Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 10 September 2014 (the Apple-Free Edition)

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 08:04 PM PDT

Your reading list this morning includes a set of apps for writers, a chart of the rise and fall of B&N’s digital revenues, Cory Doctorow’s latest editorial, and more.

  • 6 Great Apps to Help You Write (Mediashift)
  • Charting Nook's Decline (DBW)
  • Cory Doctorow: Audible, Comixology, Amazon, and Doctorow's First Law  (Locus Online Perspectives)
  • Reading insecurity: The crippling fear that the digital age has left you unable to read deeply (Slate)
  • A Second Look At The Giant Garbage Pile That Is Online Media, 2014 (The Dish)
  • Social media self-promotion for writers Lesson One: Do not beat up on your readers (TeleRead)
  • Stop Lying About Your Favorite Books on Facebook (HuffPost)
  • Taking A Long-Overdue Sledgehammer To The Public Library (Fast Company)

The post The Morning Coffee – 10 September 2014 (the Apple-Free Edition) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Blast From the Past: Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard (Video)

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 07:54 PM PDT

4185575871_440c920148[1]In light of Apple launching a couple smartphones and announcing a couple smartwatches, I thought it appropriate to look back at one of Apple’s previous ground-breaking products.

In 2009 Apple debuted a Macbook which replaced the keyboard with an iPod-inspired scroll wheel. Sadly, the design did not catch on and only a single model was released.

Here’s a news report from 2009:

The post Blast From the Past: Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard (Video) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Intel Launches Reference Design Program for Android Tablets

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 04:56 PM PDT

intel-logo-blueA number of CPU makers have released reference design tablets which other companies can slap their brands on. Today Intel got into the game.

Intel is holding its annual development conference, IDF 2014, at the moment and the company has launched a new program called Intel Reference Design for Android.

Like the programs offered by its competitors, Intel’s new program will provide compete sets of tablet hardware and a matching Android firmware. Device makers can select one of the designs and have it produced via a 3rd-party.

Intel expects the new program will help  device makers to create and ship new tablets while reducing their development costs. The chipmaker is also promising to reduce the ongoing cost of supporting an Android device; any device released through this program will receive firmware updates “within 2 weeks of an AOSP update” for at least two years after it launches.


That could be especially good news for any one who buys one of these tablets; it’s fairly common now for makers of Android tablets (including the better known brands) to adopt a “fire and forget” approach; they’ll launch a tablet and never release an update.

Intel is not the first chipmaker to tread this path, and in fact Intel itself has been down this road before (see their educational tablets, for example).  Many CPU makers, including Freescale, Rockchip, Nvidia, Marvell, and Qualcomm,  have released reference designs before.

Of the 5 companies listed above, the one best-known for its reference designs is probably Nvidia, which encouraged other companies rebrand the Tegra Note tablet. The most interesting company would be Marvell and the dual-screen devices it enabled, like the Spring Design Alex and the Entourage Edge.

I would describe Rockchip as the most prolific; thanks to their lower costs they’ve gotten their chips into more devices than you can shake a stick at. And as for Qualcomm, I would describe their reference design unit as polished. They’ve produced some very sweet smartphone and tablet designs, and they also created both of the Mirasol screen equipped ereaders which launched in early 2012.


The post Intel Launches Reference Design Program for Android Tablets appeared first on The Digital Reader.

LeesID Cloud Bookshelf Launches in the Netherlands

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 12:56 PM PDT

leesid[1]Do you miss Readmill and the way it let you centralize your ebook purchases from several retailers all in one cloud? Then I have some good news for you; a similar platform launched in the Netherlands this week.

LeesID offers users the option of managing their Epub ebook purchases in a single location. It lacks the social aspects of Readmill, but it does enable readers to minimize the number of ebook stores they need to keep track of. What’s more, LeesID also enables readers to quickly and easily load ebooks purchased in one store into a reading app belonging to another store.

illu1[1]Funded by the non-profit CPNB and supported by 5 Dutch ebook retailers, LeesID  is pitched by its developers to publishers as a way of making paid ebooks more attractive than piracy, and pitched to ebook retailers and readers as a bulwark against the possibility that a retailer might one day shut down its ebookstore (just imagine if Fictionwise’s international customers could have had this option).

Bol.com, eBook.nl, The Read Shop, Boeken.com, and Managementboek.nl are already participating. Bol.com is actively  encouraging customers to sign up, and there is talk that Harlequin might also join.

LeesID is open to all, and it’s easy to join. All a reader has to do is complete the usual sign up process, and then link their account(s) at the participating ebook retailers. The ebooks will be added to their LeesID bookshelf automatically. And to encourage participation, early adopters will receive 4 free ebooks.


The post LeesID Cloud Bookshelf Launches in the Netherlands appeared first on The Digital Reader.

