Government still pursuing Apple over alleged fixing of e-book prices
As part of its case against Apple for allegedly conspiring to "falsely inflate" e-book prices, the US Department of Justice has opted not to pursue its plan to demand copies of the notes from Steve Jobs' biographer or testimony from Walter Isaacson himself regarding any remarks Jobs may have made about the arrangements Apple made with publishers in its effort to both set up its own e-book service and fight against the predatory pricing of Amazon, which had a near-monopoly on e-books and was driving rivals out of business.
New agreements come nine months after leaving OverDrive
Penguin books is to start lending e-books again in the near future, if reports are to be confirmed. Working with distributor Baker and Taylor, the digital books will be available to borrow from Los Angeles and Cleveland-based libraries, though rule changes surrounding the new lending system compared to previous iterations will force libraries to buy a new copy of the book every year.
New deal with HarperCollins may signal new tactics
Apple, still facing scrutiny from the US Department of Justice and having recently moved to settle with the European Commission over allegations of conspiring with publishers to price e-books higher than the predatory pricing of Amazon, may have opted to change strategy. Having maintained that its "agency" model pricing was required to allow itself (and other companies) to enter the market and break the monopoly abuse it claims Amazon was engaging in, Apple appears now to be fighting with fire: lowering prices on e-books.
Ruling could be disastrous for bookstores, competition
US District Judge Denise Cote, who is already on the record as believing that publishers conspired to fix e-book prices, has approved a settlement between three of the five major publishers and the US Department of Justice that could see e-book discounter Amazon restored to a monopoly position in the market, reports The Wall Street Journal. In the settlement, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins agreed to tear up their contracts with Apple and allow steep discounting of e-books for at least two years.
Allows Amazon to discount e-books for two years
Apple and four of the five major publishing companies have offered to allow retailers such as Amazon to discount e-books for up to two years, part of a deal that could end an EU antitrust investigation that mirrors the case being brought against Apple and two publishing houses in the US. Only one publisher, Pearson's Penguin group, was not part of the sweeping EU arrangement, which could see Amazon regaining its monopoly position in the e-book market.
Parties cite Amazon investigation, bad DOJ market analysis
US District Court Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, presiding over the Apple e-books pricing settlement case, has granted amici curiae, or friends of the court, status to two opposing parties. Writer's advocacy organization The Authors Guild and licensing expert Bob Kohn have been given permission to file an amicus brief with the court, decrying the proposed settlement, and pointing out what they see as flaws in the Department of Justice's arguments.
Fights to save settlement with three publishers
The Department of Justice has filed its response to Apple's call for the settlement with three of the major publishers to be dismissed or suspended at least until after the trial in which the DOJ accuses Apple and two other publishers of colluding to fix e-book prices. In it, the DOJ accuses Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan of causing "unmistakable consumer harm."
Documents from 2004 show primary goal of making money
In a court filing by writer's advocate group The Authors Guild, the motivation for Google's nearly decade-long scanning of books and documents was revealed to be contrary to its stated purpose. Rather than creating a massive "card catalog" of out-of-print books, the internal Google documents show that the primary goal of the scanning was making money.
Attorney for author says plaintiffs on a fishing expedition
Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson will not have to turn over notes as possible evidence in the case of a class-action lawsuit filed by lawyers allegedly representing unnamed "consumers" said to have been "harmed" by Apple's alleged e-book price-fixing conspiracy, a court has ruled. Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP have had their attempt to force Isaacson to turn over notes related to a portion of a quote in Jobs' biography rebuffed by Judge Denise Cote.
Publishers call federal complaint full of innuendo
Book publishers Penguin and Macmillan are denying accusations of a conspiracy with Apple to fix the price of e-books, saying the claims are based on “little circumstantial evidence.” According to the New York Times, the two companies said that the US government piled “innuendo on top of innuendo” in the federal complaint, with shots also fired at Amazon by saying the government “sides with a monopolist.”
Each $2 e-book offers 100 Foxtrot comic strips
Syndicated Foxtrot comic strip creator Bill Amend, who two weeks ago took his "first steps into the worlds of e-books and self-publishing," has reported that his "Pad Pack" collection (three volumes of 100 strips each selling for $2 on the App Store) have made in two weeks about 25 percent of what his traditionally-published strip collections make in two years. The artist, who created the books entirely in iBooks Author, called the results "amazing."
Future Tor Books to be DRM-free
Tor Books, the fantasy and sci-fi publisher, plans to remove DRM from its entire library of e-books by July. This move makes Tor one of the largest book publishers to have shied away from DRM protection.
