Friday, August 9, 2013

Publishers Once Again Accused of Colluding to Oppose DOJ Apple Settlement


The Justice Department of the US has been on a crusade against Apple and the major publishers on eBook prices. Basically, the were all accused of banding together to implement a common eBook payment standard. Every single one of the publishers settled, for varying amounts of financial costs. The DOJ presented a number of settlement terms to Apple recently and publishers are once again being accused of colluding to oppose them.

DOJ attorney Lawrence Buterman argued that the proposed penalties against Apple were meant to protect consumers. He stated “A necessary component of this Court's decision finding Apple liable for horizontal price-fixing is that the publishers themselves were engaged in a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy…[There] is reason to believe the Publisher Defendants may be positioning themselves to pick things back up where they left off as soon as their two-year clocks run. Indeed, the very fact that the Publisher Defendants have banded together once again, this time to jointly oppose two provisions in the Proposed Final Judgment that they believe could result in lower eBook prices for consumers, only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount eBooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible."

Associated Press reports that Judge Denise Cote has denied Apple’s request for a stay of the case pending appeal. A judge on Friday refused a request by Apple to temporarily suspend her ruling that it violated antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to raise electronic book prices in 2010. Judge Denise Cote, ruling from the bench in Manhattan federal court, declined to withdraw the effect of last month’s ruling while Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. appeals.

Publishers Once Again Accused of Colluding to Oppose DOJ Apple Settlement is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Bargains for April 9: Now for Something Completely Different


It’s been a contentious week in the comics world—here’s a roundup of what everyone was arguing about—so it’s nice that this week’s digital comics bargains are not only solid reading, none of them are superhero comics. Instead, they offer some of the wonderful variety that lies beyond that world.

Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for instance, a comic with a strong female lead that doesn’t seem to suffer because of it. Dark Horse is offering a megabundle of Season 9, 23 comics for $20. And they have some great deals on Angel & Faith singles and bundles as well.

ComiXology’s weekend sale is on Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, which they are offering for 99 cents per issue. Published by DC’s Vertigo imprint, this is an odd little story set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humans and animals have crossed over; the hero is a boy with antlers. It looks like this sale is available for Kindle and Nook users as well; just search for the comics in the store.

Over in the Nook store, they have marked down some of the Smurfs books, including The Smurf King and the very first Smurfs graphic novel, The Purple Smurfs, to $1.99 each.

And don’t forget that Viz has a summer sale going on until September 5 in their app and on the Nook.

There’s plenty of good reading for the dog days of summer, so don’t miss out!

Digital Comics Bargains for April 9: Now for Something Completely Different is a post from: E-Reader News

What is the Best Methodology for eBook Production?


Publishers are at a crossroads when it comes to digitizing their books and marketing them through various sales channels. There is no shortage of companies out there begging for business and passing themselves off as a one stop shop for eBook creation services.   What are the current best practices for developing an eBook creation pipeline? Is it better to develop your own technologies and create everything in-house or to outsource it to a third party?

It is very important to understand the current landscape of eBook production to evaluate what process works best for your company. In order to make this a bit easy to understand, major publishers led a session at the DPF Digital Book 2013 conference in New York to talk about this very issue. A informal survey was conducted and respondents included start-ups, existing publishers and the major players, it should give us a sense on what the current best practices are.

Approximately 41% of the responding publishers primarily outsource their eBook production to skilled services providers. However, with 45% of respondents reporting that that their business had moved from one that fully outsourced eBook production, a major trend in digital production strategies appears to be the move towards greater internal production of eBooks. That echoes the approach currently adopted by Open Road Integrated Media. Said Nicole Passage, Managing Editor of Open Road, "Prior to the past year, we outsourced almost all eBook conversion, but recently we've begun to adopt internal solutions, allowing us to increase both efficiency and control over results."

Internal production seems to be the one major facet that is quite new to the publishing industry and there a number of major concerns when developing a framework. Those include cost, quality and technical requirements. Creating your own system for digitizing eBooks is not for everyone and can be prohibitively expensive. 70% of the publishers survey said that the costs associated with internal production capabilities, including personnel resources and production tools, were too expensive.

Outsourcing eBook development seems to be a major trend right now in the industry, but may not be a viable long-term solution. 40% of the publishers surveyed said they did not even know what tools their outsourcing  counterparts were even employing to create digital books. Relying on a third party may bring down the costs, but at the expense of having no idea what they are doing or tools they are using. This creates a reliance on dealing with a company and losing creative control over the process.

The publishers who have developed the most compelling internal digital platforms often started with outsourcing their materials, and gained an understanding of the processes involved. This allowed them to gain the technical knowledge to develop their own internal solutions and most were quite happy to have walked down both roads. Of those respondents who had moved to full or significant production in-house, all previously having outsourced such work, 100% stated that they were able to achieve greater efficiencies and net benefits by producing internally than they had seen from outsourcing, even factoring additional personnel overhead.

