Tag Archives: audiobook

The 2019 update for the basic Kindle ereader introduced a couple of welcomed improvements

2019-04-14

Even in electronics and computer business there are a few products that stand the test of time. One of these few products is the Amazon Kindle ereader. Especially, the entry level model with basic features is a simple, easy-to-use product that does what it supposed to do and doesn’t cost too much. Now, Amazon has updated the basic Kindle, making the new product already the 10th generation device version.
Amazon KIndle basic 2019 model in sunshine
The key improvement in the 2019 model of the basic Kindle is front light. In practice, it means that you can read in a dark corner (or in a bedroom without any lights on) because tiny lights in the ereader can be switched on to light up the display. The other extreme – reading in direct sunshine – is perfect reading environment with an ereader because of the way the E ink display technology used in these devices works.

Another improvement in the 2019 Kindle is the possibility to listen to audiobooks. Audible books can be listened to on a Bluetooth device, like headphones or loudspeakers.
Amazon Kindle basic e-reader with front light
The display resolution is low (600 x 800 pixels), storage space for ebooks is relatively small – only 4GB (it is still good for thousands of books), and fancy features are missing, but that is exactly the point with an entry level product. Amazon has set the price for the 2019 Kindle at USD 90.

Here is a video recorded by The Ebook Reader blog that shows the 2019 Kindle ereader.

Amazon Kindle 2019 (10th generation) key features and specifications

6 inch display with front light.
Pixel density 167ppi.
Storage space 4 GB.
Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, like Kindle ebooks.
Wi-Fi connectivity for internet: 802.11b/g/n standards with WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
Bluetooth.
VoiceView screen reader is available for a Bluetooth audio device. It provides spoken feedback allowing you to navigate your device and read books with text-to-speech (available in English only).
Reader can adjust font size, font face, line spacing and margins.
Ebook, document and image formats: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, Audible audio format (AAX).
Weeks of battery life, but it varies based on light settings, wireless usage. Audible audiobook streaming over Bluetooth will affect battery life as well.
Battery fully charges in four hours from a 5W USB power adapter or computer via USB cable.
Dimensions 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches ( 160 x 113 x 8.7 mm).
Weight 6.1 oz (174 g).

Amazon Kindle e-reader, 2019 model 10th generation

Ebook news digest: myths of publishing, ebook subscription service hacked, download free audiobooks

2019-03-01

News on ebooks, indie publishing and copyright

mechanical typewriter, close up on keyboard
Myths Versus Facts in Book Writing and Publishing

Booher Research Institute makes good points in this article about common urban tales in book publishing. The only thing I would like to remind our readers across the world is that an agent is not required for publishing a book with a publisher in many countries. Most companies – big and small – have instructions on their web pages how an aspiring author can approach the publisher.

50 Publishing Resources from Editing Services to Web Marketing Tools

Self-publishing a book (an ebook or printed book) requires a lot of work. A writer can try and cope with many of the tasks herself, but help is often required. This list gives pointers to cover design, distribution, marketing, and to many other items a self-publisher needs.

Klaava Travel Guide to Valencia, Spain

The city of Valencia in Spain is renowned for paella, the Holy Grail, and a massive fiesta known as Fallas. The festivities started at the end of February, but the key events are in mid-March. Travelers who want to enjoy a genuine Spanish fiesta with locals, and tour an original, unique city, here is the guidebook for download.

Bookmate e-book subscribers’ account details on sale on the internet

It is unfortunate, but sooner or later – it seems – almost all web services are hacked. This time, The Register reported that 8 million accounts were stolen from Bookmate, an online book subscription service. The data was on sale on a hacker site. Change your Bookmate password if you have one.

