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Ereaders, phones, tablets & reading apps

New Kindle App Options Not As Great As Amazon Presents
May 27, 2015 | 5:25 pm

Screenshot_2015-05-27-14-47-02I noticed this morning that my Kindle for iOS app had been updated and included the new font, Bookerly, plus new reading enhancing improvements. Here's what Amazon has to say about the improvements: Faster Reading, Less Eye Strain Hyphenation plus smoother word spacing result in faster reading with less eye strain. Improved character placement increases word recognition speed at any font size. Nate covered this story at Ink, Bits & Pixels, and has been in back and forth conversations with several people on Twitter who were not noticing the improvements. So I decided to take a look According to the Amazon page, the improvements are...

Kobo, American Booksellers Association launch ‘eRead Local’ promotion to boost bookstore e-book sales
May 27, 2015 | 4:12 pm

Kobo is launching a new program in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association to promote the sale of e-books in independent bookstores, reports Publishers Weekly. “eRead Local” will run for 100 days, and provide $5 to participating ABA members for each new customer they deliver, as well as give those customers $5 off their first Kobo e-book order. (ABA members also get commissions on e-books their customers order.) ABA members who manage to deliver 50 or 100 members will enter drawings for free Kobo e-readers for in-store use or an in-store event with a yet-to-be-named bestselling author. Publishers Weekly...

Are People ‘Returning’ to Print Books?
April 16, 2015 | 9:25 am

print vs paperIn today's Morning Links, I featured an Apartment Therapy article which worked my pet peeve chestnut: the 'print books versus ebooks' debate. I hate this one so, so much. I think it's a really simple-minded analysis to treat print and eBook as a zero-sum game with a winner and a loser. Many readers, such as myself, freely purchase both types of book. I personally do have paper book shelf space, I just choose carefully what I fill it with and favour the artsy, beautiful ones that just don't translate as well to e-forms. So, why did I feature this article, then?...

eReading while cruising
December 19, 2014 | 10:27 am

ereadingWhen I mentioned to Chris Meadows that I was leaving for my first ever cruise, he suggested I write something about ereading while cruising. I wasn't sure how I'd approach that, until I'd been on the ship for a couple of days. It was interesting to walk around the decks and see what devices people were using. Here's what I saw. The first day, Nooks outnumbered Kindles, but that turned out to be a fluke. After that first day, I saw only one other Nook. Kindles abounded, although most of them were the eInk versions. I saw lots of Paperwhites, one Touch,...

Groupon offers 16 GB 2013 Nexus 7 for $150
December 9, 2014 | 7:38 pm

If you were disappointed when Google stopped selling the Nexus 7, this deal on Groupon might make you feel a little better. Groupon is offering a new, not-refurbished 16 GB 2013 Nexus 7 for $149.99. That’s $50 less than Amazon’s price. That’s the generation 2 model, with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2 gigs of RAM, and a full 1080P display, capable of running Android 5.0 Lollipop without breaking a sweat. Made by Asus, branded by Google. The high-resolution, 323 pixels-per-inch display is one of the best you can get for e-reading short of an e-ink display. ...

Motorola’s ‘Duet’ tells a story as only a smartphone can
November 20, 2014 | 7:41 pm

Screenshot_2014-11-20-18-35-16I was just answering a message on Google Hangouts in my Moto X when I saw a blue stylized figure of a ballet dancer dance across the bottom of the screen. It left a glowing blue circle that I tapped on, and I was presented with a screen that said “Duet”. This puzzled me, as I certainly hadn’t installed anything by that name lately. A quick Google revealed that this was a new animated short from Motorola’s Moto X Spotlight Player. Directed by veteran ex-Disney animator Glen Keane, “Duet” tells the story of a boy and a girl who...

Personal hotspots: Wal-Mart vs. Karma
November 5, 2014 | 6:12 pm

karmaIn March of this year, I took a look at the current options for pay-as-you-go cellular wi-fi hotspots—just the thing for giving wi-fi-only tablets and e-readers connectivity wherever you go. At the time, I switched over from TruConnect to Wal-Mart’s equivalent 3G MiFi, to get away from TruConnect’s $5 per month fee, and was more or less happy with it, as far as it went. But one of the other competitors I mentioned at the time, Karma, is about to change things up, and it looks like it might just be worth trying. A lot of people with smartphones...

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

Amazon’s $99 Fire HD shines for library and public domain books—and here are a few related tips
October 30, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Thumbs up on Amazon's Fire HD 6 from Len Edgerly of the Kindle Chronicles. Amazon’s new Fire HD 6, a $99 tablet computer, might be catnip for frugal lovers of library and public domain e-books who don’t need a cell phone in the same gadget. Libraries themselves, in fact, may want to loan out HDs and other Amazon models while experimenting with other brands, too. The six-inch screen’s resolution is 1280x800, and the pixel count is 252 per inch. That’s equal to many cell phones selling for twice as much. 252 ppi is just 48 ppi shy of the 300-ppi of the Voyage, the new top-of-the-line E Ink reader from Amazon. The HD 6’s screen should also...

Magazine publishers unhappy with Apple Newsstand
October 16, 2014 | 10:01 pm

newsstandDigital magazines for tablets have long had a number of problems, not the least of which being that it’s considerably easier for people to make their own “magazines” via RSS readers or other content aggregators such as Flipboard. But Digiday reports that magazine publishers are finding Apple’s Newsstand app problematic in new ways as well. In iOS 7, Apple changed the way Newsstand worked so users were no longer notified if there was a new issue of their magazine available. It doesn’t let users put shortcuts to their magazines on their home screens either. Its ability to download issues...

Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 tells Adobe what books you’re reading
October 7, 2014 | 6:10 pm

imageYesterday, Nate broke quite a story over on The Digital Reader about Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 sending information in the clear about the e-books you read. It got picked up by The Passive Voice, Ars Technica, GigaOm, TechDirt, Slashdot, BoingBoing, the list goes on and on. Congrats on the scoop, Nate! (Frankly, I’m amazed his blog is still up, given all the traffic this has to be sending his way.) He posted another story today indicating that the bug doesn’t seem to affect prior versions. Effectively, ADE 4.0 gathers up a bunch of information on the books you open...

Barnes & Noble removes ability to download its e-books outside of the Nook ecosystem
September 18, 2014 | 9:54 pm

I’m hesitant to believe this story Nate’s reporting, even after clicking the links and reading the sources for myself. How could anyone in the modern e-book market be this dumb? But the writing seems to be on the wall. Barnes & Noble has removed the “Download” button from its e-book library,  [Update: Nate’s posted another piece indicating B&N cited “security” as the reason for the change.] It’s no longer possible to download a book directly from the B&N web site to your hard drive by saving it from your B&N e-book library through your browser. And that...

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