Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Axis 360 eBooks are no longer compatible with e-readers


Baker & Taylor has been involved in the digital library space for many years. Their e-book lending solution has proved to be quite popular with users because their EPUB format worked on a myriad of e-readers such as the Barnes and Noble Nook and Kobo. This has all changed with the advent of the new 360 app, that now forces customers to use it and excludes all other devices.

Yesterday Baker & Taylor released their next generation Axis 360 for Android and iOS. In order to read digital content you borrow from the library you need to download or update this app. Why? Well, B&T has suspended their licensing agreement with Adobe, which was costing them an arm and a leg in subscription fees. The lack of Adobe DRM means that you can no longer sideload e-books onto your favorite e-reader and its now cheaper to serve audiobooks and e-books within an app, because its more secure.

The only silver lining to the enhanced 360 app is that users no longer need to have Acoustik, Blio or axisReader apps to experience digital audiobooks or ebooks, as all titles open directly in the new Axis 360 application. Users also have access to their bookshelf of borrowed material – "My Stuff" – seamlessly from all their devices – desktop, tablets and smartphones.

Kindle Scout Launches in Canada and the UK – But Who Cares


Amazon has announced that one of the worst publishing programs they have ever launched is now available in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The premise of Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It's a place where readers help decide if a book receives a publishing contract. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

The reason I have such as disdain for this program is because it gives self-published authors a reason not to evolve their craft and not contribute anything meaningful to the casual reader. Who really cares about an e-book only exclusive if the vast majority of people who read novels buy them from their local bookstore?

Barnes and Noble Nook Sales Down 28%

The good ole days

Barnes and Noble has just reported their fiscal earnings for the first quarter of 2016 and things look bleak for the Nook division. Digital content sales plunged 28% as revenue from Nook devices and accessories are at an all time low. The segment's loss more than tripled from the a year ago.

Barnes and Noble has not released a new e-ink reader since 2013 with the advent of the Nook Glowlight. The companies chief competition, Amazon and Kobo continue to release multiple devices every single year and continue to innovate.

Content sales, such as e-books have been suffering due to a Barnes and Noble website redesign and many customers are unable to purchase e-books with the Buy it Now button. Barnes and Noble also discontinued their Windows e-reading app all over Europe and is only now active in the US.  In late 2014 the company also disabled the ability to download purchased e-books to your local computer for the purpose of using a 3rd party e-reading app or just to maintain proper backups.

The Nations largest bookseller is hoping to turn their fortunes around with a new CEO Ron Boire, who starts this September. He will have his work cut out for him as the Nook brand has been trading water for a number of years and has lost close to a billion dollars since 2012.

The New iPad Pro will be a Good e-Reader


The mythical iPad Pro has finally been officially announced by Apple today, and it might be the best tablet e-reading device ever. It can run two iPad Air apps side by side and comes with many optional accessories such as a keyboard that can dock with it and a new stylus for taking notes and making annotations.

The iPad PRO features a 12.9 inch display with a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 and 264 PPI. It also features an A9X chip, Apple's 3rd generation 64-bit chip with 2 GB of memory and faster flash storage. Apple claims that it is faster than 80% of the portable PCs that shipped in the last twelve months. All of this crazy resolution and high specs will not effect the battery life, which clocks in at 10 hours. It is 6.9mm thick, a bit thicker than the 6.1mm iPad Air and weighs 1.57lb.


This device will be perfect for reading news articles, e-books, digital magazines and newspapers. The extra large screen is totally indicative for long sessions of consuming written content. It also is great for editing PDF files thanks to a new stylus, dubbed Apple Pencil. Unlike the capacitive third-party styli for previous iPads, the Apple Pencil is truly pressure sensitive, behaving more like a Galaxy Note or a Wacom unit. It’s also got some sensors inside for detecting position, force and tilt.

Additionally, the iPad PRO might be a good tool for indie authors. Not only will this device be perfect for e-reading, but also writing short or long fiction, including novels. This is all thanks to the Smart Keyboard, an accessory keyboard that has three circle connectors on the side called Smart Connectors which carry power and data and connects magnetically to keyboard. You can think of it as Apples answer to the Microsoft Surface dockable keyboard.

There are many people who swear by their dedicated e-ink readers, such as the Amazon Kindle Voyage or Kobo Aura H2O. Equally, there is a large segment that employs a multipurpose tablet because of a wider array of e-reading apps that are customized for a specific purpose, such as reading manga or something that supports a ton of plugins such as Perfect Reader for Android. There is something strangely compelling about an Apple product that offers a tremendously large screen and has the ability to have two apps open side by side.

The iPad Pro is going to be available in November — 32GB for $799, 64GB for $949 and 128GB for $1,079. The $1,079 comes with Wi-Fi and cellular. The keyboard is going to cost $169 and the stylus is going to cost $99

Kindle Scout Program Launches Internationally

Today Amazon issued a press release announcing the expansion of their Kindle Scout publishing platform into international markets. Kindle Scout first launched back in October 2014 in the US. The way it works is authors submit previously unpublished ebooks, and the beginning few pages/chapters get posted on the Kindle Scout website for readers to nominate. […]

The Raspberry Pi Guy interviews Eben

A few weeks ago Matt Timmons-Brown, The Raspberry Pi Guy, visited Pi Towers to interview Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton. Over the course of an hour and a half, Matt drew Eben’s detailed answers on some of the topics that hundreds of you put forward in response to a call for questions.

When might we see an updated Model A and Compute Module? What’s next for the Raspberry Pi camera module and Pi NoIR? How will a Raspberry Pi look, ten years from now? Are there any plans to update Minecraft: Pi Edition for the Pi 2’s hardware?

Watch Matt’s interview for the answers to these and many more. You’ll certainly learn things you won’t have seen elsewhere.

“This is not a product announcement! This is speculation about industry trends! Make sure that that bit goes in the video.”

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