Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 21 February 2014

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 09:43 PM PST

Top stories this Friday morning include commentaries on Google (link), iBooks Author (link), fictional alien worlds (link), the misleading assumption that traditional publishing is a choice (link), and more.

  • How Google missed the boat (Scripting)
  • iBooks Author tempts you with bling (Studio Tendra)
  • In Defense of Short Sentences (Indies Unlimited)
  • Is Traditional Publishing a Choice? Not really. (
  • The Worst Blunders People Make in Inventing Fictional Alien Worlds (io9)
  • You can kill a paperback, but long live the ebook (TeleRead)

The post The Morning Coffee – 21 February 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Archos Unveils New Smartphones, Android Tablet

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 02:18 PM PST

Mobile World Congress isarchos-mwc-2014[1] coming up next week in Barcelona, and Archos is going to be there to show off their latest gadgetry, including new smartphones and tablets. Archos unveiled a trio of budget tablets a few weeks ago, and they’re back again today with another tablet and 3 smartphones.

The Archos Helium 80 4G, which is shown at left, runs Android 4.3 Jelly bean on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU. It features an 8″ screen, 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash storage, and a microSD card slot. It also has a pair of cameras (5MP and 2MP), Bluetooth, Wifi, A-GPS, and most importantly it will also have 4G.

That last detail is something of a surprise, given that this tablet is expected to cost $249. That’s $50 less than the Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet, and the Helium 80 4G has much better specs. That makes this tablet one of the cheapest Android tablets to feature 4G LTE capabilities.


The 3 smartphones are going to come in a variety of screen sizes ranging from 4″ to 6.4″, and will cost either $119 or $199.

According to the press release the Archos 40b Titanium is going to sit alone and unloved at $119. This phone is an update to an existing model, and it has a low resolution 4″ screen and runs Android 4.2 Jelly bean on a dual-core 1.2GHz MediaTek CPU. It has 4GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, Bluetooth, and a pair of cameras (VGA and 5MP).

The Archos 50c Oxygen is going to cost considerably more, and it might have the specs to justify the price. It too will be running Android 4.2 Jelly bean on a MediaTek CPU, only this time it will be one of the newer 8-core chips. This phone has a 5″ 1280 x 720 screen with 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash storage, 2 cameras (8MP and 2MP), Wifi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS.

The Archos 64 Xenon is going to be bigger, but not necessarily better. It has a 6.4″ screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Like its smaller siblings it will be running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, this time on a quad-core Mediatek MT6582 CPU with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of Flash storage, and a microSD card slot.

Like the Archos 50c Oxygen, the Archos 64 Xenon is expected to retail for $199.



The post Archos Unveils New Smartphones, Android Tablet appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Judge Cote Appoints Magistrate to Back up eBook Antitrust Monitor

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 12:29 PM PST

Following4885241106_4223b62005_n[1] Apple losing yet another round in their ebook antitrust lawsuit earlier this month, Judge Denise Cote has seen fit to appoint a magistrate to referee Apple’s future disputes with Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed external monitor.

According to PW, Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger is now stuck with the unenviable task of overseeing the resolution of "any disputes that arise in connection with Apple's external monitor, subject to appeal to this Court."

The appointment of Dolinger follows several months of complaints on the part of Apple, as well as numerous meetings, court dates, conference calls which accomplished little to resolve the differences between Apple, the DOJ, and the court-appointed monitor. The disagreements culminated in a 10 February decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld Cote's order that Apple must fully comply with the monitor provision.

Earlier this month the the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Cote’s earlier rulings on Apple, in effect saying little more than Apple has to comply with the external monitor and that the monitor has to stay within the bounds of the court ruling. “We agree with that interpretation of the district court's order,” the Second Circuit held. “In addition, we take counsel's statement as a formal representation that appellees also accept that interpretation.”

It would seem to me that Judge Cote appointed Dolinger with the goal of short-circuiting Apple’s future complaints, thus ensuring that any disputes are resolved impartially and without influence from Judge Cote.

I know that a number of my readers have accused her of a bias, so I am sure they will be pleased to have an impartial referee step in. This will be Apple’s chance to show that their complaints aren’t merely obstructionism but rather valid issues that have been ignored.

Apple has complained about his fees, conduct, document requests, but aside from a couple minor procedural issues Apple has not won any of the fights it picked with the monitor, the DOJ, and Judge Cote. But now that Dolinger has been asked to act as a referee, I’m sure that we’ll see justice be served.

Along with appointing the magistrate, Judge Cote also instructed Apple to turn over all of the documents which had been requested by Bromwich. Some of the documents had been requested as late as last week, while other document requests date to as early as October.

Background: Today’s ruling is the latest development in an ongoing legal dispute that stems from the launch of the iPad in early 2010. In the month before the launch, Apple negotiated with 5 US publishers and signed them as launch partners for the new iBooks app which launched at the same time as the iPad.

Following a 2 year investigation by the Dept of Justice and 50 states’ attorneys general, the DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit in early 2012 against Apple and the 5 publishers. The publishers settled before going to trial, but Apple chose to defend itself in court. After a weeks long trial in June 2013, Apple lost and was required to give up certain controls over iBooks and work with an external monitor to ensure that the antitrust violations do not recur.

image by Joan Kamberai


The post Judge Cote Appoints Magistrate to Back up eBook Antitrust Monitor appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Pocketbook Releases New Reading App for the iPhone

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 10:57 AM PST

The pocketbook readerUkrainian ebook developer Pocketbook released a new app last week, giving iPad and iPhone owners a new option for buying and reading ebooks.

Pocketbook Reader for the iPhone expands on Pocketbook’s work with ereaders and the Android app they released last year (Google Play). The app offers support for a wide variety of ebook formats, including FB2, djvu, PDF, and Epub.

