If you’ve been following recent tech rumors, then you’ve heard Apple has a roughly 7″ version of its iPad tablet in the works. Rumors say the company is planning to unveil the device, which will compete with smaller tablets like the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7, on October 23rd. Today, Apple sent out invites to the tech media featuring the graphic above (via Engadget) for an event to be held next Tuesday, the 23rd. Most likely, Apple will be making a strong push into the textbook market with this new device and hoping to lure new iPad users with a lower-priced device. We’ll keep you posted as we know more.
Today Apple unveiled its much-anticipated iCloud service, set to debut this fall along with the next iteration of its iOS iPhone operating system. iCloud is a digital media locker on steroids, syncing all of users digital content, especially the contend bought from Apple–music, e-books, apps, documents, even user-created photos–to all of a users different Apple devices. All of this content is stored in the cloud, available for re-downloading at any time. For the full story, check out Engadget’s extensive coverage of the announcement event, during which Apple also announced 130 million e-books have been downloaded from the iBookstore, though that figure includes both paid and free e-books.
This is big news on many fronts, especially for the music industry, which has been resistant to this kind of buy-once-play-anywhere access until now, but it certainly beefs up what iBooks has to offer, too. One of the features of iCloud will be automated back-up and syncing of all purchased content between devices, so that means if you buy and e-book on your iPad, it will also pop up on your iPhone the next time you open iBooks there.
Consumers will increasingly expect their digital content to be available on any device they happen to be holding, and that may be the biggest implication of Apple’s iCloud, spurring other content vendors to make digital goods–music, books, whatever–available across devices lest they be left behind. This is also what Amazon is after with the forthcoming Kindle for the Web and the recently unveiled Amazon Cloud Player.
The Main Point:
- Buying digital media no longer means buying a single download of a file. Now it means buying perpetual access.
Here’s a quick note on what Apple is doing to promote its e-bookstore. The company seems to be making a push to make iBooks stand out (at least from this blogger’s perspective, it had seemed like iBooks has not been much of a priority to Apple) by sending out regular emails featuring different kinds of books. Above you’ll see a screenshot from the latest one, focusing on thrillers.
How much do you think Apple cares about iBooks? Is it a priority, or did the company just create it to focus some attention on the iPad as an e-reader?
Today, Apple released an update, version 1.2 to its iBooks app for iPhone and iPad. The update adds some nice features, including a slightly newer looking wood on the bookshelf. Plus, you can now group your e-books into collections, print from PDFs, and, most notably, full support for illustrations, meaning the Nook Color has something to worry about. If you’re an iOS user, tap over to the App Store and update your iBooks app.
What is slightly surprising, however, is that in second place is the “other” option, which allowed respondents to enter their own text. Almost 24% picked this option, and the most popular responses among them were Kobo, iFlow Books and Books on Board.
Update: In response to a request, here are the other stores named more than once by respondents to the “Other” category: AllRomance, Ellora’s Cave, and publishers’ own Web sites and e-bookstores.
Nook came in 3rd, followed by iBooks, with Sony dead last, beaten even by the three-day-old Google Ebookstore.
Of course these results are by no means definitive, representing a random sampling of PWxyz readers who felt like responding over a 24-hour period. But this poll may point toward a few likely facts: B&N probably has less of a share of the market than it wants to (though that may change as the Nook Color takes hold); most likely, relatively few serious e-book readers use the iBookstore; and readers are interested in exploring the Google store and incorporating it into their reading and buying habits.
With the launch of Google E-books this week, the e-book shopping mall seems to have enlarged quite a bit. We’re wondering if you’ve been poking around in there, maybe buying some e-books. And, for that matter, we’re wondering which e-bookstore(s) you buy from in general. Are folks out there sticking to one store–maybe because it’s tied to a device–or shopping multiple stores? We’d love to hear from you. Take the poll below and leave a comment or two!
Apple has begun selling spiffy iBookstore gift cards at its retail stores and at retail partners like Target, where iTunes gift cards have long been available, reports MacRumors. The cards are available in $25 and $50 denominations. Clearly Apple is hoping to cash in on the holiday gift-giving season with its newest e-commerce venture.
