The publishing industry may be struggling, but you wouldn’t know it from the success of some ebook writers, including one who has become the first self-published author to sell 1 million Kindle downloads.
Even the most accessible books about business and personal finance can tend to be dry reads. That’s why a publishing company is releasing a handful of these titles in the always fun comic book format.
In an effort to get more magazines and newspapers onto the Kindle platform, Amazon has begun offering publishers up to 70% of the revenue their periodicals bring in. To get the cash, publishers would have to make their rags available on not just Amazon’s hardware Kindle, but on the Kindle app on phones and computers. The deal could make it easier for consumers to read, say, the latest imponderable Malcolm Gladwell essay, and keep their place when moving from computer to phone to iPad. It could also undermine efforts by Apple to position the iPad as the best platform evar for periodicals.
If you’re in the market for high school or college study guides and you have access to an iDevice from Apple, Kaplan is giving away 90 different titles between now and August 30th through the Apple iBookstore. Sadly, you can’t access the iBookstore on iTunes, so you’ll have to get to it through an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Barnes & Noble shares are soaring after it announced that it was up for sale and may even go private, or merge with Borders.
The best way to understand Geek Squad is to realize that they will help you with anything if it means they can charge you a fee. Want batteries in your remote control? Having trouble putting a USB plug into its port? Need to know the time? OPTIMIZE IT WITH GEEK SQUAD. Those are just solid business ideas and not (yet) actual services, but Geek Squad’s real offerings are almost as absurd. For example, Nate from the-digital-reader.com snapped this photo of their newish “eBook Device Setup” service for your Nook or Sony Reader, which promises to turn it on (“provide a functionality check”) and show you how to read (“what to expect when you take the device home”).
A new class action suit filed in California takes issue with how the iPad shuts off automatically if it overheats. In particular, however, the suit claims that the marketing phrase “reading on the iPad is just like reading a book” is misleading, and that Apple is therefore engaging in fraud and misleading consumers. This is great news for me, because I was thinking of suing Apple for not providing dustjackets for iBookstore titles but my friends told me I shouldn’t.
Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical.
Imagine trying to buy a book from Big Generic Bookstore and watching the cashier add $5 to the sticker price. “What are you doing?!” you cry out, waving a fist menacingly at him. “You look like you can afford it,” he says back to you with a hint of entitltement. That’s basically what a publishing industry expert said in a piece he wrote last week about ebook pricing.
After refusing to sell any Macmillan books or ebooks for three days, Amazon.com today gave in to demands by the publisher that it start charging $15 for Macmillan ebooks, rather than Amazon’s customary $9.99. In a statement, Amazon warned that customers might “rebel against such a high price for books that cost far less to distribute than physical books.” Will they also rebel against a $259, black-and-white, DRM-laden e-reader that doesn’t let you share or re-sell books that you “own,” and can yank them back without notice at any time?
Earlier this week, I posted about Kate’s bad experience getting her Sony Reader upgraded. She hadn’t asked for an update, but was told by Sony to send it in, she says. What she got back was a busted Reader that wouldn’t work, and a demand from Sony to pay for any repairs.
Happily, over the past two days Sony reps have been in contact with Kate and made things whole again.
I’m not usually amused at the customer service horror stories that arrive in our in box, but this one is just so over the top that I can’t help but laugh incredulously. The lesson here, which Kate sadly learned for all of us, is if Sony ever asks you out of nowhere to send in your Reader for an update, run away.
Shortcovers, an ebook retailer that I recommended to a Sony Reader owner last month, has morphed into something called kobobooks.com, and it’s now partially owned by Borders. If you own an ereader other than a Kindle, or if you read ebooks primarily on a smartphone, you might want to add it to your list of sources for ebooks.
Update: Barnes & Noble says they’re changing this policy. If you or someone you know is getting a nook, Barnes & Noble’s version of the Kindle, this year and you want to use a gift card to fill it with books, forget it. For mysterious reasons, the retailer won’t allow it. (By contrast, Amazon does.)