- The Morning Coffee – 29 August 2014
- Got $1,100? Sony is Now Selling the 13.3″ Digital Paper Online
- Amazon is in Conflict With Japanese Publishers
- Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” Pulled From Store Shelves
- Used eBook Sales Still Blocked in Germany
- John Paczkowski: Apple Plans to Announce Wearable in September
- There’s a Problem With Calling the Fire Phone a Failure Based on Sales of 35,000 units
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 08:40 PM PDT
The reading list is quite short this morning.
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 07:11 PM PDT
Sony is now selling the Digital paper DPTS-1 online, direct. My competitor noticed the change earlier today, beating me to the story. You can find the Digital Paper on the Sony Style website, and if you are looking for one of their three resale partners then you should visit Sony’s business/commercial sales website.
The Sony Digital Paper is a minimal function device which features an eye-catching one of a kind 13.3″ E-ink screen with two types of touchscreen tech (capacitive and Wacom). It ships with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, but not much else.
Thanks to its plastic construction, the Mobius screen on the DPTS-1 is both thinner and more durable than the E-ink screens found on most ebook readers. The Mobius screen is also why the DPTS-1 weighs in at a mere 12.6 ounces, which is impressive considering that it has a larger screen than most tablets.
Alas, while the hardware is nifty, the software is not. This device is strictly a PDF-only reader, meaning that it does not even support Epub or office doc formats.
I think that rather limits its usefulness, which is why I always suggest that a tablet, even a Surface Pro tablet, would be a better buy than the Sony Digital paper DPTS-1.
The post Got $1,100? Sony is Now Selling the 13.3″ Digital Paper Online appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 03:19 PM PDT
Never one to fight a single battle at a time, Amazon is in conflict with publishers in multiple countries, including Bonnier in Germany, Hachette Book Group in the US, and (reportedly) unnamed publishers in the UK.
And now we can add Japan to that list.
The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Amazon has launched a new ranking system which has Japanese publishers up in arms. I have yet to find a story which confirms the report, which states:
After checking several Japanese news sites (both English-language and Japanese) I have yet to uncover a corroborating story, so I would suggest that we take the above quote with a large grain of salt.
But while I was looking I did find an unrelated story from July.
It seems that a number ofJapanese publishers do not appreciate Amazon’s sales practices, and according to the Manichi Shimbun they responded by removing their titles from Amazon.co.jp.
In a dispute which reportedly started in May (but only came across my desk today), 5 publishers suspended sales via Amazon with the demand that the retail giant end student discounts. The publishers object to Amazon skirting Japan’s fixed book price laws via Amazon Student membership service, which launched in Japan in 2012.
Five publishers joined a boycott of Amazon in May, and 3 were continuing the boycott when my source story was published in early July. About 2,700 titles were affected by the boycott.
I can’t confirm that the boycott continues to this day, but I would not be surprised. I can add, however, that other publishers have expressed dissatisfaction with Amazon’s discount practices but don’t feel they can afford to join the boycott. For example, Kodansha is described as saying that “its business with the online retailer is extensive, including e-book services, and it cannot easily resort to suspending Amazon sales.”
It’s not clear how or when that boycott will be resolved, but as one American publisher has shown it is possible to avoid doing business with Amazon. EDC was recently profiled in Business Insider in relation to its cutting ties with Amazon in 2012:
Amazon was only a small fraction of EDC’s business, so the decision to cut ties may have beenblown out of proportion, but it still shows that life is possible without Amazon.
image by Daniel E Lee
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 12:44 PM PDT
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian branch of the Aldi supermarket chain recently pulled one of Dahl’s books from its shelves. Much to everyone’s surprise, the book in question, Revolting Rhymes, had a revolting rhyme in it:
Aldi pulled the book after receiving a single complaint from a parent who didn’t realize that a book called Revolting Rhymes would have revolting rhymes in it.
That decision has not proved popular with other parents (thank goodness), with some leaving comments on Aldi’s FB page like:
“I am appalled at Aldi withdrawing the Roald Dahl book, Revolting Rhymes,” one customer wrote. “I am a frequent shopper at your Rydalmere store – BUT NO MORE!! You people are absolutely pathetic to cave in to such a petty complaint about one word in this book.”
I myself have never read this book, and in fact I have never even heard of it today. But I can understand the lone parent’s objection to the language of that book.
It is important to protect impressionable children from language that might influence them. For example, I was forced to read the Bible at a young age and my psyche has never recovered from all the rape, murder, and incest.
