Tag Archives: web

New Kindle Checkout System In the Works

amazonWhen Amazon first created the Kindle, it was meant to be used for reading e-books. Then it became a tablet. Now it might become a cash register.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon — the creator of the Kindle — is working with brick-and-mortar stores and retailers to create a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets. If it’s a go, stores would use the new system as early as this summer. More and more retailers are using handheld devices for checkouts, such as food trucks, Apple, and even Nordstrom.

Amazon officials say retailers would receive Kindle tablets and credit card readers, or receive services from Amazon, such as data analysis.

The plan is still in the works. Nothing is officially set in stone. For now, Amazon is looking to start at small stores, since larger chains generally already use  complex, expensive checkout systems.

The real benefit of checking out with a Kindle would be how fast and easy it is to do. But it’s clear than an underlying benefit for Amazon is all the exposure the company itself would get; plus it’s a pretty sneaky way of bringing the Kindle — available online only —  into stores.

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Fans Praise ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Web Series

Almost 200 years after it was published, Pride and Prejudice is having a moment…online, that is.

According to The Daily Dot, a modernized version of the classic tale is now a web series, called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or LBD. It takes the form of a vlog hosted by the main character, Lizzie Bennet. The beauty of the series is that producers and writers can go in depth with the story, better describing the characters and using each episode to act out each chapter of the novel. Co-producer Hank Green got the idea for the series from his wife, who’s a big Jane Austen fan, and the now the series is taking off as Aja Romano explains.

Green promoted the show to his legions of fans, known as Nerdfighters. Thousands of them faithfully flocked to the LBD despite not having read the novel or knowing anything about the plot. This phenomenon led to an ongoing wonder in the comments of each YouTube video, as fans who know the story by heart interacted with fans who begged other fans not to spoil them for what happened next.

The big news this week is that after 59 web episodes — 59! — Darcy was finally introduced. Fans of the series took to Tumblr and Twitter to freak out about the episode. Here’s a clip of the 60th episode of the show:

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CliffsNotes Comes to the Web…In Video Form

In case you ever wanted to see a classic book or Shakespeare played out in cartoon form, you can now. That’s right. CliffsNotes is coming to the web.

According to this article from Entertainment Weekly, Producer Mark Burnett has teamed up with CliffsNotes, AOL, and Coalition Films to create web videos of all the classic novels and plays, mostly read by high school and college students.

Producers say they don’t want to replace the books by any means. But for the students who won’t read the books anyway and already plan to read the CliffsNotes, now they can just watch them instead. Not to mention, they’ll also be funny, which could pull people in more than the original book might. Stephan Lee explains.

Burnett got involved in the project after seeing a need for this sort of content. “There’s no question that there’s no replacement for reading the actual books,” he told EW. “But kids do use CliffsNotes worldwide, no question about it. It amazed me that there was no digital version of these CliffsNotes.” In addition to being quick and informative, the series aims to engage its audience with humor.

Only six Shakespearean plays are currently available, including Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Burnett hopes to eventually have hundreds of shorts on his site.

I can’t decide if I think this is good for the industry — because more people will likely learn the stories — or bad — because they won’t be reading the originals. What do you guys think?

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Amazon’s Book Monopoly Is Growing

Amazon already sells books. It may soon start a Netflix-like rental service. And now it’s entering another field in the book industry: publishing.

According to this article by The New York Times, Amazon will publish 122 books and e-books this fall. This is good news for authors and the book industry in general. Now authors who may have had a difficult time getting published will have a fresh set of eyes to look at their material, which could result in a second chance at publishing. And in terms of the book industry, that means more books will be physically and digitally available to people all over the world.

But it’s bad news for the intermediate players in the game: the publishers and agents, as David Streitfeld explains in his article.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

Either way, Amazon is creating a book industry monopoly. It may be cruel, but it’s also smart. And as one of Amazon’s top executives, Russell Grandinetti,  says in the article, “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

 

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Amazon May Get Netflix-like Service for Books

Kindle e-books might now be available at libraries across the country, but the changes don’t stop there. A report by the Wall Street Journal says Amazon might be working on a new Netflix-like service for books.

The service would be part of the Amazon Prime package — a special program that gives members free two-day shipping and reduced price one-day shipping on all Amazon orders for a year, for a $79 annual fee.

The additional book service would allow Prime customers to read a limited number of books for free every month from a library of “older titles.”

According to this article by PC World, it seems Amazon hopes the service — which is still in its early stages — will help gain Prime members.

Perhaps spurred by the reaction to its Prime Instant unlimited video streaming, Amazon hopes to convince more people to join Prime with enticing add-ons. The company’s Prime library might also tie-in to the retailer’s strategy for its highly rumored, Android-based tablet to compete with the iPad.

Similar to Apple, Amazon’s slate could offer an integrated shopping experience with one-click access to online movie and TV viewing, e-book sales, MP3s, and apps. But Amazon would also want to encourage people to use their Amazon tablets to shop for physical items such as TVs, consoles and games, physical books, DVDs, computers, and toys.

Many of the details of this project are still unknown, however. For instance, how old are these “older titles”? And how many books will be available on a monthly basis? Not to mention, is this service even worth it now that libraries are offering Kindle e-books anyway? It sounds good on paper, but the kinks definitely still need to be ironed out. What do you guys think?

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Harry Potter E-Books Delayed

There’s been so much attention on J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore web site that we’ve almost forgotten what its true purpose is: selling e-book versions of the Harry Potter series. That’s because the books still aren’t available yet.

And now the Associated Press is reporting they won’t be until 2012. The e-books have been delayed.

The AP says the e-books were supposed to be available come October, but it’s taking management longer than they had anticipated to perfect it.

In a blog posting on the site, “Pottermore” management said registration would be open to everyone from the end of October, and the online store would open in “the first half of 2012.”

The posting said use of the site so far had been “phenomenal,” and the delay would “allow us to focus on our first priority: opening ‘Pottermore’ to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.”

I’m sure with the issues they’ve had so far on the site, they thought it was simply in their best interest to take their time with the new addition. What do you guys think?

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The Line Between Print Books and E-Books Just Got Cloudy

As e-books continue to become more accessible and convenient, the Amazon Kindle reveals its latest development: the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Much like Apple’s iCloud — which weaves together your Apple products in a way that you can access your apps from whichever platform you choose — the Kindle Cloud Reader will allow readers to access their downloaded books on multiple platforms.

According to the L.A. Times, it will work with Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari. So whatever book you’ve downloaded onto your Kindle may be accessed via desktop or iPad.

That being said, the Kindle Cloud Reader solidifies a friendship between Amazon’s Kindle and Apple. With the app, those who own Kindles and  use Apple products will be able to directly access the Kindle store, instead of the current in-app purchase option, which is subject to additional Apple fees.

To be honest, it sounds a little confusing to me. But the idea of accessing already downloaded Kindle books online or through other platforms is intriguing. What do you guys think?

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