The book is here
This is one of the moments when it feels good to be a book writer. There's no question but your first newspaper article, your first magazine piece, your first radio show, they are all fantastic -- but somehow a book is special. Maybe because of the pain it takes to get there. Last week the entire Summer Project fell over: every single thing I'd recommended so loudly, so cockily, it was all wrong because the book I'm writing simply wasn't any good. One hairy week on, it is. The Blank Screen: Blogging is a far better book than it would've been if I'd not stopped it to rewrite.
Leading e-reader software gets extremely overdue features
The latest release of Amazon's Kindle software for iOS and Macs is devoted to improving how text looks on your screen as you read. Excuse us? With Kindle 4.9.1, it's five years since the application came to Apple gear and only now it's concerned with how you read on it?
Authors will be paid based on pages read from borrowed Kindle Unlimited titles
Amazon is making a change to the way it pays authors for allowing their books to be included in Amazon Prime's Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited. Starting from July 1, rule alterations to the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program will now pay authors based on the number of pages read in their ebooks by users of both services, instead of the previous method which counted the number of times books were downloaded by subscribers.
Deal brings Marvel comics to Kindle Store
Comic book fans now have more of a reason to go to Amazon, as a deal between Marvel and the retailer has brought more than 12,000 digital issues to the Kindle Store, allowing for comics from the Amazing Spiderman, Daredevil, and other franchises to be downloaded to the Kindle app and Kindle ebook readers. The agreement does not affect ComiXology, the digital comic book service owned by Amazon, nor the ComiXology-powered Marvel Comics platform.
Deliberately basic note taking done great
Enough already. We just want to write this thing down before we forget it, okay? If we could avoid faffing around picking a template to base our new document on, that would be a big help. Later on, we'll worry about where we're going to use the text, at this moment we just want to get words down. That's the aim of this app, and it has been from its start in 2008 right up to two weeks ago, when it got updated to Simplenote 4.1.1.
The real business of writing and publishing books on Macs
Self-publishing -- once known as the "vanity press" -- has been around for decades. If you had a burning desire to be a published author, but mysteriously the conventional literary "mafia" couldn't see the value in your heartbreaking work of staggering genius, you could pay to have books created for you in the hopes that this would lead to your "discovery." It rarely worked out that way (until 50 Shades of Gray took that path). With the advent of desktop publishing in the late 1980s and the emergence of e-books into the mainstream more recently, authors can now take much more control over their literary fate. In this new Summer Project, MacNN is going to show you what we mean, by putting out a book ourselves over the next eight weeks. Read on to find out more.
Google makes Roboto font open source
Roboto, the font used throughout Android, Chrome OS, and a number of other Google products has been made open source. Originally released under the Apache license as part of Android 4.0 in 2011, Google has now made it, and the toolchain used for its creation, into an open source project hosted on Github. Google has also added Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek characters found in Unicode 7.0, with the total number of glyphs increased from approximately 13,000 to more than 40,000 as part of the effort.
Apple's e-reader is under-appreciated
Anyone who bought the Kindle device that lets you read in direct sunlight made a sensible choice, and they got terrific battery life too. I made my iPad choice, and I lived with it, despite not being able to read on the sun-soaked beach. Of course, you can read Kindle books on iPad, but now I actively seek out titles on Apple's iBook Store before I bother looking for them on Kindle.
Purdue University first to have staffed Amazon pickup, drop-off location
Amazon has started to offer Kindle Convert, an app which allows users to scan their existing physical books and turn them into Kindle ebooks. At the same time, the online retailer is continuing to help its physical book sales and those of other products by opening its first staffed customer order pickup and drop-off location in Purdue University.
Book Browser iPad-only for now
Amazon has issued a major update to the Kindle app for iOS, v4.6. Central to the update is the Book Browser, a feature that lets people search through text and audiobooks hosted on Kindle Unlimited. Tapping on a book's cover provides information, such as a description and customer reviews. People subscribed to Unlimited can download a title immediately; the Browser is, however, restricted to the iPad.
Amazon Kindle tablets and e-readers from $49
Black Friday deals are on now at Amazon. No need to wait outside in the cold, or battle the hoards of deal-hungry shoppers to get these great prices. To kick things off today, the online store is offering discounts on their line of Kindle tablets and e-readers. The all-new Kindle with touch has been reduced again by $30, and can be had for only $49 with special offers that display on the lock screen, or $69 without the ads.
Google Play Music All Access subscribers gain YouTube Music Key access
Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.