The entire publishing industry is trying to figure out what platform works best for them. It is easier to just push your workload off to a company that specializes in eBook creation, but doing it all in-house is not as hard as most people think. Ingram Lightning Source has a number of fairly compelling tools that allow companies to publish and optimize eBooks. There are a number of free programs like Calibre, that provide a tremendous amount of freedom to simply upload a Microsoft Word document and utilize advanced settings to optimize it for both Kindle and EPUB.

Major publishers all see 24% of their global revenue stem from eBooks and this number should increase during the next few years. Having more control over your print and digital content is something that everyone really wants.

via Publishing Perspectives

What is the Best Methodology for eBook Production? is a post from: E-Reader News

OCR Raspberry Pi recipe card competition — win stuff just by thinking!

You may be familiar with the Raspberry Pi recipe cards that we developed with the exam board OCR. These are a great way to start using your Raspberry Pi: quick, creative projects — such as traffic light LEDs, singing jelly babies and Twitter-aware doodhas — that teach one or two new concepts and encourage experimentation and hacking. They are a great classroom tool too and we use them at our programming workshops.

I said “sing!” Sing louder you little gelatine chappie or it’s off with your head!

OCR want to make more recipe cards. Because they are nice like that. They know the best ideas for projects are living in your lovely little heads and they want to extract your weird and creative brain juices by means of a Trial of Creative Might.

The challenge is to design your own recipe for Raspberry Pi. You can do this by yourself or in a team. One winner or winning team from each age category will win a Raspberry Pi bundle including a T-shirt and will have their winning recipe featured on the Raspberry Pi blog (this means that you will be fabulously famous!). The three age groups are 12 and under; 13-15 and 16-18.

Your recipe must have fewer than 100 lines of code and cost less than £10 in parts. And no soldering allowed — we want to make this as accessible as possible.

The competition will be judged purely on creativity and imagination rather than technical prowess — you don’t even need to submit any code — so everyone has a chance to enter.

The closing date is 30 August 2013 so you have a few weeks to don those Winged Helmets of Ingenuity + 3 and impress us! Full details and terms plus the entry forms are on the OCR website.

Good luck!



Hisense Sero 7 Pro Now Only $129 at Walmart

Back in June when I reviewed the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, I was surprised by how nice of a tablet it was for $149 (it’s basically the 1st gen Nexus 7 with an HDMI port, microSD card slot, and rear camera with flash) and now the price has dropped even lower down to $129. It’s […]

New Business Model for Flooved Includes Open Access, Crowdsourcing

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

One of the frustrating hurdles of the publishing industry has been the inability to make a subscription-based model for reading work in a large-scale way. While companies like 24Symbols are still moving forward, the “Netflix of books” concept is still pretty elusive. While some of that rests on the shoulders of consumers who were not sure they were going to get the value of paying a flat-fee for the ability to read books, it was also the publishers who were wary of turning over their authors’ works without a clear understanding of how this was going to be profitable for them and for their authors.

Flooved, who modeled itself as a subscription-based digital textbook provider–this time, the “Spotify of textbooks”–has taken a strong look at its business and decided to change its business model after failing to get major textbook publishers on board with its model. Seeing that there was no point in continuing a company who couldn’t offer the most widely used textbooks to its users, Flooved has now shifted its model, a complete malleable business decision made possible by the flexibility of digital publishing, into an open-access content provider and a crowdsourced book distributor.

As the open access movement continues to grow, Flooved has brought as many as 800 professors to its site to self-publish their lecture notes and writings for its 8,000 student users to view for free. Flooved will profit from members’ use of the forum which will let students ask questions that professors will answer.

The Bookseller conducted an interview with Flooved’s founder, Hamish Brocklebank, who said, “We pivoted our business model back in December and dropped the publishers as we realised students no longer had to be so dependent on overpriced textbooks . . . Along the lines of the Open Access movement, we source our content directly from the world's best professors in maths and physics who share our vision that access to educational materials should be free. These consist of either OA textbooks, unpublished textbooks or extremely high-quality lecture notes."

For more on the interview with Flooved, click HERE.

New Business Model for Flooved Includes Open Access, Crowdsourcing is a post from: E-Reader News

Brush Up Your Knowledge of the Outer Space With Free eBooks From NASA


Here is one ebook collection that can be part of the treasure trove of every space junkie. Interestingly, the literary pieces themselves have been out for about a decade now, long before ebooks have caught on with the reading community; being a decade old also means those print books cannot provide as refined a reading experience as the newer ebooks do.

However, those can still be enough to provide more than just a glimpse of how the various space program unfolded or what it was like for the highly competitive space programs between the two warring nations, the US and USSR, during the height of the Cold War. Interestingly, space research is said to have benefited immensely from the Cold War rivalry between the two then super powers. Beyond that, the ebooks also provide more than a passing glance on how space programs shaped up during the initial formative years.

