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Digital Book News
Information about digital book content, software and hardware.
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E-Book Throwdown: Which Digital Library Service is Right for You? | Los Angeles Magazine

E-Book Throwdown: Which Digital Library Service is Right for You? | Los Angeles Magazine | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
E-book subscription service Scribd (you know, the Netflix for e-books) just beefed up its audiobook library. Today, they announced a partnership Penguin Random House Audio, which will expand their audiobook collection by 9,000 titles (bringing the service’s grand audiobook total to more than 45,000). The new audiobooks include Gone Girl, Game of Thrones, Runaway Jury, The Help, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and Fifty Shades of Grey—which, thankfully, is not narrated by Gilbert Gottfried, although several celebrities have lent their voices to many of the new offerings. With this expansion, how does Scribd stack up against its competitors? Here’s a look at the top e-book and audiobook services, what they cost, and what you get with each—plus our winning pick.
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The Best E-Book Service: Oyster Vs. Scribd Vs. Kindle Store Vs. iBooks | TechTimes

The Best E-Book Service: Oyster Vs. Scribd Vs. Kindle Store Vs. iBooks | TechTimes | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
There are pros and cons on both sides of the paper vs. e-book debate, but let's face it — e-books are easy to read, as tablets offer brightness adjustments, zooming and letter resizing.

They're more convenient than lugging around a 700-page novel and are more environmentally friendly because you're saving trees!

There are a few popular tablets selling themselves as readers – such as Amazon's Kindle or Barnes and Noble's Nook – though any smartphone or tablet can be used as an e-reader. But when it comes to buying e-books, what's the best service?

Let's take a look at how Oyster stacks up against Scribd, Kindle Store and iBooks.
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A Massive Study to Understand E-Reading Starts in Europe Next Week | Good-E-Reader

A Massive Study to Understand E-Reading Starts in Europe Next Week | Good-E-Reader | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
The European Commission is funding a new study to understand reading comprehension when it comes to reading digital content, such as e-Books. It starts next week and will be ongoing until until 2017. This is poised to be the most comprehensive research report ever attempted.

The research is being conducted by EU READ, which is a consortium of European reading promotion organisations. The members who belong to the organization makeup scientific and research institutions located in Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria,Portugal, Stavanger, and Norway.
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More Consolidation in the Publishing Business | the scholarly kitchen

More Consolidation in the Publishing Business | the scholarly kitchen | Digital Book News | Scoop.it

The recent news that Rakuten is acquiring OverDrive, as Gary Price reports on Infodocket, is, or is not, news. It’s news if you didn’t see this coming (shame on you!), but not news if you have been observing the industry of late. As I have noted on the Kitchen before, the environment is ripe for consolidation. We will see more of it in the months ahead. Sometimes consolidation is simply a matter of buying up market share, a tried and true strategy in mature markets, and sometimes there is a deeper component to it–that is, it repositions the acquiring company either to more easily fend off competitors or to open up new market possibilities. Rakuten, which owns Kobo, Amazon’s principal rival on the international stage, is perhaps doing both: it is landing a punch on Amazon’s nose and simultaneously acquiring some new capabilities in the library and retail markets.

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Three Ways to Do More with ONIX | Digital Book World | Digital Book World

Three Ways to Do More with ONIX | Digital Book World | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
A quick primer: ONIX is a list of tags that we in the book trade have agreed to use to describe our books to each other. Arbitrary though they may be, the consistency prevents confusion.

Take an author’s name, for example. The people who decided on ONIX tag names could have chosen “Author Name” or “Author First Name” or “Author Last Name.” But they settled on tags like “Contributor” and “KeyNames.” So now everyone who sends or receives an ONIX message knows exactly what the data mean.

Having a lingua franca such as this is hugely helpful. Over a decade after ONIX was first introduced, it’s no wonder that, nowadays, being able to describe your books using ONIX is now an absolute necessity for any publisher, large or small.
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Interview with editors of 'The American Yawp,' a free history textbook ... | Inside Higher Ed

Interview with editors of 'The American Yawp,' a free history textbook ... | Inside Higher Ed | Digital Book News | Scoop.it

"I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world," Walt Whitman declares in Leaves of Grass. How he ended the line without an exclamation point always puzzled me, but maybe it was implicit. The poet sang "the body electric," and every line was meant to zap the reader into a higher state of awareness.

 

Whitman would have been pleased to see the new American history textbook called The American Yawp -- and not just for its allusive title. As a sometime school teacher and educational reformer, he wanted "free, ample and up-to-date textbooks, preferably by the best historians" (to quote one discussion of this aspect of the poet's life). Yawp's 30 chapters cover American history from the last ice age through the appearance of the millennial generation. It has plenty about the founders and the origins of the U.S., but avoids a triumphalist tone and includes material on inequality -- including economic inequality -- throughout. It was prepared through the collaborative efforts of scores of historians. And the creators have published it online, for free.

