Nook comes with $50 B&N gift certificate

There’s a pretty sweet deal brewing in the ebook world through the end of the June. From now until the end of the month, Barnes & Noble is offering up a $50 gift card with every Nook purchase.

It’s a nice way to get you started on your ebook craze. One of my many complaints about the current state of ebooks is price. I just can’t justify most of the prices without the option to lend/share/resell my books (I realize I sound a bit like Bradbury here). The Nook, though, does offer the option to lend books, which is leaps above the way things were just a year ago. Unfortunately for consumers, B&N prices tend to err on the high side when it comes to digital content. A lot of titles are pushing $20 or falling somewhere between $15 and $20, which means you’ll get three books – max – out of that gift card.

Still, if you were considering one already this might be enough to push you over the edge.

Photo from fOTOGLIF


Google to enter the ebook market this summer

Google Editions.If the Wall Street Journal is right, Google could be launching its ebook store as early as this summer. You may remember the Google ebook store, Google Editions, from all the problems it had last year. Publishers were far from supportive – they were actually combative – and it didn’t seem like any progress was in sight.

It seems things have turned the corner, though. Google Editions will reportedly launch with somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000 titles. Hey, Amazon, remember how good it felt to be on top? With that many titles Google would be a top-notch competitor against both Amazon and Apple’s new iBookstore.

The most interesting news, though, will be whether Google Editions kept any of the original, consumer-friendly stipulations in contract. Will we be able to print? How about that copy/paste feature?

Source: WSJ


Reading Material: The iPad rocks for content creators

iPad with iBooks.There’s been a lot of talk about the iPad and its potential to revolutionize the publishing industry. I’ve never really bought it, though I couldn’t always say why. I didn’t think the new form would really encourage publishers to change all that much. Penguin proved me wrong in its discussion of new iPad content, but even Penguin didn’t completely sway me. This article by a book designer named Craig Mod did.

Craig’s whole point is that the iPad not only offers something new, it offers something very old – the experience of reading an actual book. His position is that the iPad preserves the book by more realistically allowing publishers to port their published form, books, onto a new device. The Kindle could only approximate things with its black and white display. By contrast (wink, wink), the iPad’s full color gives publishers the tools they’ve always had for creating rich content experiences. The arrival of links and what we now consider “content-rich” experiences are just icing on the cake.

His article offers a long and winding history of designing books and the kind of thought that goes into a reading experience. It’s worth reading for anyone interested in the future of the written word and/or a passion for creating consumable content.

Source: @craigmod


Amazon tries to stay competitive with Apple, will need a new device

Steve Jobs in a chair with the iPad.The day Apple announced the iPad, Amazon was calling newspapers and publishers before Steve Jobs had even left the stage. As the New York Times’ Bits blog has it, Amazon wanted to hear what Apple had offered. Amazon had been trying for more than a month to sign deals with publishers that would give Amazon customers the best prices anywhere, either by matching or beating the prices given to other dealers.

Amazon tried to sweeten the deal by offering publishers bigger revenues than in the past. Unfortunately, Apple was willing to budge on a much larger issue: price. With Apple, publishers had a bit more flexibility than Amazon would give, which in turn gave publishers bargaining power over Amazon. See, Amazon will do just about anything to stay competitive with Apple.

In fairness to Amazon, it’s not like publishers want to upset that distribution channel. Amazon pretty much pioneered the ebook scene – it certainly made ebooks as popular as they were likely to become before some sort of wonder device came along – which leaves publishers keen to cater to the existing subscribers in Amazon’s marketplace until either the iPad gains enough ground or Amazon releases a new reader.

That last point is very important. If Amazon doesn’t release a new reader within the next year or so, it will pigeonhole itself into becoming solely a content provider, a position I wouldn’t think Bezos wants to be in considering he started the Kindle. Rarely would a company of Amazon’s scale introduce a middling product only to do away with it in a couple years.

Source: Bits


Kindle heads to Blackberry

Blackberry gets Kindle.Amazon is starting to see the writing on the wall, it seems. There isn’t a compelling reason for people to buy a Kindle anymore. Other ereaders offer the same price on books with more features and the latest wave of tablet PCs make the hardware look obsolete. So what does Bezos do? He releases a Kindle app for yet another piece of hardware: the Blackberry.

Amazon recently opened the floodgates with Kindle support for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Windows machines. Today we get Blackberry support and the company says it’s headed for Macs and iPads next. If that doesn’t sound like admitted defeat, I don’t know what does. It’s funny too, considering the publisher problems Amazon has had since the iPad announcement.

“Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today,” said Amazon’s Kindle VP, Ian Freed. There is at least one difference between the two; the Blackberry version doesn’t support creating annotations from within the app.

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