Saturday, January 25, 2014

Magzter Looking to Expand Digital Magazines into Russia, China and Brazil


Magzter is one of the largest digital magazine ecosystems in the world. They are absolutely killing it on the Apple Newsstand, with seven hundred of the 4,000 magazines listed are created by Magzter. The India based company is looking to leverage their extensive portfolio of 1,800 magazines in a bid to expand into Russia, China and Brazil.

Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, President and Co-Founder, Magzter said "Currently, we have some presence in India but not in other BRIC nations. Apart from shoring up our presence here, Brazil, Russia and China will be our focus," he told Business Line.

Last year Magzter signed on Hearst Magazines, a massive deal that brought the conglomerate's 20 U.S. magazines and most of its 300 international editions to Magzter. In recent times they secured the rights to American Media's 20 or so U.S. magazines as well, with titles like Mens' Fitness, Shape, Star, National Inquirer, and Globe.

It will be interesting to see how Magzter handles their expansion into Russia, India and Brazil. The main hindrance is the lack of Apple products, where Magzter sees 90% of their revenue. They will have to beef up their Android apps if they hope to capitalize on markets that often suffer from the lack of high end consumer products.

Magzter Looking to Expand Digital Magazines into Russia, China and Brazil is a post from: E-Reader News

Podcast: Advice for Indie Authors on Self-Publishing and Promotion


Welcome to the weekend edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today, Michael Kozlowski and Mercy Pilkington discuss various aspects of self-promotion for indie authors and the best news stories of the week.

Today on the show Mercy speaks about many prominent authors bashing the Authors Guild  and the reasons why they think its irrelevant in 2014. Many other authors are echoing their sentiments and their might be a general strike being called soon.

First time authors often don’t know the correct way to advertise their book effectively. Most resort to spamming Twitter, Facebook and sending blogs emails about your new title. Mercy and Michael discuss a series of best practices that many authors can benefit from.

Podcast: Advice for Indie Authors on Self-Publishing and Promotion is a post from: E-Reader News

Understanding the Lack of Ownership with Digital Comics and eBooks


When you go and buy a comic book or paperback novel from your local bookstore, there is a clear understanding of ownership. You simply pay for the title, bring it home and it is  yours to keep and loan out to friends as you see fit. When it comes to eBooks and digital comics the entire situation is more convoluted, 99% of the time you do not own the book you purchased, you are merely licensing it.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony or any other company that has Digital Rights Management clearly states in the terms of service or in the licensing agreement that the customer does not actually have ownership of the title.  In 2012 a Norwegian Amazon customer identified only as Linn had her Kindle access revoked without warning or explanation. Her account was closed, and her Kindle was remotely wiped. This resulted in all of her purchases simply disappearing.

Many online retailers like Comixology sell  comic books, but all of the purchases are stored on the cloud.  If their servers were to ever go down or the company goes out of business, over 200 million people would be out of luck. Digital Manga closed down last year and existed solely in the cloud and in-app viewing of content. When they closed anyone who purchased comics were unable to read them anymore.

The clear lack of ownership with eBooks, eTextbooks, digital comics and manga is one of the barriers of further digital adoption. Encryption such as DRM (Digital Rights Management) puts barriers in place to discourage piracy but make the purchasers life a bit more difficult. Most companies do not have a e-lending program, which makes loaning the titles out to your friends impossible.  If you have a massive library and move to a new country, you run the risk of your entire account being shut down and all titles disappearing.

Some companies are trying to make peoples lives a bit easier. The Harry Potter online bookstore, Pottermore, scrapped DRM, and instead went with Watermark Codes.  SCI-FI publisher, TOR, has also abandoned DRM and lets people download full copies of the books on their computers and can be read with any 3rd party e-Reader.

Understanding the Lack of Ownership with Digital Comics and eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

Forums are back

We’ve rolled the forum database tables back to a snapshot taken around 2am GMT on Saturday morning. All posts since then have been lost, but this way we’re confident that the database is in a known-good state.

Thanks to Paul at Mythic Beasts for the quick turnaround.

Forums down this weekend for maintenance

We’ve had an issue this afternoon with some corruption in the forums database, which means that a lot of you can’t log in, and can’t see your old posts. We’re going to take the forums down completely later this evening, while we try to fix the problem. It’s possible that when they come back up (which we hope will be tomorrow or Monday) all posts made today will be lost: we’re very sorry!


New Book on Snowden Demonstrates Lag of Publishing Industry

A new book, to be released by Vintage Books (Knopf) next month, will provide interested readers with an in-depth account of the Edward Snowden scandal, from start to finish. Beginning with a team from The Guardian being invited to hear what this one-time senior security official with the NSA had to tell following his email that promised the dirt, and winding through a tricky path of a government far overstepping its bounds, this book–The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding–promises readers all of the information from a top investigative journalist.

At the risk of sounding obtuse…Edward who?

Not that Edward Snowden is in any way not a major topic of importance to freedom, and not to say that this book won’t bring to light some never-before-read facts directly from the NSA system administrator’s own mouth, but there’s a larger issue here. Why did readers have to wait so long for this book? And given that it’s releasing next month in paperback, why are we waiting still?

Now and Then Reader, a long-form journalism ebook publisher, produced a title on the death of Osama Bin Laden within record time following the actions of SEAL Team Six. Even more impressively, ebook developer Vook had two titles standing at the ready, Why Romney Lost and Why Obama Lost, both books having been written, edited, and formatted for digital devices in advance of the election. Upon the same-day announcement of the official voting results, engineers at Vook simply had to press a button to publish the appropriate title.

