The Problem of Reinventing the Bookstore

books1[1]Bookshops are the platypus of the retail world. Not only are they part of an industry with a unique obsession with and attachment to its products, but they are also one of the types of retailers which are the most susceptible to losing business to online competitors.

Like music, the discoverabilty of books often works better online than in stores, and that has the potential to make booksellers as redundant as music stores (which have closed in record numbers both in the US and around the globe). Continue reading

What I’m Reading On – June 2014

Kobo_Arc_colors_610x529[1]This Sunday morning finds me in between trips.

Having just gotten back from BEA 2014 yesterday and leaving for SID Display Week (a screen tech conference) tomorrow, I thought I would take a few minutes and post a “what’s in my gear bag” type of post.

In addition to my laptop and rarely used iPad 2, my main reading devices at the moment are a Kobo Arc (2012) tablet and a Kindle Fire HD (2013). For reasons which I will explain at the end of the post, I am mainly reading on the Arc. Continue reading

A Once-in-a-Century Opportunity to Re-invent Publishing, and Books

The working title for this article was, “These Days, Monopoly is Just a Board Game.”

I started to argue that Amazon wasn’t and isn’t a monopoly, but then I also managed to argue myself out of becoming an Amazon Cheerleader. Since I was looking into anti-trust statues and case law (spoiler: it’s dry) we’re going to wade into that half of the post first. But stick with me; I hope by the end I’ve also convinced you of the promise of that over-ambitious title up there. Continue reading

B&N’s Past Tablet Failures Don’t Bode Well For Their Future Plans

Yesterdaynookshd[1] Barnes & Noble reported their 5th straight quarter of shrinking digital revenue, with the latest quarter costing them another $61 million EBITDA. This represents not just a single quarter, but the latest quarter in 4 years of B&N losing money on the Nook.

So far as we can tell from publicly available info, after nearly 5 years Barnes & Noble has not made a profit on their digital investment. In retrospect that was  a bad investment, but I’m not sure that the same can be said at the time. Continue reading

Amazon, please unmute the Kindle Paperwhite: No need for the workaround shown in this video, when TTS chips cost next to nothing!

At first glance, the MIT-designed FingerReader shown in this video looks intriguing for people with print-related challenges. But major catches exist, beyond the robotic voice. Using the little text to speech reader is slow going, as you’ll notice if you play the video below. Continue reading

Should public libraries give away ebook-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities

nextbook[1]Young people love suitable paper books, ideally new, that they can own.

Could the same idea work for econo-tablets that public libraries gave away to low-income families—with a big, fat, e-book-related icon smack in the middle of the home screens? Yes!

Don’t just hand out gizmos, though. Continue reading