Kobo Writing Life is a self-publishing platform and it was first unveiled in 2012. It was originally launched to compete with Kindle Direct Publishing and provide a viable avenue to sell books internationally. Kobo has faced many challenges in the marketplace and they are always looking for new things to try out to see what pops. The latest, is Kobo Next, an extension of their digital bookstore that exclusively promotes self-published titles.
Kobo Next is a new section of the Kobo online bookstore that gives readers a chance to discover new authors, they likely have never heard of. Not only are the indie books promoted online, but also in mailing lists and new release newsletters.
The one thing I like about Kobo Next is how they showcase from many different genres. Mysteries, Romance, Science-Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction are the ones they are showcasing this month. This honestly makes sense, because mysteries, sci-fi and romance account for the majority of Kobo book sales.
I hope that Kobo expands upon Next and puts all self-published titles in their own category and create separation from their traditionally published books. This is best for business.
Two years a go a massive firestorm erupted due to hundreds of adult eBooks with topics ranging from threesomes to incest were being listed in the same category as kids' books. This was primarily attributed to meta data that was incorrectly putting taboo subjects and created a global outrage. Major booksellers such as WH Smith shuttered their digital bookstores, resulting in thousands of customers unable to buy books at all. This was basically a Kobo problem, since WH Smith actually has a license with Kobo to sell digital books. Not only did Kobo get dissected by mainstream media, but they pissed off authors by deleting over one thousand titles from vanity presses and their own Writing Life platform.
I have always been a strong proponent of sequestering independently published books into their own categories, instead of having them mixed into everything else. There are a myriad of reasons for this, such as quality and control, accepting everything submitted by default and the sub-par nature of the vast majority of titles. I think Kobo Next is laying down the foundation of a separate area for indie titles which is fine by me.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Kobo has just released their latest e-reader, the Glo HD. This device is now available to purchase at Chapters Bookstores in Canada and is already shipping out in the post to people who pre-ordered it online.
The brand new Kobo Glo HD features a six inch e-ink Carta screen with a resolution of 1448×1072 and 300 PPI. It has the same front-lit display as the Kobo Aura H2O, so you will be able to read in low-light conditions or complete darkness. One of the cool tricks you can employ is dragging your finger down the left side of the screen to adjust the light.
Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor and 4 GB of internal storage. When you take the e-reader out of the box for the first time you only have 3.1 GB of memory, primarily because the OS takes up a fair amount of space.
The Kobo Glo HD does have an SD card, but it requires you to remove the back plate off of the device. If you want to put a larger card in, you must first clone the partitions using advanced software. Obviously this will be beyond the average user, but advanced ones can easily do it.
I think this e-reader is perfect for those who have never had one before or have an older Kobo model.
Together with my fiancée, I am currently dealing with the joy and stress of planning our wedding. And despite the fact that I am a 4x bridesmaid and a former cater-waiter, I still need A LOT of help. Help from our parents and friends, help from blogs and websites, and help from books at the library. It can take a legion of people to make this very special day happen, whether the couple is having a budget-conscious casual wedding at a local park, or an expensive and lavish wedding at a swanky banquet hall.
So for the variety of patrons who will be involved in a wedding this year, I'm happy to present you with a collection of wedding and marriage books for brides, grooms, members of the wedding party, professionals, and beyond. More than a list of wedding guides and lookbooks, this list includes books for those who may need a little help reducing stress (guilty), fitness and diet guides for those who want to look their best before the big day (guilty), and self-improvement and advice titles for the Happily Ever After of post-wedding life… you know, that whole marriage thing I've heard so much about lately. Also included manuals for wedding professionals such as photographers and officiants, and craft books for the DIY'ers and Etsy sellers (doubly guilty).
And to keep a little levity and perspective, there are plenty of humor books as well. Because after an afternoon of mutual ranting and shared stress-eating of Girl Scout cookies with your chosen life-partner-to-be (aka my last Sunday), you need a good laugh.
Liz Tousey is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive
Google retired the Nexus 7 earlier this week, leaving many of us wondering what could be in store at the upcoming I/O conference in late May. Generally considered to be among the higher-end mobile device hardware options (don’t be fooled by the number of sales, which will appear small by comparison to the likes of Samsung or Huawei), the Nexus lineup is overdue for a refresh (and there may not be much time, if Google gets out of hardware it may be more difficult for the company to keep the reigns tight on the direction taken by Android as a platform).
