Friday, 28 November 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Four surprising things I learned from (not) getting a contract through Kindle Scout

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 06:31 PM PST

A few weeks back, I wrote an article for The Digital Reader outlining my reasons for submitting my crime novel, The Invisible Hand, to the new Kindle Scout program from Amazon. Although the campaign received terrific support, in the end the novel was not selected for a contract.

Does that mean the experience was all for not? Hardly. I learned plenty in the process.

  • Solved: The Mystery of the Hot List – One of the most noticeable details lacking from Kindle Scout is a metric to gauge a campaign's popularity. Yes, there's a hot list of titles, but it's refreshed every hour without any indication of how its compiled. Early in my novel's campaign, I conducted a little experiment. I un-nominated my novel through my personal Amazon account, then re-nominated it. This sent my novel into the hot list for the next hour. What that tells me is the hot list doesn't gauge which title is in first, second, third, etc. It measures nomination activity in the previous hour. I could be wrong, but that would mean titles with the most noms might not even be on the hot list. Interesting.
  • Amazon Keeps You in the Loop, for Better or Worse – It figured all along that Amazon would notify "Scouts" of the titles they nominated that won contracts. After all, there's a free e-book in it for them. But what I didn't expect, and came to find out, is they'll also let Scouts know when a title doesn't make the cut. Good on Amazon for keeping participants informed of what's happening.
  • Caution: Kindle Scout can Make Rejection Public – Keeping participants informed also means news of the rejection is e-mailed directly to everyone who nominated the title. This public type of rejection might sting a little more than some writers would like. If your fragile ego can't take that, it'd be best to avoid submitting to Kindle Scout in the first place.
  • Even if You Lose, You Win – Although my novel wasn't picked up, the experience wasn't a total loss. Throughout its campaign, The Invisible Hand whetted the appetite of readers who wouldn't have otherwise heard of it. That built interest I can leverage when the novel is eventually published. I picked up Twitter followers, networked with some great people and wrote posts like this one, all while e-book sales of my backlist spiked. That's good gravy.

Not everyone will have the same experience with Kindle Scout, but I'd say it's a good thing overall. The writers that did win contracts should do well, and those like me will have benefited anyway. I'm still seeking a publisher for The Invisible Hand, it just won't be through Kindle Scout.

The post Four surprising things I learned from (not) getting a contract through Kindle Scout appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Onyx Boox C67ML Android eReader is a $129 Paperwhite Competitor

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 05:25 PM PST

SKU125157j(1)Never one to put all their eggs in one basket, Onyx has quietly shipped an OEM version of the AfterGlow 2, that mid-priced ereader launched earlier this month in partnership with Arta Tech.

The Onyx Boox C67ML is in many ways identical to the AfterGlow 2, only it costs less and comes with less bloatware. My competitor found this ereader a few days ago on, a Chinese retailer.

The C67ML runs Android 4.2 on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. It has a 6″ Pearl HD E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen, and it also has Wifi, audio, and a microSD card slot – just like the AfterGlow 2.

Just about the only way the specs for the C67ML differ from the AfterGlow 2 is that the latter lists a slightly faster CPU, comes with several apps which I would not want anyway, and explicitly mentions that it ships with Google Play. The AfterGlow 2 is listed as being about 40 grams lighter, and it comes with TTS software from Ivona.

Both devices run the same stock reading app on the same version of Android, and they come with a similar suite of apps. All in all, the two devices are similar enough that I would bet they are the same device, just with slightly different software. Oh, and one costs $40 less and comes with a case.

Needless to say, I think the model sold by is a good value. If I weren’t already overloaded with review units, I would get one and play around with it.

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The Boox C67ML is the third Onyx  ereader to launch in the past month, and the second to launch and ship from China. For a market which I thought was on a downward turn, that is a rather fast launch rate.


The post Onyx Boox C67ML Android eReader is a $129 Paperwhite Competitor appeared first on The Digital Reader.

How to turn your Chrome device into an adequate eReader

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 09:59 AM PST

samsung-chromebook[1]When it comes to the major OSes, Chrome is clearly the last thing on many developers minds, and that is reflected in the paucity of reading apps for Chrome.

