Monday, 28 April 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 29 April 2014

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:22 PM PDT

Here are six stories worth reading this morning.

  • Has the Kindle DX Been Discontinued . . . Again? (The eBook Reader Blog)
  • How The Audies Literally Turned Into the Oscars of the Audiobook World (BOOK RIOT)
  • On the Breaking of Rules in Writing (John Walters)
  • The problem with that amazing speed-reading app (SmartPlanet)
  • True Life: I’m A Book Club Dropout (Huff Post)
  • William F. Buckley, Jr. on digital libraries, privacy and Andrew Carnegie: Read his words from 1993 (LibraryCity)

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Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite Now on Sale for Mother’s Day

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 07:26 PM PDT

Kindle_Paperwhite_35438287_35437744_35438313_35438312_02_620x433[1]Amazon is running a sale this week on the Kindle. The basic Kindle is now available from for $49, and the Kindle Paperwhite (Wifi) can now be had for $99.

Amazon is letting you buy the ereaders for $20 off of the ad-subsidized price. Aside from refurbs, that is the lowest price I have seen for the basic Kindle.

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Users are Reporting the New Comixology App is Missing Old Purchases

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 04:18 PM PDT

Amazon ComiXology_Submit_TMCM_iPadignited a storm of protest when they removed the in-app store from the Comixology app on Saturday, but the story isn’t over yet.

Numerous comic fans have reported on Twitter that the new Comixology app has lost many of their existing purchases. In addition to no longer being able to buy content inside the app, they are no longer able to even read some of the content they already bought!

I have no information on how widespread this problem is, but in the space of only a few minutes I found 5 different tweets complaining about this problem, ranging from a few titles missing to whole swathes of content lost.

If you have not checked your Comixology app yet, I suggest you do so. Based on the pattern of Comixology’s responses on Twitter I am not sure that they are aware of a systemic problem, and I don’t think they will notice until more people complain.

I have of course contacted Comixology with a heads up concerning this post, but I have not received a response.

I must say that I am disappointed with Comixology and Amazon. When the news broke a few weeks ago that Amazon bought Comixology, I expected Amazon to make the Comixology platform more robust and make the apps more reliable. Instead their first move, before the ink was even dry on the contract, was to muck everything up.

Not cool.

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Apple Wins Temporary Stay of eBook Antitrust Damages Trial

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 01:31 PM PDT

2796325875_2316a0aecb_b[1]Apple won a small legal victory on Friday when the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeal issued a temporary administrative stay in order to give a three-judge panel time to hear Apple’s appeal concerning Judge Denise Cote's recent decision to proceed with class notification and trial.

In this latest round of Apple’s ongoing legal battles, the electronics giant is asking the appeal’s court to review Judge Cote’s recent rulings, including the petition for a stay of the trial which Apple filed earlier this month and Judge Cote rejected last week.

Apple wants a stay because they believe that if Apple should prevail in its appeal of the original 10 July verdict in its liability trial, or on its forthcoming appeal of  Judge Cote granting class certification, "the entire landscape of this litigation will radically change, and the damages phase ordered by this Court will be mooted or require a retrial."

Apple is also trying to stall the trial because of the potential damage to their reputation. “Given that plaintiffs seek to notify millions of current or prospective Apple customers that they may have been subjected to a price-fixing scheme,” Apple attorneys argue, “Apple's reputation would be damaged by this class notice in a way that cannot be repaired.”

The 3-judge panel will be hearing Apple’s appeal in the next few weeks, after which they will issue a ruling.

It’s worth noting that Apple filed for and received a similar temporary stay in late January 2014; at that time Apple was trying to block an earlier phase of this same antitrust trial. In protesting the presence of the antitrust monitor, Apple made similar claims of irreparable harm at that time. The appeals court did not find Apple’s arguments plausible, and something tells me they will not find Apple’s claims plausible in this latest appeal either.

This temporary stay is the latest round in a long series of court battles that Apple has been fighting since July of last year, when Apple lost an antitrust lawsuit over ebook price-fixing.

That lawsuit was filed in 2012 following a 2 year long investigation by the US Dept of Justice and the attorneys general for 33 states. That investigation led to charges that Apple conspired with 5 major US publishers to raise ebook prices in the US ebook market and prevent ebook retailers from competing on price. The 5 publishers (HarperCollins, S&S, Penguin, Hachette, and Macmillan) all chose to settle before the case went to trial, but Apple decided to defend itself in court. Apple lost the case on 10 July 2013, and they have been vigorously fighting a rear guard action ever since.


image by Anthony Thomas



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Acer’s 7.9″, 8-Core Android Tablet Leaks on Benchmark Website

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Acer’sac1[1] next Android tablet showed up on the GFX Benchmark website earlier this week. It's called the Acer Iconia A5-810, and it is promising to be an eye-catching one device.

