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Fire OS 5.4.0.1 Now Downloading to (3-year-Old) Fire Tablets
by Nate Hoffelder
23 Sep 2017 at 11:38am

Amazon just gave me another reason to pass on replacing my fire tablet. When I booted my Fire (2014) tablet this morning I was greeted by a new home screen. According to the notice in my notifications, my tablet was now runningFire OS 5.4.0.1 Cinder. This version was first mentioned on XDA Forums in late August. the changelog says that the only changes included "performance enhancements and general improvements". I can't see any real improvements to the tablet's main functions (for example, the tablet still won't show all of my books in the same place) but I did notice one change. The very first page of the homescreen is now called "for you" and looks different. Before, Amazon listed my last activity and used the rest of the screen to pitch me similar content (this was effing annoying). The new "for you" screen shows icons for the last dozen or so activities, making it a lot easier to switch between shows I am watching and games I'm playing. There's also an alternate version of the "for you" screen that shows local weather. The weather report cannot be disabled, but all in all, but all in all the update is a [...]


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It?s Official ? B&N Has Thrown in the Towel on the Nook
by Nate Hoffelder
22 Sep 2017 at 9:56am

Len Riggio has just dashed the hopes of everyone who had been praying for a Nook turnaround. According to Publishers Weekly, Riggio told the attendees at the B&N annual meting that the retailer fully recognizes its failures as a tech company. Riggio also assured shareholders that B&N is no longer in the tech business. While the Nook e-reader and e-books will remain a part of the company's offerings to customers, bricks and mortar stores will be its focus. Riggio explained that when e-book sales began exploding several years ago, B&N felt it had no choice but to enter the digital market. In retrospect, Riggio said, B&N didn't have the culture or financing to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google. Instead, according to Riggio, B&N will focus on its physical stores and will partner with technology companies to keep a presence in the digital space. "There is no business model in technology" for B&N, Riggio acknowledged. While I am sure everyone saw this coming, we were all still hoping for a miracle turnaround where someone at B&N got a clue and figured out how to rescue the Nook. Digital was the one bright light at B&N - it's why [...]


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Morning Coffee ? 22 September 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Sep 2017 at 9:22pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. BiblioTech continues to grow digital reach in fourth year of operation (San Antonio Express-News) The Great British Plea to Booksellers and Publishers (MobyLives) Netflix, Microsoft, and Google just quietly changed how the web works (The Outline) How To Get Your Copyrights Back From Your Label or Publisher (DMN) Business Musings: I Spent Decades Developing My IP (Contracts/Dealbreakers) (KKR)


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Wizards of the Coast to Launch Dungeons & Dragons eBook App
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Sep 2017 at 12:57pm

Hasbro?s Wizards of the Coast is finally relenting after years of selling their D&D player manuals as print-only. Polygon reports that they're releasing an ebook app called D&D Reader. No, it?s not the officially licensed PDFs that fans have wanted for decades. But, if it?s implemented correctly, it could be about as good as die-hard fans are likely to get. The D&D Reader is being built by Dialect, the same content marketing and digital design company that drives the digital D&D magazine calledDragon+. Reader will be available for iOS and Android devices, and feature all the core books you need to run your own campaign, including the 5th editionPlayer?s Handbookand theDungeon Master?s Guide. The app allows you to buy them in part or in whole. As an added benefit, there are even free modules for a subset of races and classes. Yes, there?s a search function. But in the beta version that we were shown, it wasn?t tremendously effective. A search for ?magic missile,? for instance, simply returns all of the available modules that include the term. It?s up to users to hunt down the information they need within each module. There are hyperlinks throughout that key off of spell [...]


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Lies, Damn Lies, and Book People Statistics
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Sep 2017 at 11:30am

When Mark Twain popularized the phrase "lies, damn lies, and statistics", he was referring to the way that one can selectively report statistics and tell just about any narrative desired. We see this everyday in the mainstream media when they report on AAP revenue stats (to name just one example), and even in the trade press. Remember when Jim Milliot claimed that Amazon would soon be the fifth-largest bookseller in the US? Jim selectively reported publicly available stats in order to tell the story he wanted (one that wasn't even close to being true). Statistics are used all the time to mislead, but some stats don't need any help. There are statistics that mislead you, confuse the issue, or distract attention all on their own. For example, every month Publishers Weekly reports the US Census Bureau's estimated bookstore revenues. You might think those stats reflect book sales, except that the estimates include more than just book sales (and they are about a third as large as they were a decade ago). Statistics can mislead all on their own, if you're not careful, and that includes stats frequently thrown around in debates about the book publishing industry. For example, just the [...]


