Rogers Canada has just started a new promotional campaign that will give out a free Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G e-Reader. In order to attain the Kindle you need to activate a new smartphone on select 3-year FLEXtabT agreement. When you activate your phone you need to visit the website, and then enter your details. All orders will shipped out in a few days via UPS! This is a fairly solid deal that gives users free 3G internet access, you don’t have to pay monthly internet fees.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Good e-Reader and the International Digital Publishing Forum have struck an agreement on a new sponsorship deal. Good e-Reader now joins Publishers Weekly as the companies media sponsor, covering all major IDPF events. The first major event that is happening in May, is the Digital Book show that is happening at Book Expo America.
IDPF Digital Book 2013 at BookExpo America is a two-day conference focused on all the key issues we face in advancing publishing in an increasingly digital world. Digital Book 2013 is designed to give executives, marketers and technologists practical information and tools to inspire and lead organizations in this time of rapid change. In-depth sessions will analyze key opportunities and pitfalls, highlighting compelling business strategies and actionable solutions.
This two-day conference will feature insightful keynote sessions and three parallel tracks of targeted in-depth content (business & marketing, technology and production, and education and professional publishing). There will be many excellent sessions that Good e-Reader will cover and bring you the biggest news that develops.Every year at Digital Book and Book Expo America, many major announcements are made.
Good e-Reader is proud to sponsor the IDPF. The company is mainly responsible for promoting and the development of electronic publishing applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems, and consumers. The IDPF develops and maintains the EPUB content publication standard that enables the creation and transport of reflowable digital books and other types of content as digital publications that are interoperable between disparate EPUB-compliant reading devices and applications.
Good e-Reader and IDPF Reach New Sponsorship Agreement is a post from: E-Reader News
Macmillan was the last company to settle with the US Justice Department in February, when all of the other major publishes had settled months back. We are now seeing some online book sellers discounting book titles from Macmillan.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks are discounting eBooks and even matching each others promotional deals. Meanwhile, Kobo and Google books are starting to discount books, but the better deals are found with the big three. For example, the The Silver Linings Playbook has a list price of $9.99, and you can get it from Amazon, Apple and B&N for $7.99.
When Macmillan settled with the US Justice Department in February, it could no longer restrict the discounts that major eBook sellers could charge for their titles. This allows every front-list title to be severely discounted and give customers the ability to hunt around for the best deals.
Macmillan joins Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins in the top publishers currently offering discounts on their eBooks. Penguin has not begun to offer deals as of yet, and most major electronic stores still have the “Price Set by Publisher” flag.
Acer has a tablet surprise up its sleeve. Its the Iconia A1-810, a new tablet offering a 8 inch display and costs a nice €199. The low price point though does not call for compromises to be made as the tablet does feature a quad core chip in the form of a 1.2 GHz MediaTek MT8125 ARM Cortex-A9 processor (definitely not the fastest around but does offer decent performance), a 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of storage. Plus there also is a microSD card slot for more storage along with a camera along the front and rear. The Iconia A1-810 also comes with a micro HDMI and a micro USB port while the company claims the 3250mAh battery is capable enough to support 7 hours of operations. The 7.9 inch display along with its 1024 x 768 pixel is exactly the same as the iPad Mini. The iPad Mini though costs a higher €339 in France. The A1-850 though is a bit less appealing with its thick bezel design that impart a sort of heavy build to the Acer tablet.
There is no word yet on when Acer intends to launch the tablet on other parts of the world though for now, French retailer Rue du Commerce is accepting pre-orders for the same. What is interesting though is that it is the 8 inch tablet segment that is maximum activity in recent times, while the 7 inch segment seems to have taken the back seat.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is now finally on sale in the UK where the Wi-Fi only version has been priced at £339.99. A 4G compatible model will be launched soon though those who are eager for the Note 8.0 in its Wi-Fi only avatar need to head over to the Samsung Experience Store at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center located in central London. Samsung is also offering a few freebies to make the deal more palatable. These include free access to the Samsung Music Hub for a month and free subscription to The Times Newspaper for two months. There also is a £20 worth of Samsung Learning Hub voucher for the taking. For comparison’s sake, the iPad Mini range in the UK starts at £269.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 with its quad-core 1.6 GHz Samsung Exynos 4 CPU and 2 GB RAM has shown impressive performance. The tablet comes in internal storage configurations of 32 and 64 GB with a microSD card slot as well for extra storage. The tablet offers a 1280 x 800 pixel display along with a 4600mAh battery and a pair of camera along the front and rear. Then there of course is the stylus that can be used for taking notes or for drawing directly on the screen. The Note 8.0 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
Meanwhile, Samsung is also rumored to be developing another 8 inch tablet to take on the likes of the iPad Mini. The tablet will make up the Galaxy tab range and will be priced lower than the Note 8.0. With the Note 8.0 pricing revealed, we at least know the upper limit of what the tablet will likely cost.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Goes on Sale in the UK For £340 is a post from: E-Reader News
The traditional computing platforms, such as the desktops, laptops and notebook devices, face a continual threat from tablet PCs. However, new research from Gartner in this field has come up with some startling facts. What has emerged as the central theme is that consumers have always wanted the tablet PC for their everyday computing needs, but had been forced to make do with other forms such as PCs or notebooks in the absence of tablets. Now with a fairly mature tablet market in existence, no wonder tablets are all set to outsell the others with recent findings on this pointing out it could happen as early as next year. Garnet is predicting even better times for tablets so that they are expected to outsell desktops by a massive 72 percent in just three years time. The change in trend is most likely permanent, so PCs are firmly on the way out and tablets are the latest in thing.
For those who prefer hardcore figures, 2.4 billion computing devices will be sold in 2013, which includes PCs, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and so on. This marks a 9 percent growth over 2012. The figure will rise to 2.9 billion by 2017, though what would be most interesting is the change in the buying patterns of individual device segments. For instance, desktops are already showing a decline of 7.6 percent in 2013 over the previous year, so that 315 million of these found buyers in 2013. The only silver lining here is the ultramobiles, such as the Surface Pros, which showed positive growth so that 23.6 million units are expected to be sold in 2013, a healthy growth of over 9.8 million in 2012. Compare these to 197 million tablets likely to be sold in 2013, which marks an impressive 69.8 percent growth over the 116 million tablets sold in 2012. That is predicted to rise to 468 million in 2017, while the same for PCs is expected to dip to 272 million.
As for the choice of platform, Google's Android has emerged as the clear winner, followed by Windows and iOS. Gartner though is predicting marginal growth for Blackberry, which means its woes might not be over soon.
“Lower prices, form factor variety, cloud update, and consumers’ addiction to apps will be the key drivers in the tablet market,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner before also adding, “Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone. Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC.”
Apple’s iRadio service is slowly taking shape now that sources, though unconfirmed, claim the Cupertino company is on the verge of signing a deal with Warner Music and Universal Music Group. However, nothing has been set in stone as yet and it still runs the risk of falling through. Apple is reported to be eager to start the service this summer.
As has already been mentioned before, the ultra low fees that Apple is willing to pay is what is delaying the process. Apple is making attempts to sugar coat its offering by a share of the new audio ads that Apple plans to include in the free streaming service. The ease of downloading a particular song is what Apple believes will boost demand so that users eventually will end up buying more songs. The service will be a lot like Pandor, as there will be no such thing as on-demand listening. However, Apple plans to include some unique features, such as the ability to switch back to the beginning of the song and so on.
However, the music companies still aren’t sure as to how things are likely to work out for them. This since they have no idea how the audio ad business that Apple is holding as bait will pan out in the long run. They are also demanding a substantial share of the ad revenue, something to the tune of 35 – 45 percent to make up for the low rates Apple is offering for them, which is just a fraction of what Pandora currently offers.
Apple though has stated it intends to launch the service in at least a dozen countries in Europe along with Japan and of course the US to begin with, before launching elsewhere in the world.
Vertical publishes some of the most interesting manga available in English, but they have not had a digital program—until now: They recently announced that they will make three series available as e-books: The astronaut-school story Twin Spica, the science fiction story 7 Billion Needles (based on Hal Clement’s novel Needle), and the soap opera about competing wine connoisseurs, Drops of God. Unlike most other manga publishers, Vertical has not designed its own branded digital service but will make the books available on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes.
I asked Vertical’s marketing director, Ed Chavez, to unpack their digital strategy a bit.
Good E-Reader: First of all, why did you decide to go the Nook/Kindle/iBooks route rather than having your own branded service?
Ed Chavez: Vertical is a tiny company with budgetary constraints, so we could not afford to develop an app and we do not have the staff to maintain one. And honestly, I wonder about the effectiveness for something like that from an indie-publisher perspective.
Vertical’s brand recognition has a small footprint. Spending already limited resources to attract an even more fragmented community might be aggressive at best, ill-advised at worst.
On the other hand, the Big-3 eBook platforms do a good job selling books, and we have seen results from them with our digital prose line. We know how effective they can be and we also understand that people want accessibility. The Big-3 provide a lot of positive options to readers.
Why go with e-book platforms rather than hooking up with comiXology or even another manga publisher?
