Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marvel NOW Uses Digital to Get New Readers On Board


Last October, Marvel Comics launched its Marvel NOW initiative, which was designed to lure in new readers by offering new titles featuring classic characters (Uncanny Avengers, Indestructible Hulk) and resetting the numbering of several ongoing series, with each new issue #1 being designed to be a good jumping-on point.

Now they are doing it again, and this time they are bringing more digital comics into the mix.

On Monday, Marvel announced the “All-New Marvel NOW,” with even more new series, more jumping-on points, and more crazy renumbering: Avengers #24.NOW is also Avengers #1. That comic is due out on December 24, and Marvel NOW rolls on from there with story arcs in the ongoing series that are accessible to new readers and two new series that will launch in January, All-New Invaders #1 and Inhuman #1.

Just as the first Marvel NOW brought back lesser known characters such as Guardians of the Galaxy, the new reboot will draw in Black Widow, the Silver Surfer, and, as one might guess from the title above, the Inhumans. As Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso told USA Today, “My favorite thing is showing people why those characters that aren’t necessarily household names like the Falcon and Silver Surfer should be, and why they’re every bit as vital to the Marvel mythology as Spider-Man and the Avengers.”

Here’s where digital comes in: Each #1 issue will include a digital code that allows the reader to download a free digital copy. But that’s not all: In order to help readers catch up with the story, some issues of ongoing series will include a digital code good for the first volume of collected issues. So if you’re coming in halfway through a series, you can read the first four or six issues digitally for free. That seems like a pretty smart move on Marvel’s part, because you have to figure they have already made their money back on those issues, and the marginal cost of offering them for free is zero. If lures more readers into the fold—first to buy the issue with the code and then to buy the rest of the series—then it’s a great strategy. And one that would be unimaginable with print: No one will ever say, “Here, buy this comic for $3.99 and we’ll throw in a 100-page book for free,” but with digital, it makes a lot of sense.

Marvel NOW Uses Digital to Get New Readers On Board is a post from: E-Reader News

Smashwords Launces Series Manager, Receives Award Nomination from BISG


As book discovery continues to plague authors of every ilk in a market that is saturated with content, platforms like Smashwords continue to look for new ways to help authors bring readers to their books easily. Today, the ebook distribution platform announced a new feature, Series Manager, aimed at helping authors lump their series titles together for easier search capabilities.

“It’s not uncommon for the books in some series to make no reference to their series in the book title, book cover or book description,” stated Smashwords’ CEO Mark Coker in a blog post about the new offering. “This makes it difficult for readers to identify all the books in a series, or books in related series, and makes it difficult for retailers to properly merchandise them. Series Manager helps solve this problem.

“Smashwords will provide the new series metadata, as input by the author or publisher, to our retailers. Each retailer will handle the metadata differently. Some will make use of all the data, and others might cherry pick. Either way, the improved metadata will make it easier for retailers to enhance the discoverability of Smashwords books today while having the capability to develop improved discoverability features in the future.”

Smashwords was also proud to announce that its founder, Mark Coker, was tapped by the Book Industry Study Group for nomination for its first-ever Disruptor Award, joining names like Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks and Wattpad’s founder Allen Lau in the nomination.

Smashwords Launces Series Manager, Receives Award Nomination from BISG is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Users Can Now Find Book Baby eBooks in Bookstores

Bookstore Indie
Even as indie authors and the entire self-publishing concept gain more and more acceptance among readers and the industry, one of the last great hurdles for these authors is placing their content in physical bookstores. Short of developing a relationship with individual proprietors, authors often have to rely on online retailers to sell their content.

But BookBaby recently announced that Kobo users can buy indie authors’ ebooks in brick-and-mortar bookstores who have a relationship with the ebook retailer. The steps were outlined in a post by GalleyCat that told users how to go about supporting indie authors and their locally owned bookstores at the same time.

While the process in not very streamlined and certainly isn’t superior to simply purchasing books on, it offers consumers a way to show their financial backing for business owners who are often struggling to even keep up with–let alone compete with–major chain bookstores and online entities.

A complete list of bookstores who offer the ability to buy Kobo ebooks through their websites is available HERE.

