Monthly Archives: April 2012

New Barnes & Noble Nook Will Be Backlit

Again, Barnes & Noble has found a way to advance and greatly improve its e-reader before Amazon. The company revealed its newest Nook last week — one with a backlight.

According to The New York Times, the announcement makes the Nook the first e-reader to offer a backlight. It’s a huge advantage for Barnes & Noble over Amazon, particularly because most people do their reading in bed and because people have to turn the light on themselves, as Julie Bosman explains.

But William J. Lynch Jr., the chief executive of Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said the new device could be seen as two e-readers in one. The glowing back screen can be activated with the press of a button, but when it is not in use, the e-reader functions as a standard E Ink device, which is easier to read in sunlight than a tablet like the iPad with an LCD display.

That’s not to say other companies haven’t had the same idea. Amazon is hoping to release their version of a backlit Kindle later this year. Plus, the Kindle is still much more widely known than the Nook. But anyone who does their research on e-readers will quickly learn about the Nook’s new capabilities, and I think it can only stand to improve their sales.

The new Nook is called Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and costs $139. Preorders are available right now. Shipping will begin in May.

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Encyclopaedia Britannicas Selling Fast

In its final days, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is seeing a resurgence. The oldest continuously published encyclopedia in the English language has been flying off the shelves since the company announced last month it would discontinue its print editions.

According to this article by The New York Times, sales of the Encyclopaedia Britannica — a 32-volume set that weighs 129 pounds — had greatly decreased in recent years. Thanks to the Internet and sites like Wikipedia, the need for print editions of encyclopedias has become scarce. Before the March 13th announcement, only 60 sets — at a cost of $1,395 — were sold per week.

Since then, the 4,000 copies stored in the Britannica warehouse have gone so quickly, there are now only a few hundred left. On average, 1,050 are now being sold per week. They’re all expected to be sold by the end of April.

According to Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “When they thought it would be around forever, there was no rush to buy one,” Mr. Cauz said in an e-mail. “But now, suddenly, it’s a scarce item.”

It’s not surprising that the company would opt to discontinue publishing the print editions. After all, print encyclopedias are a dying breed. Nonetheless, it’s still sad to see the end of an era. Just another item that has become irrelevant in our society — like the Walkman and answering machine.

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E-Book Pricing Lawsuit Now Officially Underway

Last week, I reported that Apple and a number of other book publishers faced a lawsuit over collusion for e-book pricing. Yesterday, that lawsuit was made official by the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to this article by The New York Times, the DOJ is suing Apple, alleging that the company lowered its e-book prices in the iBookstore in 2010 as a means to fight Amazon’s low pricing. Julie Bosman explains.

At the time, Apple with its blockbuster iPad was trying to challenge Amazon’s hold on the e-book market. Amazon, the online retail giant, had become a kind of Walmart for the e-book business by lowering the price of most new and best-selling e-books to $9.99 — a price meant to stimulate sales of its own e-reading device, the Kindle.

Publishers, looking for leverage against Amazon, saw Apple as their white knight.

Three of the publishers — Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins — that faced suits have already agreed to settlements. But the fight is far from over. Either way, the Justice Department is looking to ensure that e-book prices are lowered for everyone because “E-books are transforming our daily lives, and improving how information and content is shared.  For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible.”

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J.K. Rowling’s New Book Called The Casual Vacancy to be Released Sept. 27th

Contributed by Alex Rabinowitz

BREAKING: JK Rowling’s New Book Called ‘The Casual Vacancy,’ To Be Released Sept 27th | HuffPost Books »

Plus details!

In the novel, the unexpected death of Barry Fairweather leaves Pagford, the small town he lived in, in shock. Pagford appears to be a peaceful, serene town, but underneath that, it is a town at war. Fairweather’s death leaves an empty seat on the parish council, and this causes the biggest fight Pagford has ever seen.

Alex Rabinowitz is the founding editor of PopCultureBrain.com. His writing has appeared on GQ.com, The Huffington Post, and Time Warner Cable. He owns a lot of T shirts.

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Lauren Conrad Debuts New Trilogy

Yet another trilogy is upon us. No, it won’t be as great and mesmerizing as The Hunger Games. Nor will it be as adult and erotic as Fifty Shades of Grey. Nonetheless it will likely sell well because of its author: Lauren Conrad.

