Tag Archives: ebook

A publisher caught loaning its own ebooks from library for profit

2016-11-21

In some countries, like Sweden, public libraries have an advanced system for citizens to loan ebooks. All parties, libraries, citizens and publishers have been happy to the system, because it works, allows budgeting for libraries, and enables some business for publishers. Now, a Swedish publisher has discovered an old-school method to cheat the system. The publisher’s family members loaned as many their own company’s published ebooks as they could from the library in order to generate revenue from the loans.
acer b3-a20 tablet, 10 inches, Android 5.1
This is how the library system works in Sweden. Digital media distrubutor Axiell maintains a platform that connects publishers and libraries. A publisher uploads ebooks they want to make available for libraries to the system, and sets the price per loan for each book. Libraries search the system for ebooks. When they discover what they want, and the price is right, they make the ebook available for their community.

Each loan of an ebook generates a small amount of revenue for the publisher of the book.

That is exactly what the family of the small publisher in southern Sweden had been ordered to do.

Helsingborgs Dagblad reported that the scheme was discovered in the library of small community Burlöv in South Sweden. The community is so small that library staff took notice of strange peak in loans on the first day of each month. That’s when six family members of the publisher loaned as many ebooks as they were allowed to loan each month. They could borrow 36 ebooks altogether, but in a small community, they had already consumed half of the monthly budget that library had reserved for ebooks.

Family members had been able to get library cards to other nearby libraries as well. They had implemented the same routine in three libraries, at least.

So far, the estimated total profit the publisher had managed to generate is less than 10 000 euros (82 000 Swedish kronor). More libraries may discover they have been cheated as the news spread.

Police report has been filed, and what-went-wrong analysis has started. Publisher’s all ebooks have been removed from the library system.

The case may not be as straightforward as one might think. The family members had legal library cards. They used their right as citizens and library card holders to loan ebooks from public libraries.

Surprisingly, the platform provider Axiell recalls a similar case that happened in 2014. A publisher had loaned its own ebooks, got caught, and was reported to the police. Axiell, however, didn’t modify the platform to detect behavior like this. When asked why, Axiell representative responds that the platform doesn’t store any personal information that could be used to track users.

Axiell has informed libraries that it will fully compensate them, and pay the estimated loss 82 000 krona back to libraries. Obviously, Axiell seeks to settle the case with the publisher in or out of court.

EU confirms that libraries can lend ebooks provided authors are fairly compensated

2016-11-13

Ebooks have been, and are being, lended by public libraries in many EU countries, but on November 10th, 2016 the EU Court of Justice decided that libraries really have the right to do so. The court regarded that the principles for lending paper books and ebooks are the same. The most important point for authors and publishers of digital books is that the court specifically stated that the authors must be fairly remunerated for library loans.
bookshelf, dictionaries
The case was brought to the EU Court of Justice by Dutch authors’ organization Stichting Leenrecht which collects remuneration for authors. The EU court, however, saw the big picture and stated in its press release:

“That conclusion is, moreover, borne out by the objective pursued by the directive, namely that copyright must adapt to new economic developments.”

The EU Court attitude is warmly welcomed, and hopefully spreads to EU nations as well. Authors’ rights to benefit from their work is the number one priority for everyone in the business, but at the same time, the way the rights are used must be developed as the digital era progresses.

The EU Court states:

“[e-book lending] has essentially similar characteristics to the lending of printed works. That is the case as regards the lending of a digital copy of a book under the ‘one copy, one user’ model.” And specifically reminds “… provided that authors obtain, at least, fair remuneration.”

Currently, there are many practices in EU countries how libraries deal with digital books. For instance, public libraries in Finland don’t compensate ebook rights holders anything when citizens lend their works. That’s why publishers and authors are very reluctant to make ebooks available via libraries – one of likely reasons that has prevented ebook market to emerge in the country. In Sweden, publishers can set the price per loan that libraries have to pay for each loan. If a publisher sets the loan price too high, libraries won’t make the book available, but when the price is right, everyone is happy (including citizens who couldn’t get enough of football star Zlatan’s biography).

Surprisingly, The Federation of European Publishers opposes EU Court’s ebook lending decision. The organization represents national publishers’ associations, which tends to mean big publishers. The organization’s concern seems to be (according to the press release) piracy: ebook lenders would loan ebooks only to crack the DRM and keep the books forever, and not return them to the library.

