Apps

What the Barnes & Noble news is really telling us about the future of digital content

1 July 2013

From Digital Book World:

Wow, it’s been quite a week for Barnes & Noble and the industry at large.

B&N got hammered—not only on the numbers, but on the optics as well. They are out of the tablet business (smart), but the drain on their bottom line was significant, and they’re facing a triple whammy with high overhead, no big blockbusters to make up for last year’s 50 Shades of Hunger, and little consensus on the most viable way forward.

Most people in one way or another are asking if the nation’s only remaining bricks & mortar chain bookseller is going to be around in five years.

. . . .

[I]s B&N really the counterbalance to Amazon as was suggested when Microsoft took a stake in Nook? What is the technology lifespan of stand-alone readers as a category generally? Is this a transitional technology? (I think it is.) Finally, when we expand our perspective to the global marketplace, what does the explosive growth of mobile mean for the future of publishing? Are we prepared?

. . . .

Mobile penetration in developed nations is around 128 percent of the population. (The Americas-109%; Europe-126%; the states of the former Soviet Union-170%.) This means market growth is being driven by demand in developing world, particularly in India, China, and Africa.

Here in the US we have a mobile device in our hands pretty much all of the time, which is starting to impact how we discover and relate to all kinds of content.

In the study I edit with Bowker Market Research, Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, our most recent findings show that while in-store and traditional browser-based book purchasing remained relatively stable between January 2012 and February 2013, stand-alone e-reader book purchases fell from 6% to <1%, while in-app purchases grew from 1% to 7% in the same period.

. . . .

This means all of our traditional ideas about how our customers interact with our online content—visiting an author’s website, doing online research, following bloggers, or browsing online sites—is going to change.

If we’re heading into a mobile app-driven world, and away from discovery via publishing establishments like B&N, what is the game-plan?

Is it creating stand-alone apps for single books or properties that we set adrift in the wide Sargasso Sea that is the app store?

What about pinning our hopes to customers buying and reading on their Kindle mobile app, or via the iBookstore especially when we have no ownership over those customers or their behavioral data?

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Ebook App Creation Demystified: A Case Study

8 May 2013

From Digital Book World:

In digital publishing today, storybook app creation is still a niche. Compared to printed books, creating book apps is in its infancy and still chartering the road “less traveled by” to borrow the words of Robert Frost – and at Wasabi Productions, we believe it can and will make “all the difference.”

Clearly, we aren’t the only ones who think so as this nascent industry is teeming with innovative app creation (especially for children). Device adoption is exploding in both homes and schools – this year, International Data Corporation (IDC) said it expects the tablet market to reach “a new high” of 190 million shipped units, with year-on-year growth of 48.7%, while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2% to 918.5 million units. Device variety and price points are also diversifying, and their ubiquity and storytelling potential mean that apps won’t be the marginal choice for digital publishing for very long.

. . . .

[W]e have created a case study detailing our experience in creating for this emerging industry, which, if predictions are to be believed, is the trend to watch in 2013 and beyond.

. . . .

The first step in creating a children’s book is platform agnostic – creation of a story. The author, in our case Graham Nunn, needs creative inspiration and workshops the idea into a script. Once the story is created, the process of making an app diverges from that of other kinds of content creation. Rather than an image of a distanced author developing his idea in isolation, storybook apps are fundamentally collaborative. Early on, Nunn is discussing his idea with the team and providing reference images while building a storyboard rough (draft). The storyboard rough has information on sound effects and interactions page-by-page to accompany the words and it begins visualizing user interface decisions, such as how navigation works (after creating a few apps, we’ve developed a familiar user interface format that our books use, but this is always evolving to ensure it’s optimized for each app).

A timeless, well-written story is critical for all children’s literature but since books on a touch screen device have the added dimension of reader interaction, you need more than just great words. Someone has to decide what those interactions are going to be and when this person is the author, these can be more integral to the narrative–not forced into the scope of a completed story by someone else.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

New Kindle App for the Blind and Partially Sighted

7 May 2013

From The Bookseller:

A new Kindle app from Amazon will help blind and partially sighted people to access 1.5m titles.

The app works with the in-built magnification and speech functions of iPhones, iPads and some other Apple devices, while also creating an electronic Braille display.

. . . .

Fazilet Hadi, the director of inclusivity at the RNIB, said: “This fantastic breakthrough from Amazon means that people with sight loss can now read the 1.5m titles in the Kindle store. RNIB helped Amazon by getting feedback from blind and partially sighted people who tested early versions of the app.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller and thanks to Diana for the tip.

The Amazon Appstore is Going Global

17 April 2013

From The Amazon Media Room:

Amazon.com, Inc. continued the global expansion of its Appstore today by announcing that developers can now submit their apps for distribution in nearly 200 countries, including Australia, Brazil,Canada, Mexico, India, South Africa, South Korea, and even Papua New Guinea and Vatican City. These apps will be made available in the coming months when the Amazon Appstore for Android launches internationally for consumers.

. . . .

“Amazon’s platform is a complete end-to-end solution for developers wanting to build, market and monetize their apps and games on Kindle Fire and Android devices,” said Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon. “Allowing developers to target distribution of their apps and games in even more international countries is yet another important milestone as we strive to serve consumers and developers globally. Many of our existing developers have localized their apps and games for international consumers, and we look forward to working with new developers that have been waiting to bring their apps to more Amazoncustomers across the globe.”

Link to the rest at The Amazon Media Room

Passive Guy thinks the Kindle Fire will end up going everywhere the Amazon App Store goes.

