Amazon confirms its fight with publishing giant Hachette is real, and it’s far from over
Much has changed in the world of eReading, in the past I was a huge eInk proponent.
So much I that I bought devices for most of my family members and looked to invest in the company. The latter was a bust as I discovered eInk was a private company worse they where bought by a company that has sat on their technology. However that did not deter my enthusiasm for eInk. I still loved the technology and hoped to see more.
So what caused me to start changing my opinion. The change stemmed from the most unlikely device, my blackberry Storm. You see a good amount of books still come in PDF and reading such books on an eInk device is painful. While all eInk support PDFs, they did so poorly. Sadly as much as I enjoyed reading on my eInk device, I had to resort to reading PDFs on my phone. A small 3.5″ screen and ironically that proved to be a better reading experience than my eInk device.
That got me thinking that maybe eInk isn’t the end all. The only drawback was reading on your phone was the a tad killed the battery very quickly. This made using the phone as an ebook reader impractical. So I reverted reading on my eInk.
That experience two years ago.
However as time processed and older technology adapted. In particular the rise of the LCD/LED screens in form of tablets things slowly started to change. Then B&N did something that revolutionized the eReading market they released the Nook. A 7″ tablet with an amazing screen and battery life.
Here is a device that could handle PDFs and ebooks in one device. (This was after I rooted and ROMed the device – – the nook software was extremely limited). Most importantly it was portable. While the iPad existed it was not as portable as an eInk or nook.
I did not pick up my eInk device again. Though the battery life does not compare they nook lasted enough to get a reader hours of reading before a charge was needed. With the battery limitation minimized this made all the advantages of a tablet worthwhile.
Today I’m no longer carrying a tablet and phone I’m using a Note 2 ( aka phablet) as my primary source of reading. Incidentally It’s also the same device I used to write and post this blog.
Do in think eInk has gone by the waste side. No I still think there is great opportunity for that technology and still room for the device to complete in the eReading space, phone and tablet arena. The fact that the battery on such device will always out perform any LCD both in battery life and daylight visibility means there is a market. I believe their fall was in their focus. They put all efforts behind low performance hardware, with a hefty price tag. What eInk has to do is deliver a product with better hardware at competitive prices. People will buy because now it fits a need and the experience will not be subpar.
Well in a bit of sad news Fictionwise is closing their doors by the years end.
While we all pretty much new the end was near for Fictionwise once Barnes and Noble bought them it is still sad to see them go.
I’ve purchased many books from them because of their excellent sales.
Many folks including myself moved on to other bookstores because of agency pricing and B&N.
Alas they are no more.
Dear Fictionwise and eBookwise Customer,
As you may know, in March of 2009, Fictionwise, comprised of several eBook retail websites, including Fictionwise.com , eReader.com and eBookwise.com, was acquired by Barnes & Noble.
Fictionwise is in the process of winding down its operations, and Fictionwise.com (including eReader.com and eBookwise.com) will end sales on December 4, 2012. Please note, you will not be able to access your Fictionwise Bookshelf after December 21, 2012.
Arguably one of the Kindle’s most loved feature is the Whispersync technology. Whispersync, for those not familiar with the technology, is the ability to synchronize ones Kindle books across all kindle devices, be it an eReader, Tablet, iPad, Smartphone, PC, etc… This is all done on the application layer so the user need not lift a finger to get this great feature. However this technology is not without its limitations. One major limitation is that Whispersync does not work for personal eBooks it only works for eBooks purchased from Amazon.
For those s are completely bought in to to Amazon’s ecosystem it’s not such a big deal, but what happens when we’re not? What about those that require some degree of freedom.
Note: when I refer to a “Kindle device” I am referring to an Android device with the Kindle app installed on it.
I read a lot on the go and I often find myself reading books on my phone and on my Android tablet. As a result of my reading habits the Whispersync is an important feature I can’t do without. For books I have purchased through Amazon this is no problem unfortunately for me most of my books are not from Amazon.
Considering a large majority of my books where purchased outside of the Kindle’s ecosystem the vast majority of my books could not take advantage of this excellent feature. To replicate this features I had one of two choices: I could repurchase all of my eBooks from Amazon or manually sync all the notes, last page read, and annotations for each book. While both solutions work, they are both costly. Repurchasing the books is financially expensive and manually syncing the books is time consuming and prone to errors. Neither was an option for me.
Not happy with either option I set out to find a solution that would work for me. I did a little research and found out a neat little trick with the kindle app. It seems all of the annotations are kept in an MBP file that is generated the first time you open a MOBI/AMZ file from your Kindle device. By coping the MBP, file from my kindle device to any other kindle device, I was able to keep my devices synced. (Note the ‘last page’ setting is stored in the MOBI file, but I always used the bookmark feature to track my last page read and that information is stored in the MBP file.)
While this manual process wasn’t so time consuming or difficult, it still had its pitfalls. I still had to remember to connect to a PC and manually copy the files from one device to the other. If I did not have access to a PC and both kindle devices with me I could not sync my devices.
