Category Archives: e-readers

The iPad Frenzy

So it’s official, we had a chance to play with the iPad this morning and it is without a doubt a game changer. Whether more articles are read on this device or on mobile phones is yet to be seen, however the look and feel of a newspaper on its brilliant high resolution screen is something that is easy to fall in love with. Spreed will undoubtedly be releasing a very slick iPad news reader in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled and please give us any suggestions you may have on how to make the best news application possible. We have some great ideas, but want as much feedback and input as possible. So what are the important statistics?

  • In just one day the iPad sold 600k-700k (300k in store and the rest were pre-orders)
  • 1 Million apps downloaded
  • 22% of new apps being built are for the iPad
  • 2000 iPad apps are already available
  • Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity all have booked ad space on the NYTimes iPad app
  • Advertisements on print publishers’ applications cost $75,000 to $300,000 for a few months with some exclusivity

This is a very exciting new platform and more than ever I urge digital strategists at publishing companies to think outside of the box and not recreate what they have done on the web. I usually do not do this, but here is an re-post from an Ad-Age article on which media companies are already developing apps for the iPad and what these apps look like. I love the ABC app. Here is a link to the original article.

ABC

The ABC Player for the iPad is starting off with free, ad-supported episodes from approximately 20 series, including “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Modern Family” and “Desperate Housewives.”

CBS
CBS is offering streaming video clips from a variety of shows as well as full episodes of “Survivor” and technology content from CNET.com. Full-length CBS programs are available for purchase via iTunes and viewing on iPad.

CBS Radio
CBS Interactive Music Group is launching a free iPad app for Radio.com that will feature live streams from more than 550 music stations and over three dozen news, talk and sports stations from CBS Radio’s network and streaming partners such as Yahoo Music. CBS will use Last.fm’s “scrobbling” technology to send music recommendations to users and share what songs friends are listening to.

Clear Channel
The radio company’s iheartradio app will launch a free iPad version of its existing iPhone app this weekend, but is expected to roll out a custom app later this year with better tailored opportunities for advertisers and local station activation.

Conde Nast
Wired’s iPad edition is under development and Vanity Fair, Glamour and The New Yorker are expected this year too, but Conde Nast is kicking off on the iPad with its GQ app, which the iTunes store says was “developed for both iPhone and iPad” but now includes optimization for the iPad. Each issue of the GQ app edition costs $2.99.

Discovery Communications
Discovery is bringing its “MythBusters” franchise to the iPad with a $4.99 app comprised of behind-the-scenes clips, outtakes from the show and three multi-level games in which users can compete against each other.

ESPN

ESPN is launching two free apps, “ESPN Pinball” and “ScoreCenter XL,” customized for the iPad. “Pinball” is an arcade-like gaming app featuring voiceover commentary from “SportsCenter” host Jay Harris, while “ScoreCenter” is an adaptation of the successful iPhone app featuring real-time score updates and play-by-play recaps.

Men’s Health
Rodale, the publisher of Men’s Health, is offering Men’s Health as an iPad edition for $4.99 an issue but is making 10-page previews free to consumers. Each issue will include all the editorial content of the print edition plus extras such as video. Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand secured sponsorship of the April and May issues of the Men’s Health iPad edition by increasing its other ad spending with Men’s Health.

MTV Networks

There are “co-viewing” apps, meant for use while watching shows, under development, but MTV Networks is starting out on the iPad with offerings such as its $4.99 Beavis and Butthead app, which includes video clips and games, and the $2.99 app VH1 Classic Presents: Intellivision Games for iPad.

National Public Radio
NPR has introduced not just an app but a new website optimized for the iPad. The free app is meant to highlight news, arts, lifestyle and music content in a “magazine-style” presentation. Both the app and site load audio players built specifically for the iPad.

The New York Times
The New York Times’ “Editors’ Choice” app is offering a selection of news, opinion and features, available free to consumers and relying on advertiser support. The Chase Sapphire card is sponsoring the app at the start.

Popular Science

Popular Science is the first iPad app from Swedish publishing house Bonnier. The science magazine app was developed on the publisher’s Mag Plus platform, which will be used to get its titles on the iPad soon. The app will feature content from the magazine’s April issue and touts flow navigation “more like a panning camera than a flipping page.” Future issues will sync with the print publishing schedule and will be on sale within the app.

Time
The Time iPad app will include all the magazine’s weekly content plus additional slide shows and video, costing consumers $4.99 per issue. Initial advertisers include Fidelity, Korean Air, Liberty Mutual, Lexus, Toyota and Unilever. “We’re proud of Time on the iPad and of the special features that will be in it, such as extra pictures, videos and a news feed featuring the latest stories from Time.com,” managing editor Rick Stengel wrote in his editors’ letter for the April 12 issue. “We were a little handicapped in part because, unlike some other news organizations, we were not been working with an actual iPad. It is the beginning, not the end, of the process, and we hope to evolve and change every week.”

