Monday, 2 June 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 3 June 2014

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:45 PM PDT

This morning finds me with more things to catch up on than I can shake a stick at, so here is a short list of links to read and share.

  • Book Clubs Mean Business (The Millions)
  • How the Amazon-Hachette Fight Could Shape the Future of Ideas (The Passive Voice)
  • Publishers, Amazon, and competition: Three points of view (TeleRead)
  • The superior economics of well-crafted ebooks (Safari Blog)

The post The Morning Coffee – 3 June 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Sony’s Not Closing the Reader Store in Japan – Probably

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:42 AM PDT

400px-Sony_Reader_Store_logo.svg_[1]Sony may have shut down their ebookstore in NA and the rest of the world earlier this year, but the latest news says that the Japanese Reader Store has escaped that fate.

After posting another year of record losses, Sony has confirmed that they plan to keep their flagship ebookstore  in operation. The company doesn’t have a large market share in Japan, but that hasn’t discouraged Sony. “Amazon is way ahead in terms of readership in Japan, with Apple Books second and Kobo in third place. Others like Sony are way behind—almost insignificant,” said The Bookseller‘s source.

The Reader store closures are part of Sony’s reorganization efforts, which include closing many of their remaining retail stores here in the US, selling real estate, and selling unprofitable divisions (PCs). There are also signs that Sony is selling off their interest in JDI, the screen tech maker which recently went through an IPO.

Sony posted a 128 billion yen net loss for the fiscal year which ended March 2014, making this the third straight year in which they failed to earn a profit. In order to turn around the company, Sony plans to lay off another 5,000 staff and reduce expenses by 10 billion yen annually.

While the Reader Store will remain open for the time being, there’s no news on whether Sony will continue to update the Sony Reader itself.  The PRS-T3 is not that impressive of an ebook reader, but if it is regarded as a flagship product they may keep it around.

At one point Sony was the leading ebook reader maker. Having released the Librie in 2004, Sony pioneered the idea of using an E-ink screen. The Librie was arguably Sony’s last truly innovative ebook reader design, and it inspired most ebook readers which followed – including the Kindle.

The Bookseller

The post Sony’s Not Closing the Reader Store in Japan – Probably appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Barnes & Noble is Shutting Down Their MP3 Audiobook Section

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 06:00 AM PDT

3636921327_b81dd9f03b_o[1] Barnes & Noble sent an email to their customers yesterday, announcing that they will be shutting down their downloadable audiobook section at the end of the month. No explanation has been given, but customers are advised to download their audiobooks one last time and back them up.

B&N’s audiobook section was supplied by OverDrive, and thanks to the DRM you’ll need OD’s Media Console app in order to download the files. You can find more information in the email below or in the FAQ on the B&N website.

With the AAP reporting sales up 33% in 2013, audiobooks are rapidly growing into a valuable market niche as more people discover the convenience of listening on their smartphone or mp3 player. But it looks like this is not a market where B&N is having much success.

B&N audiobooksI will freely admit that I didn’t know that B&N sold audiobooks, and given that this section is not easy to find on the B&N website I would not be surprised if most people were similarly unaware. Unlike Amazon, which is doing their best to promote Audible, B&N has the CD and mp3 audiobook sections mixed into a single section. That is not a good way to encourage sales, IMO.

Here’s the email:

Dear X,

We are writing to inform you that effective June 30, 2014, will no longer support MP3 Audiobooks.

Our records show that you previously purchased MP3 Audiobook(s) from us. If you have not already done so, we urge you to download your Audiobook(s) from by June 30, 2014. We also recommend that you save your Audiobook(s) onto your devices and back up your files on storage media.

Remember, you must install Media Console on your computer to allow you to download your MP3 Audiobooks — and it will help you easily transfer your MP3 Audiobook(s) to your NOOK and other mobile devices.

Need it? Get it for Windows or Mac.

If you have any questions, consult our Quick Guide for user-friendly answers.

image by Nina Matthews

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Amazon now Bundling Fire TV & Kindle Fire HDX Tablet ($249)

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 04:18 AM PDT

kindle-fire-tablet-bundle[1]It looks like Amazon is not satisfied with how many Fire TVs they’ve been selling; they’re now bundling the 2-month-old set top box with the 7″ Kindle Fire HDX tablet.

Amazon has paired their new media streamer with last year’s Android tablet for $249. The new bundle, which was first noticed yesterday, is $79 cheaper than purchasing the two devices separately.

The Kindle Fire HDX runs Amazon’s proprietary version of Android on a 2.2 Ghz Snapdragon 800 CPU with 2GB RAM, 16GB/32GB/64GB internal storage, dual-band Wifi, enhanced audio. It has a 7″ screen and costs $229 from Amazon, though you can find it for less if you shop around.

The Fire TV runs a modified version of Android on a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 CPU with 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, Wifi, Bluetooth, and more. The Fire TV retails for $99.

Something tells me that Amazon is not selling all that many Fire TVs. This much hyped gadget launched in early April 2014 with a $99 price tag, and two months later it is being sold at an effective retail price of $20. Sure, Amazon regularly offers sales on their hardware and there are some obvious synergies between this tablet and the Fire TV, but I think this deal is too steep of a discount and it came too quickly.

Admittedly, no one knows how many Fire TVs or Fire HDXs have been sold, but it strikes me as a little unusual for Amazon to offer such a steep discount during an off-season.



The post Amazon now Bundling Fire TV & Kindle Fire HDX Tablet ($249) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

The Morning Coffee – 2 June 2014

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 02:38 AM PDT

Must read stories this Monday morning include a number of articles on last week’s book conference, two debates on The Passive Voice on commentaries  concerning Amazon-Hachette (link, link), self-publishing as a reactionary and not a revolutionary force (link), and more.

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