Friday, 5 December 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Fuhu launches Nabi Pass Subscription Service

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 05:50 PM PST

82412_nabiPass_Book2Amazon has the Fire tablets and Kindle Freetime Unlimited, and now Fuhu has the Nabi tablets and Nabi pass. This kids’ tablet maker launched a monthly subscription service yesterday which will let kids vacuum up kid-safe movies, shows, music, games, and ebooks for only $5 a month.

The service, called Nabi Pass, is only available on Fuhu's tablets, including the Nabi XD, the new jumbo-sized Nabi Big Tab, and the Nabi DreamTab, which was launched in partnership with DreamWorks.

I don’t have a Nabi tablet so I can’t confirm what’s included, but the press release mentions that the service includes carefully curated content from partners such as National Geographic Kids (videos), DreamWorks (videos), Cupcake Digital (apps), and Walt Disney Records, which will serve as the exclusive music provider for the service.

The service will also feature Wings Learning App, and Fuhu says they will add new partners to its subscription service.


Not having a child, I can’t judge the quality of the content, but it would seem that the Nabi Pass has a stronger emphasis on educational material than Freetime Unlimited and offers a broader range of content than Reading Rainbow, which is focused on ebooks and videos.

If you have a Nabi tablet, I’d love to hear what you think of the new subscription service.


Epic, which is focused almost ent


The post Fuhu launches Nabi Pass Subscription Service appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Hachette had an eBookstore which could go head-to-head with Amazon, but they won’t launch it

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 04:02 PM PST

4344960203_da55d29ca0_m[1]As the year draws to a close many are looking back at 2014 and reflecting on the year’s events. Today I would like to take a look at an event which would have been a huge news story if it had ever happened.

As you may recall, for much of 2014 Hachette and Amazon were in a nasty contract negotiation here in the US. As we all know from following the news, Hachette fought a vicious media campaign against Amazon as a way of pressuring Amazon to give in, but what no one else knew was that Hachette had a second string to their bow.

Just so you know: I have very little evidence to back up the following post. I trust my sources, and I do have a little evidence, but you should take this report with a grain of salt.

Earlier this year Hachette secretly started developing an ebookstore called That store never launched, but my sources tell me that it would have sold Hachette titles in both Epub and Kindle formats.

Yes, Kindle. Hachette’s new ebookstore was going to use digital watermark DRM on the ebooks it sold.

Unlike encryption DRM like Adobe’s, digital watermarks are little more than tags which can be used to identify who bought an ebook and where. They are almost invisible to the end user, and that means that an eBooks For All customer could buy an ebook and sideload it on their Kindle.

In short, Hachette nearly launched a site which could have directly competed with the Kindle Store. I can’t tell you why it was not launched, but I do have some more background details.

The site was developed by an Australia-based ebook company called, which would operate the site on behalf of Hachette. The  watermark DRM would have been supplied by Booxtream, which also provides a similar service to Pottermore and other ebook retailers.

eBooks For All was supposed to go live in the summer, and then in the early fall, but now that December has rolled around I figure the idea is probably dead, and thus it is safe to tell everyone about what would have been the biggest digital publishing story of the year.


6975101363_41e1a1e961[1]At this point you’re probably thinking that this is a great story, but you also want to see some proof. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to show. Hachette hasn’t confirmed any of the details, and in fact they haven’t even acknowledged my existence.

But I do have a couple details to share. For example, there is the @eBooksForAll twitter handle, which appears to currently belong to someone called HBG Test. There are no tweets or identifying information on that account, though.

I also have a Whois history report (PDF) for which shows that the contact name is Joe Mangan, the COO of Hachette Book Group. That report also shows that the site is hosted on Hachette’s servers and uses Hachette’s nameservers. (At this time the site is just a blank page.)

Hachette apparently acquired the domain in April 2014, not too long after their previous contract with Amazon lapsed. Is it just me, or does that raise some new questions as to why the contract was allowed to expire?

Without a response from Hachette, I can’t answer those questions, so if you have the ear of anyone at Hachette please do us all a favor and ask them about this site.


As much as I would love to see this store launch (just to see what happened), I can understand why it did not.

As much as pundits may talk about publishers routing around Amazon and dealing directly with Kindle owners, there is a large group of Kindle owners who can’t be reached either because they either don’t know how to buy ebooks elsewhere and add them to their Kindle account, don’t know the option exists, or simply do not feel the effort is worth it.

This is part of the reason why Baen Books started distributing to the Kindle Store back in 2012 after over a decade of selling only through their own site, and it is also why Pottermore launched its ebookstore with  close integration with the major ebook platforms.

On the other hand, there are times where you can only identify an unworkable idea after it is put into practice (this is why startups pivot). I would like to see what would happen if a major publisher followed Pottermore, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer before that happens.

images by dlofinkcogdogblog

The post Hachette had an eBookstore which could go head-to-head with Amazon, but they won’t launch it appeared first on The Digital Reader.

PopSlate to celebrate its two year anniversary by finally shipping its ePaper smartphone case

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 05:21 AM PST

popslateWhen it comes to crowd funded hardware projects, there are the projects that fail and projects that ship, and then there is PopSlate, the Schrodinger’s cat of crowd funded hardware projects.

For the past two years Popslate has been neither dead nor alive, but that could change shortly. Word on Twitter is that someone is about to open the box.

PopSlate was originally launched in November 2012 with the goal of making a case for the iPhone 5 which would add a 4″ E-ink screen as a secondary screen. This project proved immensely popular, and it met (and exceeded) its funding goals in days.

The Popslate was widely covered everywhere, including on this blog.  It is a pretty nifty idea, and the way it quickly attracted backers was exciting. But unfortunately the development of the Popslate itself didn’t move nearly as fast as its funding.

iPhone_6_Black_reduced[1]The PopSlate’s second anniversary was on 29 November, and from what I see on Twitter and read in the comment section on Indiegogo, it is only just now ready to ship. I see comments and tweets about a final survey which asks backers whether then want a PopSlate for their iPhone 6 or iPhone 5 (but not the 6Plus, alas).

According to the specs released last fall, the PopSlate has a 4″ PlasticLogic display with a screen resolution of 400 x 240. It connects with your iPhone over Bluetooth and has a month-long battery life.

The PopSlate is supposed to come with all sorts of nifty app integration, but I’ll believe that when the first user reports start coming in. Speaking of which, if you backed this project two years ago and no longer want your PopSlate, please let me know. I’ll buy it off of you.

According to the PopSlate website, only the Indiegogo backers will get their cases in this shipment. Any orders placed on the PopSlate website are scheduled to ship in February.

The post PopSlate to celebrate its two year anniversary by finally shipping its ePaper smartphone case appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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