subscriptions the publication has announced they are abandoning the print edition and focusing more on the website and digital version.
There has been a tremendous amount of negative publicity surrounding Macworld since the formal unveiling of the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch event. Most of their senior staff covered the event for six hours and contributed commentary and live event coverage. The very next day most of them were sacked.
So who exactly left Macworld? Dan Frakes, Phillip Michaels and Dan Moren. Senior Vice President and Editorial Director Jason Snell announced he was leaving the company in a decision that had been made prior to the layoffs; Serenity Caldwell also posted that she had given notice last week, and would be leaving the magazine at the end of the month. Dan Miller posted that he would be “here for another month to assist with the transition.” Senior Editor Chris Breen apparently remains the only “big name” writer left with the publication.
Macworld will continue operating their website, with a reduced staff. They will also publish a digital edition via the Apple Newsstand. If you’re a current print subscriber, look for information about your new subscription options in the November issue of the magazine.
Last year PC World, a magazine focused exclusively on Windows announced they were suspending their print edition. If a magazine focused on the most widely used operating system in the world cannot make print viable, who can?
There is a vast segment of Kindle owners that download pirated eBooks from the internet. It is estimated that up to 20% of eBook downloads stem from bit-torrent or pirate sites. There is a new online threat that is targeting Kindle owners, that may hijack your entire Amazon account.
Digital Books have a great deal of metadata that assists online retailers and publishers in understand reading habits and key metrics. Most of this data is harmless and can be equated to cookies, when you visit internet websites. A new vulnerability has been discovered, that targets pirated eBooks and key metadata in the header or authors name can run external scripts and compromise your Amazon account.
Here is how the vulnerability works. Hackers have been injecting links to external websites in the book’s title or in the field reserved for the name of the author, or in both. The script is triggered when you visit the Amazon Kindle Management page and have used the Send to Kindle Plugin. The Kindle Library takes whatever is inside the book’s title or author fields and inserts it into the Kindle Library web page. As a result, if the title or author fields contain HTML code, this code becomes part of the Kindle Library web page and is treated as if it had originated from Amazon’s server.Send to Kindle remains a very popular function, Amazon has an official version and many 3rd parties have developed alternatives for Android, Chrome, Firefox or iOS. It basically allows you to send documents and eBooks directly to your Amazon account to be read by a Kindle e-Reader, tablet or official reading app.
Piracy has been running rampant ever since the Kindle was first released. The Publishers Association issued 115,000 legal threats to websites to stop free pirated books in 2011, a rise of 130% on 2010. Many websites and file sharing services allow anyone to download them, and the person who cracked it normally just wants to give it away. This new vulnerability should give you pause, that a free eBook may come with a catch.
Barnes and Noble is offering a discount for online orders for the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. US residents can order it directly from the Barnes and Noble website and get the tablet until September 14th for $169.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a stark contrast to all previous Nook tablets, because it has two cameras, a vanilla version of Android and the ability to really customize your own experience. Prior models of the Nook had a UI that was hard to change, this the Samsung Nook allows you to install your own keyboards, launchers and widgets.
International users can get value from the new Samsung Nook tablet, since you can download apps now from the B&N official app store and get expanded content from Google Play. The only limitations right now is renting to buying television shows or movies directly from Barnes and Noble. eBooks, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and kids books are all easily purchased.