Following my post yesterday on turning an Android tablet into the ultimate ereader, I took a look at writing a similar post for Chrome. Alas, that’s just not possible. While there are a few ebook and other apps, the vast selection found in Google Play simply isn’t available in Chrome.

But there are some apps and extensions, and here’s what you can do to read on Chrome.

Table of Contents

Or rather, this is what I found in the Chrome web store and elsewhere which is compatible with my Chrome browser. I don’t have a Chromebook so I can’t confirm how well the following works on one. And even though I haven’t tested this on a Chromebook, this post should still be useful because it includes a number of out of the box solutions.

To start, let’s look at Android apps.

Android Apps

Android is Android and Chrome is Chrome, but did you know that you can install some Android apps on Chrome?

Only a handful of Android apps, including Pocket and Feedly, have this option but more are being added all the time. You can find Chrome-compatible Android apps in the Chrome web store.

And for those feeling adventurous, there is also a hack for running any Android app on Chrome. I haven’t tried it, but I did find instructions on how to pull it off.

eBook Apps

There isn’t much in the way of true ebook apps for Chrome; two actual apps showed up in the relevant search. But there are a few options:

There’s also a Nook web app, but it’s so awful that I won’t list it here.

Save for Later

Library eBooks

At this time I could find but a single option for reading library ebooks on Chrome: OverDrive. Curiously enough, it is only compatible with the the Chrome web browser.


There’s a similar shortage of audiobook apps, but you do have a few options. You can try streaming from websites, and there is also a 3rd-party app for Librivox. Also, has no DRM so you could simply download audiobooks there and play them in a media player.

eBook Subscription Services

Thanks to Scribd and Oyster’s support for any web browser, you should be able to use those services with Chrome. Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, may or may not work with the Kindle Cloud Reader.

  • Scribd (extension) – 500,000 titles for $8.99 per month, including audiobooks
  • Oyster (website) – over 600,000 titles for $9.95 per month
  • Kindle Unlimited –  750,000 titles for $9.99 per month


Chrome should have the ability to open a PDF baked in, but if it doesn’t then check out Notable PDF.

News and Feed Readers

Here are a few of the feed readers you’ll find in the “news reporting” category in the Chrome web store, but for this type of service you might be better off using the web browser version of these apps.

Digital Comics & Manga

While you a few options do show up in the search results for digital comics and manga, there aren’t very many. Comixology, for example, will need to be read on their website.


The above lists are (probably) incomplete, so if you know of an app, extension, website, or service which should be listed here please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Not all Chrome extensions are listed in the Chrome web store, for example.)

All in all, if I were going to pick a reading platform today I would not choose Chrome. Trying to find the details in this post was frustrating enough to make me go back to Android; I can’t image what Chrome would be like to use on a daily basis.


The post How to turn your Chrome device into an adequate eReader appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Sony’s 13.3″ Digital Writing Slate updated with basic features and better security

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 05:01 AM PST

DPT-S1-PDF-Reader[1]There’s a new firmware out this week for Sony’s ereader for the rich and eccentric. It doesn’t add support for Epub or any file format other than PDF, but the update does improve security, add better file management, and adds an eraser option to the toolbox.

This update is only for the Japanese model, and not the one sold in the US. According to Sony, the update adds:

  • Eraser
  • Handwriting on enlarging images
  • Undo / Redo function
  • Adding or deleting pages from a PDF
  • New Notes templates (basically blank PDFs)An option to prevent users from deleting each other’s annotations
  • Duplicating files
  • Creating and deleting folders
  • a New password option,

and more. All in all this is not much of an update; given that this device cost over 1 grand when it launched last summer I would have expected that it would have all of these features already.

The Sony Digital Paper DPT-S1 sports a 13.3″ Mobius E-ink display with a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. It comes equipped with a hybrid capacitive and electromagnetic touchscreen, Wifi, 4GB internal storage, and a stylus.

The DPT-S1 can be bought in the US from Sony. The retail price is $999, which includes the wages of a personal assistant who will operate the writing slate on your behalf. via MobileRead

The post Sony’s 13.3″ Digital Writing Slate updated with basic features and better security appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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