Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 12 November 2014

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 07:16 PM PST

You’ll find a good mix of debate and news in this morning’s list; looking forward to reading your comments.

  • Amazon's Literary Reputation Takes Another Blow (Vulture)
  • Cory Doctorow: "We're all sharecroppers in Google's fields for the rest of eternity" (Salon.com)
  • Electronic dictionaries: What changed because of the move from print to online and apps? (Slate)
  • Ending reader comments is a mistake, even if you are Reuters (GigaOm)
  • We Live in a Clickbait World, And That's OK (SocialTimes)
  • Why phablets will eventually replace tablets and smartphones (VentureBeat)


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Amazon Launches the Kindle Store in the Netherlands on Wednesday

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 04:27 PM PST

4895160589_271c32605d[1]Multiple local sources are reporting Tuesday night that Amazon will be launching the Kindle Store in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Amazon has yet to confirm the news, but it is a near certainty that the reports are correct.

Nu.nl broke the news that Amazon will be offering 20,000 titles in Dutch when the local Kindle store opens Wednesday morning, along with around 3 million titles in other languages. Amazon will also be selling all 3 current Kindle models, including the Kindle Voyage, with prices ranging from 59 euros for the basic Kindle to 189 euros for the Voyage. (The Paperwhite does not have a Dutch language option for the menus, but I expect that will change soon.)

There is no information at this time concerning whether Kindle Unlimited will also launch in the Netherlands on Wednesday, although that is not out of the question.

Amazon will be facing some pretty strong competition in the Netherlands. In addition to Apple, Google, and Kobo, each of which a local presence, Amazon will also have to contend with local Dutch ebookstores like Bol.com (a Kobo partner). Bol.com director Daniel Ropers says that that store has around a 60% share of the ebook market.

Bol.com sells Epub, of course, with most of the locally published titles sold either DRM-free or with digital watermarks.

Thanks, Geert!

image by Mike Licht

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B&N Expands into POD, Adds Print & Author Services to Nook Press

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 11:54 AM PST

nook pressBarnes & Noble might have announced plans to spin off Nook Media into its own publicly traded company early next year, and after looking at B&N’s ongoing investment in its digital sub I think the plan is going ahead, full steam.

The largest bookstore chain in the US has just announced that they are now going up against CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Blurb, and other competitors in the POD market. And it looks like B&N may have crawled into bed with Author Solutions to do it.

B&N put out a press release today which announced the launch of the Nook Press print service. B&N describes it as:

Designed to be simple and customizable, the NOOK Press print service provides customers with a complete do-it-yourself experience for creating a hardcover or paperback book. The new service offers black and white or color printing, high-quality paper choices, multiple trim sizes and cover treatments.

With print costs starting at $4 per copy for a 5″x8″ paperback, Nook Press POD can handle both color and B&W; hardback and paperback; and it can support the common book sizes from 5″ x 8″ to 8.5″ x 10″.

There’s no mention in the FAQ on the website or in the press release on how one would get the books into a bookstore, so at this point we can only assume that there is no distribution option, alas. (I have queried B&N on this point.)

That’s going to drastically limit the value of the Nook Press POD services, given that Lightning Source and Createspace both offer distribution to bookstores.

nook press pod

In related news, B&N is also launching a new author services section today to help enable authors to get their ebook and print book on the market. Authors can now choose from a variety of packages and a la carte services to receive professional assistance making their book, including editing ($399 and up), cover design ($499), and package deals starting at $999, B&N has all of the bases covered.

It’s not clear who is actually providing the services on behalf of B&N, but one thing I can tell you is that they are rather expensive. I have also noticed that the package deals bear a worrisome resemblance to the packages offered by Author Solutions under its various guises.

For example, B&N’s $999 package and $1,999 package look an awful lot like the $799/$1,899 packages offered by AuthorHouse. The way that the feature lists are worded suggest that Author Solutions is actually providing the services on behalf of Nook Press. (Curiously enough, AuthorHouse is actually providing more services at a lower cost.)

I am still waiting for B&N to get back to me on that point, so you should take that observation with a grain of salt.

But even if I am wrong in making the connection, I would still suggest that authors avoid this part of Nook Press because the prices are simply too high.

The package deals cost more than similar packages at AuthorHouse and offer fewer amenities. That alone is a good reason to avoid them.

But I don’t know I can make the same claim about the POD section. What do you think of the POD prices at Nook Press?


Here’s a thought I had right after publishing this post.

At first I was puzzled that B&N would invest in a sub that was being spun off next quarter,  but now that I have looked over the services I think i understand what is going on here.

In adding more services, B&N is trying to make Nook Media more attractive to a potential buyer. Rather than simply be a (failed) ebook platform, Nook Media can now be pitched as a digital publishing services company.

It’s my guess that both the POD and author services have been outsources. The actual investment for B&N is far less than what it would cost to develop those services from scratch.

The services might not be very attractive to authors, but that’s not why the services were launched. This is a Wall Street play, not a move to invest in a market. B&N’s goal is to make Nook Media  more attractive to potential investors, and it will probably work.

The post B&N Expands into POD, Adds Print & Author Services to Nook Press appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Roundup: Publishing Services Marketplaces

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 12:06 PM PST

7023561195_f30a5d0281[1]Hiring the right pro to assist in publishing a book can sometimes make or break a project, but how do you go about finding them?

The answer to that question is probably going to change with time, but right now authors and publishers can find industry pros through one of the several startups that have launched listing services.

Two different services have launched in the past month. That makes six seven different ways to find and hire a pro (that I know of), which is enough for a listicle.

First up is Smashwords. While they are primarily known as an ebook distributor, for the longest time Smashwords has been maintaining a list of ebook formatters and ebook cover designers. Those are just two of the skills an author might need to hire, but if that’s all you need then you need not look further.

