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Amazon Books Detractor: Technology is Bad
by Nate Hoffelder
28 Jul 2017 at 1:39pm

One of Amazon's detractors visited the Amazon Books on Columbus Circle in Manhattan and did not like what she saw: Bookstores are some of my absolute favorite places. I could spend hours in them. I love grabbing aLondon Fog(with almond milk!) and checking out the featured sections, then heading for the stacks to be surrounded by all manner of books in the hope that some cover or title will catch my eye and I?ll discover something new. As far as I?m concerned, the stacks are an essential part of the bookstore experience, yet someone seems to have forgotten to tell that to Jeff Bezos. The Amazon Books in Manhattan was pretty busy on the day when I visited, presumably because more people wanted to see what it was all about. Similar to a regular bookstore, it contains sections that are divided by category, but they?re all quite small, and there aren?t many books on display. Each of the chosen titles faces out to the customer?no stacks, so no spines?with an Amazon.com customer review printed on a card below them. While clearly meant to emulate handwritten bookseller recommendations, the reviews just don?t feel as authentic, especially when you know that each [...]


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Morning Coffee ? 28 July 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
27 Jul 2017 at 9:33pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Why Barnes & Noble still has value for the right buyer (Yahoo) Sci-Hub?s cache of pirated papers is so big, subscription journals are doomed, data analyst suggests (AAAS) Hudson Booksellers Opens New Concept Store (PW) Link Rot: only half of the links on 2005's Million Dollar Homepage are still reachable (Boing Boing) Taking Google AMP to the next level (Valiant Chicken) Wattpad now pimping authors to HarperCollins (Wattpad)  


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Voting for the Fan Choice Dragon Awards Ends on 28 August
by Nate Hoffelder
27 Jul 2017 at 10:06am

These awards have received almost no press attention, but did you know that the second-annual Dragon Awards are being voted on right now? Launched in part as a reaction to admissions that the Hugos aren't fan awards, but actually belong to the SF clique that controls Worldcon (so said George RR Martin), the Dragon Awards feature an open nomination and voting process. The inauguralDragon Awardswere divided by genre and form but did not separate books based on length (acommercial distinction more than artistic).Last year's awardsincluded categories which covered SF and fantasy (traditionally the domain of the Hugo Awards), comics books, horror (Bram Stoker Awards), video games, and tv/movie works. This year the awards will be divided into 15 categories: Best Science Fiction Novel Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal) Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel Best Alternate History Novel Best Apocalyptic Novel Best Horror Novel Best Comic Book Best Graphic Novel Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible [...]


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Here?s a Nifty Hack for Emailing Your Epub eBooks to Kindle Without Conversion
by Nate Hoffelder
27 Jul 2017 at 8:59am

Amazon has offered a free ebook conversion service for as long as they have sold the Kindle. Simply email them a compatible file and they will convert it for you and add it to the personal docs section of your Kindle account. This service is one of the many reasons the Kindle is so much easier to use than its competitors, but it still has a caveat: Amazon won't accept an epub ebook. Now one MobileRead user has found a new trick to get past Amazon's filter. They found that you can change the suffix of the epub ebook from EPUB to PNG and email it to Amazon, and the ebook will be converted to Kindle format for you. This has been tested by a number of users on MobileRead, and they have confirmed that it works. I keep my ebooks in calibre, so i don't find this terribly useful, but I wanted to share it anyway. If you keep your ebook library in your Kindle account then this will save you a fair amount of work. P.S. When it comes to the Kindle conversion service, the only supported formats are: PRC, Mobi, PDF, Doc, Docx, txt, rtf, and image [...]


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New TSA Rules Require Separate Screenings for Your iPad, Kindle, Kobo, and Ot...
by Nate Hoffelder
26 Jul 2017 at 11:39am

I have jokingly said that one of my goals in life is to one day use all of the bins at the airport security checkpoint.The Transportation Security Administration may have just made that a practical reality. The Verge and a number of other sites are citing a new TSA directive which requires travelers to pull all of their electronics out of their carry-on luggage and feed it through the x-ray machine. To ensure the security of airline passengers and the nation?s airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items that require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes. Following extensive testing and successful pilots at 10 airports, TSA plans to expand these measures to all U.S. airports during the weeks and months ahead. Due to an increased threat to aviation security,DHS Secretary John Kelly announced in late June new security requirementsfor nearly 280 airports in more than 100 countries. In an effort to raise the baseline for aviation security worldwide, TSA continues to work closely with airports and airlines to enhance security measures and stay ahead of the evolving threat. ?Whether you?re [...]


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Booknet Canada Reports Print Sales Down 2.7% in First Half of 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
26 Jul 2017 at 6:12am

Booknet Canada has released some sales data and consumer survey data covering the first half of this year. One the one side, official sales channels report print sales are down (there's no comparable ebook sales data).On the other side, consumer surveys have shown a slight increase in preference for ebooks. press release: Canadian book buyers spent $398 million on print books in the English-language trade market during the first six months of 2017. Comparing value sold for a group of comparable stores for the first half of 2017 versus the same period last year, overall sales were down 2.7%, according to sales numbers reported to BNC SalesData. When it comes to format preferences among book buyers in Canada, consumer surveys conducted with 966 book-buying Canadiansduring the first six months of 2017 show a 3% increase for ebooks versus the same period in 2016. With a 20% share of the market, ebooks remain in third place behind paperback at 51% and hardcover at 23%. Online shopping, which covers shopping on e-commerce websites, mobile app purchases, and ebook/audio downloads,also saw gains during the first half of 2017, rising from 50% to 52% over the same period last year. The second-most popular channel [...]