E-Fun Launches a New $79 Nextbook Android Tablet a

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 07:43 AM PDT

As I reported yesterday with Kobo, most companies are avoiding the Android tablet, but luckily for this blogger that does not include E-Fun. This US subsidiary of the Chinese gadget maker Yifang quietly launched a new Nextbook tablet here in the US. There’s been no press release, but shoppers can now find the Nextbook NX700QC16G 7″ Android tablet at Walmart for $79.

nextbook 7 inch tablet

This tablet runs Android 4.4 on a quad-core 1.6GHz MediaTek MT8127 CPU with 1GB RAM and a nominal 16GB internal storage. It  sports a low quality 7″ display with a screen resolution of 1024 x 600, and it also has a VGA resolution camera, an HDMI port, Wifi, Bluetooth, and speakers (plural).

The NX700QC16G measures 7.59″ x 0.37″ x 4.41″, and comes with a 3Ah battery. It runs a full version of Android, including Google Play. It ships with a number of apps, including Vudu and Walmart.com, Cloudlink, Flixster, Net Nanny, and Nook for Android.

All in all, it’s not a bad tablet for $79 but I don’t think you should buy it. That is a cheap price, but even at that price point there are better choices.

For example, as I pointed out in my budget tablet buying guide you can find the Hisense Sero 7 Pro for only $78 at Amazon. That is a refurb and not a new unit, but given the specs I still think it is a better value.

While I am wary of buying refurbs, Hisense is one of those brands I would risk buying. To put it another way, I have higher confidence in a refurbished Sero 7 Pro than in the Nextbook tablet which just launched.


The post E-Fun Launches a New $79 Nextbook Android Tablet a appeared first on The Digital Reader.

B&N Reports Digital Revenues Down over 50%

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 06:39 AM PDT

barnes noble logoBarnes & Noble released their latest quarterly report today, and it has both good news and bad news. While revenues continue their decline, the company lost less money than last year. Nook Media, on the other hand, continues its nosedive into oblivion.

In the first fiscal quarter, B&N reported that company revenues decreased 7.0%, to $1.2 billion, as compared to the prior year. The consolidated first quarter net loss was $28.4 million, or $0.56 per share, compared to a net loss of $87.0 million, or a loss of $1.56 per share, in the prior year.


B&N’s retail division had revenues of $955 million for the quarter, down 5.3% from the prior year. B&N attributed the decline to “a comparable store sales decline of 5.1% for the quarter, store closures and lower online sales”, and blamed it on a decrease in sale of Nook products.

Revenues from B&N College were $226.1 million, which was only a minimal change from last year. The flat growth was probably due to additional stores being opened; comparable store sales decreased 2.0% for the quarter.

All in all, B&N’s retail efforts aren’t doing terrible, but then there is the news for the Nook division. B&N reported that Nook revenues dropped by over 50% compared to the same quarter last year.

Galaxy-Tab-4-NOOK_25[1]The Nook segment (including digital content, devices, and accessories) had revenues of $70 million for the quarter, down from $155 million a year ago. Hardware sales accounted for $18 million for the quarter, a decrease of almost 80% from a year ago. Digital content sales also continued their decline, totaling $52 million for the quarter – a drop of 24.2% compared to a year ago.

But in spite of the bad news, there is some light n the horizon. B&N recently launched a new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook device in partnership with Samsung. This should boost sales in the coming quarters.

The post B&N Reports Digital Revenues Down over 50% appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Twitter Launches Buy Buttons, Enabling Authors to Sell eBooks on the Service

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 05:43 AM PDT

twitter2-786x305[1]Twitter announced a new service yesterday which indie authors might like.

The social network started a beta test for new buy buttons. The test will only include a small percentage of U.S. users, and it is only visible on Twitter’s mobile apps, so most of us will be unaffected. But in the long run indie authors will have a new sales platform.

From Twitter’s blog:

Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can't get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS; sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales. We're not building this alone: we've partnered with Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe) as platforms for this initial test, with more partners to follow soon.

In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the "Buy" button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that's entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery.


Twitter is launching the beta test in partnership with a a handful of artists, retailers, and non-profits, including Eminem, Home Depot, and RED. Should this work out the service will be available to all.

This beta test is but Twitter’s latest idea for generating revenue; in addition to adverts inserted into your Twitter feeds, the social network has also long partnered with Amazon and offered features like embedded Amazon product listings and, as of a few months ago, the #AmazonCart hashtag which Twitterati can use to add an item to their Amazon shopping cart.

The post Twitter Launches Buy Buttons, Enabling Authors to Sell eBooks on the Service appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Launches Prime Instant Video on Android

Posted: 09 Sep 2014 04:53 AM PDT

amazoninstant[1]As promised by Amazon in July, Amazon Prime Instant Video is now available for Android devices. The retailer rolled out an update this morning for their shopping app, and added the video service as an optional add-on.

You can find the shopping app in Google Play and in the Amazon Appstore, and according to Amazon’s changelog the video app will have to be downloaded from the Amazon Appstore.

Prime Instant Video has long been available on the iPad and iPhone, but until today anyone who wanted to use this service on Android had to jump through several hoops to get streaming video working in a web browser. But no more.

Now Amazon Prime members will no longer have to use the workaround I posted in order to access the free streaming video on their Android devices. This is (potentially) great news for Prime members in the UK and Germany; the workaround doesn’t work in those countries, but this new app might.

Can someone confirms that it works in the UK and Germany?

Google Play



The post Amazon Launches Prime Instant Video on Android appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment