Monday, July 22, 2013

Is Windows 8 and RT Doomed to Fail Against Android?


Microsoft is trying to push hardware manufacturers to either adopt Windows 8 or the RT operating system on their tablets. The Redmond based company is facing an uphill battle where it is unable to compete against Android in the battle of tablet operating systems.

Earlier in the year, Microsoft surprised all of its vendors and hardware partners by announcing that it would compete against them by releasing the Surface RT and then the Surface Pro. Most companies actually heard it from the media first and ill-will started to form against Microsoft. Most people had assumed that Microsoft was too big to fail and that it would throw enough money at a huge marketing campaign to sell enough units. Obviously, this did not solve any problems and recently Microsoft took a $900 million dollar loss on the entire Surface fiasco. Word has it Surface sales were quite abysmal, selling 1.5 million units total.

One of the big barriers preventing companies competing against Android with Windows would be price. It costs over $90.00 for an RT license and Windows warrants very specific ARM, RAM, battery, and overall hardware requirements to run all of the apps flawlessly. Once you account for the operating system and all of the bloatware, there is normally only 8 GB of memory for the user to play with, which doesn’t do very much in today’s world.

The very fact that Microsoft makes OEM developers pay the extra $90 to license Windows RT is a recipe  for failure. Normally,  you can buy entry level Android tablets for the price of a Windows license.  This puts your average Windows tablet over the $300.00 price point and many people are instead gravitating towards the Kindle Fire, Nook HD, or Nexus 7 at half the price.

The lack of sales has prompted many companies from not even entering the market with Windows 8. Lenovo has not officially announced anything, but it has discontinued the YOGI tablet and the recently released Acer W3 has already been discontinued, two weeks after launch.

Ecosystem is everything and no one is paying for Windows 8 apps.  The Microsoft Windows 8 app store is rife with cheap knockoffs and clones. In the rare case you have a great first party app like Zinio or Nook, Microsoft actually had to pay them to develop an app for them. B&N was paid close to $300 million dollars to make an app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Zinio was paid an undisclosed sum to make an app for both platforms, by way of Microsoft and Nokia.

Since no one is paying for apps, most are free and are being supported by in-app advertising. Most advertising is done via Bing Ads and Microsoft themselves were buying ad slots in order to generate revenue for developers. This continued until March 31, 2013 and  advertising revenue has gone from barely tolerable to essentially zero.

If you make an app for Windows 8 at this point and you depend on ad revenue, you will not make money. This has zero chance of changing unless Microsoft literally starts buying their own ad slots, and that is simply unsustainable. Even then, it isn’t worth writing an app for, if Microsoft changes their mind, you are dead. Would you base your business model on Microsoft's whims? Would you invest in a company that did? Zune anyone?

In order for Windows 8 and RT to have any semblance of a chance against Android in the global marketplace a few things need to be done. The company needs to essentially give OEM licenses away for free to reduce costs and allow the tablets to compete against Android on price alone.  Microsoft must also vow to not compete against its own OEM’s and discontinue making tablets on their own. Finally, they need to revise the way in-app advertising works and allow buyers to target tablets exclusively, instead of generically advertiser on Bing and Yahoo, in addition to mobile devices.

Is Windows 8 and RT Doomed to Fail Against Android? is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Reportedly Testing a 12.9 Inch Sized iPad


Apple has already been rumored to be developing a bigger iPad and there seems to be something cooking on that front. The revelation was made by the suppliers engaged with supplying components for the current iPad version, who have claimed the California company is testing a new bigger display for the tablet that measures 12.9 inches.

Currently, Apple offers just two iPad variants, the iPad and the iPad Mini that come with a 9.7 inch and a 7.9 inch displays respectively. However, with the competition heating up, Apple has felt the need to innovate to maintain its edge. While the iPad continues to be the most popular tablet even three years after its launch on 2010, others such as the Samsung Galaxy tab range, Amazon's Kindle Fire, or the Nexus tablet has been gaining prominence of late.

Also, with Microsoft trying to break into the tablet space with its Windows 8 operating system, Apple no doubt will also like to have a slightly bigger sized iPad to appeal to the business consumers, a segment that can be considered to be Microsoft's stronghold for all these years. Microsoft has yet to settle down into the changing personal computing market, where the tablet devices have been gaining higher precedence at the cost of desktops or even laptop devices. As such, it is hardly surprising that Apple will go for the kill by trying to make its tablet offerings more palatable to the business segment after having already enticed the general users with its iPad and iPad Mini range.

However, Analysts warn it is too early to predict Apple opening up a new front with a bigger iPad variant.

Apple Reportedly Testing a 12.9 Inch Sized iPad is a post from: E-Reader News

Taking Book Discovery to New Lows, New Highs


Authors go to some pretty dire lengths to get their books “out there” and into the hands of a reading audience. From giveaways and blog tours to high priced website ads and NetGalley offers, the business side of being an author means investing in marketing one’s work. But two new forms of book discovery are bringing authors to places they may have never been before.

Hollie Belton, who works as a Creative for the Leo Burnett agency in London, came up with a system of book sharing called Books on the Underground, a project she started to pass books from stranger to stranger via the London subway. Donated books are affixed with a branded sticker which informs readers the book is theirs to take and read, with the intention that they will return the book to some of the car on the subway when they are finished. Belton said the idea came to her from her own experience of traveling to and from work everyday.

“I just love reading. I have about an hour commute to work everyday, from Dalston to West Kensington, so reading is a nice escape for me. I love being recommended a book and I have always loved passing on great books to my friends. One day I finished the book I was reading on the tube and just thought what a lovely surprise it would be for the next person to find. That day I didn't leave my book, because I realised there were a lot of hurdles to overcome and also I didn't want it to be just a book out in the world alone, I wanted it to be part of something bigger. So I designed and printed the Books on the Underground stickers and that's how it started.”

In the US, a book review swap site called Readioactive Books is taking Belton’s concept to slightly farther flung locations, literally flinging a few titles off of tall places. Authors can send their print editions to the company who will also affix their branded sticker and QR code to the book, then will ship those books to their affiliates around the country to be abandoned in various places. Finders are invited to read the book and transport it somewhere else in order to be found by the next reader.

“Whether or not this kind of thing will mean massive sales for an author somewhere, it’s impossible to know,” said Readioactive Books’ Tampa affiliate Dea O’Brien. “But it’s a lot of fun to know that someone is finding and enjoying your book. Who knows? It might even be a life changing read for someone when he needed it most.”

As readers discover these books in their locations, whether it’s underground or thrown off the highest point in one affiliate’s state, they are invited to share their reviews of the book online and pass the book along to the next person by leaving it somewhere to be found. Both projects also encourage readers to begin reading the book where they find it and buy the ebook in order to finish reading it. In both instances, finders are invited to tweet a picture of the found book for sharing online. Both projects invite authors to contact them to include their books or donated titles for discovery.

“I’ve often left my signature and a personal note in books I’ve found and passed along,” continued O’Brien. “Just please, no spoiler alerts in the cover!”

Taking Book Discovery to New Lows, New Highs is a post from: E-Reader News

E Ink Expected to Release Successor to Pearl Screens By End of Year

Earlier in the month David Carnoy from CNET posted details of an interview with the E Ink, the company that makes the screens for the Kindles, Kobo and Sony ereaders, Nook, and most other ebook readers around the world. Unfortunately the folks at E Ink didn’t reveal very much new information that hasn’t been talked [...]

Call for guest posts!

I’m off on my summer holidays next week, so Clive (poor Clive) will be handling all things blog for the week. Clive’s got work of his own to be getting on with, so instead of asking him to write the blog, we’ll be asking you to help out instead, so all he has to do (in theory) is format and post what you write.

Clive, intimidating a hall full of people into their first Pi purchase at Activate 2013. (Thanks to Will Moore for the pic!)

We’d like to feature guest posts from you. Are you using Raspberry Pi in your school? Do you have a project you’ve been working on at home that you’d like to share with other people? Are you using Raspberry Pi at your workplace? We’d love to hear from you. We like pictures: so if you’ve got pictures of your project to go with your post please include them with your email, or send us a link. Video’s great too.

