This has been one of the most exciting weeks in recent memory with many new devices hitting the market and new apps launching. Want to catch up with the most essential news items in the digital publishing, ebook, and e-reader industry? Our Week in Review feature will bring you up to speed.
Barnes and Noble is preparing to unleash the Nook Tablet HD and HD+ next week and the company is reducing the prices on the previous models. The Nook Tablet 8GB is just $159, the Nook Tablet 16GB is $179, and the Nook Color is $139.
The official Kobo for Android app was updated to version 4.4 today! It brings kids’ books, cookbooks, and comic book support to all tablets and mobile phones. There is also a new function that enables the book to read to you, though it is mainly geared towards kids’ books.
The Comic book support is fairly solid. It allows you to choose between three different font sizes to enhance the text. This is particularly useful on phones, where the text is fairly small by default. Parents may also find the read aloud feature is a useful. I have not been able to find many books that have this support, and there is no dedicated category in the store to find them all.
Macmillan announced earlier in the week that it will be ending its print edition of the popular dictionary and opting for an online-only format, beginning next year. The new digital dictionary will be found at Macmillan Dictionary Online, the new home of future updates to the dictionary.
Sony has just unveiled its fully functional e-reader app for iOS on Tuesday, after years of development. The company initially submitted its reader and online store back in 2010, but was rejected by Apple. This was mainly attributed to the new policy that demanded all in-app payments be handled by the iTunes platform. Sony has maintained the same philosophy as Amazon and Kobo, pulling the ability to buy books within the app.
The Sony Reader for iOS is available for the iPad and iPhone. It allows you to sync your past purchases and read them directly within the app. In the past, you needed a Sony e-reader or its PC software to read content. Customers finally have another option, which is gratifying.
If you wanted to get access to Prime videos and borrow a free ebook every month, you had to subscribe to a yearly Amazon membership. This is all about to change with the advent of the new monthly subscription package. For $7.99 a month, you can get free two day shipping, tons of videos, and lots of ebooks to borrow for your Kindle. Amazon is currently testing this new program and it should be released within the next month.
Zinio is revising its website in the coming weeks and will soon be unleashing a brand new HTML5 based reading solution. This will allow customers to access fully featured issues on any PC, MAC, or tablet. You will be able to purchase single issues or take out a new subscription on any platform. The company is currently running a beta version of the reader on a revised version of its website and should release it in the next few weeks.
Bebook has released its latest e-reader that runs on the Android operating system. This suggests it has a full touchscreen and the developers said that the new OS gives them more versatility to add new features.
The Bebook Touch features a six inch e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 800×600 pixels. It has 4 GB of internal memory and can be expanded up to 32 GB via the Micro SD card. The slim profile is the main selling point, with it being only 9mm thick.
Simon & Schuster has reported its third quarter earnings today and digital revenue is up 20% over the same period last year and represented approximately 21% of total publishing revenues. Best-selling titles in the third quarter included Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Black List by Brad Thor.
Digital self-publishing has grown tremendously in the last few years. Many major players in the game have all unveiled tools and content distribution methods to help authors gain exposure and make money. Comic books, graphic novels, ebooks, and kids books all have viable avenues for people to pursue. One of the main elements that has been left out the mix is magazines. Blurb is seeking to quickly remedy this situation with new tools for Adobe InDesign.
Blub is a digital publishing specialist and sold around 1.4 million ebooks last year through its own bookstore. The company is trying to push hard into a segment that is most often overlooked by many of the traditional companies that focus on ebooks. The new magazine platform will appeal mainly to photographers, artists, and other graphic heavy content. I like the fact that the company will make digital versions of your magazine in ePub or PDF formats. This will ensure that you can sell the books via your own website or list them on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and maybe even Zinio.
DC Comics announced a few days ago that it will be bringing single issue comic books over to iBooks, Amazon, and the Nook Store. The new digital content will be available the same day as its printed counterparts. The company also announced that its digital revenues have increased by over 200% from 2011.
One of the mainstay sources of famous quotations has long been the Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but with its eighteenth edition, a digital facelift was in order. While the much-loved and revered print edition is still the definitive guide, the Bartlett’s app, available from iTunes for $3.99, is still filled with over 2,500 quotes from modern day notable people, in addition to the more than 20,000 historical quotes that Bartlett’s is known for compiling. In addition to the quotes, the app allows users to share apps via their social networking sites, take photos through the Quoto feature in order to create backgrounds behind meaningful quotations for sharing, and more.
This is the first news item written by our new staff writer Brigid Alverson. Dark Horse is the only major non-manga comics publisher to set up its own digital comics service rather than signing on with ComiXology or Comics Plus, the most popular digital comics platforms. In addition to the Android app, Dark Horse has an iOS app and a web store, and Dark Horse graphic novels are available for Nook and Kobo e-readers. She has engaged with the developers of the app to get their perspective.
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.