Sunday, May 26, 2013

Digital Manga Adds Independent Comics to eManga Service

Indie on Digital

Digital Manga is a company that isn’t afraid to experiment. When they rebooted their eManga site, late last year, they did something very unusual for a comics publisher, let alone a manga publisher: They offered their books as downloads in a variety of different formats, including PDFs, CBZ, and Mobi, so readers could not only download them to the device of their choice but also move them from one mobile device to another.

Having expanded their digital options, Digital is now broadening their content offerings as well. They recently added American comics from Heroic Publishing to their lineup, and earlier this month they announced a new indie section that will feature a number of different genres. The most promising title is the steampunk mini-series Boston Metaphysical Society, which follows the adventures of a former Pinkerton detective and a spirit photographer in late-19th-century Boston. (It’s also available as a webcomic.) Other offerings include the sci-fi title Fuerza 7 (available in English and Spanish), and Megabook 1, a free, 212-page comics anthology featuring a mix of genres: Action, horror, sci-fi, and supernatural, among others.

It doesn’t look like Digital’s current selection is going to give comiXology Submit too much of a run for their money, in terms of quality or quantity, but it’s early days yet, and there are a few interesting comics up there. It’s worth taking a look, and if you see something you like, the prices are pretty reasonable, with plenty of free content as well.

Digital Manga Adds Independent Comics to eManga Service is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo ARC Firmware Update Fixes Android UI

Screenshot_2013-05-26-21-24-15Kobo has just pushed out a new firmware update for their Arc Tablet PC. It should be available as an automatic notification and 300 MB download. It gives a number of new enhancements and shifts some minor UI elements around.

One of the pleasant new updates to the Kobo Arc firmware is the shifting of the Android toolbar from the bottom of the screen, to the very top. In most file manager, games and other apps, most of their UI and button controls are at the bottom of the screen. This resulted in owners accidentally touching the time, WIFI or other notifications and the secondary menu popping up, breaking immersion. Kobo has also enhanced the animations when you hit the app menu and gesture to your library of apps. It is now way quicker to see your next page of apps and  Kobo has seemed to have stopped the Crashing Tapestries bug.

Finally, we have heard from many people that their discovery bar on the bottom of the screen, which hypes new eBooks and authors did not update properly. You would often see the same books all the time and a small segment never saw updates since they turned it on for the first time. They seemed to have solved this refresh issue too, with the recent firmware update. If you you have not received an update notification on your task bar, you can simply click the settings menu, then about tablet and system updates.

Kobo ARC Firmware Update Fixes Android UI is a post from: E-Reader News

Barnes and Noble Needs to Expand into International Markets


Barnes and Noble has been seeing declining revenues for the last few quarters and the company according to 24/7 Wall Street, is on the 18th month deathwatch. This article is getting lots of attention, but is a fine example of sensationalist journalism at its finest! It does pose an interesting question though. How can Barnes and Noble turn their hardware and software ecosystem around in the next 18 months?

According to 24/7 Wall Street, they said “Barnes and Noble e-reader was destined to struggle from the start. It was launched in October 2009, roughly two years after's Kindle, which was, and has remained, the market leader. Both products were hit by competition from Apple's iPad before the e-reader business even hit its stride. Adoption of tablets is forecast to grow 69.8% in 2013, while e-readers are expected to drop 27%.”

The article went on to say “The Nook was thrown a lifeline a year ago, when Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble's digital business, but to no avail. It has been downhill since. Sales at the company's Nook segment, which includes both the e-reader and online books, declined by 26% between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2013. The Nook's disadvantage may have little to do with its hardware or software and more to do with size of its online audience. It competes against much larger e-commerce sites that have access to hundreds of millions of new readers. While Amazon has more than 130 million visitors a month according to Quantcast, Barnes & Noble has just over 6 million visitors.”

Obviously, when it comes to the financial aspect and the investment from Microsoft, this is all true. I think the Nook eBook division is going to be fine in the short-term, but needs to expand their international footprint to do better in the long-term. The Nook brand is only available in the US and UK, you can’t buy the hardware or purchase eBooks outside of these two regions.

At a financial call last year, the CEO of Barnes and Noble announced they would expand into eight more countries within a calender year. They have five months to go, and have not entered any new markets. Meanwhile, they invested a substantial amount of money into Nook Press, their indie self-publishing program. Regrettably, this is only available in the US.

The United States market is over saturated with e-Readers and unlike smartphones, people don’t upgrade to every new iteration of hardware. People tend to read on perfectly fine two year old devices, and most people who want to buy an e-Reader, already has one.

The United Kingdom often is a staging ground to penetrate the rest of Europe, Barnes and Noble has been there for almost a year and have not branched off. It is critically important that B&N begins to sell their Nook Hardware in Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. They also have to engage publishers who are friendly with them to offer eBooks localized in those markets. Finally, they need to offer their Writing Life platform to the UK and to all other markets and reach distribution deals to offer the books in local bookstores.

Barnes and Noble is at a critical juncture in their hardware and eBook ecosystem. When any company starts to see cumulative revenue loses, for many quarters, something needs to be done. Maintaining the status quo and dropping the price on the hardware is something that cannot be sustainable. It is my firm belief that in order for their fortunes to be turned around they need to expand into Europe, Australia and New Zealand. This has been Amazon and Kobo’s winning strategy with their self-publishing and eBook programs, and obviously they deal with the exact same publishers Barnes and Noble does.

