Saturday, June 23, 2012

iPad Owns 91% of Tablet Web Traffic; Nook Passes Kindle Fire

iPad Owns 91% of Tablet Web Traffic; Nook Passes Kindle Fire, article.

I'm a bit amazed that the Nook passed the Kindle Fire. Especially given the all-out price-war approach of Amazon since last year. But of course this is only about web traffic, and perhaps more people buy Nooks as a multi-purpose device, and more buy KFs mostly for reading and video.

... The closest competitor has two percent of the iPad's traffic. Huh.

I do think that part of the reason the iPad is so astoundingly dominant in web traffic is that most other popular tablets are only seven-inchers, and I feel that with complex web sites like for example Amazon (and in fact most popular sites), even the iPad's 10-inch screen can sometimes feel rather limiting. I sometimes have to zoom in on a list of links to be sure which one I hit. And before the Safari browser got the Reader functionality (which isolates and enlarges the text of an article), an article would often be hard to read, due to the wide-spread use on the web of too small fonts and too-wide columns. (Safari Reader or Instapaper of course is a fantastic help there.)

Annual Cost of Charging an iPad at $1.36

Annual Cost of Charging an iPad at $1.36, news release.
Consumers who fully charge their iPad tablet every other day can expect to pay $1.36 for the electricity needed annually to power the device, according to an  assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Wow, that's insane. That's the annual cost. Considering the bright, super-high-res screen and the (for a hand-held) very powerful processing, that can only be considered a bargain. Apple has really scored top points with the power-economy here. (Also considered as how much performance you can squeeze out of a given processor, amount of memory, etc.)

I haven't done this test recently, but I once ran a graphic screen-clock application on my iPad 1 non-stop, and the battery lasted over 15 hours. That is of course with the processor not doing much work, but with the screen on constantly.

Acer Founder: Microsoft Has No Real Intention to Make Tablets

"Acer Founder: Microsoft Has No Real Intention to Make Tablets", TMO article.

In other words, when faced with the reality that his company will soon be competing with Microsoft in the tablet space, Mr. Shih chose to invent an elaborate world where Microsoft is just doing a head fake to goose the market for Windows 8 tablets so that Acer and other licensees can then take over and reap the benefits.
Other prescient theories espoused by Mr. Shih include the prediction that the iPad would merely be a flash in the pan, and that tablets and even MacBook Airs (and Wintel ultrabooks) would go the way of the dodo.

That's too funny. (Although this story origins from Digitimes, not a stalwart of reliable reporting.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some books

Some of my books.
"Zacharias Nielsen, Samlede Skrifter", 1911. H.C. Andersen collection, 1854. Kindle 4. iPad in cover.

It just amused me to pose them together.

50 Shades of Grey is many

[Thanks to Stephen]

Zinio on the big screen

I love the Zinio magazine app, I have several subscriptions. I use on iPhone 4, Android (Samsung Note), and of course mainly on my iPad 3. Awesome.
Just for fun I tried it on my Mac. It was a different experience seeing a high quality produced magazine on a 30-inch Cinema Display!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fan fiction, trivia or literature?

The Weird World of Fan Fiction, WSJ article.
"The publishing industry's current overnight sensation, erotica author E.L. James, began writing her best-selling book "Fifty Shades of Grey" as "Twilight" fan fiction. She began posting her X-rated take on Ms. Meyer's tame paranormal romance online three years ago. Her "Twilight" homage, titled "Master of the Universe," evolved into a series starring a powerful CEO and a young woman in a sadomasochistic sexual relationship."

I have never read fan fiction before, but I started recently when I stumbled over a set of many stories featuring one of my favorite characters, Daria. There are maybe a million words from that one author alone, and I'm enjoying it much.

It's interesting to see the drive to put in that much work without any aim for financial gain. It's also interesting to see how fan fiction is getting more accepted, for example, Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card has shifted from sending threatening letters to actively encouraging fan fiction with a contest.

Oberon case

I've been looking occasionally at Oberon Design's iPad cases for two years almost. I finally decided to get one.
It's very nice, particularly the feel of the leather, it's very thick and strong, but still sort of soft.
It also bends backwards to function as a stand, something I think any case must.
I chose the Roof of Heaven design because I have always had a fondness for the idea of looking beyond the universe for truth.
I'd say the major downside to it is that it does not bend backwards very well, for holding, so really the option are to take it out for holding, or having the one half of it flapping to the wind. May not be a big deal when you get used to it.

... And perhaps because I have often included the Sun in my own art, as an obvious symbol for the Light of Heaven. Or the light of Life Source.

The power of free samples

I hope it's not true very often that Amazon would pay the full buying price every time somebody borrows an ebook from them. Considering that even for free, it would be certain to drive in new sales, I think that sort of thinking would be stupid-greedy for the publisher.
I mean really stupid. I've been selling online content for 15 years, very successfully, and I use almost no money on advertising, all the traffic comes from free samples and word of mouth. And the biggest boys in the biz are also those which give away the most free content, that is probably not coincidental.

