A report in Tuesday’s Washington Post reveals that Amazon is apparently selling free public-domain eBooks that have had their license information stripped. The eBooks in question originate from Project Gutenberg and are available there for free in a variety of formats including ePub, HTML and Kindle. Project Gutenberg — not to be confused with 80s legend Steve Guttenberg — was founded by eBook inventor Michael Hart and is known as the first generally available collection of free eBooks. It is also maintained by volunteers who are not paid for their services. Amazon’s alleged practice of selling rebranded Gutenberg eBooks is not illegal — in fact it doesn’t even violate Project Gutenberg’s license terms. It is, however, unethical at best and very disturbing at worst. In response to inquiries, an Amazon spokeswoman told the Post, “These books were uploaded by a third party using our self-service platform. I’ve sent your note to the appropriate team internally.” Amazon did not state that the Gutenberg eBooks would be removed from its Kindle store, nor did it condemn the practice of selling reformatted versions of free public-domain eBook files. More →
Even though most schools are now shut down for summer, that doesn’t mean that companies have given up trying to selling products to students. Amazon today announced that it has refreshed its Kindle DX. Now featuring an even better 9.7″ E Ink display that boasts a 50% increase in contrast ratio, the next-gen Kindle DX also received a price drop and now stands at an attractive $379. The only other major difference is that the Kindle DX is now graphite as opposed to white. The Kindle DX is available now for pre-order and is set to ship on July 7th. More →
With e-books and eReaders on the rise, this decade may go down in tech history as the coming of age of the digital book platform. Barnes and Noble advanced this cause by announcing a new book publishing platform that targets the independent publisher and self-publishing writer. No longer required to sell your story to the major publishers, the Pubit! system will allow you to distribute your books via Barnes and Noble using the ePub format and B&N’s digital rights management technology. Published books will be distributed through B&N’s growing e-Book store and authors will be paid according to B&N’s yet-to-be disclosed royalty model and compensation process. With Amazon already entrenched in the independent publishing business and B&N now on its way, prospective writers should start penning typing their next novella as the world right now is your oyster. More →
Target announced that the nationwide retail giant will be carrying the Amazon Kindle. No longer an Amazon online exclusive, the Kindle will debut on April 25th and will be available both online and in Target’s brick and mortar stores. The in-store launch will initially be limited to Target’s flagship store in Minneapolis and its 102 stores scattered throughout South Florida. Roll out of the Kindle will be gradual with additional stores receiving the popular e-reader later this year. This in-store presence is expected to boost sales of the Kindle as it will provide an opportunity for interested customers to touch and use the device before buying. Current pricing on the Kindle will remain the same with Target offering the device for a reasonable $259. Full press release after the break. More →
Days after Macmillan books disappeared from Amazon’s inventory due to a feud over pricing, Amazon has confirmed that it has caved to Macmillan’s demands and will be raising the prices of Macmillan e-books from $9.99 to $12.99-$14.99 for hardcover and bestselling editions. The online retail giant expressed its strong disagreement with this pricing but decided to still offer the books to customers who can decide with their wallets whether they want to purchase Macmillan e-books at at what it calls “needlessly high prices”. A domino effect is beginning to be seen with News Corp-owned HarperCollins now jumping on the “We want higher pricing” bandwagon. In its earning conference call on Tuesday, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch clearly and concisely summarized the situation by stating:
We don’t like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99. They don’t pay us that. They pay us the full wholesale price of $14 or whatever we charge. We think it really devalues books and it hurts all the retailers of the hard cover books. We are not against [inaudible] books. On the contrary we like them very much indeed. It is low cost to us and so on. But we want some room to maneuver in it. Amazon, sorry Apple in its agreement with us which has not been disclosed in detail does allow for a variety of slightly higher prices. There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it. It appears that Amazon is now ready to sit down with us again and renegotiate pricing.
While this news will come as no surprise to anyone with even the mildest interest in following tech news, Sony introduced two new eBook readers today in the “Reader Pocket Edition” and “Reader Touch Edition”. Priced at $199 and $299 respectively, Sony’s new eBook reader duo has been rumored for quite some time now and thanks to a J&R snafu, we even caught the full specs this past Monday. As such, the biggest news from this morning is likely the fact that Sony will be dropping new releases and bestseller titles in its eBook store from $11.99 to $9.99. Also worth mentioning, Sony has stated that Mac compatibility and wireless eBook downloading a la Kindle are on the horizon. The new readers will begin shipping toward the end of this month — any takers?
Ok ColorWare fans, it’s time to get your e-book on. Forget about the massive Kindle DX for the time being, as ColorWare has just added the increasingly popular Kindle 2 to its roster of kit begging for some high-quality color-customization. There are a total of 11 separate areas on the Kindle 2 ready for various combinations of ColorWare’s 35 different color choices. We opted to stick with our favorite colors as you can see above, but feel free to get as crazy as you like. Considering how popular the Kindle line has become, this is definitely the best way to separate yourself from the pack while you fight through Oprah’s next recommendation at the beach this Summer. As always, you have the option of sending in your current Kindle 2 (starting at $199) or purchasing one new (starting at $599).
Amazon has definitely had some issues keeping the wraps on its readers and it looks like the Kindle DX fell victim to the trend. Of course these most recent leaks weren’t quite as bad as the Kindle 2 we scooped over four months ahead of its official launch, but never the less we basically knew all there was to know about Amazon’s super-sized e-book reader ahead of today’s announcement. Well actually, there were a few surprises tucked away in Amazon’s pocket — namely automatic screen rotation which is certainly a welcome addition. The rest, such as its specs, annotation capabilities, device size and its new education-centric features were already pretty well covered. Pre-ordering is now live and the DX ships this Summer — Price of admission: $489.
Looks like those Kindle 2 photos we published back in October were spot on. Additional official-looking photos of the Kindle 2 have emerged and the new e-reader from Amazon looks sweet! If the pencil comparison is accurate, then the new Kindle appears to shed much of its width, coming in as thin as the Sony PRS-505 reader, and little bit longer than both the original Kindle and the Sony Reader. As we reported earlier, the Kindle 2 also appears to have a metal back with built-in speakers. Start putting those pennies aside as the Kindle 2 is expected to hit Amazon on the 24th of February for $359, the same price as the current Kindle. No apparent price increase, yay! This is still all unconfirmed but the information seems to jive with previous rumors and the source of the leak, MobileRead, is well-known in the e-book world. We will all get the skinny on this reader and its features on Monday, until then enjoy the photos after the jump.