Can convert comics or books for digital stores
Digital comic-book publisher Graphicly has decided to focus on emerging self-publishing markets for all kinds of visually-oriented digital books, and has consequently pulled its comic-book storefront app for both iOS and Android, though it will still publish graphic novels and comics to the various digital bookstores, including iBooks, Nook, Kindle, Kobo and others. Going forward, it will publish both comic and non-comic books.
Inkling Habitat aims to compete with iBooks
Inkling is set to launch its free e-book publishing platform that aims to compete with Apple's iBooks. The platform, known as Inkling Habitat, enables users to publish cloud-based interactive e-books complete with embedded HD videos and 3D content.
Publisher cites security concerns
Book publisher Penguin Group has reportedly decided to pull its e-books from digital lending programs managed by many libraries. The company has cited unspecified concerns over content security as the motivation behind the change in policy, though many publishers are believed to distance themselves from digital lending as a strategy to bolster sales numbers for physical books.
Previously-created books can now be e-books also
Both customers who have previous made books using Blurb's digital tools, and new clients who have always wanted to create a physical photo-book as a keepsake now also have the option of turning their works into full-fledged e-books, from the same file as was used to create the physical book. New authors have the option of choosing either format, and the resulting e-books work with the iBooks application for iOS, including two-page spreads and pinch/zoom capabilities.
Books to be limited to extended previews
Apple and Starbucks are expanding the Pick of the Week iTunes promotion to include TV shows and books, the latter company has announced. The coffee brewer has been giving away music download cards for some time, and recently began offering apps. The first non-music offering in the expanded promotion, just made official today, is in fact the Shazam Encore app. Firemint's SPY mouse is slated for next week, and then an unspecified song is scheduled for the week after that.
Cuts off future books based on beta tech
Facebook has bought e-book platform creator Push Pop Press, according to a note on the latter's website. Until now the developer had been working on an e-book publishing platform, notably merging images, video and some limited physics technology into content. Only one e-book based on the platform has been published, that being Al Gore's Our Choice for iOS.
Some downloads still problematic
Apple has finally released iTunes 10.3, which was initially intended to go live yesterday. As expected the software mainly introduces support for iTunes in the Cloud, which automatically pushes purchased apps, books and music to all devices signed in with a given Apple ID. If a device doesn't have the content synced automatically, an option to download purchases is available, assuming necessary material is still hosted at the iTunes Store.
Covered digital world for 15 years
Veteran newsman Josh Quittner will be leaving the nation's largest publisher to join Internet startup Flipboard as its editorial director. Quitner has written extensively about the digital revolution during his fifteen years at Time, Inc., which included stints at Time magazine, the now-defunct new media magazine Business 2.0, and Fortune. Quittner is currently Time Inc.'s director of digital editorial development for the news, sports and business magazines. He had been involved in the negotiations to bring tablet editions of Time, Inc. publications to the iPad and Android platforms.
No booth planned, spokesperson says
Apple's participation at BookExpo America has been overstated, a spokesperson explains. The event's website cites Apple as an "exhibitor," and the company was initially reported as having a large booth next to Scholastic's. In truth Apple will be meeting with publishers in a private room at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, the spokesperson clarifies.
Push to establish legitimacy of iBookstore?
Apple will make its first-ever appearance at BookExpo America later this month, reports note. The expo represents the largest industry book fair in the US, and this year is scheduled to run from May 23rd through to the 26th. Apple is said to have secured a large booth in an ideal location: in the same general area as Disney, Random House and Macmillan, and immediately next to Scholastic. Disney's largest individual shareholder is Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who also sits on the Disney board of directors.
Smaller sellers being squeezed out, company says
iOS app and e-book vendor iFlowReader is shutting down as of May 31st, according to an announcement. "We absolutely do not want to do this, but Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device," part of the statement reads. "We cannot survive selling books at a loss and so we are forced to go out of business. We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game."
Videos, interactive modules prove major elements
With help from Rodale, Melcher Media and Push Pop Press, Apple board member Al Gore has released a new e-book on the App Store, Our Choice. The title is described as a followup to An Inconvenient Truth, and once again tries to explain the causes of global warming as well as current and potential solutions. All of Gore's earnings from the app are being funneled back into the Alliance for Climate Protection, his non-profit educational organization.
Boosts speed, adds 3D page turning on iPad
Google has updated the iOS version of its free Books app with two main additions plus an assortment of smaller changes. In the former category is the option of reading in a two-page landscape mode on an iPad, bringing the app up to parity with its Android sibling and Apple's own iBooks. When using the Find feature, Google Books now shows all matches as you scroll down.
