Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 26 November 2014

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 07:34 PM PST

As you get ready for Thanks giving, here are 8 stories to read. (Or, here are 8 stories to keep you busy as your American colleagues drop off the web for the next week.)

Must read stories this morning include, well, everything.

  • Bucking global trend, Taiwan bookstore Eslite thrives (CNN)
  • Having played the victim card, Hachette goes on a binge (J. Nelson Leith)
  • In Canada, newspapers’ attempts to experiment with ebooks haven’t seen much success (Nieman Journalism Lab)
  • Kobo Sees Opportunities for Self-publishing in Europe (Publishing Perspectives)
  • News Sites Top List of Slowest-Loading Web Pages (Adweek)
  • The pirate pay? BitTorrent survey finds users more likely to buy (TeleRead)
  • Thoughts About Authors Changing Genres? (The Kill Zone)
  • Why Copyright Needs to Be Defended (Publishing Perspectives)

The post The Morning Coffee – 26 November 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

As Amazon Launches Their 4th Content/Hardware Bundle, How Much Success Do You Think They’ll Have?

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 04:22 PM PST

5226475986_95ae840fd5_m[1]Earlier today Amazon quietly launched what has turned out to be their fourth content+ hardware bundle, a detail I missed until after I reported on that earlier story. The bundles didn’t all happen at once, so it might surprise you to learn that Amazon has been building up to this for a while now.

Amazon is now bundling Kindle Unlimited with newly purchased Kindles and Fire tablets. They’re also running a special where you can bundle a Prime subscription with a Fire HD 7 tablet and save $40 (it started last week and it is still going on).

Last week Amazon also started bundling 6 months free WP subscription with Fire tablets and Phone, and as you may recall Amazon also bundled a year’s free subscription with the Fire Phone when it was launched earlier this year.

Amazon isn’t the first to bundle a subscription with a tablet or smartphone; in 2012 several newspapers, including the Financial Times and the Times of London, bundled a Nexus 7 with their digital subscription. The newspapers in Philly offered a similar deal with an Archos Arnova tablet in late 2011, and in early 2012 B&N bundled a free Nook Touch or discounted Nook Color with a subscription to People or the NYTimes.

And I’m sure there are even more bundles than what I found here, but I think I have found enough examples to show that Amazon isn’t the first to bundle a subscription with a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone.

But they sure are getting into it in a big way. Do you think they’ll have much luck?

That would depend on how you define luck. In the past, a newspaper or magazine publisher might bundle a freebie with a subscription but then stop offering it after a period and replace it with another freebie. So if Amazon stopped offering a bundle it wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was unsuccessful, just that the market was tired.

Amazon, on the other hand, might not stop offering a bundle.

That is pure conjecture, but it’s worth noting that Amazon has been building a content and service subscription bundle over the past decade which continues to draw subscribers and is almost certainly a net positive revenue generator.

I’m talking about Amazon Prime, of course.I know that’s not what you may think of as a bundle, but I bring it up because I think it points to Amazon’s past decade of studying how a potentially money losing membership program actually drives sales elsewhere on Amazon.com.

Given that Amazon has proven capable of driving long term value from prime subscribers, I think they could have similar luck with the bundles they have launched over the past 6 months.

What do you think?

image by mikecogh

The post As Amazon Launches Their 4th Content/Hardware Bundle, How Much Success Do You Think They’ll Have? appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Now Bundling Kindle Unlimited With New Kindles, Fire Tablets

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 12:43 PM PST

kindle fire hd 6 unlimited bundleIf you’ve been waiting to pick up a Kindle on Black Friday then I have some good news for you: a better deal has come along. I’ve just learned that Amazon is now offering Kindle Unlimited as part of bundles with select Kindle and Fire hardware.

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s subscription ebook service. It usually costs $10 a month for access to a catalog of around 750,000 ebooks (and a few audiobooks). But under the new bundle program you can get the basic Kindle with 6 months KU for $99, or about $40 less than what it would cost separately ($79 + 6*10 = $139).

Amazon is also offering similar bundles for Fire HD 6, Kindle Paperwhite, and the Fire HD 7.

kindle unlimited bundle

The bundle offer is only good for these 4 devices, so you can’t buy a Voyage or a Fire HDX and get the 6 months free, alas. But on the upside I’ve checked and I can confirm that you can buy a bundle as a gift. And like Amazon’s past bundle deals, the discount is applied when you check out.

So far as I know this is the first time Amazon has offered a bundle for KU. Their smaller competitor Oyster has worked with QVC to bundle its service with select tablets, and as you might recall Amazon offered a bundle last week which combined Amazon prime and Amazon hardware.