Actually we have been and are still in talks with comiXology and we were in talks with JManga, however, Vertical is exclusively distributed by Random House. All sales contracts must be negotiated through our distribution partner, so we hope these groups can work out something to help Vertical be on as many platforms as possible.
Will these e-books be available worldwide? If not, what is the territory (and why the restriction)?
At this time our launch titles are worldwide English. Future licenses may not have such luxuries due to contracts with the original creator. Obviously Vertical is not the lone international publisher for many of our books, so to not conflict with existing regional rights, the original rights holder may set such restrictions to protect those relationships.
Which titles will you be releasing digitally, and do you anticipate adding more? Will you be focusing on a particular type or genre for digital release?
We have been releasing eBooks for a year now. But most of our releases so far have been prose. We will be expanding to manga this Spring with The Drops of God, Twin Spica and 7 Billion Needles.
With a small manga catalog, we’ll just focus on the backlist at this point.
What will your digital release schedule be—how aggressive will you be about adding new volumes?
We’ll be releasing a volume a month to start. That said, Needles and Drops are short series so they’ll wrap up quite quickly. Twin Spica on the other hand will go at a slightly more accelerated pace, with three books released every two months.
The prices of your digital manga are considerably lower than print editions. Why is that?
Market pressure. Having worked with Random House since 2006, together we have long seen the impact on price for eBooks. Digital novels and non-fiction are generally less expensive than their paper counterparts. The prices are comparable to what our collective philosophy has been for novels, and not far off what we have seen from other publishers. So we are fine passing on some savings to readers for backlist books.
For years we heard that Japanese licensors were reluctant to permit publishers to release manga digitally. How has that attitude changed in recent years, and what caused it to change?
Global pressures. Actually, if I were to be frank, just America.
While Japan has had domestic eBook sales for a while, few services have been very successful. But with the growth of the Kindle, Nook and iBookstores, Japanese publishers have been desperately playing catch up to not only learn about the digital marketplace but also be a part of it. Some Japanese publishers have tried and most initiatives have failed as they have done poor market research (mainly not understanding international purchasing habits, poor marketing, or even worse have blindly believed previous eBook booms to include similar sales for manga or comics in general); while others have simply had their stances thaw out hoping to gain revenue streams or to prevent piracy.
Then again, I think eBooks in general have only been a viable business in the last three years, so being a year or two behind isn’t that surprising. What does surprise me is how little is being done regarding digital in other, more robust international manga markets.
Do you think digital publishing can push some marginal manga into profitability?
No. At this time, I do not see that as a possibility. From what I have heard and the sales data I have read historically this is a major challenge for manga. Those overhead costs are just quite steep to start. Sales have to be significantly better digitally than in print to push titles into profitability. Higher royalties and lower MSRP rates, compounded by existing distribution fees, do not help.
Would you consider publishing digital-only manga? If so, what titles would lend themselves to that?
It is something we have discussed. The concept of direct-to-digital manga is always going to have one big hiccup…licensing. It is easier to take on those overhead costs (translation, lettering, editing, advances…) when print books get money upfront from vendors. There is a cash flow shift in digital where there are no wholesale (bulk) transations with vendors.
Honestly, I don’t know what could work in that model. JManga was built on a model like that but those titles did not have the name recognition even though quite a few were from established authors and a number had media tie-ins. Viz has tried that with some brand new SJ series launching simultaneously in English and Japanese but I do not think most of those titles have been hits either. It’s a tough call. But I think it can work if expectations and costs are lowered.
Do you read manga digitally? If so, what is your preferred platform?
I do. I’ve been reading Dark Horse’s Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and Viz’s One Piece. In both cases, I have used their respective publisher’s apps. Viz’s app is really snappy and has been prime time ready for almost two years now. I love how it is now starting to add some deep backlist titles as a better representation of the breadth of Viz Media manga.
I now prefer Dark Horse’s app, though. I like their overall presentation. Their resolution rates and how they handle two-page spreads have really impressed me; almost to the point where I might prefer reading some titles that way (specifically for titles that are really visually dense).
