Monday, 11 August 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 12 August 2014

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 08:00 PM PDT

The reading list this Tuesday morning is still showing signs of Amazon-Hachette infestation, but recent anti-nuisance treatments are having a positive effect.

The treated reading list includes an overview of epaper in consumer electronics, a recent survey of media use and ownership in the UK, a survey of ebook subscription services, and more.

The post The Morning Coffee – 12 August 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Survey Shows 60% of Us Never Unplug – Or Does It?

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 07:48 PM PDT

There’s a post making the rounds these past couple weeks which purports to show that most Americans rarely or never fully disengage from the gadgets that clutter up our lives. While that statistic is disheartening, I am not so sure that it is quite as bad as it initially sounds.

A polling service by the name of Civic Science recently revealed the results of an online poll which showed that 43% of respondents never disconnect from their gadgets, while 17% only disconnect a few times a year:

plug-personal-technology-mobile-phones-tablets-laptops-computers-readers-tv[1]The graphic from CS doesn’t look so well when it’s shrunk down, so you might want to click it and see the full sized image.

When I first decided to write this post, I had intended to mention my efforts to build a disconnect into my lifestyle; I don’t have mobile data, or a smartphone, and I usually disconnect from the internet a couple hours before bed. But as I started to think about the survey I realized that I don’t agree with its definition of disconnecting.

My problem, really, is that the survey doesn’t appear to factor in how and why we use our gadgets.

For example, you can disconnect from your Kindle – and then pick up a paper book. Or you can disconnect from the mp3 player which you are using to run your stereo system – and then turn on the radio. You might also disconnect from your TV – and then go to a movie theater.

Am I the only one who doesn’t see a fundamental difference between the activities?

The post Survey Shows 60% of Us Never Unplug – Or Does It? appeared first on The Digital Reader.

The History of the Kindle in a Single Gif

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 04:50 PM PDT

kindleevolution[1]What with news breaking today that Amazon had released a new Kindle Paperwhite, I thought you might be interested in seeing how much Amazon’s ebook reader had changed since the first model launched nearly 7 years ago.

The gadget comparison site has put together an animated gif that morphs the first Kindle into the second, etc, finally ending with the Kindle Paperwhite. The gif leaves out the KDX, and it also skips the Kindle Touch (not a bog deal, IMO), but it does give us an idea about just how much Amazon’s design philosophy has changed over the years.

As you can see, the first 4 generations of the Kindle kept certain constants: page turn buttons, a d-pad (or its equivalent) and several bask buttons (home, menu, etc). There is also a clear trend from the second model onward that shows Amazon choosing to shed buttons, first thinning out the keyboard, then dropping it entirely, and then removing all of the buttons.

As someone who still fondly remembers how cool the keyboard was on the original Kindle, I think they went to far. But judging by the lack of griping about the Kindle Keyboard going out of stock, I could be the only one who feels that way.


The post The History of the Kindle in a Single Gif appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Dropbox for Android Updated With Better Search, Document Previews

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 03:30 PM PDT

dropbox-logo[1]Dropbox rolled out an update today for their Android app, and I think we may be seeing the first fruits of the company’s recent acquisitions. The new app, which will shortly be available in Google Play, gained a couple new features which will make it easier for a user to search for and sort through their documents.

The search feature has been updated with a search history and suggested results, and there’s also an option to search through specific folders. And once you find the file you want, the new preview feature will make it easier to sort through and find the right file.

dropbox android update

The app now enables users to instantly preview any Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or PDF in their Dropbox account. This saves users from having to open a document in another app (an office app, perhaps). For example, a user can view, scroll, and zoom in on their travel docs without needing to switch out of the Dropbox app.

Other recent improvements include better support for additional languages: Danish, Dutch, Swedish, and Thai.

The post Dropbox for Android Updated With Better Search, Document Previews appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Quietly Launches a New Kindle Paperwhite with Additional Storage

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 01:03 PM PDT

kindle paperwhite 2013Do you want to see something weird? Then check out this page on for one of the Kindle Paperwhites.

If you click the link you’ll see that you’re looking at the product page for the international Kindle Paperwhite (2013). We can tell that it is the international page by the  dropdown menu for countries and the mention of a Carta E-ink screen lower on the page, and we can also see that this model is not available.

And as you can see in the screenshot below, there is also an orange bar with the helpful suggestion that you might want to consider buying the new model: the Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi (2014). And yes, that link works.

kindle paperwhite 2014

Amazon has quietly deployed a new product page (complete with a new ASIN) for a new Kindle Paperwhite. That’s great news, but unfortunately it’s not clear whether we have new hardware as well.

And that’s where things get weird.

Amazon is directing customers to a new Kindle Paperwhite which is fundamentally identical to the model it replaced.  The features are the same, and all of the listed specs are identical. Sure, there are a few minor differences in the descriptions, but there’s no real way to tell that this is a new model.

According to the German ebook blog which noticed the change in July (I was sitting on the story), the 2014 model has twice the storage of the old model. That detail is not listed anywhere that I can see, but this has been confirmed by several different members of MobileRead.

What’s more, earlier today posted a side by side screen shot of last year’s KPW with this year’s KPW. Note the different amounts of storage, and the different serial numbers:


Anyone who has been keeping an obsessive eye on Kindle news will know that there already was a KPW model with 3.1GB of storage floating. It was only available in Japan, but now it seems Amazon is selling it outside of Japan.

Apparently Amazon has very quietly started selling that particular Kindle Paperwhite variant in Europe (and Canada, I can now confirm) while calling it the 2014 model. And this has me very confused.

I was expecting that Amazon would launch a new Kindle Paperwhite this year. Even though the rumor about the Kindle Paperwhite Ice Wine fell through, I was still expecting to see an improved Kindle.

But with the news of the 2014 model quietly replacing the older model, I am left with more questions than I can answer.

Is this it? Does this Kindle mean we’re not going to see a KPW with even minor improvements this year? or was this a mistake on the part of Amazon?

I don’t know. If anyone knows what is going on, the comments are open.

I queried Amazon for an explanation, but did not get a response by the time I published this post.

The post Amazon Quietly Launches a New Kindle Paperwhite with Additional Storage appeared first on The Digital Reader.

OverDrive to Host International Read an eBook Day on 18 September

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 10:05 AM PDT

overdrive harry potterEver one to promote ereading and ebooks, OverDrive will be holding a Read an eBook Day next month.

Thursday, 18 September, will mark the first International Read an eBook Day, a day which OverDrive hopes will become an annual holiday to celebrate and raise awareness for reading on tablets, smartphone, and ebook readers.

Libraries around the world are encouraged to take part by helping new readers try ebooks for the first time (here’s how OD can help), and readers are encouraged to take part in the largest digital reading event by checking an ebook out of the library or downloading one from one of many free ebook sites.

Overdrive will be doing their part to promote the day by giving away tablets and devices every hour on and through social media to readers who tell their story of what eBooks mean to them. Readers can use the hashtag #eBookDay on Facebook or Twitter to tell their story, or comment directly at

Do you have any plans to celebrate the day? Given my day job it will simply be another Thursday for me, but I think I might make an exception and help out at my loval library (assuming they plan to schedule as event).

The post OverDrive to Host International Read an eBook Day on 18 September appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Leaked Photos Show iPhone 6, Retail Box – I Call Fake

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 08:11 AM PDT

Apple-logo[1]Apple’s eagerly anticipated iPhone 6 isn’t going to launch for another month, but one UK tech blog would have you believe that they got their hands on the new smartphone – and in a retail box no less.

Earlier today TechRadar posted an exclusive set of photos which appear to show the iPhone 6.  According to their source, this is supposed to be a beta unit.

The photos don’t offer any way to prove that, but they do show a retail box which looks authentic:

iphone 6I can’t speak for the authenticity of the photos, but even if they are real I don’t think this is the iPhone 6.

While I am convinced that a larger iPhone will be launching next month, and I would even be willing to accept that beta units are floating around, I simply don’t find it plausible that one would come with a retail box. There’s just too high of a chance that the box might be left sitting around to be accidentally discovered, photographed, and shared online. So I seriously doubt Apple would be shipping it to testers.

Furthermore, theTechRadar photos don’t show any screenshots, so there’s no way to know for sure that this is a real iPhone 6 and not a Chinese-made knockoff running Android. I haven’t been reporting on the knockoffs, but I have been following the news and some of the iPhone 6 clones are quite nice.