Are you going to get one? What about giving one as a gift?

The post Amazon Now Bundling Kindle Unlimited With New Kindles, Fire Tablets appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Comparison Review: Pocketbook InkPad vs Onyx Boox T68 Lynx

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 10:30 AM PST

onyx boox t68 lynx pocketbook inkpad comparison 1With an 8″ screen, the Pocketbook InkPad is the only mid-sized ereader on the market, so it doesn’t quite have any direct competitors. But there are similarly priced ereaders like the T68 Lynx, so for the sake of the contrast I pulled out my T68 and  set them side by side.

I reviewed the T68 Lynx extensively back in June, but I am still working on my review of the InkPad. In the long run this comparison review is intended to complement the main review.

There are eleven ways that these two ereaders differ, but the InkPad and T68 Lynx have a number of features in common, including the same storage options and similar audio support. Both devices have a headphone jack and can play MP3, and they also both support TTS in the ebooks you read. And both the T68 Lynx and the InkPad ship with 4GB internal storage, and they both have a microSD card slot, frontlight, touchscreen, and wifi.


  1. Design – The T68 Lynx has a cheap plastic case which feels and looks like it was slapped together around the electronics with little thought to how it would be to use. The InkPad, on the other hand, sports an intentionally unbalanced design which favors one handed operation (and since it is reversible, it’s good for either hand). The plastic shell is slightly slick, but it also has a rubber pad on the back and a rubber strip on the front right under where you would expect to grip it while reading.
  2. Page Turn Buttons – Both devices have a single set of page turn buttons on one side of the screen, but the ones on the InkPad are easier to press when reading with one hand.
  3. Screen – The T68 Lynx has a 6.8″ display with a screen resolution of 1,440 x 1,080, while the InkPad has an 8″ display with a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. The InkPad has a slightly larger and slightly less sharp screen (250 ppi vs 265 ppi), though I am not sure that anyone would really be able to tell the difference. But you will notice that the InkPad screen is IMO whiter than the screen on the T68 Lynx.
  4. Frontlight – The T68 Lynx has frontlight which is brighter than the one on the InkPad but also fuzzier. When both frontlights are turned on, the screen on the InkPad looks whiter and the text looks blacker.
  5. Software – The Lynx runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU, and comes with Google Play. The InkPad, on the other hand, runs Pocketbook’s proprietary OS on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM.
  6. onyx boox t68 lynx pocketbook inkpad comparison 4Apps – While both devices do let you install apps, it’s a lot easier to find apps in Google Play and install them than it is to install apps on the InkPad. With the latter device you are effectively limited to what it can do out of the box, but with the T68 you can also add support for Kindle, Comixology, Nook, Kobo, and Logos Bible software (just to name a handful).
  7. Apps Redux – And it's not just ebooks. The T68 Lynx also offers the option if installing better web browsers as well as  Audible, Pocket, Feedly, and other apps.
  8. Speed and Responsiveness – The T68 Lynx is somewhat faster at most activities, including turning the page, loading an ebook, and navigating the menus.
  9. onyx boox t68 lynx pocketbook inkpad comparison 2eBook Formats –  The InkPad lists more formats in its spec sheet, but that doesn’t mean it offers broader support. For one thing, many of the listed ebook formats aren’t well supported. But more importantly, the T68 Lynx can install apps, which means it can support just about any ebook app available in Google Play. For example, the InKPad offers better PDf support out of the box, but you can install RepliGo on the T68 Lynx. That is a much better app.
  10. Price and Availability – The T68 Lynx can be bought on Amazon for $199, while the InkPad costs over $240 and is difficult to acquire outside of Europe and Russia.
  11. Accessories – The T68 Lynx can work with external Bluetooth devices and it can accept USB mouses and keyboards. The InkPad is strictly an ereader.


When I last compared two ereaders (the Voyage vs the T68 Lynx) I thought it was pretty clear that one was significantly better than the other. I’m not so sure I can draw a similar conclusion with the T68 Lynx and the InkPad.

One has much better hardware, but the other has much better software as well as the potential of adding more features. While the better hardware on the InkPad contributes to a nicer reading experience, you can do more with the T68 Lynx.

So it is really a toss up which is better.

What do you think?

The post Comparison Review: Pocketbook InkPad vs Onyx Boox T68 Lynx appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Addr Launches for the IPad, Offers a Different Read

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 11:11 AM PST

addr logoA new reading app for the iPad launched last week.

Addr offers a minimalist scroll type of reading experience with support for Dropbox, annotations, and the option to sideload ePub ebooks. 

The app features a unique interface which I found confusing at first, but once I read the tutorial it made a lot more sense.

Addr differs from most reading apps in that you manipulate the text (whether it’s adding a note, jumping to a different section, or what have you) in the margins and not the text. Adding a note involves a swipe gesture in the right margin, and you can advance the ebook page by page by swiping the left margin. This takes a little getting used to but once you ascend the learning curve this app is as easy to use as any other.

I played around with it this morning, and while I am not a fan of scrolling vs page turns I did appreciate some of the details like the location column in the right margin. That is displayed as microscopic text rather than the simple location bar used in many reading apps. The text is too small to read but its general shape could be useful in identifying the location you wish to jump to.

IMG_0137 IMG_0138 IMG_0140

You can find the app in ITunes.

The post Addr Launches for the IPad, Offers a Different Read appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Here’s the Screen Amazon Could Have Used on the Kindle Voyage DX

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 05:33 AM PST

e-ink logoWhen the first rumors of the Kindle Ice Wine circulated last November I was one of many who was surprised to learn that Amazon had a higher resolution screen in the works, but I shouldn’t have been. While I was doing some custodial work on the blog Sunday night I came across an old post which reminded me that E-ink had been working on a high-res screen for longer than one might think.

Way back in 2011, E-ink and Epson (which made the screen controller chip) announced that they were showing off a new 9.7″ E-ink screen at SID Display Week. That display sported a screen resolution of 2,400 x 1,650, giving it a sharpness of 300 ppi.

I haven’t been able to find any photos from 2011, but I did find this image of the reference design board:


That 2011 screen was probably based on the Pearl generation of E-ink’s screen tech, and not Carta, so it would be a generation out of date if it were released in 2014. But that could readily be corrected should someone cough Amazon cough decide to release a larger ereader with that resolution.

Over the past few years Kindle DX lovers have been alternating between lamenting its passing and agitating for a replacement, and today we have a reminder of just how great that replacement could have been.

It’s a shame no one ever used this screen, but more importantly let’s consider what this says about the screen tech market over the past few years.

For example, last year Kobo released the Aura HD. That had a 6.8″ screen with a 265 ppi sharpness, and while that was a great screen I do have to wonder why Kobo didn’t go with the 9.7″ screen.

It also makes me wonder why no one else used this screen. Could it be production issues, do you think?

The post Here’s the Screen Amazon Could Have Used on the Kindle Voyage DX appeared first on The Digital Reader.

HP Touchpad Gets Android 5.0 Lollipop (video)

Posted: 25 Nov 2014 04:16 AM PST

tp5_04The Touchpad was one of the more intriguing tablets to launch in 2011, and it was one of the more spectacular failures. This tablet was discontinued less than 2 months after it launched, and the resulting clearance sales put a lot of cheap tablets into the hands of developers.

Those developers continued to support the Touchpad long after HP threw in the towel, and most recently one ported Android 5.0 Lollipop to this 4 year old tablet.

A developer going by the handle flintman posted a beta version of Evervolv 5.0 for the HP TouchPad over at the XDA Forum. Evervolv is a custom version of Android, and the latest build is based on the recently released Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Flintman ‘s first version of Evervolv for the Touchpad was only released a few days ago, so it’s still quite buggy. The camera doesn’t work, and beta testers are saying that the tablet is sluggish. But on the plus side Bluetooth is already working, and the performance will likely improve in the long run.

If you would like to try Evervolv for the TouchPad yourself, you can find more details over at XDA Forums. Right now this Android port isn’t stable enough for any but the more adventurous, but for the more cautious user there are older and more stable versions of Evervolv for the Touchpad, including Android 4.4.

Do you have a Touchpad?

Frankly, I was surprised to read about the new firmware; I didn’t think there were any Touchpads left, much less developers still interested in working on one.

I got a Touchpad when they went on clearance back in 2011, but I stopped using it after only a couple months. The shell was beginning to fracture around the ports and card slot, and due to the lack of support from software developers I ran out of things to do with it.

I only used it a few times since then, and the last time I took it out I discovered that the screen had died. There was an ugly purple spot in the center of the screen which rendered any further use impossible.

As a $100 tablet in 2011, it was pretty fun. But in 2014 you can find similarly capable tablets that run Android natively and cost only a couple hundred dollars, so i can’t say that I miss the Touchpad any.

tp5_05 tp5_04 tp5_03




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