Monday, July 15, 2013

Free Archie Digital Comics Available via New Mobile Advertising Platform


Archie digital comics are enjoying a tremendous surge in popularity with over eleven million downloads through the iOS and Android apps. iVerse is chiefly responsible for digitizing all of the monthly publications to push them out to readers as soon as possible. In order to make Archie more accessible, the two sides have signed a new agreement with Tapjoy. This company has a solid mobile advertising and monetization platform and the end result will make thousands of digital comics available for free.

Starting July 18, the Archie Comics app will integrate the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange model, in which consumers engage with advertisements to earn virtual rewards. By watching a video, taking a survey, or engaging with an ad, Archie readers will earn credits to unlock more than 2,000 comics via their two apps.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Tapjoy and embrace a new way for our consumers to get the comics they love,” said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO, in a prepared statement. “Making our great content catalog available through a new free-to-own model establishes a new opportunity for how people read comics and will bring even more fans to the Archie universe.”

With this new technology, Archie Comics will be the first digital comic publisher to utilize virtual rewards and the Mobile Value Exchange model to enable consumers to buy digital comics. It might not appeal to older readers who have more than enough money to spend, but for younger ones, this might be a viable alternative to their parents credit card.

Free Archie Digital Comics Available via New Mobile Advertising Platform is a post from: E-Reader News

Google Play Receives a Massive Update for Web Users

google play

When most people access Google Play on their Android tablets, you normally do it via the dedicated app. One of the more useful ways to install apps is it to do it via the Google Play website, where you can flag apps to install. Today, the entire Google online experience has changed and has borrowed elements from its refreshed app.

The new interface is a dramatic shift from what was offered before. The app icons tend to be way bigger in size and most of the app screenshots are much larger. The app version numbers, number of installs, date updated, and most other essential information is now at the very bottom of the screen, instead of the top. One of the main drawbacks is that you will no longer see embedded YouTube videos or the feature graphics.

Google Books has also received a big update and actually looks slicker than before. There are five books on each line now and there are subtle animations when you highlight one. There are more refined genres and ebook discovery seems to be kicked up a notch. One of the things I really liked was when you scroll downwards to check out all the books, the top menu floats. This means as you scroll downwards, the navigation menu trails behind you. Very useful if you want to abandon your current searching method and click on the navigation. In the past, you had to scroll all the way up.

There is more essential data to be displayed at the expense of truncating user reviews.  Instead of them running altogether, they scroll on a carousel. The old Google Books system was not indicative to selling books because it basically used the same interface as Android apps. You can really tell that Google put a priority on the most essential data and the redesign gives users more information before buying. Google Magazines more or less has the same interface as the Books section.

Google Play Receives a Massive Update for Web Users is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Sales Tripled in 2012, to $70 Million

Saga 1The retailing newsletter ICv2 has just published its initial summary of comics and graphic novel sales for the past year and the picture looks good.

Overall, print and digital comics sales totaled $750 million, up 13% from the previous year. Digital comics sales almost tripled, going from $25 million in 2011 to $70 million in 2012. This is purely an estimate, as publishers and digital comics distributors don’t release sales figures, but ICv2 editor-in-chief Milton Greipp sits on the board of directors of comiXology, the largest digital comics distributor, so he probably has a pretty good idea of what’s going on.

Greipp estimates that digital sales amount to 9% of the total market, a much bigger slice than last year, but as both print and digital sales continue to grow, it seems that digital comics are not “cannibalizing” the print market.

Here’s another inside look: Speaking about his comic Saga, drawn by Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan said “I don’t know if creators at other companies are privy to exactly how many digital copies their books are selling these days, but the statements Fiona and I get from Image are pretty staggering. I realize that’s not true for every book, but the day when many titles start selling more digital copies than print copies is not years away, it’s months away.”

Saga is one of the top-selling comics in both print and digital, and Vaughan’s believes that the digital medium is bringing in new readers, just as the newsstands did in the olden days.

Digital Comics Sales Tripled in 2012, to $70 Million is a post from: E-Reader News

Adobe Launches DPS Release 27 with New Features


Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite is one of the most widely used tool sets for the creation of tablet-based reading content. In use by publishers of digital magazines and newspapers, among other business-oriented purposes, DPS makes content production more streamlined. But today’s announcement of its recent Release 27 incorporates a number of new value-added features to reach readers where they are.

“Today, we're pleased to announce the latest release of Digital Publishing Suite – Release 27 – is now available,” stated a detailed post on the new features on Adobe’s blog. “With support for Pinterest, device GPS integration and Free Article Preview with Metering, the latest features in Digital Publishing Suite are designed to help you drive awareness of, interest in, and revenue from your publications. In addition, we have refined Folio Producer Service so that you can streamline and accelerate production.”

While the ability to let readers pin content to their Pinterest boards or find region-specific content based on their locations might be enticing to niche markets of very specific content publishers, the metered paywall system, which is an update from Release 26, allows publishers to provide not just specific articles for free before charging or offering the opportunity to subscribe, but rather offer a detailed amount of any of their content before the paywall kicks in. This feature allows readers of a wide variety of interests to read before deciding on a subscription or payment opportunity instead of dictating which articles will contain the paywall feature.

Also found in Release 27 are key changes to the Folio Producer Service, which helps with content creation that a team of people will all collaborate on. Rather than copying and placing each article, group members can now one-click the entire folio in place using the Copy Folio feature. This Copy Folio feature can also be automated for streamlined workflow.

