- Rooster Wants to Charge $5 to Pick Your Next Read
- 3M Cloud Library Adds Audiobooks
- B&N Cuts Nook Funding by 74%
- Kobo: Ending Agency Pricing Will Kill Us
- The Script Watch Adds an Old School Idea to Digital Watches
- Is Google Pressuring Asus to Abandon Dual-Boot Tablets? Probably Not
- Tomorrow is the National Day of Unplugging
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 04:28 PM PST
Being more than capable of finding his own reading material, this blogger does not see what problem the Rooster service solves. In fact, this blogger has been reading the Game of Thrones omnibus for the past 2 months, and he does not find it intimidating nor is it so large that it must be automatically spoonfed in small installments.
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 11:26 AM PST
The audiobooks are being provided by Findaway World, which has a catalog of 40,000 titles. Findaway World is a well-known name in the library audiobook market; they’re the makers of Playaway, a line of audiobook devices which can be checked out by patrons.
3M Library Systems will be debuting their new catalog additions next week at the annual Public Libraries of America conference in Indianapolis. They report that the audiobooks are compatible with all of the devices using 3M Cloud Library apps, which will be updated to support audiobooks. Users will not to bother with figuring out which formats work on which devices. Once the audiobook is checked out, users can immediately start listening.
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 09:59 AM PST
Barnes & Noble has lost over a billion dollars on their digital investment in the past 4 years but they’re not going to let that continue. B&N’s most recent quarterly SEC filing has revealed that they’ve cut funding for Nook Media significantly.
B&N reported that during their third fiscal quarter, which ended on 25 January 2014, the capital expenditures for the Nook were $7.4 million. This represents a decline of 74% from the amount spent on the group in the same period in the previous fiscal year, and over the past 9 months B&N has cut Nook capital expenditures by an average of 55%.
B&N reported a $61 million loss on the Nook that quarter on $157 million in revenue from Nook content and hardware sales.
Part of the reduced expenditures comes from the layoffs which we’ve been reading about for the past several months. B&N confirmed on their conference call with analysts last month that 190 positions had been eliminated as B&N shifts focus from the consumer ebook market to the educational market. They have also been hiring new staff with that goal in mind.
The SEC filing also notes that Barnes & Noble has yet to fully comply with their international obligations to Microsoft, and that B&N is still working towards selling a sufficiency of ebooks in 10 markets. While they did launch the Nook store in 32 countries in 2014, B&N has acknowledged that effort has not reached the "content thresholds" called for by the Microsoft contract. B&N was supposed to hit that milestone by June 2013, and then by the end of the 2013 calendar year, but they believe they will still make their latest deadline of April 2014, when the current fiscal year ends.
Until Barnes & Noble achieves the necessary level, the delay “may entitle Microsoft to defer a portion of advance payments until the target expansion requirement is met.” As part of their investment in Nook Media in 2012, Microsoft is paying B&N $25 million annually for five years to help with the international expansion.
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 09:08 AM PST
Canada’s Competition Bureau announced a settlement last month with 4 publishers to end agency pricing, but it looks like the process isn’t going to go as smooth as one might have expected.
Kobo has filed an objection to the consent decree, and they ask that the settlement be modified so that they are not negatively impacted by the sudden and radical change to the Canadian ebook market.
As part of their filing. Kobo revealed some rather telling details about their business. They blame the end of agency in the US for the loss of their market share, and they predict that the same will happen in Canada.
Kobo’s objection was actually filed 2 weeks ago, but I only got a copy (PDF) yesterday (via Quill and Quire). it’s an interesting read, and if you take it at face value then the future does not bode well for Kobo.
Here are a couple sections from the PDF that spell out how
In short, Kobo is saying that when Amazon was allowed to discount ebooks in the US, Kobo was unable to compete effectively, not even by means other than price (marketing, CS, features, community). This is rather curious because other companies, including Zola Books, The Reading Room, Bilbary, Oyster, and Scribd all seem to be able to compete effectively against Amazon in the US ebook market. Also, (Barnes & Noble saw most of its growth in the pre-agency era, claiming a 20% market share by the end of April 2010. This only grew another 6% to 8% in the following years. )
Perhaps Kobo should buy out one of their smaller competitors and put that smaller competitor in charge of the Kobo ebookstore?
On a related note, if Kobo has only a negligible market share in the US then I have to wonder whether their partners at the ABA, and its IndieBound program, are beginning to regret betting on the losing horse. Indie booksellers who belong to the ABA can take part in an affiliate program and earn a commission on Kobo ebooks and hardware, but if Kobo only has a negligible share of the US ebook market then the booksellers are not generating a lot of revenue.
image by Sean MacEntee
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 07:17 AM PST
Smartwatches might be getting all of the buzz but sometimes older is better. Take the Script Watch, for example. This watch has just shown up on the MoMA’s museum gift shop website, and it offers a new way to show the time.
Like many digital watches, the Script Watch has an LCD watch face, but rather than have the same boring rectangular segments found on most digital watches, this watch instead displays the time in numbers that almost look like calligraphy.
I’m not one to buy a watch, especially not when it costs $175, but I can appreciate the design. This isn’t quite as novel as the Kisai Rorschach watch, but on the other hand it’s also not nearly as difficult to read:
This is a pretty watch, but at $175 I wish that the designers had packed in more features. It costs about as much as some smartphones, and yet it only has the one ability – to show the time.
The post The Script Watch Adds an Old School Idea to Digital Watches appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 06:52 AM PST
A couple weeks ago Digitimes broke the news that Google was leaning on Asus:
I read about the rumor a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t cover the story because Digitimes is simply not a credible source. They’ve been wrong too often. Sure, this latest rumor is plausible and Google has exerted this kind of pressure in the past, but that doesn’t mean that this rumor is true.
But then Digitimes repeated the rumor today, and I thought it worth a comment. I still don’t find this plausible:
The idea behind the rumor is that Google is using their control of Google Play and Android device certification to pressure Asus. If Asus doesn’t comply with Google’s request to drop the dual-boot device, none of Asus’s other Android gadgets will get certified – or so the rumor goes.
While that sounds plausible and it matchs with what Google has done before, there’s a problem with it. No one has corroborated the story.
“Google Throws Its Weight Around” would be a major tech story if it were true, and everyone would have covered it. But a brief check of Google search results tells me that hardly anyone has, and the only stories I can find were all sourced from Digitimes.
Frankly, this is a rumor which can be ignored until it’s confirmed by Asus.
The post Is Google Pressuring Asus to Abandon Dual-Boot Tablets? Probably Not appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 07 Mar 2014 05:58 AM PST
Saturday, March 8th, is the National Day of Unplugging. It technically starts at sundown on Friday, and it continues until sundown on Saturday. It’s a day for all connected junkies to give up their gadget cold turkey:
If this is only coming across your radar today, you’re not alone. I only read about it yesterday, when MediaShift posted a collection of tips on how to get through the withdrawal symptoms.
So do you plan to participate? I would, but I have work that needs to get done.
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