Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 12 December 2013

Posted: 11 Dec 2013 09:14 PM PST

Top stories this morning include the final installment in a series on going DRM- free (link), a post which tries to recruit a writer for a content farm (link), the ongoing fight between FB and TW which seems to be driving them into looking and acting like each other (link), a digital magazine startup raising capital (link), and more.

  • Could B&N's Struggles Strengthen Indie Bookshops? (IndieReader)
  • Digital Magazine Startup Magzter Raises $10M To Fuel Global Growth (TechCrunch)
  • Digital Only Book Publishing Springs up in Mexico (DBW)
  • Feedly reminds us that there is nothing free on the internet (
  • My DRM-Free Year: Wrap-Up (TeleRead)
  • One stream to rule them all (the real Facebook vs. Twitter war) (bokardo)
  • Questioning Bookbub (Indie Authors)
  • Vellum: Taking the pain out of e-book publishing (TUAW)
  • Wanted: Great writer who can type fast (JIMROMENESKO.COM)
  • How much indie authors earn – You're looking at it wrong (Hugh Howey)

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Can Scholarly Publishing Evolve Beyond the PDF? (video)

Posted: 11 Dec 2013 10:56 AM PST

We all use pdf-icon[1]PDF’s everyday but have you ever wondered where it came from?

Wiley released a video a few weeks back which explores the history of the PDF format from its early years as a tool of the printing industry to the current hydra-like status it enjoys today.

Okay, hydra might not be the most accurate term (kudzu?) but I have noticed that every time I try to delete a PDF file 2 more take its place. It’s a pernicious problem.

Kidding aside , PDF has hung around for 20 years not just because Adobe supported it but also because it fills a need both among producers and users. It’s the document format that is the cheapest to produce and use which offers complex layouts, print fidelity, active code, and (we must not forget) security holes.

Scholarly Kitchen

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B&N Chairman Sells Shares

Posted: 11 Dec 2013 10:11 AM PST

I wouldn’t barnes noble logoread too much into this, but B&N Chairman Len Riggio filed new paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. He and his wife are selling off a couple million shares of Barnes & Noble stock, leaving them with ownership and control of 26% of the company.

According to the filing the sale was below market price, at $13.81 a share, “in a privately negotiated block trade.” At the time I write this post the stock is trading at $13.93. As recently as last week the stock price traded at above 16 dollars a share, but that was before B&N revealed that they were under SEC investigation.

While it would be fun to speculate as to why Riggio sold off the stock, I think I already know why. Remember earlier this year when Len Riggio announced plans to split B&N and buy the retail stores away from rest of the company?

At the time he revealed that he had acquired additional stock, probably as part of a plan to force a proxy fight and split the company. Given that we know his plans to salvage the retail stores have been cancelled now that he leads the company again, there is little reason not to sell off some of the stock he acquired.

Update: Barron’s scored an interview with Riggio and he explained the sale:

Riggio explained that he owned high-cost Barnes & Noble shares purchased above $35 a share. The sale of the two million shares established a tax loss this year that can be used to offset any gains that he may have realized. Riggio presumably also owns a lot of low-cost Barnes & Noble shares.

The 72-year-old Riggio said he made the decision to sell the shares last month after consultation with his tax and financial advisors. “I don’t even follow the price of the stock. I never looked at the stock price when I was selling.”


Publishers Lunch

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Ricoh’s New Survey Report Says Consumers Don’t Like eBooks, Neglects to Ask Book Buyers What They Think

Posted: 11 Dec 2013 07:15 AM PST

Did you Ricoh_logo_1_[1]catch the story in Galleycat a couple days ago about the Ricoh survey report which showed that 70% of consumers would never give up on paper?

If you haven’t heard about the report, never mind. But if you’ve already read the press coverage then I would suggest that you forget it. The report, which was touted in the press release with phrases like “New Research Reveals Unexpected Positive Outlook for the Printed Book, due to Love of the Medium”, is bogus.

There are numerous flaws in this report, including a misunderstanding of why college students like paper textbooks, but most importantly the survey neglected to poll book-buyers.

The most important detail that Galleycat missed was that this survey polled consumers, not readers or book buyers. Based on past industry surveys of book buyers and consumers, I can safely say that the majority of the people in the survey probably don’t buy most of the books and ebooks. Unfortunately, we can’t tell how many ebooks and books the Ricoh survey group bought because Ricoh was very careful to not share that info.

Update: I goofed; the report does include details on book buyers  (page 19). Almost half of the survey group (47%) buys fewer than 3 books and ebooks a year. I think they should have been excluded; they represent a miniscule fraction of the buying power and have the least effect on the market.

In case you are wondering, this is a topic which has come up before when I covered the Rasmussen survey report in July 2013. That report made headlines when it claimed 75% of Americans adults didn’t like ebooks, but as I pointed out at the time there is conflicting data. A BISG survey showed that 82% of power-buyers like ebooks, and that 70% of non power-buyers like ebooks.

If 70% of consumers like paper but a majority of the actual customer base likes digital, what are the chances that most of that 70% don’t buy very many books in the first place?

I’d say it’s pretty good.

And BTW, if you’re still wondering whether to trust this report let me also point out that Ricoh is a manufacturer of printer, copiers, and fax machines. Bias, much?

The post Ricoh’s New Survey Report Says Consumers Don’t Like eBooks, Neglects to Ask Book Buyers What They Think appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Google Play Books Update Allows Uploading eBooks from your Android Device

Posted: 11 Dec 2013 06:38 AM PST

Still tryinggoogle play books to grasp the idea that users might want to read ebooks that they didn’t buy in Play Books, Google started rolling out a new update for their ebook app this week.

Google Play Books update 3.1.17 adds a number of new features, including tweaks to the appearance of notes and highlights, performance, stability and accessibility enhancements (and the ebooks now open more smoothly), and the ability to upload your PDF and Epub ebooks to Google’s servers.

Google announced cloud storage for a user’s ebooks back in May 2013. They let users store up to 1,000 titles which can be downloaded to the Google Play Books apps for iPad, Android, and iPhone. With a size limit of 50MB, Google not only matched the Kindle Cloud storage feature that Amazon launched in late 2011 – they exceeded it.

But it wasn’t until today that Google would let users upload the files from the Android app.

google play books

The update isn’t available to everyone just yet. Google is rolling it out slowly to a few users at a time and you should expect it to arrive some time in the next week or so. But if you don’t want to wait Android Police grabbed a copy and you can download it from them.

As for me, I plan to continue to use Aldiko or Moon+ Reader. This whole “upload before you can download and read” nonsense is simply silly. Yes, cloud storage is a useful feature, but why can’t I simply load the ebooks locally? When you combine it with that deleted books fiasco in August it doesn’t convince that Google really knows what they are doing, and that’s why I intend to continue to avoid their reading app.

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