Lots of excitement surrounded the launch of Apple’s iBook this past April–it was Apple, after all, so how could the iBookstore be anything but awesome? Well, over at TUAW, blogger David Winograd says that after six months, he’s convinced iBooks is “a dismal failure.” He cites a bunch of reasons, including iBooks’ extremely poor selection when compared with Amazon’s sprawling catalog, and gaping holes in Apple’s offerings, including the fact that the entire Random House catalog is missing. He also price shops for a few books and finds that iBooks is often more expensive.
He also goes on to point out that authors are selling far less in iBooks than elsewhere:
In August, Cult of Mac reported that author Joe Konrath was selling 200 books a day for the Kindle and only 100 per month on the iBookstore. This is a 60 to one difference and certainly didn’t bode well for Apple. More recent figures from applethoughts.com show that although Konrath sold over 70,000 books for the Kindle, his iBookstore sales only amounted to about 400 — and Konrath blames the iBookstore. Applethoughts agrees, noting that unlike the Kindle Store, there is no recommendation system to discover new books, and the iBookstore is difficult to navigate. In fact, the only advantage that the iBookstore does have is that purchasing is easier than Amazon’s system, since buying is tied to your iTunes account.
So, PWxyz readers, what do you think of iBooks? Do you use it on an iPad or iPhone? Do you find the books you’re looking for or find yourself frustrated? Do you think it will get better soon? Does Apple even seem to care? We’d love to know what you think.
With the news that Apple has added ePub support to its Pages word processor–meaning you can instantly convert your documents to ePub format–we thought we’d point you to another resource to help you publish your book in Apple’s iBookstore. So here’s a handy guide to publishing on iBooks by blogger Greg Mills (via TUAW). It’s a bit of a tedious process, and you need to register for an ISBN beforehand, but if you’ve got an updated copy of iWork, you can skip the step involving using Calibre to convert your file (though if you’re an e-book person, you should probably download Calibre–it comes in handy, but more on that at another time).
Today the New York Times ran a piece on the Wired magazine iPad app, which duplicates the print content and adds video exclusive to the app. In this months issue, Wired for iPad readers get a bunch of short films featuring Will Ferrall testing out ray guns and other gadgets from the future that never came. This got me thinking about the rush of enhanced e-books that debuted last week. I’m actually working on a little review roundup for Monday’s issue of PW about a bunch of them, so I’ve got enhanced e-books on my mind.
To summarize the appeal of the Wired iPad app, the Times says, “Wired is offering a greater incentive to buy the digital magazine by creating exclusive multimedia content for its iPad application and offering a more in-depth experience for the reader, or viewer.” Ok. It seems to me that a multimedia experience like this works really well with magazines, which are all about brief bursts of reading, looking, attention, not immersion.
But, isn’t the strategy essentially the same with enhanced e-books? To try to deepen, add to, enrich, or enhance the reading experience? Further, isn’t the idea–as it is with Wired‘s app–to woo readers to the digital edition by offering things the print edition can’t (a whole other issue is raised by ventures like Open Road Integrated Media and Wylie’s Odyssey Editions, where the print and digital editions are actually published by different companies, and so are in direct competition)?
Last week, Open Road released two enhanced William Styron books–The Long March and Lie Down in Darkness, both available in the iBookstore–featuring original movies produced by Open Road with content about Styron’s life and the books themselves.
Josh Raffel, spokesperson for Open Road Integrated Media (which provided the above screenshot showing the a video at the end of one of the above-mentioned enhanced e-books in which Rose Styron tells readers what she misses about her husband) said this about the videos embedded in the two Open Road Styron books: “The idea is not to disrupt the reading experience but to bookend with rich content that brings the reader closer to knowing the author and their world.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about these and other enhanced e-books and have pretty mixed feelings on them. On the one hand, I love them–especially these Styron ones, which, in fact, do include the video in a way that doesn’t interrupt the reading experience–because I love books and I love gadgets, so putting the two together is great. On the other hand, I read when I want to have an experience inside my head, when I want language to help me conjure experience, without help from video or pictures or all the noise that I’m trying to escape when I shove my nose in a book.
You’ll hear more from me on this topic on Monday’s PW, but in the meantime, I’m wondering what you think of enhanced e-books. Have you tried them? Would you/ do you ever buy both the print and enhanced e-book editions of a book? Are these enhanced e-books in competition with their print editions? I hope you’ll comment below.