USA Today
USA Today’s app will include much of the editorial content from each morning’s paper and will update around the clock. It’s free to consumers for the next three months, courtesy of a sponsorship from Courtyard by Marriott, but will require a paid subscription after that. USA Today has not yet set the subscription price.

Walt Disney
Disney is offering two read-along “Toy Story” apps from Disney Publishing Worldwide, one free and the other available at $8.99 with a year-long subscription to disneydigitalbooks.com; iPad videos from Disney movies and Disney Channel TV shows from Disney.com; three-page previews of more than 500 Marvel comic books with the option to purchase each selection in total; and more.

The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal for iPad is a free download with some free content, but complete access will require a subscription that runs $3.99 per week. The subscription will include news throughout the day, top picks from editors and access to the last seven days’ worth of print content. Initial advertisers include Buick, Capital One, Coca-Cola, iShares, FedEx and Oracle, with full-screen ad units that appear between article and section pages.

The Weather Channel
One of the top apps for iPhone and Blackberry, the Weather Channel comes to the iPad with expanded custom weather forecasts, full-length videos of Weather Channel programming, interactive maps, weather alerts and other features. The free app is sponsored by Toyota.

YouTube
It’s not just traditional media companies, of course, gunning for the iPad’s early adopters: YouTube, for example, has introduced afree iPad app tailored for the new device.

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Apple and Newspapers Can Co-Exist

This is a guest post from Kirk LaPointe, the Managing Editor of the Vancouver Sun, blogger at themediamanager.com and adjunct professor at the UBC School of Journalism.

The routinely strong Seeking Alpha site features a somewhat conciliatory post from media corporate financial advisor on the impending coexistence of the Apple iPad and the newspaper industry.

Dan Ramsden has some tough words for Google. He sees its recent encouragement of the newspaper industry to experiment as self-serving — the more papers try to do things online, the more Google’s search engine technology benefits.

But he makes an interesting choice in where to place the technological bet. While recent media coverage has suggested Google’s open-source design of its Android smartphone offers the greatest opportunity for old media to succeed, Ramsden begs to differ.

He is firmly in the Apple camp. It’s the technology of choice by consumers, it’s the technology company that has figured out (through iTunes and the iPhone) how to exact a premium for content, so it’s the technology the newspaper business should focus on serving.

“Newspaper and magazine owners, who are struggling to redefine their business models for a new online and mobile environment, would probably be well served to align themselves with the platform that can offer a revenue model, and a mobile marketplace, and leave the experimentation and iteration stuff to young entrepreneurs and startups that do not yet have a franchise to protect,” he writes.

He suggests: “Style, design, quality control, are all characteristics that will do much more to facilitate the popularity of paid content than one more colorful website that may or may not show up at the top of Google’s search results.”

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Charlie Rose on the iPad with Guests David Carr, Walt Mossberg and Mike Arrington

While watching the Charlie Rose show a week ago I saw this interesting interview about the iPad. It is definitely worth a watch for anyone in the media industry.

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Who Said Books Had to be Written on Paper???

I must have drank some seriously potent iPhone Kool-aid while I was in San Fran for the Web 2.0 Summit. Ever since I have been back all I can even think, dream or talk about is the huge potential behind the iPhone. The problem is that some people, in some cases even Apple, do not seem to be fully appreciating the scope of what is possible here. 

The most recent example of a company failing to see the full potential behind this new platform is Penguin Publishing. I received an email from a colleague at the start of the week letting me know about a new application that Penguin released. It’s part of a broad sweeping initiative by the publisher to embrace the new social web, so kudos to them for finally jumping on the band wagon. However their iPhone application simply does the following, and I quote, “It makes the features of the Web site—the blog, book previews, podcasts, news and Penguin-specific book-finding tools—available on the iPhone.” Wow, awesome, but am I missing something here? What about the potential of literally selling people books to read on the iPhone through the application? They now have a direct channel to a medium that users can easily read their books on, why not skip over all the book re-sellers and simply sell the digital format of these books through their app? I dont get it! I am not saying that they should stop using book stores to sell their products, but the iPhone is a highly effective tool for reading books, why not go straight to the source? 

I recently downloaded Stanza (an e-book reader application for the iPhone) and blasted through Animal Farm in 3 days flat. The reading experience on the iPhone is an absolute pleasure. I actually enjoyed reading using my phone over and above reading a traditional paper back (I may just be a seriously early adopter though). The best part about it is that I never have to lug around another book with me. All I have to do is go to Stanza’s book store, download a new book and its with me everywhere I go. If the iPhone really is to become a new medium for content, why would Penguin develop an application that does not include an ebook reader so you can simply download their new releases and old classics directly into your phone while your on the go?

The other element of this whole debacle that eludes me is why Apple has not made an e-book reader part of their own native application bundle. They have an internet browser, a music and video player, a camera, but no book reader. If this is really going to become the new media device of the future, they certainly should include the most trusted form of content … text! And whats more is they have the perfect distribution channel to be selling e-books through; iTunes! They already sell audio books, why not sell ebooks also to be read directly through an application on their phone just like MP3’s. Hell they can even include DRM for all I care, to get the publishers on the board. 

