Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 14 May 2014

Posted: 13 May 2014 09:35 PM PDT

Must read stories this Wednesday morning include Hugh Howey’s commentary on Amazon-Hachette (link), David Gaughran on publishers causing piracy (link), censorship in Europe (link), DRM-free comics (link), and more.

  • 10 Words Every Book Lover Should Know (HuffPost)
  • Amazon and Hachette Go to War (Hugh Howey)
  • Dolphin Browser for Android re-gains classic view, my heart (Liliputing)
  • European Court Orders Google To “Forget” Old Search Results (ReadWrite)
  • FunBITS: The World of DRM-free Digital Comic Books (TidBITS)
  • How To Increase Piracy (David Gaughran)
  • iPad charger teardown: inside Apple’s charger and a risky phony (Ken Shirriff’s blog)
  • Kotobee: Developing Interactive Ebooks in Egypt (Publishing Perspectives)
  • VICE, Mashable, Digg and others form a collective for breaking news about Ukraine (GigaOm)

The post The Morning Coffee – 14 May 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Asus Fonepad 7 Shows up Online

Posted: 13 May 2014 05:56 PM PDT

fe170When Asus debuted the Fonepad last Spring they took a solid mid-level 7″ Android tablet and turned it into a phone. And with the new model which leaked today, Asus went distinctly down-market with a weaker CPU, lower resolution cameras, and a lower resolution screen.

The new Asus FonePad 7 (FE170CG) popped up on an Asus website recently, and while we don’t have any details on the price or release date the leaked specs tell us that Asus took the equivalent of a $99 7″ tablet and turned it into a phone.

The FE170CG runs Android 4.3 on a dual-core 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 with 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. It has a 2MP rear camera, a VGA front camera, Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, and support for HSPA+ networks.

Weighing in at 10.2 oz, the specs say it has a 10 hour battery life. It will also obviously have a front-facing speaker. Screen resolution is 1024 x 600, which would be okay if not for the high probability that it will be a mediocre quality screen.

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All in all, this phablet is about what I am expecting to see in $99 Android tablets this year. With that in mind would anyone care to guess the price?

The previous models (I found at least 3) are going for $200 to $400, and since this one has a cheaper screen and weaker CPU I’m thinking a retail of $199 is not out of the question.


The post New Asus Fonepad 7 Shows up Online appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Infographic: 24 Books that Predicted the Future

Posted: 13 May 2014 01:37 PM PDT

Science Fiction has long tried to predict the future, and sometimes the predictions have proven true. Jules Verne conceived of the electric submarine 16 years before the first one launched. The Machine Stops conceived of a worldwide communications network 40 years before the first computer network.

This amazing infographic from Printer Inks lists 24 books that predicted – and surely inspired – technology innovations we use now in our daily life. It got a few details wrong, but in general it is a fun read.




The post Infographic: 24 Books that Predicted the Future appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Cybook Ocean 8″ eReader Clears the FCC

Posted: 13 May 2014 01:17 PM PDT

cybook ocean fccBookeen’s much delayed 8″ ebook reader showed up on the FCC website this morning, bringing it one step closer to being officially available in the US.

The FCC paperwork doesn’t really add anything to what we already knew about the  Cybook Ocean, but it does give us a look inside this ereader. It also tells me that the microSD card slot is accessible under a panel on the rear of the Ocean.

The Cybook Ocean sports an 8″ epaper screen with both a touchscreen and a frontlight. It runs Bookeen’s proprietary OS on an 800MHz CPU with 256MB RAM, Wifi, 4GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. Screen resolution is a decent but not impressive 1024 x 768.

At last report, Bookeen expected to ship this ebook reader in May or June of this year, with a retail of 179 euros. That’s a fairly steep price, IMO, and I think that a similarly priced tablet will offer a better value. But if you are as taken as I am by the 8″ screen, the Ocean does offer a better value than the other widely available 8″ ebook reader,the Pyrus Maxi. That device retails for 149 euros, but lacks a touchscreen, Wifi, or frontlight.

cybook ocean fcc cybook ocean fcc cybook ocean fcc

Thanks, Brad!


The post Cybook Ocean 8″ eReader Clears the FCC appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Sony’s 13.3″ Digital Paper Writing Slate Gets a $400 Price Cut – Now Costs Only $1,350

Posted: 13 May 2014 11:20 AM PDT

When sony-digitalpaper-dpt-s1the Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 was first launched in the US back in March, I knew few would be able to afford its $1,100 price tag. And when a 3rd-party importer first started selling the device on Amazon in late April (Thanks, M Singh!) for $1,750, it was even further out of reach.

But today I have some great news to share. That Amazon marketplace seller has put the Digital Paper on sale on Amazon. They’ve knocked $401 off of the price tag, lowering the price to a mere $1,349. What a bargain!

The seller Sony has knocked 23% off of the price of the price of the Digital Paper DPT-S1, so if you are in the market to get one you should act fast.

The Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 is a one of a kind device both in terms of price and screen tech. This is the first device in the world to use the new Mobius E-ink screen, and it is the only one to use a 13.3″ E-ink screen. This is both larger and more rugged than your average E-ink screen, making it more durable than any other model currently on the market.

It comes with a dual-mode touchscreen (both optical touch and electromagnetic stylus), Wifi, 2.8GB Flash storage, and is limited to only letting users read and edit with PDFs. And with a screen of 1,200 × 1,600, the screen is going to appear dull both compared to the latest E-ink screens as well as cutting edge LCD screens.

The DPT-S1 is the perfect example of much that is wrong with Sony. After years of expensive research, Sony has a cutting edge tech which was then incorporated in a device no one is going to want to buy. The DPT-S1  is the Sony Librie all over again.



The post Sony’s 13.3″ Digital Paper Writing Slate Gets a $400 Price Cut – Now Costs Only $1,350 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Baen Books Android App Now Available in Google Play

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:05 AM PDT

Screenshot_2014-05-13-12-58-48Baen Books isn’t the first publisher to release their own app, but this is the one I have been anticipating the most.

Word has come in today from the Baen’s Bar webforum that Baen Books’ Android app was now available in Google Play. This app, which has been under development for over 6 months now, lets readers catch up on the latest news from Baen, access the forum, and download and read ebooks.

The app is still clearly a beta release. I’ve played with it for a few minutes today and can confirm user reports that say it still has a few bugs. But in spite of the bugs this is still a big improvement on not having an app at all.

I can use the app to download and read a previously purchased Baen ebook, download Epub or RTF, and there is an option for emailing an ebook to my Kindle account. The app is also tied into Baen’s Bar, the news feed, and the Planet Baen podcast.


Screenshot_2014-05-13-12-57-20 Screenshot_2014-05-13-12-57-32 Screenshot_2014-05-13-12-57-55 Screenshot_2014-05-13-12-58-48

I can even browse for ebooks, but buying ebooks still requires logging in to the Baen website. Speaking of which, anyone not on Android might be interested to know that the app is complimented by a mobile website which has nearly the same features (but fewer bugs).


An iOS app is also in the works.

Google Play

The post Baen Books Android App Now Available in Google Play appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Scribd Passes Oyster, Sony as a Source of Revenue for Indie Authors

Posted: 13 May 2014 08:52 AM PDT

Whensmashwords_logo it comes to picking the victor of the ebook subscription market, the jury may still be out but early results say that Scribd has a clear lead.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, shared some details today on the Smashwords blog concerning indie revenues earned via Scribd.

Scribd launched their ebook subscription service in late 2013 but it wasn’t until early 2014 that they added titles distributed by Smashwords, so the magnitude of growth comes as a shock:

The Smashwords catalog went live at Scribd on February 28, 2014, the last day of the month.  The first full month's sales (March) exceeded my expectations.  It was the largest first-month sales for any new Smashwords retail partner in the last five years.  I know our friends at Scribd were equally pleased by the popularity of Smashwords titles.