The post Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” Pulled From Store Shelves appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 08:28 AM PDT
For the past few months VZBV has been fighting a legal battle similar to the one which they initiated last year over the sale of used computer games. The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverbandes has argued that consumers should have the right of resale, but unfortunately two different courts have disagreed.
Earlier this week the VZBV lost an appeal which would have overturned a ruling by a district court in Bielefeld.
Correction: The district court did not specifically rule that reselling ebooks was illegal, but that a seller can block the resale by making the buyer agree to give up that right (whether the resale of ebooks is illegal is still an unanswered question). As you might recall from the Usedsoft decision, in the EU sellers cannot force buyers to give up their right to resell software.
The higher regional court at Hamm upheld the district court’s ruling, effectively ending the VZBV’s legal battles – for the moment.
As you might recall, there is an ongoing lawsuit in the Netherlands over a website called Tom Kabinet. That site is a marketplace where users can resell their DRM-free ebooks, and it was sued in late June 2014 by a Dutch publisher’s association.
The Groep Algemene Uitgevers (GAU) argued that Tom Kabinet was nothing less than copyright infringement under EU law. They are probably correct, but so far as I know they have not yet secured a ruling in their favor.
While you may have read that stories which claimed used ebook sales were legal in the Netherlands, that is not an accurate description. I can’t see that the case has been decided either way, but I do know that the judge had declined to shut down Tom Kabinet while the parties fought in court.
Used ebook sales aren’t necessarily legal yet in the Netherlands, but there is a chance that they could be. And that leaves open the possibility that used ebook sales could become legal in the European Union.
If the Dutch judge rules in favor of Tom Kabinet, then both this case and the one from Germany will have to be appealed upwards to an EU court. That court will have to decide which ruling is valid, and overturn the other.
It’s far too early to guess which way that EU court will rule, so I wouldn’t hold your breath in anticipation (I wasn’t looking forward to giving you mouth to mouth, anyway). But I do think this could prove to be one of the more interesting legal cases of 2015 or 2016.
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 06:38 AM PDT
That’s why I tend to pay attention when leading bloggers make proclamations that the birth of the jesusWatch is imminent. Yesterday, for example, John Paczkowski said that Apple would be launching their wearable in 12 days:
Paczkowski is often cited as someone who is in the know, and thus can be relied upon for accurate info, which is why I’m posting his speculation today. Even though I still hold to the position that there simply isn’t enough evidence to show that Apple is about to launch an iWatch, I could be wrong.
I’ve run Paczkowski’s claim through the accounting system that doubles for my sense of humor (it’s built on Peachtree / Sage 50), and it still comes up short. But that could be a failure of the system, and not the claim, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly what Apple reveals on 9 September before we know for sure.
The post John Paczkowski: Apple Plans to Announce Wearable in September appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 Aug 2014 04:54 AM PDT
A journalist with the The Guardian picked up his abacus over the weekend and estimated that the $650 Fire Phone from Amazon only sold 35,000 units. This has lead to some interesting reporting, including stories framed as:
A flop for the ages: Fire Phone estimated to have sold 35,000 units at most (BGR)
There’s no hope for Amazon’s Fire Phone (VentureBeat)
I had initially planned to ignore this story; the quality of the original data didn’t meet my standards (I’d rate it as being about as good as Digitimes), and it’s frankly not related to reading in any way. But as a couple of the stories crossed my desk again this morning I realized that they deserved a comment.
The thing is, many of the blogs which covered this story missed, ignored, or discounted a key detail.
I’m not referring to the point that the claim of 35,000 units sold is based on a concatenation of rough estimates, estimates, analysts’ guesses, and a sampling of a subset of a single ad network, but also the matter of time.
The Fire Phone has only been out a month (plus a few days). It’s far too early to draw any conclusions.
I can see from my round up of Fire Phone reviews that it has literally only been 35 days since the first units shipped. What’s more, the sales estimate is based on data from the first 20 days since it was launched and that is simply too short of a period of time to make an argument either for or against the Fire Phone’s success.
I think this story should have waited at least 6 months; that would be enough time to see how sales were trending and for users to report whether they are seeing problems. It would also give Amazon a chance to release updates which might make the Fire Phone more appealing.
But today, we simply don’t have enough info yet. It’s just too early.
Or am I wrong?
The post There’s a Problem With Calling the Fire Phone a Failure Based on Sales of 35,000 units appeared first on The Digital Reader.
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