Welcome to the Good e-Reader Week in Review! Many things have transpired this last week in the publishing and e-reading world. Marvel has launched a few new programs, and the Department of Justice is looking into the Price Fixing Cartel with the Big 6 publishers, spearheaded by Apple.
The Blackberry Playbook Led Sales Charts in Canada – The RIM tablet featuring the latest OS2 upgrade was the number one selling tablet in Canada over the course of the last few weeks! That the price was decreased to $199 for the 16 GB model sure helps and the ability to load in your own Android Apps is a big draw. The drawbacks include that fact that the Playbook can only handle apps written in Java and written for Android 2.1. If you have a Playbook, check out our Blackberry Playbook App Store!
Barnes and Noble Holding Android Event March 19th – B&N is expanding to the UK with its Nook Tablet and Nook Simple Touch Reader. They are looking for UK based App Developers to make custom programs for the localized version of the App Store. The new e-Readers are set to debut at the London Book Fair in Mid-April. Incidentally, we are looking for someone in London to cover this event for us, please send us an email if you want to get paid to cover some great news!
Digital Textbooks, What’s Stopping Us? – Across the globe, paper textbooks are slowly being relegated to “thing of the past” status to make way for enhanced digital textbooks. South Korea has already put into place an initiative to digitize all textbooks in public schools and higher education. India has rolled out several models of minimalist cost-effective tablets aimed at public school students, even in outlying areas. So why has the Book Industry Study Group, (BISG), found that only 11% of higher education students in the U.S. have utilized digital textbook rental services? Why did 75% of those students surveyed in American universities say they still prefer print over digital for their school reading?
Scholastic Launched Storia – Scholastic Publishing and Books is launching a new program currently in beta called “Storia.” It is a proprietary ebook platform for selling and distributing its content to end users and schools. The beta test features 1,300 titles with the vast majority published by Scholastic. Deborah Forte, executive v-p and president of Scholastic Media, said she expects Storia to have about 2,000 titles when it makes its official debut in the fall.
Android Market Renamed to Google Play – Google eBooks has been integrated into the Google Play platform. Google Play is basically the Android Market renamed because it has more than just apps. You can watch videos, buy books, and download apps and games. The big rumor we broke a few days ago was that there is a hidden newspaper and audiobook section. No word when it will launch.
Apple Launches a New iPad – Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of the new iPad. It features a retina display that gives you higher resolution than any HD TV on the market. It also has a quad core graphic processor, so streaming video and playing games will be crazy! We are excited about the prospect of how magazines and enhanced ebooks will look on it. Mercy wrote a great article on how industry professions weigh in on the matter, check it out HERE. Finally, you don’t need a new iPad to experience new features. Apple updated iBooks, which brings in new highlighting features and real page numbers.
Pottermore to Launch in April – It has been six months in beta testing, but it looks like the interactive free website called Pottermore will launch in April. It is basically an online destination aimed at kids to live the life of a student at Hogwarts. You can join the adventures of Harry Potter and his merry band of wizard cohorts for fun. The launch finally comes with the full series of eBooks in DRM-Free format.
Price Fixing Scandal Invested by Department of Justice – It all started in Europe last year, when the UK government found out about a price fixing cartel spearheaded by Apple and adopted by the big 6 publishers. Now the USA Department of Justice is investigating the matter and Apple is taking tons of heat. The short story is that Apple, when it was launching the iBookstore, met with all the big publishing companies to break Amazon’s monopoly on ebooks. They decided to adopt Agency pricing on books for a unified price for an even playing field. Sounds good in theory, but price fixing is illegal is most countries.
Marvel introduced Augmented Reality and Free Comics – Marvel has done a few cool things last week that should stimulate comic sales! The first step was giving away the digital version for free when you buy the printed edition. This will initially take place during the X-Men vs. Avengers event happening in a few months. Today the company announced a new Augmented Reality program to give you multimedia enhancements. Select comics will give you audio, video, and animations when you point your phone or tablet at it. Apps for iOS and Android will be launched in the next few weeks.
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 CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.