Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 19 February 2014

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 09:15 PM PST

Top stories this morning include a satirical self-pub ebook which has to be read to be believed (link), a question to readers about what they want (link), still more controversy over Hugh Howey’s Author Earning Report (link), and more.

  • tumblr_n14b7iwNqc1qd206po1_1280[1]Baboon Fart Odyssey (Charlie’s Diary)
  • The book industry isn’t dying, it’s thriving with an ebook assist (Yahoo Finance)
  • Dzanc Books Offers Free eBook With Every Print Purchase (GalleyCat)
  • How I Brought My Thriller from the ’70s into The 21st Century (Publishing Perspectives)
  • How Publishers Can Push For Reader Attention (Forbes)
  • Made to Order: what's not being published that you want to read? (Dear Author)
  • One quarter of Brits want to self-publish a book (Female First)
  • Ten Reasons You Can't Trust Everything You Read About the Author Earnings Report (DBW)
  • Who's Got The Ether? Publishing, Hugh Howey and the downfall of old assumptions (The Watershed Chronicle)

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India’s Next Aakash Tablet Will Have 4G, Will Also Turn Sow’s Ear into Silk Purse

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 03:03 PM PST

India’s aakashsubsidized Aakash tablets have been pretty conclusively proven to be horrible hardware, but that hasn’t stopped the Indian education ministry from throwing good money after bad. The Indian Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has just announced that the Aakash program would soon be launching a 4th Aakash tablet.

Specs are still vague on the Aakash 4 tablet, but we od know that it will be available in the market in around one and a half months for 3,999 rupees, or about $65 USD. Like the earlier Aakash tablets, this tablet will have a 7″ screen, 4GB of storage, card slot, camera, and Wifi. But unlike earlier Aakash models, the latest tablet is going to have “2G, 3G and 4G connectivity”.

No, I don’t know what that means, exactly. That’s what my source wrote, and it looks like they were quoting some ministry official (who probably didn’t know what he was talking about, either).

Part of the reason why no one knows what that means is that the actual status of the tablet is still up in the air. My source has indicated that tenders have been floated, which is another way of saying that the Indian govt hasn’t bought any tablets yet – they’re still waiting for companies to bid on the contract to supply the tablet.

Since there’s no actual tablet, today’s announcement is really more of a vaporware launch than anything. Given that the Aakash tablet is widely regarded as a joke in India, this should probably come as no surprise.


The first Aakash tablet was launched in late 2011, and it reportedly received 1.4 million orders in just a few months. Given the early user reviews I found at the time, I suspect that many of those tablets were quickly shipped right back to Datawind, the device maker who was under contract to produce the tablet.

That first Aakash tablet was sold to students for $35. The price was subsidized by the Indian govt, and when the tablet was released commercially in India it cost around $60 on the open market.

$60 is a cheap tablet, so much so that it is rarely worth buying. I would bet that the same can be said for the new model, too. With a subsidized price of $60 and a 3G chip, the rest of the tablet probably consists of such low quality components and cheap construction that the tablet is almost certainly going to underwhelm anyone who buys it.

I reviewed one of the Aakash tablets a couple weeks, and at $48 it was both the cheapest and the worst tablet I had ever used. That matches with other reviews I found online.

The Times of India

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Wattpad Updates Their Social Reading Apps With Offline Mode, Inline Comments

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 09:18 AM PST

The wattpad_logosocial writing network Wattpad rolled out a new update last week for their mobile apps. In addition to bug fixes and performance improvements, the apps now support a new offline mode which enables users to not just read and write stories, but also add comments and vote on stories.With over half of Wattpad’s writers having posted a story from their iPhone, this was a timely move which will enable users to continue to interact with stories even in places where their internet connection is spotty or simply none existent – airplanes, for example.

It’s an idea that Wattpad has been wanting to implement for some time, but it tooks ome time to get right. Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau said that “One of the biggest challenges was ensuring a smooth transition for users who went from an offline experience to an online one. We had to capture offline actions and then seamlessly process them once an internet connection was established without disrupting the user experience.”

In addition to the new offline mode, the apps now also support inline comments. Now readers will be able to comment on specific points in a story, rather than simply commenting on the story as a whole.

Wattpad has grown to be the single largest online community for writers. at the end of 2013, this social network boasted 18 million members who had uploaded 32 million stories since it launched in 2006. Over 41 billion minutes were spent on the site last year, with users leaving 38 million comments and casting 161 million votes.

Google Play



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Readium Epub3 App for Chrome Gets Major Update

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 07:21 AM PST

As epub3-logo[1]far as the wider ebook market is concerned Epub3 is a dead format, but it still has its uses. That’s why I was pleased to read yesterday the the Readium for Chrome extension received a major update.

Readium for Chrome builds on the work of the open source Readium Foundation, and it enables readers to view Epub3 ebooks in either ChromeOS or their Chrome web browser. The new update brings behind the scenes improvements, including updates to the codebase, as well as  a more modern user experience.

readium epub3 chrome

There are in fact many apps which will let you read an Epub ebook in Chrome, but Readium is the only way to read an Epub3 ebook (so far as I know).

And BTW, the post which announced the update also reminded me that this extension, like the Readium project as a whole, is still in pre-release development. This latest version of the plugin, like previous Readium for Chrome  should be considered alpha-level software that’s not suitable for the end user. if you encounter bugs, they would like you to report them here.

P.S. If you’re looking for a source of Epub3 ebooks to read in Readium, you can find an archive collection here.

Readium for Chrome

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Infographic: Top Ten Reasons for Choosing a Paper Book over an eBook

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 05:27 AM PST

A cursory glance at the statistics for the US ebook market will tell you most people are sticking with paper, and there’s a good reason for that. As the following infographic will show you, paper books fill many uses which ebooks cannot.

The infographic is based on a poll conducted recently by Fatbrain, a UK-based used book marketplace. Over 1,000 Fatbrain users responded, and they revealed that the most popular reason for staying with paper reflected their emotional attachment, and not any practical use.

However, right behind there are two down-to-earth reasons: learning (61%), and sharing (58%), and those are 2 answers that I can fully understand. Paper textbooks are still more useful that digital textbooks; even I will say that.



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