Design-driven visionary sees iPad as the future
In a lengthy profile, coffee-table book publisher Nicholas Callaway detailed a newfound passion for apps over books, proclaiming them the successor to traditional books and making a full-fledged switch. A viewing of Pixar's original Toy Story and the encouragement of Steve Jobs gave Callaway the "eureka" moments that convinced him that apps are a new form of story-telling and caused him to reinvent his already-successful company.
Last holdout comes to iOS platform
Some Random House books are beginning to appear in the US iBookstore, a report says. While only a few are present so far -- Randon House Webster's Pocket Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation being a given example -- the shift indicates that Random House has indeed made concessions and become the last major publisher to support iBooks. On Monday the company switched to an agency model, likely with the iBookstore in mind.
Matas turns attention to books for iOS
Delicious Library designer Mike Matas -- later hired by Apple -- is this week launching a new company, Push Pop Press. The firm will concentrate on producing e-books, beginning with titles that will appear for the iPad and iPhone later in 2011. These should be apps rather than titles distributed in the iBookstore, as Push Pop says they will have "photos, maps, and interactive graphics, all through a new physics-based multi-touch user interface."
Industry group organizes London meeting
European publishers are angry and "confused" by new App Store rules introduced with the rejection of the Sony Reader app, according to Grzegorz Piechota, the European president of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association. Where it was previously possible to send people to a webpage to buy books or manage subscriptions, Apple is now demanding that any such feature be matched by in-app options. A meeting between INMA, the European Online Publishers Association and the FIPP magazine association is scheduled to take place in London on February 17th, with the specific agenda of tackling Apple's new subscription rules.
Company demands in-app purchase options
The rejection of the Sony Reader app does not represent a change in App Store rules, an Apple spokeswoman claims. A New York Times report suggested that the ban represents a "further tightening" of Apple's control of the App Store, blocking access to purchases made outside of the store's ecosystem. "We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines," insists Apple's Trudy Miller.
Flash Professional 5.5 in beta, sources say
The upcoming iPad-capable version of Packager for iPhone will be part of an update bundle for Creative Suite 5, says AppleInsider. The collection is said to be named "Creative Suite 5.5 Digital Publishing," and include Flash Professional CS 5.5, reportedly in beta testing. Likewise tagging along should be Flash Catalyst CS 5.5, an "interaction design tool" with features like live app design and the ability to deploy for the web, desktops or mobile devices.
Lacks some features of iOS versions at present
The previously-available Kindle app for Mac is also available on the Mac App Store, enabling many users to discover it despite its having been out since March. The free application syncs Kindle purchases across Amazon's hardware e-reader, the iPhone and iPad versions of the app as well as the Mac, allowing readers to move seamlessly from device to device while keeping the same library available on all, right down to the last page read, notes and highlights in each book.
Area generally unexploited in tablets
Over 100 illustrated books have been added to the iBookstore in tandem with the release of iBooks 1.2, says the New York Times. These are spread across several different genres, including cooking, photography and children's books. Some notable titles include Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, a photo collection by Ansel Adams and the Olivia series of picture books.
Company not policing App Store, groups say
A consortium of Japanese book publishers are demanding that Apple stop selling pirated novels through the App Store, says Agence France-Presse. "We have no choice but to deem it illegal that Apple Inc. distributes materials which clearly violate copyright," reads a statement by the consortium. Parties to the group include the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan and the Digital Comic Association.
Books join list of downloads
Apple has formally announced the 2010 edition of its 12 Days of Christmas promotion. For each 24 hours of the event, the company will be offering free downloads from different sections of the iTunes Store. This year the promotion will run from December 26th to January 6th; as usual, however, only people in the UK and some other European countries will be able to participate.
Notebooks, TVs, e-readers follow behind
Of Americans planning to buy high-tech electronics during the holidays, most are picking the iPad or some other form of media tablet, says Retrevo. The shopping and review site recently conducted an online survey of over 1,000 people, which it says points to people spending 16 percent more on electronics this holiday period over 2009. After tablets, notebooks were the next most sought-after gadgets in the survey group, followed by non-3D TVs.
Fills gap in store's technical categories
Books from Pearson and Peachpit are now appearing at the US iBookstore, a report observes. Both publishers specialize in technical titles. Some of the brands under Pearson include Addison Wesley, Cisco Press, IBM Press, Prentice Hall and Pearson IT Certification. Subjects range from Apple hardware and development through to online marketing and web design.
