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Archives: February 2010

GalleyCat Reviews Launches Print(out) Edition

It’s been a whole month since our older sibling GalleyCat launched its online book review, GalleyCat Reviews, and to celebrate the occasion, they’ve put together the first in a monthly series of print editions, rounding up the previous month’s reviews using Scribd. In this first issue, you get 31 pages of fresh book coverage.

Here’s what GalleyCat has to say about it: “With this special monthly edition, you can read GCR, print GCR, or download GCR to your favorite reading device. If you enjoy reading GalleyCat Reviews in this new format, please leave us a comment–how can we make this printed copy better for you?”

This is a very cool idea, and GalleyCat is helping to fill a yawning gap in book coverage. So, this weekend, instead of doing anything else, read GalleyCat Reviews, and we’ll see you Monday.

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Another Look at the enTourage eDGe

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Wired posted a glowing writeup of the enTourage eDGe, the dual-screen eReader that begins shipping next week, packet with useful information, including the fact that the oddly capitalized “DG” in the product’s name stands for “digital generation.” It’s like Debbie Gibson’s all-but-forgotten “Electric Youth.”

More than anything else, Wired is excited by the interaction between the two screens: “You can drag a grayscale image from the E-Ink screen and view it in full color on the LCD one, or attach video (on the right screen) to a passage from an e-book (on the left screen),” writes Gadget Lab’s Miran Pavic.

And here is the link to enTourage’s new eBook store, as if we need another one of those. It’s got all the usual stuff, including books from Google.

Wired also reports that pre-orders received by 1/12 will start shipping like today, and later orders will ship “in March.”

What’s Topping the Books Category in Apple’s App Store?

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It’s a slow, snowy day and not much is doing, so we thought it’d be fun to check in on the bestselling book apps in Apple’s app store, just to see what folks are downloading.

Kindle’s on top on the free side, and for paid apps, it’s 3D Bookshelf–Classics, a kind of snappier version of the much-beloved Classics app, which is at position seven on the paid side.

Also, there are no fewer than five Bible apps between the top 20 paid and free lists of apps, foremost among them on the paid side is The Holy Bible: King James Version from DMBC. On the opposite pole, is Sex Quotes Free, holding down position 14 on the free side. So, sinners and saints, there’s an app for that!

How Apple Handicapped The Amazon Kindle App

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Unsurprisingly, Apple wants its e-commerce experience to be the only seamless one available on the iPhone–and, soon, on the iPad. Business Insider ran a surprising article today about how Apple made things much harder for Amazon and other competitors who also sell digital goods. Basically, Apple won’t let any company but itself sell digital goods (like music, and, once iBooks launches, eBooks) inside an app–everyone but Apple has to link out to Safari. If you’ve ever used the Kindle iPhone app, you know about this little hassle, and you’ve wished you could just get your Kindle books using one app.

The most interesting detail the BI article points out is that Amazon originally submitted with Kindle app with an in-app e-commerce solution, and Apple rejected it and told them to scrap the in-app purchasing. Here’s a bit more from the article: “it’s okay to use an iPhone app to buy physical goods — as you can in Amazon’s main iPhone app, or the Fandango app, etc. And developers are welcome to use Apple’s in-app purchasing system — and give a 30% cut of revenue to Apple — to sell digital goods within apps.” Obviously, Amazon would rather keep its 30% and trust users to link out to Safari and buy their eBooks.

But, once iPad and iBooks launch, Apple will have its own seamless way to sell eBooks. Whether Kindle users stick with the Kindle app on the iPad will depend on a handful of things (it will be very cool, truthfully, to have access to Kindle books on a large-screen Apple product), including Amazon’s ability to keep the price of eBooks down, and whether Apple can match Amazon’s selection. Whatever happens, Apple remains the coolest tyrant around.

Write a Story About a Feat of Wonder

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Protagonize, the Vancouver-based online writing social network is sponsoring a contest in honor of the Olympics currently going on in its hometown. The site is a collaborative and communal story-telling site, so the contest involves writing an original story featuring “feats of wonder,” which Protagonize defines as “Acts both large and inconsequential [that] can have their impacts felt, as long as the conditions are right.”

