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Apple

Apple Reveals New Version of iBooks & iBooks Author

Alongside the long-expected iPad Mini, Apple revealed a new version of iBooks today, counting 400 million eBook downloads since the launch of iBooks.

AppNewser has more: “The new version has continuous scrolling, is better integrated with iCloud, has better sharing tools, and supports more than 40 languages.”

What do you think about the changes? LibraryThing founder Tim Spalding asked a good question on Twitter: “Do people WANT continuous scrolling on iBooks? Strikes me that pages are simpler, and provide a certain rhythm.”

Read more

iOS 6 iPhone User Guide Now Available As eBook

Apple has released a free user guide eBook for iOS 6 in the iBookstore. iPhone User Guide For iOS 6 is a comprehensive guide to the new operating system and has tips on how to use the new iPhone.

Check it out: “Here’s everything you need to know about iPhone, in a handy eBook format. Get to know iPhone and discover all the amazing things it can do, and how to do them. It’s the definitive guide for getting the most from your new iPhone, straight from Apple. The iPhone User Guide is an essential part of any iPhone library.”

It’s got a handy description of how to organize your bookshelf in iBooks, like how to organize your eBooks and PDFs into collections. (Via TUAW).

Would You Read an eBook on the iPhone 5?

Today Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, a thinner smartphone with a 4-inch screen and a 16:9 aspect ratio–a common display standard for many computers and televisions.

It will be great for movies, but will people use it for reading books? During the one-hour iPhone 5 portion of the presentation, digital books were never mentioned. All eReading apps will either be letterboxed or updated on the new device, but do you think 4-inches will improve the reading experience?

Here’s more from Ars Technica: “The new screen resolution is the oft-rumored 1136 x 640, meaning the display of the iPhone 4 and 4S has simply been elongated, both physically and in terms of pixel rows. To quote Phil, “you see, we’re able to add a 5th row of icons.” All of Apple’s own software has been updated for the new resolution and screen size, while older third-party apps will be letterboxed where necessary. ”

 

Apple & Publishers May Be Considering Settlement In EU Antitrust Case

In a move to end an EU antitrust investigation, Apple and four publishers have reportedly agreed to let retailers including Amazon sell eBooks at lower prices for two years.

Reuters has the scoop: “The four publishers are Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, French group Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany. The publishers have agreed deals with Apple under which online versions of their books sell for set prices on Apple’s iTunes, with Apple taking 30 percent of the proceeds. The deals specified that other retailers, such as Amazon, could not sell the e-books at a lower price.”

Last December, EU antitrust authorities began investigating Apple’s deals with major publishers suspecting that the companies were conspiring to fix the prices of eBooks.

In the United States, Apple has also been under investigation for alleged eBook pricing collusion. A number of the publishers involved in the suit have agreed to settle including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster who will pay $69 million to consumers. But Apple has refused to a settlement, demanding a trial.

LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

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When the iPad debuted in 2010, Star Trek The Next Generation‘s LeVar Burton wasn’t as surprised by the device as others. After all, characters on his show and the original series were beaming each other up, video chatting and using touch devices way before Apple.

“As a fan of science fiction, I’m not surprised because I recognize that science fiction literature tends to ask us what I believe to be are two of the most powerful words in language in combination: what if,” Burton said in our final Media Beat interview.

“I believe there was some kid who watched those original episodes of Star Trek… That kid grew up, became an engineer, a designer of product, and is responsible for a piece of technology in the flip cell phone that’s more prevalent now than toasters,” he continued. “You look at Bluetooth ear devices, Star Trek. You look at Flip cell phones, Star Trek. Devices, seeing devices for the blind inspired by Geordi‘s visor? Science fiction literature and pop culture really is a main conduit for how we invent our future reality.”

Yeah, Google Glass does look a little like this.

Part 1: LeVar Burton: By not focusing on reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”
Part 2: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books

DOJ Defends Settlement Against ‘Ruinous Competition’ Charges

“Railroads, publishers, lawyers, construction engineers, health care providers, and oil companies are just some of the voices that have raised cries against ‘ruinous competition’ over the decades,” wrote the  Department of Justice Antitrust Division lawyers in a filing that argues that Apple and three publishers should come to a settlement over its eBook pricing case.

