The book-seller Borders may become the first casualty of a changing publishing industry. According to reports, the company has been delaying payments to book publishers in order to help refinance its debt.
Borders is the second largest book retailers in the U.S., after Barnes & Noble, but even so, Borders says "there can be no assurance" that these refinancing efforts will be successful in keeping the company afloat.
Electronista likens Borders' downward spiral to that of Circuit City, noting the similarity between the companies' "lack of faith" from suppliers who no longer trusted credit from the chain. According to the blog, Borders has lost $74.4 million in its most recent quarter and has lost money in most every quarter for the past two years, save during the holiday season when sales helped prop up profits.
It isn't simply a downturn in the economy or in the publishing world that has put Borders in trouble. Unlike Barnes & Noble and Amazon, Borders has not built its own e-reader hardware. The company has partnered with Kobo, a spin-off of Canadian publishing company Indigo Books & Music, and offers a branded Borders e-bookstore and reader but only via the Kobo software and hardware.
As e-books have exploded in popularity, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have found themselves well placed, and there have been rumors of Borders buying Barnes & Noble, in no small part in order gain a share of the lucrative e-book business.
If Borders does go belly up, the results could have a ripple effect on the e-book industry. Kobo would clearly suffer by losing its major partner, a shame as Kobo is one of the few supporters for open-formats for publishing. But there seems to be plenty of other companies - Apple and Amazon - that have the (DRM) e-books ready to deliver.
Blog piece by Audrey Watters of ReadWriteWeb.com.
Newly approved Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is a Kindle user, while longtime conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wields an iPad.
This nugget of information appeared in a recent video clip on C-SPAN. Both justices use the devices (plus hard copy printouts) to read the vast quantities of written material they must wade through — up to 40 or 50 briefs for each case, Kagan says in the video above.
The news, however, made us wonder about something of far more pressing national importance: Is this a deep ideological divide on the Supreme Court?
Would Scalia see things differently if he read opinions on the monochrome Kindle? Does Kagan need a dose of iPad color, and maybe a round or two of Flight Control HD between court sessions?
Are Kindle-wielding Justices writing angry “Mactard” and “fanboi” comments on the opinions of their opponents, while the Mac-loving faction refuses to talk or even think about anything that wasn’t designed in Cupertino?
Nah, that doesn’t seem realistic.
Original post by Dylan F. Tweney and can be found here: http://is.gd/iT5TY
A buying guide to eReaders and Tablets.
If you want to enjoy a good digital book, newspaper or magazine (yes even a magazine) an e-book reader is a smart choice. Prices have plunged this year, and the E Ink screens on many of these devices have improved somewhat, which means the options are better than ever for digital bookworms.
E-book readers do not snatch as many headlines as other gadgets, but the market is flooded with options. Some of these models are superb, while many could be classified as atrocious. We will focus first on the industry’s four front-runners, and then have a look at the options that will colour your buying decision.
The Kindle is the best-selling reader, and is part of a whole ecosystem of Amazon-provided e-books and software, so you can read the same books on your PC, smartphone or Kindle. Though expensive in its earlier generations, the latest iteration sports a budget price, great connectivity options and a wide selection thanks to Amazon’s Kindle store.
Flagship model: Kindle 3 (3G)
Supported formats: TXT, AZW, PDF, HTML, Mobipocket
Hidden perk: Amazon has a free service that converts HTML pages and Word documents to a Kindle-friendly format.
Price: $190 (with 3G and Wi-Fi)
Barnes & Noble Nook
B&N entered the e-reading fray with its Nook. Despite mixed reviews of the Android-powered interface, the color touchscreen, large e-book selection and cross-promotions with the brick-and-mortar stores are clear high points.
Storefront: Nookbook Store
Flagship model: Nook Color
Supported file formats: eReader PDB, ePUB, PDF
Hidden perk: Connecting the Nook to B&N’s in-store WiFi grants you an hour’s worth of reading of any e-book title.
Price: $250 (Wi-Fi only)
Sony’s middling e-readers have not exactly been critical darlings, but they are still solid and dependable. Sturdy, compact chassis and daylight-viewable E-Ink displays are the norm across models.
