Saturday, July 6, 2013

Digital News from Anime Expo: DMI Gets Tezuka Catalog, Kodansha Expands to E-Book Platforms

AttackOnTitan cover

The biggest anime convention in North America, Anime Expo, kicked off on July 4, and among the anime announcements there has also been plenty of digital manga news.

First up is the announcement that Digital Manga, Inc., is teaming up with Tezuka Productions to release the entire catalog of Osamu Tezuka’s work in digital format worldwide. This is huge because Tezuka, who is known as the Godfather of Manga, is an influential creator with an enormous body of work. A number of his books have been published in English—you can find a list here—but the only digital release of his work in English has been Astro Boy Magazine, which Digital began running on its eManga site a few weeks ago. (Before that, Tezuka Productions, which holds the rights to all Tezuka’s manga, had an iPad app, but it was buggy and never caught on.) The “worldwide” part of that announcement is important—up till now, many manga licenses were for North America only.

Viz, which publishes the American Shonen Jump, has also decided to share the love with the rest of the world: The English-language Shonen Jump will now be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand via Apple’s Newsstand app; an Android version is in the works as well. (And don’t forget: Shonen Jump is running a special right now, cutting the subscription price from $25.99 to $19.99 for a year.)

Meanwhile, Kodansha Comics, which has been steadily increasing its digital presence, had some news as well: Its books will be available on Kindle, Nook, Google Play, and iBooks as of July 16. Kodansha also has an iPad app. In terms of content, they are speeding up releases of Attack on Titan (one of their top sellers) to a volume a month, with simultaneous release on digital. Attack on Titan was a runaway bestseller in Japan and it has picked up considerable momentum among North American readers as well; there’s a preview and interview with the creator here if you’re curious.

And here’s good news for fans of the time-travel anime Steins;Gate—the visual novel on which the anime is based will be released in English. A visual novel is a cross between a video game and a choose-your-own-adventure novel; the reader/player experiences the story as a series of static images and can make decisions at different points that change the story. Of course there’s a bootleg version already, but a translator on the project posted that the official version will be better than the unofficial one: “it looks nicer, the entire script has been redone, and through the wonder of engine access it also includes certain features that weren't present in the original game.”

Digital News from Anime Expo: DMI Gets Tezuka Catalog, Kodansha Expands to E-Book Platforms is a post from: E-Reader News

Kickstarter Pulls Plug on Book Campaign Over Copyright Issue

Manhattan Museum To Honor "Wild Things" Author

As the once hard-and-fast rules of publishing fall by the wayside thanks to the digital revolution and the exponential growth of valid self-publishing opportunities, some things will not change, namely, some of the issues around copyright. There are creative liberties that self-published authors can get by with, but then there are others that legality still prevents.

Last week, crowd-funding site Kickstarter had to pull the plug on a project that it had previously lent its support to as its featured publishing project. Two authors, Geoffrey O. Todd and Rich Berner, launched a 25,000-pound campaign to produce print editions of their illustrated children’s poem, Back to the Wild. The problem arose when HarperCollins discovered that Back to the Wild is a sequel to Maurice Sendak’s bestselling and much-loved children’s title, Where the Wild Things Are.

According to the DMCA notice filed by HarperCollins, “The infringing material is a proposal to create a ‘sequel’ to WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, entitled “Back to the Wild,” using the characters, scenes and copyrightable elements of the original work. Any such unauthorized “sequel” would clearly violate the Estate’s right to create derivative works.”

At stake here is both the proposed use of characters, settings, and art work that are the property of the author’s estate and the publisher, since the sequel project involves the daughter of Sendak’s original character returning to the island where the young boy Max first encounters the wild things. There is further concern in the notice that, should Todd and Berner proceed with their sequel, it would infringe on the estate’s right to write and publish their own sequel, despite vehement assurances from Sendak in interviews that he would never write a sequel to his beloved book.

Where these concerns were once the domain of publishing houses and their legal teams, self-publishing has opened the door to new creative projects that are not receiving the benefits of this type of guidance where unauthorized sequels are concerned. And while it could be argued that this project could be seen as not much more than well-thought out fan fiction, the fact remains that Max and his wild things are protected under copyright law.

Kickstarter Pulls Plug on Book Campaign Over Copyright Issue is a post from: E-Reader News

Self-Publishing Opening Up for Children’s Book Authors


While GalleyCat shared the great news this week that a children’s book author has cracked the self-published bestsellers list, many children’s authors are still feeling the sting of frustration that comes from being left out of the digital self-publishing revolution, at least in the ways that novelists and non-fiction book authors have been embraced. For many content creators of graphics-intensive or illustration-rich titles, the original e-readers and several self-publishing platforms still don’t meet their needs. Michael Tamblyn, chief content officer at Kobo, spoke to GoodEReader about what is in store in the near future for these authors and their works.