Two things for the Federation of European Publishers to consider: the same piracy risk is present in all ebooks purchased from bookstores, and it would be a good idea for the organization to get familiar with the ebook lending system in Sweden.

Ebook news digest: improve your writing, become a Kindle master, avoid these travel photo mistakes

2016-08-01

Ebook news digest August 1, 2016

tablet, old man reading by Kat Northern Lights Man

Man reading on a tablet at a restaurant by Kat Northern Lights Man


The importance of dissatisfaction to writing (The Irish Times)

Every writer has his or her own motivation for writing. It is lonely work that tends to continue in the author’s head even after the day’s work has been completed. It is also one of the most independent professions on earth: usually the writer can decide what he does and when. Every professional writer constantly tries to improve his output. Author Michael Grothaus argues that “dissatisfaction is a writer’s most vital resource”.

7 Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid (Digital Photography School)

All travelers, digital nomads and tourists who haven’t given a second thought to image composition but who want to develop their photography skills in order to publish a blog or an Instagram image feed should ensure that they are aware of the seven sins Kav Dafdar so carefully explains in his article.

10 Tricks To Make Yourself A Kindle Master (Gizmodo)

Sure, we have been using a Kindle ereader (actually, a number of different models) for years, but didn’t know many of the tricks David Nield shows in his article. Our favorite tips? 8 (how take a screen shot of Kindle display) and 9 (sending documents to Kindle).

What I Learned By Writing 500 LinkedIn Articles (Forbes)

A writer who discovered a perfect way of making use of his skills. He used his creative writing skills to get more business on professional networking service LinkedIn. Smart, and reminds us how many ways there are for writers to benefit from their skill.

Which Font Should I Use On My Kindle? (Fast Co. Design)

For some people – especially for graphic designers – fonts can be a passion. For an average reader or writer, fonts are a thing that they don’t take notice at all until something goes wrong. It actually is worth spending a little time on exploring the font selection on your ereader or tablet. As experts in this article argue, the best font is the one you like the best, but quite often it happens to be Georgia or Palatino.

Do you want your non-fiction book published?

Ebook news digest: tips for aspiring writers, Instagram book deal, ebook subscription success

2016-07-24

Ebook news digest July 24, 2016

ereader, woman reading on bench, wolf g, flickr

Photo by Wolf G. https://www.flickr.com/photos/39559585@N00/


8 things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel (Marie Claire)

Author Kate Mosse shares a few tips for aspiring writers, and although her tips focus on novels, they are relevant for non-fiction writers as well. Once a writer has dived deep into the writing process, we would like to highlight two key tips that Kate Mosse shares: Success Is In The Editing Not The Writing and You Don’t Have To Write Chapters in order. In other words, the ugly truth in writing is that editing takes more time than the actual writing, and once you have a solid plan for your manuscript, you can write it any order you like. A tip from us: write the first chapter, introduction and opening paragraph last.

An Instagrammer with almost 2 million followers reveals how to take the perfect travel photo (Business Insider)

Solid advice for travel photography. More travel photography at Instagram.

Seeking to Make Content ‘More Alive,’ E-Book Publishing Tool Takes Off (the algemeiner)

Creating an ebook that features nice, beautifully laid out images, perhaps video clips and even interactivity requires more work than writing a book with a few photos or graphs. That’s why an application that lets the author or the publisher easily and quickly produce a multimedia book is a valuable tool. Ourboox is an online tool that is trying to do just that. It is the first step into right direction, but at the moment it is primarily suitable for home users who want to share their memories with others. That said, Ourboox has potential. Commercial multimedia ebooks still require the use of a professional tool, like the Apple iBooks Author. View samples of travel guidebooks that feature multimedia here.

Edinburg author used Instagram as vehicle to showcase writing (The Monitor)

Victoria Lopez knew very well that Instagram was for photographs and videos, but she used the online service to share snippets of her book manuscript that she was writing. After getting a good number of followers, she was contacted by a book publisher who asked if she was interested in a book deal. She was, but she also realized that it was the opportunity of a lifetime: she contacted other publishers to get the best deal. Our take: An inspiring story, but it is truly exceptional to get a book publishing deal via Instagram.

