eBooks

Amazon’s Proposed eBook Subscription Service — a Round Peg in a Square Hole?

The Wall Street Journal weighed in over the weekend with a very interesting and surprising rumor. Supposedly, Amazon has been shopping an “ebook subscription service” around to publishers, in an effort to bundle ebooks with Prime membership. Sort of like Netflix for eBooks. The closest analog to this is the old “Book of the Month Club” type deals, but this is definitely a step up. It benefits consumers, but does it actually benefit the business of selling books? First, let’s look at the specifics, as far as they’re known right now according to the Journal: Amazon.com Inc. is talking with book…


Lessons Learned from a Week of Road Tripping

Sarah and I have had a busy summer, but the big finale was definitely this past week. We started out Labor Day weekend, where we headed to Virginia, before returning to New Jersey for a day and then heading to Maine for a friend’s wedding. Lots of travel, lots of packing, lots of gear. What did we learn? Read on to see our hard-earned lessons and tips! Technology: Let’s start with travel gear. I opted to travel light to VA since we were driving to Richmond, then Virginia Beach for a race, then back to Richmond and then finally home….


Today Only — Buy a Book, Save a Kid from Malaria!

Looking for a good book on leadership? How about a way to help prevent malaria in Africa? Today only (September 7th), you can combine them and do both! If you buy a copy of “End Malaria” from Amazon, $20 of the proceeds will benefit “End Malaria Day”. And you get a great business book! Win! Here’s what marketing guru Seth Godin had to say about this promotion: Six weeks ago, at midnight, I found myself awake but wiped out from jet lag. I was in a lumpy bed, in the dark, in an obscure, $20 a night, John-Waters’-esque former country…


Celebrating 20 Years of the Revitalization of Star Wars

It is hard for some to believe, but after Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars franchise faded into the backdrop as other franchises such as Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Revenge of the Nerds took center stage. When was Star Wars reborn into the massive iconic force that it remains? If you are thinking 1999 with the launch of the Jar Jar Juggernaut, think again! Back in 1991, author Timothy Zahn created a work of popular fiction called ‘Heir to the Empire’. It took us back to the universe just five years after Return of the Jedi,…


Time Traveling with Macworld!

Here at Gear Diary, we try to keep you up to date on the latest news. We’ve managed to get our hands on the December issue of Macworld! What’s coming up this Fall/Winter for Apple? Read on to find out! First up, new OS! Yes, OS X 10.1 is finally here, and it promises to bring even the most faithful Classic users into the new OS X fold. Plus Microsoft Office V.X is being released, so productivity will skyrocket with your new 700mhz iMac! But Apple needs to keep their eyes on the competition, since Microsoft now has their big…


New Sony Reader Leaks — How Badly Do They WANT to Fail???

Big news if you’re a Sony fan! A Dutch site has leaked pictures and specifications of the new Sony Readers. (The same ones Sony has been denying were coming) They look…well, let’s check out the specs and then I’ll give my opinion. Translated from Google: Description The Sony PRS-T1 watching his brother looks on Mobile, the Xperia, with its curves and high quality chrome finish. Thin and light, so easy to take. The Sony PRS-T1 weighs only 168 grams. The screen is of the highest quality and provides optimal reading conditions. And while the battery will not suffer it. The Sony PRS-T1 read it one…


What Book Is That Movie Based On? Check ‘Based on the Book’ to See!

How many times have you read a great book, only to watch it get destroyed by a sub-par movie? Plenty of times, I am sure. But how about things going in the other direction? How many times have you thoroughly enjoyed a movie or a television series, and yet you finished the show feeling like something was missing — maybe you simply wished you’d had a little more back-story on the characters? One of the best examples of a great series that has been adapted from a book to a show is Dexter, a long-running Showtime series (season 6 starts October…


The Easy Way to Find FREE Kindle Books

Amazon adds eBooks, drops prices, and offers up freebies so often it can be a huge headache to keep track of them all. There’s Amazon’s free bestsellers list, but that gets cluttered with classics as well as new titles. And sometimes authors or publishers will showcase a freebie, but that’s very hit and miss. Aside from combing the usual suspects, there’s a fast, easy, and convenient way to find free and cheap Kindle books: eReaderIQ! There are a few different ways this site tries to help you sift through the enormous virtual pile of Kindle books. One, it lists new…


John Hodgman on Bookstores

There are almost no words to describe the hysterical segment of “The Daily Show” where John Hodgman explains his view of bookstores to Jon Stewart. It’s a must watch. As much as Hodgman is aiming for humor, he hits a few serious points as well. Now, humorous or not, he actually noted a few things that are ridiculous, yet true: 1) Borders actually piloted a program of downloading music at in-store kiosks. They worked out about as well as you’d expect. 2) We actually did host a night where authors wrote, but it was a poetry seminar. 3) Yes, bookstore…


Designing a Good eBook Reader

Winnie the Pooh iBook on the iPad–not bad, but could be soooo much better With the explosive growth of the eBook market, one would think that the design of eBook reader apps would, by now, be well-advanced.  Lots of cool options, good readability, and all kinds of thought put into their design. One would be wrong. Initial background info:  I have been writing information to be distributed online for nearly 20 years now–since 1992, to be exact.  This is my life, my work, my calling–it is more than an avocation.  I think about the best way to deliver information online all…


