Saturday, August 31, 2013

Amazon and Condé Nast Combine Digital and Print Magazine Subscriptions


Amazon is in the process of launching a new digital and print magazine subscription service. The new pilot program is called "All Access" and will allow readers to use their Amazon account to easily purchase, manage and renew their print and digital magazine subscriptions. The first publisher to commit themselves is Condé Nast and will start off with Vogue, Glamour, Bon Appétit, Lucky, Golf Digest, Vanity Fair and WIRED, with the remaining brands joining later in the year. For a limited time, customers will get introductory deals for "All Access" content – just $6 or less for 6 months of issue.

"Combining Condé Nast’s must-have content with Amazon’s 1-Click shopping platform is a huge win,” said Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast. "Our influential and loyal customers want to be the first to know, purchase and share, which is why we wanted to be the first to develop a service like ‘All Access’ with Amazon, the world's most trusted and proven e-commerce platform."

"Customers are increasingly consuming magazine content in both print and digital formats, and 'All Access' allows them to subscribe to both in a very easy way, and read content digitally on whatever device or platform they use," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. "Condé Nast is known for creating some of the best content in the media industry, so we're excited to start this new program with them."

Being able to combine print and digital is often relegated to the newspaper industry and magazine companies are all looking for the right strategy. Many publishers have told us the Holy Grail is being able to offer lower introductory prices and increase the prices once they have people locked in. Being able to combine both print and digital with an online entity like Amazon is the right play for Condé Nast. Likely other publishing companies will monitor sales and customer acceptance before committing themselves.

Amazon and Condé Nast Combine Digital and Print Magazine Subscriptions is a post from: E-Reader News

IDW Comics Debut on Madefire Motion-Comic App


Madefire is a digital-comics app for iOS and the web that’s a little different from most of the other comics apps: Its focus is on motion comics. Like comiXology in the Guided View mode, Madefire displays most pages a panel at a time, with the user controlling the timing of the panel reveals. Unlike Guided View, though, Madefire takes things a step further. Once you swipe to reveal a panel, it may slide in, drop down, even vibrate a bit. The word balloons drop in after the art is in place. Figures move slightly within the panels, giving a 3-D effect, and sometimes a bit of sparkle or smoke is animated. And there’s audio as well, at least in some of the comics. You can see a short video demo here.

Madefire launched with a line of comics by its own creators, most of which are free, but in July they announced partnerships with several other publishers: IDW, BOOM! Studios, Top Cow, and ITV. This week, they released the first trio of IDW titles, based on IDW’s My Little Pony, Star Trek, and Transformers comics.

I bought the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic on Madefire and compared it with the first issue of the comic on comiXology. The first thing to note is that while both comics cost $1.99, the Madefire “first episode” is only half of the full issue, so you get twice as much comic for your money on comiXology.

However, Madefire does provide a more pleasant reading experience on the iPad, because the pages of My Little Pony tend to be a bit crowded, and seeing the panels one at a time helps give the reader a bit of structure. The panels are the same size in both apps, but the resolution is better in comiXology, because they have high-definition images (this test was done on an iPad 3 with retina display); the lines in the Madefire version appeared jagged.

Whether the animation adds value or not is a matter of personal taste. There were several points when it enhanced the storytelling, as when several sets of eyes appeared in the dark and then were revealed to be hostile animals. When the ponies scream “Nooo!” the sound effect appears isolated on a black screen, rather than at the bottom of a rather busy page, so the impact is increased. There was some variety in the way the panels appeared on the screen, which was nice; my favorite bit of business was when a character appeared and pushed a panel slightly to the side to make room for his own panel. One frequent trick the designers use is to have the scene move when the panel first opens, giving the sense of a camera panning across the scene. This is particularly effective with the smaller panels, as it gives the sense that the reader is peering through a viewer (the panel border) into a large scene. What was less effective was having two-dimensional shapes slide past one another; that seemed like a cheaply animated cartoon.

Mark Waid, who uses many of these techniques himself, often talks about the importance of the reader being in control of the timing. In his comics, the reader controls every motion on the page—the word balloons that drop into the panel, the shifts in focus, every single change is initiated by the reader. The Madefire comics work differently: The reader swipes to reveal a new panel but does not control the pacing after that. Several pictorial elements may appear or move without any input from the reader. This takes changes the dynamic: Instead of controlling the pacing of the comic, the reader only controls the pacing of the panels. It’s a different type of reading experience, one that is worth sampling, although I’m not sure it’s worth paying twice the price of the static comic.

Madefire has forged an interesting partnership with DeviantArt, which is an online community for artists, and the comics can also be viewed there in their web reader. Several DeviantArt creators are working for Madefire, doing the conversions to motion comics, and Madefire editorial director Bill Abernathy told Publishers Weekly he hopes to make Madefire’s authoring tools available publicly via DeviantArt later this year.

IDW Comics Debut on Madefire Motion-Comic App is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Aura vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

amazon kindle paperwhite and kobo aura

The new six inch Kobo Aura was recently unveiled at a New York launch party and Good e-Reader was live on the scene. We managed to score the Aura ahead of the late September release and today we are happy to compare it against the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

Over the course of this video review we look at the key hardware and software differences. Beyond the Book and X-Ray have a bit in common and we show you how both companies approach people, places and things in entirely new ways. We also compare the e-Reading experience in both traditional books and PDF editions.

Kobo Aura vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a post from: E-Reader News

Tablet PC Outsell PCs in Middle East And Africa


Tablet sales have long been predicted to overtake that of PCs, and the same is already proving to be true in the Middle East and African regions. According to figures with IDC, the tablet segment in those aforementioned regions grew by an astounding 208 percent, which translates to 2.79 million tablet devices being shipped in the second quarter of 2013.

An interesting aspect of the tablet segment in the regions is that it is Android that reigns supreme with almost 2 million of 2.79 million tablets shipped being Android based. Also, it is the cost of the device that has proved to be the most important factor in deciding the purchasing decision, with low cost Android tablets turning out to be the crowd favorite. This would explain a not too favorable response to the iPad Mini or any other Apple tablet here.

Meanwhile, IDC has further predicted that the tablet segment will continue to be price sensitive with it being the low cost tablet devices that will be driving growth of the segment, be it in the emerging markets in the east or the more developed market in the west.

Tablet PC Outsell PCs in Middle East And Africa is a post from: E-Reader News

All E Ink Kindles Should Come With Free 3G Wireless

Something occurred to me this past week with the WiFi Kindle Paperwhite becoming unavailable from (unless you live outside the United States, that is). Why does Amazon charge more for the Kindle Paperwhite with 3G wireless? Why do WiFi-only E Ink Kindles exist at all? After all, when we really stop to think about […]

Pi Weekly: a free email newsletter

Back in June, Raspberry Pi superfan Ryan Walmsley and Manchester brain-on-a-stick (and kayak rescue hero) Ben Nuttall decided to set up a free weekly email newsletter for Raspberry Pi topics, with curated links to news, projects, articles and more. It’s now on its 11th issue, and there’s a wealth of interesting information already available in the archives, which are available to leaf through on the Pi Weekly website. (Click on the image below to visit the site.)

We highly, highly recommend that you subscribe. Ben and Ryan are old hands at the Pi game, and they’re very active in the community, so they’re in a great position to get their hands on news early – sometimes, even before we hear about it at Pi Towers. If you’ve got news of your own that you’d like them to disseminate, they’re always looking for submissions, which you can make through Pi Weekly is released every Friday. Head over and sign up!