Not so Fast

You know how technology is basically ruining all of our lives? Wait, what?

You know what I mean. Companies are constantly trying to alter how we do something. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it isn’t. And sometimes we humans resist the change with all of our might.

There are apps for just about everything. You can just about avoid stepping foot into any brick and mortar establishment. Heck, if you work from home you could be a hermit and have everything else delivered to you via drone. Okay, not just yet.

Well Pew has once again released its findings regarding our reading habits. Though more people are reading on smartphones and tablets, the overwhelming majority are still reading on the good ol paper. I guess we like having to adjust our reading based on the available lighting. Ha!
Take that, technology! You can’t win them all!

Check Your Amazon Accounts!

You know that little court case that’s been slithering through the system for a few years now? The one that alleged Apple conspired with publishers against Amazon to raise eBook prices. Well Apple (the lone remaining party) has finally exhausted all of its legal challenges and has agreed to pay $400 million to customers who purchased eBooks between 2010 and 2012. If you did then you should have an Amazon credit on your account right now. The amount will depend on the number of NYT bestsellers and other ebooks you purchased.

I’m not sure if it’s a digital credit or a regular one. So check!

I’m glad Apple has finally had to fork over some money. Screw them and the publishers for what they did and getting caught. The publishers have all settled already.

NYC Schools to Get E-Books From Amazon

Finally. I imagine other large districts have already done the same, but Amazon just secured a $30 million deal to provide textbooks in digital format to NYC schools.

The new deal won’t include Amazon devices, but the company will create a platform specifically for the district to purchase the textbooks and use on the devices the district already has.

When I was in school I never carried around my textbooks. Because there were too many and they were much too heavy to lug around all day. This makes perfect sense to me. And it’ll save plenty of trees in the process. Win-win.

What do you think of Amazon and the NYC schools reaching this agreement?

Google Releases Books for Smartphones

I can’t speak for the behavior of others, but I’ve had an Android device for nearly three years and I’ve never thought to buy books from Google Play. I mean, I’m sure the formatting is okay. I’m sure reading books bought from the Google Play store is minimally different from Kindle books or iBooks. But eh, it just hasn’t happened.

Google obviously knows there’s money to be earned from selling eBooks, and now they’re adapting. They recently released two books that are meant to be read on smartphones. They’re interactive and very short “reads”. And more could be on the way.

I imagine these kinds of interactive books are geared toward younger readers, but if you could get through a nice little interactive eBook in 30-60 minutes, then why not give them a try, right?

Two questions. Do you ever read books on your smartphone? Would you be interested in these interactive eBooks Google is betting on?

Harry Potter News!

I just read something I think some of you might be interested in. It has to do with the boy who lived. Can you guess it? New book? New movie? New…anything?

All wrong. The series is finally available to purchase from the Kindle Store. It’s long been available to read on Kindle via Kindle Unlimited, but now the books are available to buy, mostly because more money will be earned from the sale of the books than was earned from the borrowing of them through Amazon’s book subscription service.

The books are each priced at $8.99, which looks to be right in the middle of popular YA series on Kindle. Some are as low as $2.99. Others are $10.99.

How many of you are interested in owning the series on Kindle? I’m not because I already have it in print, and I paid much less than $9 a book for two paperbacks and five hardcovers.

Is the Battle Between Print and Digital Officially Over?

As you may or may not know, the battle between print and ebooks may be over. And the winner is print.

Pew Research Center just released the results of their survey taken earlier this year that puts the market share of ebooks even lower than the generally accepted 30%. It’s in the twenties. And it’s not rising.

Print also isn’t rising, but the world of publishing would be perfectly fine with print making up anywhere from 65%-75% of the market. Publishers might even be ecstatic. A few years ago it looked as though the Kindle and ebooks would send print books to their ultimate demise. But that looks about as likely as me becoming president.

What do you think of the results of this survey? It’s not something that surprises me one bit.

Wrong Again

Not me, of course. But many others. How many times have you heard about the decline of the book? Or that people aren’t reading anymore? Or that eBooks will put an end to print books?