This website gets more than 100,000 visitors every day, so your work will get a wide audience, and we’ll make sure it’s archived forever. You’ve got a week before I head off, and all posts submitted to will be considered. If you’ve already published your post on your own website, that’s fine; just let us know where it is. So get writing: we’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Digital First Publishers Experiment with Value-Added Content

Now that digital publishing has entitled literally anyone to publish a book, publishers are having to come up with creative ways to ensure that their authors’ material gets due attention in a quickly overwhelmed marketplace. From early on, publishers like Algonquin looked at bundling, which gave readers both the print edition and the ebook for one purchase price, such as with the Hilary Jordan title When She Woke. Other publishers, like Plume/Penguin, are working with their authors to publish ebook-only novellas to capitalize on readers’ interests with a minimal upfront investment while longer new releases are still in production.

This month, digital first publisher Untreed Reads released a title by award-winning singer/songwriter Stewart Francke, What Don’t Kill Me Makes Me Strong, a guidebook to survival of sorts based on his own journey through leukemia. While the ebook is available from Untreed’s network of more than two hundred ebook retailers in its distribution channels, readers who purchase the book from the Untreed Reads store, thereby providing the maximum amount of royalty for the author and the publisher, as well as bringing consumers to its storefront to discover its catalog of ebooks, will receive additional content for free, this time in the form of Francke’s music.

“At Untreed Reads, we recognize that readers have their favorite, go-to retailers when it comes to digital reading,” said a spokesperson for the publisher. “We wanted to not only invite readers to experience our online bookstore, but also offer them an added bonus as a way to connect with this author as more than just a writer, but also in his first medium, music.”

In addition to Francke’s book, readers will receive two song downloads at checkout. The first song, “Summer Soldier (Holla If You Hear Me)” which was recorded with Bruce Springsteen, and the second, “Letter from 10 Green, are both free by entering the coupon code MAKESMESTRONG after adding them to the cart.

Digital First Publishers Experiment with Value-Added Content is a post from: E-Reader News

Struggles of Travel Guide Publishers a Telling Sign of a Changing Industry


In the space of the past week, news from two travel publishers–Frommer’s and Lonely Planet–has not been hopeful. Frommer’s Media bought its brand back from Google after the online giant simply didn’t do anything with it, and Lonely Planet lost around 100 staff members in a drastic downsizing following its sale to a US-based cigarette tycoon who’s 20-something CEO recently finished college. While Frommer’s has plans to publish as many as eighty new travel titles in the coming year and a half, and reports from the Lonely Planet sale claim that they will be moving forward in the digital space, there’s more to what’s happening with destination publishing than meets the eye.

Both Frommer’s and Lonely Planet have enjoyed long-held reputations for providing accurate, trustworthy information written by authors who spent a great deal of time in the locations they reported on. Both were also considered fairly pioneering in the adoption of a digital format, recognizing that travelers needed instant access to information via their devices. Lonely Planet even offered a reader-driven forum, Thorn Tree, to help its readers get the most accurate and up-to-date information on foreign locations from fellow travelers.

But even more than the travelers who purchased titles to be used as an accurate reference guide while on location, a great number of consumers bought travel guides to plan their “dream vacations,” trips they knew they most likely would not take but that they enjoyed spending some quiet time thinking about. That experience isn’t something that readers tended to do with an at-your-fingertips interactive app, preferring to highlight and bookmark features in a printed book, spending hours perusing the full-color photographs and reading the narrative accounts of the locale.

Failure to adapt to digital certainly wasn’t to blame, as initially happened with companies who couldn’t keep up with the consumers who wanted ebooks. Some critics have argued that in the case of travel guides, free information is all too easy to find, a fact that the newspaper industry is still trying to adjust to. Travel sites with free reviews from actual “everyday” travelers (as opposed to professional, experienced world travelers) and travel bloggers who share their knowledge garnered from their own love of seeing the world have made it all too simple to find quick answers without the investment in a printed guide.

So what do these unfortunate developments say about the publishing industry as a whole? This news serves as a reminder, an almost cautionary tale, that there are a wide variety of reasons consumers choose to pick up a book–or not. In all areas of publishing, whether it’s travel, biography, or even fiction, there has to be an element of value-added content in the purchase to justify the time and monetary investments when free information or entertainment can easily be found.

