eBooks

Byook Enhanced eBooks Review

Various developers have been trying since the original iPad to make enhanced and video eBooks a success. There seems to be this impression that books+tablet+video=profit! Yet plain old eBooks have managed to hold their ground quite nicely, leaving the question of whether there’s really a market for a book with video, music, and other bells and whistles. Byook think they can add to the eBook reading experience, and I had the opportunity to test a few of their titles and…


Are eTextbooks Fully Baked Yet?

Digital textbooks always sound like a great idea on paper. They save money! And children don’t struggle under the weight of giant books! What’s not to like? Well, there’s the medium for reading on them for starters. Kindles crashed and burned on the college level, and while iPads are great, they are also expensive and far more fragile than a spiral bound notebook. Some schools have managed to have pilot iPad and computer based textbook programs successfully, but it still…


Barnes and Noble Finally Steps Up!

Looks like Barnes and Noble finally got the kinks worked out of their eReader/Fictionwise transition! A few days ago I saw reports that the transfer links were finally working properly, and sure enough, clicking through promised me a forthcoming email with more details. This time, the message didn’t come with a side of time travel, so I figured it had to be fairly accurate. Finally, yesterday, I received an email with the promised code, and, miracle of miracles, my eReader…


Does The Shutdown of “The Daily” Mean Anything For Digital Magazines?

New broke this week that “The Daily”, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only newspaper, was being shut down. The four people who read it were probably heartbroken. Sarcasm aside, the real question is whether the death of The Daily is indicative of a larger issue. Businessweek brought this question up, pointing out that Newsweek plans to go all-digital in the shadow of a nasty fall from grace for the competition. At the same time, as Slate points out, an iPad-only newspaper was naturally…


Barnes and Noble and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fictionwise Shutdown

The Barnes and Noble transition of Fictionwise and eReader to NOOK has been steadily going from bad to worse. First, they had difficulties moving books to the NOOK platform. Then, a huge swath of customers (including both Judie and I) received an error message that our email addresses were not recognized. The Thanksgiving holiday intervened, but it doesn’t look like anyone has even attempted to fix these errors since last week! I emailed Barnes and Noble last week, and was…


Pyle Audio Drums up Partnership with Wiley to Create First Drums for Dummies Kits

For decades now, the ‘For Dummies’ book series has shown itself to be much more than just basic advice on computer and home tasks. I had done a comparative review between an ‘Idiot’s Guide’ and a ‘For Dummies’ book – on music theory, no less – and found both to be excellent resources. Now the publisher Wiley has teamed up with renowned audio product maker Pyle audio to bring drumming to the masses! Pyle has produced two drum kits to…


Barnes and Noble’s Epic Fictionwise and eReader Migration Failure

I am insanely disappointed in Barnes and Noble. Earlier this week, news broke that they were shutting down the long-running eReader.com and Fictionwise.com sites they purchased three years ago, and offering to transition as many books as eligible to matching NOOK accounts. So far, so good. Then, the day after it became big news, they sent out emails with instructions on the transition. Also good. Unfortunately, if you were to follow the instructions in these emails, you would likely see…


R.I.P., Fictionwise and eReader

This has been a long time coming, but Barnes and Noble is finally putting Fictionwise and eReader out to pasture. They purchased the sites three years ago, and from that purchase the NOOK was born. But now that the NOOK clearly outshines its older siblings, Barnes and Noble apparently feels there isn’t a benefit to maintaining the prior brands. Even though I’ve said for years this makes more sense, it’s still sad to see Fictionwise and eReader disappear. They go…


Powell’s and Kobo Team Up

If you ever find yourself in Portland, Oregon, you must visit Powell’s Books. Several years ago, my wife Sarah and I were out that way, and we visited Powell’s. Two hours and a huge stack of books later, we finally left. It was just that awesome of a bookstore. Unfortunately, the book industry is moving swiftly towards an ebook future, and Powell’s needed a reliable way to hitch on for the ride. They were dumped by Google when Google Books…


Keeping Trick or Treaters Away from Your Home while Scaring Your Kids in the Days of Yore!

What you see before you, gentle reader, is an instrument of torture, a 33 1/2 RPM record euphemistically titled “The language and music of the Wolves – narrated by Robert Redford”, circa 1971. Ostensibly a product of environmental awareness and respect for Nature, it was an excellent tool for acquainting modern America with wolves, which had been nearly hunted to extinction in the lower 48 states. Robert Redford explains and enlightens listeners about the wolf and its habits, raising awareness of…


Penguin and Random House to Form Franken-Publisher

Now that the Agency Model has been rendered toothless as a way to keep publishers afloat, we’re seeing the next phase in book publishing evolution: mergers! Random House, which was already the biggest publisher in the USA, is buying a controlling stake in Penguin, forming a super-publisher! According to the New York Times: PARIS — Two European media companies, Bertelsmann and Pearson, confirmed Monday that they planned to combine their book publishing divisions, Random House and Penguin. Under the agreement,…


Will Newsweek Succeed in Jumping to Digital?