Who said Indians won’t pay for E-books (Economic Times)

In general, the large population of India maybe reluctant to purchase products online, but there are exceptions. The Economic Times reports of an ebook subscription service Matrubharti that has managed to establish new business on digital products. “As a consumer, I do have resistance to buy readable content online. However, if I’m given a subscription, like in a library, it makes the decision easier.”

Ebook news digest: best reading apps, tips from The Atlantic, unique travel photography

2016-06-12

Ebook News Digest June 12th, 2016

Google Word Lens Translator, a Swedish map translated to Spanish
Five e-reader apps for smartphones and tablets: from Wattpad to Scribd (EveningStandard)

– We would like to add FBReader and Kindle to the list of ereading apps as well.

Lemonade and Sketches of Spain: The Week in Pop Culture Writing (The Atlantic)

– Tips for fine nonfiction reads.

Best eReaders 2016: What’s the best eReader? The 8 best e-book readers you can buy in the UK today: Best eReader reviews (TechAdvisor)

– 4 out of 8 are Kindles, but the other 4 ereaders are fine products as well.

The amazing world of Kiwi photojournalist Amos Chapple (Stuff)

– Intriguing travel photography.

Technology – 6 excellent e-book reading apps for your smartphone (Mid-day)

– Try Google Play or Bluefire reading app as well.

Non-fiction ebooks for your smartphone, tablet, ereader or PC: download here.

Top 10 trends and challenges in book publishing 2016

2016-06-09

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.
ereader on top of  stack of books
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.

You can download Schilling’s report here.

A digital voice technology expert explains about speech synthesis on this video:

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The importance and complexity of ebook cover design

2016-05-24

Three elements require careful consideration before a book is ready to be marketed at an online bookstore: title, cover design and book description. The fourth element – price – is equally important, but it is a business decision, unlike the three other elements that are often created by experienced professionals. The rise of ebooks has introduced plenty of new authors to the world, but also plenty of new cover designers have found interesting work in the world of books.
3 cover designs in 3 sizes
If you are a writer who is thinking of publishing an ebook or a cover designer, one of the best ways to learn about book covers is to study what others have done. In his The Book Designer blog, Joel Friedlander runs e-Book Cover Design Awards for new cover images.

Award winners for the best fiction and non-fiction cover designs have been chosen for April 2016, and they are Wrong Side of Hell, design by Lou Harper, and Are You Buying This?, The Book Designers. Just like with books, a cover design appeals someone while another person may dislike the same cover. It is a matter of taste, and above all, a matter of appeal. Does a book cover appeal to a reader? Is the cover so intriguing that it calls the reader to click it and open the book?

These two book covers (a fiction and nonfiction cover) from e-Book Cover Design Awards April 2016 selection were the favorites at the Klaava Media office.
book cover design, resolution
book cover design, windcatcher
What makes the ebook cover design more difficult than designing a printed book cover? For a printed book, the cover design has to look perfect in its actual size alone. Ebook cover, on the other hand, has to be perfect from thumbnail size to poster size. Often, readers only see a thumbnail image of the cover image when they find a book at an online store. The purchase decision maybe made based on thumbnail image alone. Yet, the same image has to be attractive even when viewed on a 26-inch PC monitor.

If you read PDF ebooks, you may want to try out this Onyx ereader

2016-05-16

Practically all new ebooks are being published in EPUB and Kindle formats so that they are easily accessible on all tablets, ereaders, smartphones and computers (independent of their screen size). A number of books published years ago in print may only be available in PDF format, and the PDF file format was never designed with small screens in mind (it is simply a replica of a printed page). That’s why reading an PDF ebook or document can be frustrating on a small-screen ereader. So, a larger screen is required for PDF, and that’s what Onyx ereader is delivering.
onyx boox max ereader, landscape
The Onyx Boox Max comes with a 13.3-inch E ink screen which makes it a good choice for anyone who is reading textbooks and other non-fiction books in PDF format.

The Boox Max has a feature that is rarely included in ereaders: you can write on the screen. A stylus is attached to the side panel, and using that stylus it is possible to write on the screen.

