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+ - Amazon is testing a $10 a month ebook service called Kindle Unlimited->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Details are still scarce but it looks like Amazon is going to be launching a competitor to Scribd and Oyster. Earlier today new pages leaked on the Amazon website which mentioned Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription ebook service. The pages were quickly removed, but not before we got some screenshots. If the screenshots are to be believed KU is going to offer a catalog of over 600,000 titles for $9.99 a month. The news hasn't been confirmed by Amazon but those pages were seen by any number of authors and bloggers, including indie authors who confirmed that the new service is mentioned in their sales reports."
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+ - Scribd, Oyster, and - Blloon?

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Tech startups like to keep secrets but some take the idea a little too far. Earlier this week a new ebook startup called Blloon revealed that they would be launching a Netflix-style ebook service later this summer. With a catalog of a million titles, Blloon is going to offer readers in the US and UK read on Android and iOS apps. But who, exactly, is behind Blloon? Reports from Germany said that it was txtr, a Berlin-based ebook company. Txtr denied the connection, but after being asked why txtr owned the German trademark for the term Blloon and the Blloon.de domain, txtr said that Blloon "emanates from txtr employees but Blloon is a separate company." I have heard of secretive companies, and I have heard of startup founders running several companies at once, but this is the first I have encountered a company which didn't want you to know that its founders were launching a new startup.Why do you suppose they were hiding the connection?"

+ - Google Reader: a year later->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Just over a year has passed since Google closed Google Reader; have your reading habits changed? When Google announced in March 2013 that Google Reader would close, a number of pundits saw it as a sign of the imminent death of RSS feeds as redundant tech. But 15 months has gone by and I can't see that very much has changed. Former Google Reader users fled to any number of smaller competitors, including Feedly, which as a result quadrupled its userbase from around 4 million users to around 15 million users and 24,000 paying customers in February 2014. I can't speak for you but I am still getting my news from RSS feeds, just like I did before the Readerpocalypse. Zite might be gone and Pulse might belong to LinkedIn but RSS feeds are still around."
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+ - Want to resell your ebooks? You'd better act fast->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Here in the US it is legal to resell your MP3s on Redigi, and thanks to the UsedSoft decision you can resell downloaded software in Europe. But if you want to resell your ebooks you had better act fast. Tom Kabinet launched last week in the Netherlands to offer a marketplace for used ebooks, and it is already getting legal threats. The Dutch Trade Publishers Association (GAU) says that the site is committing piracy and if it doesn't shut down the GAU plans to take it to court. Citing a ruling from a German court, secretary general of the GAU Martijn David said that the question of legality had already been settled. Would anyone care to place a bet on whether the site is still in operation in 6 months?"
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+ - Barnes & Noble to spin off Nook Media, will take it public->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "It looks like the recent rumors about B&N splitting up were true. Along with could-have-been-worse financial news, Barnes & Noble just announced that it's going to spin off its two year old ebook subsidiary into a new publicly traded company. The move won't be finalized until 2015, but when it happens the new company is expected to have both existing parts of Nook Media, including the less than successful ebook division and B&N College, which is still managing to turn a profit. Barnes & Noble hasn't revealed the price Nook Media stock will be selling for but I would bet that it will be valued at far under the $1.8 billion value B&N assigned when Nook Media was created in April 2012."
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+ - Midia InkPhone E-ink smartphone now up for pre-order->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "If the $700 Yotaphone is too pricy for your tastes then you might want to look at the Midia InkPhone. The Poland-based ereader maker Arta Tech just put the Midia InkPhone up for pre-order. This smartphone sports a single 4.3" E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread on a seriously underpowered 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and only 512MB storage. That's really not much of a smartphone, but compared to the Yotaphone the price tag isn't much either. The retail price for the InkPhone is 121 euros plus tax and shipping, and Arta Tech expects to ship in a couple weeks.

Anyone else a little disappointed in the InkPhone? It's been under development since 2012 and aside from improvements to the screen it doesn't look like the design has been changed since the first prototype. I would have thought they would at least add a dual-core CPU, and give it more power."

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+ - Amazon might announce a gaming controller alongside its media streamer->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "The latest rumors are saying that Amazon is going to launch a media streamer on Wednesday, but I don't think that's the whole story. Digging through the FCC website has revealed that Amazon has a 4" square Roku-like box (with a remote) on the way, not the dongle that TechCrunch reported. What's more, that gaming controller which first showed up in Brazil has also shown up on the FCC website. That is a good sign that it too might also make an appearance on Wednesday. Amazon has been rumored to be working on a gaming console, and now it would appear that the one device is going to serve both purposes."
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+ - Microsoft building an 'Xbox Reading' app for Windows 8->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Microsoft has already sunk $600 million into Nook Media, the ebook division spun off from Barnes & Noble in 2012, but I guess that's not enough for the Redmond tech giant becasue news broke today that they have a 3rd ebook effort in the works.. A new job listing discovered by the Chinese tech blog LiveSino has revealed that Microsoft is hiring an ebook developer to work on "a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics." The position was posted by the Xbox Music, Video, and Reading unit, which had already released 2 apps for Windows 8 (video, music) and is clearly going for a trifecta. This new app shows all the signs of being completely unrelated to the Office Reader app which leaked last year. That app reportedly focused more on PDFs, textbooks, and office docs, with the "Xbox Reading" app mentions magazines and digital comics."
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+ - Adobe's new ebook DRM will leave existing users out in the cold come July->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Whether it's EA and SimCity, the Sony rootkit scandal, or Ubisoft, we've all read numerous stories about companies using DRM in stupid ways that harm their customers, and now we can add Adobe to the list. Adobe has just announced a new timeline for adoption of their recently launched DRM, and it's going to take your breath away.

In a video posted to Youtube, Adobe reps have stated that Adobe expects all of their ebook partners to start adopting the new DRM in March. This is the same DRM that was launched only a few weeks ago and is already causing problems, but that hasn't stopped Adobe. They also expect all the stores that use Adobe's DRM to sell ebooks (as well as the ebook app and ebook reader developers) to have fully adopted the new ebook DRM by July 2014. That's when Adobe plans to end support for the old DRM (which everyone is using now). Given the dozens and dozens of different ebook readers released over the past few years, including models from companies that have gone under, this is going to present a significant problem for a lot of readers. Few, if any, will be updated in time to meet Adobe's deadline, and that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks."

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+ - Adobe's newest DRM is only a week old and it's already harming users->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "If you want to continue to be able to read your Epub ebooks, don't install Adobe DE 3.0. There are several reports on Twitter that the new app, which was released last week, is preventing users from transferring ebooks to their ebook readers. Some reports say that it only affects a few titles but one user says that even ebooks bought years ago were affected."
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+ - Feedly is hijacking shared links and cutting out the original sources->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Remember last year when Readability was spanked for letting users only share links to content in Readability and not to the original source of the content? Feedly seems to have forgotten about that, because they just pulled the same trick. Earlier today Twitter users noticed that links shared from the news reader service Feedly suddenly started acting funny. The links no longer led to whichever website had posted the content but instead went to a page on the Feedly website. According to Feedly, they made this unannounced change as way of boosting engagement, but if you ask me I don't see how cutting publishers off from their readers helps publishers engage with that readers."
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+ - Digital Textbook Startup Kno Was Sold for $15 Million ->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Intel didn't mention how much they paid for digital textbook startup Kno when they announced the acquisition last week but inside sources are now saying that the digital textbook startup was picked up for a song. GigaOm reported earlier today that their sources told them that Kno sold effectively for pennies on the dollar:

Well placed sources who were in the know told us that the company sold for $15 million with some retention bonuses for the employees. Intel bought the company mostly for its hardware-related intellectual property and the employees. Intel also was one of the largest investors in the company — having pumped in $20 million via its Intel Capital arm.

Kno had raised $73 million in venture capital since it was founded 4 years ago, and it picked up another $20 million in debt. This deal was nothing less than a fire sale, and that does not bode well for the digital textbook market or other startups in this niche. Inkling, for example, just raised $20 million dollars this summer in order to compete in a market that where one of their competitors failed."
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+ - Self-pub erotica is being deleted from ebookstores in sweeping ban->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "The Kernel started an uproar last week when they "discovered" that the Kindle Store and other ebookstores sell adult content in the erotica category. None of the content is actually illegal, but it is icky enough that the major ebookstores decided to respond by removing anything even vaguely questionable. Unfortunately, they went to far, resulting in an act of censorship the likes of which we haven't seen since Paypal went after the indie ebook distributor Smashwords. The Daily Mail reports that WH Smith went so far as to shut down their website with the promise that it won't reopen until all self-published titles have been removed, and according to BBC News B&N is also deleting content. But that's not the whole story.

Numerous authors have reported on KBoards that Amazon and B&N have removed far more than just the titles that feature questionable content like pseudo-incest; they appear to be running keyword searches and removing any title that mentions innocuous words like babysitter, sister, or teenager. And they're not the only ones; there's a new report that Kobo has jumped on the ban wagon as well."

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+ - NC school district recalls its Amplify tablets after 10% break in under a month->

Submitted by Nate the greatest
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Guilford County Schools' headline grabbing tablet program is back in the news again. The program came to an abrupt end last Friday when the school district announced that they were recalling all of the Amplify tablets. GCS had leased over 15 thousand of the tablets (at a cost of $200 a year) for its middle school students, but decided to recall the tablets just one month into the school year after some 1500 students reported a broken screen. Around 2 thousand complained of improperly fitting cases, and there were also 175 reports of malfunctioning power supplies. There's currently no explanation for the cases or power supplies, but GCS has stated that the tablets broke because they lacked a layer of Gorilla Glass. This was listed in the contract, but the school district did not confirm the condition of the tablets before accepting them.

This program was the poster child for Newscorps' entry into the educational market. It was the single largest program to use the Amplify tablet, and its failure represents a serious setback. The Amplify tablet now has a record for poor construction quality and a breakage rate that is 12 times higher than what Squaretrade reported in early 2012 for the iPad 2."

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+ - "Snowden and the Future" is about more than just whistleblowing 1

Submitted by foregather
foregather (578505) writes "20 years ago the Federal government treated encryption as a weapon and arrested Phil Zimmerman for making software that let people send private email. Back then they targeted individuals for surveillance. Thanks to Edward Snowden we know they have spent the intervening years building tools that target all of us at once. What does it mean that we are all now targets in this government war on privacy? One of the veterans in this struggle — lawyer, historian, and technology freedom advocate Eben Moglen (seen on Slashdot here) — shares his views on what this all means and what we can do about it in a series of talks called "Snowden and the Future" starting on October 9th in New York and online at snowdenandthefuture.info."

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