Globe Theater opens video on-demand store for Shakespeare plays
The Globe Theater has launched a streaming service specializing in Shakespeare plays. Available globally, the Globe Player store offers a selection of performances filmed at the London theater, with a seven-day rental priced at approximately £4 ($6.50) and sales including offline viewing priced at £8 ($13) for each of the famous plays, though it also hosts a number of interviews with notable performers which can be viewed at no charge. Currently, the service only works through a web browser, but the service is considering creating mobile apps if the demand warrants it.
Lab126 responsible for Fire Phone, Kindle ecosystem
Amazon is planning on increasing the number of researchers and developers at its Lab126 skunkworks. Sources familiar with the matter, backed up by governmental filings, show that Amazon is looking to hire 27 percent more people, bringing the number of employees to 3,757 before 2019, which will trigger tax breaks according to the terms of a deal with California that will give the e-retailer $1.2 million in tax breaks.
British launch includes fewer books than US Kindle Unlimited catalog
Amazon has expanded its all-you-can-eat e-book subscription service to the United Kingdom, just two months after the retailer's original United States launch. Kindle Unlimited offers book readers over 650,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks to read and listen to, with the UK subscription priced at £7.99 ($13) per month accompanied by a 30-day trial.
Update to Kindle line could have page-turning sensors in bezel
Amazon is looking to launch another e-reader in its Kindle range, according to details leaked through its German and Japanese stores. The appearance of the Kindle Voyage has also allegedly been uncovered, with an illustration from a supposed manual along with other details appearing to show the device's page turning buttons will be replaced by a new sensor in the bezels responding to light presses.
Stored cross-site scripting attack can steal stored cookies on tablet
Listing added for new version, reportedly increased memory from 2 to 4 GB
It appears that Amazon recently began directing consumers looking for a Kindle Paperwhite to a new version of the popular e-reader. The listing modification had occurred with what appeared to be no changes in the e-reader. As it turns out, a minor change did take place in the amount of storage that is included in the unit.
Retailer holds e-book authors hostage in standoff for lower profits for publishers
Painting itself in an altruistic, pro-consumer light, Amazon in a post posing as an "update" on the Hachette standoff -- that has prevented customers from buying print or e-book editions from the publisher because Amazon refuses to fill orders -- explains that it is putting pressure on Hachette (and other publishers soon to follow) to lower the wholesale price of e-books to where Amazon can make a profit on them selling them at $10 or less. Amazon argues that e-books "must stay competitive" against all other forms of media.
Grovemade introduces limited edition metal iPhone docks
Accessories producer Grovemade has announced the introduction of a limited edition run of iPhone docks comprised of metal. Called the Black Dock, the new product is available with a solid steel or brass base, combined with an aluminium cap that is protected with a matte black coating. The Black Dock is designed for iPhone 5/5s/5c and the 4/4s, and weighs 3 pounds.
Over 600,000 e-books, audiobooks can be downloaded from Kindle Unlimited
Following a leak from earlier this week, Amazon has launched its subscription e-book service. Named Kindle Unlimited, the service operates as a form of "Netflix for e-books," providing all-you-can-eat access to over 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of Audible audiobooks via Kindle devices or the Kindle apps on smartphones and tablets for $9.99 per month.
Cached pages detail Kindle Unlimited service with over 600,000 books
Amazon is allegedly testing an e-book subscription service the retailer could offer to Kindle customers sometime in the future. Effectively operating in a similar way to Netflix for video or Spotify for music, Kindle Unlimited will apparently provide "unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks" at a cost of $10 per month.
Kindle for iOS adds compatibility with Audible audiobooks
Kindle has updated its iOS app, now allowing users to access purchased Audible content. Users can switch back and forth between reading a Kindle version of a book and the Audible audiobook version, depending on the relevant situation. Over 45,000 Kindle and Audible title pairs are now available. Additional features in v4.3 include synchronized reading progress between the Audible and Kindle versions of a book, the option to increase narration speed by up to 2x, and bulk title downloading. The Kindle iOS app is free to download through iTunes.
Galaxy owners can claim one free Kindle book from monthly selection
Samsung has entered into a partnership with Amazon to provide owners of its Galaxy smartphone and tablets free books. The Kindle for Samsung app, a custom-built version of Amazon's e-reader just for Galaxy devices, will provide not only access to the online retailer's collection of books and reading material, but will also give app users a free ebook every month.
Math for calculating credit unknown
Amazon has started issuing credit to Kindle e-book buyers as a part of the legal settlements agreed to by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin, according to notices being sent to out to customers. The money is being deposited into shoppers' Amazon accounts, and is typically just a few dollars, depending on how many qualifying Kindle titles a person bought between April 1st 2010 and May 21st 2012. "We will automatically apply your available credit to your next purchase of a Kindle book or print book sold by Amazon.com, regardless of publisher," the company says. The credit is valid until March 31st of next year.