There definitely is a large group of people who need a 13.3-inch ereader, but it is not for everyone. The device doesn’t fit into a small bag or purse, but you have to have something where you can carry it. For instance, would I take this ereader on a trip to Budapest? Probably not, I would take a 10 inch tablet and a smartphone. The current price for the Onyx Boox Max is $650, which means it has to compete against 12-inch tablets in price.

Having said that, an ereader with large screen would be nice to have in the office and at home.

Here is a video recorded by Armdevices.net where the Onyx Boox Max is demonstrated. It is a five minute video, but the 13.3 ereader is shown right in the beginning and after four minutes.

Onyx Boox Max key features and technical specifications

onyx boox max ereader
13.3 inch screen with 16 shades of grey, 1600×1200 resolution.
Flexible screen with handwriting input.
Full-screen touch with stylus, support handwriting and annotation.
Android 4.0, possibility to download additional applications.
CPU: Cortex-A9 1G Hz.
RAM: 1G LPDDR2
Storage space 16GB.
Memory card: Micro SD (up to 32Gb)
3.5mm connector for headphones.
Microphone.
Micro USB 2.0
WIFI 802.11b/g
Bluetooth 4.0
Ebook formats: PDF, TXT, HTML, EPUB, CHM, PDB, MOBIPOCKET (Non-DRM), FB2, DJVU
Displays JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP images.
Plays MP3, WAV audio files.
Dimensions 325 x 237 x 7.5mm.
Weigth around 550g.
Operating Temperature 0°C- 50°C.
Battery 4100mAh LI-ION Polymer.
Standby battery around 4 weeks.
Charging takes about 3 hours.

People who read a lot is the biggest customer group for ebooks and ereaders

2016-04-26

Ebook retailer and ereader device vendor Kobo recently published a survey that confirms many assumptions we have had about people who read ebooks. Who are they? Young or old? Men or women? The Kobo survey tells us that the typical ereader/ebook user is a middle aged, or older, woman who is a voracious reader. That’s exactly the same group of people who is buying and reading the most printed books.

According to the Kobo ebook reader survey, 75% of the most avid readers are women (ed. note: occasional ebook readers is likely to be a larger, more diverse group of people). Out of these active readers, 77% are 45 years of age or older. The largest single group (30%) being 55 to 64 years. In the age group 65+, men represent 34% of the most avid readers.

Kobo is able to collect plenty of information on their customers’ buying and reading habits because the company has an online bookstore, it markets ereaders and provides reading applications for computers and mobile devices. When we buy products from any online store, the stores are able to capture many pieces of data about us – not only the compulsory fields that everyone has to fill in. In addition, companies that provide reading apps and connected devices tend to track our reading behavior in the background as we read, underline and possibly comment a book.

Kobo also asked a market research company to survey their customers. The combined results are published in the White Paper “How the Best Readers in the World Read”. Here are a few highlights from the paper.
kobo, ebook reading survey
Where ebook readers like to enjoy their books?
By a clear margin, the most common places to read are home and while traveling. It makes so much sense to pack a tablet or an ereader with a stack of digital books into a travel electronics kit. No more carrying heavy printed books in a bag to the other side of the world.
kobo, ebook reading survey
What was the key factor for the decision for the last book purchase?
It is remarkable how little impact recommendations by friends, critics, or online sources have on purchase decision according to the Kobo survey. Four key factors were:

1. Genre
2. Author
3. Series
4. Subject

Kobo also reports that since the beginning of 2016, they have seen a 60% increase in sales on titles generated through data-driven recommendations and related-reading suggestions. The retailer has simply improved its algorithms that provide book recommendations to customers. This must be the reason why Amazon has – for as long as we can remember – been keen to display recommended products on every page you visit. Many times, Amazon’s recommendations actually are very much to the point.

What does all this mean to the future of ebooks and ereaders?

First, the survey results largely explain why ebooks so far have been replicas of printed books. People who like the look of printed books want ebooks that look roughly the same. That’s what the industry has given to readers in simply laid out EPUB and Kindle titles.

Second, the survey results explains why ebooks have not yet developed beyond the look and possibilities of printed books. Middle aged and older readers are not necessarily interested in new features, like interactivity in books. Younger generations could be interested in new features that might attract them to read more, but they are not buying books as much as older generations. Middle-aged people are buying and, to a large degree, financing the industry.