Here’s more on the contest: “To enter the competition, authors must pen a tale in which a feat of wonder occurs, leading to some kind of unforseen conclusion. An feat of wonder can consist of many things, and doensn’t simply represent a feat of extraordinary strength or agility. It could also be genuinely caring gesture, a triumphant act of kindness, a noteworthy deed of bravery, daring sleight of hand, or a particularly worthy exploit of any kind. We’ll leave the classification up to our authors, who will also rate the submissions.”

These are indeed days of wonder. Aren’t they? You’ve got till Sunday (when the contest closes) to prove it.

iPad Rumor: Leaked List May Be Core iPad Debut eBooks

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TUAW posted a list of eBook titles yesterday that it thinks might be the lineup of titles Apple will use to promote iBooks upon launch. It’s got books by Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell and Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s over 100 books, ranging in price from $14.99 to free.

Here’s more info from TUAW: “These titles are sampled from a list of ebooks that one of our tipsters turned up; we were then able to confirm that it was sourced from Apple, and it was found with other assets used to populate the iTunes store UI. It’s not immediately clear whether the 112 titles listed are truly destined for sale on the upcoming iPad book store; we thought it might be a list of titles used for the device’s launch demonstration, but there are books seen in the video that are not on this list, and vice versa.”

What’ most interesting about this is not the titles themselves–everyone’s got the same books (though there are apparently none from blabbermouth McGraw-Hill), but the fact that Apple might launch iBooks and draw attention to $14.99 eBooks. Goodbye $9.99…

Acer Halts eReader Plans

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Earlier this week computer manufacturer Acer announced that it would halt its plans to launch an eReader. It was only in January that Acer said it was working on an eReader, so this is a quick reversal.

According to RegHardware, a UK-based blog, Acer feels uncertain that eBooks will advance beyond a niche market and that Acer is waiting to see what happens before getting involved, though they’ve got the hardware ready to go.

Niche market? Really? Still? C’mon. One thing’s for sure, we don’t need another eReader. Unless it’s really cheap.

Huge Digital Reorganization at Random House

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Earlier today, Random House announced some sweeping organization changes in terms of its digital workforce in a series of memos. Our sibling GalleyCat told the full story in a pair of thorough posts, but here are the highlights.

Nina von Moltke, Random House’s VP of Corporate Development, will now serve as VP of Digital Publishing Development–overseeing the restructuring. Here’s what CEO Markus Dohle had to say about this transition: “Aside from her new task of supporting the development of our digital content offerings across the divisions, Nina will also oversee the Random House Audio Publishing and Fodor’s Travel Groups. Both groups provide excellent models of successfully transitioning from analog to digital businesses, and I know that they and our traditional trade publishing groups will benefit by having them integrated into the corporate-level digital publishing team.”

Additionally, Random House’s V.P. of Digital Matt Shatz will be leaving the company to take a new position as Head of Strategic Content Relationships at Nokia.

Click here for info about further changes from GalleyCat. And look after the jump for the complete text of today’s two Random House memos.

Read more

The Future of Book Reportage Postponed Again

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Something out there wants this panel not to happen. Once again, The Future of Book Reportage panel has been postponed due to weather. We’ll let you know when it’s rescheduled.

So, someday, join Laura Miller (Slate, the New York Times, Sara Nelson (O, the Oprah magazine), Michael Miller (Time Out New York), Jason Boog (Mediabistro’s GalleyCat) and this blogger as we discuss where book coverage is heading in the digital age.

In the meantime, enjoy the snow.

Analyst Predicts Big Things for iPad in Education

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Everyone’s looking for the device that will revolutionize the education market. At least one analyst things iPad is it. The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Daily blog quotes Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf saying some promising things about iPad’s potential in education.

“At $500 before typical education discounts, the iPad is price competitive with all the PCs schools now purchase,” said Wolf. He thinks it will be challenging for Apple to gain ground quickly in secondary education, but that the iPad is likely to be adopted quickly in higher ed.

In both cases, however, everything hinges on software developers and publishes getting on board: “it will depend on content developers–the publishers–exploiting the dynamic features of the device to enhance the educational experience,” Wolf told Digital Daily’s John Paczkowski. How iPad fairs in education is one more thing we’re waiting to see play out once iPad is unveiled. One university in Oregon is already offering students a choice between an iPad or a MacBook when they get to campus.

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