Last week saw the release of a new Kobo range, and (not to be outdone) the yearly release of the new Kindle line. Despite Bezos’ insistence that he doesn’t need his customers on the ‘upgrade treadmill’, Amazon released an upgrade to pretty much every single one of their devices, including two new Kindle Fire tablets and the predicted backlit eInk reader. So, as readers, what are we looking at for Christmas this year?
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Human beings love stories. Narrative is central to how we make sense of the world around us. It explains religions, superstition, myths and legends, and it’s core to our culture. In fact, in one of my favourite popular science books, The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, the authors, Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, devote themselves to the importance of narrative (or narrativium, as they would have it) to the world, and suggest that instead of Homo Sapiens, a better name for the human species would be Pans Narrans – the Storytelling Ape.
David and Marjorie are in their late 80’s, both are retired teachers. (David a maths teacher and Marjorie a music teacher) They love socialising, meeting new people and looking after their friends and relatives. This has become increasingly more difficult for Marjorie over the last 10 years or so as she is sadly now nearly completely blind.
A couple of weeks ago over dinner David was asking me about my job and how it was going. He was enthusiastically listening about all of the exciting things our company has lined up this year and how new technology is changing the way we work. One of those pieces of technology is of course the iPad. Which when mentioned David’s ears pricked up and he started asking all sorts of questions as his Grandson had suggested he get one. My initial reaction was “yeah I’m sure your Grandson thinks it would be a marvelous idea for you to get an iPad!” But as David explained his worries of postage costs going up, they send up to 140 Christmas cards plus all of the letters and cards they send throughout the year, he is thinking that going electronic might be the way forward for them. You soon start to realise the huge potential the iPad has for them.
Sticking an ever so dignified and respectable two fingers up at Amazon, beloved London bookseller Foyles has this week launched an ebook store and accompanying apps. The venerable, iconic independent chain – with five branches in London and one in Bristol, for the more adventurous metropolitan – already has over 200,000 titles on offer, which is presumably more than are contained even in its flagship five-floored Charing Cross Road shop.
Andrew Buck is a Graphic Design teacher at Hastingsbury Upper School in Bedfordshire. He and his design students have created an app that is hopefully going to transform the way students can prepare and succeed when it comes to the dreaded exam season. Whilst the app isn’t necessarily linked to Publishers, it’s an interesting app and has come from identifying a real need in the market. I asked him more about ExamPal, how they’ve priced the app, how he got the attention of Apple and what he thinks about technology in the classroom.
Sales figures. A detailed breakdown of sales of devices by country, including market share, plus a deep look into the data they hold for each customer, as well as how their recommendation system works. CEO Jeff Bezos is likely to unveil their print-to-ebook sales ratio, alongside comparative figures of how each version of Kindle has sold over a specific date range. He will announce the collaborative work he is doing with publishers and retailers to move toward an aggregated eBook sales chart similar to Neilsen’s Bookscan, and his plans to be far more transparent with the press in the future regarding profitability and strategy.
HA! Ok, enough of that.