As previously reported, Conrad — of Laguna Beach and The Hills fame — was set to publish her second young adult trilogy, entitled The Fame Game. According to this article by Entertainment Weekly, the first book is now out in stores.

The Fame Game, like Conrad’s previous L.A. Candy series, tells the story of four girls trying to make it in Los Angeles and Hollywood. It’s a spinoff to her L.A. Candy series, which achieved bestseller status. This trilogy will follow the character Madison Parker — a Heidi Montag-like character.

Though I’m sure the trilogy will sell well, I doubt it will do as well as L.A. Candy. When Conrad published L.A. Candy, she had just completed her run on The Hills. At the time, the public was much more in tune with Conrad. The storylines from the MTV reality show were still fresh in people’s minds. Now — not so much. Not to mention, it’s a spinoff, which means if you haven’t read L.A. Candy, you probably have little interest in reading The Fame Game. So what do you think? Will the trashy book sell well like most trashy books do? Or is the whole “Lauren Conrad: Author” status a thing of the past?

Get The Fame Game in hardcover now for just $12.91.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $9.99.

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Review: Memoirs of Normalcy

We all need help every once in a while. When a self-help book was sent to me by a dear friend and former co-worker of mine, I decided I’d get over what people would think of me when they saw me reading a self-help book and give it a try. But Joleene DesRosiers Moody’s Memoirs of Normalcy: Journey from Sedentary to Extraordinary is a breath of fresh air for those who are hesitant to admit they have a problem.

Memoirs of Normalcy not only encourages you to change your thoughts, let go, and overcome your fears. It also tells the author’s story — a story about struggles with addiction, changing careers, finding love, and exploring yourself. At times it seems like DesRosiers Moody has dealt with it all. We can all find a little piece to relate to — in a good way! Reading about her decision to leave the television news business and enter the world of motivational speaking seems foreign to most of us — albeit a little crazy. But she did it. She learned from it. And now she passes along her words of wisdom to us.

It’s not your typical self-help book that tells you what to do. It’s a self-help combined with a memoir. By sharing her personal experiences, we understand with specific examples why and how all this advice works. For instance, DesRosiers Moody talks about her post-TV news job search. She was down; she had just about given up when all of a sudden she got not one, but a number of offers. She uses this example to explain why there’s no such thing as instant gratification, but that our time will come as long as we understand the importance of patience and positive thinking.

The first half of the book focuses on advice. The second half walks us through her two-week journey to a meditation camp a few years back. Without being hokey, she describes the ways in which it changed her life, making it easy for us to understand just how much meditation can travel to the depths of your soul.

Is DesRosiers Moody spiritual? Of course. Can that sometimes be annoying? For some people, probably yes. But what you have to understand when you pick up the book is that when you’ve been down as low as this author — and most of us probably have at one point or another — there’s nowhere left to go but to a space of spirituality and self-reflection.

DesRosiers Moody’s personal story is encouraging enough to push any reader to make a change and stay positive.

Get Memoirs of Normalcy in paperback now for just $12.47.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $3.99!

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Just in Time for Titanic 3D, an E-Book Short About Costa Concordia

On the heels of Titanic 3D‘s opening weekend, a new e-book about the modern-day Titanic is now available. Fatal Voyage, the Wrecking of the Costa Concordia, a Kindle Single — or e-book short — about the accident that happened with the ill-fated Italian cruise ship earlier this year, was recently published.

According to this article by The Huffington Post’s Gadling, journalist John Hooper quickly wrote the e-book. Hooper is the Rome-based reporter for the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. The e-book short includes first-person accounts from passengers and details about the Italians’ embarrassment over the ship’s Captain. That, allegedly, is a part of the story that was left out by American reports of the incident. It also includes a detailed account of the mistakes the Captain made once the ship went into crisis mode.

Though Gadling blogger Chris Gray Faust explains that the e-book has its fair share of errors…

The rush to publish does highlight the e-book’s faults. Hooper’s e-book, which reads more like a long-form magazine article, came out on Feb. 15, just a little over a month from the Jan. 13 sinking. As a reader, I wanted even more details from the survivors than Hooper collected. Every passenger who lived through that night has a chilling tale to tell, and while the examples that Hooper picked were jaw-dropping, I had more questions than answers when I finished the book.

…It still seems like a worthy read, particularly if you’ve ever cruised, plan on cruising, or are just plain shocked that something as severe as this accident could still happen in the modern-day world.

Get the e-book short now for just $1.99 on your Kindle.

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