An Essential Summary of Copyright for Indie Authors

Every writer has his own idea of what copyright means for writers, but it is more complicated than many – even professional writer – believes. If you have signed a publishing agreement with a publisher, take a long hard look at the copyright clause. What intellectual property rights you have sold? For an indie publisher who doesn’t sell the rights to anyone else, it is important to know what could be sold without losing control over the work. This article is based on a book about copyrights from the US perspective. Every country has its own copyright laws, but the universal concepts are the same all over the world.

Seven Places to Listen to and Download Free Audiobooks

The big news in the book publishing industry last year was that the sales of audiobooks was growing like a storm brewing in the horizon. Most ebook stores sell audiobooks as well, and some subscription services, like Storytel, have hit the big time with audiobooks. Here is a list to seven online services that provide free audiobooks. Many of the books are classics in public domain.

How to activate secure two-step authentication security for online services

Every writer, reader, publisher, traveler, photographer, and internet user has accounts on online services. Maybe an Amazon account, Facebook login, New York Times, or something else, but many services store confidential and private data that you don’t want to give to criminals. This article has a step-by-step guide for activating strong login mechanism to online services that is nearly impossible for hackers to break.

To make the Blade Runner game, Westwood first had to create the universe

The basic concept of the movie Blade Runner was loosely based on Philip K Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The next adaptation of the same concept was for a video game. So, first there was a book that was transformed into a movie, and then the movie was developed into a game. A video interview tells the story of the game how it was created in 1997.

beaches of Valencia, Spain - sample from guidebook Valencia, SpainSample page from Valencia, Spain travel guide.

Onyx Boox Nova ereader comes with sharp 7.8 screen and Android software

2018-10-17

Even though ebook reader device manufacturers are not abandoning small 6-inch products, the innovation has moved to larger devices. 7.8, 8 and 10 inches are the ereader product sizes that manufacturers are bringing to that markets. Onyx Boox Nova (and its handwriting-capable cousin Boox Nova Plus) comes with sharp 7.8 E ink screen and Android software.
Onyx Boox Nova with PDF document on screen
A key feature in the Onyx Boox Nova is that it is running on Android operating system. Among other things, it means that it is possible to download and run Android apps on the e-reader. All Android application won’t run properly on an ereader because hardware is slightly different to tablets or smartphones.

Onyx has recognized this, and has decided to supply a dedicated App Store for E Ink devices with the Boox Nova. This is quite remarkable. Let’s hope the selection of applications is sufficient so that ebook readers can find their favorite apps in the store.

The frontlight in the Boox Nova can be switched on and off (to save battery), and the warmth of the light can be adjusted as well. There is no memory card slot, but the product comes with ample 32GB of storage space.
Onyx Boox Nova ereader user interface
The ereader can transmit audio to loudspeakers via Bluetooth. If you have portable Bluetooth speakers, you can listen to audiobooks saved in the Boox Nova through the speakers.

The Boox Nova and the Boox Nova Plus are two different products. There are only two features that make them different, everything else in these products is the same. The Boox Nova has a frontlight, but you can’t draw or write directly on the screen. The Boox Nova Plus doesn’t come with front light, but it comes with stylus that lets you write on the screen.

Onyx products can be ordered from Amazon stores. Check your local Amazon for the price and availability.

Notebook Italia recorded a video clip (below) where an Onyx marketing representative introduces the Boox Nova.

Key features and specifications of the Onyx Boox Nova

Onyx Boox Nova with Android 6 operating system

7.8-inch HD Eink Carta screen. Capacitive touch.
Screen resolution 1872 x 1404 pixels, 300 dots per inch (dpi), 16 gray scale.
Cortex-A17 1.6GHz Quad-core.
2GB RAM.
32GB of storage.
Front light with warm and cold shade control.
Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth 4.1.
USB-C port.
Android 6.0 operating system.
Ebooks and documents: EPUB, PDF, TXT, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2, DOC, MOBI. It can open DRM-protected ebooks.
Audio files that can be listened:WAV, MP3.
Buttons: back, power.
2800mAh Li-Polymer battery.
Dimensions 196 × 137 × 7.7 mm.
Weight 240 gr.

Trends in book business: small publishers win big traditional publishers in specific ebook genres

2018-10-12

A new report on the state of the ebook, audiobook and print book markets in the US was recently delivered by the number-crunching wizard Data Guy at Digital Book World Conference 2018. The statistics – that cover almost the entire online books sales in the US – indicate that readers of different book genres have vastly different preferences on book formats. Let’s analyze book publishing trends that can be identified from the Data Guy’s statistics.
ereader on top of stack of books

Strong sales of ebooks and audiobooks continue

The Author Earnings report measures ebook, audiobook and print book sales in the US online bookstores from April 2017 until September 2018. The total sales during these 18 months were:

Ebooks 4.0 billion dollars, 781 million units
Audiobooks 2.6 billion dollars, 145 million units
Print books 7.3 billion dollars, 407 million units

Roughly half (54%) of print books are sold by brick-and-mortar bookstores in the US. Even if we add print books sold by physical bookstores to the numbers that were achieved by online stores, ebook unit sales nearly match print book unit sales in the US.

The trend identified in the Author Earnings report is the decline of sales via brick-and-mortar bookstores, reduction in the number of physical bookstores, and increasing sales via online stores. Amazon is a dominant player that is still growing its market share in all book formats, also print. In fact, for some nonfiction genres, Amazon accounts 70-75% of all print book sales in the US.
bookshop of antique books in Spain

Ebook vs print book market share is highly dependent on genre

Erotica and mystery genres have been regarded the most successful categories in ebooks, and Data Guy’s report confirms the wisdom for mystery genre, at least. Business & Money titles in nonfiction category are more popular as ebooks than print books. The following numbers indicate sales only at online bookstores in the US.

57% of Business and Money category unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

59% of these ebooks are published by other than big publishers (such as indies, self-publishers, small publishers). The situation with audiobooks is completely different: 80.6% of audiobooks were made available by big publishers, and 56.5% of print books are from big publishers.

50% of Health, Fitness and Dieting unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

62% of these ebooks were published by small publishers, indies and self-publishers. 81.6% of audiobooks were produced by big publishers. 54.7% of print sales were made by big publishers.

73% of Teen and Young Adult unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

A massive 71.6% of these ebooks were published by small publishers and self-publishers, whereas 74.7% of audiobooks came from big publishers, and 65.2% of print books were by big publishers.

93% of Mystery, Thriller and Suspense category unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

52.9% of ebooks by big publishers, 93.1% of audiobooks by big publishers, 89% of print books big publishers.

Small publishers see opportunities in book formats and genres where the upfront investment is low – often ebooks. Audiobooks and print require more upfront investment, and large companies can afford financial risks better than small businesses.

Data scraping

Ever since Data Guy published his first report on ebook sales that included statistics never seen before, book industry experts have been discussing about the true state of digital book market versus print market. Independent of what you think of Data Guy’s number collection methods (that he calls data scraping), there is plenty of demand for his statistics in the book industry. Bookstat provides detailed reports on book sales for publishers without months of delay. When Bookstat numbers were tested against NPD PubTrack statistics that measure the ebook sales of big publishers in the US, the numbers matched within 6% accuracy.

You can listen to Data Guy himself explaining the data scraping method and other details in a podcast by Mark Dawson.

Pocketbook Inkpad 3 ereader can read ebooks aloud to you

2018-02-19

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.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3 with frontlight, 7.8 inch display
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.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3: reads aloud ebooks, text-to-speech
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.

Here is an article that introduces a number of other large screen ereaders.

Via Klaava.fi.
Pocketbook Inkpad 3 e-reader, back panel

Let your iPhone or Android phone or tablet read that ebook aloud to you

2017-09-20

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

Voice aloud reader, text to speech from ebook to audio

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.
Voice aloud reader, text to speech from ebook to audio
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.

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.

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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