Epic!, an ebook subscription service for children 12 and under, launched less than two years ago, but it has already achieved a major milestone: more than 10 million books read.
The company, which works with more than 100 American publishers—including HarperCollins, Macmillan and National Geographic—also announced that it has added more than 500 Spanish ebooks to its increasing library, as well as 1,000 new audiobooks.
The service bills itself as a “Netflix for children’s ebooks” and is clearly trending up: more than 100,000 ebooks are read on the platform each month, and more than 2 million ebooks were read last month alone.
Children can read an unlimited number of ebooks, all of which are streamed, and hundreds more are added each week—everything from picture books to chapter novels to read-to-me ebooks. The platform is also highly personalized for each child, including a recommendation engine that becomes tailored to each child’s taste, as well as options for rating and favoriting ebooks and a log that tracks what ebooks and how much of each the child reads.
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Pearson’s Stock Falls on Reduced Earnings Forecast (Pub Lunch)
Pearson reported third quarter earnings Wednesday morning from London, with sales falling 2 percent overall—down 5 percent on a constant-exchange-rate basis, and down 4 percent in underlying terms. Following the year’s big asset sales of PowerSchool, Financial Times and The Economist, the company reduced its earnings forecast for the year—now expecting to earn 70 to 75 pence a share, down from a range of 75 to 80 pence a share in February.
Barnes & Noble Unveils Waterproof Nook (Engadget)
If you’re Barnes & Noble, how do you make an e-reader that stands out when Amazon’s Kindle all but dominates the market? By making it usable in the bath, that’s how. The at times struggling bookseller has unveiled the Nook GlowLight Plus, whose centerpiece is a waterproof and dustproof aluminum body—you won’t have to panic if it gets wet. This is also the first e-Ink-based Nook to support profiles, and its 300DPI screen is twice as sharp as what you saw in the original GlowLight. The Plus probably won’t get you to switch readers if you’re a Kindle loyalist, but the $130 price is about right if you’re a newcomer or want to trade up from one of the earlier Nooks.
Nielsen Values Indian Publishing at $3.9 Billion (Pub Perspectives)
The India Book Market Report released by Nielsen at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week values the print book market in India, including book imports, at $3.9 billion. This positions India among the largest English-language book markets in the world. The compound annual growth rate of the market is 20.4 percent between 2011–12 and 2014–15, according to the report.
Another Big Win for Google Books (Scholarly Kitchen)
Google’s legal winning streak continues with last week’s decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the Authors Guild’s appeal of the dismissal of its lawsuit against Google over the latter’s massive book-scanning project. One writer offers his thoughts.
Translating Your Work Is Big Business (AiA)
During the Frankfurt Book Fair, the translations market has inevitably generated many column inches. One of the main stories being that AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced a commitment to publish exceptional works of literature from Indonesian authors translated into English beginning in early 2016. This was said to be part of a headline-grabbing $10 million investment by the company to increase the publication of international books into English. Such a commitment should be applauded; after all there is a wealth of writing talent across a variety of territories which should have the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Affordable Textbook Act Reintroduced in Congress (The Cite)
The Affordable College Textbook Act never got off the ground when it was introduced in 2013. Now, it’s being reintroduced as Congress works on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The act, sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) in the U.S. Senate and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) in the House of Representatives, would encourage the use of open-access textbooks by providing grants to schools to make free or low-cost digital content available to professors, students and researchers.
College Textbooks Are a Racket (Washington Post)
Alain Bourget, a math professor at Cal State Fullerton, is in danger of serious disciplinary action from his employer. His crime? Refusing to teach the assigned textbook, which costs $180 and was co-written by the chair and vice-chair of his academic department. The mathematics department decided way back in 1984 to “approve” the text and hasn’t revisited its decision since. Bourget wanted to use two other textbooks instead—one of which costs $76, and the other of which was free.
One in Four Japanese Readers Read an Ebook in Past Year (Digital Reader)
With the Japanese ebook market reaching an estimated billion dollars in value in 2014, we knew there had to be a lot of ebook buyers. And now we know there’s a lot of ebook readers. Rakuten has published the results of a consumer survey into Japanese reading habits, finding that 79 percent of respondents had read a paper book in the past year.
Read-Along Ebooks Growing in Popularity at Local Libraries (DBW)
Ebook distributor OverDrive has released a list of its most borrowed Read-Along ebooks for the month of September from libraries across the nation, as well as suggested Halloween titles.