Next up is Bibliocrunch. This 3 year old startup is more focused on offering a concierge/mentoring service, but it does also offer a marketplace where authors and publishers can meet and hire freelancers to work on a project. BiblioCrunch offers a free membership tier as well as a paid membership with more services and support.


Just launched into beta last month, Reedsy is one of the newest of the services mentioned here. It’s free while the bugs are worked out, and offers a curated list of freelancers.

This is one of those startups which is hard to quantify. It doesn’t offer a marketplace so much as it offers a listing service for freelancers, while at the same time building a community through local events and around its blog.  With more categories than you can shake a stick at, BM can connect you with freelancers who can do almost anything.

Blurb has made a name for itself in distributing POD books, especially graphics intensive books like coffee table books, but in the past year Blurb has expanded to include ebook distribution and other services.

And last week Blurb launched a skills marketplace called Dream Team. That marketplace is still limited to a select number of freelancers, but it should grow in time.

This is a mailing list for copyeditors, and it also maintains a list of freelancers editing services.

A belated addition to this post, HelpuPub offers a directory listing of reviewers, designers, editors, and more.

And last but not least, we have White Fox. This 2 year old startup is a services provider and not a marketplace, so it doesn’t quite belong on this list. But it is similar enough that I think it serves the same needs as the other companies mentioned above.

And just so we’re clear, with White Fox you are hiring them. They contract out the work, which means that an author might not know who exactly is working on their project. But on the plus side White Fox serves not just authors but also publishers who want to hire a freelancer to write for them.

images by tiarescottibm4381

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Chinese Hacker Installs Windows 95 on iPhone 6 Plus

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

0238ef6bbd9be53a[1]We’ve seen Windows 95 on a smartwatch, now check it out on the iPhone 6 Plus.

A Chinese developer going by the handle xyq058775 is saying that he has installed Windows 95 on a brand new iPhone 6. Using an emulator called iDos, the hacker was able to get most of it working fine. He reports that (for obvious reasons) he wasn’t able to upgrade to Windows XP, but he was able to upgrade to Windows 98.

To be honest, there is little that is new about this; people have been using emulators to run all sorts of apps on all sorts of hardware, and in fact this isn’t even the first time that Windows 95 was installed on an iPhone (see the end of the post for a video).

Nevertheless, it's still nifty to see zombie software run so readily on new hardware. While I can't imagine a real world use case for this (maybe you really need to run a copy of Simtower?), it's a fun theoretical exercise.

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Here’s part of his FAQ, as translated by Google:

?1.Q: Can I install WINDOWS XP? A: The answer is yes you can, but certainly not by idos, because idos simply simulate the DOS environment is not the true sense of the virtual machine, so the system is more difficult to run the DOS and idos simulation environment and do not have XP running basic environmental needs, so later if transplanted XP system, then I will make use of their leisure time with friends ios platform to write a plug-in to run XP virtual machine system.

2.Q: Why are you doing this? Why not use Remote Desktop. A: First, to show that this kind of thing tall Remote Desktop is currently no support on win98 systems, not to use during system installation and tool methods have sent me here.

3.Q: Why is the process I installed the explorer process wrong? A: Because idos simulator only simulates the 16's dos environment, although win98 16/32 hybrid system but Explorer and exe process large part needed is a 32-bit environment, so when they need 32 program calls some system environment variables and support libraries when an error occurs, LZ modify some of the resource is designed to allow him to run in idos environmental good, However, this modification will change the part of the machine, which has led some device errors when using LZ modify the good image. After LZ according to everyone's feedback slowly improve!



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Parody Video(s): Amazon Echo is an (Un)Helpful Little Cylinder

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 04:40 AM PST

amazon-echo-2[1]Amazon’s in-home digital concierge is still making its way to consumers, and no one knows yet exactly how it’s going to work. But that hasn’t stopped a couple Youtubers from posting parody videos.

The Amazon Echo is a 9-inch-tall, cylinder-shaped Bluetooth speaker that can be situated anywhere in the home, and functions always-on digital assistant. Much like with Siri and Google Now, you can ask it anything – from "how tall is Vesuvius?" to "how many inches are in a yard?" or even to add items to your shopping list.

And because it's always on, you don't need to press a button to activate it – just call it by name (in the video's case, Alexa), then ask away. And it constantly gets smarter, pulling information from the cloud to answer your every question.

Or, in the case of the parody videos, Echo is always getting more smart-ass than smart. The following two videos are definitely NSFW, and to be honest I didn’t find them all that funny, but they are getting a lot of chuckles on Twitter and the web.


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The Morning Latte – 11 November 2014

Posted: 11 Nov 2014 03:09 AM PST

Your reading list this Tuesday morning includes 7 tropes of SF, bizarre quirks of copyright law, the competitive disadvantages of an ebook not being in KDP Select, and more.

  • 6 Ways to Make Money as an Author (in Addition to Selling Books) (Lindsay Buroker)
  • Book Marketing The Old Way Versus The Way That Works Today — Part 3: Ignore The Expensive Launch (DBW)
  • Cory Doctorow: Information Doesn't Want To Be Free (TechCrunch)
  • Documents leak fingers Amazon among Luxembourg tax offenders, says ICIJ (TeleRead)
  • The Fifty Shades effect: women dominate self-publishing (The Guardian)
  • KDP Select & Kindle Unlimited: Why Ebooks Not Enrolled Are at a Disadvantage (Lindsay Buroker)
  • Night Time Eiffel Tower Photos Are a Copyright Violation (TorrentFreak)
  • Seven Tropes of Science Fiction (Write on the River)
  • Vanity Presses, Scammers, and Thieves, Part 1(Indies Unlimited)

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