April results were even more impressive, showing a month-over-month sequential gain of 50%.  Although the sales volume at Scribd hasn’t reached the level of iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and the Smashwords store, they’re off to a strong start by any measure.

Their April results alone represent nearly triple the recent combined sales of Sony and Diesel, two Smashwords retailers that exited the ebook business in March, and already represent 1/3 our Kobo sales. I'm excited to see where Scribd can take this over the next few years.

I checked with Mark by email, and he told me that revenue from Scribd had already exceeded revenues from Oyster. This was to be expected; Scribd offers a service which is available globally on Android and iOS, while Oyster is limited to only iDevice owners in the US market.

While I am not surprised by Scribd passing Sony or Oyster, I was startled by the comparison to Kobo. eBook subscriptions are a new enough market that it is difficult to predict whether it will succeed or have much affect on the existing ebook market.

Today’s news, however vague, is the first revenue data to be shared publicly. We finally have something to help us figure out whether speculation about the ebook sub market could come to pass. For example, last year Scribd CEO Trip Adler predicted that Scribd’s ebook subscriptions would reach a billion dollar a year in revenue. I still think that is optimistic, but today’s news has convinced me that the market as a whole could reach a billion dollars.

At the very least I am expecting to see Scribd make it into the top 5 ebook retailers by the end of next year, if not sooner.

The post Scribd Passes Oyster, Sony as a Source of Revenue for Indie Authors appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Goodreads Expands Automatic Amazon Sync to Include the UK

Posted: 13 May 2014 07:39 AM PDT

GoodreadsGoodreads announced on Tuesday that the ever popular “Add Your Amazon Books” feature was now available for ebooks and books purchased via Amazon.co.uk.

Initially launched about a month ago, this feature enables Goodreads members to automatically sync their Amazon accounts with their Goodreads accounts. Readers can rate and review each title and then add it to their bookshelves.

Amazon first offered this feature to readers in the US, Australia, and Canada, and today they started expanding the availability to include the UK (as well as anyone who bought books and ebooks from Amazon.co.uk). Over the next few weeks Goodreads will be rolling out the feature, but it is not available to all at this time. Early reports on the Goodreads blog indicate that a number of Goodreads members in the UK were unable to access it.

It looks like the only way to tell whether you have the feature is to try to access it. Goodreads posted a set of instructions on their blog:

How do you know if you have the feature? Take a look at the Tools list on the left hand side of the My Books page. You'll see the Add Amazon Book Purchases link, as well as a small announcement at the top of the page. (See screenshot below.) See it? Great! In just two simple steps, you can add your Amazon books!:

1. Click on either link.
2. Sign into your Amazon account.

From there, you'll then see your Amazon book purchases. You can go through and rate each book and select the appropriate shelf for it. We give you full control over which books to add so you can avoid adding any books bought as gifts. Any book not rated or added to a shelf will not be added to Goodreads.


Ever since Amazon bought Goodreads last year the retailer has been integrating the social network more closely with its bookstore. Late last year Amazon rolled out an update for the Kindle Paperwhite which added Goodreads integration, including the option to rate and review books.

The site now boasts 25 million members who added 294 million titles to their virtual bookshelves in 2013.


The post Goodreads Expands Automatic Amazon Sync to Include the UK appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Scribd Apps for Android, iPad, and iPhone Gains Reading Features in New Update

Posted: 13 May 2014 06:12 AM PDT

Late scribd-logo-blk_100x28last week Scribd rolled out an update for their iPhone and iPad app, and earlier today they rolled out a similar update for their Android app.

Readers can now make highlights and notes in the ebooks and other documents they are reading. The annotations  are synced across Scribd’s platform so that users can find them anytime, anywhere. And anyone who is using Scribd’s ebook subscription service to read comics or other image rich ebooks will also enjoy the new image zoom option, enabling them to view any image or illustration in detail as they read.

This is the second update in the past 3 months which added new reading features; in March Scribd added a search function to their Android and iOS apps.

The apps are free and can be found in Google Play and in iTunes. The ebook subscription service costs $9 a month.



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