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Archives: April 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire Is Still Bestselling Amazon Item

Amazon released its quarterly earnings results today and revealed that the Kindle Fire remains its bestselling product of all items available on since launch. In addition, during the first quarter of 2012, 90 percent of the top selling products from were digital products, which the company defines as “Kindle, Kindle books, movies, music and apps.”

Here is more from the press release: “Net sales increased 34% to $13.18 billion in the first quarter, compared with $9.86 billion in first quarter 2011. Excluding the$56 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 34% compared with first quarter 2011.”

Amazon also reported that sales of “Worldwide Electronics and Other General Merchandise” grew 43% during the quarter to $7.97 billion.

Lulu Announces a One-Click Publishing App

The self-pub service Lulu got ahead of the pack this week when they announced their new publishing options available via Google Drive.

The Lulu One-Click Publishing App is a Chrome applet that, when tied into your Google Drive and Lulu accounts, lets authors and publishers collaborate on documents in Google Drive and then submit the documents to Lulu for sale and distribution. The app supports multiple file formats including PDF, DOC, DOCX, and TXT and can accept multiple files simultaneously from multiple creators, thus enabling large scale collaborations.

While this app might not have the sophistication of Inkling Habitat, the heavily hyped textbook creation tool, it does offer integration with a tool that many people already use.  What’ more, adding new contributors to projects is probably going to be really easy, given that nearly everyone has a Google account now.

Chrome Store

How Free Apps Drain Your Smartphone Battery

Purdue University researchers analyzed battery usage on free smartphone apps, discovering that some of the most popular free apps “spend up to 75 percent of their energy tracking the user’s geographical location, sending information about the user to advertisers and downloading ads.”

These activities can drain your battery more quickly than an energy efficient app. To prevent these apps from draining power, you should switch off your free apps when you aren’t using them on your smartphone.

Check it out: “New findings show that 65 percent to 75 percent of the energy used to run free apps is spent for advertising-related functions … The free Angry Birds app was shown to consume about 75 percent of its power running ‘advertisement modules’ in the software code and only about 25 percent for actually playing the game. The modules perform marketing functions such as sharing user information and downloading ads.”

Elevator Pitch: Storyville Wants to Do for Short Stories What iTunes Did for Music

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Storyville co-founder Paul Vidich. Storyville is a mobile app for short stories that connects readers and authors. A former music executive, Vidich helped Steve Jobs bring music singles to iTunes. He hopes Storyville will do for the short story what iTunes did for the single.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Also, find out who’s hiring on the Mediabistro job board.

iBooks Is Top Free iOS eBook App of the Week

iBooks is the bestselling free eBook app for the week, according to research from AppData. Apple’s bookstore app includes books for purchase as well as free public domain eBooks.

Below, we’ve listed the top free iOS apps of the week. The list links to Inside Network’s research about the individual apps, including historical charts, developer information and download information.

To prepare for Mediabistro’s upcoming Publishing App Summit on December 4, 2012, we spotlight the top free apps every week–helping our readers discover, enjoy and analyze successful content. Read more

Virgin to Offer Samsung Android Tablets on More Flights

If you have plans to fly to Australia any time soon, definitely check out Virgin. They’ve just started a trial program. Catch the right flight in Business class and you’ll get the opportunity to use a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

This is an expansion of their inflight Wifi service which allows passengers to stream video and music, and browse the web. Martin Daley, an executive with Virgin Australia, said the trial signalled the beginning of an enhanced inflight experience for guests. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has developed a reputation as a leader in the tablet space. This state of the art device will provide guests with a wide range of pre-loaded movies, television and audio
programs, delivered with high resolution graphics and superb sound.” The tablets will also come with a selection of apps.

Virgin plans to expand tablet availability in May, and Economy class passengers will be getting the option in June of renting a tablet inflight for a fee.

image by virsago_mk2

Google Maps Updated

Google has rolled out a couple rather neat updates to Google Maps this week.

The Android app picked up a couple minor features. The gMaps developers have decided to graduate the scale bar and zoom buttons from Labs into the settings menu in the app. They also added a new elevation data point to the Labs, but I’m wondering how accurate that is going to be. Read more

Sony Is Giving Away Harry Potter With eReader Purchase

Sony is taking advantage of the excitement of the new Harry Potter eBooks and interactive website Pottermore by offering a free eBook giveaway to people who buy a Sony eReader.

For a limited time, customers that buy the $129 Wi-Fi eReader from the online Sony Store can get a free copy of the eBook Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Maya Wasserman writes on the Sony blog: “It’s no secret that we have some major Harry Potter fans over here. Being one of them, I couldn’t have been more excited about the launch of Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s new interactive website built around the Harry Potter stories, and the only place to buy the Harry Potter eBooks. Finally being able to read my favorite book series on my favoriteSony gadgets? Yes, please!”

eBook Sales Rose 117% In 2011

eBooks are on the rise, as print book sales slow. Graphic designer Boris Benko created a sprawling infographic (embedded below) visualizing recent trends in digital reading.

According to the research, eBook sales rose 117% in 2011, and that number is probably going to keep growing. During Christmas 2011, the number of adult readers in the U.S. who own an eReader or a tablet doubled. The graphic also points out that mass-market paperback sales dropped 35.9% in 2011 and print sales dropped 17.1% for publishers.

In addition, the graphic breaks down tablet and eReader ownership by gender and race, providing an interesting snapshot of this new audience.

Read more

Rick Bayless Releases Mexican Cookbook App

If you’re looking for something to cook for Cinco de Mayo next week, this app can help.

Chef and foodie Rick Bayless has partnered with Chronicle Books on his new cookbook, Rick Bayless: Mexican Essentials. This app features 35 authentic recipes drawn form Rick’s extensive repertoire of Mexican cuisine. The recipes include detailed instructions with extensive photos showing both what the result should be and what the ingredients are supposed to look like.

You’ll also find 40 videos in the app where Rick demos some of his ingenious tricks and techniques for getting the recipes just right. “Whether you’re making Potato-Chorizo Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa for the family, a bowl of Classic Guacamole to share with friends over margaritas, or Tomato-Braised Whole Fish to wow the crowd at your next dinner party, Rick Bayless Mexican Essentials has the recipe for you—and the expert instruction to guarantee your dish will be a smashing success.”

The app is on sale this week for $3 in iTunes.