Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Readfy to Launch Ad-Subsidized eBook Service Next Year

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 03:29 PM PST

I’ve logo-readfy[1]never thought ads in ebooks would make a viable business model, but sometime next year that idea is going to be put to the test. A new startup in Germany is building an ad-supported platform, and they plan to launch in the middle of 2014.

Readfy, which is affiliated with the Dusseldorf-based 1stMover startup incubator, was founded in July 2013, by Felix Bauchspiess. The startup had been in stealth mode until earlier this week when Bauchspiess was interviewed by a German tech blog.

According to, Readfy is going to launch in a more open beta test next year with 25,000 titles. Bauchspiess wants Readfy to offer a Spotify for ebooks that is free for the end user, and not supported by directly charging users for access (a la Netflix).The goal is to let users read as much as they want and pay publishers from the ad revenues.

Readfy is currently testing their platform with a small, closed beta. They’re working on both the ad network component as well as social reading apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. They launch in Germany next year, and they are exploring options for an international expansion at a later date.

Will they succeed? We’ll have to wait and see because at this point there is little data to argue either way.What little info I have comes from app creators, most of whom say that ad revenues are not a sustainable business model. And Amazon, which has been selling their hardware with an ad-supported option since mid-2011, has never shared their figures.

And when it comes to ebooks, this model is not new; Bookboon has been publishing free ebooks since 2011. Of course, that firm doesn’t have to pay anyone other than their authors, so they have a slight advantage over Readfy. Also, Bookboon has never revealed their revenue figures (or how much they are paying authors), so they are not exactly a strong argument in favor of an ad-supported business model.

If nothing else Readfy is going to be facing 3 problems that Bookboon, with their  internally generated ebooks, manages to avoid. Readfy has to bring in the right amount of users, advertisers, and content, and each one of those could doom this effort if they’re not meticulous.


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The Kisai Rorschach ePaper Watch Reduces Time to a Matter of Opinion (video)

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 07:28 AM PST

If you’re rorschach_brown1[1]in the market for a watch which costs as much as smartwatch and can’t be read without a decoder ring then I have just the thing.

Meet the Kisai Rorschach ePaper Watch from Tokyo Flash. This watch, which has been under development for nearly 3 years, is the first of Tokyo Flash’s watches to feature an E-ink screen.

This watch continues the traditions of Tokyo Flash’s many other uber-geeky watches, and forces the user to learn a new way to tell time. Inspired by its namesake psych test, the Kisai Rorschach ePaper Watch uses unintelligible inkblots to show the time.

I think this one looks like a pretty butterfly, don’t you?


While Tokyo Flash has a reputation to maintain as an uber-geeky watchmaker, they don’t actually see their products as practical joke played on their users and that is why this watch also has a difficulty setting which is easier to decipher, The image above shows the watch on the hard setting; the easy setting simply mirrors the numbers across a vertical divide. That one can probably be read at a glance (once you get used to it).

symmetrical_rorschach_inspired_watch_design_4[1]And that’s probably a good thing, because the first concept design for the display really was the next best thing to unintelligible. You can see one example at right.

I’m glad they changed it in favor of a simpler display, because even with the clue that this represented a quarter til I still couldn’t figure it out.

This watch also has the usual alarms and other options, but let’s be honest; everyone buys a Tkyo Flash watch for the complicated display. In fact, I bet the single most common use is as a sobriety test. (If you can’t interpret the display and tell the time then you are probably too drunk to drive.)

You can find the watch on the TokyoFlash website. It retails for $199, which includes free shipping to (almost?) anywhere in the world.

Akihabara News



The post The Kisai Rorschach ePaper Watch Reduces Time to a Matter of Opinion (video) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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