Second-generation Kindle Paperwhite features reach first generation
Amazon has updated the software for the first generation of the Kindle Paperwhite, bringing it in line with features already available to the newer model. The free update, available both as a wireless download or a manual transfer over USB, introduces the Goodreads community rating and note sharing scheme to the e-reader, among other new additions to the device.
Systems consisting of Kindle Fire tablet, card reader could head to stores this summer
A pair of reports claim that Amazon is moving further into the payments market, from two different directions. One plan involves offering retail stores a point-of-sale system using Kindle tablets, while another involves the creation of a system for person-to-person payments, in a similar service to that currently offered by payment processing competitor PayPal.
$30 off Kindle Fire HDX
For a limited time at Amazon, save $30 on the 16GB Kindle Fire HDX seven-inch tablet. It is regularly priced at $229, but is dropped to $199 when coupon code "GameOn30" is used at checkout. That makes this the lowest price available on this tablet. Free US shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, or Washington. This tablet features a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space, along with Wi-Fi and 1920x1200 resolution. A one-year limited warranty on parts and labor is included from Amazon.
Kindle Fire HD for $109 and more
Right now at Amazon, save $30 on the Kindle Fire HD Tablet with coupon code 'MAYDAY30' which lowers the price from $139 down to $109 with free US shipping. This tablet features 8GB of storage space, 1280x800 resolution, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, built-in Wi-Fi, and a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 10 hours on single charge. This tablet is backed by a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor from Amazon.
We really meant to get this to you earlier but kept putting it off
The last days before Christmas are a special time of year, full of family gatherings and carolers for some, and panic racing thoughts for others. Those latter holiday sentiments, of course, are for those among us who neglected to get all of our shopping done. Maybe you managed to secure a flight back home at the last minute, or maybe you just decided to forgive Uncle Bobby for that incident on Thanksgiving. No matter the cause, you've probably got a few last-minute acquisitions to make, and the gift budget may have already bled into the rest of your budget. Have no fear, though, Electronista is here with the Last Minute Edition of our Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, so there's no need to grab those Starbucks gift cards in bulk quite yet, as there's still time to get folks the tech gifts they'll love.
Motorola adds Bamboo backing option to MotoMaker
Motorola has finally made a wooden backing available for the Moto X. Users of MotoMaker can choose to have a Bamboo coating on the rear of the smartphone, at a cost of $100 and an extra week on the delivery time according to TechnoBuffalo. Bamboo is currently the only option in the "Natural" category on the site, with previously-spotted options for Ebony, Rosewood, and Teak yet to be added to the backing list.
Apple's new iPads topping all in tablet sales
The tablet market is performing strongly this holiday season, and Apple's iPad Air and iPad mini are leading the pack among all contenders. This according to a new report from market analysis firm Canaccord Genuity, which saw the two newest iPads outpacing entries from Samsung, Amazon, and Google throughout November and the first half of December. The findings are in keeping with previous analyses of the tablet market, which showed Apple in the lead but Samsung and others increasing share.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
New Kindle may be on the way with lighter design
Amazon may release a new version of its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader as early as the second quarter of next year, according to a new report. TechCrunch reported on Sunday that the online retail giant is prepping a new Kindle Paperwhite for release early next year, one with a number of hardware improvements and design changes. The new device could sport an e-ink screen with a resolution of 300ppi, providing visuals nearly 50 percent denser than the current model.
Newest Amazon e-reader gets Goodreads compatibility
Amazon has added Goodreads compatibility to its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader device. The feature addition will allow Paperwhite owners to rate books and share quoted passages directly to the Goodreads community. Users will also be able to import both print and digital books bought from Amazon into their Goodreads accounts.
Streaming to TV and second-screen functionality added in Fire OS update
Amazon has released the latest version of its Android implementation, Kindle Fire OS 3.1. The free update for Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets adds a number of updates, with the integration of Goodreads adding book rating and quote sharing through the community, friend update feeds, and the option to import both print and digital books bought from Amazon into the Goodreads account.
Local site prices Amazon US Kindle Fire HD under Australian retailers
Amazon has made a large push in Australia for its Kindle tablet line. The retailer has launched its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets in the country, coming shortly after the Kindle Paperwhite became available in stores, and is accompanied by a regional version of the Kindle Store, with Kindle Direct Publishing also opening up in the territory.
