Sending eBooks to your e-Reader is becoming a fairly popular endeavor for people who have more then one device, or browse for free ones online while at work or school to read later. Amazon has had a number of successful Send to Kindle plugins written by indie developers, until the company made their own. Since then, hundreds of thousands of users are sending documents and eBooks right to their devices. Pocketbook is going to follow this trend by releasing a “Send to Pocketbook” firmware update this October.
Send-to-PocketBook will support a multitude of formats, including: EPUB DRM, EPUB, PDF DRM, PDF, FB2, FB2.ZIP, TXT, DJVU, HTM, HTML, DOC, DOCX, RTF, CHM, TCR, PRC, JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF.
The first e-reader to get this updated firmware will be the Pocketbook Touch Lux and Pocketbook Color Lux. Older devices should get the update in November, so there is hope for people with prior models. The service will also include security features such as "White List", which is a list of e-mail addresses from which the eReader will receive documents to avoid spam mails.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Crains New York broke the news this week, in a profile of comiXology and its CEO David Steinberger, that the company has now passed the 200 million download mark. It was just about a year ago that they were at 100 million downloads, so that means they have downloaded 100 million comics in the past year or, if you do a bit of rounding, roughly 2 million comics per week. Now, those aren’t all comics sales—some of them are free downloads—but I’d guess that comiXology probably has a higher paid-to-free ratio than most digital comics distributors because they have managed to corner the market on comics-shop comics. As the Crains article points out, they have an exclusive on Marvel single-issue comics, so if you want this week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man, and you want it digitally, you have to get it from comiXology. Several other publishers have signed exclusives with comiXology over the years, but that’s probably the most important one, given their customer base. (DC comics are also available on comiXology but they don’t have an exclusive contract).
Two million downloads a month is a pretty impressive number, but it’s still far fewer than the number of print comics sold each month. Here’s another interesting statistic from that article: Image Comics expects to sell 300,000 print copies of The Walking Dead #115, which is their tenth-anniversary issue, and about 45,000 digital copies. That puts digital at 15%, which is a ratio that has seemed to hold true for about the past year. The Walking Dead is a phenomenally popular comic, but it’s also one you would expect to do a bit better in digital than in print, because the television show has a much larger audience than the comic, and most people who don’t read comics regularly don’t even know that comic shops exist, much less how to find one. Search on “The Walking Dead” in the iTunes store, though, and comiXology’s Walking Dead app shows up as one of the first results. So one would expect a lot of new readers to be coming to it through the TV show.
At any rate, the article mentions Kindle as competition for comiXology, but the Kindle folks haven’t sent out any press releases bragging about the number of comics they have downloaded, so we can assume it’s not too impressive just yet.
Good e-Reader has been closely following the recent events surrounding author bullying and reviewer bashing. While dozens of articles on the subject have been posted over the course of the last few weeks, there has yet to be any clear rationalization for the animosity between some authors and some book reviewers. Even as sites like Amazon and Goodreads take steps to try to control the furor, they are only capable of so much.
In this week’s look at the so-called bullying, it’s important to reference a post on this subject from earlier this week. Katherine from BookPromotion.com posted a piece called, “Hate As A Marketing Tool,” which doesn’t actually tout the benefits of venomous reviews, but does offer authors who’ve received negative critiques at least a glimmer of hope as to why negative reviews actually benefit an author.
In her piece, Katherine references (but does not link to in order to avoid helping the blogger with traffic to her site, as Good e-Reader likewise will not) an article that circulated almost virally last weekend, a piece that named thirty prominent, best-selling self-published authors; while specifically targeting author Melissa Foster, who is now pursuing legal action against the blogger, the post by someone who claims to have spent two years “working undercover” at Fiverr names authors Hugh Howey, Blake Crouch, Amanda Hocking, and several others as those who purchased bulk book reviews.
Hugh Howey initially was not going to respond to the post, but reader outrage over the supposedly-outed authors prompted him to post on his blog and to state what many reader fans are now calling the “Jolie Pledge,” a statement Howey made asserting that he had never bought a book review and good-naturedly pledged it on his dog’s life. Interestingly, Howey’s post begins with an assertion that this kind of post would never be given any credence if authors had not actually been known to purchase book reviews.
For the authors named in the post, outpouring of support has come from their longtime fans as well as from readers who had not picked up their books but who were incensed over the lack of proof offered in the post. Fiverr has reportedly responded as well, stating that no one had worked undercover in their offices and that they were sorry for the authors who had been hurt. While this form of abuse and threat against a writer’s career is actually quite serious, it can actually be beneficial for authors are, in fact, blameless and who take the high road in their responses.
Apple has just filed a patent for an eBook autographing system. Their new system is designed to work with iCloud and in physical proximity. The technology will allow for the author and readers to be in the same room and have autographs transferred over via Bluetooth or WIFI.
Important to any autograph is authenticity, both for a user and the person giving away their signature. Apple is seeking to develop a certificate to be sent along with the autograph that verifies the content as legitimate. This digital marker can be stored on the recipient’s device or remotely on a server like iCloud. When a user synchronizes their eBook library, the digital token is passed along, thereby securing the authenticity and uniqueness of the autograph. This really makes the entire autographing system fairly unique.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new system is being able to not only interject a simple autograph into the an eBook, but also Video, Audio and Pictures. A reader can have their photo taken with the author and then have them autograph the picture within the eBook.
Publishers will be able to have more advanced tools for eBooks using Apples iBooks Author. They will be able to do more mass market autographs embedded in the books and do more multimedia based things.
The ability to digitally sign eBooks is nothing new and there are a number of companies that have pioneered digital autographing software, such as Authorgraph and Autography. For a number of years these two companies have allowed authors to sign peoples Kindle and EPUB books, by interjecting an extra page into a purchased book. Most of this takes place over the internet. Most of the autographing done is by indie authors on these platforms and the main allure is being hardware agnostic.