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Morning Coffee ? 26 July 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
25 Jul 2017 at 9:22pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. So you want to decentralize your website (macwright.org) A Collection of Interesting Facts about CSS Grid Layout (CSS-Tricks) Google is working on a new lossy image format for the web called ?Pik? (9to5Google) I Miss The Simple Days (by @baekdal) The Indie Bookstore in the Amazon Age (The Digital Reader) Why this superintendent is banning homework ? and asking kids to read instead (The Washington Post) Flash & The Future of Interactive Content (Adobe)  


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My Dasung Paperlike Pro Arrived ? What Should I Do With It?
by Nate Hoffelder
25 Jul 2017 at 1:18pm

Dasung is a Chinese startup that has so far released three monitors based on a 13.3" E-ink screen under the brand name, Paperlike. The third model, the Paperlike Pro, was announced last month. It features the same screen resolution as before (1600 x 1200) but on the upside the Pro works over HDMI and the screen was upgraded to Carta E-ink. My unit just arrived today. I haven't had a chance to really test it yet, but I wanted to invite requests. I can confirm the technical details mentioned above, and I can also add that while the HDMI port is terribly convenient, the frequent crashes are not. The Pro crashes about every five minutes, forcing me to press the C (for "clear") button to get it working again. (I'm going to ask Dasung why as soon as they wake up tomorrow morning in China.) While the Pro does appear to be a tad faster that its predecessor, that stability issue pretty much cancels out any gains. It is a nifty toy, nonetheless. What would you like me to try out? P.S. There's no touchscreen, one feature I would have liked to have


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B&N Investor Sandell Wants the Bookseller to Go Private ? Would Bezos Buy?
by Nate Hoffelder
25 Jul 2017 at 7:34am

The latest word on Barnes & Noble is that one of it corporate investors wants the company to be sold off to a private investor. From Fox Business: An activist investor wantsBarnes& Noble Inc. to try again to sell itself, arguing the bookseller needs an owner who can invest in its beleaguered operations. Sandell Asset Management has recently started buying a stake in the New York bookstore chain and is already among its 10 biggest investors, according to people familiar with the matter. Sandell believes the company could attract a bid of more than $12 a share, compared with a closing price Monday of $7.10, according to a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that is to be released Tuesday. Even though physical bookstores have declined in popularity in the U.S. in the internet age, Sandell reckons they aren't going away and thatBarnes& Noble's status as the only national chain could attract a well-heeled private-equity firm or another retailer. Sandell isn't proposing to buy the retailer, so it's not clear whether this proposal is serious or just a scheme to boost B&N's stock price and make money. That said, it's not a bad idea. Len Riggio has demonstrated over [...]


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On eBooks Being a Dead Format
by Nate Hoffelder
24 Jul 2017 at 3:50pm

Have you ever had one of those moments where you kinda sorta agree with someone's conclusion and yet still disagree with many of the assumptions that lead to the conclusion? That's how I feel towards a piece published in The Bookseller earlier today. Simon Rowberry argues that ebooks aren't dead, but his arguments betray legacy industry biases. For example, he cavalierly tosses off the assumption that $10 ebook prices are unsustainable. The fall in revenue from ebooks is a direct consequence of legacy publishers? prioritization of print sales at the expense of digital books. The Kindle?s North American launch in 2007 marketed new ebook titles at $9.99, a discount of at least $10 on the hardback equivalent. This approach was unsustainable, but it set readers? expectations for the cost of ebooks. What's funny about this assumption are the many indie authors who would disagree, or the publishers like Baen Books that price all of their ebooks under $10. Baen Books has been selling its ebooks at whatRowberry would describe as an unsustainable price for close to twenty years, and yet they have somehow managed to pull it off. And that's not the only data thatRowberry didn't include.A little earlier in [...]


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iPhone 8 Leaks Hint at Rounded Edges, Thin bezel, No Fingerprint Sensor
by Nate Hoffelder
24 Jul 2017 at 9:16am

As with every new Apple product, rumors continue to circulate about the design, features, release date, and price. The most recent rumors suggest that Apple's tenth-anniversary iPhone will cost over a thousand dollars and feature an even more fragile design than before. First up is Forbes, which published product renders based on what their expert had heard from sources in Apple's supply chain: What you see above is a finalised hardware design. An enlarged,elongated5.8-inch display is surrounded by dramatically reduced bezels of approximately 4mm on all sides, the theory being the iPhone 8 won?t be as prone to accidental input like the Infinity and Edge displays on Samsung?s premium Galaxy smartphones. You will also see a new bottom edge render confirming Apple will not bring back the headphone jack after its controversial removal from the iPhone 7. Despite rumours to the contrary, the Lightning port also remains (though USB Type-C may feature on the wall plug as part of a wider move to finally adopt fast charging). I left the renders out because they were just renders and have as much to do with the actual iPhone 8 as a recreation of the Mona Lisa (based on a verbal description) [...]


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