With the explosion of e-books lately, there is increasing dialogue about the emergence of books that users can interact with. There's an entire new class of digital books that contain links to websites, have embedded videos and dynamic content, and all sorts of other things that take advantage of the fact that these books are being presented on a digital device.
It appears that what first appeared on the first of this month in the Barnes & Noble store archives has suddenly become a whole lot more real: NOOK headphones! These phones at the moment only have an image and a code-name attached to them, but the details can be gleaned relatively easily. What we're almost certainly looking at here is the book store's first step into the music sales business in a way that's not just hard-backed CD cases and audio books.
JK Rowling's Harry Potter site, Pottermore, has fully opened its doors, adding social and interactive content around the boy-magician to the existing ebook offerings from last month. Announced last year, Pottermore is Rowling's attempt to extend the lifespan of the Harry Potter series beyond the original series of books, splitting readers into one of the four Hogwarts houses and then granting them access to specially-produced extra writing and other media.
The analytics group Pew have done a study with a massive amount of people responding to one question: which gadgets do you own? Over the course of five years, 2006 up to 2012, their respondent gave a cross-section of gadget use which shows the amazing changes in adult (18 years of age or older) owners of gadgets over the past few years. The categories we've got here are cell phones, desktop computers, laptop computers, mp3 players, game consoles, e-book readers, and tablets - can you guess which one has the most clout?
Apple has fired back at the Department of Justice over the allegations that it was price fixing ebooks with various publishers. Apple’s response is similar to MacMillan and Penguin, two of the publishers that are being targeted by the DOJ. Three other publishers have already decided to settle the case, breaking current contracts with Apple and having to renegotiate new ones.
Barnes & Noble today revealed their next generation Nook in Nook Simple Touch form, this time with a brand new feature by the name of GlowLight. What we've got here is a $139 "Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight", perhaps the longest name in gadgets today, bringing the e-ink game to a new level of readability in the dark. Several publishers had their chance to take a hands-on look with this device in New York today, some of their more pointed opinions included here below.
The work the Department of Justice is doing to take out what they see as a collusion on ebook pricing between publishers and Apple is meant, first and foremost, to create a fair market for consumers. As the DoJ finds the way that business is appearing to be done now to be illegal - with publishers setting prices for ebooks while the retailer takes a cut of the profit, things may make a flip in the very near future. Instead what the DoJ hopes to do is to keep the system in which the retailer sets the prices wherever they so choose, paying the publishers then a flat rate.
Of the handful of massive publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, MacMillan, Penguin, and Apple, several have agreed to settlement terms with the US government. Not wishing to carry the case any longer than they have to, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to file terms for a proposed settlement. This settlement will have them doing a list of actions to stay out of further litigation via the Department of Justice while the rest of the defendants continue the case. The Department of Justice aims to "ensure that e-books are affordable as possible" in this case by defending the law which prohibits conspiring by companies to keep prices on products artificially high.
There's a new device coming to the world of e-readers and it's being delivered on the good ship Barnes & Noble. A bit of signage has been leaked to the public introducing a GlowLight-toting NOOK Simple Touch e-book reader, this effectively bringing an integrated frontlight to the simple e-reader market before the competition has the chance. This is a bit different from what the average tablet-owner knows as backlit, but will certainly have you reading in the dark much longer than your eyes could have otherwise stood on their own.
Apple, along with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Penguin, is the target of a price- fixing antitrust lawsuit filed by the US government, alleging the companies colluded on the price of ebooks. The lawsuit was filed in New York district court, Bloomberg reports, and while full details of the suit are unknown, it's believed that some of the publishers are chasing an early settlement. Update: News on settlements and the full documentation after the cut.