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Morning Coffee ? 21 September 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Sep 2017 at 9:27pm

here are a few stories to read this morning. 7 questions we should ask about children?s literature (OUPblog) Self publishing on Amazon (AMZN): How an author can hack a book's success, sales and royalties (Quartz) How to Prevent Every Writer?s Worst Nightmare: Losing Your Work (The Write Life) Ev Williams Has Big Plans For Medium 3.0 (FastCo)


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Onyx Boox Chonos Runs Android 4.2, Costs $346
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Sep 2017 at 1:21pm

Onyx just launched the next "why even bother ereader in Russia.The Boox Chronos has a 9.7" Carta E-ink screen, and costs 19,990 rubles (about $346). The Chronos is the first ereader to use a 9.7" Carta E-ink screen, but unfortunately Onyx hobbled the device with a weak CPU as well as a low screen rsolution. It runs Android 4.2, yes, but it only has a 1GHz CPU and 512MB RAM. While it also has Wifi, Bluetooth, 8GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, and runs Onyx's excellent software, that weak CPU means this device is really only about a third as useful as it could be. To make matters worse, the Chronos has a screen resolution of 1200 x 825 - the same resolution as on the Kindle DX, which came out in 2009. This is definitely a "why even bother" ebook reader. Specs CPU: 1GHz RAM: 512MB Storage: 8GB, microSD card slot Display: 9.7" Carta E-ink, frontlight Screen resolution: 1200 x 825 Touchscreen: capacitive OS Android 4.2.2 Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth Battery: 3Ah Weight: 450 grams Dimensions:258 x 177 x 9.5 mm the-eBook.org


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Boyue Likebook Plus 7.8? Android eReader Now Listed on Aliexpress
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Sep 2017 at 6:57am

The Icarus Illumina XL HD is a 7.8" ereader that runs Android 4.2 and uses the same sized screen as the Kobo Aura One. It was supposed to ship last month, but hasn't yet. Fortunately, we now have a second option. A reader informed me this morning that theBoyue Likebook Plus, the OEM version of this 7.8" ereader, is now listed on Aliexpressfor $199. (Thanks for the tip,Shamik!) The Likebook Plus has a beautiful frontlight Carta E-ink display with a capacitive touchscreen and a screen resolution of 1872 x 1404. Behind that 300ppi screen is a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. It also has Wifi, Bluetooth, a headphone jack, and a 2.8Ah battery. All that impressive hardware is available today at a third the price of the Remarkable. Which would you get, if you had the funds? Aliexpress


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Morning Coffee ? 20 September 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Sep 2017 at 9:30pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. High School Reading as an Act of Meaningful Aggression (The Millions) Analysis: Historian outlines fight over 'radical' textbook (San Francisco Chronicle) Looming Toys R Us bankruptcy has odd parallels to Barnes & Noble?s situation (Teleread) An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership (EFF) Branding across cultures : How to Pair Latin and Kanji type (Medium)) Hyphens, Em Dashes, En Dashes?Everything You Need to Know (The Book Designer) Want to Increase Your Blog Readership? Kill that Popup! (Anne R Allen)


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Barnes & Noble is Dead, And Len Riggio Killed it
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Sep 2017 at 9:22pm

If you waterboard a Book People you might be able to get them to discuss what might happen _if_ Barnes & Noble goes bankrupt: it will be bad for old guard publishers. What you won't hear them say is that the current trend toward digital is going to make B&N obsolete as a bookseller (instead, they'll assume static system), or that the current mismanagement renders any discussion of B&N's future moot. The Book People at Publishers Weekly, for example, continue to ignore the writing on the wall, instead reporting: During its annual meeting held Tuesday morning at its flagship store in New York City, Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio supported its new CEO, Demos Parneroswho was named to his current role in April. During the meeting, Riggio called Parneros "the perfect fit" to help the company grow its top line and improve profits. Observing that Parneros "has brought lots of energy to the company," Riggio said he is looking forward to watching the executive over the next few years, noting that Parneros shares his vision and will revive B&N "store by store." The thing about Parneros is that in his first quarter at the head of B&N, revenues fell [...]


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Amazon Updates the Fire HD 10 Tablet with a Lower Price and a 1080p Display
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Sep 2017 at 8:20am

For the past several years Amazon has been shaving the price of their new Fire tablets without significantly improving the specs. They bucked that trend today with the launch of the new Fire HD 10 tablet. This tablet is the first Amazon tablet in a very long time to live up to its HD branding. It featuresa 1080p (1920 x 1200) display, a slightly faster CPU, twice the RAM, and a lower price tag. This $150 tablet ships on 11 October 2017. The Fire HD 10 runs the latest version of Amazon's Android OS on a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU with 2GB RAM andeither 32GB or 64GB of storage. It has Wifi, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, and a microSD card slot. The cameras aren't quite as good as before (the front camera is still VGA, but the rear has been downgraded from 5MP to 2MP) but in just about every way this tablet is a lot better than its predecessor. Amazon claims it is 30% faster and yet still offers up to 10 hours of battery life. Like Amazon's other tablets, the Fire HD 10 ships with Alexa, Amazon's in-home spy. But where I have to press and hold the home button [...]


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