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EPub, an open e-book format, doesn't make reading easy | San Jose Mercury News

EPub, an open e-book format, doesn't make reading easy | San Jose Mercury News | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
NEW YORK -- In the world of e-books, you largely have a choice between Amazon's Kindle and everyone else.

Amazon.com distributes its e-books in a proprietary format that isn't compatible with other devices and systems. Other companies have embraced a format called EPub. In theory, that means books bought for one non-Kindle device can be read on another.

This is important because the device you own today might not be the one you'll want five years from now. You won't want to buy all your e-books again.
Chuck Hitchcock's insight:

The real problem here appears to be DRM, not ePub.  Note that CaLibre may be useful for converting files for various devices and it is open source.

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NEH, Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Open Book Program to Revive Backlist Work | Library Journal

NEH, Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Open Book Program to Revive Backlist Work | Library Journal | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
As part of a wider emphasis on digital publishing and the relevance of humanities scholarship, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are giving new life to out-of-print humanities books. In January the two organizations announced a new joint pilot grant program, Humanities Open Book, which will help publishers identify important out-of-print works, secure rights to them, and convert them to EPUB format ebooks freely accessible under a Creative Commons (CC) license. Awards range from $50,000 to $100,000 per recipient, and will cover a period of one to three years.

Scholarly books and monographs in the humanities have a relatively short print run, and works published since 1923 are not in the public domain. While some emerging models, such as Knowledge Unlatched or the crowdfunded Unglue.it, aim to bring back out-of-print titles that are still under copyright as open access, DRM-free ebooks, the Humanities Open Book Program (HOB) calls specifically on academic presses, scholarly societies, museums, and other institutions that publish work of humanities scholarship to identify backlist items that they deem worthy of reviving.
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Nook Reading App 4.0 now on Android devices - Android Community

Nook Reading App 4.0 now on Android devices - Android Community | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
While the Nook tablet may have appealed to a certain kind of mobile user, not everyone was a fan of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, so it did not reach that wide of a market. But if you really preferred Barnes & Nobles' e-book reader over all others like Kindle, Kobo, Aldiko, etc, then this will be good news for you. The ebook retailer is releasing a new version of the Nook app so you can read content you bought from them on your Android device of choice.
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Using Metadata to Go Beyond the Ebook | Digital Book World

Using Metadata to Go Beyond the Ebook | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
When we talk about ebooks, we tend to describe them similarly to physical books. Although many ebooks are indeed digital editions of printed counterparts, a lot of the time that’s not inappropriate at all.

But one problem with thinking in the old-fashioned way is that it prevents many publishers from taking parts of a book’s content and selling them independently. If that’s to change, one place to start will be the way publishers approach metadata.

Metadata is a term publishers love or hate but can’t avoid. As metadata expert Renée Register has explained in a recent series of Digital Book World webcasts and blog posts, metadata refers quite simply to what you want the world to know about your books and provides a structure for helping them come to know it.
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Barnes & Noble Splits off Education Division to Form Standalone Company | Digital Book World

Barnes & Noble Splits off Education Division to Form Standalone Company | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Will Create Two Highly Focused Companies with Different Growth Profiles and Enhanced Flexibility to Pursue Independent Operating Strategies

NEW YORK, NY – February 26, 2015 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), today announced the filing of a Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in order to effect a separation of Barnes & Noble Education (which comprises the Barnes & Noble College business) from Barnes & Noble’s Retail and NOOK Digital businesses. The planned separation will, when consummated, create two independent, publicly traded companies. The separation is intended to be a tax-free distribution to Barnes & Noble shareholders and is anticipated to be completed by the end of August 2015, subject to customary conditions.

Barnes & Noble believes that the separation will allow each business to optimize its strategic opportunities. As more focused companies with differing potential growth profiles, capital needs and market dynamics, each company will benefit from strategic clarity and separate management and Board focus. The separation will also allow investors to assess each business more clearly as a stand-alone company.
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Android, Apple and Mobile Ebooks: A Roundtable | Digital Book World

Android, Apple and Mobile Ebooks: A Roundtable | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
After Apple released its most recent financial results earlier this month, several online outlets jumped to publish headlines like this one on TechCrunch: “Apple’s iPhone Overtakes Android in U.S. Sales for the First Time Since 2012.”

That headline was rather breathless by comparison with the report the article draws on, which notes that iOS gained its latest lead over Android only “by the slimmest 0.1% margin.” The TechCrunch post goes on to observe that “across Europe Android still accounted for just over 66% of all sales through carriers and retail channels.”

