Ereaders with larger than six inches displays made a breakthrough in 2017, and we expect the trend to continue developing further. Ereader vendor Pocketbook already has a few large-screen models available, but the Inkpad 3 comes with sharp E ink display, advanced frontlight features, and a text-to-speech facility.
The greyscale screen of the Pocketbook Inkpad 3 is 7.8 inches in size with 300 dots per inch (DPI) resolution, making it a sharp display. The 7.8-inch size seems to have become quite common, for instance, Kobo is using the same size in some of its e-reader models.
Advanced features in the display include a frontlight that automatically can adjust the level of light so that it is pleasant for reading. It can also adjust the temperature of the light. You may rely on the automatic settings, or tune all the features of the frontlight to your liking.
Audiobooks are likely to find new friends along with a feature included in the Inkpad 3: the ereader can read aloud all ebooks you have already downloaded (and, of course, all the new ones). You don’t have to buy and download large audiobook files, but you can tell the ereader to read any ordinary ebook (EPUB) to you. The difference with traditional audiobooks is that a person is not reading the text, but a computer. The quality of computer voices have greatly improved, and, for instance, I can today listen to it comfortably (a couple of years ago, I couldn’t).
The Pocketbook Inkpad 3 comes with Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you access a number of cloud services, like Dropbox. This feature makes it more convenient to download ebooks because every file doesn’t have to go through a computer.
The ereader is light – only 210 grams. Its dimensions are 195 mm x 136 mm x 8 mm.
8 GB storage space for ebooks and other files is located inside the device, and more space can be added by inserting a microSD memory card (up to 32 GB) into a card slot. The Inkpad has 1GB of RAM and a Dual Core (2×1 GHz) processor.
The features of the Pocketbook Inkpad 3 indicate that it won’t fit into the lowest price category of ereaders. Product pricing and availability can be checked at Amazon and at company’s web page here.
Listening to a book while doing something else is a fun and useful way to enjoy a good story or learn from a nonfiction book. Audible and other stores let you purchase audiobooks that have been narrated by professionals, often actors. Most book lovers already have a selection of ebooks, and it is not very tempting to re-purchase them as audiobooks. Here is how you can make your mobile device (iPhone or Android) read an ebook to you for free.
Android smartphone or tablet
For Samsung, LG, Nokia, and all other smartphones and tablets that are powered by the Android software, there are many voice reader apps available at the Google Play Store. At the store, you may search, for instance, “voice reader” or “text to speech” for applications to download.
I have been using @Voice Aloud Reader on my Android tablet and phone. The way it works is that you specify the folders where you have your ebooks or any other texts stored. The app can also automatically scan the folders for ebooks.
Open the app, browse the ebooks and documents that are available for reading aloud. Choose anyone, and the app will read it to you. Play controls are available at the bottom of the screen.
For EPUB ebooks, Voice Aloud Reader works really well. You can view the table of contents, jump to a chapter you want and the app will read it to you.
The app doesn’t come with its own voices, but it relies on voices that come with Android. It is possible to download additional voices from the Play Store as well.
The free version displays ads that can be removed by paying for an upgrade.
Apple iPhone and iPad
The app that can read text aloud to you is already on your iPhone and iPad. You just have to find it – it is well hidden into the iOS operating system’s menu system.
1. Open Settings.
Select General > Accessibility > Speech. Toggle on Speak Screen.
2. Open the ebook you want your iPhone or iPad read to you.
3. Swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers.
It will take a moment before the audio starts, and a pop up window with buttons to control playback appears.
4. Change the reader’s voice.
Go back to Settings – Accessibility – Speech section, and open Voice. You will get choices for voices that read to you.
The feature works best with the iBooks application, but it works on any screen where you have texts. Just swipe down with two fingers. So, you can use it in the Kindle app and in the web browser, but it may read some irrelevant text, too.
Relative to the population, the number of new book titles published each year in Scandinavian countries is big. Books and reading are appreciated in the region, where the number of book publishers is relatively big as well. Each country, however, has its own language, reducing the potential market size for books that haven’t been translated. Ebooks haven’t made a major breakthrough in Scandinavia yet, but signs of change are in the air.
Successful digital media businesses that originate from Scandinavia and have expanded outside their home markets are, for instance, music streaming service Spotify and book streaming service Storytel. Schilling is a software and consultancy company that organizes an annual conference for Scandinavian publishing professionals. Inspired by the recently held 2016 conference, the company has written a report that outlines the trends in book publishing for 2016.
1. Think digital, or move over.
Traditional publishing business must adapt themselves to the digital era and transform their old business models. Often, established businesses only worry about threats, but forget to adopt new opportunities.
2. Streaming services are becoming the norm for books.
Spotify proved that people are willing to pay for a good service, even though it is easy to find music for free. Streaming of books may mean serialized flash fiction stories, or further development of services that we already have, like 24 Symbols, Bookmate and Scribd. Audiobooks are a prime product for streaming.
3. Student piracy and second-hand sales of books slow down the industry.
Young people tend to have time to enjoy books, music and movies, but little money to fulfill all their wishes. Piracy is a problem in some markets and in some genres. The industry should innovate and find solutions that satisfy both the rights owners and everyone else.
4. Mobile storytelling for a new generation of readers.
Mobile devices and multimedia technologies are present in daily life of all of us, but young generations have lived with them all their lives. Book publishers must take multimedia and mobile platform seriously in order to attract young generations to read, listen or watch books.
5. Digital voice technology is a new opportunity for audiobooks.
Audiobooks are quite expensive to produce and so far, the market has been small compared to the rest of the book market. Innovations in digital voice technology – computer voice reading a book, rather than a human voice – have made it possible to express emotions digitally. As the technology improves, it makes it possible for readers to read/listen books like they used listen to radio.
6. Video is the fastest growing content type.
YouTube, Netflix, and Dailymotion are only the tip of the iceberg when online video is considered. Billions of smartphone and tablets produce billions of minutes of video for Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, and other platforms. Live broadcasts via the Internet are growing as well (at the expense of broadcast TV). One of the few – if not the only – media industry that has managed to avoid video is book publishing. Not for long. For instance, Klaava Media produces video clips that are included with travel guidebooks.
7. Ebooks and printed books will coexist.
There are people who only read printed books, and people who only open ebooks. Most readers accept both. This is the scenario for the foreseeable future as well.
8. Digital mindset for traditional publishing.
For established businesses, it is easy to protect the cash cows of today, and reject anything new that might disrupt it. The thing is that everything has been disrupted already. Only 10 years ago, who would have thought that ebooks will have about 25% market share in the US and UK in 2016? In 2006, ebooks didn’t exist (apart from some niche products – Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007).
9. Creative discovery of new revenue streams.
The business of book publishing is about finding talent and turning their thoughts into products that can be sold to large audiences. It doesn’t have to change, but perhaps it is possible to create additional revenue streams around the core product.
10. 360-degree management of assets.
360-degree management in music business means that a party takes responsibility of an artist’s all income sources: recordings, shows, merchandise, rights, and whatever can be thought of. This business model may have potential in book industry as well.