- New Video Shows Dummy iPad Air 2
- I Think It’s Time for Indies to Join Publishers in Their Fight Against Amazon
- Readmill is Closing in 6 Days – Back up Your Account
- B&N to Spin Off Nook Media
- Midia Inkphone E-ink Smartphone Now up for Pre-Order – $149
- Amazon Responds to German Antitrust Complaint, Admits It Wants Wholesale Terms on eBooks
- The Morning Coffee – 25 June 2014
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 01:25 PM PDT
Youtube user TLDToday got his hands on what he says is a dummy iPad Air 2. He got it via Sonny Dickson, and while we don’t know how Sonny got his hands on it the guy has generally been a good source of Apple leaks in the past.
As you can see in the video, the iPad Air 2 dummy is a little thinner than the current model. It has similar bezels, redesigned speakers, and it also looks like Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner has apparently replaced the old home button.
Looking at the video, do you think the new iPad is worth waiting for?
I don’t. I thought the existing model is pretty darned thin already, so aside from the technical fact that the new one is thinner I don’t really care. But since I am not using my iPad (I am an Android user) 2 to its fullest potential I’m not sure I an qualified to debate which Air model is worth getting.
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 09:44 AM PDT
Over the past two months Amazon has been supporting their very public and very rough book contract negotiations with a subtle media campaign which has kept indies on the sideline. By saying little and letting the publishers leak details, Amazon has avoided giving indies a reason to join sides with the major publishers that Amazon is fighting.
That was a smart move, but yesterday everything changed. Amazon released a statement which inadvertently confirmed that indie authors and publishers have a horse in this race.
Amazon responded to the news that a German trade group had filed an antitrust complaint, and the statement said in part:
In short, Amazon has confirmed the rumors that the Bonnier negotiations include a fight over ebook payments. This is also a strong indicator that the similar rumors coming out of the UK are also true.
As a result, Amazon has told us that indies have a dog in this fight.
Indie authors might not care whether Amazon is extracting increased and specific co-op service fees from Hachette (they might actually want to pay for the services – if they boost sales), but now that Amazon is pushing major publishers to accept a smaller cut of ebook sales it is time to be concerned.
Tell me, if Amazon manages to force the major publishers to accept a smaller cut of ebook sales, how long do you think Amazon will continue to offer the 70% option in KDP?
I think it would last about 15 minutes.
As I have argued in the past, I see the 70% royalty option in KDP as one of Amazon’s carrots. Amazon offers the high royalty in order to encourage authors and small publishers to deal directly with Amazon. It also encourages authors to stay independent and to get their rights back and republish their backlist.
I think Amazon is using the high royalty rate to keep the publishing industry fragmented. By offering better terms, Amazon keeps power from concentrating into fewer hands. But if Amazon manages to force publishers to accept a lower rate, it won’t need to offer such a high rate via KDP any more.
Amazon can cut it, and I would expect them to do so once they think they have the advantage.
Edited to Add: Remember, Amazon has already arbitrarily cut royalties on one occasion. Earlier this year they lowered the rates they paid on Audible audiobooks. They have no effective competition for audiobooks so they decided to use their monopoly power to grab a larger share of sales.
With that in mind, I think it’s time for indies to hold our noses and side with publishers. This bothers me, but we are potentially in a situation where indie revenues are at stake.
Or am I wrong?
P.S. If anyone cares to suggest an effective course of action, the comments are open.
The post I Think It’s Time for Indies to Join Publishers in Their Fight Against Amazon appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 08:35 AM PDT
The beloved social reading platform Readmill is shutting down next Monday, and a couple days ago they sent out an email to remind users that they need to back up their content and account, and move it to another service.
Citing an inability to find a viable business model, Readmill announced in March 2014 that they had sold out to Dropbox and would be closing down their platform. the Readmill team is turning its attention to Dropbox’s recently collaboration tools, which are still under development.
If you haven’t migrated your Readmill account yet, now would be a good time. I laid out the necessary steps in this post. There is some work involved, but if you want a quick and dirty option you could also try Fastr.
Along with Bookmate, Fastr is one of Readmill’s direct competitors, and they created a one-step automatic import process. I haven’t had a chance to try Fastr (I’m really not much of a social reader, anyway)so I can’t recommend the service, but I have heard good things. Also, Fastr reports that over the past week Readmill users have transferred 10,000 books from Readmill to Fastr.
Did you use Readmill? What service did you switch to?
The post Readmill is Closing in 6 Days – Back up Your Account appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 07:27 AM PDT
Nook Media currently consists of both the Nook unit and B&N College, the chain of college bookstores which B&N operates under contracts.
It’s not clear why both parts are being included in the spun off Nook Media rather than combining the financial viable B&N college with the retail stores, but when CEO Michael Huseby was asked about this on the conference call he hinted at the possibility of just such a reorganization, saying vaguely, “we’ll see what happens with the final separation.” He went on to explain that “the reason it was done originally was that the college business was headed towards the digital transition and there was strong interest in that business from Microsoft and Pearson.”
There’s no information yet on how this will affect B&N’s plans to launch a Nook-branded Samsung tablet, but I don’t expect that to be canceled. Both that deal and the decision to spin off Nook Media took months of preparation, so there’s a near certainty that Samsung new about the spin off and partnered with B&N anyway.
Given B&N’s current financial report, today’s news should really come as no surprise. The retailer reported that revenues were up slightly for the quarter (3.5%) but down for the year (6.7%). The Nook division continues to hemorrhage money, but on the plus side the EBITDA for the retail division, college bookstores, and for the company as a whole were all net positive.
