Friday, March 27, 2015

Amazon is Experimenting with Selling Digital Content in Bulk


Digital comics and manga are notorious for printing weekly issues for years. This is a massive barrier to new readers who want to start at the very beginning. Amazon is seeking to make peoples lives a bit easier with a new experimental program that bundles 25 issues into a single purchase.

Amazon Japan has just launched the Kindle Buying Corner that bundles popular manga series such as Attack on Titan, Magi and Yowamushi Pedal. This is beneficial for readers because they only have to make a single purchase, instead of selecting each one individually. If a reader already owns a few issues in the bundle, the cost is dedicated from the overall cost.

The Kindle Buying Corner makes sense to debut in Japan because Amazon has been heavily focusing on getting publishers to include them in their digital distribution pipeline and make their manga solution very competitive with the local market.

It is expected that Amazon will likely debut the service in the US at some point in 2015. Industry experts are forecasting that Amazon will leverage the vast digital comic library from Comixology, which they purchased last year. The North American audience is obsessed with comics due to the massive success of the Marvel and DC franchises and new readers might find buying them in bulk very compelling.

Amazon is Experimenting with Selling Digital Content in Bulk is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Unlimited Cloud Drive – Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be


Amazon is trying to compete with Dropbox, Google and Microsoft with it’s Unlimited Cloud Drive option. The new service goes beyond simple a simple photo storage solution and can now handle video, music and e-books.

Amazon has nixed the free option with photo storage and now demands that their users subscribe to Prime in order to keep on using the service. You can store unlimited photos and up to 5 GB of everyday files. If you are not a Prime member, it costs $11.99 per year. The Unlimited Everything plan basically has no limits on storage and is $59.99 per year.

Not everyone is excited about this new product offering. Serious video editors and film makers lament that Amazon only has a 2 GB file upload limit, which prevents them from storing their media properly. The only way to bypass this restriction is if you use the Desktop software, instead of the mobile apps. Other users have lamented that the Send to Kindle function for popular browser extensions no longer work unless you are a paid subscriber. This is especially troubling because Amazon used the free Send to Kindle function as a marketing ploy to get users to switch to their ecosystem.

In the end, this move is to pick up users that want to store media and aren’t investing into other cloud storage platforms. Amazon is certainly not the first company to offer "unlimited" storage, but it looks like it's the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google focuses on enterprise and small businesses. Its closest competitor, Microsoft does offer a user service, but it requires a monthly subscription fee to Office 365.

I think Office 365 is still one of the better deals. $69.99/year but you’re also getting Office & Skype with your unlimited storage. You can also get access to the Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps that have recently been developed for Android and iOS.

Amazon Unlimited Cloud Drive – Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be is a post from: Good e-Reader

Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter to be Released this October


Scholastic has just released the exclusive cover image of the fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It will be available to purchase in major bookstores October 6th 2015.

The illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book will not be the last, Scholastic plans to publish fully illustrated editions—one per year—of each of the seven titles. Over 450 million of the Harry Potter books have sold worldwide and the series continues to appear on bestseller lists in the U.S.

The new book cover features Harry Potter on Platform 9 ¾ surrounded by witches and wizards, trunks and owls, about to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time.

Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter to be Released this October is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Has Removed 5GB Free Option for Kindle Personal Documents

Yesterday Amazon announced new pricing plans for their cloud storage service, and with it comes some bad news for Kindle owners and Kindle apps users. In a highly-questionable move, Amazon has removed the free 5GB tier. This means that Kindle users can no longer add personal documents to their Kindle accounts for free using email, […]

Boyue T62+ Has Upgraded E Ink Carta Display, Costs $118

The Boyue T62 is one of the best options for an Android-powered E Ink ebook reader on the current market, and it recently got even better with the release of the Boyue T62+, a newer updated version. There appears to be only one main difference between the T62+ and the regular T62: the screen. The […]

Digital Magazine Haqiqah Spreads Message of Islamic Beliefs

Religious leaders across practically every belief structure and faith can expound on the woes of trying to reach new generations of believers as the societies we live in change at rapid-fire pace. For decades younger generations have complained that their parents’ religions are outdated, don’t “get it,” or are just obsolete. But one new digital magazine has launched with the specific intention of not only reaching younger believers, but in correcting a tidal wave of extremism that the leaders fear is taking over their faith.

Haqiqah, or “The Truth,” launched recently through the efforts of website ImamsOnline, aims to educate younger generations of Muslims about the dangers of fanaticism that pervade religious sectors around the world. This effort is specifically focused on combating the extremely tech- and social media-savvy group ISIS, or Islamic State, as well as other similarly intentioned extremist groups.

In an interview with the BBC, Qari Asim, senior editor at, said,  “Someone has to reclaim that territory from ISIS, and that can only be imams: religious leaders who guide and nourish their community. But now that we live in a digital mobile world, some young people are not coming to the mosque so we must reach out to them – and this is the Muslims’ contribution to combat radicalisation on the net.”

This digital effort is the latest in a long-awaited realization from publishers and content creators that the old standbys are no longer effective. Current studies and survey reports have shown that millennials are simply not interacting with print periodicals in the way they once did; if there is no digital edition or online interaction, how are readers to be affected? This is an especially important question that the editors at Haqiqah have worked to address considering “more than 100,000 pieces of information, tweets, and Facebook posts coming out of Syria and Iraq every day,” and that the number of pro-Islamic State Twitter accounts is anticipated to be close to 70,000.

