Sunday, April 24, 2011

eReader Company Kobo Secures $50 Million to Compete with Kindle and Nook

Kobo has closed a $50 Million investment round led by a leading institutional investor.  Existing investors also participated in the round; investing $13M.

"Kobo will use the new funding to continue its explosive growth internationally," said Greg Twinney, CFO of Kobo. "As the eReading space continues to heat up, Kobo is committed to providing an innovative experience that lets consumers read anytime, anyplace and share their love of reading with friends."

Kobo kicked off its European expansion last week, with the announcement of its plans to launch local content stores inGermany -- the largest book market outside of the US -- and Spain starting in May 2011.  Local stores for France, Italy and the Netherlands will follow this summer -- an industry first.  In providing local content and reading experiences for European readers, Kobo continues to build on the vision of giving people around the world the freedom to read on any device, and share their love of reading with friends.

Starting today, consumers can buy the highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook which comes pre-loaded with the Kobo eReading app -- in leading retailers across the US and Canada.  RIM selected Kobo as its strategic eReading partner, given its ability to service customers around the globe.

The Kobo eReading app delivers a personalized reading experience and allows users to choose the perfect text size and style, select between day and night mode, both featuring uninterrupted reading with seamless page turns and chapter transitions.  Plus, readers can switch between single or side-by-side page view simply in landscape orientation or simply rotate the Playbook to read in portrait orientation. Kobo is offering a free copy of Thomas Cleary's translation of The Art of War exclusively to BlackBerry PlayBook customers. Users can sign in or create their Kobo account from the BlackBerry PlayBook and the free eBook will be added directly to their library.

Since Kobo's launch in December 2009, Kobo has:
  • One of the largest stores worldwide: over 2.3 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines with titles ranging from the NYT bestseller list, the hottest new releases, thrillers, romance and over a million free books -- Kobo has built one of the largest stores in the world.
  • Over 3.2 million Users: with over 1 million users added in the last 90 days
  • An Open Platform: Kobo is dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users build their lifetime library, and access it from any device.
  • A leading eReader: Kobo has developed and launched two industry leading eReaders; the Kobo eReader and the Kobo Wireless eReader.
  • Top ranked eReading applications; for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm WebOS, Windows, MacOS
  • Localised Stores: Kobo already offers locally merchandised English language stores in the US, Canada, UK, Australia,New Zealand and Hong Kong -- with Germany and Spain launching in May, and France, Italy and the Netherlandslaunching this summer.
  • Leading Tablet Partners; including Samsung, Research In Motion and HTC have chosen Kobo as their global eReading platform for their mobile devices.
  • Leading Retail Partners; including Indigo (Canada), Best Buy (US & Canada), Borders (US), Walmart (US & Canada) Angus & Robertsons (AU), Whitcoull's (NZ), WHSmith (UK), Swindon (Hong Kong)
  • The Most Comprehensive Social eReading Experience -- Kobo's Reading Life; an industry-first social experience that enables passionate readers to connect with friends to discuss their favourite books on Facebook, build their Reading Life, and earn awards -- just for reading.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Free Digital Publishing for the iPad

Thanks to the Apple iPad and new tools like, digital publishing is easier than ever. Silicon Valley based startup iBuildApp recently added an iPad publishing solution to their suite of iPhone templates designed for the non-coder.

iPad publishing has created new revenue streams for businesses who can publish materials without printing and shipping costs. Create your own iPad magazine, catalog, or book app. iBuildApp solution has templates, is automated, and totally free to create and update. See it here:

The solution also delivers a good experience for the reader. "We believe that a digital magazine or newspaper should feel like a media app, not like a magazine reader," said Rafael Soultanov. When someone swipes from page to page they can choose different stories to read. Images are vivid, video is optimized. If a reader wants to comment or share what they're reading, they just tap a button.

The fully functional publishing app takes just 2-3 hours to create and publish content. Just copy/paste content into our pre-made templates for the iPad, for free. The iBuildApp iPad solution will be integrated with other CMS platforms such as Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. It simply requires snippets of code from iBuildApp to be inserted into the CMS code.

Services make it less complicated for authors to publish and manage their own publishing (magazines and books). By using a service, publishers can focus on their content and leave the formatting, publishing and distribution to iBuildapp. Unlike other services iBuildApp Self-Publishing Solution provides authors with a free online editor, free formatting and design templates and integrated publishing for iPad and Web.