In short, B&N turned a slight profit last year.
To be honest, this is a move that many thought would happen as much as two years ago. B&N spun off their ebook division and college bookstores in April 2012, creating the company now known as Nook Media. After taking on Microsoft as an investor, B&N sold a share to Pearson in December 2012.
There were also rumors that this split would happen in 2013 as well. Shortly after B&N’s disastrous 2012 holiday season, rumors circulated that Len Riggio wanted to split B&N and take the retail stores as a separate company. The split did not happen at that time, but the rumor did turn out to be true. Riggio wanted to get rid of Nook Media and rescue the retail stores, but later cancelled his plans after Bill Lynch left his position as CEO and Riggio took control of B&N in his position as chairman of the board.
And now it is finally going to happen. This might not be good news for Nook Media (they need a sugar daddy) but for B&N it’s great news. They are finally getting the albatross off their neck.
Posted: 25 Jun 2014 06:30 AM PDT
After nearly 2 years of waiting and being told the release was just around the corner, the E-ink Smartphone is finally about to arrive.
The Polish ereader distributor Arta Tech revealed on Wednesday that they have put the Midia InkPhone up for pre-order. Based on the Onyx E-ink smartphone some of us have been lusting after for the past 21 months, the InkPhone sports a 4.3″ E-ink screen.
The retail price is 121 euros plus tax and shipping, and Arta Tech expects to ship after 4 July.
This smartphone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread on a single-core 1GHz MediaTek MT6515M CPU with 512MB RAM, a miniscule 512MB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. It ships with Wifi, Bluetooth, and EDGE connectivity. There’s no camera.
The Midia InkPhone has been under development for so long that it more closely resembles a budget smartphone than its distant kin, the dual-screen YotaPhone, and just about the only notable feature is its 4.3″ E-ink.
When Onyx first showed off their smartphone, it had a 4.3″ Pearl E-ink screen not too different from the screen on the cheapest Kindle, but thanks to the long development time the Midia InkPhone got the chance to use significantly improved screen tech.
The 4.3″ E-ink screen on the Midia InkPhone is based on E-ink’s newer Mobius screen tech. Thanks to its plastic substrate, Mobius is is more durable than previous E-ink screens. The screen resolution is 800 x 480, and the Midia InkPhone has both a frontlight and a two-finger capacitive touchscreen.
Weighing in at 120 grams, the InkPhone has a 1.8Ah battery which is expected to offer up to 2 weeks of run time.
All in all this is really more of a $100/ 60 euro smartphone than one which sells for 121 euros, but I suppose if you want an E-ink screen you’re willing to pay extra and accept some compromises (the MediaTek CPU, for example).
Update: A reader has pointed out that the product page mentioned Android Market, not Google Play. (I didn’t even think to look for that.) Thanks, Sorin!
The post Midia Inkphone E-ink Smartphone Now up for Pre-Order – $149 appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 24 Jun 2014 10:08 PM PDT
Earlier today Germany’s Börsenverein announced that they had filed an antitrust complaint against Amazon, alleging that the retailer was the next best thing to a monopoly and was using its market dominant position to break German law.
It’s still far too early for an offical response from the German govt, but late oN Tuesday Amazon responded to the news. According to Amazon’s statement, it isn’t delaying the shipment of Bonnier titles; Amazon is just running out because it’s not keeping very many copies in stock. (This is pretty much what Amazon said in response to similar claims from Hachette. )
But Amazon does admit to wanting better terms for ebooks. From their statement, it sounds like Amazon is pursuing in Germany the same price parity terms they are rumored to be demanding in the UK.
Arguing that ebooks have lower costs than print books, Amazon want to buy ebooks on terms similar to that of paper books. While that is true to a small degree, what Amazon neglects to mention is that the better ebook terms won’t be passed along to customers. Thanks to Germany’s fixed price book laws that is simply not possible.
What Amazon is hoping you won’t notice is that they’re trying to turn the clock back to the wholesale period, and in doing so secure a larger share of ebook revenues for their own pockets. Admittedly, that’s not what Amazon is specifically saying, but it comes to the same thing.
Read the statement and tell me I am wrong:
We are aware of the complaint by the Boersenverein that alleges that we are delaying shipments to customers – this allegation is not true. We are currently buying less print inventory than we ordinarily do on some titles from the publisher Bonnier. We are shipping orders immediately if we have inventory on hand. For titles with no stock on hand, customers can still place an order at which time we order the inventory from Bonnier — availability on those titles is dependent on how long it takes Bonnier to fill the orders we place. Once the inventory arrives, we ship it to customers promptly.
We would like to add some context: It's widely understood that e-books should cost customers less than the corresponding print edition – in digital there is no printing, freight, warehousing, or returns. We believe this should also be reflected in the terms under which booksellers buy their books from publishers, and this is the case in our terms with most publishers around the world, including in Germany. For the vast majority of the books we sell from Bonnier (a division of the 3 billion Euro international media conglomerate, Bonnier Media Group AB), they are asking us to pay them significantly more when we sell a digital edition than when we sell a print edition of the same title.
image by bravenewtraveler
The post Amazon Responds to German Antitrust Complaint, Admits It Wants Wholesale Terms on eBooks appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 24 Jun 2014 08:31 PM PDT
Due to a personal emergency Tuesday night I only have a really short list for you this morning.
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