GoodeReader - The definitive News Outlet on eBook, e-Readers, and Digital Publishing News - Part 2

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The Moscow Metro has unveiled an ambitious new plan to give free eBooks away to riders. This pilot project is only starting at a handful of subway stations and once all of the kinks have been worked out will expand to over 195.

Riders will be able to get free access to Nikolai Gogol’s Nose, Alexander Pushkin’s Egyptian Nights, Anton Chekhov’s About Love, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Mr. Prokharchin by scanning QR codes. The codes will be read on a smartphone or tablet and instantly download the book to your device.

The first few stations to get this service will be Dinamo, Belorussky, and Krasnye Vorota. It will eventually spread to all of the system’s 195 metro stations, and is already available on about 700 of the city’s trams, trolleys, and buses.

The metro system is always going to be unveiling a new WIFI system by the end of the year. This will allow users to not only download the books but also the reading apps necessary to view them.

Categories : E-Book News
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A number of analysts have been proclaiming that within a few years digital eBooks will overtake print. PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the most notorious, who recently said this will occur in 2018. Is this possible?

In the United States and Britain, sales of eBooks represent between a quarter and a third of the consumer book market. According to a recent survey by Nielsen Books, eBook sales made up 23% of unit sales for the first six months of 2014, while hardcover’s accounted for 25% and paperbacks 42%.

Ever since the Kindle was released in 2007 digital sales have consistently increased by double digit figures. In 2013, sales growth for eBooks slowed to single digits, and the new numbers from Nielsen suggest the leveling off was no anomaly.

Can we ever get to the point where eBook sales will outsell print, whether its in 2018, as PWC expects, or beyond? I think its possible, but a number of things have to occur for the general public to really embrace it.

One of the big drawbacks in North America and the UK is the fact digital books are merely licensed and not truly owned. When you buy an eBook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo you don’t actually own it, you are basically just buying a temporary license. The lack of ownership can create a host of problems that end up being mainstream news. In 2013 Amazon remotely deleted purchased copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from customers’ Kindles after providing them a refund for the purchased products. This was primarily due to a rift with the original publisher and rights issues. Additionally,  a Norwegian women tried to purchase a Kindle book from the UK bookstore. Under Amazon’s rules, this type of action is barred, as the publisher seeks to control what content is read in which territory of the world. Her account was promptly deleted and all content lost.

Another big reason why eBooks likely won’t overtake print anytime soon is chiefly due to Adobe DRM. Digital Rights Management is a form of encryption that prevents unauthorized access or distribution of eBooks you purchase. This is primarily why if you borrow a digital title from the library or buy an eBook online, you need to use Adobe Digital Editions to load it on your e-reader. Unlike real books, you can’t loan out purchased content out to friends, unless you give out your account information to a friend, which is against the terms of service. Some publishers have opted into a program for the sharing of a title for up to two weeks, one time on the Kindle and Nook ecosystem. But these companies do little to promote it and the actual process is a bit complicated.

I think what the eBook industry needs to do is gravitate away from using Adobe Digital Editions as the default standard to protect publishers content. Instead, they need to start embracing Social DRM or Digital Watermarks. In the last few weeks I have conducted interviews with Digimarc and Booxtream, which have been eye opening. They basically outlined their technology in such a way that I thought “why isn’t everyone doing this?”

Right now digital watermarking is big in Europe and is considered the de’facto standard in the publishing arena, but now North Americans are slowly starting to realize the potential. The watermark is imperceptible to the average book reader because the underlying technology is invisible to the naked eye. The way it handles data can take two distinctive forms: personal information about the user who purchased the eBook (such as an email address) or an ID number that the distributor can use to look up the user or transaction in a database. This technology basically allows users to easily loan an eBook to a friend or load it on their smartphone, tablet, or e-reader without the need to use any 3rd party programs. Its as simple as using Windows Explorer when your gadget is plugged into your computer and copy/paste.

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Finally, the worldwide market has failed to embrace eBooks in a meaningful way, as readers in North America have. Last year, digital books made up 8% of the consumer book market in France, less than 4% in Germany and Italy, and 1% in Sweden and Norway. In Asia, Japan led the eBook markets with 15% of the country’s total consumer book revenues; China and India, meanwhile, lagged far behind at 3%. Part of the reason why the adoption is so low is the actual cost of eBooks. If you look at the top 10 bestseller list, the average title is around $12.00 in the US, but in France its $24.99, $20.00 in Germany and 19.02 in Sweden.

So to sum everything up. In order for eBooks to have a shot at overtaking print there has to be a clear defined path of ownership. There also has to be a stabilization of pricing and it has to be very intuitive to loan a book to a friend or load it on as many devices as you desire.