Last week I ran a short session at Campus London with a roomful of students from local schools. Only one of the students had seen a Raspberry Pi before and only a couple had used a command line interface or seen a computer program. In just over an hour they learned how to set up the Raspberry Pi, did a bit of Linux and then hacked Minecraft using Python. Here’s what they thought of it:
“I used a raspberry pi and it showed me how exciting and useful new technology can be. Also learning simple coding was very useful and made me want to learn more. It made me more interested in technology and coding. It made me really consider my careers options involving technology.” —William
“This has pushed me to finish my game I am currently developing.” —Joseph
“It has made me interested about learning coding. I have realised coding isn't as hard as I thought.” —Lara
“I want to learn more about programming, because it was really interesting.” —Ellie
“The most important thing I learned was how to use Raspberry Pi.” —Finley
“The most important thing I learned was how to change the commands to Mine Craft.” —Harjoat
“We had a go using a device called a Raspberry Pi which let us hack into a game and let us give it commands. It was really fun and exciting to learn all these new things.” —Jasmine
Reading these comments makes me smile, it was a fantastic session and shows what you can learn in short amount of time. A few lessons jump out from the feedback:
These lessons are hardly new—it’s where Logo, Scratch and Lego Mindstorms come from—but what has changed is the accessibility and opportunity. With a £30 computer and a free game you can learn computer science in a beautiful, constructionist sandbox. (“Why dig when you can code?” “Are you an Alpha or an Epsilon?” “Hack with your brain, not with your pickaxe.” And other rubbish aphorisms coming soon to a T-shirt near you.) Quite simply, you can teach yourself to think in powerful ways while messing about. I don’t know about you, but as a teacher I think that this is quite profound.
I’m going to blog more about Pi Minecraft in future; I think that its potential as a teaching and learning tool is huge. I’ll be writing lesson plans for it and hopefully not just computing lessons: Martin O’Hanlon’s analogue clock for example would be a brilliant to teach trig and geometry in the constructionist stylee. If anyone out there—teachers, programmers, Notch, whoever—want to help then get in touch. The School of Minecraft has a nice ring to it don’t you think?
P.S. Campus is an amazing place: if you are a tech start-up or entrepreneur (or would like to be!) and can get down there, check it out. I love it.
Many start-ups are operating now under the model of launching a beta period to encourage new users to try out the platform with the express purpose of learning from the user feedback before attempting a full launch. GoodEReader first profiled one such company at this year’s Tools of Change event in New York; Flipick, the Mediawide company that allows publishers to create ePub ebooks directly from InDesign, announced this week that it has released an update to its platform based on valuable feedback about the site.
"We paid serious attention to the feedback of Flipick members during the first phase of our beta launch. There were unanimous suggestions for Flipick to support text wraps, tabs, tables and footnotes," says Ravi Dugal, President of Flipick, in a press release on the relaunch. "Our R&D team lived up to these challenges and built a fascinating product, where these features are no longer converted to an image."
Some of the features that Flipick made available after the original beta period include support for text wraps, tabs, tables, facing pages, drop caps and footnotes, which are all vital, industry standard features in publishing. Also, Flipick plug-ins are available for InDesign CS 5.5 and InDesign 6.0 for both Mac and PC.
Flipick is continuing its beta period to allow users the opportunity to try out that additional features. Users can sign up for the beta at flipick.com.
Our April collection highlights podcast brings you the latest news on new content, hidden gems, and monthly sales in Content Reserve. This month we showcase newly added titles covering healthful living, niche romance, psychoanalysis, middle school spies, and award-winning poetry, among other topics. We also share the inside scoop on content that will be coming soon to Content Reserve, including top-ranked travel guides, picture books from Hawaii, multilingual romance titles, and eBooks with a social conscience.
And don't miss this month's 'hidden gem' publishers, whose titles include beloved TV tie-ins for young kids and educational reads for students of all ages.
You can access April's podcast all month on OverDrive's Learning Center.
Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.
“What’s innovative about a video wall?” I hear you cry. “We’ve all seen them. Big…walls of video. Been done for years.”
We’ve said many times that the single most innovative thing about the Raspberry Pi is its price. $25 or $35 gets you something that would have cost you four or five times that amount before the Pi arrived on the market. This means that you can save large sums of money in some applications, especially in applications where you need to buy a lot of separate devices. A video wall requires one device per screen, and another to drive them all together. I’ve seen video wall solutions being run with all kinds of devices at the back end; previously one of the cheapest ways to do this was to buy a Playstation for each of your screens – obviously a much more expensive (and power-hungry – you’re spinning a lot of hard drives all day to get the result you want) way to get what you’re after.
Plus, of course, our HD video capability’s really great.
So Alex Goodyear at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy has put together a really elegant video wall, supported by a group of Raspberry Pis. Energy consumption and cost are both reduced enormously, making video walls like this much more accessible to enterprises which don’t have huge funds, like museums, schools, shops, galleries and offices.
You can use different sizes and orientations of screen in the same set-up here; you can use the screens to show one large moving image or many small ones; you can display static content like photos or web pages alongside moving content on the same wall.
Read more about what Alex has come up with at CCFE – we’re looking forward to seeing more of these in the wild!