Storefront: Sony Reader Store
Flagship model: Sony Reader: Daily Edition
Supported file formats: TXT, PDF, ePUB, BBeB Book, RTF, DOC
Hidden perk: Protected PDF and ePUB allows users to check out e-books from participating libraries.
Yes, we know the iPad is a tablet, not a dedicated eReader, but it is still a viable option for reading books. On top of launching an iTunes-esque bookstore, Apple has lent the iPad its UI razzle-dazzle, making for one of the most polished e-reading interfaces.
Flagship model: iPad 3G (32GB)
Supported file formats: ePUB, PDF
Hidden perk: iBooks comes with a free copy of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Like the rest of the gadget world, e-readers are in the midst of their own format war. Luckily, it is less contentious than most. While some devices support proprietary and DRM-locked file formats (like Amazon’s AZW for the Kindle), almost all readers also embrace standards like plain text (TXT), Adobe’s portable document format (PDF) and HTML.
Unfortunately, the most popular e-book reader, the Kindle, does not support the most ubiquitous e-book format, EPUB. Almost every other e-reader supports this open standard, but Amazon has balked, preferring to push its own format —, which, of course, no other e-book reader can utilize.
Before deciding on a reader, it is worth exploring its supported formats and the preferences of its associated storefront. After all, spending an arm and a leg on a virtual library you cannot read is pointless.
Connectivity of the 3G variety is the “power door lock” of e-readers. Adding the feature increases the price, but the no-frills day-to-day convenience makes up for it. Being able to browse and download titles sans computer and without a Wi-Fi hotspot grants you true mobility, and the pairing of high-speed throughput with relatively small file transfers means instant gratification. Even the monthly bill has been erased from the equation, as most 3G-ready readers on today’s market include lifetime connectivity in the purchase price.
However, it is worthwhile to consider the reliability of the wireless provider chained to your e-reader of choice. If you are an AT&T subscriber who is experiencing service problems, you are likely to see similar performance in your AT&T 3G-powered Kindle. Remember, wireless connectivity has its share of quirks.
MP3 capabilities usually feel extraneous in anything short of an iPod. However, the feature can add a great deal of value to an e-reader. On top of e-versions of your favourite books, an MP3-capable device can also download audiobooks, or offer old-fashioned music playback. Though this is the norm in high-end hybrid devices like the iPad and Nook Color (which do full-fledged video playback), even modest readers from Sony and Amazon sport some kind of support.
Bookmarks and Annotation
Annotation and reference chops are standard on e-readers, but they are worth exploring nevertheless. If your reader is likely to be used in an academic or professional setting, then being able to highlight, save and annotate passages is incredibly useful. The trend of baking in onboard reference materials like dictionaries has caught on, as well (though they are unlikely to make “Jabberwocky” more decipherable). Each reader handles these tasks and tools in a slightly different fashion, so if your goal is critical reading, be sure to do your homework.
E-Ink vs. LCD
It is not a battle of “peanut butter vs. chocolate” proportions, but the e-reader community is definitely opinionated about the superiority of one tech over another. Here is a quick rundown:
E Ink: This display tech relies on millions of positively and negatively charged microcapsules. Switching the polarity effectively shifts their positions, producing non-backlit, grayscale images and text (think: Etch-A-Sketch). The lack of backlighting is reported to be easier on the eyes, though problematic for night reading. It is extremely low on power consumption, since it draws power only when changing the screen.
LCD: This tech in e-readers is just like on your smartphone or monitor. It’s color, high-contrast, and typically sports much better resolution than E-Ink. It comes with its share of setbacks too. Powering all that sweetness is incredibly taxing in terms of battery life, and long periods of staring at the (constantly flickering) backlight has been known to cause eye strain.
Though we have our preferences (E Ink for novels, LCD for periodicals), we can’t speak for everyone. Our advice is to get your hands (and eyes!) on each type of display, and get a feel for what is most comfortable for you.
Original contribution by Terrence Russell and can be found here: http://is.gd/iEJC5
Chinese company Hanvon Technology is set to unveil the first full-color tablet using e-ink technology, at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo Tuesday.The e-ink tablet has a 9.68-inch color touchscreen with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. It will be available for $440 in China this March — about $150 less than the cost of a 16GB, Wi-Fi-only iPad in China.
With a 78% share of the market, Hanvon is the most popular maker of e-readers in China.
Black-and-white e-ink is currently used in the displays of 90% of e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’s Nook, according to The New York Times.
After the success of Apple’s iPad as an e-reading device and Barnes & Nobles’s recent announcement that the second-generation Nook would use a color LCD screen (rather than black-and-white e-ink), it seemed the days of colorless e-ink devices might be numbered. The addition of color could make e-readers more exciting for consumers who dislike the relatively short battery lives and glare of tablets with LCD displays.
Still, the new e-ink displays, which are produced by laying a color filter over standard black-and-white e-ink screens, are neither as vivid nor sharp as their LCD counterparts — The New York Times likened them to “faded color photograph[s]” — nor can they handle full-motion video.
Neither Amazon nor Sony have confirmed that e-readers with color e-ink are in the works.
“On a list of things that people want in e-readers, color always comes up,” Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, told The New York Times. “There’s no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant color. We’re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience,” he said.
Story by Lauren Indvik of Mashable
Image courtesy: New York Times
Have you heard of the FnacBook, Telecom Italia eBook or the Thalia Oyo? It is looking like they are all one and the same - a Sagem product called the Binder with a six-inch SiPix capacitive e-paper touchscreen. It also has the standard accelerometer, 2GB of internal flash, a microSD card slot and support for ePub and PDF, but there is one feature that sets it apart from the pack: a cellular modem that will give FnacBook buyers free 3G service a la the Amazon Kindle's Whispernet. French carrier SFR is subsidizing that little venture, so it's not part and parcel of buying into Sagem's device, but if you find yourself holding onto a different rebrand we suppose you'll still have 802.11 b/g WiFi for your Steig Larsson downloads. Fnac's already taking pre-orders at €199 (about $277); devices ship November 10th.
Original post by Sean Hollister and can be found here: http://bit.ly/ce7AdR
Not content to let the Kindle or iPad own the e-book space, Barnes & Noble has just announced its successor to the Nook, the NOOKcolor. The NOOKcolor is, as the name indicates, a color e-book reader and touchscreen tablet. It’s going to retail for $249 and is expected to start shipping on November 19.
The NOOKcolor features a 7-inch backlit IPS display and capacitive touchscreen. It weighs in at just under a pound and comes with 8GB of built-in memory, which can be expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card. It also features a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a micro-USB port. It also has built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Barnes & Noble rates battery life of up to eight hours with Wi-Fi turned off. While primarily an e-reader and web browser, the NOOKcolor can also playback audio files and *.MP4 video. It supports EPUB, PDF and TXT files, as well as Microsoft Office file formats.
Like the original Nook, NOOKcolor is built off of Google’s Android OS. It doesn’t look like the device will be able to access the Android Market directly, but Barnes & Noble has announced a NOOKdeveloper program. The NOOKcolor SDK is based on Android 2.1, so if you have an Android app already, porting it to the NOOKcolor shouldn’t be too difficult.
Already Barnes & Noble is touting the inclusion of apps like Pandora and built-in games like chess, Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Undoubtedly seeing the success that children’s books have found on the iPad, the NOOKcolor will also support the new Nook Kids platform.
While the original Nook was mostly a response — albeit with a few extra perks, like 14-day lending — to the original Amazon Kindle, we think it’s safe to say that with the NOOKcolor, Barnes & Noble has really upped the game. It is clear from the featureset that the true target of this device isn’t the new Kindle, but instead the iPad and other tablets.
Ultimately performance will dictate how well the NOOKcolor will stand up to devices like the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, but as it stands right now, the NOOKcolor looks like one of the most impressive e-readers to hit the market this year.
Original post by Christina Warren of Mashable and can be found here: http://on.mash.to/chCv96
E-readers and smartphones have brought big changes to the publishing industry, but Amazon.com is aiming to bring some more with a new format for shorter and cheaper e-books.
As it stands now, consumers read texts of a variety of lengths on these devices: long-form books, medium-length magazine articles, short blog posts or tiny Twitter updates.
All of these show up on the same screen, and none of them need to conform to the traditional lengths of printed products.
