eBooks

Amazon Makes Good On Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

In my review of the ebook version of Fahrenheit 451 I was sharply critical of the massive amount of typos and mistakes in the text. It was suggested that I take my complaint to Amazon, which I did … but honestly never expected anything. It wasn’t the first time I had complained, but I had never heard anything back in the past. But last night I got a happy surprise – an email from Amazon’s Kindle Store that an update had been made to Fahrenheit 451, and I could download it from my account. So I headed to the link,…


Has iBooks 2 Cracked the Textbook Puzzle?

After Apple’s big iBooks 2 announcement, I went hunting for more info on prior digital textbooks; it occurred to me that most of the pilot programs and digital textbook stuff are aimed at college level students and up, with the most famous/infamous being Amazon’s Kindle DX experiment with several universities. This makes sense since college kids foot their own bill for hardware. So why is Apple targeting high schools? Did no one point out that schools are so poor they are firing teachers left and right? A class of 500 freshmen starting high school would cost a district $250,000 before…


Apple and iBooks 2 – It’s the Strategy Stupid

I was scratching my head this morning after the announcement of iBooks 2 and Apple’s major play into the textbook arena. It struck me that they were already going in this direction and, as a result, this was an expected evolutionary step forward, not something worthy of an announcement. Having thought about it a bit more, however, I think there is actually a bigger story here. I’ll leave it to Carly to address the actual textbook aspect of this and instead, look at what is really the bigger picture that is key to today’s Apple announcement. You see, this isn’t…


If an eBookstore Falls in the Internet and No One Hears It…

eBooknewser reported today that Amazon quietly shut down Mobipocket, an ebook store that those of us with PDA roots probably remember fondly. Amazon purchased Mobipocket and still uses their format as the basis for Kindle books. After reading the post, I headed over to Mobipocket and found what appears to be the internet equivalent of a broken, abandoned storefront. There’s no announcement that Mobipocket is gone, but the files appear to have all disappeared. Bestsellers, fiction, non-fiction, everything is just gone, with the exception of a handful of classics that appear on the main page. Meanwhile, things aren’t exactly hopping…


Does Anyone Buy eBook Readers for the Hardware Anymore?

There’s an interesting (and honestly, inevitable) trend in the book world lately: no one’s talking hardware anymore. Yes, there’s new devices, and sales are touted when they’re impressive. But the big announcements that come up again and again are “ebook sales are increasing by these triple digits/these authors are making this much money through ebooks/we have this many free ebooks, etc”. Plus, all those lovely ebooks are available on tablets, computers, smartphones and dedicated ebook readers…so does it pay for a company to offer the hardware without the ebooks anymore? In my view, the answer is no, and I think…


Kindle Lending Library and Direct Publishing Program Is a Home Run So Far!

The Kindle Lending Library and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program debuted this past fall, and so far they’re off to a great start whether you’re a consumer or an author. As a refresher, the Lending Library is available to anyone with a Kindle and an Amazon Prime account, and you can download one book per month free of charge through the service. The KDP program offers perks to authors willing to sign up exclusively with Amazon, including a share of a $500,000 pool per book borrowed through the program. Needless to say, the exclusivity clause has been a subject of…


Kobo Officially Part of Rakuten Now

It’s official, Kobo is now a division of Rakuten, meaning that Kobo now has some deep parental pockets and an even stronger international reach. While they may still be number 3, they have an opportunity to grab more share in 2012, as B&N struggles to expand internationally. Plus from the sound of Kobo’s press release they had an excellent holiday season! According to Kobo: December 25th was Kobo’s best day ever for eBook downloads, with several ebooks downloaded every second by readers in over 150 countries Kobo saw a 10-fold increase in new customers compared to the company’s pre-holiday period Compared to…


Barnes & Noble Offers Free and Reduced NOOKS with Subscriptions!

Big news from B&N today! They’re looking to push down the price of the NOOK and drive more subscription services, so they’ve combined the two! You can get a free NOOK Simple Touch or a $99 NOOKcolor with a subscription to the New York Times through B&N ($19.99/month). Alternately, if you are more of the entertainment news type, there’s always a $199 NOOK Tablet with a subscription to People! This is potentially huge for the ebook industry. It turns the reader hardware into a commodity, not the main show. It also pushes prices down while also lining up ongoing cash…


Free eBooks from the Local Library!

I swung by my local library today and discovered they put together a very clever way of promoting library eBooks. They had free “gift cards” out for “free eBooks”, which was just a printed card with the library’s website on the front and QR code for the site on the back. The marketing campaign signs around the library suggested people could give them alongside Kindles, NOOKs, etc.


Wired Illustrates the Limitations of Paper Publishing

Over at Teleread, they’ve called Wired magazine onto the carpet for a set of eBook reader reviews that pitted the low-end Kindle against touchscreen, higher-end competitors, and for not breaking out the Special Offers/non-special offers versions of the Kindle. The Wired writer responsible for the segment responded in the comments, and after a few days of mulling it over, it seems to me that his explanation hurts print magazines more than it does to exonerate Wired. For reference, the review is over two pages: Page 1, Page 2. Here’s what Tim Conway said over at Teleread: The problem that we…


Gear Diary’s End of 2011 eBook Guide

Did you receive or are you expecting to get an eReader this holiday season? Or maybe you’re planning on using your holiday bonus to finally snap one up! Either way, it’s the end of 2011, and we’ve got a deep bench of ebook readers at a variety of price points, including some fairly recent price cuts. There aren’t too many rumors about updates heading into 2012, so let’s take a look at where we stand, the pros and cons for each store and device, as well as some tips on how to find books from more sources than just Amazon…


U Wood Thikn Aft3r 50 Yaers They Cuold W0rk Out Teh Typoz!?!

