Archive for the ‘E-reader’ Category
The Nook is sold out, Barnes & Noble just announced. All orders from here on out won’t arrive until January 4th. Jeff Bezos is laughing, you know the laugh. There will be a Kindle under every Christmas tree and Chanukah bush! Another reason Sony should’ve had their new e-reader ready for the holidays.
A new report by Flurry out today says that Apple’s iPhone is quickly becoming the ebook reader of choice for many, and could steal market share from Amazon’s Kindle. Flurry claims that in October, one out of every five new apps that launched on the iPhone was a book.
But while Flurry’s chart (above) measures the number of new eBook apps there are, it doesn’t tell you if anyone’s actually reading them. It’s a little like the “Russian bride 4u” emails – they somehow make it to your in-box, but who opens these?
Another point made by John Herrman at Gizmodo – he searched the app store for the book Treasure Island – turns out it’s available for purchase as a standalone app from over a dozen different developers. Because it’s a free, public domain book, it’s a cinch for developers to drop the text in an app. Does the fact that creating an eBook app is a relatively simple process have anything to do with the hostile takeover?
If anyone reading this blog (or any other blog) is devouring Treasure Island on their iPhone, I think I would like to know.
Barnes & Noble’s new Nook eReader will come with LendMe technology, which will allow you to lend your e-books to friends and family. A big win for consumers. The blogosphere is completely in love with LendMe, identifying this as the Nook’s #1 advantage over the Kindle.
But according to Publishers Lunch, execs at most of the biggest trade houses have not yet agreed to participate in LendMe. They’re thinking how do we do this without killing revenues and ourselves? One Nook reviewer outlines a few different lending scenarios book publishers might consider. Everyone’s favorite Nook talking point isn’t set in stone.
The most underreported advantage of the Nook over the Kindle: The 40,000 B&N booksellers who will serve as in-store cheerleaders and educators for the device. (a poor man’s Apple Genius if you will). Customers will be able to take the Nook for a test drive at B&Ns around the country.
I moderated a panel today at the MPA Innovation Summit, and, as is always the case, Mary Lou Jepsen blew me away.
Mary Lou is the founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, whose amazing display technology is about to make its debut on a variety of new devices. First up is a tablet that Mary Lou said would be announced by an as-yet undisclosed OEM, perhaps in November.
She was toting around the latest build of the Pixel Qi screen, which had been grafted onto a garden-variety netbook, and it was exponentially better than what she showed me at the start of the summer. This baby is finally ready for prime time.
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My former colleague Erick Schonfeld tweeted that question the other day.
I replied, “Links are for browsing the Web, not for lean-back reading experiences like books and mags.” Actually, I tweeted back something with more typos than that, but whatever, Erick replied:
“Right, I got that. So you would strip out all links from digital magazines, even if they are being read on a Web tablet?”
As usual, Erick got right to the heart of the problem, namely: How closed off from the Web will digital magazines on tablets be? This is a huge question because if the answer is, e-mags won’t be cut off from the Web at all, it leaves the barn door open, doesn’t it? Because if e-mags on tablets are just like Web sites, and there are links pointing you away from the product, we’re right back to the wide-open Web again. And we know that people don’t expect to pay for stuff on the Web.
But if you cut off the digital magazine from the Web, isn’t that a bit, well, Draconian? Don’t readers expect to be able to, at the very least, augment their understanding by using Wikipedia or (fill in your favorite reference site here)? And likewise, shouldn’t a digital magazine have a variety of Web services built in—news feeds from the mag’s website, say, or Twitter feeds?
There are no good answers to these questions yet, in part because there are no good examples yet of either digital magazines, or the tablets that will support them. I think many approaches will be tried once the good devices start to arrive.
I suspect though that the first digital magazines will use a less-is-more approach. This works for e-books, which don’t have links in the text, of course. Similarly, magazines are meant to be read—or at least “paged” through—cover to cover. Why would we put links or other devices that would pull the reader away from the product? I think the first-gen e-mags will assume that readers are subscribing so that they can immerse themselves in the magazine itself. The experience is similar to how many apps on the iPhone work—if you want to look something up on Wikipedia, you must leave the app. Yes, there are some apps that allow a kind of in-app browsing, but that tends to be a fairly gnarly experience and generally serves to keep users within the app.
So in summary: Magazines don’t need links. They should be like wonderful applications, surprising and delightful and fluid to use. If you want to browse the Web, close the app.
I assume Erick is interested in this because TechCrunch is working on its own tablet, which is really just a net-tablet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that and in the end, he/TechCrunch might be right—i.e. “It’s the Web, stupid.” But I hope not.
Gizmodo is my favorite gadget blog and its editor, Brian Lam, is one of the best reporter/editors in Techland. But in regards to his story today, according to my sources, his sources are flat-out wrong. Apple has not been meeting with publishers to prepare them for, well, whatever it is they’re doing next.
Have people at Apple been talking to people from the NY Times? I’d be surprised if they haven’t. They always talk. Apple has excellent relationships with plenty of big media companies. But I’m told Brian incorrectly characterized the conversations that the NYT and other unnamed media have had with Apple.
In fact, I think Apple has not yet discussed the much-rumored iTablet, or whatever it is, with anyone yet—at least, not in a way that would cause a media company to act. Hell, just yesterday, in what looks like the most credible unsourced (meaning no one is speaking on the record) story yet, iLounge said Jobs hadn’t even signed off on the next device.
Of course, if indeed Apple launches something in late January, I’d be just as shocked if it didn’t have some cool app on it from the NYT or other Big Media Co. But those preparations haven’t been discussed yet.