Struggles of Travel Guide Publishers a Telling Sign of a Changing Industry is a post from: E-Reader News

The Literary Pen Name: A Sweet Deception

The romance of a literary pen name is one secret that authors, both male and female have employed for over a century.  The reason for a pseudonym or pen name is a varied and fascinating history of social and gender inequality, but also describes a depth of character and the personal motivation of an author. Carmela Ciuraru, author of 'Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms', wrote "I learned that pen names are not merely functional—they are often bound up in profound ways with a writer's creativity and identity, not to mention issues of guilt and shame. There are more than a few good reasons (and sometimes many at once) to adopt a nom de plume."(Ciurara Carmela, "9 Reasons Why You Should Use a Pseudonym".)


The literary community can only guess at the true reason that J.K Rowling wrote and published 'The Cuckoo's Calling' under the male pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.  While Rowling's intentions and secrets are her own we the readers cannot help, but wonder about the mystery held within.  I personally applaud Rowling's willingness to try new literary genres and for adding a bit of magic and sweet deception into our lives.


The Cuckoo's Calling is available in OverDrive Marketplace to add to your library's collection. As this title is from Hachette, remember that it will follow the one-copy/one-user lending model, and there will be no checkout or term limits.  Standalone library systems and members of consortia that have an OverDrive Advantage account are eligible to add Hachette eBook titles to their collections.  U.S. military libraries, as well as schools and colleges in the U.S. and Canada, are also eligible.


Renee Lienhard is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

As Publishing Evolves, So Are the Readers


By now, news of George R.R. Martin’s onstage rant at ComiCon has spread, as well as Neil Gaiman’s defense of the author’s guitar-smashing antics. Whether a genuine display of anger over the band Paul & Storm’s parody song “Write Like the Wind,” which pokes fun at the long wait between books in Martin’s Game of Thrones series, or just a fun contribution to the event staged to amuse the crowd, there’s an underlying message that demonstrates the way readers are changing.

At this year’s BookExpo America event, Good e-Reader staffers sat on a roundtable with executives from Amazon’s Kindle and KDP division along with authors CJ Lyons, Hugh Howey, and Stephanie Bond. Lyons made the very poignant remark in reference to the two-year wait time between author Dan Brown’s books: “If my fans had to wait two years for the next book in the series, they’d throw a brick through my window!” Howey echoed that sentiment that he first shared at this year’s Digital Book World conference, in which he said he’d had fans email him to say that they had bought his book sometime during the night and by five the next morning were inquiring when the next title would be available.

As digital-first publishing has stripped away a lot of the snail’s pace of book distribution, readers are now responding in kind. Just as authors were frustrated by sometimes waiting almost two years from the date of contract signing to the date of publication, readers have grown to expect the speed of instant downloads and almost monthly content from their favorite writers, even in the form of a stand-along digital novella to fill in the gaps while waiting for the next full-length title.

As for poor Martin, whose crawling pace was put on display from the San Diego stage, there are so many uncontrollable factors in traditional publishing that might affect the speed of publication. JK Rowling once gave an interview in which she stated that the seventh and final Harry Potter title was finished and “sitting in a vault at the bank,” meaning in actuality, “don’t come ransack my home looking for it,” one the eve of the publication of book six. As for Thrones, the success of the highly-acclaimed HBO series may have the strongest impact on the publication schedule; who’s going to continue watching the very expensive series if the final book comes out, revealing it all to have been a bored child’s daydream? We’ll all have to remind ourselves that some things are worth the wait, lest George R.R. Martin come to your house and smash your belongings.

As Publishing Evolves, So Are the Readers is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for July 21st 2013

Sandman 1

Comic-Con is over, and we’re still sorting through the photos and press releases, but the best-seller list marches on. Here’s a look at what was hot this week in digital comics.


1. Sandman #1
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #27
3. Justice League of America #6
4. All-New X-Men #14
5. Avengers, vol. 5 #16
6. Batman ’66 #3
7. Batman and Robin #22: Catwoman
8. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, vol. 2 #25
9. Thor: God of Thunder #10
10. Invincible #104

As usual with comiXology, all this week’s best-sellers are single issues that were released this week—with the exception of Sandman #1, which is neither new nor new to digital.