But if the research has been done and verified on the upcoming Snowden title, the book written, the editing finalized, and the entire manuscript formatted for printing, why is it not in the hands of readers on their devices? What’s the hold up?

While there are certainly considerations in the publishing industry that affect the launch date of all books, it seems almost irresponsible to announce that a title on such an important global event involving illegal NSA surveillance and treason, an event that has caused governments around the world to reconsider what it means to operate in the digital age, will be coming some time next month.

The issue itself is still unresolved legally, with the US Supreme Court refusing last November to hear the arguments that the government did or did not have the right to gather metadata on phone calls within and to the country.

New Book on Snowden Demonstrates Lag of Publishing Industry is a post from: E-Reader News

Samsung Rumored to Launch Galaxy Pro Line of Tablets During Valentines Weekend


Samsung may have something special this coming Valentine’s weekend. While nothing is set in stone yet, it is being hotly speculated that Samsung might launch the Pro versions of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab that the company recently showcased at the CES event earlier this month. Samsung released an internal memo stating all requests for paid time offs on 14th, 15th, and 16th February won't be granted in view of an “exciting launch announcement” that the company has lined up during that period.

As for the tablets, the Galaxy Tab Pro in 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2 inch are expected to be released, as is the 12.2 inch Galaxy Note Pro. The company's new generation tablet offerings with the larger versions are targeted squarely at the enterprise segment or for other professional uses. The tablets did impress with the overall quality, performance, and build, with the larger ones being surprisingly light, easy to hold, and operate even with one hand.

However, price could still be an important consideration. The cheapest of the lot, the Galaxy Tab 8.4, starts at $389 for the Wi-Fi only configuration. Similarly, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE is the costliest, priced at $849, still cheaper than the LTE capable iPad Air with 128 GB onboard at $929. In comparison, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE offers a larger display, stylus support, and better functionality. However, it is only available in 32/64 GB configuration but offers micro SD card support. Worth mentioning here, the Surface Pro 2 with 64 GB onboard comes for $899.

Meanwhile, here is the price structure of the Pro line of Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablet devices.

Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4, Wi-Fi: $389

Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4, LTE: $519

Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1, Wi-Fi: $479

Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 LTE: $609

Galaxy Tab PRO 12.2, Wi-Fi: $649

Galaxy Tab PRO 12.2, LTE: $749

Galaxy Note PRO 12.2, Wi-Fi: $749

Galaxy Note PRO 12.2, LTE: $849

Samsung Rumored to Launch Galaxy Pro Line of Tablets During Valentines Weekend is a post from: E-Reader News

Indie Authors Strike Back at an Industry They’ve Left Behind

In what is merely a startling coincidence, two well-known self-published authors have been at the center of a very telling look at the publishing industry this week. In a piece for Harper’s Magazine, writer Jesse Baron eloquently outlines the saga of authors, namely Jennifer Weiner, who have worked futilely for inclusion and respect for indie authors from the mainstream traditional media and industry; over on his own blog today, bestselling self-published/hybrid author Hugh Howey brilliantly opened the floodgates on how the Authors Guild is basically working to destroy authors’ careers.

The first piece examined the buzz surrounding Weiner and the very real dynamic that self-published authors, regardless of sales or status, are still held at arm’s length by the industry. Even formerly traditionally published authors like US President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis have told Good e-Reader that doors closed to them once their self-published titles came along, specifically in review and interview opportunities; Davis even recounted how she appeared on NPR to promote one title, but when she reached out to that same program about her debut indie title, she was told there was a policy in place against self-published works.

Baron highlights the interesting dynamic at work, namely that authors who once fought so hard for acceptance are slowly turning their backs on those closed doors, and quite possibly finding more success than the authors who are still trying desperately to be accepted.

“It's not Weiner's desire for inclusion that should scare New York. It's the threat of her indifference,” concludes Baron.

A blog post by Howey yesterday, however, takes a deeper, bolder stab by vehemently pointing out the many ways that the Authors Guild–the organization created to protect the interests of authors–is in bed with the traditional publishing industry with its incessant Amazon bashing, its refusal to stand up for author royalties, and more.

What is so stomach-churning about the information Howey brings to light is not only the myriad ways that the AG is not looking out for authors, but that self-published authors will find it incredibly difficult to even join the AG in the first place. Membership is limited to authors who are published by an “established” US publisher (re: well-known, not necessarily independent), freelancers who are published by general circulation periodicals, or self-published authors who earn at least $5000 in royalties in an 18-month period.

That’s a feat that 87% of self-published authors statistically do not accomplish, but 54% of traditionally published authors also cannot meet that requirement. Luckily, those traditionally published authors can squeak into “the club” by meeting that first requirement, even if they never sell a single copy. That accomplishment affords them the privilege of paying $90 per year in membership dues to an organization who is working with publishers to bring down Amazon, the single largest retailer who makes the majority of sales happen for the majority of authors.

Both articles highlight–yet again–the real issue: the traditional publishing industry is not evolving fast enough. Amazon was the first to turn its back and stipulate how books will be marketed, and the authors were the next to jump from the sinking ship. And as multi-million title authors like Weiner, Howey, HP Mallory, Bella Andre, Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath, (the list is exhaustingly long) have proven, the readers are following.

Indie Authors Strike Back at an Industry They’ve Left Behind is a post from: E-Reader News