At least one model even comes in a retail box which says iPhone 6 and sports a surprisingly realistic home screen. Alas, the Google Play app gave it away:

fake-iphone-6-02 fake-iphone-6-01[1] fake-iphone-6-03 fake-iphone-6-05

Don’t get me wrong, I wish the photos shared by TechRadar showed a real iPhone 6. But they probably do not.

The post Leaked Photos Show iPhone 6, Retail Box – I Call Fake appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Canadian eBook Startup Enthrill Raises $1.3 Million in New Funding Round

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 07:37 AM PDT

Kevin-Franco-Enthrill-Books-logo-5-9-2012-14-48-221[1]Enthrill Distribution, a provider of innovative digital content distribution technologies for the publishing industry, announced on Friday that they had raised $1.3 million in new financing from a group of investors that include AVCA Ltd.

The Calgary-based startup plans to use this investment to fuel ongoing product development and the next stage in its commercial growth, which will include sales and marketing efforts for global distribution. “Working closely with the team at AVAC while they conducted their in-depth due diligence has validated our business strategy,” says Kevin Franco, President and Co-Founder of Enthrill. “AVAC has taken a genuine interest in our organization, spending the time to thoroughly understand our business and ensure our capital requirements were in place for the next stage of our growth.”

578248_371701686212120_279197506_nEnthrill is perhaps best know for their ebook gift card platform, which enables brick-and-mortar stores to carry and sell ebooks either online or via a unique ebook gift card. This platform is not widely available in the US market, but it is drawing an increasing amount of support from Canadian retailers. The company already has distribution deals in place with independent Canadian retailers as well as with Canada Safeway, Co-op, and Sobeys stores.  They also expect to have their cards in Walmart Canada stores by the end of 2014.

The platform is also gaining support from publishers. Publishers whose titles are available through Enthrill include Scholastic, Kensington, Rosetta Books, Palgrave Macmillan, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Open Road Media, and many others.

Enthrill also offers authors and publishers the option of volume sales and other alternative sales channels, including time limited discounts, free downloads and bundled offers. According to Enthrill, an ebook purchased via Enthrill can be read on most ereaders, including the Kindle.


The post Canadian eBook Startup Enthrill Raises $1.3 Million in New Funding Round appeared first on The Digital Reader.

US Air Force Wants to Buy a Secure, Pre-Loaded eBook Reader

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 06:02 AM PDT

USAF_logo[1]Remember the NeRD, that peculiarly locked down ebook reader developed for the US Navy? The US Air Force is interested in buying some.

Earlier this month the Air Force solicited information on suppliers who could provide a new type of device. They’re not taking bids just yet, but they are seeking information on companies that can provide hardware that meets a special set of requirements.

The proposed device will need to have a 6″ screen with a touchscreen and a resolution of 600 x 800. It will need to be readable in low-light conditions, have a battery life of at least 5 hours, and most importantly it can’t have Wifi or internet access, nor any way to enter personal info.

The technical requirements suggest that the US Air Force wants their version of the NeRD:

A secure non-web based e-reader – customers cannot access operating system, make changes, delete or add titles; provides access to 200 pre-loaded e-books; titles are from a variety of sources such as New York Times best seller lists, large publishers, and small or university presses; electronic collections provide access to a broad, diverse recreational and educational reading materials.

I don’t know of any other device that meets those standards. Sure, it’s possible that another device maker could modify an existing consumer model to fit the requirements, and it is even possible for Amazon to offer a suitably modified Kindle Paperwhite (if Amazon started with the demo mode used in stores it might not take too much work).

NeRD Device and Case

But right now the NeRD, or its civilian equivalent (Lock), is the best bet. The NeRD was designed to be used in nuclear submarines and other secure environments. It sports a 6″ screen with the appropriate amount of storage. Aside from the lack of a touchscreen and a light, it meets all of the technical requirements.

I would say that odds are good that the Lock, or whatever the new device ends up being called, will be what the Air Force ends up buying.

And if not the Lock, the Air Force will probably still buy a device made by Findaway World. This company got its start in distributing audiobook players called Playaway to libraries. Each Playaway contains a single audiobook, and is intended to be checked out to library patrons.


The post US Air Force Wants to Buy a Secure, Pre-Loaded eBook Reader appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment