If the e-reading experience were better, would more people pick up the habit? Oyster is hoping they might.
Much as Kobo aims to convert print devotees with its latest e-reader, Oyster intends a new feature to make e-reading “more comfortable and enjoyable for our existing users” as well as to court “readers who might have been skeptical about reading on their phones and tablets,” as the company’s CPO Willem Van Lancker puts it.
Called Lumin, the technology adjusts the color and intensity of light emitted by mobile devices in order to reduce eye strain in dark environments. Oyster says a large share of its users read after dark.
The question now is how much that user experience counts.
Recent figures suggest subscription ebooks are still a small slice of a flat ebook market. Scribd had already branched out into digital comics and audiobooks before Oyster went beyond the subscription model by launching an ebookstore earlier this year.
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Kindle Launches New Paperwhite E-Reader (DBW)
The latest model of Amazon’s popular Kindle Paperwhite features a screen resolution that’s twice as sharp as its predecessor, at 300ppi, plus typographical improvements to make for a better e-reading experience.
New Funding for Pronoun, Formerly Vook (DBW)
A month after pivoting and relaunching as Pronoun, the company once called Vook secures $3.5 million in new funding in order to develop its data analytics technologies. Hoping to tap into widespread dissatisfaction among authors with the traditional publishing model, Pronoun wants to “empower” authors with a slate of free services and offer them 100% of their royalties.
Canadian Publisher under Fire from Authors (PW)
Authors and illustrators charge the Vancouver-based children’s publisher Simply Read Books with failing to pay royalties on time and violating contract terms. Some of those complaints, which Publishers Weekly details in-depth, have piled up over a number of years.
Amazon Considers Making Couriers of Customers (The Verge)
Amazon is said to be working out the details of a program that would let ordinary customers to make local deliveries on its behalf. One observer comments that “merely executing on this idea and keeping things running smoothly would be a daunting task.”
Growth Obscures Challenges for Children’s Content (Telegraph)
According to one UK-based literary agent, the recent growth in children’s titles belies a difficult discovery landscape in which budget cuts for schools and libraries is making it hard for young readers to encounter new content, especially those in families who aren’t avid commercial book buyers themselves.
Related: Weigh in on the Latest Trends and Challenges in Children’s Publishing
Which Publishing Experiments Work and Why? (The Shatzkin Files)
“After years with basically the same business model and workflow,” Digital Book World Conference Chair Mike Shatzkin observes, “publishers are trying new things all the time now without knowing exactly how to make them commercially beneficial.” Figuring out which of those experiments work—and by what measures—is just one thing industry leaders will gather to discuss in coming weeks in order to generate programming to share with attendees at next year’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo.
Related: Ten Ways to Make Digital Pay
Outsize Payoffs for Basic Metadata Fixes? (Pub Perspectives)
One industry insiders says publishers are still falling short on basic metadata best practices, a problem that amounts to leaving money on the table. It may not universally be the case that simply by inputting information like the language a book is written in can lead to double the sales (which likely doesn’t much apply to English-language publishers anyway), but it remains true that rich metadata has never been so critical in the digital marketplace.
Related: Comprehensive Resources on the Latest in Metadata for Publishers
Google Inching toward Free App Promotions? (Forbes)
A “Free App of the Week” program in the Google Play Store raises speculation that Google could be testing temporary free app promotions in order to “address one of the key selling points of its biggest Android store competitor”—Amazon.
How Amazon Offsets Free Shipping Costs (Supply Chain Digest)
Amazon has steadily expanded its free shipping program, recently waiving shipping fees for small items under $10. While the e-tailer is notorious for its razor-thin margins in the interests of cultivating a large, devoted customer base, one way it’s begun offsetting the costs of free shipping is by selling ad space on its boxes.