Like many other apps, Pocketbook Reader will also let users change the screen brightness, take notes, and share clippings online. Readers can also change the font and background colors when reading Epub.

The app will work with DRMed and DRM-free Epub, and it is supported by Obreey, Pocketbook’s own ebookstore. This app is not yet compatible with the iPad, but I would bet that is probably in the works.

pocketbook reader 1

Pocketbook has been in the ereader business since 2009, when they released their first model. Over the years they have developed a number of different ebook reader models with a variety of screen sizes ranging from 5″ to 9.7″, as well as several Android tablets. They opened their ebookstore, Bookland, in 2010, and later rebranded it to Obreey.

The current interest in apps is relatively new, and over the past year Pocketbook has released an Android reading app, this new iPhone app, and a kid-focused reading app called KidRead. This last enables parents to encourage reading by letting them set reading goals and reward kids with game time.


The post Pocketbook Releases New Reading App for the iPhone appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Indie eBook Distributor BookBaby Launches New Promotion Tool, Partners With GoodReads, NoiseTrade

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 09:03 AM PST

BookBabyBookBaby-logo[1] might not be the largest ebook distributor but they could well be one of the more sophisticated services on the market. This ebook distributor announced on Thursday that they had signed deals with the online book community GoodReads and NoiseTrade, a free ebook promotion site.

Authors who sign up to have their ebooks distributed via BookBaby can take advantage of BookPromo, BookBaby’s free promotion service.  This service, which includes a free marketing guide, enables authors to connect with book reviewers with Readers' Favorite and Story Cartel and receive discounts on book trailers and and PR services.

And now, thanks to the new deals with GoodReads and NoiseTrade, authors can have their ebooks included in the GoodReads recommendation engine, giving them a better chance of being discovered by readers. They now also have easy access to NoiseTrade, where they can give away their ebooks in exchange for a reader’s email address.

“Goodreads is an essential site for all authors to use when promoting their books,” said Steven Spatz, BookBaby CMO. “Over 25 million readers use Goodreads, and all our BookBaby authors will automatically be listed on the site, where readers can link to bookstores to purchase, write reviews, and share with their friends on social media.”

BookBaby distributes ebooks to 10 retail sites which sell to customers in over 180 countries, including Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and they also offer a wide variety of services including short run POD, formatting, cover design, and more.

The post Indie eBook Distributor BookBaby Launches New Promotion Tool, Partners With GoodReads, NoiseTrade appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Top Shelf Comics Releases a Handful of Comics DRM-Free

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 07:58 AM PST

Did top-shelf-productions1[1]you catch the news yesterday on Boing Boing? There was an early report (which was later corrected) that the indie comics publisher Top Shelf Productions had gone DRM-free in their online store, but that is sadly not the case – not quite, anyway.

Following in the footsteps of publishers like Tor-Forge Books, Image Comics, and Baen Books, Top Shelf Productions is taking steps to go DRM free. Today they are testing the waters by releasing a few comics without DRM.

A total of 13 titles are available direct from Top Shelf without DRM. You can buy and download the comics as PDF, Epub, or CBZ, and the files can be read in your preferred comics app. If you like you can also bundle the digital with the print edition at a reduced cost.

Chris Ross, tweeting on behalf of Top Shelf explained the motivation behind this limited release:

For the sake of simplicity and clarity, I combined a trio of run-on tweets.


Top Shelf plans to continue distributing their titles to the leading ebookstores (including Kindle, comiXology, iVerse, iBooks, and more). You can find their digital catalog here (along with links to where to buy the digital titles).

And if you’re interested specifically in the DRM-free titles, you can find a list here.

The post Top Shelf Comics Releases a Handful of Comics DRM-Free appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Leak Offers First Credible Evidence of a Larger iPhone

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 05:51 AM PST

Rumorsgiant_iphone_640[1] have been circulating (and analysts have been speculating) since at least early 2013 that Apple had a larger iPhone in the works, but it wasn’t until yesterday that the first credible rumor crossed my desk.

The CEO of Canonical has reportedly gone on the record as saying that his company was outbid for a smartphone component. “Apple just snapped up the entire 3-year supply of the same sapphire display we wanted for the Edge,” Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth said.

Shuttleworth is referring to the Ubuntu Edge, the smartphone which his company had tried to fund on Indiegogo last summer. That project didn’t even come close to raising the $32 million needed to fund development and manufacturing, but as a result of the failed effort Canonical did release technical details on the Edge.

the Ubuntu Edge

the Ubuntu Edge

That phone, which would have run Ubuntu Linux and could double as a full PC, would have had a quad-core CPU with at least 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP in the front. But most importantly, the Edge was also supposed to have a 4.5″ 1280 x 720 resolution display with "Sapphire crystal glass".

It’s this 4.5″ screen which Apple supposedly bought in massive quantities, assuming Shuttleworth is correct. But is he? I don’t know.

One possible caveat with this claim is that it’s not clear when Apple snatched up the screens, nor is it clear what size screen Apple snapped up. For all we know Shuttleworth could have (for example) been referring to a 4″ screen which Canonical was unable to acquire because Apple got to them first. Or this might be a reference to the raw material itself, and not the screen.

And there are other issues. That’s not just a different screen size than what Apple is currently using; it’s also a different resolution. Yes, the ratio  is 16:9, just like the 4″ iPhone scree, but the resolution is different. I can’t recall having heard any software rumors from developers about a new screen resolution showing up in Apple’s code.

In any case, this rumor is the first to meet my new standards of credibility. It might not be true but it has a better chance of coming true than most of the rumors we’ve read over the past year.


The post New Leak Offers First Credible Evidence of a Larger iPhone appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment