Nov 7 2011
Barnes and Noble held its press conference today to announce the new Nook tablet and price reductions for the Nook Color and Nook Touch WiFi. The details were actually leaked last week but there are a few new details. Physically, it looks exactly the same as a NookColor. For the Nook Tablet, the battery usage was underreported and that there will be up to nine hours of use time with video and 11.5 hours for reading (presume that the wifi must be off for this). Tim Carmody with Wired says that the specs for the NookTablet are similar to the iPad 2.
The Nook Cloud will also allow users to store video, music and books. I wasn’t able to find out more information about the Nook Cloud.
You can buy the Nook Tablet at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, RadioShack, OfficeMax, Staples, and others.
It is not an open plan and you will have to either use the apps BN has selected for you or root the device. To get video onto the Tablet, you’ll need to either stream it from NetFlix or HuluPlus or rip your own video using programs like Handbrake. I think BN really needs to start offering digital music and movies to make the Tablet truly useable.
According to B&N CEO William Lynch, the Nook Tablet is a better device even at the higher price because it is faster, longer battery life, more memory and has a better screen. While both the Fire and the Tablet have an IPS screen, according to the commenters at Engadget, the Nook Tablet’s screen is fully laminated which can reduce glare and increase contrast. The increased memory is a big deal, particularly when you are talking movies. I think it comes down to this. Do you want more memory or do you want more content? The Kindle Fire’s advantage is the free video and that comes with a price of $79 for a Prime membership. It’s really a battle of $250 v. $279. Memory v. Content.
For the Nook Touch, it will receive a software upgrade that allows for 25% faster page turns and an updated screen for crisper rendering. The Verge hopes that this update brings the quality of the eink screen up to match that of the new Kindle devices.
GoodReader is reporting problems with the Kobo Vox. I don’t know whether I should be glad or sad that mine has not shipped. While I love every Kobo person I have ever met, the company’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t know of even one person who pre ordered the device who has received their shipment. I’ve sent two CS complaints, the first the day the item was supposed to be shipped and another on November 2. Neither have received a response from Kobo. There are plenty of Kobo Vox devices on sale in bookstores in Canada, but to not fulfill pre orders seems crazy to me. From GoodReader:
Many users are asking us via email and in comments on our reviews of the Vox if they should return it. It is a matter of perspective, it just hit the market and they should fix most of the major problems in short order. There is no getting around the the 512 MB of RAM and 800 MHZ single core processor. There are faster and more robust devices in the market right now but the Vox is a great device for international users. I would suggest to exercise a bit of patience with this new gadget and wait for some updates to fix some problems.
The lack of response from Kobo’s CS makes me worry. I’ll be at BN today picking up the Nook Tablet and reporting back to the DA readership.
Paid Content reviews the financial reports of the publishers and have made up a handy chart here to indicate how much of the current revenue is related to digital products.
Amazon isn’t taking no as an answer to participation in its Kindle Owner’s Library. According to an article by PublishersMarketplace, some of the titles in Amazon’s new Kindle Owner’s Library are not included with the permission of the author or the publisher. (Reg Req’d) Instead, Amazon is buying a new copy at its wholesale discount and lending the book to the Prime users. This would be akin to me buying a bunch of physical books and then lending them to subscribers to my lending library, only on a much broader scale. PM suggests that this may cost Amazon $40 million a year. This doesn’t adversely impact the royalty statements of authors, as some (not PM) has suggested as the author still gets the royalty because Amazon buys a copy of the book. It may serve to drive discovery of backlist titles. I saw several Harlequin Treasury titles in the library, for example. Teleread indicates that there are 330 titles in the Romance category.
The issue about how the author gets compensated if the publisher has agreed to a flat fee is a little more thorny. Any agreement that the publisher and the retailer has is between them. What controls how authors are paid is the contract that the author has with the publisher. At least one organization has suggested that there is nothing in current contracts which would allow for a license. If this were true, Agency publishers would be actually engaging in a sale to consumers ratThat may mean that the publisher will be absorbing a loss by paying out royalties for a sale every time a book is lent.
However, the Kindle Owner’s Library may decrease actual library support.
Overdrive is reporting that digital lending at libraries is experiencing huge growth:
Circulation statistics through September 30, 2011 at OverDrive’s 15,000 libraries and schools worldwide:
- eBook checkouts already up 200% versus all of 2010 to more than 12 million and on pace to exceed 16 million
- Nearly 2 million new users signed up with libraries in the OverDrive network (on pace to nearly double in 2011 vs. 2010)
- Readers browsing on their smartphones and tablets grew significantly, as mobile checkouts increased to 21 percent of overall checkouts
- Installs of the free OverDrive Media Console application for eBook and audiobook reading and listening have passed 9 million, including more than 2 million on smartphones and tablets such as iPhone®, iPad® and Android™
For those readers who have been sending gift packages abroad, the US postal service will stop accepting packages to Iraq as of November 17, 2011.