The million dollar question right now is whether the iPad Mini 2 will feature a retina display. The latest on this seems to indicate the next iPad Mini 2 will miss its date with the Retina displays, due to unsteady supply. Whether or not the above is true remains to be seen, but whether the absence of a Retina Display will have an adverse an effect on the prospects of the iPad Mini 2 is also debatable considering the first gen was successful without the high pixelated displays.
The new iPad Mini version is scheduled to hit streets this fall, and given Apple's obsession with Retina, it was a safe bet for many to expect it in the upcoming iPad Mini. The latest report from Taiwan's Economic News Report claims Apple is forced to delay launching the retina display equipped iPad Mini 2 this fall, and instead release it in the first quarter of 2014. Some analysts are also claiming there will be two iPad Mini versions, both with and without the retina displays.
However, these seem to be wild guesses and the next rumor might already be cooking somewhere. What can be said with a fair degree of surety is that the iPad Mini will indeed go retina, though the question is when. It is unlikely that Apple would a new retina equipped iPad Mini ready for launch soon after a standard screen version is launched this fall. The best we can do under the present circumstances is to wait until things begin to settle down before we can determine if there is any method in this madness.
Latest Rumor: iPad Mini 2 Won’t Have a Retina Display is a post from: E-Reader News
Friday, July 12, 2013
Tis the week before Comic-Con, and comics publishers are busy churning out press releases and finalizing last-minute plans. Maybe that’s why there don’t seem to be a lot of digital comics bargains this week.
ComiXology, which usually has a couple of good 99-cent sales, has just one up on their header right now: Vampirella. (That’s not quite true—if you act fast, you can get a limited run of Fantastic Four comics for 99 cents, but that sale ends Friday night.) All their other featured comics are full price.
Dark Horse comes through, though, with a sale on their creator-owned comics. The lineup includes Jennifer Blood and Garth Ennis’s The Boys, which are published by Dynamite but sold through the Dark Horse storefront, as well as The Goon, Hellboy: The Storm, The Massive, and Mind MGMT. There’s plenty of good reading there, and in the case of Mind MGMT, the single-issue comics (priced at 99 cents for this sale) include short stories that aren’t in the collected editions.
Viz Manga continues their weekly specials—every Monday they mark down two volumes of three different series. This week they are D.Gray-Man, From Far Away, and Jiu Jiu. I loved Jiu Jiu, the story of a demon-fighting girl and her two wolf familiars, one black and one white, who can transform into teenage boys when they want to complicate her life.
Viz is also offering a pretty good discount on its digital magazine, Shonen Jump: $19.99 rather than $25.99 for a one-year subscription, through July 14.
That’s it for this week, but hopefully the Comic-Con announcements will bring plenty of tie-in sales.
Amazon owned Audible is the largest audiobook website in the world and its official Android app received a massive update today. The interface is totally revised, which makes managing your collections a bit easier. When you listen to an audiobook, it plays it by each chapter instead of the whole thing at once.
One of the great aspects of this app is the inclusion of WhisperSync for Voice. If you buy the ebook and audiobook, you can pick up in the audiobook where you left off in the ebook. Let’s say you end the book on page 92 when you are in bed for the night, so the next morning when you are in your car, the audio edition will pick off on the same page. When you are reading again in the evening time, you can start reading the book where the audiobook left off. Features like this tend to be unique to Amazon and no other company matches Amazon with this kind of innovation.
It sometimes feels that Android is the most neglected operating system for Amazon. The company tends to update its e-reading and Audiobook apps on iOS fairly often. Still, if you are a fan of Android, you might want to check out this new update. You can download it from the Good e-Reader App Store.
Barnes and Noble officially announced its second generation self-publishing platform Nook Press back in April. The company sought to develop a new system that was easily scalable and could push new updates very quickly. In retrospect, its first foray into publishing never received a single update since it launched a few years ago. Today, all ebooks and account data has been migrated from PubIt to Nook Press. All of your titles, account information, and sales history have been transferred over to the new system.
Nook Press provides an all-in-one solution that allows authors to upload existing Microsoft Word documents and instantly see how they look in EPUB, or create EPUB documents from scratch using the online tools. One of the barriers to ebook creation is being able to constantly refine your work; many self-publishing platforms do not allow you to make changes in the web-interface and demand you make the changes locally and then re-upload the finished result. Nook Press allows authors to make any changes on the fly and even create an interactive table of contents, something that makes everyone's life a little bit easier.
Many authors love to know how their sales and metrics are doing for a title they have just released. Nook Press has new analytical functions that can give you an immediate report on every single purchase made. It is on a 3 hour delay for sales reports, as the company has to verify credit card data and other purchasing information. You can see the raw numbers, or juggle the graph data to show how it is performing over time.