Here is an excerpt from the court filing archived by PaidContent (PDF version): “The conspirators eliminated the ‘wretched $9.99 price’ that so attracted the reading public and so infuriated publishers, and made sure that Apple would not have to contend with what it viewed as senseless competition as it entered the e-book market. Now those conspirators that have not settled with the United States seek to upset the settlements that have been reached, and thereby delay the restoration of competition. Those efforts have no basis in law, and this Court should reject them.” Read more

Apple Refuses To Settle In DOJ Case

Apple has filed a new memo in its defense against the Department of Justice, stating that it will not settle with three book publishers, as has been proposed. Instead, Apple is seeking a trial.

According to a court filing archived by PaidContent, Apple says it has “no objection to the Proposed Judgment’s bar on collusion.” However, the company will not settle with the court over its book contracts, because Apple claims “Once its existing contracts are terminated, Apple could not simply reinstate them after prevailing at trial. The Court’s decision would be irreversible.”

Here is an excerpt from the filing (PDF link)

The Proposed Judgment penalizes Apple in a manner that is inconsistent with the public interest and the law. Without Apple’s consent and without a trial, the Proposed Judgment automatically terminates Apple’s agreements (IV.A.) and effectively bars Apple (and other retailers) from selling eBooks under the agency model for two years by mandating shared responsibility for pricing between principal and agent (V.B., VI.B.). This result also is inconsistent with the fundamental tenet of agency relationships, not justified by proven facts, and has been overwhelmingly opposed by the public. Read more

Senator Charles Schumer to DOJ: ‘Drop the Apple eBooks Suit’

Arguing that Apple offers an alternative to Amazon’s growing monopoly in the eBook business, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal urging the Department of Justice to drop its eBook lawsuit against Apple.

In the piece, Schumer pointed out that “the average price for e-books fell to $7 from $9, according to a filing in the case.” The Justice Department has ignored this overall trend and instead focused on the fact that the prices for some new releases have gone up.”

Pointing to the dangers of a single retailer controlling 90 percent of the market, Schumer warns of the impact this will have on culture.  He continued: “If publishers, authors and consumers are at the mercy of a single retailer that controls 90% of the market and can set rock-bottom prices, we will all suffer. Choice is critical in any market, but that is particularly true in cultural markets like books. The prospect that a single firm would control access to books should give any reader pause.”

Apple May Release 7.85″ iPad To Compete With Kindle Fire & Nexus 7

Rumors are circulating that Apple will release a new and smaller iPad in a move to compete with the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. The mini is rumored to cost as little as $249.

Bloomberg has more details: “The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.”

AppNewser has more about all of the other tablets hitting the market: “Last week, Google released the Nexus 7, a $199 7-inch tablet computer that it is designed to consume digital media content like apps, music, books and movies from Google Play. We’ve heard rumors that Google is planning to launch a 10″ tablet and also rumors that two new Kindle Fires, a 7-inch version and a 10-inch version, are coming.”

 

Consumer Federation of America Defends DOJ eBook Lawsuit

The Consumer Federation of America research director Mark Cooper defended the Department of Justice’s eBook pricing lawsuit against major publishers and Apple.

The consumer advocacy group challenged lawsuit criticism filed by Barnes & Noble and the American Booksellers Association. In his official statement (PDF link), Cooper asserted: ”In order to defend cartel agency pricing the brick and mortar bookstores and celebrity authors have had to concoct a description of the market in which bookstores are squeezed between two much more efficient distribution models – big box mass marketers on the one side and long-tail e-tailers on the other.”

Cooper also argued that these bookstores and celebrity authors are engaging in “a ‘luddite’ rant against change” as they criticize the lawsuit. He wrote: “One astute observer of the music business in the digital age concluded that ‘it looks like the record business is doomed. The music business, however, has a bright future.’ Books are being devalued, literature is not.”

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