Sneak preview of Kobo’s next iOS update!

Good news for readers who use Kobo’s iOS app. After my post last week where I criticized the most recent update for adding too many bells and whistles, Kobo got in touch to let me know that they’d heard similar complaints from others, and that they had an update in the works that would address some of the user interface issues. Well, here it is straight from Kobo’s test kitchen: a peek at what the forthcoming update will look like. Continue reading

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Longform + iPad = world’s best general interest mag

I’ve been trying to come up with a good way to describe the newly released Longform app for iPad. It’s a digital magazine on steroids. It’s an infinite magazine, a magazine multiplex. It’s a portable reading room where new issues arrive daily. It’s an evolving anthology of nonfiction journalism.

The point is, it’s awesome. If you have an iPad and you prefer longer, more substantial articles over 350-word pieces, you’ll love it. Continue reading

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A monopoly believes it is permanent

A monopoly believes it is a permanent fixture in its industry. An Internet e-commerce company worries obsessively that it can be destroyed at any time if it doesn’t stay fast and smart. The contrast between Amazon and big publishing could not be more stark.
The Passive Voice

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Apple clarifies iBooks Author fine print, but message is the same

Don’t get too excited by the news that Apple has revised its license agreement for iBooks Author. The terms remain exactly the same; they’re just more explicit now.

Apple No Longer Claims to Own Your Content on iBooks

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One “feature” too many, and Kobo finally ruins its iOS app

I no longer enjoy launching the Kobo app on my iPhone or iPad. I stopped looking forward to interacting with it a few updates ago, and now I actually avoid it.

This has been building for a while. A year ago, I praised Kobo for being ahead of the curve when it came to adding entertaining new features to its iPad app (the features were later extended to other platforms). “Best app,” I wrote then, and I meant it. But over the past six months—well, ever since Apple crippled all the competing ebook retailers’ apps for strategic reasons in the summer of 2011—Kobo has been adding new features to make its app more and more “social” and “networked” and “fun”, with the consequence that the app has started to become less and less enjoyable to use. The latest upgrade (version 5.3) has simply made it not worth bothering with anymore. Continue reading

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Self-help rights guide for indie publishers

If you’ve ever signed a contract for a book, as an author, a publisher, or a translator, do you know why it stipulated the terms that it did? […] Petra Hardt, Foreign Rights Director at Suhrkamp Verlag in Berlin, has written a book to guide publishers in making the best choices regarding such essential questions.
Publishing Perspectives

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Why social reading apps are doomed to fail

I’ve been testing out some social reading apps on the iPad in recent weeks, and while I hope to post something more in-depth in the near future, I read some items today that corroborate a general disappointment I’ve been feeling.

Too many restrictions

About a week ago, a study about ebook buying and reading habits reported that teens find current ebook platforms too limited when it comes to social sharing:

The E-Book Market for 13- to 17-Year-Olds

  • Teens lag behind all other age groups in e-book adoption. Sixty-six percent of 13- to 17-year olds say they prefer print books to e-books, 26 percent say they have no preference and only 8 percent prefer e-books.
  • One reason for this resistance: Teens like using social technology to discuss and share things with their friends, and e-books at this point are not a social technology. An increasing number of teens surveyed says there are too many restrictions on using e-books: 14 percent said so in 2011, compared to 6 percent in 2010.

That’s been my overall takeaway, too, while test-driving these various social reading apps recently. There are just too many restrictions to make the experience enjoyable. Continue reading

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Can Apple even enforce its abusive iBooks Author EULA?

The always helpful Passive Voice lawyer weighs in on whether Apple has created a EULA for iBooks Author that no sane judge would consider valid.

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