During the last week, no new e-readers have dropped but rumors continue to swirl about the new line of Amazon Kindle Tablets and e-Readers hitting the market. Sony also intends on releasing a followup to the Sony PRS-T1 in the next few weeks and Blackberry released the Playbook 2! In our Week in Review, we focus on only the MAJOR news items that you might have missed but need to know about!
Amazon eBook Sales Have Overtaken Print in the UK – In the United Kingdom Amazon, Kobo, Sony, and other major companies have used the country as a launch point to enter the rest of Europe. Many companies have partnered with literary staples, such as Waterstones and WH Smith, to further increase their footprint and market e-readers directly to consumers. According to unaudited figures issued by Amazon earlier in the week, since the start of 2012 customers downloaded 114 ebooks for every 100 hardback and paperback book sold on its site. Amazon said the figures included sales of printed books, which did not have Kindle editions, but excluded free ebooks. Amazon reported that “As soon as we started selling Kindles it became our bestselling product on Amazon.co.uk so there was a very quick adoption … [And they] are buying four times more books prior to owning a Kindle,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “Generally there seems to be… a love of a reading and a renaissance as a result of Kindle being launched.”
Barnes and Noble’s Legal Team Speaks to Good e-Reader – The senior legal team at Barnes and Noble took the time last week to speak with our own Mercy Pilkington. The company wanted to make public some very interesting aspects of the whole Justice Department vs. Apple and the top six publishers. They told us that they are getting ready to file a motion in court to appeal the settlement of Simon&Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins. The essence of the motion was based on the wording of these companies settling out of court and the expiration of the “Agency Model” of ebook pricing that happened in July. Barnes and Noble is appealing the entire settlement, and if they lose the company would need to renegotiate ebook prices with ALL of those publishers to absolve the agency pricing and get new contracts for wholesale.
Other Amazon News – Amazon has been in the news plenty this week with major new initiatives starting. The company has formed its own Game Development Studio and the first release was a casual Facebook Game. Amazon is hiring Android developers to start pumping out original content to be sold or given away for free in the Amazon App Market.
The company has also rolled out its physical textbook rental program, which is an elaboration on its digital strategy. Students can rent tangible textbooks for an entire semester and also pay a bit more to rent it for a longer period. You can save up to 80% on the purchase of the books, just by renting them. It is USA only at this point and likely will never reach other countries.
Finally, Amazon has slashed the prices of their entire Kindle line of e-Readers to make room for new models coming out later this month.
Sony News – Sony has discontinued its entire line of PRS-T1 Accessories and the e-reader itself. There are plenty of deals to be had on the remaining stock of lighted e-reader cases and normal cases from the main Sony Website and some retail partners. Most of the accessories are not compatible with the new Sony PRS-T2 model being released this month. Speaking of the new model, we have finally received a list of all the hardware details regarding the new e-reader. The Sony PRS-T2 features a six inch e-ink Pearl Display with a resolution of 600×800 pixels. It will utilize Clear Touch Infrared Technology, which will offer you pin-point procession in interacting with the screen. There is 1.3 GB of internal memory and a MicroSD to further enhance it up to 32 GB. The battery will last around two months of constant use and even comes with a free Harry Potter book. The design of the hardware gives you an Android Approach to e-readers with a few major buttons to bring up the homescreen, back, and access to the settings menu. You can pre-order this today at Shop e-Readers.
Blackberry Playbook LTE Released – RIM has finally released the new LTE/4G version of the Blackberry Playbook exclusively in Canada. The new model has an upgraded 1.5 GHZ processor and comes with 32 GB of internal memory. The main selling point is that this model is one of the few out there that give you full data connectivity while on the go. There are only 5 tablets really out there worth your time that give you mobile data at high speeds. We did a great comparison on all of the different models that you might want to check out HERE. Although it is only available in Canada, you can order it internationally from Shop e-Readers.
eBook Authors Mount a Crusade Against LendINK – When it comes to writing ebooks and self-publishing, some authors really are tech savvy and can figure out how to use tools to format their book correctly and even make their own cover art. There is a large demographic that simply doesn’t know what’s going on and rely on 3rd parties to help out. A cadre of authors thought that ebook lending website LendInk was pirating their eBooks, when it only helped facilitate the lending process that the authors had opted in for, when they uploaded their books for sale on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. This has sparked a war that resulted in authors sending hate mail to the company’s ISP, Facebook, and other channels. LendInk was shut down due to the sheer number of crusaders that sought to smite an innocent start-up. Since the uninformed authors had taken to Twitter, Facebook, and other public arenas, the LendInk supporters have started to leave ‘one star’ reviews on the author’s books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They also have started to leave a number of negative comments about the integrity of the book, to hopefully decrease the author’s sales. This was the spark that lite the fuse between two very different types of authors, and is creating bedlam.
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.