Categories : Commentary, E-Book News
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Welcome to another Video Installment of the Good e-Reader Gift Giving Guide! Last month we did one on the best e-readers of 2014 and today we are basically looking back on 2014 and giving our advice for the best devices to buy yourself or a loved one. Peter and myself have very different views on technology, so you can get a sense on what we loved the most.


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If you are a seasoned airline traveler, likely you will be familiar with the quintessential in-flight entertainment system. It provides an animated map with the location of your flight and also a host of movies, television shows, music and children’s content. You can now add eBooks to the list to keep the literary minded entertained.

Starting November 26, HarperCollins will be providing excerpts from a selection of bestselling eBooks, and each digital sample will include buy buttons to a variety of retailers. Excerpted titles include Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean.

I think its great that Jetblue recognizes that more and more airline flyers are reading on their e-readers and tablets. This is chiefly because of the relaxing of restrictions regarding the gate to gate use of these gadgets.

Categories : E-Book News
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds thousands of health and research scientists to solve many of the worlds most dire issues. Until this point, the reports and data the foundation funded were sometimes published in magazines, sold online and generally out of reach for the general public. This is set to change.

The Gates Foundation has announced that starting in 2017 it will require that the researchers it funds publish only in immediate open-access journals. In order to setup a proper pipeline for scientists the Foundation is mandating that current grantees can publish in subscription-based journals as long as their paper is freely available within 12 months. But after that, the journal must be open access, meaning papers are free for anyone to read immediately upon publication. Articles must also be published with a license that allows anyone to freely reuse and distribute the material. And the underlying data must be freely available.

“By reinforcing the global health community’s commitment to sharing research data and information, we can accelerate the development of new solutions to tackle infectious diseases, cut maternal and child mortality, and reduce malnutrition in the world’s poorest places,” wrote Trevor Mundel, president of the foundation’s Global Health Division, on the group’s website on 20 November.

The Gates Foundation spends roughly $900 million dollars a year on research. This equates to 1400 papers a year that soon will be available for anyone to read right away. Only 30% of the existing reports actually are open-access right now, so within a few years this number will increase to 100%, which will be a boon for free digital access.

Categories : Digital Education
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In many ways, Netflix has enjoyed being the de facto standard in the video streaming game –but that is all starting to change. Other services are gaining ground, particularly Amazon, and especially with their plans for a free video service (where currently you must have a $99/year Prime membership).

Some of you might recall that this isn’t the first time that the rumour has circulated stating Amazon is readying a free video service, but they aren’t denying it anymore (at least not exactly). When asked for a comment, Amazon spokesperson Sally Fouts stated:

“We currently offer the first episode of some television shows free with ads through our First Episode Free feature on Amazon Instant Video, and there are display ads on some short videos such as movie and game trailers. We’re often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers, but we have not announced any plans to offer an ad-supported video streaming service.”

Expanding upon the ad-supported service that currently offers the first episode of certain TV shows makes sense, offering Amazon a means by which to expand their advertising network (known as the Amazon Media Group and operating across all of their properties: Amazon.com, Quidsy, Imdb.com, and DPReview). A larger video streaming service would also help encourage brand loyalty, making sales of their devices more attractive for would-be consumers.

For some, choosing a video streaming service comes down to pricing; others won’t (can’t) stray from their first choice because of the growing library of original content being produced (any other Netflix subscribers completely addicted to House of Cards?).

Categories : Android News
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The British Library Prepares To Capture The Digital Universe

Sometimes we get spoiled in North America with the sheer of amount of options available to borrow eBooks from the library. Statistically over 90% of all libraries in North America have a digital collection and patrons can access all of the content remotely. Things are different in the United Kingdom where only a few major libraries have bothered with a modern eBook collection.

In May 2013 the UK government funded a review looking into the viability of allowing customers to borrow eBook, without all of the drama. The Sieghart Review said publishers should not limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing eBooks after lending and having digital books “deteriorate after a number of loans”.

A pilot project was initiated in four UK libraries in March 2014 that augmented the digital loaning period for up to 21 days and included a number of front-list titles, including bestsellers that just came out. The essence of the pilot is to carry out real-time, real-world research into the impact of eBook lending in public libraries on authors, publishers and on the library service so that a suitable and sustainable model.

Its been around six months since the pilot was first initiated and there has been some interesting findings. All four participating authorities have seen a significant increase in e-lending,  with longer loan periods leading to more titles being borrowed. The project has also found the increase in e-lending is not decreasing physical lending or footfall to libraries.