Right now Nook Press is only available for self-published authors in the US and you can market your books across the country and also in the UK. This is the biggest limitation of the system, that you shoot yourself in the foot by only appealing to two different markets. Kobo and Amazon both have a huge international footprint and may give you more viable sales channels.
RockASAP.com has come up with an ebook reading app, Rockstand, which the company claims is the result of over an year of thorough research of the ebook segment not only in India but throughout the entire world. Indians might have been late in waking up to the ebook boom, but the segment is already experiencing exponential growth, which, combined with the huge increase in demand for smartphones and tablets, has proved to be a strong motivator for RockASAP to launch a suitable app to make the most of this trend. The app right now is only available for Android, although iOS, BlackBerry, and Symbian versions are also in the works for a launch soon.
Available ebooks number around 2 million right now, though the figure is ever growing. The company has also tied up with 150 publishers to have more ebooks on board, and not just English language books, but also a large number of books in regional Indian languages. Hosting ebooks in regional languages will make RockASAP a challenger to any other company who wishes to be seen as the premier seller of ebooks in India and the company has done its homework on this.
“We have foreseen the same and thats the reason we have content in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujrati, and we are very focused on regional content. Also, tech wise, we have developed reflow for regional language font books which we have been the pioneers in India. Even Google provides pdf of regional content,” said Mr. Rishi Mohan Jha, CEO at RockASAP Retail Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Rishi also stated the company has its teams stationed all across India and is forging relationships with new publishers to ensure there are enough ebook at hand to satisfy an ever increasing demand for both English and other regional content. In fact, what makes the Indian ebook market unique is that 60 percent of it is based on a variety of regional languages.
Also, a unique aspect of the Rockstand ebook reading app is that apart from a dynamic user interface, the app allows users to download both ebooks and magazines at the same place. Also, magazine subscription offers the most hassle free experience, as the next issue gets downloaded on a paying customer’s device automatically. Rockstand also boasts of one of the biggest collection of e-comics as well.
Other features of the app includes the ability to convert a text into night reading mode, bookmarking, and voice and pitch modulation, along with audio books which will be introduced soon. The app also allows for the books and magazines to be read in offline mode.
That’s not all as the books have been priced competitively with some costing as low as just INR. 2, while many books and magazines are made available for free for a limited period of time.
The second generation Nexus 7 is one of the most anticipated tablet devices launching in the second half of 2013. Naturally, the curiosity is centered around how much Google can better the overall Nexus 7 experience. Towards this, wild rumors are claiming the new Nexus 7 will come with an even better display featuring 1980 x 1200 pixels, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip at its core. Further, the new Nexus tablet is also rumored to have a 5 megapixel camera at the rear, along with a 1.2 megapixel unit at the front to allow for video chats. Above all, the new Nexus 7 is also expected to be slotted in the same US$199 and $249 price bracket as the present generation Wi-Fi only models.
Several Taiwan based vendors have estimated the new Nexus 7 will push out 8 million units this year. However, that figure is being refuted by the upstream supplier chain network that claims a far more robust competition this year could limit Nexus 7 2 sales figures to well below the projected 8 million.
The biggest competitor of the Nexus 7 2 will be the Apple iPad Mini 2, which is likely to be released this fall. This apart, similar tablet offerings from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and others are also expected to make things difficult for the Nexus 7 2. The first gen Nexus 7 had gone on to record a sales figure of 6 million units last year. Meanwhile, rumors claim the tablet will be launched towards the end of July.
The publishing industry is filled with Cinderella stories of authors who have made it big thanks to less-than-traditional methods. From Amanda Hocking who sold over one million copies of her self-published ebooks through Kindle Direct Publishing before being offered a traditional publishing deal, to Bella Andre and Hugh Howey who are sparking the creation of unheard of, twisting publishing deals in which the publisher has very limited rights to their works, there is no doubt that what once constituted book creation is changing.
“I had experienced about nine years of rejection in various forms trying to get my book published traditionally before I heard of Wattpad. I had an agent who tried to sell my books but couldn’t, and then ultimately dropped me as a client. I had a period of thinking, ‘Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing? I took some time off and re-evaluated things and realized I needed to change the reasons I was writing. I thought before that I needed to get published and that my writing needed to look and feel a certain way.What it really came down to is I write because I love it and because I feel compelled to do it, and hopefully people will want to read it.
“I had been trying to go about things the traditional way, and it just wasn’t happening.”
Geragotelis was invited to try the then-newly launched Wattpad platform, based on her experience of working for a magazine. The founders reached out to readers and writers and asked them to try it. Despite the popular belief among writers that authors should not give their content away for free, Geragotelis looked at her new goal of just being a writer and putting her work in front of readers, and decided to post stories to the site.
