Friday, November 21, 2014

Google Sets Sights on App Store in China

The Google logo is reflected in windows

Android users in China (now numbering in the ten of millions) will be happy to know that many of them will have access to Google’s app store (hopefully, at least). Though a specific launch date has yet to be discussed, Google is working with a legal team to get plans together (many of the core Google Play services, like Gmail and Maps, are currently being blocked in China).

Earlier this week, Google also announced that policies were changing for Chinese app developers –allowing them to make money from their paid apps being downloaded from 130 countries worldwide (China isn’t included in that list yet, but would be with a local-to-them app store).

Not everybody will be thrilled to hear this news, with several alternative Chinese platforms already in place to distribute Android apps; Google stands to make a lot of money (in their stead) considering the potential revenue stream from so many new users… but it will not be without considerable investments. Beyond legal considerations, Google has no infrastructure in China (think servers and bandwidth to begin) –all of which will be subject to the seemingly arbitrary Chinese regulations.

Google Sets Sights on App Store in China is a post from: Good e-Reader

Will Apple Start Paying out $400 Million in eBook Credits Soon?


Apple has just received the green light from a court in New York that will finally begin offering iBooks customers refunds from a pool of prospective pool of $400 million dollars. This specific amount is dependent on the court upholding a 2013 verdict where an appeal brought the figure down to a paltry $50 million.

The final number that Apple will have to pay consumers will be established on December 15th 2014. The Justice Department, lawyers, Apple and everyone involved in the court drama are basically tired and want to get this situation resolved ASAP.

Customers can expect refunds from Apple starting early next year for eBooks purchased from the iBookstore from April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. The exact figure is yet unknown but settlements from Amazon and Barnes and Noble had customers given a $3.00 credit for any New York Times bestseller and all other books from major publishers $1.00.

Will Apple Start Paying out $400 Million in eBook Credits Soon? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox C65S Classic Released for 69 Euros

The folks at Arta Tech have released another new Onyx ebook reader a week after introducing the Onyx Boox AfterGlow 2. The new ereader is a simple no-frills device called the Onyx Boox Classic. It is somewhat comparable to the old basic Kindle that Amazon recently stopped offering in favor of the new touchscreen Kindle […]

Artificial Scarcity vs Organic Abundance – Why I am Abandoning eBooks


In 2013 the traditional book selling industry in the US produced 304,912 print titles that were distributed to bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million. Fiction and Juvenile genres continued to dominate the market, accounting for over 27% of new titles.

Self-publishing on the other hand saw 458,564 titles that were produced that actually had ISBN numbers. Companies such as Amazon do not require ISBN numbers for authors to submit their eBooks into  Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon currently has 2.5 million eBooks for sale and 400,000 of them are courtesy of indie authors who opted into the program. In addition, over 300,000 titles were submitted by  Smashwords.

Barnes and Noble on the other hand has 2.5 million paid eBooks available and another 2 million free public domain editions for download. Self-published titles continue to grow on the Nook Platform and the company said they represent about 25% of all eBook sales on Nook devices and sales are growing roughly 20% each quarter.

You can look at the traditional book selling industry as employing Artificial Scarcity where they selectively choose books that will sell in the current market climate and investing in authors who have an extensive track history of generating perennial bestsellers. Few books slip through the cracks that would be considered elevated literary fiction, the type that wins the National Novel Award or the Man Booker Prize.  Self-publishing on the other hand employs Organic Abundance with indie titles being generated at almost a 3:1 ratio vs print.

Print books have a fairly low shelf life, the average title is sitting inside of a bookstore for about three months before its cycled away for the next batch. Major publishers have embraced digital the last four years and they reap the lions share of revenue from all book sales on Amazon, B&N or Kobo. Self-publishers are seeing success on those platforms, as they are regularly in the top 100 bestselling books every week.

There are more eBooks being produced on a yearly basis from publishers and indie authors then at any point in human history. There simply is too much content in the digital world for any sane person to browse and hopefully find the next great read.  Books in the digital realm are stacked right next to each other, you can’t filter out self-published titles from traditionally published ones. In the next few years millions more books will be published and submitted to Amazon, they will generate a ton of money at the further expense of book discovery and the quality of product.

I am hereby abandoning reading eBooks from this point forward. Something is fundamentally flawed with the entire online book discovery experience. There simply is too much content  being generated for search engine algorithms to cope or to browse by subject matter. Instead, I am exclusively going to be visiting my local Chapters on a weekly basis and picking up a few good reads. At least the traditional book selling industry understands product placement, the psychology of colors and makes finding a new book a social experience, rather than a solitary one.

Artificial Scarcity vs Organic Abundance – Why I am Abandoning eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Parkinson’s disease body illusion

Transports is an interactive installation from Analogue, a theatre/art group, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, which creates the illusion that the viewer is experiencing Parkinson’s symptoms. As in the rubber hand illusion, the mind is tricked into believing that the user’s hand is the hand shown in some point-of-view video; while a glove with motors makes them feel the tremors associated with the disease.

The whole setup is controlled by a Raspberry Pi. The installation takes the user through a number of everyday tasks from the perspective of Andrew, a man in his thirties with Parkinson’s, who is about to give a speech at a friend’s wedding. Andrew’s experience is informed by a body of first-person data that Analogue collected from the blogs of people dealing with Parkinson’s, and interviews with patients.

This installation isn’t being exhibited as public art at the moment; instead, it’s being used to raise awareness and promote empathy among health professionals and carers. Psychology students are also using it; and there are plans to refine the whole thing by using Oculus Rift or a similar VR headset, and by shrinking the apparatus on the glove.

You can read more about Transports at Analogue’s site, or at the New Scientist.

Onyx BOOX Classic e-Reader Now Available


Onyx Boox is not content to just sit idly in the marketplace while the competition rushes out new e-readers for the holiday season. On the heels of the Afterglow 2, Onyx has just released a bare bones Basic reader to do battle against the Kindle.

The new Onyx Boox Classic features a six inch e-Ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024 X 758. This device does not have a touchscreen, instead you will have to rely on the D-Pad to browse and navigate the device. This concept seems to be a bit retro, since most modern e-readers now have a touchscreen display, but the price is only 69 €.

Underneath the hood is a single core 1 GHZ Freescale processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. The hardware itself is fairly competitive on the marketplace, and should keep things robust in terms of user experience and features.

One of the main selling points on the entire modern Onyx portfolio is the fact they all run an open version of Android. This allows users to tap into Google Play to download and install any app they want. Sadly, this reader only has Android 2.3 and does not have the ability to install any 3rd party content.

The Onyx Basic is really designed to compete against the Kindle 5 . On the companies sales page, it basically pits both of the devices head to head and the Onyx comes out on top. This e-reader is available now, and apparently quite the hit in Poland!  If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful, this e-reader fits the bill.

Onyx BOOX Classic e-Reader Now Available is a post from: Good e-Reader