Not that Google has been sitting on their mobile hands, especially considering the recent announcement of Google Fi (a hybrid wireless carrier intended to increase competition and innovation in the carriers marketplace)… we just want more (by way of an amazingly affordable, completely unlocked, incredibly powerful, terribly versatile, smartphone and tablet line-up). That isn’t too much to ask for is it?
Rumour mills are circling, with many suggesting that there is new hardware coming our way (and it may just be a refreshed, Fi-friendly version of the Nexus 5, called the Nexus 5 2015).
Back in February, when we launched Raspberry Pi 2, the sharp-eyed among you will have noticed the folks at Microsoft making an announcement about bringing Windows 10 for IoT to the Raspberry Pi. We’re excited to share that it landed today – along with a ridiculously cool demo. The chap in the video is HoloLens designer Alex Kipman.
I’m guessing that this video will leave a lot of you wanting to get your hands on a version of Windows 10 for IoT that you can use with your own Pi. This is all in developer beta still, so you’ll have to sign up to the Windows 10 Insider program and grab a copy of Windows 10 Insider Preview (I know a couple of our forum mods did so overnight because I got excited messages about robots from them which I found when I woke up this morning) and download the Windows 10 Core IoT Preview, which is all free. This is pre-release software, so it comes with all the usual stability warnings – and yes, you will have to have a copy of Windows 10 on your PC.
Steve Teixeira at Microsoft says:
Microsoft have made setup information available all on one nice, tidy page of HTML. It’s on GitHub, so you can issue pull requests. Matt Richardson, who is at the Build conference (hanging out with that little robot: B2 is spending the next day living on the Raspberry Pi stand with Matt, and we fully expect Matt to have trained him to make tea by the time the conference is ready to wrap up), and who was able to have a bit of a play with the setup while we in the UK were all fast asleep, seems impressed. He mailed to say:
We’ll be watching to see what the community does with Windows 10 for IoT on the Pi with great interest.
There is a growing cadre of publishers that have been not paying authors their royalties. There are many lawsuits currently in the works that seek to get compensation, but its a long and dark road.
Hesperus Press has been ordered by a British High Court to stop selling digital and print copies of Jonas Jonasson's smash-hit novel The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, following an alleged failure to pay royalties.
The book had sold 500,000 print copies and 700,000 e-book copies in the UK since 2012. The author and their agent both never received a dime from them.
The author had their hands tied and couldn’t directly sue the publisher. Instead the case was brought to court by Hachette Book Group, which owns world English rights to the Swedish book.
Jonasson is not the only Hesperus author looking for answers. All four members of staff at the small publisher have resigned from the company in the past few months. Jordan-based chief financial officer Ayman Al Asmar said that a "formal release about next steps and future plans would be issued 'soon'", according to the Bookseller, but gave no further details.
There has been a lot of drama in the publishing world about Author Solutions, the company no one can help themselves from doing business with. Sometimes when you are self-publishing you might not know who you are truly doing business with and some of these companies go to great lengths to hide the Author Solutions connection. Here is the latest list of who deals with them.
Many authors are very concerned about Author Solutions and their ability to pay royalties. A recent lawsuit was filed against them stating that they misrepresents themselves, luring authors in with claims that its books can compete with "traditional publishers," offering "greater speed, higher royalties, and more control for its authors." The company then profits from "fraudulent" practices, the complaint alleges, including "delaying publication, publishing manuscripts with errors to generate fees, and selling worthless services, or services that fail to accomplish what they promise."
In 2012 over 1,000 authors filed a class action lawsuit against Harlequin, alleging that they did not pay the authors the full amount of the agreed upon royalty for digital titles.
The issue involved the Swiss arm of Harlequin, which the publisher claims is not acting as a publisher. Therefore, the 50% that Harlequin receives—after the other 50% goes to the retailer—is then split with the author. But in the case of royalties from the Swiss branch, apparently the authors feel they have not received the full amount due to them. Harlequin, for its part, claims that this Swiss office is not a publisher and therefore does not share the royalties as other markets do.
When authors fail to get paid royalties who is to blame? When you deal with a very complex structure like Author Solutions do you directly contact them, or the publishing off-shoot? What if you are traditionally published and a small publishing company that distributes your titles in Polish does not report the correct number of sales? The publishing world is murky, navigating it to make sure you are getting the correct amount is difficult. Maybe this is why so many indie authors are beginning to exclusively publish with KDP.