“It’s a huge platform of people who are my direct audience. they are people who just love to read. It’s also a community of people who inspire writers.”
Geragotelis spoke to the positivity and support that she found among Wattpad’s readers, those who understand that authors are genuinely opening themselves up to criticism when they publish. She posted something original that she specifically wrote for Wattpad’s readers–in this case, a paranormal romance–due to the popularity of the genre on the platform. She crafted her series, which is a reimagining of the Salem witch trials had they taken place in modern day.
After posting around one chapter per week on the platform, a fan base developed in which she had had six million reads of the first book in her series. Nearly a year later, Geragotelis had over 18 million reads of her book. As fans began to clamor for the book edition, wanting it to be available for purchase, the author had a revelation about readers that rings true across a number of issues facing the publishing industry: readers are willing to pay for great content. Despite the availability of the book for free on Wattpad, readers wanted to purchase the title, offering the author genuine compensation for her quality effort.
Now, that title will be available. Geragotelis was offered a contract for the series by Simon & Schuster, and book one, still titled Life’s A Witch, launched this week. It is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and more. Book two, What the Spell?, is also available, with the third title in the series set for release in January.
Like everything else about the traditional publishing industry that moves at a glacial crawl, the newly merged Penguin Random House is finally starting to lower the prices on the ebooks of its titles, despite having settled with the Department of Justice several months ago. In the terms of the settlement, the publishers had to abandon the agency model that it had formed in agreement with Apple, which made the publishers in charge of the price of the book instead of the retailer. What did not happen is a full-fledged return to the wholesale model; this model, employed by Amazon in which the retailer actually took a potential loss on some book titles in order to encourage sales of the Kindle e-readers, allowed Amazon to price NYT bestsellers as low as $9.99. Under the terms of the settlement, retailers can only offer a steep discount on publishers’ titles.
But what’s taking so long for consumers to see some of these discounts? With Apple supposedly owing pay-outs to consumers who were squeezed on their alleged price fixing, surely some measure of compensation–at least in terms of new, discounted book purchases–is to be expected, but those discounts are not quite so widespread just yet.
In an article on the pricing for paidContent, Laura Hazard Owen demonstrated some of the popular Penguin Random House titles that are only now beginning to demonstrate some level of price relief to consumers. Of the nine Penguin titles listed, the steepest discounts were on ebooks that had originally been selling for $14.99 and were now only $9.99 from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Other discounts were less dramatic, saving consumers only a dollar or two from those retailers, while Google, Kobo, and Apple were hardly noticeable.
In truth, some of the delay on price relief for readers may have stemmed from the merger between Penguin and Random House. Although Random House was not part of the DOJ investigation and had no apparent wrongdoing in the price fixing, it will now have to align itself to the settlement terms that Penguin ultimately agreed to and those issues invariably took some time to smooth out during the merger.
The Surface RT has never been able to light up the sales chart, let alone set it on fire. If you needed further proof of that, here it is, Microsoft is now believed to be considering offering a steep price cut on the tablet to make it more palatable to its prospective customers. The discount will be to the tune of $150 and will come into effect from this Sunday, July 14. The latest move comes close on the heels of Microsoft having made available the Surface RT devices at school and universities at a discounted rate of $199 at the Tech-Ed and Worldwide Partner conferences. Clearly, these latest move are all aimed at clearing existing stocks of the tablet which, as per an earlier estimate in March has found just 1.1 million buyers since its launch back in October 2012. The Surface Pro story is even more dismal, with just 400,000 of these sold since the Windows 8 running tablets went on sale in February 2013.
As things stand right now, the new prices that the Surface RT will be sold for is mentioned below:
> Surface RT 32GB: $349.99
Meanwhile, Microsoft has also dropped enough hints at its Worldwide Partner Conference to make us believe the next gen versions of both the tablets are well on the way, which includes an 8 inch version as well. While all of it has been kept under wraps, a change of heart in favor of a Snapdragon 800 and Intel Haswell chip is believed to be in the scheme of things for the newest derivates of Surface RT and Surface Pro respectively. Also on the anvil is a new line of accessories for the new Surface devices, including a keypad cover with a battery inside.
Microsoft had embarked on a vigorous marketing campaign to push sales of its Surface devices. That all of it has come to a naught is all too evident. Both the Surface tablets had impressed with their build quality though proved a dud on the software front. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft plan their campaign in the tablet segment with the new Surface successors. Also, the above development comes on the back of Microsoft having just launched a bigger 256 GB enabled Surface Pro in the US recently, one that is priced at $1,200.