12 DAYS to Enter Contest!

I’ve been reminded AGAIN to  remind you about a contest to win a free Sony eBook Reader Touch Edition at BentSteeple.com. It’s to celebrate the release of BENT STEEPLE a new Horror novel by author G. Wells Taylor. There are other prizes too. I’ve looked around the site(s) and he seems to be into everything.

The draw is Christmas day, so you’ve got 12 DAYS to enter, yah?

Kindle Accessibility Addressed…

Another contribution from Jorgen with a link to a story at the Examiner.com about an Amazon Kindle for the blind or seeing-impaired. A first version of this special Kindle was criticized because of its reliance on too many button controls with on screen text to manage feature commands. It also ran into lawsuits revolving around its text-to-speech functionality and resistance from authors and publishers who felt the features would diminish audio book sales.

Apparently they’ve worked out all or most of the bugs, with features that should answer  the criticisms. Read the background and specifics at the jump.

Traditional Market Manipulation by the Traditional Publishers

Many thanks to Jorgen who dropped off a couple of links, the first to a New York Times article that shows Simon & Schuster up to their old tricks delaying the release of eBook titles to force consumers to buy hard covers. The publisher makes the claim that eBook sales cannibalize hard cover sales. They are already trying this trick with Stephen King’s latest, Under the Dome. We commented on that here.

It’s a ridiculous claim since ‘cannibalism’ assumes that everyone who would want to purchase a hard cover also owns an eBook reader. All this market manipulation does is further erode consumer confidence and invigorate the black market in pirated eBook sales.

The second link takes us to some editorial content on the subject by Rick Aristotle Munarriz at the Motley Fool. An excellent piece that exposes the stupid underbelly of Simon and Schuster’s move, where Munarriz reiterates the perils of ignoring the eBook Revolution.

Amazon Facing a New Threat?

An article at The Register says that five prominent publishers are teaming up to form an alliance that can take on Amazon.com. Apparently heavyweights: Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Wired and Vanity Fair are planning to develop an online storefront capable of going toe-to-toe with Amazon.

Their aim is to build an eShop that would offer full-color, interactive digital versions of their newspapers and magazines. These documents would be readable by the next-generation of touch-screen devices. Sounds like a lot of cooperation will be required from these former competitors to make this work. There just might be enough pressure on them to force a truce, yah?

Amazon Stores in the U.K.?

Here’s a rumor from TimesOnline about Amazon.com’s secret plans to open actual stores in the United Kingdom. Apparently, realtors have been queried by the American company regarding available retail space.

Could this be a reaction to the well-received Nook being integrated into Barnes and Noble’s long-standing membership in the bricks and mortar club? Industry analysts have already stated that B&N’s chain of stores is the retail giant’s trump card in the eBook Revolution.

So that’s one good reason to open something on main street. The other is Amazon’s desire to capitalize on consumer impatience with a click and collect service. In such a case, customers buy online and retrieve their own purchases from a neighborhood store when it’s convenient for them. (Another drive-thru?)

Mix that notion with Kindle owners wandering around looking at paperbacks or displays and then wirelessly slurping up the bestsellers with their devices. Whatever the actual case, it is an interesting reversal at a time when other booksellers are closing up shop.

Another Christmas Possibility

We tend to focus on the front-runners Kindle, Sony and Nook. Well, here’s Foxit eSlick FE-01 eBook Reader reviewed at Zath Tech and Games. It’s a ‘slick’ looking piece of tech and priced comparably to the industry leaders. Have a look at the specifications by taking the jump. These guys have to be seeing green since Nook and Sony started running out of product.

More Predictions for Digital Publishing

Thanks to Jorgen for a link to another group of predictions over at Minonline.com. This story’s suggesting some pretty hefty increases to eBook sales, with nothing but growth in the year ahead. This article also points out that news and magazine publishers are pushing for their own platform that allows video, display ads and more. (It’s called television guys…)

Ah well, you can’t have reservations about innovations. As the article points out downloadable APPS will undoubtedly make book, newspaper and magazine reading available across a range of platforms from smart phones to the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS. Soon after, the eBook will achieve ubiquity, yah?

More Predictions for 2010 and Beyond

A very engaging Sunday read at Pantagraph.com where Tim Barker writes about the future of the eBook and makes some predictions regarding the shape of digital publishing to come. More great information and ideas. Well worth taking the link.

News and Magazines for a Digital Age.

Here’s an excellent link from Jorgen to a story at The Atlantic Wire that describes some of the pros and cons to recent moves traditional news and magazine publishers are making to adapt to the constantly changing face of the digital publishing industry.

The digital age is famous for punishing those who do not adapt, so kudos to the listed publishers who are finding digital alternatives to extinction.

STOCKING STUFFER? Sony Reader Pocket Edition (PRS-300)

For $199 (the PC Mag link suggests you might find one as low as $174.99) the Sony Reader Pocket Edition (PRS-300) could turn into this Christmas’ perfect gift for early eBook adopters.

It’s a smaller platform, with a 5″ instead of the more common 6″ screen, but tech-wise it plays pretty much on par with the industry leaders Kindle, the missing Nook and larger (and also missing) Sony eBook Touch Edition. Get full PRS-300 specs and mini-review here.

The PRS-300 lacks the wireless connectivity boasted by the bigger machines, but with a USB computer connect, multi-format eBook play and long battery life, this is an excellent startup machine for the curious, be they student, business person or senior. It seems that this will be the Christmas of missing eBook Readers, since most devices are order-only, but you might be able to find the smaller PRS-300 at a Sony Store, and with the low price, they’re well worth the wait if you do have to order.