1. Superman #1
2. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
3. Deadpool Classic, vol. 1
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
5. Wolverine: Old Man Logan
6. Deadpool, vol. 1: Secret Invasion
7. Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
8. Deadpool, vol. 2: Dark Reign
9. Deadpool, vol. 3: X Marks the Spot
10. Wolverine: Enemy of the State (Ultimate Collection)

This rather odd collection can be explained by looking at the prices: The Deadpool and Wolverine books are graphic novels of between 120 and 352 pages, all priced at $2.99 or $3.99—basically, a graphic novel at a single-issue price, and some of these go for close to $50 in hardback. So Amazon must be having a Marvel sale in honor of Comic-Con, although I haven’t seen it advertised in their newsletter or on their comics page. Also there’s a Wolverine movie due out soon, which is probably stirring up interest.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #23
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #25
3. Bleach, vol. 57
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
5. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
7. The Walking Dead, vol. 2
8. The Walking Dead, vol. 3
9. Injustice: Gods Among Us #20
10. Injustice: Gods Among Us #2

I stripped out all the free books in order to make this list comparable with the others, but it’s worth noting that the same issue of Sandman #1 that people are paying $1.99 for on comiXology is free on Nook. Also that free downloads are outnumbering paid by a factor of five to one in the Nook comics store.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #27
2. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
3. Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
5. Injustice: Gods Among Us #3
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us #2
7. My Little Pony Micro Series #6
8. Injustice: Gods Among Us #5
9. Injustice: Gods Among Us #6
10. Injustice: Gods Among Us #10

There’s a certain sameness to this week’s iBooks chart, isn’t there? Last week’s herd of My Little Ponies has been elbowed aside by Injustice: Gods Among Us, probably for some reason having to do with Comic-Con. Also, that Sandman comic is free on iBooks as well.

As in previous weeks, the charts seem to have little in common other than the popularity of Injustice: Gods Among Us. In that way, this week was typical, although there may have been promotions at Comic-Con that distorted the charts a bit. The fact that a substantial number of people paid $1.99 for Sandman #1 on comiXology rather than getting it for free on Nook or iBooks suggests that there isn’t much crossover between comiXology and the e-book platforms. Either that or maybe people just like having all their comics in a single place more than they like having two bucks in their pocket.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for July 21st 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Harper’s Magazine Embracing Digital Apps to Compete with The Atlantic


Harper’s Magazine originally launched in 1850 and is second oldest magazine next to Scientific America. The company has been notorious about not walking down the digital path and is consistently losing readers to the Atlantic. This may change, as Harper’s Magazine is launching a series of digital reading apps for iOS and Android this fall.

The only avenue to currently subscribe to Harper’s Magazine in a digital form, is to do business with Zinio. One of the drawbacks is that you can only get the most current issues available and cannot tap into the 163 year old archive. Harper’s also does not bundle subscriptions for both digital and print, which has the user deciding between the two formats.

Harper’s is doing business with 29th Street Publishing to develop their iOS and Android apps. They are optimizing the entire magazine experience for larger screen displays, such as the iPad. David Jacobs, the CEO of 29th Street Publishing, says there are a few options for magazine brands like Harper’s that want to make their content shareable without giving away the store including limited online subscriptions or giving subscribers the ability to share articles. Barring such innovations, a new app will be a big step. Harper’s will be available on Apple’s Newsstand, giving it much greater visibility. Best of all, consumers will be able to buy single issues of the magazine on their tablets.

When it comes to establishing a digital infrastructure, most companies can take a page out of The Atlantic’s playbook. This company has embraced online digital distribution and has generated exclusive online content, doing a weekly magazine. The gambit has payed off, their circulation rose by about 50,000 to 488,332 between 2007 and 2012 while Harper’s fell from 214,840 to 186,839 over the same period.

It will be interesting to see if Harper’s can raise circulation by putting their magazine into the hands of digital buyers. They tend to take the long-term approach, but sometimes the inability to pull the trigger early enough, may result in an up-road battle.

Harper’s Magazine Embracing Digital Apps to Compete with The Atlantic is a post from: E-Reader News