It's been proven so many times. Ten years ago, Seth Godin gave away the full book in PDF for free, of The Ideavirus. And many, many people downloaded it, started reading it, maybe even finished it, and then bought the paperback.
And a very successful thriller writer made a podcast out of his book Jack Wakes Up, and when he started selling the ebook, it was an immediate hit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft tablet revealed, "Surface"

Microsoft tablet revealed, "Surface". Data are a bit sparse so far. Microsoft did not reveal battery life or price, for example.

Here's a less positive article from Mashable.

"Microsoft spent more of its event talking about the kickstand than it did the Surface’s innards or apps. “It closes like a car door,” said the Surface’s product lead. I was sold.
Unfortunately, the latch where you release the kickstand is pretty hard to find, even when you know where it is. No one could open it on the first try, or indeed the second — even after being told where the latch was."

Here's a more positive article from Andy Ihnatko.

"...would I choose the Windows tablet over the Mac? I will nervously and rationally say “Oh, well, we don’t know enough about Surface yet, do we? Rather pointless to speculate, I reckon” and then slink off. 
(OK: Maybe I would. Happy now?)"

Ihnatko really wants a tablet which can also work as a laptop, full production features. And he does not want a laptop instead. The question is how many people want that, both devices in one object. It's clear where Microsoft is betting. Next year will show if they are right. Or at least if this one and other early attempts are good enough.

Monday, June 18, 2012

TeleRead reviews Glowlight vs Kindle

"Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight vs. the Kindle Touch", review at TeleRead.

(See photos in the article which illustrates the relative evenness of the light on the two devices.)

For my Kindle 3 I bought one of those nice, expensive Amazon leather covers with a built-in light. But I found that the light was simply well too uneven to give a pleasant reading experience. Quite disappointing, since otherwise it'd have been very smart and handy.
So it seems pretty certain that a Kindle will appear with a front-lighting system built in like on the Nook Glowlight. They can't leave a competitive advantage of that magnitude stand.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

eBook Revenues Top Hardcover (updated)

eBook Revenues Top Hardcover, article.
According to the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report (collecting data from 1,189 publishers), adult eBook sales were $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales counted $229.6 million during the first quarter of 2012. 

Ebooks now sell about 45% of what paper books sell in the US!! Didn't they tell us it was 5% only two years ago? Holy mama.

I think it's now time to say that ebooks are no longer a niche market which it is safe for publishers to ignore.
What drives Stephen King to decide to publish his next book only on paper, I can't say. It's not an economical decision, that's for sure. (Or if it is, he's deluded.)

It's quite amazing. I think it's still only around 20% of the US population who have ereaders. Clearly these guys read a lot more than average.

Who jumped first from the newspaper sinking ship?

Who jumped first from the newspaper sinking ship?, article.
Even after the Hearst Corp ditched its San Francisco Examiner for a $660 million deal to buy the San Francisco Chronicle in late 1999, more happy talk ensued. If anybody cited Warren Buffett’s 1991 warning that newspapers had lost their special “franchise” value and that he wouldn’t be buying any more of them soon, I missed it.

I'm no investor, I don't have the nerves for it, or the interest, really. But if I were, my motto would be "nobody ever got broke listening to Warren Buffet".
Investors are puzzling creatures. On the one hand, in the nineties you had all those people who thought that anything starting up with a fresh new dot-com was a goldmine*. And that gave us the dot-bomb. On the other hand, many people only smell the sharks when the ship is already three-quarters sunk, if then. Some things don't take a genius to predict. I remember saying to a friend in maybe 1996: "newspapers are going out. More and more, people will get their news on the web".

I guess it depends on your personal life. Me for instance, I never read newsletters in my adult life (as a kid I read those our family got), and I took to the web like a duck to water as soon as I could, mid-nineties. Other people are still to this day very comfortable with their daily, crinkly paper-paper, and only uses the web in areas where they're more or less forced. So the world looks very different from there.

*I remember a young, aggressive webtrepreneur telling me around the millennium that mentioning that he had a dot-com got him girls like he was a rock star.

Thanks, Apple

I've noticed that I'm actually thankful for my iPad. It's the best reading experience I've ever had.

Admittedly you have to find the right brightness level first. To me that's about the iPad being the brightest thing in the room, but not much brighter, that contrast is what tires the eyes.  And due to the weight it really needs something to hold it (luckily good floor stands like the Flote are starting to appear).

But then: I can fine-tune the font and text size to perfection (well okay, the Kindle app would do well with finer steps between sizes). I have a nice, big (about perfect size for reading), high resolution screen (especially iPad 3). And with the stand I can read in bed with my arms under the covers. And I don't have to tune a lamp and the book's position to get it lit well. (Something about my eyes prefers pretty strong light when I read, perhaps it is the astigmatism, perhaps smaller pupils help. And this may be why I prefer a lit screen to the grey Kindle screen. (Maybe a front-lit e-ink screen may help.)) I can change back and forth between any ebook in my collection in seconds, plus articles in various apps and forms, and films/TV and other forms of entertainment.