One of the most important elements to the six month report is the fact that the increase in digital loans is not driving people to buy more eBooks. “There has been extremely low take up of the opportunity to buy the borrowed eBook through use of the ‘click to purchase’ facility,” the Publishers Association said.

Click to Purchase is a relatively new e-commerce strategy Simon & Schuster and other publishers have been employing in order to allow libraries to generate additional revenue by selling the books on their website. The actual eBook sales are facilitated by companies such as Overdrive.

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Serious readers have their favorite fiction or non-fiction authors and getting their autograph can be tremendously fulfilling. If you don’t live in a major urban center the prospects of getting something signed is challenging to say the least. Barnes and Noble, the largest bookseller in the US is undertaking a massive new initiative this upcoming Black Friday, by offering over 500,000 signed titles by 100 authors.

Starting November 28th, the bookseller will offer 500,000 signed editions from more than 100 of today’s biggest authors, with a selection of 100 being available in every Barnes & Noble store nationwide beginning on Black Friday. An impressive group of leading authors including Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Amy Poehler, Donna Tartt, George W. Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeff Kinney, Joel Osteen, Mario Batali, Mo Willems, Rick Riordan, Rick Yancey, Rainbow Rowell and many more personally signed thousands of copies of their books as part of this unique campaign to deliver meaningful gifts to Barnes & Noble customers.

Barnes & Noble has been planning this program for the last seven months, as getting this many autographs can be fairly daunting.  Some authors went beyond their signature to personalize the books, with Mo Willems, bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of popular children’s books (Pigeon series, Elephant & Piggie series, Knuffle Bunny series) drawing the head of his popular Pigeon character in his signed editions. Brandon Stanton, author of last year’s runaway hit Humans of New York, included an illustration of a dinosaur in what he referred to as his special “dino” edition of all of the copies he signed. All signed editions will be featured on a special front-of-store display when customers walk through the doors of their local Barnes & Noble on Black Friday.

Want to see exactly what books will be available? Check out the press release below, it lists every title and who autographed it.


Categories : Bookselling
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The European publishing industry has firmly embraced social DRM or digital watermark technology to protect and secure their eBook content. Many of the leading online bookstores in the Netherlands and Poland have been distributing books in this fashion for over five years.

Social DRM or Digital Watermarks basically are basically alternatives to Adobe Digital Editions. Unlike ADE, eBook purchases do not need to download any 3rd party tools or programs, instead they simply just copy the book on as many devices as they want. Lots of users actually loan their library to friends, as long as they don’t distribute it on the greater internet.

Digimarc is one of the industry leaders in making readers lives simpler and has signed up a number of big name clients over the years. Today, the executive team sat down with Good e-Reader to explain their role in the industry and how they see it growing in the next few years.

When did you guys seriously start to focus on digital watermarks as a viable business model?

Digimarc has been at the forefront of digital watermarking technology for almost two decades. After the acquisition in late 2012 of what is now the Digimarc Guardian platform, the leading anti-piracy solution for the publishing industry, we turned our focus to developing a service for watermarking e-books.

How does the essence of your technology work on a basic and general level?

Digimarc Guardian Watermarking embeds unique, imperceptible, and traceable digital watermarks into e-books in near real-time, enabling distributors and publishers to track where their content is appearing online and identify the sources of leakage and unauthorized distribution. Our cloud-based platform offers easy-to-integrate API support for most e-books formats, including EPUB, PDF, and MOBI. The platform also allows for the inclusion of visible social watermarks – indicating the customer’s name, date of purchase, and other information.

Who are your largest clients?

In September, we officially launched Digimarc Guardian Watermarking with HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest publishers of consumer books in the world, and LibreDigital, a leading provider of e-book distribution and fulfillment services, as partners. At this point, we have integrated with a variety of other prominent publishers and service providers, conducting watermarking at both the retailer and consumer levels. We’ll be announcing more of these partnerships in coming months.

Stats on social DRM and Watermark technology are hard to come by any thoughts?

Our feeling is that the apparent trend towards watermarking (and away from DRM) in Europe is only gaining in momentum, followed closely by North America and other markets. Our cloud-based technology is inherently designed to address the global demand we see being driven by both publisher and user preference.

What are the main benefits as you see it, between watermarks and ADOBE DRM.

Unlike DRM, watermarking is both a social deterrent and an identification technology. Visible text added to fulfilled publications reminds users that their files are traceable and can be an effective deterrent to unauthorized distribution. Imperceptible digital watermarks, once detected, enable publishers to pinpoint the source of distribution and take appropriate action.