What does the Apple-Android race mean for ebook publishers trying to calibrate their content and marketing strategies for the ever more global mobile market? Digital Book World sat down for a roundtable conversation with Marcello Vena, Managing Partner at All Brain, and Thad McIlroy, author of the new report, Mobile Strategies for Digital Publishers, to weigh those issues.
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Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. | Washington Post

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. | Washington Post | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”
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Apple to Merge Audiobooks Into iBooks With Next iOS Update | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

Apple to Merge Audiobooks Into iBooks With Next iOS Update | Ink, Bits, & Pixels | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Apple has been selling audiobooks for far longer than they've sold ebooks, but in all that time the two book formats have been divided between iBooks and iTunes. But with the next iOS update, that could change.

Apple Insider reports that with the iOS 8.4 beta release, readers will find audiobooks accessible from inside the iBooks app.

Within the iBooks app itself on an iPhone or iPad, audiobooks occupy their own unique collection, accessible from the pull-down menu at the top of the screen. Notably listeners can open a selectable tracklist for each book, and fast-forward or fast-rewind through a title by tapping and dragging the cover art.
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Eyeing Amazon, Oyster Launches Ebookstore with All Big Five Publishers | Digital Book World

Eyeing Amazon, Oyster Launches Ebookstore with All Big Five Publishers | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Starting today, the ebook subscription service Oyster is no longer just that. Eighteen months after launching publicly, the company unveils an ebookstore offering a la carte titles from all of the Big Five publishers, encompassing all front- and back-list ebooks, including preorders, available everywhere else.

Because the new store’s wares are available even to non-subscribers, Oyster moves into direct competition with other leading ebook retailers, not least of all Amazon.

Oyster’s subscription-based catalog—which users can access for $9.95 a month and is now dubbed “Oyster Unlimited”—currently stands at “several hundred thousand” titles past the 1 million mark, according to Co-founder and CPO Willem Van Lancker, all of which are now also available for individual sale. In addition, there’s “around an extra hundred thousand” in the ebookstore that can’t be read by subscribers.
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How to Build Rich Navigation in EPUB3 | Digital Book World

How to Build Rich Navigation in EPUB3 | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
EPUB3 is no longer all that new, but there still seems to be some reluctance among digital publishers to make the final move to a full-fledged EPUB3 workflow.

In just the last two months I’ve been asked several times about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of making the switch. And I’ve offered my opinion, unasked, about doing so an equal number of times. Yet there is still the odd retailer or library aggregator that insists on EPUB2. There are even rumors of European retailers with country-specific market shares that won’t accept EPUB3.
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Barnes and Noble Remains Committed to Nook | Good-E-Reader

Barnes and Noble Remains Committed to Nook | Good-E-Reader | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Barnes and Noble remains steadfast in their commitment to selling e-readers and digital content. The company has publicly decreed that they have no intention of selling the brand and want to continue to capitalize on the bookstore chain to promote the hardware.

The entire Nook enterprise has been a loss leader for Barnes and Noble and the company has lost over one billion dollars since 2011. During the last quarterly results released two weeks ago, device sales were down 60% year on year.

Barnes and Noble has been cleaning house in the Nook Media division over the course of the last fourteen months. Some of the most notable departures included Jim Hilt, head of global eBook sales, and before him digital products director Jamie Iannone, VP of digital products Bill Saperstein and Theresa Horner the VP, of Digital Content.
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Books without swearwords? There’s an app for that | The Guardian

Books without swearwords? There’s an app for that | The Guardian | Digital Book News | Scoop.it

A new e-reader allows users to replace offensive words with more palatable alternatives, with settings ranging from ‘clean’ to ‘squeaky clean’.

 

Do you like your books as they come, clean, or squeaky clean? Because there’s now an app that will let you state your preference, remove profanities from the text of your ebook, and replace them with “clean” alternatives.

 

Clean Reader – “the only e-reader that gives you the power to hide swear words” – sells more than a million ebooks from its online book store. Its app allows users to search the text, and “put a non-transparent ‘highlight’” over anything potentially offensive. The blanked-out word is replaced, when it is tapped, with one judged suitably safe. So in a passage from its online demonstration – “‘Don’t tempt me, you little bastard,’ growled Vyder” – bastard becomes jerk. In a slice of a David Baldacci novel, “Pick up your damn game, Bobby”, becomes “Pick up your darn game, Bobby”.

 

Why? They explain: “If there are books you’ve put off reading because you’ve heard they’re full of curse words, chosen to stop reading some books because you weren’t comfortable with the bad language in them, or if you worry about what’s in the books your children read … then Clean Reader is for you!”

Chuck Hitchcock's insight:

No comment.  Just passing along some information.

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China's Amazon? | South China Morning Post

China's Amazon? | South China Morning Post | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Two of China's largest online publishing companies announced this week that they will merge, creating what some have called the 'Amazon of eBooks'.

Tencent Literature and Shanda Cloudary will become Yuewen Group, the country's largest online publishing and eBook company.