With all of the enhancements and innovations in digital reading, perhaps one of the most exciting is the more natural-sounding audio narrations coming out for ebooks. While audiobooks recorded by celebrity voices and trained actors are still a favorite for book listening, we’ve come a long way since the first edition Kindle would robotically read the text of an ebook.
One of the first markets to do a great job of ebook narration was the children’s publishing niche, with companies like iStoryTime and Sourcebooks creating dynamic read-aloud narration to go along with their app books. While these voices were still recorded, they fit the scope of the text with real-time highlighting so that the combination of visual and auditory learning was uninterrupted.
For the other readers, companies like StorEbook, profiled by engadget following a demo at a live event this week, are bringing a more natural sound to the world of text-to-speech reading thanks to development through AT&T’s Natural Voices TTS research. The future goal of that web-based reading developer is to allow for a greater sense of personalization to TTS, allowing loved ones to voice potentially any book by collecting voice samples over time.
Ultimately, consumer demand has driven the far more natural sound to TTS and its inverse, speech-to-text innovations, due in large part to a need for greater convenience in digital books and in accommodations for special needs users.
While digital reading has become such a common part of the American landscape that consumers are now reading on a wide variety of portable devices, there are still portions of the reading world where digital publishing is not as accessible as the consumers hope. The frustration over lack of affordable technology and market saturation is only the beginning; the crux of the problem lies in lack of compatibility between the device and the characters on the screen.
The ePub3 standard that was adopted by the IDPF is supposed to address some of the unique issues facing right-to-left written languages, as well as the need for vertical text and very specialized letter characters, but for now, some companies are working to make foreign language ebooks available on a smaller scale.
According to an article by South Africa-based Snapplify, “The biggest obstacle thus far has been the incompatibility of their language and the technology used in the digital publishing process. Certain written texts flow from right to left, such as Hebrew and Arabic, which present layout and display problems – particularly with ePUB that features reflowable text. The digitisation of Arabic text was hindered by not being able to make use of OCR systems (text recognition systems) due to the complexity of the written language syntax. This was somewhat circumnavigated by making PDF's of text, but thus limiting their distribution channels as the standard for many e-readers is ePUB with ePub being is one the most common formats for book publishers around the world.”
Originally developing apps for tablet devices, Snapplify has just announced its support for ePub with the hopes that this will increase the amount of content for underserved foreign reading markets. One of the first publishing clients to benefit from this support will be African publisher Kotobarabia, one of the most prolific publishers globally of Arabic ebooks.
“The market for the digital publishing of eBooks in foreign languages is far from saturated; there are still sectors in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America that are wholly unrepresented. Digital publishing service providers are few and far between that truly understand the complexity of the language and the obstacles that face foreign language publishers struggle with to get their content in the digital sphere to tap into the global market.”
Traditional publishing companies that focus on newspapers and magazines have been embracing digital over the course of the last few years. In some cases, we are seeing the digital editions outselling their printed counterparts. However, maintaining a fleet of Android and iOS apps can be taxing with all of the different screen size requirements. Many smaller publications are finding it economically unfeasible to develop and maintain dedicated apps. To solve this problem Microsoft and NewspaperDirect have developed a Windows 8 App Building Program, aimed exclusively at magazine and newspaper publishers.
The new App Building program allows publishers to maintain and develop their own native Windows 8 application. It incorporates the same type of technology that PressReader uses by streamlining XML and graphic heavy content. It will allow publishers to maintain a replica edition of their traditional print edition and convert it to a more e-reader and tablet friendly format. Users can click on the heading of of any given article and be able to strip away the superfluous data and give the user pure text. This is useful for increasing the size of the font or even adopting a read aloud feature.
Shane Davies, Director, Cloud Services Providers & Top Consumer Brands at Microsoft Canada said, “The growth in the popularity of Windows 8 reflects the shift in how people want to experience content across devices. Brands are already starting to get up close and personal with audiences in real time, on a global scale. NewspaperDirect, a leader in magazine and newspaper applications, and the launch of their Windows 8 app platform, will provide a platform for publishers to reach and engage their audience in compelling ways, and will provide consumers with a range of quality, brand name applications.”
Publishers utilizing the new program will not have to go it alone. One of the benefits of the existing relationship between NewspaperDirect and Microsoft is the synergy that will be bestowed upon new publications. There is an advertising initiative in place that will give publishers the ability to get preferential placement in the Windows 8 App Store, in their regional markets.
Most small town publishers and emerging magazine companies could benefit from these new tools. It will be interesting to see if more indie companies take advantage of something like this, seeing as it requires little effort to produce each daily/monthly issue, once you have the pipeline established.