The New York Public Library just released Frankenstein, its second free Biblion installment, and like last year’s World Fair app this one comes loaded with enough primary source material and new content to keep you occupied for a month.
Mary Wallstonecraft Shelley’s original handwritten manuscript is just one of its primary source treasures. You’ll also find scans from a scrapbook started in 1795, a journal of early poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, Nelson Mandela’s first official African National Congress statement, and various 19th century engravings. Oh, and the 1831 edition of Frankenstein in case you’d like to just read it (you fetishist).
There’s so much Frankenstein-related content — about 50 articles, interviews, comics and slideshows, plus a couple dozen polls and discussion forums — that it’s hard to describe the app without resorting to a features list, which I sort of just did. In that sense it certainly feels like the kind of app a library would produce, because it offers a little something for everyone, and the longer you poke around the more interesting things you find. Continue reading
Posted in apps, ebooks, libraries
Tagged apps, classics, ebooks, education, enhanced ebook apps, frankenstein, gothic, ios, ipad, libraries, literature, nypl, Shelley
I’m not posting much here this week because I’m attending BookExpo America through Thursday. (All those other weeks I didn’t post, I was obviously in training for BookExpo America.) I’m not a big lover of trade shows, but it’s interesting to see how BEA has improved its digital focus since I last attended in 2009.
For the next few days I’ll be posting the occasional BEA update over at The Digital Reader, so be sure to check it out this week if you’re interested in this topic.
Here’s what I posted yesterday, which was sort of the pre-show day when the International Digital Publishing Forum presented a bunch of e-related talks for BEA attendees.
- Case Study: A Window Into the E-Future — the World’s First School to Go Full E-Only
South Kent is a small boarding school in Connecticut that just wrapped up its first year of going iPad-only in the classroom.
- IDPF Publishers Roundtable: Thoughts On DRM, Direct Sales, and Digital-First Publishing
Three publishers, one table, some pointed questions from the audience about DRM and library lending, and then the general “publishers must try harder than ever before” commentary.
- Indie Author Bella Andre Gives BEA Tips on Selling eBooks
I’m not sure what to make of Andre’s exhausting-just-to-listen-to approach to self-publishing, but she’s making a fortune, so she must be doing something right.
- Inkling to Release O’Reilly eBooks This Fall With Functional Demo Code Included
Inkling was founded by a former Apple employee, and while it’s primarily a digital textbook publisher, it’s starting to expand into travel guides, and soon, O’Reilly titles.
Posted in announcements, business, ebooks, news, publishing
Tagged BEA, bookexpo, conferences, education, idpf, presentations, south kent, talks
In the past few years that I’ve been writing about digital publishing, I’ve always been able to count on the blog An American Editor to be pro-Sony or pro-Nook — or at the very least to always present a non-Kindle point of view. So I was surprised last week to read his post “And Then There Was One”, although not surprised by the story he shares in it.
The one paragraph summary is that Barnes & Noble hasn’t been delivering his daily digital issue of The New York Times early each morning — you know, the time period when most people who traditionally subscribe to a daily paper expect to get it. On good days it arrives at an acceptable if not ideal time, while on other days it arrives around noon or even later. Despite selling the subscription to their own customers and accepting their money, Barnes & Noble won’t take responsibility for the problem or provide any refunds; B&N’s customer service reps say it’s the newspaper’s fault. Continue reading
Kobo’s new web app, released earlier this week, is a great first move at breaking free from Apple’s App Store extortion. Good for Kobo, I say. Unfortunately, it keeps the same design and user experience as the official Kobo app, which means it’s designed to be a storefront first, and a reading app second. Unless you’re stuck with Kobo, there are better options out there.
Like Amazon’s Kindle web app from last August, the Kobo web app is really a website that can store data on your device even when you’re offline. This means you can download and read ebooks without a live connection. [Edit: My description here is badly worded and confusing. To clarify, you have to be online to download anything. Once you’ve done that, then you can access those downloaded files in the future regardless of whether you’ve got an active wireless connection.] It also means Kobo can offer it to (for example) iPad and iPhone users directly, instead of having to request Apple’s permission first. Continue reading
Posted in Apple iOS, apps, Kindle, Kobo, mobile, software
Tagged Apple iOS, apps, comparisons, HTML5, ios, kindle, kobo, shopping, user experience, ux, web apps
All Things D has an interesting article about the preliminary launch of Next Issue Media, a magazine service for tablet owners that’s modeled after all-you-can-view movie/TV services like Netflix and Hulu.
First, the good news…
Like Hulu, Next Issue Media is owned by several big media companies, and at launch they’ve made nearly three dozen titles available. The service’s pricing plans are simple: $10 a month for access to 27 monthly titles, or $15 a month for those plus 5 more weekly titles. Paying $120 to $180 a year for virtual magazine subscriptions isn’t a trivial matter, but the more magazines you like to read regularly, the better the deal gets; you’d pay about the same for individual print subscriptions to just the five weekly titles. Continue reading
The Mac Observer recently reviewed three different EPUB readers for OS X, and even put together a handy chart so you can compare features.
I’m happy to see some new EPUB solutions hitting the marketplace. If you use a Mac, you probably already know that EPUB readers have been scarce around these parts. Sure, there’s the EPUBReader plugin if you use Firefox, but Chrome and Safari don’t have anything as good. There’s also the built-in reader from Calibre, but it is only a reader of last resort. Otherwise you’re stuck with overbuilt solutions like Adobe Digital Editions or B&N’s Nook app (which requires a B&N account even if you’re just using it for personal EPUB files).
I’ve tried two of these new apps, and in my opinion they’re not bringing enough quality to warrant a purchase price just yet. But at least they’re trying! The first app that can offer deep customization, broad EPUB compatibility, and sophisticated annotation tools will find itself at the head of a pretty empty market segment, so there’s still plenty of room for improvement in the coming months. For now, this is a great start.
Posted in apps, ebooks, online, reviews, software
Tagged comparisons, ebooks, epub, mac, os x, readers, software