Booksellers receive percentage for first two years
Amazon has launched a new program that aims to bring independent bookstores into the Kindle ecosystem. The online retailer promises to share 10 percent of e-book revenue for purchases made on Kindle devices sold through participating bookstores. A retailer's first order of Kindle readers or tablets is also covered by a buy-back guarantee, enabling any unsold devices to be repurchased by Amazon without penalty for up to six months.
Selected Kindle books to be sold cheaply before being officially released
Not content with just launching its Kindle MatchBook program in the United States, Amazon is now offering two more e-book services to its customers. Kindle Countdown Deals will offer Kindle titles at a discounted rate for a limited time, while Kindle First will let customers read specific titles before they are released for general purchase.
Free, cheap e-books provided to compliment physical book purchases
Amazon has launched its program that provides digital versions of books they already own in physical form, which can be read on a Kindle device or the Kindle app. Kindle MatchBook will provide Amazon customers in the US with Kindle titles that match books bought from the retailer in the past, with the Kindle copies being provided either at no charge or priced between $0.99 and $2.99 each.
Details app that recognises item or media, returns Amazon store page
Rumors of an Amazon-created smartphone have had a boost, thanks to a recently filed patent application. The unearthed filing for "User guided object identification" provides details for how a smartphone can recognize an object and then provide the user with an appropriate Amazon product page, a feature that was mentioned in a rumor from earlier this month.
Angular design of new Amazon tablets, added Mayday support button
Amazon has revealed its refreshed Kindle Fire tablet lines, including a revised Kindle Fire HD, and new lines with HD displays. The seven-inch Kindle Fire HDX uses a 1920x1200-resolution display while the 8.9-inch version will have a 2560x1600 version, with both models also having the chiseled and unique design with rear-mounted buttons revealed earlier in leaks.
New Kindle Fire render lacks webcam shown in earlier photographs
An image showing the possible new Kindle Fire has surfaced, this time in what appears to be a promotional render. The new image gives a clear view of the front face of the alleged Amazon tablet refresh, and follows earlier leaked photographs which showed the chiseled, angular nature of the back and side edges on the Kindle Fire HD.
Failure to update could cause users to lose books after iOS 7 upgrade
In an unusual move, Amazon has released what it calls a "required" update -- v3.9.2 -- for the Kindle iOS app. The company warns that without the update, installing iOS 7 on a device could force people to have to re-register in the app, and re-download any saved books. It's unexplained why iOS 7 would cause the personal data to be lost.
Over 10,000 ebooks available through program at launch in October
Amazon has announced a new program that will provide Kindle owners digital copies of books they already own. Kindle MatchBook will allow Amazon customers to get an ebook version of physical versions bought through the retailer in the past, with titles either being offered at no charge or for between $0.99 and $2.99 each.
Paperwhite product page quickly pulled
Amazon appears to have accidentally listed its next-generation Paperwhite reader ahead of its formal announcement. A product page, which was spotted by Engadget and subsequently removed, notes that the device integrates a new display with higher contrast and improved reflectivity, along with a new lighting system to enhance readability in low-light environments.
Amazon launches Kindle store in Mexico, Gandhi chain to sell devices
Amazon has launched its Kindle store and Kindle Direct Publishing in Mexico, providing over 70,000 Spanish titles, over 1,500 being free, and over 2 million ebooks overall. The Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite has also gone on sale in the Gandhi bookstore chain, at a cost of MXN$1,400 ($105) and MXN$2,400 ($180) respectively.
Google moves to push pop-up compose e-mail window to all Gmail users
Google is updating its e-mail composition interface for all users, removing the old version entirely and replacing it with a pop-up version. The new e-mail creation window, already used by a number of users for some weeks now and set to roll out to everyone over the next few days, takes the form of a pop-up window in the bottom right corner, which Google says allows for users to monitor their inbox while writing new messages, with the added option of a full-screen mode for more workspace.
Provides quick access to same free samples from web, other apps
Amazon has updated the iOS version of its Kindle e-reading app to v3.9. Via the app's Library Search, users should now be able to search through Amazon's catalog of free book samples and download the content straight to a device. Amazon doesn't allow direct purchases of books in iOS however, as Apple claims a 30 percent cut of all in-app transactions. Instead titles must be bought via the web, the Kindle hardware, or one of the other Kindle apps for platforms like Android and Windows Phone.
Amazon shipping Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD to India later this month
Amazon has launched its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire HD tablets in India. Due to ship on June 27th, the Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite 3G will cost 10,999 rupees ($190) and 13,999 rupees ($240) respectively, while the Kindle Fire HD tablets are listed as 15,999 rupees ($276) for the 7-inch model, and 21,999 ($380) for the 8.9-inch version. The expansion to India follows a similar move by the retailer into China late last week.