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Archives: February 2010

eBooks Since iPad

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If you’ve been asleep or on a meditation retreat or something since the unveiling of Apple’s iPad–and the ensuing standoff between Macmillan and Amazon that resulted in Amazon grudgingly accepting the agency pricing model–then this thorough story on the MediaShift blog at PBS.org will get you up to speed.

The writer, Dan Brodnitz, covers all the bases. But he goes beyond review. The most interesting stuff is some commentary he collected from folks in publishing regarding iBooks. Hadrien Gardeur, CEO of Feedbooks, remarked on his impressions of how Apple will present and typeset books for iPad: “Always displaying a bookshelf or replicating page turns, for example, can get annoying after a while, and I don’t think it’s really necessary,” said Gardeur.

Thomas Nelsons’ Mike Hyatt told PBS “Really, all they’ve done is replicate the book experience on a digital device…It’s begging to go so much further.” Indeed, many in publishing were hoping for something more earth-shattering. Yet, despite skepticism, there are reports all over the Web that demand for the iPad is greater than the initial demand for iPhone. We’ll see…

Kobo CEO Predicts $99 eReader and More for 2010

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Kobo’s been in the news a bit lately, pushing its rebranding (the company used to be Shortcovers) and opening a UK eBookstore. Yesterday, company CEO Michael Serbinis posted ten predictions for eBooks in 2010 on the Kobo blog.

His predictions seem meant to provoke an industry that’s dragging its heels on certain issues. For instance, Serbinis suggested that we’ll see a $99 eReader in 2010, and by 2011 at the latest. “If you are selling an eReader north of $249, it had better sing and dance, clean the house… and make a mean souffle.” Or it better be called an iPad.

His most interesting point is about who will be producing the eBooks we read in the next few years: “By 2015, at least 50 percent of eBook sales will come from entrants that don’t even sell hardcopy books today.” He also says there will be $4.99 bestsellers, and that the Google settlement won’t be resolved anytime soon. Click over to read all ten, and place your bets.

Super Mario eBooks: Nintendo Enters eBook Market

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Nintendo–yes, Nintendo, makers of the Wii (and the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, N64 and Game Cube for those of you who remember) is getting into the eBook game with its next portable game console, the DSi XL, a larger version of the company’s popular DS hand held game system.

The US launch of the DSi XL (which launched in Japan in November and was unveiled over here at a press conference in San Francisco yesterday) will be at the end of of March. It will cost $189.99. In June, according to BusinessWeek, the company will introduce “100 Classic Books,” a collection of public domain works for reading on the DSi XL. The collection will cost $19.99.

Obviously, this is a move to avoid being eclipsed by Apple’s iPad, which will be used by many–as are the iPhone and iPod Touch–to play games, most likely more sophisticated ones that its smaller cousins can handle. Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo’s executive vp of sales and marketing for North America said, however, “It’s not really about trying to take on the e-book market…It’s just one more way to enjoy your device.”

No iPad Pre-Ordering Yet

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Well, no news from Apple yet about pre-ordering the iPad. Apple’s Website still invites interested parties to input their emails for notification as to when iPad will be available for pre-ordering. Perhaps the rumor was merely a wish. Follow this link to sign up for notifications.

But it’s got to be soon, because Apple promised the WiFi iPad would ship at the end of March. They promised!

On a related note, we asked yesterday whether readers planned to pre-order the iPad (whenever that’s possible). Our only respondent so far was blogger Mike Cane, who said he’ll “live dangerously” and not pre-order. Then he plans to torture the iPad he does get. What about you?

Where’s Alex?

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Alex, the forthcoming eReader best known for being a “Nookalike,” because it was made by Spring Design, a company Barnes & Noble consulted early in the process of putting together the Nook, was supposed to be available on February 22, but it wasn’t. According to Engadget, Spring Design said the release date has been pushed back to early March.

Or, more accurately, Spring Design was a little less specific: “we’re being told to check back during the first week of March,” writes Engadget. So maybe it’ll be available, and maybe it won’t.

