Welcome to another Good e-Reader Week in Review report. We break down the most essential stories over the course of the last seven days, and give you a comprehensive breakdown of the most important news items in the world of ebooks, digital publishing, e-readers, and more!
The Kindle Fire HD 7 Inch is now shipping and available in some retail environments in the USA, and Shop e-Readers for the international crowd. One of the drawbacks of the entire Fire HD line of tablets is that Amazon’s “Special Offers” is built right into the UI. This means that when you buy one of these tablets, you are served advertisements on the homescreen and screensaver. Amazon backtracked on the policy of mandatory adverts by allowing users to pay a one time fee of $15.00 to remove them.
eBooks by Hachette and Harpercollins are seeing price reductions via many popular online retailers. Many of these titles have come down in price by a few dollars and should continue lowering significantly in cost through early 2013. Obviously ereaders and tablets will be top sellers this holiday season and many retailers reduce the prices of books in early January to appeal to people who have new hardware.
The big reason we are seeing price decreases from these two publishers is because of the recent Court Settlement by the Justice Department. Apple and the big six were summoned to court to contest the allegations of price fixing. When Apple first launched iBooks it needed a competitive edge against Amazon. Apple and many of the top publishers all banded together to establish a common pricing methodology to even the playing field. Many of the big six settled out of court, rather then fight a lengthy battle. This has resulted in Amazon being able to once again discount ebooks as they see fit.
A new survey has been conducted by BookBoon on people’s preferences between ebooks and the printed textbooks in the school environment. Over 2,164 US students partook in the study, which gives us some solid information the digital vs print debate. Over 75% of US students regularly choose not to buy the textbooks their professors require, citing the huge expense involved. Statistically, on average they spend around $655 per year buying textbooks required for their studies. Click on the title to see the full survey results.
With all of the new devices on the market from Amazon, it’s nice to still see the earlier models remain supported. The company today unveiled a new update to the Kindle Keyboard 3rd generation model that brings in new features.
One of the new features in this build is extensive parental controls. You can restrict the ability to access the web browser, buy books, and access archived items. Amazon also made this model more viable with support for the KF8. The Kindle Keyboard now supports comic books with Kindle Panel View. Supported titles can be purchased from the Kindle Store. Books open in Kindle Panel View by default (a view that allows you to read a comic book panel by panel). Also, there is now support for children’s picture books with Kindle Text Pop-Up. Supported titles can be purchased from the Kindle Store.
We broke this story last week and a million other blogs picked up on it. Amazon sources have confirmed with us that the glowing e-reader will not be available outside the USA until early 2013. This mainly is because of supply and demand for the Christmas season. Amazon is banking on a ravenous crowd of readers to order them like crazy. Speaking of crazy, the pre-orders for this device in the USA has pushed back the shipping date for another two weeks, if you were to order it today. The Paperwhite ONLY taps into the Amazon US store right now and the company has to develop firmware that will make all the new features compatible with the different languages in the international markets.
Overdrive is the definitive leader in facilitating digital ebook lending from your local library. Every month, around 30 to 50 different libraries in Canada, US, UK, and Australia sign up for the Overdrive content distribution platform. Today the company has announced that in the last month it has added over 40,000 new ebook titles. New publisher partnerships have helped OverDrive attain a catalog, which currently holds more than 800,000 in-copyright titles.
Hachette has informed the company that it will be increasing costs on its ebooks by over 220% starting October 1st 2012. Buy them now at a discounted price if you are the main buyer for your library’s digital content.
We are running another e-reader giveaway with this month’s device being the new Bebook Pure. The Bebook Pure is a six inch e-reader with a Vizplex e-ink display screen. The resolution is 600×800 and is designed to function in portrait mode for your day to day activities. The e-reader was obviously designed to read in the sun. It has 4 GB of internal memory, which you can expand up to 32 GB via the MicroSD card. Bebook is really billing this new device as one of the thinnest and lightest e-readers in the world. It weighs in at only 188 grams and is a breeze to read for long sessions.
Many new software features and new enhancements are taking Kindle HD owners by storm. Our staff writer Sovy has documented an amazing list of all the new elements Amazon has developed. Some notable examples are Kindle FreeTime, X-Ray for Media, About the Author, WhisperSync for Voice, and Immersion Reading. There are plenty of others, too! Click on the headline to find a very comprehensive analysis of all the new functions.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.