New sales numbers just released prove otherwise. EBook sales are down year over year roughly 10 percent. Paperback sales are up more than 5 percent. The Kindle hasn’t killed anything. And Amazon hasn’t killed or taken anything over. People are still reading. And it appears that the ridiculous prices of eBooks are turning people off of buying eBooks when the paperback version is almost certainly cheaper, and the hardcover version is just about the same price.

What do you think about eBook sales now stalling for multiple years in a row and a relative resurgence happening with print books?

Oyster Has Shut Down

You know what Kindle Unlimited is, right? And maybe even Scribd? They’re book subscription services. They’re really the only players in the business at the moment. And I imagine it staying that way for some time.

Oyster was the third player, and now they’re no more. Which isn’t surprising when you really think about it. Are people really clamoring to read the books available in these subscription services? I don’t think so. And the Big 5 contracts they did have only allowed for them to list older titles. Quite frankly, I think the idea of a book subscription service is pretty dumb. I’m not into reading current titles, but I know SO many people are. They want to read books released in the last year or two. Not something from 1997. Once they couldn’t get significant deals with the major publishers, they should have realized what would ultimately happen. How many people does it take to see that Oyster was doomed from the start? I don’t have an answer.

There is a positive. The founders are headed to Google. So there’s that.

What do you think of Oyster shutting down? I’ve expected it to happen since I first found out about them. The service just isn’t something I think people want.


On this day in 2014 I published Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks.

 

Changing Times for eBooks

When you think of reading eBooks, which retailers do you think of? For me it comes down to three or four retailers. Amazon. Apple. Google. Barnes and Noble. I know there’s Kobo too, but they don’t have any kind of traction here in the US. ┬áBarnes and Noble’s Nook is a nice experience. I’ve played on several devices before. But let’s face it, the entire future of the Nook is a giant question mark. Then comes Apple, which may or may not have colluded with major publishers to increase eBook prices. That leaves us with Google and Amazon.

I have an Android device and I’ve never once read a book on it. But I imagine Play Books is right up there with Apple and Amazon as far as its user experience. And now they’re trying to make it even better. Google and Amazon have both recently changed the fonts of their eBooks. Both were changed after extensive research into a variety of factors that affected one’s ability to read on their devices. I sometimes download books on to my Kindle, but I haven’t actually read on it in quite some time.

I applaud both companies for trying to make it easier to read on their devices, but I have to be completely honest here. I have one of the very first Kindle models, which leads me to believe that it would already be a bit more difficult to read on my device than on some of the newer models like the Paperwhite or the Voyage. And I’ve never had any issue with the font. It isn’t too small to start. It isn’t difficult to read. And I’ve read so much about the big gaps and spaces between words and letters in books because there hasn’t been any hyphenation before the new font, but I’ve never come across anything that looked out of order or weird. So props to both companies for improving the user experiences of their eBook readers, but I can’t say I’ve ever felt a new font was necessary.

The name of Amazon’s new font is Bookerly. The name of Google’s new font is Literata.

What about you? Have you ever been reading on your Kindle or Android device and just wanted a better, more aesthetic font for your reading?

President Obama Announces eBook Program for Low-Income Children

I read about this a few days ago and knew I’d have to write about it here. Ya’ll know how the Big Five publishing companies hardly ever seem to be on the same page about anything? Well they’re all on board for this.

Here’s what’s happening. Publishers (Big Five included) are giving away $250 million worth of free eBooks through an app developed by the New York Public Library to young, low-income readers. Of course, it’s a little unfortunate that it’s eBooks and not printed books because we all know that these low-income households may not have internet access or an appropriate device to read these eBooks on.

Which is why the White House is also running a program through dozens of cities and counties across the country to get every student a library card. One of the goals of all of this, besides getting these children reading, is to get them into their neighborhood libraries. Because if they don’t have internet access or an eReader, then libraries can become that reading haven for them.

What do you think about the White House and major publishers working together on a program that can put a lot of eBooks into the hands of many children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them?


On this day in 2014 I published Saturday Selects: The Beauty of Country Music.