Barnes and Noble Needs to Expand into International Markets is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader – Week in Review


The Week in Review is a play on words, as we have reviewed a ton of new e-readers during SID Display Week 2013 and got our hands on some tech we never thought we would see. We reviewed over six new e-readers, and as for cool examples of tech, that should be hitting store shelves by the end of summer. If you missed reading our publication for a few days, here is the gist of what we extensively covered.

Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader

The Sony Prototype e-Reader is the finest example of a company gearing an E Ink display for academics and PDF reading. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. Our second look at the e-reader takes all of the user emails we got over the week and we went back to the show to get a true hands on. View it HERE.

Onyx E Ink Android Phone

Onyx intends on releasing a new phone this summer that is the first one in the world to use a front-lit E Ink screen. This is the same type of screen tech you would find in your run of the mill e-reader, such as the Kobo Aura HD and Kindle Paperwhite. On a phone, you will get a few weeks of battery life and will be able to load in your own apps. It is certainly a bold new step in the right direction for the future of mobility.

Book Live Reader by Lideo

The Booklive Reader by Lideo features an older version of E Ink Pearl with a resolution of 600×800 and 16 levels of grey. It has 4 GB of internal memory, but you only have 3 GB of practical use. There is no expandable memory, so you will not be able to load more content in via MicroSD. There is a 800 MHZ processor, which tends to make things fairly speedy. It is certainly not the best e-reader we have ever reviewed, and really has more going against it than going for it. I would give this one a miss, but read the full review and judge for yourself.

Toshiba BookPlace Mono

Trust me, this e-reader does not have the kissing disease, but its namesake is based on the E Ink display. It features a six inch e Ink Pearl Display with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. It uses IR technology from Neonode instead of the traditional capacitive touchscreen. Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX508, 800MHz processor, and 512 MB RAM. It has 4 GB of internal memory that can be expanded further via the Micro SD card. This is a fairly solid reader, and if you are a fan of manga, graphic novels, and ebooks in Japanese, you might want to take a closer look. This model is only available in Japan and is one of the newest devices to hit the market.

Pocketbook Touch 2 or the Pocketbook Touch Lux

The Pocketbook Touch Lux features the same HD E Ink Pearl display found on the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo. The exact resolution is 1024×758 and it has a front-lit display, which is optimal for reading in the dark. It also has 256 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory, and a SD card support for up to 32 GB of memory. Battery life should be good up to 7,000 page turns. It also has an audio jack so you can listen to audiobooks and music. This e-reader really gives you nothing special and will likely be overpriced, considering the weak hardware underneath the hood. Still, Pocketbook is very solid about native support for almost every single ebook format currently being used.

The Tolino Shine

The Tolino Shine features a six inch E Ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. You will be able to garner around seven weeks of battery life and store 2,000 ebooks on it with 4 GB of storage. If you need more memory, you can upgrade it via the Micro SD card. It primarily will read EPUB and PDF files. It does have support for Adobe Digital Editions, so you can read books you purchased from other stores. It will also be running on the Google Android operating system. This e-reader stemmed from a partnership between Thalia , Weltbild, Hugendubel, Bertelsmann Club, and Deutsche Telekom.

Mirasol Smart Watch and Phone

Mirasol screen technology used to have two display screens, that gave readers a very muted color scheme. This was very evident in the first onslaught of tablets they released a few years ago. Qualcomm went back to the drawing board and developed the second generation and demoed it in a smart watch and a new Android phone. The phone is especially interesting because it has a secondary screen on the back of it and is meant to be paired with the watch.

Digital Signs and E Ink

One of the big aspects of SID Display Week was that everyone and their mother was pimping out digital signs. E Ink developed two new technologies that are aimed at grocery stores, billboards, airports, and supermarkets. One piece of the technology is meant to replace paper price tags, the other will work in fridges, freezers, and up to -25 c environments.

Thor – Lord of Storms

Peter is starting to do Android app reviews on the Good e-Reader Youtube channel. we started with a new game that just came out, Thor – Lord of Storms.

What’s Happening Next Week?

The entire Good e-Reader team will be in New York covering Book Expo America and the IDPF. We are proud to be the main media sponsor of IDPF, alongside Publishers Weekly. We will be covering all of the sessions and publishing six to 12 stories a day about the future of publishing, self-publishing, ebooks, libraries, magazines, newspapers, EPUB3, HTML5, big data, and bringing you interviews with Sylvia Day, Otis Chandler, and tons of other industry movers and shakers. I am super excited that everyone will be there and it should be fun! Make Good e-Reader your one stop shop for next week for full coverage.

Good e-Reader – Week in Review is a post from: E-Reader News

Strange Kindle Happenings: Kindle Keyboard Disappears, Kindle DX Back From the Dead

Here lately some weird things have been happening to the older Kindle models listed over at In recent weeks the Kindle Keyboard, previously known as the Kindle 3, has seemingly been discontinued. Even though the Kindle Keyboard was several generations old, Amazon continued to sell it up until recently because of its unique accessibility [...]

New $149 Hisense Tablet at Walmart Rivals Nexus 7

This past week Walmart stores have started selling two new 7-inch tablets from Hisense that have some really impressive specs for the price. In fact the Hisense Sero 7 Pro has similar hardware as the Google Nexus 7, and at a price point of $50 less. It even adds a couple of important upgrades over [...]