By Mika Rekai - Monday, November 26, 2012 - 0 Comments
It tracks when you read and when you don’t. Will it soon determine what you read?
For Catherine Henderson, curling up with a good book has always been an escape from reality. What the retired teacher doesn’t know, however, is that while she is lost in her Kindle, someone is reading over her shoulder.
Before ebook readers became popular in 2010—when e-reader sales quadrupled within months—publishers had only one way of measuring a book’s success: sales. Back then, it was almost impossible to do detailed market research that didn’t involve direct feedback, either through letters to the publishers or reader surveys. But the information didn’t tell the whole story about what readers wanted to read, and they said nothing about how they read. Did they read the whole book, or lose interest after a few pages? Did they skip certain chapters? Did they highlight and revisit favourite passages? Now the makers of the Kobo, Kindle and Nook are collecting hard data about exactly how their customers read.
By Peter Nowak - Friday, April 27, 2012 at 10:17 AM - 0 Comments
The Kindle Touch starts shipping to Canada today. Having been given a run-through of the new e-reader at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle earlier this week, and having had the chance to put it through its paces since, this is good news for book lovers.
As its name implies, the Kindle Touch finally adds the long-missing functionality of a touch screen to Amazon’s e-reader. I’d often chuckle while watching people try to flip pages on previous Kindles by swiping the screen, only to see nothing happen. Mind you, I now sometimes have the same experience watching children swiping TV screens. How quickly the world has changed.
Anyway, other e-readers, such as the Kobo, have had touch screens for a while, so this isn’t really anything new. What I like about the Kindle Touch, though, is its “Easy Reach” feature, which makes 90 per cent of the screen an active next-page area. So, if you’re left-handed and holding the device with one hand, you don’t have to stretch your thumb all the way to the right to turn the page. You can touch the middle instead.
The remaining 10 per cent, around the edges of the screen, is for going back. Kindle director Jay Marine told me this was done because readers only rarely want to go backward in their books.
By Alex Ballingall - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Earlier this month, Kobo was purchased by Japan’s Rakuten, Inc. for $315 million
E-readers, with their dull black and white screens, have typically been outshone by their flashier, shinier cousins in the tablet market—think iPads and Samsung Galaxies. Kobo, created in 2009 by Toronto-based Indigo Books & Music, Inc., was no different. It was largely overlooked in the Canadian tech industry as a very unsexy bit player.
Not anymore. Earlier this month, Kobo was purchased by Japan’s Rakuten, Inc. for $315 million, and now the Canadian start-up is suddenly being seen in a new light. “Being taken over shouldn’t be seen as a sign that Kobo is anything less than a great Canadian success story,” notes tech analyst Carmi Levy. “It should be seen as a sign that the already successful belle of the ball has been noticed, and has been asked to dance.”
Last quarter, Kobo sales jumped 219 per cent, while the company reports it has five million users worldwide. Kobo already controls more than 50 per cent of the Canadian e-reader market, and has a foothold of around 10 per cent in the U.S. Through Rakuten, the hope is that Kobo will gain access to markets in Europe, South America and Asia so it can further compete with industry heavyweights Amazon, Google and Apple. As Levy says, the time has come for the Canadian start-up to dance with the big boys.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Public libraries are becoming key players in e-publishing
With its worn carpets, potted plants and shelves of dog-eared books, who would have guessed the humble public library would emerge as a key player in the world of online media? Yet that’s exactly what’s happened after bookseller Amazon finally decided to allow owners of its popular Kindle e-reader to borrow digital copies of books from 11,000 local libraries in the United States, a feature that was previously available only to owners of rival machines. The move opens up the libraries’ free digital collections to an estimated 7.5 million Kindle users in the U.S., about two-thirds of the e-reader market. A spokesperson for the Toronto Public Library said the service is expected to come to Canada eventually, although no date has been set.
But while Amazon’s move promises to boost Kindle sales, it could come at the expense of selling online books. Which likely won’t sit well with publishers. At present, most libraries buy and lend e-books the same way they do regular ones, to one person at a time for a period of two to three weeks. But at least one publisher, Harper Collins, has changed its policies to require libraries to repurchase titles after they’ve been borrowed 26 times, while others have declined to sell to libraries at all.