While Kobo doesn’t have a launch timeline in store yet, with its recent acquisition of Aquafadas and the current growth of its Writing Life self-publishing platform, the book retailer is certainly moving forward in the direction of enabling authors of every genre to control their content and make it available to a larger digital audience, without the expense currently incurred from hiring an app book developer, creating full-color print-on-demand titles, and more.

“What we love about the Aquafadas‘ tools is that they provide things as fundamental as plug-ins for InDesign,” explained Tamblyn. “Taking that idea that as a content creator–children’s book author or graphic novel author–you know you’re going to want to put your title in as many places as possible, you’re not going to want to bind yourself exclusively to one particular retailer, why not use a tool that allows you to support all of them equally? Since we’ve always been a huge supporter of open standards, we’ve always felt that authors should try and seek the widest audience possible.”

In addition to a more concentrated focus on providing tools for authors whose work relies on heavy graphics capability, Kobo is also looking forward to an increased marketplace for children’s ebook discovery.

“The other area that we’re going to spending a lot of focus on in the next couple of months is looking at children’s book discovery and being very conscious of the fact that people don’t browse for children’s books the same way that they browse for books in the adult trade. They have a different set of decision criteria when they’re trying to buy a book for their child.”

Tamblyn went on to explain that so much of the growth that the children’s ebook market has experienced recently has had to do with more titles becoming available and more publishers making a focused effort to release their juvenile titles to digital devices, a factor in children’s discovery that can only be improved when the self-publishing market catches up for children’s authors.

Self-Publishing Opening Up for Children’s Book Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

Dell Has High Hopes on Windows 8 for Enterprise to Drive Tablet Sales

XPS 10 Tablet Computer

Dell has never had an impressive run at the market with its Android tablet line. What is even more depressing is that the company’s poor form continues with Windows 8 based tablets as well, with both the XPS-10 and Latitude 10 failing in the tablet segment. While Dell can still draw some solace from the fact that no Windows 8 based device has managed to hog the limelight for long, what can’t be denied is that success in the hot emerging tablet space has been eluding the Texas based company that otherwise is among the largest PC manufacturers in the world.

However, far from losing hope, Dell has expressed confidence in bouncing back into the thick of things by piggybacking Windows 8, which it claims will be hot property in the enterprise segment. As Sam Burd, the vice president of Dell’s personal computing division, has put it, Windows 8 will account for about 40 percent of the tablet segment, which is when Dell hopes it will have a sizeable portion of the tablet segment to itself.

This could be a tough task, given Windows 8′s current run in the market. Microsoft is hoping the improvements in the Windows 8.1 version will ensure it corners a bigger share of the personal computing segment. It remains to be seen if Windows 8.1 will see massive influx among entrepreneurs, particularly when they have just been upgrading to Windows 7. Switching over to Windows 8.1 can be problematic so soon, more so when it involves some investment to be made for the hardware as well, given that the latest Windows iteration is optimized to deliver its best with a touchscreen based device. Currently, most companies are following a policy of bring-your-own-device to the workplace and, needless to say, the vast majority of them include either the iPad or any Android flavored tablet.

Windows still has an uphill journey ahead in the tablet market. No doubt the same will naturally be applicable to the hardware manufacturers who are waiting for the Microsoft OS to succeed for them to make a mark in the tablet space.

Dell Has High Hopes on Windows 8 for Enterprise to Drive Tablet Sales is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Slashes Kindle Fire Price to Compete with Nook


Amazon responded to Barnes & Noble’s move to slash prices of its Nook tablet range by offering a similar discount for the Kindle Fire tablet offerings. As things stand now, the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD with 16 GB on board will now cost £139 in the UK, while the same will cost $169 on the other side of the Atlantic. The above price adjustment amounts to a saving of £20 and $30 respectively on either side of the pond. For comparison’s sake, the corresponding B&N offering, the NOOK HD, costs £129 and $149 for the 16 GB model of storage. B&N has an even cheaper 8 GB version of its 7 inch Nook HD device that costs just £99. Amazon does not have a Kindle Fire offering that amount of storage. However, the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD has been kept out of the discount scheme and continues to be sold at £229 in the UK.

Also, similar to B&N, Amazon has also stated the discounts are only applicable for a limited time period, though there is no guarantee that won’t be extended. However, the reasons behind each company’s decision to slash prices are different. B&N has made it known the company is quitting the tablet business, which means lowering of prices of the Nook tablet can be seen as the equivalent to stock clearance sales. Amazon hasn’t stated any reason, though analysts believe it is also eager to get its stocks cleared before a new model begins appearing later in the year. Amazon had launched the current Kindle HD lineup last October and newer models are expected soon.

Amazon Slashes Kindle Fire Price to Compete with Nook is a post from: E-Reader News