Hannover House Sets New E-Book Royalty Standards and Initial Releases

In the wake of continuing debate between publishers and authors regarding the establishment of fair and reasonable royalty rates for the emerging E-Book platforms, Hannover House ( ) has announced a new standard rate of thirty percent of E-Book net revenues for authors. This new rate for all Hannover House authors surpasses the current industry standard of twenty-five percent E-Book royalties being offered by most major publishers.

Initial E-Book releases from Hannover House will launch in June, and include two non-fiction titles from author Barr McClellan, and two fiction thrillers from author Vivian Schilling. McClellan's "Made in the USA" was published in hardcover format in March of 2010, and his New York Times Bestseller, "Blood, Money and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK," was originally published in September 2003. Schilling's acclaimed thriller "Quietus" was originally released in hardcover format in January 2002, and her debut thriller "Sacred Prey" was originally published in September 1994. Both "Blood, Money and Power" and "Quietus" have sold more than 100,000 units each in various print formats, and are expected to be significant sellers again once released on the various E-Book platforms.

"It was important for Hannover House to make a statement that we stand with our authors in support of fair and reasonable royalties for new media formats," said Eric Parkinson, C.E.O. of Hannover House. "E-Books provide publishers with greater efficiencies and lower costs of production, freight and storage, so it only makes sense that the author's share should increase, not decrease as other publishers have claimed. If we don't compensate the authors fairly for these emerging formats, the publishing industry will jeopardize the supply of quality material by removing the financial incentives for authors."

The launch of Hannover's initial E-Book titles will be promoted with ads in the New York Times Book Review, Publisher's Weekly and multiple internet sites targeted to reach avid readers.

"These royalty rates will not jeopardize the profitability of our publishing division," said Parkinson. "We believe that paying a fair royalty will build author loyalty as well as encourage other, established authors to consider Hannover House for their future publishing needs."

In other news, Hannover House announced the creation of the new position of "Publisher - Editor" to administer all acquisition and release activities for the company's book division. A search for qualified candidates has commenced, with the goal of having this key managerial post in place prior to the Book Expo America convention in late May. Hannover House book titles are available through most major book retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Borders Group, Hudson Group, Books-A-Million, Hastings and all major internet book selling sites.

Friday, April 8, 2011

E-books Empower Independent Publishers

Though few experts predict the demise of the big publishing houses, their future role in providing the majority of content for today's reading public is now hotly debated by industry insiders. In the same way that cable TV has eaten into the monopoly once held by the big networks, smaller publishers aim to take a bigger piece of the publishing pie.

And the main reason why is the change in technology and the emergence and extraordinary rise of the digital-publishing phenomenon. "E-books sales have exploded more than 500 percent in only a few years," says Larry Leichman, founder of Arbor Books New Jersey, an independent book-services and ghostwriting company. "And as e-books continue to become more and more popular, the low cost of producing and distributing books gives independent writers a tremendous boost. Just look at the sales figures for Amanda Hocking, a self-published author who produces YA fantasy books. She's routinely at the top of Amazon's bestseller list."

In fact, is a major force in this independent-publishing revolution. Perhaps no other entity has done so much to level the publishing playing field. Amazon provides the marketplace and lets consumers decide what's popular. More and more people are turning to reader reviews instead of big-name critics at newspapers and magazines when it comes to helping them decide their next e-book purchase.

And, according to, e-book sales have already surpassed hardcover sales and will surpass paperback sales in 2011. "Everything is going digital," says Joel Hochman, president of Arbor Books' ghostwriting division. "This trend is helping independent publishing earn the same respect as independent films and music."

Traditional publishers are surely feeling the heat from this growing revolution. Some houses, such as Simon & Schuster, are dumping their paperback divisions in favor of a push toward digital, but fierce competition with self-publishers could further erode their bottom lines.

With e-book sales growing exponentially, the barrier to entry into the market is now lower than ever. Small presses and individual authors no longer have to worry about the cost of manufacturing. This in turn leads to higher royalty payments to writers.

Today's improved, light-weight electronic readers are also making more choices available. Since many authors are now releasing their "older" out-of-print titles as e-books and offering them at huge discounts, it can cost just a few bucks to try out a new author. Ultimately, this means more people reading more titles by more authors than ever before. This is sweet music to the independent movement.