The Iconia A5-810 runs Android 4.4.2 on a 1.6GHz Mediatek MT8392 CPU with 2GB RAM, and 12GB internal storage. That is an 8-core CPU, and the chip also packs in a quad-core Mali-450 MP4 graphics chip.

With a screen resolution of 1200 x 1920, the 7.9″ display falls somewhere between the sharpness of the newer and older iPad Minis. This tablet also packs in a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera, Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, g-sensor, and more.


Acer hasn’t announced this tablet so it is difficult to guess when it will be released or how much it will cost. But it is in many ways similar to the Acer Iconia A1-830, which has a lower resolution screen and a dual-core Intel chip.

The Iconia A1-830 retails for $170 online, so I would bet that the Iconia A5-810 is going to be priced around $250 to $300.


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Zhengfang Debuts a $28 Smartwatch (video)

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Zhengfang  smartwatchGoogle would have you believe that Android Wear is the future of smartwatches, but there are still plenty of Chinese OEMs which haven’t gotten the message.

Charbax caught up with Zhengfang at the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) 2014 a few weeks ago. This ShenZhen-based company showed off a number of cheap smartwatches with prices ranging from $28 to $74, including one which has 2G and 3G connectivity and can make phone calls.

The smartwatches are running Mediatek’s software on a Mediatek CPU, and with good reason. Zhengfang is going to be launching a couple Android smartwatches next month, and they will sell for over $100.

In other words Mediatek’s proprietary solution is cheaper. This might help explain why Samsung went with Tizen rather than Android Wear on the new Gear smartwatches.

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Leaked Product Video Reveals HP’s First Android Laptop

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 07:01 AM PDT

hp_slatebook_14_2Rumors have been circulating for over a year now that Google wanted to make a high-end Android laptop, and it looks like HP beat them to the punch.

Notebook Italia has uncovered a demo video and product photos for the HP SlateBook 14, a 14″ laptop which runs Android on an Nvidia CPU. They’re saying that this is a new product which could be coming on the market this year.

The specs list for the SlateBook 14 is still incomplete, but the video reveals that it comes equipped with Beats Audio, a bevy of USB and other ports, and runs Android on an unspecified Nvidia quad-core CPU.

And oh yes, it is not a hybrid. The SlateBook 14 differs from the many other Android notebooks on the market (including one from HP) in that the SlateBook 14 doesn’t pull double duty as a tablet. That makes it truly a rare beast among Android devices.  It’s not the first Android laptop, but so far as I know it is the first released by a major device maker.  It’s possibly also the first Android laptop released with Google’s blessing (it comes with Google Play  ).

At this point we still don’t know the screen resolution, RAM, storage, or anything about the cameras, but the video does show that the Slatebook 14 has a touchscreen, and it does mention that the screen resolution is HD.

We will probably know more next month; HP is probably going to show it off at Computex 2014 in Taipei.

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Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is Coming Soon to an eReader Near You

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 05:53 AM PDT

mockingbird[1]To Kill a Mockingbird became an instant classic when it was published in 1960, earning it a special place in libraries and classrooms everywhere. This title also had a unique status in ebooks; it was one of the few great titles there were not available to buy digitally (pirated copies are another matter), but that’s going to change soon.

HarperCollins announced on Monday that Harper Lee’s first and last novel will soon be available as an ebook. Starting 8 July, readers will be able to find this ebook in ebookstores. The audiobook, which is currently available on a CD with narration by Sissy Spacek, will also be re-released as a digital download.

Harper Lee had long been a digital holdout, but recently she changed her mind (I wonder if the contract was coming up for renewal). “I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries,” Lee, who turned 88 on Monday, said through her publisher. “I am amazed and humbled that 'Mockingbird' has survived this long. This is 'Mockingbird' for a new generation.”

Following Ray Bradbury and JK Rowling, Harper Lee is but the latest author to acquiesce to market pressure. With Mockingbird now set to be released as an ebook, the list of books that cannot be bought as ebooks is down to a handful of titles The Catcher In the Rye, The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. (edit: this last title is available digitally outside the US).

All of those works are available as a pirated copy only a Google search away, but of course we knew that already.



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