So while I was one step closer to finding a solution, I still was not satisfied due to the limitations previously mentioned. The next iteration was to use a cloud solution like Dropbox. This was a huge step in the right direction. I could now sync my device(s) without the need of a PC or having to have both devices with me. However there was still some major limitations. There was the human element, I often forgot to upload the files to Dropbox or did not have a wireless connection to upload the changes.
So even though I was a step closer the current solution, it was not adequate. The flaws were still large enough to keep me from having a working solution. …And so my quest, for a better solution, continued.
I came to the conclusion that the only real solution is to come up with a fully automated system anything short of that would lead to failure.
The solution would required that my eBooks (MOBI and MBP files) on my Android devices sync automatically to all of my Android devices. My first step was to see this feature existed within the current cloud apps like Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box. etc…. Could the eBooks on my Android device get pushed up to the cloud automatically and can they get automatically refreshed if the files changed in the cloud. No dice, while their PC apps did offer that feature, their Andoid clients did not.
The next step would be to look for any app that integrated with Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box, etc…. That’s where I struck gold! An app, called DropSync, did just what I was looking for. This app allowed a user to synchronize all files within a directory on an Android device to one’s Dropbox account. The app was written by a guy who was just as frustrated with the limitations of the Dropbox app as I was. In particular, how Dropbox lacked the synchronization feature that existed with the desktop.
Like many apps on the Play market there is a fee version and a paid version. The free version is a light version and has a few limits imposed by the developer. As of this writing, the limitations are as follows: you can only synchronize one directory, there is a size limit on synchronized files, and you can only use the default periodics to kick of the synchronization process. For the purpose of this article these limits do not affect us. However, I did purchase the license because I read large PDF files that do exceed the limit, also its nice to support the developer who created such a fine product. One thing I will add is this developer is very active and keeps his product up to date, something you don’t always see.
Apps you will need, for this tutorial, are all found in the Play store. These apps are, Kindle for Android, DropBox, and DropSync.
HOW TO CONFIGURE:
1. Install the Kindle app to your Android device.
2. Login to your Kindle app and download a book, this will create the kindle directory on your Android device.
3. Install the Dropbox app.
4. Login to the Dropbox app(create an account if it’s your first time–that is a 5min. process.)
5. Download the Dropsync app.
6. Configure the app to sync with Dropbox. (see images).
And this is all there is too it. You will have to repeat steps 1-6 for every android device you wish to synchronize with.
7.(Optional) You don’t need to install the desktop version to sync the devices but having the desktop makes it very easy to deploy files to all devices after you create the MOBI.
That’s all there is to it,
Enjoy and keep reading.
A few months back I had a co-worker come over to my desk and complain about his Android battery life(hold off before you agree).
He explained that after he rooted/ROMed his phone with CM7 he now has lost 10% battery over a 6hr period. I look at him and say your kidding right that’s great battery life. He retorts back by saying usually by the end of the day he’s usually down to 2%. That’s 98% battery life at the end of the day.
So being a good friend with an open mind, I call him crazy and dismiss his claim. So he comes back the next day during lunch to show me he’s only at 1%. Sure enough he is. We track down what he does and what settings he has and it comes down to a Data plan. He’s on a Pay as you go and disables his data plan.
So I’ve been running some test over the last two weeks to see what kind of battery life I get with my data on and with my data off.
Here is the result.
Data ON 4% per hr Data OFF 1/2 per hr
Heavy Data (streaming/surfing/mobile AP) 10%-15%
For the data results above I’ve used my phone under normal circumstances, as a productivity tool(calendar, mail, to-do list) and reading books.
It seems my battery life didn’t match his battery life, but my screen is twice the size of his phone. I’m thinking that plus I use my phone more than he does.
It seems my co-worker was on to something and addresses something most android users suffer from, huge battery drain. While it’s not always an option to disable the data plan. Knowing this little trick can help keep your phone alive for those moments when you don’t have readily access to a power outlet.
WOW I am really impressed with the new market. I remember all the hype and excitement with the previous app and I was not impressed.
I really like the new market interface. It really makes use of all the space and gives you a good high level view of the important facts, screen shoot, rating, name. The layout is the same for books, movies, and apps.
As advertised the app is much faster than the old market. Searches can be applied on the Market, Books, Movies or across all three.
The new product pages, when you select the app/movie/book looks great. It is laid out very nicely makes great use of the screen both on my phone and nook.
The integration is fantastic, opening books is seamless. Google sync works better than any product I’ve seen. The wispersync is close but not as good. If only google ebooks was not utter garbage compared to moon/kindle I might be tempted to switch over.
I did not try the movies. I guess I cant get over the hump of paying $3-$4 to watch movie on my 4″ screen especially when most of those movies can be streamed through netflix. I’d rather put those funds to lunch or buying an app.
For those that are excited about the Movie feature and want to see it in action. Here is a review done by the folks at phandroid
The recent explosion in the electronic book market has brought the world of electronic reading closer to mainstream. However it has also brought a lot of confusion. It’s no wonder why new comers are lost with choosing the right ereaders, eBook formats, and DRM schemes
I therefore invite you to join me in my journey as I explore the world of electronic reading. Where I will review ereading devices, eBooks, and reflect on the moral and ethical fibers of electronic media.
Reminiscence of an ebook reader