Recognizing these changes, Amazon on Tuesday introduced a new format it will begin selling in the Kindle Store, called Kindle Singles. The company describes these as texts that might be 10,000 to 30,000 words long. That would be roughly 30 to 90 pages of a printed book.
Amazon said in a press release that Kindle Singles could be “twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book,” and would be priced much less than standard books.
While Amazon is trying to offer a shorter book format for consumers, it is also offering a solution for writers who don’t have a traditional publisher.
In the press release, Amazon said its announcement was “a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world.”
This medium-length format has traditionally been difficult for writers to sell to publishers as it doesn’t fit into the mold of a printing-press distribution model. In a digital distribution system, those pricing structures no longer exist, and a digital price can be adjusted accordingly.
By promoting this new format, Amazon can also avoid upsetting publishers who were frustrated with the company when it introduced its own self-publishing product, allowing writers to price and directly sell their content on the Kindle platform.
The new storefront isn’t open for business yet as Amazon still needs to recruit writers of shorter texts. But when it gets started you can expect it to disrupt the publishing industry a little bit more.
Blog post by Nick Bilton of The New York Times and can be found here: http://nyti.ms/90irbS. Nick can be followed on Twitter: @nickbilton
Amazon's plan to succeed in the digital books game is becoming clearer and clearer--it will maximize its income by pushing Kindle content onto every possible platform. Now its new Web portal means you can even read 'em on your TV.
Moments after the BlackBerry PlayBook was revealed, Amazon announced it was going to launch a Kindle app for the new RIM product. It wasn't unusual for Amazon to take this step, given that the BlackBerry is such a prominent device and the PlayBook may see some of its own success, but the speed of the announcement was surprising.
Now it seems Amazon was clearing the decks for its announcement today: A Web portal for Kindle content. It's far more than a Web adaption of the existing Mac and PC apps. You can preview books more easily, then buy them from the same interface--and even embed clips from texts into your website (which lets you earn referral payments if your site's visitors then buy the text). There's one drawback of the Beta version: You can't read whole texts here yet. You have to use a full Kindle app on an e-reader, smartphone, Mac, or PC.
Nevertheless, Kindle for the Web may be the most potent tweak to the Amazon ecosystem yet. In one swoop, it brings e-book reading (backed by Amazon's own archive of texts) to any pretty much every screen that sports Web access. That means set-top boxes, games consoles, and every other device that connects to the Web using a browser. Amazon intends to get on your TV--and whatever device you use as your main screen in the future, Kindle has you covered.
You can find Kindle for Web here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1000579091
To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.
More proof, if you needed it, that e-Readers are a busted flush.
Borders has slashed the prices of E-Readers Kobo and Aluratek by $20, illustrating just how meh they've become in the tech world. The price drop is nothing new--both the Kindle and Nook, Amazon and Barnes & Noble's market leaders, have seen their prices slashed recently, and they're thought to be the most exciting brands in the sector. Nevertheless, whom does the news bode worst?
Well, on one front, it shows that Borders is in a bit of trouble (not unlike its main competitor, which is closing stores). It's throwing everything it's got at the e-Reader market--with iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry apps for the Kobo, as well as a bunch of freebies for consumers willing to back the Borders e-burro. And it's not just up against B&N and Amazon, which has now partnered with Staples to begin selling the Kindle in stores this fall. Both Apple and Google are also ramping up their assault on the printed word, with Apple's iBook store already on the market, and Google Editions on its way.
But most of all, this news proves that, as my colleague Kit Eaton pointed out a few months back, this is about as good as it gets for the e-Reader. It is not quite dead, but it's looking a bit peaky, like. The reason is, of course, the tablet. We all know about the iPad and at last, some competitors seem to be showing their faces. Moreover, this, of course, renders the e-Reader if not quite chocolate teapot territory, then one of those crappy ones made out of metal that burn your fingers when you pick it up by the handle.
This post was by Addy Dugdale of FastCompany and can be found here: http://is.gd/fOeiX
NosaDigital is an online store that provides electronic and audio books. NosaDigital sells fiction and non-fiction for both book formats. NosaDigital also deals in eBook readers as well as MP3 players, and iPods.
See our latest Tweets in our contacts page