Kobo Users Can Now Find Book Baby eBooks in Bookstores is a post from: E-Reader News

Rockstand Introduces Rock Connect Social Platform For Authors and Readers To Meet and Interact


Rockstand, one of India's largest ebook and e-magazine applications, has announced the launch of the country's first social reading network, Rock Connect. This will serve as a meeting ground for readers and authors where they can discuss issues pertaining to books they have read or are reading. The application will be simple to use in that it's much like the other social networking sites such as Google+ or Facebook that we are already familiar with.

Users who are already registered with Rockstand can get started with the feature right away. They can create and maintain their own profiles at Rock Connect and can also invite friends to join their list and so on. Friends’ profiles will be visible to each other and will be allow users to catch up with what either of them is reading or the books they have purchased. Users will also be able to alter their visibility status as per their preferences, besides having the ability to rate a particular ebook or e-magazine or write a review of it.

"A year back when we launched Rockstand we knew that we were going to herald a new chapter in the history of eBooks in India. Our aim from very beginning was to bring difference in Digital reading habits of people and Rock Connect will further strengthen this aim as well as save our environment in the process. This feature will connect us with our readers and create a knowledge exchange platform. The advantage of Rock Connect is that you can keep a track on what latest happening in eBook space," revealed Mr. Rishi Mohan Jha while introducing the company's latest initiative. Mr. Rishi Mohan Jha heads the Rockstand Digital Pvt. Limited venture.

All of it is still in the beta stage though, and the final version is expected to be launched in a few weeks' time. Meanwhile, the company also took the occasion to announce their tie-up with several publishing houses, which will further add to their already comprehensive collection of ebooks and e-magazines.

Rockstand Introduces Rock Connect Social Platform For Authors and Readers To Meet and Interact is a post from: E-Reader News

Smartwatch Predicted to Grow to $62 Billion by 2018, Could Incorporate Bendable Display In Future


If anyone thought smart watches were just a fad that would fade away soon, analysts are already predicting a multi-billion dollar growth  for the segment. Generator Research, the UK-based research group, claims the segment will account for $62 billion by 2018. The research firm is further claiming that the segment will grow to $214 million within the next five years.

The segment is in its nascent stage right now with just a few smartwatch devices launched so far. These include the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch 2, the Qualcomm Toq, and the Nismo smartwatch from auto maker Nissan. A few more are waiting in the wings from manufacturers like Nokia, Apple, and others, all of whom are likely to launch their devices soon. In fact, with the device being so closely tied to smartphone devices, every player in the smartphone arena is expected to come up with a smartwatch sooner rather than later.

However, the segment packs in immense potential so that it's not only the smartphone makers who could be seen leading the charge, something that is exemplified by Nissan coming up with a smartwatch of its own. Rather, every manufacturer that is keen to offer a more personalized experience with their products could be seen developing smartwatches of their own. As such, smartwatches could well be seen replacing remote controls for TVs of the future.

Another area where smartwatches could see massive proliferation is in the workplace where companies could resort to doling out smartwatches to their employees for communicating with them.

Also, with the segment being in the formative stages as of yet, there is a lot to be seen before smartwatches become more petite and stylish than what they are right now,as we have seen plenty of bendable display technology from time to time.

In all, its just the beginning of what is already promising to be a thoroughly exciting journey up ahead.

Smartwatch Predicted to Grow to $62 Billion by 2018, Could Incorporate Bendable Display In Future is a post from: E-Reader News

New Pictures of the Second Generation Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7


Amazon intends on announcing a new line of tablets in the next few weeks. The company is intending to release updates to the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7, and Kindle Fire 8.9. Today, we now have new pictures of this device which give us a sense of the overall design changes.

Amazon's new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will feature a high-resolution 1,920 x 1,200-pixel display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset clocked at more than 2GHz, 2GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, optional cellular data, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.

The new pictures show that the speakers have been moved from the side of the device to the very top. This should insure that when you have it laying flat on its back, you shall still get stellar audio. This is the same type of design shift that Kobo has also maintained with their new line of ARC tablets. Amazon has also done away with the big black bar on the back of it, going for a more minimalist look. Finally, the corners are a little bit more defined.

Amazon has not announced a release date or if they intend on having a launch event. Likely, the new 7 inch model will debut first and the new 8.9 should be available this November.