RIP Microsoft Reader

If you used a Pocket PC/Windows Mobile device, you probably were somewhat familiar with Microsoft Reader. It was Microsoft’s answer to the niche ebook market, though it was left behind as Mobipocket was purchased by Amazon, eReader by Fictionwise (and the combined entity by B&N) and of course the rise of dedicated ebook readers like the Kindle and NOOK. Still, it was one of the early ebook pioneers, and now Microsoft is putting it out of its misery. Before you wail and gnash your teeth, though, Microsoft is doing this in a very orderly fashion. They’re giving almost a full-year…


MindTheBook: Crowdsourced Book Recommendations

Looking for a good book on a particular subject? There’s always trolling Amazon and checking out their suggestions, or browsing Borders Barnes and Noble, but now there’s a new way to add to your library: MindTheBook. Basically, you ask a question, like, “How to make money on the internet?” and other people suggest titles. Those titles can be voted as helpful or not, and below the book listing is a link to Amazon (and a link to the Kindle version where available). It’s a neat idea, though it needs a strong userbase and lots of participation to really succeed. I’d…


Kids and eBook Readers — Perfect Together?

Not long after our nephew was born, Sarah and our sister-in-law had a conversation about how different life will be for the baby than it was for them. He’ll grow up in a world of computers and cell phones as completely normal, and not something that was a novelty or luxury until college. They also discussed how he would read on ebook readers, and might not have textbooks in printed form by the time he goes to college. Yes, I am clearly influencing my family with my eBook-loving ways. It’s not just idle chit-chat though. According to Boston.com, kid and…


Apple’s in-App Sales Policy — an Intimidation Tactic?

There was so much drama and upheaval in the eBook, magazine, and subscription services on iOS yesterday as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others caved to Apple’s demands that they either get a 30% cut of in-app sales or all links to external purchasing systems be removed, that it is easy to assume that all this comes down to one word – GREED. But what if it comes down to one different word. What if instead of this being all about Apple and the word “greed”, what if it all comes down to Apple and the word “Amazon”? What if…


And … the Nook App Update Removes Store Links from iOS

Carly said it best – A picture is worth 1,000 words… Carly just posted about Amazon removing store links from their Kindle app. Now Barnes & Noble has done the same. Here is the description of their update: What’s New in Version 2.1.2 You can read any NOOK Book you have purchased on this updated NOOK for iPhone app, however the Shop link has been removed so to buy NOOK Books from your iPhone, open your Safari browser and go to nookbooks.com. This is just the latest in an evolving saga that has basis in a single Apple policy they…


Kindle App Removes Store Links from iOS

A picture is worth 1,000 words… Amazon has updated the Kindle app to reflect Apple’s new rules, namely that you cannot link to an external store in an iOS application. Will this impact buying habits? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear: we, as consumers, are losing. Spotify, Netflix, Rhapsody, NOOK, Kobo, Google Books and now the Kindle have all undergone dramatic changes that will require major adjustments to how we shop on an iOS device. Will this change how you shop for books? Will you be holding off on updating your Kindle app? Sound off in the…


How Can Apple Improve iBooks without Ruining Other eBook Stores?

Something very fishy is going on at Apple. It looks like they’re taking in-app purchasing very seriously, and are enforcing what has been rumored for months: eBookstores can no longer link to their respective stores in Safari in any way, even for account sign-ups. Kobo was forced to change over, as did NOOKkids; Google Books has gone entirely MIA from iOS. Plus, the Wall Street Journal has removed all links and in-app sales options. If book sales are not through Apple, they can’t offer anything in-app. Obviously this has negative implications for consumers, annoys developers and content partners, and for…



Star Wars Lost Tribes of the Sith Book #7 Released for Free!

A couple of weeks ago I highlighted that the first six Lost Tribes of the Sith ebooks were available on the Amazon Kindle for free. As was noted, these books were ALWAYS free, as they were more set up as tie-ins to the core Fate of the Jedi series. Regardless, it is a great deal for some decent Star Wars books, and now the 7th book in the series has been released – also for free! Here is the description: When the Sith ship Omen crash-landed on Kesh two thousand years ago, the crew encountered native barbarism and superstition. Now…


Borders Is Dead, and Are eBooks to Blame?

As you may remember, back in February Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This, in theory, would have let them reorganize, deal with their debts, and potentially walk away leaner, meaner, and ready to throw down against B&N, Amazon, and the rising ebook threat. In theory. The reality has turned out to be much, much sadder, as Borders will be liquidated, all 11,000 or so employees will be laid off, and a once-powerful bookstore will be a footnote in history. Needless to say, I’m very sad to see this occur, but I’m also not surprised. This was a long time…


eMags and Censorship: Where Do We Draw the Line?

    It is not a secret that Apple is notoriously strict about “adult content” on the App Store, but a quick search over the weekend showed that Apple’s reach may go beyond just apps and into the catalogs of content providers as well. And since our findings indicate the same content is unavailable on a new Android app, does that indicate that self-censoring to avoid blockage on iOS devices is resulting in entire categories of material being unavailable on mobile devices? Zinio, the e-magazine company, sells subscriptions to Playboy on their website. But you can’t find Playboy in the…