Adobe Launches DPS Release 27 with New Features is a post from: E-Reader News

“The Crisis of Publishing Persists Mostly at a Pedestrian Level”: Anis Shavani on What’s Wrong with Publishing


The Daily Beast posted an article today that would have been tired and overstated if it weren’t so well-written and downright true. Author Anis Shavani expounded at length on what’s wrong with the publishing industry, breaking it down into five key issues that hinder the genuine creation of readable books.

“Publishers would become profitable in short order if entrenched agents and editors weren't allowed to have veto power over innovative proposals, running their jaded, cynical eyes over every hint of freshness, trained in being subservient lapdogs to master strategists holding the keys to the riches,” Shavani argued in the post, pointing out what indie presses and self-published authors alike have experienced: the gatekeeper mentality. Rather than encourage new, fresh ideas, books are deemed acceptable once they fit the mold.

While placing the blame for the failures of publishing houses and major book chains, Shavani doesn’t leave authors completely blameless, pointing out their willingness to adhere to strict guidelines of acceptable content in order to reach publication, rather than taking chances with their works and building an audience later.

“Books would not be status objects then but would derive from readerly needs…It would mean that a writer reconceives himself as someone appealing to audiences that perhaps don't fully exist yet but that might come into being with enough chutzpah.”

In a fairly bold statement about what digital publishing brings to books, Shavani essentially agrees that technology is not the death of books, as some early critics of e-reading and the broader instant access to self-publishing through ebooks have claimed. The technology isn’t the issue, but the content is the problem.

“If things don't change, it's not because the concepts, technology, or means aren't there to make publishing exciting, profitable, and culturally worthwhile again; it's because the overlords don't want to change, even if it means they go down and take reading and writing with them.”

Shavani’s pull-no-punches article is admittedly a breath of fresh air, a timely accusation about an industry that doesn’t always adapt in a timely manner. As the intro pointed out, these are lessons that may have come too late for many of the major players in publishing and bookselling, but hopefully will serve as a warning to parties interested in continuing in book creation.

Anis Shavani is the author of several books, including Literature at the Global Crossroads and Plastic Realism: Neoliberal Discourse in the New American Novel. His full editorial on the state of publishing can be found HERE.

“The Crisis of Publishing Persists Mostly at a Pedestrian Level”: Anis Shavani on What’s Wrong with Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

Frommer’s Bought Back from Google, Going Back into the Travel Book Business

Google to buy Frommers travel brand

One of the industry standards in travel books, Frommer’s has had a varied and roller coaster-like history. Started by Arthur Frommer about sixty years ago while he was stationed in Europe, the books once accounted for 25% of the entire US travel book market, but have been passed around the publishing industry as different publishers attempted to piggyback off the brand as a way to enter that market.

As sales of travel books have declined due to the popularity of free access to user-generated online travel information, more attempts have been made to revive the product. Google bought out Frommer’s almost a year ago for $23 million, but has failed to do anything with the books. In April, Frommer, who hasn’t directly controlled the company in many years, bought back the Frommer’s brand and is working to release a new travel guide by this fall under its agreement with Perseus Book Groups’ Publishers Group West imprint.

So what’s changed? If Google and other larger entities couldn’t propel the travel book genre, what will make this round a success?

One thing that has changed is that recognition that readers and travelers are looking for more convenient ways to access the information. An understanding of why consumers purchase travel guides–whether to carry with them on a scheduled trip, in which case a portable mobile app might be handier, or to help map out the details of a trip, in which case spending time browsing and highlighting  a printed edition might be more attractive–will go a long way in making FrommerMedia’s return to publishing successful.

One thing Frommer’s has already learned is that travel books are not translating well into ebook sales. Its partnership with app developer Inkling showed promising new features like retina-displayed photographs and guided tours of cities via users’ mobile devices, but that hasn’t proven to be effective for consumers either. For this round of titles, of which Frommer’s plans to publish as many as eighty new titles by the end of next year, the travel magnate is aiming for more in-depth authenticity by hiring freelance writers who actually live in the destinations each book will feature, rather than travel writers who have simply visited.

Frommer’s Bought Back from Google, Going Back into the Travel Book Business is a post from: E-Reader News

Using Recommend to Library to build your collection

Join us on the London to Cambridge bike ride for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Every year, Eben raises sponsorship money and does the 75-mile London to Cambridge bike ride for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. This year, several of the folk working at Pi Towers and some of the volunteers who work on Raspberry Pi will be joining him on Sunday 28 July (Gordon, our keenest and most competitive cyclist will not be there, because he’ll be on holiday – this is probably a good thing, because cycling with Gordon can be very discouraging as he vanishes into the distance and leaves you crying your way up a hill). We thought you might like to join us as well.

Bonus points if, like Matt Richardson, the bike you ride has been hacked with a Raspberry Pi. (Click to read more about Matt’s speedometer hack, which perfectly straddles the line between dangerously distracting and brilliantly clever.)

If you do the ride wearing Raspberry Pi insignia of any kind, we’ll do our best to ride in a mob with you, we’ll buy you a beer at the Cambridge end, sign any Pis, shirts, books or robots you might have brought along, and have a good natter. You don’t need to be wearing an official Raspberry Pi T-shirt (although it’d be great if you can – every one you buy raises money for our educational outreach work and helps us get Pis to kids who can’t afford them). A home-made shirt, a home-made Raspberry Pi label safety-pinned onto your shirt, or a home-made paper Raspberry Pi hat will all qualify.

If you’d like to join us for a morning’s exercise, sign up for the ride at, then mail me at so we can let you know where and when we’ll be meeting at both ends. It’s a lovely ride through some beautiful countryside, and you should finish feeling virtuous and very, very tired. We look forward to clinking glasses with you at the finish line.