Alex is supposed to cost $399, but there’s another product coming out shortly after that, which includes some eReader functionality among other cool things, that only costs $100 more…

Some Wattpad Titles Now Available From Sony eBook Store

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Wattpad, the huge eBook-based social network that we’ve reported about a great deal lately announced a new distribution deal with Sony yesterday, making what the company calls “a selection of top unique Wattpad titles” available for download from the Sony Reader store.

Among the initial selection of titles are “Dinner with a vampire. Did I mention I’m vegetarian?” by Canse12 (http://www.wattpad.com/user/Canse12), (which we reported on earlier as the winner of a recent Wattpad contest), “Destined To Happen” by lovemehunni (http://www.wattpad.com/user/lovemehunni), and “Bye Bye Virginity” by Just-Krissy (http://www.wattpad.com/user/Just-Krissy).

In an email interview, Wattpad CEO Allen Lau told eBookNewser how the company would make the selections of which titles to send to the Sony store: “It is a combination,” he said. “Most of them are based on popularity (reads/votes etc.) but a handful on them are handpicked.” He also said all the Wattpad titles in the Sony store are free.

This ain’t your weird shut-in cousin’s eBook about the Orc who became President; this could mean a bit of real recognition.

iPad to Be Sold At BestBuy, Among Other Retailers

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iPad will be available for purchase not just at Apple stores and online, but at multiple retailers not long after launch, according Apple COO Tim Cook. He said this to the audience at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco yesterday (big day for tech conferences, including TOC), according to Mashable. The only store Cook mentioned specifically was Best Buy, though he implied there will be others soon.

Mashable also reports that Cook has a compellingly open stance on how Apple is thinking about the iPad: “His discussion of the iPad was more interesting, though. He was asked whether the iPad would be a replacement for netbooks or a new use case. To that, he isn’t sure since they haven’t sold any units yet, but he did trash netbooks, something that Steve Jobs also does on a consistent basis.”

Clealy Cook’s comments indicate that Apple wants to reach as large a market as possible with the iPad. They want everybody to buy one–even you.

Lulu Opens Up to Developers

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Lulu, the open publishing platform, announced today that it has opened its platform to developers. Using this new functionality, developers and other kinds of companies can hook into Lulu’s publishing engine and create their own publications, under their own name.

Here are a couple of examples Lulu cites in a press release for what developers and other companies could do with access to Lulu’s API: “Using the API, a software company, for example, could instantly publish hundreds of manuals and gain worldwide distribution. Or a publisher could build and host a branded application letting independent authors publish and distribute under a new imprint.”

Self-publishing–or that’s not really the right term for what Lulu can offer; it’s really publishing that takes advantage of someone else’s production, distribution, or marketing machinery–is not just memoirs by crazies anymore. It’s a legitimate way to publish stuff…so if you want to start a small press, Lulu’s just made it even easier. Or you could finally publish those “hundreds of manuals” you’ve been sitting on.

Bedtime Stories for Tablet Computers and Smartphones

Kids these days have computers, smartphones, and teddy bears with televisions in their bellies. One software designer has combined these new tools with the good old fashioned bedtime story.

At the Tools of Change conference, Hillel Cooperman unveiled “A Story Before Bed,” a way to read a child a storybook via webcam videos. In this exclusive GalleyCat video, Cooperman walks the viewer through his simple interface, allowing children to read along with a loved one–no matter where they are.

Here’s more about the innovative product: “The service lets parents and grandparents who can’t be there for bedtime record videos of themselves reading children’s books. The kids can watch the videos synchronized to the pages of the book right on screen anytime they like, as often as they like.”

Take Your Kindle Swimming with M-Edge

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Bet you didn’t know you could safely throw your eReader into the ocean, or lend it to a fish. According to this clever ad from eReader case maker M-Edge, you can. The ad comes from the current issue of Wired Magazine. It’s funny. Though the fish doesn’t look to interested in the eReader.

If you take New York’s subways (or presumably other cities’ public transportation or partake of other things where companies run ads), you’re likely to have seen some of these M-Edge ads. The company is aggressively marketing a large line of eReader accessories for various devices, including Nook, Kindle, and, soon, iPad.

In fact, the company is already trying to build secret buzz for its iPad cases, of which it already seems to have a full line, so perhaps you won’t have to buy what Jobs, in his iPad keynote, kept called “a very nice case, a very nice case.”

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