We all know how much the digital change has impacted books, newspapers, and periodicals, but the latest canary in the printing press is a bit of a surprise. Newsweek, yes, the magazine you find in your doctor’s office waiting room, or grab on your way to boarding a plane, is going all digital. This is going to be a huge problem…for doctor’s offices everywhere. Seriously, though, this is big. Newsweek is a major print magazine, so for them to make…


Fastpencil Joins The Local Library

Here’s a question: when’s the last time you went to your local library? Maybe you dropped by and saw they had a promotion about ebooks. Or you stop by once in a while for audiobooks. The last few years, it seems like libraries have been playing catch up as books, movies, and media in general have gone digital. However, a new partnership with Fastpencil and Auto-Graphics is bringing a whole new option to libraries: self-publishing resources and content! I had…


Why Did the NOOK HD Get Such a Quiet Announcement?

  Barnes and Noble have been busy this week. First they quietly announce NOOK Video, surprising everyone, and then quietly, in the dead of night, they announced the NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, two extremely well specc’d competitors to the Kindle Fire HD and Fire HD 8.9″. In fact, the hands on reports of the hardware and software indicate both devices are just as good, if not better than, the Fire HD and Nexus 7. So why bury the announcement…


Thumbelina Magic Story for iPad Review

Type of app: Interactive Story Book Platform/where to buy: iPad (Universal); available in the App Store Developer: Oleksandr Pogrebniak Description: A miniature red-headed girl has suddenly appeared from a flower. Her enchanting beauty sways many hearts along her travels. She took a trip on a leaf of a water lily, flew on the back of a swallow, and made friends with the tiniest beings. Colorful montages reflect both joy and sadness within these interactive pages of this app. Thumbelina joins…


When Book People Move

My wife Sarah and I are likely moving in a few months. As a result, we are in a hardcore “kick out the junk” phase, and that means finally dealing with the sheer number of books in our attic. So. Many. Books. My back is less than happy about all the carrying and sorting we did today! The thing about books is that they are really hard to give up. Not just emotionally, but literally. No one wants our books….


Amazon’s Hardware Announcements Showcase Their Software Advantage

Amazon may only release Kindles once a year, but when they do, it is worth noting. Last year, they rolled out the Kindle Fire, and this year they not only upgraded the Fire line, they also answered the NOOK with Glowlight, addressed head-on their hardware and software priorities, and basically nailed every expectation out there. So what does it all mean? What I found most interesting about yesterday’s announcements were Jeff Bezos’ remarks about hardware. Basically, he said that Amazon…


A Sign of Our Increasingly Digital Times

My mom is a high school history teacher. Her students start this week, just in time for the Democratic National Convention, and right on the heels of the Republican National Convention this past week. As has been her custom in past elections, her students can earn extra credits by watching and writing about the conventions and the upcoming debates. She went through her lesson plans from four years ago, and realized she needed to change a few things. See, four…


Refunds Coming from the eBook Pricing Settlement

If you purchased an eBook in the last three years, I have some good news! There’s a shot that the publisher owes you a few cents if that title was priced according to the “agency model”. You’re rich! A whole shiny nickel just for you! According to Businessweek: States including Maryland, Ohio and Texas said they reached a $69 million settlement with three U.S. publishers over alleged price-fixing for electronic books. The agreements were made with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins…


Audiobooks.com Gets Download Friendly

Sarah swears by audiobooks as a way to get through her daily commute, but I mainly use them when we are on long road trips. We have flirted with the idea of an audible.com membership, but the library gives us plenty of access for free, and Audible has never struck me as such a great deal. Audiobooks.com, however, has a new service that has me somewhat intrigued. According to Techhive, Audiobooks.com has expanded from streaming only to download as well:…


Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, Book Review of Ken Scott’s Memoir

What is it that you want from reading a music industry legend’s memoir? If what you are looking for is basically an expanded Wikipedia entry with a more detailed listing of events and characters … then stop reading now and just stay away from Ken Scott’s Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust. If on the other hand you are looking for something that has you diving for your vinyl record collection, trolling through your MP3 library, and hitting up places like…