There is a lot of potential here in the field of text based content on the iPhone that a lot of people seem to be looking over in favour of more flashy features. I love all the potential behind some of these new innovative features but In my opinion (please keep in mind the line I stated off with, that I definitely drank some potent iPhone kool-aid) the iPhone has the potential to destroy Amazon’s Kindle business and in turn the future of Amazon’s e-book sales. Who wants to lug around an extra device or another book when you already have everything you need in your pocket? Not me, thats for sure.

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More Kindle News


If you are a new reader here at the Spreed:Blog, you will find out in due time that we are quite obsessed with digital publishing and the ways that we take in digital content. Spreed’s goal is to make the digital reading experience more efficient on any electronic device. Our speed reading application is only one class of product we are working on. We want to streamline the entire online reading experience and make it more productive. As such we are constantly looking for the newest and coolest technologies out there that aid in the effective reading of electronic material. By far the most exciting new platform out there is the Kindle and we have covered this product here on our blog many times before. However, over the past couple of weeks there has been some very interesting news surrounding the Kindle and I just wanted to give light to all these new developments here:

Amazon Growth Slows a Bit; No New Kindle in 2008: Publishers Weekly

CFO Tom Szkutak said that while sales of the Kindle have exceeded expectations, it does not plan to release a new version of the e-reader until 2009 “at the earliest.” He noted that Amazon has ramped up manufacturing capacity for Kindle, and the device is in stock. When the Kindle was introduced last November, the readers quickly went out of stock. Amazon said the e-book reader now accounts for more than 10% of unit sales for books that are available both in digital and print formats. Bezos said purchase of e-books is “additive” to sales of print books with Kindle e-book buyers tending to buy as many print books in addition to e-books.

Oprah Comes Out For Kindle: The Guardian

Today in Chicago, and on TV screens across the USA, Oprah Winfrey is going to recommend her new “favorite gadget,” which is Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader. A brief video has appeared on Amazon’s website to plug the show — as spotted by Chris Nuttall at the Financial Times — which will also feature a guest appearance by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Kindle in the University: Brave New World Blog

Yale, Oxford and the University of California have all adopted Kindle programs, and now Princeton University Press will begin publishing Kindle-edition textbooks, launching, Robert Shiller’s new economics book “The Subprime Solution” on the device two weeks before the hard copy. Princeton plans to roll out hundreds of books through the Kindle’s online store. The questions over over the commercial ‘revenue sharing’ arrangements are between the parties and whether , as some may say, Amazon is buying trade. 

 

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iPhone Steals Lead Over Kindle

In lieu of my previous post commending Vodaphone on their recent mobile ebook strategy, I think it is important to draw light on some interesting statistics that were recently brought to my attention. We know that Citigroup has estimated the total Kinde sales for 2008 to be somewhere around the 380,000 mark. Well, as of yesterday a company called Stanza has reported the sales of their ebook reader for the iPhone to be at the 395,000 mark and this is apparently increasing by 5,000 downloads a day. I always believed that the Kindle would be the tool that truly spurs on the e-book revolution. However, I may be wrong! The iPhone and smart phones in general may in fact be the real instigaor here. If smart companies like Stanza can whip together beautiful iPhone applications like they have done there is serious potential for an increasing number of people to move towards the e-book format.

I am one of those 395,000 people and can say that I love their application. The form factor on the phone does make it hard to read the books at times, however if they were to integrate Spreeds technology into their platform, they could have a seriously killer application. I am very excited to see how this and the host of other e-book reader (that I am sure are currently waiting to be accepted by Apple) progress in the market. Maybe Amazon is wrong. Maybe people don’t want yet another device to carry around. Maybe people are happy enough reading their books on their phone while on the go and reserving the physical copies for when they get back to their home libraries. Only time will tell.

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E-Reader Wars? Three New Products to Launch

A month ago we wrote a piece (The e-Book Revolution) that claimed that Amazon sold 240,000 kindles. Citigroup has since estimated that number up to 380,000 sold. We debated whether the E-Book in Kindle like formats would be widely used. The numbers are encouraging. This month iRex is going to launch it’s next generation e-reader called Reader 1000. Sony is rumoured to be launching its next generation e-reader in October and a company called Plastic Logic recently demo’ed an e-reader aimed at business users.

Don’t be surprised if all the new readers will sport E-Ink technologies. It is the only way of building a thin, durable device that has extended battery life. It’s rumoured that Amazon’s Kindle will still carry the best price point ($360) by a longshot. Some of the new features we are looking to play with are larger screen sizes and interactive touch screens.

The question still remains, do we want to carry a second or third device? Are these dedicated e-readers that much of an improvement to warrant their purchase? I’ve just downloaded an e-book to my iPhone.  Who knew that I was carrying an an e-reader in my pocket all along?

For those interested in a beta trial of reading longer documents (perhaps an e-book) email me suhail@spreedinc.com.

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