I just finished reading the classic Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451, which I noted had just been released for the first time in ebook form a couple of weeks ago. It was far from my first reading, and was actually the fourth time I had bought the book over the last 30 years. Three have been paperbacks – one that simply died with use, a second one that is still in great shape, and a third from when I was traveling, and now the ebook version is on my Kindle Fire. No spoilers here, but the book is as awesome…


Adventures in Customer Service: DianeDuane.com

During this busy Holiday season with so many great deals, it is easy to make an error as you check out – especially on pages with multi-select options. For example, you can choose the correct size of a shirt and then mess up as you look at a variety of colors and don’t re-check the size before your sale is complete. Ultimately what happens after the mistake depends on how you handle it and the customer service of the company – but it is always important to remember that YOU made the mistake and bear the responsibility. Over the Thanksgiving…


Watch the Final ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ 8 Minute Trailer

Have you read the ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy by Stieg Larsson? If not, you really should as they are wonderful books – a bit on the disturbing side at times and not intended for a younger audience. But these wonderful books were made into Swedish movies over the last several years, leading to the obvious question – why do we need a Hollywood version? Technically we don’t, at least of the first book: the Swedish version was quite well done. The other two were rather lacking, to be honest. But there were definite areas for improvement, and I…


Agency eBook Pricing Model under Anti-Trust Scrutiny!

The European Union has finally stepped up to handle the biggest issue facing the economy today. It’s a long time coming, but someone is finally asking questions and looking for answers. Yes, the “agency model” for ebooks is finally being investigated! What, you thought I meant something else? 😉 According to Businessweek, several publishers, as well as Apple, are listed in the investigation, but not Amazon. My guess is that since Amazon was not soliciting contracts for the agency model (they were forced into it after a very public battle) they’re not under the microscope. It will be interesting to…


Kindle Fire Usability Study Speaks to the Entire 7″ Android Tablet Market

The web is abuzz today with the ‘Kindle Fire Usability study from UseIt.com, which can be summed as stating that “Amazon.com’s new Kindle Fire offers a disappointingly poor user experience.” Here are a few points of note: Fat-Finger Problem Makes Mobile Sites Superior The most striking observation from testing the Fire is that everything is much too small on the screen, leading to frequent tap errors and accidental activation. You haven’t seen the fat-finger problem in its full glory until you’ve watched users struggle to touch things on the Fire. One poor guy spent several minutes trying to log in…


iBooks Grows Up, Is It Enough to Make it Your eReading App?

The iBooks apps for iOS, that means iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, just made the leap to version 1.5. It is a nice update that includes a new arrangement of annotations, full screen reading mode, new fonts and an awesome new nighttime reading mode. I used the nighttime reading mode last night for a bit and it worked great. It is nice to see iBooks maturing but it also reminded me that, when it comes to something like eBooks, it isn’t the app that ultimately matters but rather the ecosystem one has decided to use. I decided some time back…


Sony Reader WiFi PRS-T1 Review

We’ve talked about Sony’s ebook business many times on Gear Diary, but we finally have the chance to review one of the units! Today we’re taking a look at the PRS-T1, aka the Sony Reader Wifi, their newest device. This is a touchscreen, eInk reader, and it just had a price drop, to $129! With a new price and a sleek style, can it compete with the Kindle and NOOK markets? Read on to find out! Hardware: I love my Kindle 3, but it can’t hold a candle to the build quality of this Sony Reader. The body is plastic,…


Time, Inc Names New Digital-Friendly CEO

There are two ways that digital magazines and ebooks are working their way into the marketplace. From the bottom, it’s consumers voting with their wallets; every Kindle that’s purchased, every NOOK app downloaded, and every ebook zooming through the interwebs all boost the adoption of digital reading. From the top down, it’s changes in management. B&N is struggling, yes, but look at how many devices and changes they’ve made to the ebook market since William Lynch became CEO. Previously, Lynch was the president of BN.com, and his experience with the internet has translated to a strong ebook strategy as CEO….


Amazon Releases First Kindle Fire Firmware Update

It has been two weeks since the Kindle Fire stormed on to the market, with loads of pre-orders fueling an extremely successful Holiday period for the product. I am still finishing up my review, and Dan has already sent his back … and last night Amazon released the first firmware update for the Fire. Here are the details from Amazon: We have a new, free software update available for Kindle Fire. This software upgrade provides improvements to the operation of your Kindle Fire. If you are not sure what software version you’re running, tap the Quick Settings icon, tap “More,”…


Grid Detective for Kindle Review

I am a huge sucker for logic games. When I was a kid, we used to do them all the time in school, and I have very fond memories of drawing my grid, X-ing out the wrong choices, studying the clues, and cracking the puzzle. Last week I was trolling the Kindle bestsellers lists, and stumbled upon Grid Detective; it was free, it was the logic puzzles from my childhood, I had to try it! Gameplay is extremely straightforward. You start with a paragraph explaining the scenario (the puzzle I am on now involves four friends reupholstering furniture) and the…