According to MacStories, Amazon is already selling ebooks in 179 countries:

Amazon

Link to the rest at MacStories

 

ReDigi Responds to Amazon’s Used eBook Patent and Convinces Me That I’ll Never Use Its Service

7 February 2013

From The Digital Reader:

Amazon got a lot of attention earlier this week with news broke that they had been awarded a patent for a “used digital content” marketplace. Many took it to be a sign that Amazon was interested in creating used content market similar to the one they maintain for books, DVDs, and other physical media.

Naturally this has the blogosphere and tech industry intrigued, but no one was more interested than ReDigi. This 2 year old startup has already launched a marketplace where US residents can resell music they bought. It went into a public beta in October 2011, but only currently supports music purchased via iTunes.

. . . .

[From a ReDigi press release]

ReDigi’s advanced technology employs a “Verification Engine” and “Atomic Transaction”, resulting in a TRANSFER ONLY mechanism. This means that all digital goods are first verified to ensure that they are legally eligible for resale.  Once verified, ReDigi’s technology transfers the “original” good from the user’s computer to ReDigi’s Cloud (Marketplace).  With ReDigi’s method, only the “original” good is instantaneously /atomically transferred from seller to buyer without any copies.  ReDigi then assists the seller with an anti-virus like software application that monitors the seller’s computer and synced devices to ensure that any personal-use copies of the sold good are removed.

Just to be clear, ReDigi want to install an app on your computer so they can make sure to delete any copies of a song you sell via their service.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

In Japan, an app that makes newspaper reading an interactive experience for kids

4 February 2013

From TeleRead:

A daily Japanese newspaper, the Tokyo Shimbun, has recently launched an app that allows children to scan specially-marked articles with their smartphone, which then reveals various kid-friendly content related to the article. An anime character, for instance, might pop up on a child’s smartphone screen and explain the article in kid-friendly terms. Various graphics and pop-up headlines may also be revealed.

. . . .

To use the app, a child simply has to find an article that’s been surrounded by a light-blue box—that’s the indication that a story has multimedia content hidden just beneath its surface.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

The Apple Dilemma~ from The Launch Blog

20 January 2013

The Apple Dilemma:  Marketshare or Margins

“Steve Jobs famously got Apple back on track by reducing the number of products Apple had down to a reasonable number in order to create product excellence.

“Focus, focus, focus.

“Excellence, excellence, excellence.

“That’s why it’s was a huge, huge deal when Apple finally — after Steve Jobs fought against it — launched the iPad Mini. The press and consumers went crazy for this product when Amazon had had the Kindle Fire out for 13 months and Google had had the Nexus 7 out for five. It was a big deal not because of the product itself, but because the app ecosystem was finally freed to embrace a new footprint.

“Steve was right about focus while simultaneously wrong about the smaller tablet footprint — long live cognitive dissonance and a tolerance for ambiguity!”

*****

“This week someone handed me a BlackBerry 10. It’s basically as good as the iPhone 5, in fact some would argue the finish feels better in your hand.

“Anyone who has used the Microsoft Surface will tell you that while the Microsoft app store is far behind Apple’s, the interface and the hardware are as good or better.

“Finally, a bunch of dorky friends of mine have been praising the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an absurdly large smartphone (or tiny version of the iPad mini). After lunch with David Eun of Samsung at CES I said screw it, I’ll buy that really dorky looking phone.

“Now I love it.

“When reaching for my iPad Mini, iPhone or Note, I most frequently reach for the Note.”

Read the rest here at:  Launch

I actually love my Android.  Julia

Amazon Kindle app preinstalled on many new Windows 8 and RT machines

26 October 2012

From ZDNet:

Amazon has released a Kindle app for Windows 8, and many major PC manufacturers are preinstalling it on their new Windows devices.

The e-reader app, which will run on both Windows 8 and Windows RT, was revealed on Thursday as Microsoft officially launched the x86 and ARM-based versions of its next-generation operating system.

Manufacturers preinstalling the Kindle app on their PCs and tablets include Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer and Asus.

Link to the rest at ZDNet

David Foster Wallace Works Get Mapped

6 September 2012
Comments Off on David Foster Wallace Works Get Mapped

From AppNewser:

While you probably don’t think of map apps you probably don’t think of literature, D.C.-based artist William Beutler has a new Web map app that is based on David Foster Wallace‘s book Infinite Jest. Infinite Atlas, as it is called, chronicles all of the locations mentioned in the book, both real and fictional.

Entries on the map include the page number, a description of the place and the characters involved.

Link to the rest at AppNewser

Retailers introduce indoor navigation in apps

2 September 2012

From USA Today:

Big-box retailers are developing indoor navigation tools to help shoppers find what they want. Some, including Target and Walgreens, have stored floor layout plans in smartphone apps. Walmart and Home Depot apps now can display aisle numbers for searched items.

In a store, “I can talk to an associate, but I can’t search for a two-sided tape,” says Gibu Thomas, Walmart head of mobile and digital. “Mobile brings the (online store) to the store.”

Within two weeks of Walmart’s May launch of the “In-Store” mode in its app, about 15% of page views were from shoppers in stores.

. . . .

About 20% of retail sales are lost because shoppers can’t find items, estimates Nathan Pettyjohn, CEO of Aisle411, an app with 9,000 store maps. A locator also can attract customers who need only an item or two and would avoid a big-box store, lest they waste time.

Link to the rest at USA Today

There’s no mention that Barnes & Noble or any other bookstore has an app like this to allow customers to search for books.

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