With 1,200 employees and more than three million books, the new company expects to attract around 100 million readers generating more than 200 million yuan (US$31.9 million) per year, said Yuewen CEO Wu Wenhui.
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Publishers Getting Left Behind on Mobile | Digital Book World

Publishers Getting Left Behind on Mobile | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Did you feel it? Did you feel the change?

If you’re in the publishing world there’s a chance you didn’t. One reason for that could be you’ve been existing on the industry’s shifting sands for a while now. Maybe you’ve grown so used to change that it doesn’t even phase you anymore.

But I don’t think that’s it.

I think the reason you may not have noticed is that it’s universal—set to impact every industry, every business, every website, everywhere. But I have a feeling it will hit book publishers a little harder than others.

The change I’m talking took place just a few weeks ago, on February 26, when Google announced that on Apri 21 it will be rolling out a new version of its search algorithm, which determines what shows up when you or I or anyone searches for something online.

And what is all the more incredible is that Google announced its algorithm change ahead of time.
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The Death of Textbooks | The Atlantic

The Death of Textbooks | The Atlantic | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
At a recent sit-down with executives representing one of the biggest players in the textbook industry, my colleague and I felt surprisingly out of touch.

The executives spent most of the meeting touting the evolving market, namely how their newfound allegiance to digital learning materials—rather than old-school physical textbooks—would place them at the forefront of the new wave of education technology. Rhetoric describing the company’s unmatched innovation pervaded the hour-long meeting; they raved about the company’s across-the-board shift to digital, how its new state-of-the-art materials comprise a "single roadmap" that is expected to make its generic, stodgy textbooks obsolete. They largely dismissed us as we—online journalists and Millennials in our mid-20s—reminisced about physical books that can be held, highlighted, and leafed through. And it quickly became evident that these men expected us to marvel at the company’s developments because, as soon as they noticed our eyes weren’t lighting up, they balked: "I don’t think you understand how groundbreaking this is," one of them said.
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Why Authors and Readers Still Want Print | Digital Book World

Why Authors and Readers Still Want Print | Digital Book World | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Some of the biggest book industry events and trends of the past few years, including the closing of Borders bookstores, the rise in popularity of tablets and e-readers and the exponential growth in the number of ebooks (as well as of digital-only authors and publishers) could easily give the impression that print is becoming obsolete. But print matters—to both authors and readers.

The latest Pew Internet Research study found that e-reading is indeed on the rise but eclipsed by the continuing popularity of print. The percentage of American adults who read an ebook was 28% in 2014, up 11% since 2011. Still, that figure is small compared to the percentage who read a print book, 69% in 2014, only slightly fewer than the 71% who reported doing so in the 2011 sample. In other words, Americans are far more likely to read print than to read ebooks.
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The Data Evolution: How Publishers Are Using Data to Become More Audience-Centric | Publishing Executive

The Data Evolution: How Publishers Are Using Data to Become More Audience-Centric | Publishing Executive | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Magazine publishers have always trafficked in data about their audience, but recently it’s become abundantly clear that smart publishers are getting more sophisticated in their data management, and using it to better understand, grow, and monetize their audiences. Data has become the accelerant of choice for an industry long confident in its ability to curate engaged audiences around content, but struggling to translate those audiences into dollars in a Post-Magazine Era. (Some may question that we’re in a Post-Magazine Era, but that term is not intended to suggest the magazine is dead -- only that it is no longer considered the source of long term growth by most publishers.)
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Chegg Is Shifting Its Services to Focus on Digital Push | The New York Times

Chegg Is Shifting Its Services to Focus on Digital Push | The New York Times | Digital Book News | Scoop.it
Chegg, the textbook rental service, is planning a big reinvention of its operations a little more than a year after going public.

The company announced on Monday that it planned to stop managing the physical books that it rented out to students, and completely hand off that part of the business to the Ingram Content Group, a big book distributor, by the end of next year.

Customers will still use the company to order textbooks, as well as higher-margin digital services like e-textbooks, test preparation materials and career counseling.
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eBook DRM: Providing Protection or Preventing Profits? | Good-E-Reader

eBook DRM: Providing Protection or Preventing Profits? | Good-E-Reader | Digital Book News | Scoop.it

Have you ever purchased an e-book, but could only use it on a single device or app? That’s because digital rights management (DRM) is preventing you from moving it to other devices. By definition, DRM is any technology that sellers build into an electronic product or service to limit the range of the file’s uses after purchase. DRM is designed to prevent customers from using digital technology beyond what a bookseller or mobile device manufacturer intended.

Why is DRM used? Considering the amount of time and money authors and publishers invest in a new book, it’s no surprise that they would want to protect their work from piracy. DRM systems can place a wide range of restrictions on content purchased legally, such as blocking the conversion of e-books into different formats and imposing limitations on e-book sharing with multiple users and different devices.

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