As movies and music have gone digital, the products have changed, or they are under a long change development phase. Movies have adopted effects and animated characters that were not possible in the analog era. Music industry has changed focus from albums to singles as streaming and video services have become popular. Live performances are more important for artists’ livelihood than earlier.

The book trade hasn’t yet experienced major shifts like many other media industries already have gone through. It is not an option that everything stays the same in the book industry when products go digital. Things will change. Who knows how and when?

Spaghetti and Sauna is a survival guide to Europe’s vastly different cultures: Italy and Finland

2016-03-28

Finns are from Neptune and Italians from Mercury – that is what someone moving from Italy to Finland (or vice versa) might think. The differences in culture, behavior and socializing – not to mention weather and food are so great that it can drive a normal, healthy person to believe that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy correctly defined the meaning of life.
sample page from book Spaghetti and Sauna
Fortunately, everyone who is planning to move to Europe – particularly to Finland or Italy – can now read a book that tells everything about the most common pitfalls that a traveler, student or an expatriate may encounter in a new environment.

Irene De Benedictis moved from Rome to Pori, a relatively small town in Finland to study and work. She survived. Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as she would have liked, the best thing is that she wrote a book Spaghetti & Sauna about her culture shock and how she learned to cope with the Scandinavian weather, food, and people.

Spaghetti and Sauna tells an entertaining and educating story that is worth a read for everyone who is interested in the cultures and customs of South and North Europe. If you don’t know what a personal bubble, sauna evening, umbrella ride or onion-style fashion is, you better read the book.

book cover image: Spaghetti and Sauna
More about the book Spaghetti & Sauna – Discovering the Rational Finnish Culture through the Eyes of an Emotional Italian here.

Book lovers rejoice: It is Read an Ebook Week

2016-03-06

In 2016, ebooks are not a novelty they once were, but the original mission of Read an Ebook Week is still valid: to promote reading of electronic books. The champion behind the program is author Rita Toews, who established the week already in 2004. In 2016, the digital reading week is scheduled for March 6th – 12th.
amazon kindle voyage, coffee
Rita Toews talked about the origins of the Read an Ebook Week to Huffington Post:

We were among the first authors to embrace e-books but the general public was very cautious of the new reading technology. It was hard to promote our books or to get anyone to listen when we requested publicity.

It came to me one day that if all authors spoke at the same time we stood a better chance of making an impact on the public. I registered Read an E-Book Week with Chases Calendar of Events so e-authors had “legitimacy” when they sought publicity. It worked. I would approach our library and say “It’s Read an E-Book Week” and the librarian knew from Chases that it was, so I could set up a display. The same when I approached TV and radio stations.

In order to get your reading week started, why not download free ebook samples from Klaava Media catalog right here.

The home page of the ebook week features plenty of special deals for this week.
apple ipad pro, man on a beach

Nordic mixture of unique experiences and culture: The Best of Helsinki

2016-02-27

The capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a traveler-friendly city: there is plenty to see in the city, but it is easy to move around town and traffic rarely causes major problems. Food, drink, and accommodation options are plenty. Helsinki is a mixture of many things: it is centuries old, but modern; it is a western city that used to be part of eastern empire. These influences and traditions have blended into a unique Nordic culture and architecture that visitors can experience in Helsinki. Travel guide The Best of Helsinki: The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites explains and shows it all.
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Travelers who have never visited any Scandinavian country may think there is always snow on the ground and people have to give way to elks and reindeers that roam on city streets. Yes, snow covers the ground in Finland in winter, but summers are beautiful, warm and green. Yes, there are plenty of elks and reindeers (and a number of wolves and bears as well), but they are hiding in the wilderness.

Helsinki (or any region in Finland) has plenty to offer for nature-lovers because large forests, lakes or the sea are never far away. Party-goers enjoy Helsinki’s lively nightlife scene, whereas foodies may enjoy a meal the Lapland, Asian, Italian, Russian or traditional Finnish way.
The Best of Helsinki, Klaava Travel Guide
The Best of Helsinki is a visual travel guidebook that shows you the places to go and helps you navigate to your destination. You can browse the book to get an overall understanding what the city has to offer, and then study details of those places that seem interesting.

Find out more about the book here.

Here are a few sample pages extracted from The Best of Helsinki.
Travel guide: The Best of Helsinki
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page