Titles focus on training
Safari Books Online has released a new e-book reader for the iPad, Safari To Go. The app accesses books from the SBO subscription service, which concentrates on educational titles in fields like technology and business. Some publishers signed up to Safari include Adobe, Cisco, O'Reilly, Microsoft, McGraw-Hill and Wiley.
Features sync'd notes and highlights
Vital Source Technologies, a unit of textbook publisher Ingram, announced the availability of VitalSource Bookshelf, a free app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The program features downloading either from computer or mobile device, automatic syncing of content across platforms, and the full VitalSource library of titles, numbering over 60,000 from a wide variety of major textbook publishers.
Device focused on European markets
Bookeen has introduced its latest e-book reader, the Cybook Orizon, which features a multi-touch display with improved contrast. The company claims its touchscreen implementation does not compromise the display readability, even in direct sunlight. Multi-touch gestures can be used to change pages, annotate, highlight text, or adjust the character size.
Could circumvent obstacles to industry
Apple will soon announce formal subscription support for newspapers distributed through the App Store, says the San Jose Mercury News. While most of the details are not clear, industry sources claim that Apple has agreed to provide an opt-in clause for subscribers willing to share information with publishers. Newspapers have traditionally relied on subscriber data to sell the ads that keep a publication afloat.
Publisher resolves conflict with Wylie Agency
Random House has resolved a dispute with literary agent Andrew Wylie over rights to publish e-book versions of 13 classic books. According to a New York Times report, both parties have agreed that Random House will retain the rights for digital distribution.
McGraw-Hilll, Wiley, Cengage books forthcoming
A new developer, Inkling, is bringing a variety of high-profile school textbooks to the iPad. The first four are from McGraw-Hill, and described as best-sellers in biology, economics, marketing and psychology; these should be available today, at an early cost of $3 per chapter or $70 for an entire book. In the near future prices should be hiked to $4 and $85, respectively.
Magazine still skeptical of iPad adoption
Web magazine Slate has launched a native iPad application. The app is intended to better format content for the tablet, for instance by allowing offline reading, a touch-oriented interface and in-app access to videos and podcasts. Podcasts can play in the background while a person is reading other material.
Predicts 40 million iPads by 2012
News Corp. currently has "tens of thousands" of people reading The Times, The Australian and the Wall Street Journal via apps, according to CEO Rupert Murdoch. While declining to give exact subscription numbers at a debate in Sydney, he described the iPad and other tablets as a "perfect platform" for cheap and convenient News Corp. material. The executive is generally in favor of pay barriers, having already erected them around websites like The Times. "The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free," Murdoch claimed on Tuesday.
New Rolling Stone issue integrates iTunes
Two important magazine issues have made their way to the iPad. The first is the inaugural iPad edition of Glamour, which -- like other electronic editions from publisher Condé Nast -- is enhanced with special extras like video. Some exclusive fashion picks have been added however, and the app encourages consumption by letting people tap on some images to go to a website, where they can buy a product. Condé is not receiving a cut of any of these sales, at least at present.
May be hampering iPad publishing industry
Apple is currently preventing publishers from enabling subscriptions for iPad magazines, say several sources. Time, for example, is claimed to have wanted to put out a subscription version of the Sports Illustrated app last month, in which people would be able download issues via iTunes, but pay Time directly. Apple rejected this at the last minute, Time executives say, even though they had been in touch with Apple during spring development, and been assured that the company was alright with the plan. Time was forced to sell only individual issues.
Steinbrenner's death absent from print issue
The current issue of Sports Illustrated for the iPad makes a substantial break from the latest paper magazine, reports observe. Whereas the latter's cover story deals with NBA player LeBron James, the iPad edition concentrates on George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees owner who died on Tuesday morning. The paper copy went to print on Monday, just hours before Steinbrenner's death.
Can function as native, web-based titles
Charles Jolley, the founder of the SproutCore standard, has left his recent position with Apple and is now using the technology at a new start-up to help other companies produce multi-touch apps. SproutCore is an open-source framework for rich Internet apps, notably employed in Apple's MobileMe web apps. Jolley's company, Strobe, is combining HTML5 and native formats to produce apps than can both be installed via the App Store and accessed via Safari.
Content Station adds iPad extensions
Graphic Remedy has released a new edition of gDEBugger, 5.6. The software is a profiling and debugging utility for OpenGL, OpenGL ES and OpenCL renderers. Users can pinpoint critical flaws in a graphics engine, or simply spots where programming might be better optimized. The v5.6 patch brings support for on-device debugging on iPhones and iPads, displaying data such as CPU, GPU and OS performance. Prices for gDEBugger iPhone start at $790, but vary considerably based on the number of licenses and whether they're floating or node-locked.