The editors of the digital magazine and the supporters of the ImamOnline website obviously hope this effort will be effective, and if comparable growth numbers for other publications that have made the leap to digital hold true in this case, it should be. The goal of not only spreading a more genuine message of Islam but also reaching out to younger believers through relevant social interaction is one that mobile connectivity can help foster.

Digital Magazine Haqiqah Spreads Message of Islamic Beliefs is a post from: Good e-Reader

EU Looks to Dissolve Geo-Blocking for Netflix, Similar Sites

A reader uses her Nook ereader
A new look into film and television rights and a new observation on how exactly the European Union is supposed to function as a single marketplace may lead to big changes for companies that offer streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. One EU commissioner has demanded some answers for why certain markets in the EU are open to international entertainment content, and others are restricted.

In an interview with news site, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “I, for one, cannot understand why I can watch my favourite Danish channels on my tablet in Copenhagen, a service I paid for, but I can't when I am in Brussels. And it's not only me who struggles with digital borders. About one European in five is interested in accessing content from other EU countries. Geo-blocking prevents consumers from accessing certain websites on the basis of their residence, or credit-card details. It is very difficult to explain this to the people and, at the same time, make the point that we are all residents of the EU and consumers in the same internal market."

While it might seem logical to blame internet service providers or the streaming companies themselves, a lot of the blame lies in how international rights are addressed for film, television, and video games, just to list a few. Just as in the world of publishing, the rights to books, movies, and other content are sold on a border-by-border basis. That’s one of those “this is how we’ve always done it” issues, and Vestager is tired of it.

Unfortunately, international rights are not only a tremendous source of revenue for rights holders, they’re also a rather large bargaining chip when it comes to negotiating with television stations, streaming services, and film venues. While this battle could go either way, it also opens the door for a reexamination of how books are sold throughout Europe and how VAT penalties such as those currently imposed in France and Luxembourg could be reconsidered. After all, if Vestager’s point is that the EU now functions as one semi-borderless retail space, there’s no reason for different costs in different regions.

“European consumers should be able to access goods, content, and other services no matter where they live and travel in Europe," said Ms Vestager. "It is high time we removed these digital barriers, which keep Europe's digital markets fragmented."

EU Looks to Dissolve Geo-Blocking for Netflix, Similar Sites is a post from: Good e-Reader

LEGO model smart home

I do love a good demo. The folks at PubNub have been showing users of their software how home automation with a Raspberry Pi works – on a itty-bitty scale, with LEGO.

This little house is rigged up with seven embedded LEDs (representing things like the stove and the fireplace, as well as lights); sensors to measure humidity, barometric pressure, and temperature; and a stepper motor that remotely opens and closes the door. Scale the system up, and you could apply this ability to remotely control appliances in a full-size house.

Joe Hanson at PubNub says:

The project is includes both the hardware (the house, Raspberry Pi, and accessories), and software (an interactive GUI). This blog post is the proof-of-concept and high level introduction to the project, and we'll dig deeper and give full tutorials in the coming months.

Home automation, of course, is something you can do without proprietary software (you’ll find plenty of examples on our blog); but we really like the slick user interface that PubNub offers; and…tiny LEGO houses. You can learn more over at PubNub’s own site. And I am reminded that I still haven’t got that PIR sensor for the hall light hooked up to a Pi.

Amazon Controls 95% of the eBook Market in the UK


The president of the UK Booksellers Association, Tim Walker spoke at the Nielsen BookInsights conference yesterday and made some startling revelations.

During a round-table discussion Tim said “I do a have a concern that Amazon’s dominance is causing problems. We estimate Kindle has a 95% market share of e-book sales in the UK and this is having a damaging effect… Consider the struggles of Barnes & Noble and the Nook platform, the problems of the established Txtr in Germany, and the decision here of Tesco to pull out of Blinkbox Books.”

Txtr recently was put into receivership and the company for all sense and purposes is done. The company originally burst onto the international scene in 2008 with plans to capitalize on the e-reader boom. Production and design issues led to their first device never being released. The company flipped gears in 2009 and started doing development for online digital publishers and traditional book sellers. In 2010 and 2011 they quickly became one of the largest companies outside North America developing whitelabel eBook ecosystems. The company's former portfolio includes clients such as Vol Retail and Weltbilde, who is the largest EU book retailer.

At the conference, Nielsen released data showing that online spending on books had overtaken in-store spending for the first time. E-books now account for 30% of book units purchased in the UK, and the sales of print and e-books together in 2014 stood at £2.2bn, up from 4% the previous year.

There is no denying that eBook sales in the UK are booming and Amazon is reaping the lions share of the profits. Tim Waters basically said that they are dominating the landscape and not having to put in millions of dollars into advertising, they are so big now, they simply don’t have to.

What does the future hold for the eBook market in the UK? Barnes and Noble has failed to erode  market share from Amazon and homegrown starts are finding it hard to compete. Will Amazon be the only way we can buy books?

Amazon Controls 95% of the eBook Market in the UK is a post from: Good e-Reader