New Pictures of the Second Generation Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 is a post from: E-Reader News

New PocketBook Basic Touch Announced


Pocketbook has just announced a new e-Reader that is intending to ship out this October. PocketBook will be the first company in the world to implement capacitive multi-sensor FILM TOUCH screens on its devices! The company also introducing Dropbox integration, a service which allows you to easily update your eReader's library by automatically synchronizing the files available on your Dropbox account, no wires or software needed.

The Pocketbook Basic Touch features a six inch e-ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024×758. Underneath the hood is a 1GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. You can expand the memory up to an additional 32 GB.

A wireless built-in Wi-Fi module opens limitless opportunities not only for surfing the Internet but staying connected and sharing your reading experience with your friends and family over social networks with the new ReadRate service.

Pocketbook seems to be listening to the critics and putting better hardware in their devices. This might be the first time the company has ever put these types of internals in their entire product line. The e-Reader ships this October for a cool €99

New PocketBook Basic Touch Announced is a post from: E-Reader News

Why Did Amazon Raise the Price of the New 3G Paperwhite by $10?

One interesting detail that has basically gone unnoticed with the launch of the 2nd generation Kindle Paperwhite is the fact that Amazon has raised the price by $10 for the 3G model from last year’s 3G Paperwhite, making the price for the subsidized Kindle $189 and the non-ad version $209. The price for the WiFi-only […]

Read-n-Run Device to Let You Read While You Are Running

read n run

The New York-based company Weartrons has come up with a unique solution for those who wish to carry on with their reading on a tablet device even when conditions are least conducive for them to do so, such as while running on a treadmill.

A small, clip-on device appropriately named Run-n-Read is designed to track movements of the head and eye. The corresponding software, which is compatible with an e-reading software, will make the texts of the book move in perfect synchronization with your head. This will make the text look stationary. The user will just have to tap anywhere on the display once they have reached the end of the page to carry on with their reading while two taps will load the previous page.

"Run-n-Read is providing an elegant solution for a problem that many people can easily relate to and have assumed that there is no fix for it,” said Praveen Elak Co-Founder, Weartrons. “We are launching on Dragon Innovation’s platform as we believe that their deep experience and practical knowledge in volume manufacturing of electronic products will help us recognize and address – all of the second-, third-, and fourth- order problems. Those are the things you can’t learn elsewhere unless you try and fail, something we cannot afford.”

The device is compatible with both iOS and Android and can be had for $55, though the first fifty buyers will be offered an introductory price of $40. Shipping starts around January. Also, while its makers are keen to promote the device as a suitable reading aid for use in a gym environment, the same can also be useful for those who need to travel a lot on bumpy roads. With the Read-n-Run clipped on to the users collars, there’s no stopping them to continue with their reading.

Read-n-Run Device to Let You Read While You Are Running is a post from: E-Reader News

RaspyFi – a distro for music lovers

RaspiFi was brought to our attention a few days ago: it’s a distro designed especially for those with big media libraries who are using their Pis to listen to music. If you’re one of those people (I am, and I’m chuffed to bits to find RaspiFi), or an honest-to-god audiophile, you may have noticed that other media centre distros have been built to prioritise video rather than music, and don’t necessarily support all the formats your collection might be made up of; or give you the fine degree of control you want over volume and playback. And if you want to stream music wirelessly to other devices on your network, you’ll have to do a little more work with a traditional Raspberry Pi media centre (I can’t believe I’m saying “traditional” about a device that’s only been on the market for 18 months) to get everything working.

So RaspiFi has been engineered to address those issues. Apple AirPlay works out of the box, so you can stream to other devices without any extra work. The distro supports a large number of external USB DACs (there is a pleasingly lengthy list on the project website) and asynchronous playback, so you can use your other amplifiers and DACs instead of the one that’s onboard the Pi – which, let’s face it, wasn’t built for audiophiles.

The UI is really slick, and offers you a web interface you can use to control all your devices, so you can get to local or streamed content from your desktop, phone or tablet. I’ve been enjoying it so far: it’s intuitive, I can play music on any networked device with a web interface without having to install anything, and AirPlay just works - which is very pleasing.

Have a look for yourself. You can download RaspyFi (currently v1.0) from the project website. Documentation, help and tutorials are all available too – let us know what you think!