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Archives: January 2012

Amazon Q4 Sales Up 35% To $17.43 Billion

Amazon reported its fourth quarter earnings today and revealed that its net sales increased 35% to $17.43 billion compared with $12.95 billion in fourth quarter 2010.

The company attributed the growth to Kindle sales. According to the press release, “during the nine-week holiday period ending December 31, 2011, Kindle unit sales, including both the Kindle Fire and e-reader devices, increased 177% over the same period last year.”

The Kindle Fire tablet was the best selling product during the quarter. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, stated: “We are grateful to the millions of customers who purchased the Kindle Fire and Kindle e-reader devices this holiday season, making Kindle our bestselling product across both the U.S. and Europe. Our millions of third-party sellers had a tremendous holiday season with 65% unit growth and now represent 36% of total units sold.”

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Publishers Don’t Think Tablets Are Ideal For Reading

According to a survey from Digital Book World and Forrester Research that was presented at the Digital Book World conference last week, only 31% of publishers think that tablets like the iPad are ideal for reading, this is down from 46% a year ago.

While the book retailers are busy proliferating tablets of their own, publishers aren’t seeing these devices as ideal for reading.  Digital Book World has more: “Only 30% of publishers think reading tablets like the Nook Color and Kindle Fire are an ideal reading platform.”

James L. McQuivey, Ph.D., VP and principal analyst at Forrester, who conducted the survey told DBW just why he thinks publishers are not enthusiastic about tablets. He said: “If you have an iPad and 15 minutes to kill, are you going to do something more cognitively difficult like reading, or something brain-dead simple like going on Facebook or watching a YouTube video?”

Penguin Launches ‘Artist’s Way Toolkit’ App

Penguin has launched a new app to help inspire creativity called Artist’s Way Toolkit.

The free app, which is based on Julia Cameron‘s bestselling novel The Artist’s Way, the app gives readers exercises and meditations to help artists and writers get inspired. The app lets users take notes, photos and listen to soundbites. There is also a social sharing feature.

Penguin has been making their mark in the app space over the last year by creating interactive eBook apps for classic books. They are the publisher behind Jack Kerouac‘s On the Road app and Wreck This App, the digital version of Keri Smith’s bestselling Wreck This Journal. The company also released an app edition of  Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged.

Asda Now Selling the Kobo Touch for £87

It looks like the UK eReader price war is starting to heat up a little. Go check the Asda website today and you’ll see that they’ve dropped the price of the Kobo Touch.

When they first started carrying the Kobo Touch in early December, Asda priced it at £107. That price prompted WH Smith, Kobo’s new UK ebookstore partner, to drop their price to £99. And today we see Asda’s response.

This is happening rather slower than I expected, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. The UK eReader market is getting as competitive as the US market. In fact, it might actually be more competitve now.

Consider the prices. In the US you can get an ad-supported Kindle for $79 or an ad-supported Kobo Touch for $99 ( $20 difference). But in the UK you can get a Kindle for for £89 or the Kobo Touch for £87. Who knows, we might even see Amazon lower their price in response to Asda and WH Smith.
That would be good for everyone.

Tim Cook Responds To Dangerous Conditions In Apple Factories

Apple CEO Tim Cook does not want Apple employees to be working in unsafe working conditions.

Responding to The New York Times‘ investigative report on dangerous working conditions in Apple factories that have led to death and injury, the Apple chief sent out an email to employees last week. reposted the email. Cook wrote: “As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.”

OverDrive Brings Library eBooks to the BB PlayBook

Everyone might expect the PlayBook to be pulled, but it looks like OverDrive doesn’t. They’ve just released a new version of their Media Console app.

With this app you’ll be able to search for and download eBooks and audiobooks from OverDrive’s 18 thousand partner libraries. The OMC app also supports side-loaded Epubs, so you can use this app to read DRM free eBooks purchased elsewhere.

For a tablet that is supposed to be dead, the PlayBook has a surprising number of free reading apps. You can find an app for Wattpad, Adobe Reader, and Kobo, as well as several free ePub readers and apps that support other formats including FB2, txt, and more.

BlackBerry App World

‘Tom Sawyer Abroad’ by Mark Twain is Today’s Free eBook

Many have read Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (or seen a movie based on it). But fewer readers are familiar with the later novels starring Tom, and that brings me to today’s free eBook.

Feedbooks has more details:

Tom Sawyer Abroad is a novel by Mark Twain published in 1894. It features Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in a parody of Jules Verne-esque adventure stories. In the story, Tom, Huck, and Jim set sail to Africa in a futuristic hot air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas to see some of the world’s greatest wonders, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Detective, the story is told using the first-person narrative voice of Huck Finn.


You can find this title on FeedBooks.

Nook Color Now $130 on Ebay

Barnes & Noble only puts the NookColor on sale on days ending in ‘y’, and that probably explains today’s offer.

B&N is selling refurbished NC on Ebay today for $20 off the regular price. That’s a decent price for this 7″ tablet, but it is also not the best price. B&N has put the NC on sale for as low as $99.



Open Road Teams With ProPublica

Digital publishing house Open Road Integrated Media has teamed up with investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica to publish its eBooks.

According to the press release, “Open Road will publish multiple ebooks featuring ProPublica’s award winning investigative journalism” and the relationship will be ongoing.

Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief and CEO of ProPublica, stated: “Ebooks are a very promising platform for publishing journalism with high impact, and therefore a critical venue for ProPublica.  We are delighted to be moving ahead in this new arena with Jane Friedman and her incredibly talented colleagues at Open Road.”

The first two eBooks from the two companies include: Presidential Pardons: Shades of Mercy, a story of presidential pardons based on ProPublica’s investigative series on originally published in the Washington Post, and Post Mortem: Death in America, an investigative report about problems in coroner and medical examiner offices in the U.S. which includes content from NPR and Frontline.


What to do With That Old Dead eReader

Have you ever had an old gadget die yet not be able to part with it? One sculptor’s got you covered.

Rodrigo Alonso has recently started  limited production of furniture made from old electronics. He’s made several stools so far, and all were assembled from a unique collection of electronic junk.

It would take an awful lot of personal gadgets to make one of these stools, so it might be better to simply provide your old gadgets as the centerpiece. I could easily see adding an original Kindle to one. In fact, there are some interesting artistic statements that you could make by leaving certain contents on the screen.

Would an excerpt from The Sheep Looked Up work, or would that be too obvious?