Technically, Digimarc Guardian Watermarks are fully compatible with DRM solutions, but DRM is both expensive and ineffective against users who are intent on breaking it, and legitimate consumers are frustrated by an overly restrictive experience which prevents them from easily sharing content between devices.

If people started to pirate books with your tech, what do you guys do about it, if anything?

Digimarc Guardian provides the leading anti-piracy solution for the publishing industry. Our systems crawl the web 24×7 to discover and validate pirated content, especially watermarked content, on cyberlockers, peer-to-peer networks, and other offending sites. We then initiate and manage an integrated takedown process, achieving a greater than 95% success rate at removing pirated content from distribution.

As the only platform to offer both watermarking and anti-piracy services, Digimarc Guardian provides publishers with a powerful weapon to both understand and combat the broader piracy ecosystem.

What type of concerns do new clients have about watermarking, what are the common type of questions they ask?

Typical questions about watermarking involve the level of effort required for integration, and cost. We find that most potential clients are very pleasantly surprised by our answers.

On the topic of privacy, we also assure them that Digimarc Guardian Watermarks contain only anonymous digital IDs, never any personal or user information.

Categories : E-Book News, Interviews
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The Philippines has become rather serious at combating book piracy in schools and on the consumer level. They are doing this to attract major publishers from Europe and the United States.

US based publishers have been unable to market their textbooks and print books to the Philippines because of sanctions imposed by the United States Trade Representatives 301 Report. This report basically establishes trade barriers due to flagrant abuses of intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks.

For the first time in twenty years due to anti-piracy measures being employed by the Intellectual Property Office and the National Book Development Board the Philippines has been removed from the 301 list.

The Philippines’ removal in the watch list does not mean it has eradicated book piracy. IP Philippines and its partners in government and in the private sector must continue to set-up effective mechanisms to protect IPRs including combating book piracy.

There are some big challenges in removing piracy altogether because there is a general acceptance. Organized crime are photocopying and scanning whole textbooks and selling them directly to schools, colleges and universities. These intuitions are aware that not all the textbooks they buy are genuine, but it is hard to tell the difference.

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Digital magazine consumption has risen 50% in the last twelve months in Canada according to new figures from The Print Measurement Bureau’s Fall report.

The Print Measurement Bureau is not exactly a household name, but they have been chronicling the rise of digital reading habits since 2013. One of the most interesting figures is the fact that only 2.9 million Canadians are reading digital magazines, which is an increase of over 57% from last year.

In a world of heavily customized apps geared towards tablets and smartphones the vast majority of Canadians are continuing to read exclusively on their computers, but mobile is on the rise jumping by 115%.

I think the most interesting statistic is how digital reading is firmly embraced by urban dwellers with higher education rather than rural. Digital magazine reading was 55% higher in Toronto than the rest of Canada.

One of the big reasons why digital magazines are on the rise is partly due to the blitz media campaigns by Next Issue. This is a pure digital service marketed by Rogers Media across all of their platforms, such as television, radio and print.

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Android users in China (now numbering in the ten of millions) will be happy to know that many of them will have access to Google’s app store (hopefully, at least). Though a specific launch date has yet to be discussed, Google is working with a legal team to get plans together (many of the core Google Play services, like Gmail and Maps, are currently being blocked in China).

Earlier this week, Google also announced that policies were changing for Chinese app developers –allowing them to make money from their paid apps being downloaded from 130 countries worldwide (China isn’t included in that list yet, but would be with a local-to-them app store).

Not everybody will be thrilled to hear this news, with several alternative Chinese platforms already in place to distribute Android apps; Google stands to make a lot of money (in their stead) considering the potential revenue stream from so many new users… but it will not be without considerable investments. Beyond legal considerations, Google has no infrastructure in China (think servers and bandwidth to begin) –all of which will be subject to the seemingly arbitrary Chinese regulations.

Categories : Audiobooks
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Apple has just received the green light from a court in New York that will finally begin offering iBooks customers refunds from a pool of prospective pool of $400 million dollars. This specific amount is dependent on the court upholding a 2013 verdict where an appeal brought the figure down to a paltry $50 million.

The final number that Apple will have to pay consumers will be established on December 15th 2014. The Justice Department, lawyers, Apple and everyone involved in the court drama are basically tired and want to get this situation resolved ASAP.

Customers can expect refunds from Apple starting early next year for eBooks purchased from the iBookstore from April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. The exact figure is yet unknown but settlements from Amazon and Barnes and Noble had customers given a $3.00 credit for any New York Times bestseller and all other books from major publishers $1.00.

Categories : E-Book News
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