Some of the titles to look forward to include The Difficult Road to Mars: A Brief History of Mars Exploration in the Soviet Union, Wind Tunnels of NASA, Aerospace Food Technology, Life in the Universe: Proceedings of a conference held at NASA Ames Research Center Moffet Field, California, June 19-20, 1979, and many others.

Worth mentioning here, it was only last December that NASA released two free ebooks, Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries and James Webb Space Telescope Science Guide, though both of these are iPad specific.

Click here for more information on NASA’s series of ebooks.

Brush Up Your Knowledge of the Outer Space With Free eBooks From NASA is a post from: E-Reader News

Nvidia CEO Confirms Development of Surface RT 2 Device


We now know what chip the new Surface RT device will be built around. It's going to be Nvidia Tegra 4, of course, after the revelation by their Chief Executive claiming they are working hard with Microsoft on the successor of the present Surface RT device. That Microsoft is working on the next generation of the Surface RT has long been rumored, with some sources pointing out the Redmond-based company had started with Surface RT 2 even before the first gen device was launched. The rumors can be put to rest now that we have confirmation from someone as important as the CEO of Nvidia, though it's surprising that Microsoft's hardware partner revealed their future device development programs.

Coming back to what CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said, it’s Outlook for Surface RT that could be the app which will turn around the fortunes of Surface RT. “Now we’re going to bring it with the second-generation Surface,” said Huang.  “We’re working really hard on it, and we hope that it’s going to be a big success.”

Microsoft's Surface venture has not paid off so far and despite a clamor from its hardware partners to the contrary, the software giant is adamant at pursuing a separate tablet program of its own. Brian Hall, the General Manager of Surface Marketing, has said to ZDnet that Microsoft remains “100 percent committed to Surface RT and Windows RT going forward.”

While the failure of the Surface RT is attributed to its OS which lacks adequate support from a thriving application store, the fact remains that the Surface Pro too never made it big in the market. Windows 8 is compliant with the hundreds and thousands of programs already, though those could not save the Surface Pro from making a dismal show. The Surface RT is also said to have suffered from too high a price tag.

Microsoft seems to be aware of these issues and there have been rumblings of a smaller 7 to 8 inch-sized Surface variant being put together, one that is likely to be cheap enough to take on the likes of the Nexus 7 or the iPad Minis. With the personal computing trend shifting towards tablet devices, Microsoft has no other choice but to ensure it has a firm footing in the tablet space.

Nvidia CEO Confirms Development of Surface RT 2 Device is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Russia To Launch Soon, eBook Contracts Being Negotiated Now

reading in Russia

Amazon is in the process of launching its services in Russia and towards that, the retail giant has begun forging partnership with publishing houses to ensure it has enough ebooks to offer when it launches. The focus will be to offer ebooks initially though printed books too will be added to the catalogue at a later stage. Rosman, one of Russia's largest publishers of children's books has already been roped in to supply content when Amazon rolls out its service in that country. As publishingperspectives points out, it will be about 100 – 150 titles that will be on offer to begin with, that deals with 'reference, children's and YA titles'. The title count is expected to go up to twice the figure by the end of the year.

Interestingly, Russians are already known to buy printed books worth millions of dollars from Amazon's overseas sites. Naturally, Russians will have a lot to save in reduced shipping costs once Amazon sets up shop in that country and begin offering printed books. What remains to be seen is how the US online retail giant copes up with the tyranny of Russian geography that is vast and equally varied, something that can easily be termed as a logistical nightmare. It is also this together with the lack of a pan Russian book sales network like Barnes &Noble that presents the perfect setting for ebooks to thrive, and as is evident elsewhere in the world, the digital version have already turned out to lure more readers than their printed counterparts.

Amazon is known to have hired the services of former publisher of ABC-Atticus, Mr. Arkady Vitrukas to head its operations in Russia. Once launched, Amazon will be up against Litres who are the leading distributor of ebooks in the country.  Meanwhile, Amazon is reported to be in discussion with several other domestic publishers though no other names are available as yet. Also not known is when Amazon is expected to launch its operation in Russia.

Amazon Russia To Launch Soon, eBook Contracts Being Negotiated Now is a post from: E-Reader News

Google eTextbooks now Available via Play Books


Google has just officially launched their new eTextbook rental and purchasing service in the USA. It does not currently have its own section, instead it is an integral part of Google Books.

The new digital textbook section has offerings from most major publishers, such as Pearson, Wiley, Macmillian Higher Education, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning. The current textbooks only offer the ability to buy or rent, with only a handful allowing you to do both. Each edition as a free sample, that often covers a few chapters, to give you a sense on how the books look. When you purchase any digital edition, it is automatically delivered to you via the Google Books app.  If the official e-reading app is not for you, there is a internet browser alternative and some even allow you to export it to your favorite reader, such as the Nook or Kobo.

Google eTextbooks now Available via Play Books is a post from: E-Reader News