Walmart Expands Offerings in Growing Rivalry With Amazon

To better compete with Amazon, Walmart is reinventing itself from a big box retailer into a tech powerhouse, starting with the 2016 purchase of Jet.com. Other recent deals in this vein include a partnership with Alphabet’s Waymo to provide rides to and from its stores; Uber, Lyft and Postmates deals for grocery delivery; and another with Japan’s Rakuten for Kobo e-readers. Last month, Walmart switched its cloud operations to Microsoft Azure and Office 365 and inked a five-year deal to work with Microsoft on AI projects. Continue reading Walmart Expands Offerings in Growing Rivalry With Amazon

Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Amazon took a $170 million write down in October, largely due to its Fire smartphone, which was priced the same as the iPhone, a fact that drew strong criticism. Despite offering a free year of Prime membership and steep price cuts, the Amazon Fire failed to gain traction. Now, taking that lesson to heart, Amazon will release, in time for the holidays, a $50 tablet, making it one of the least expensive such devices on the market. Experts wonder if the compromises required to achieve that price will leave consumers dissatisfied. Continue reading Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Findaway Launches Tablet Specifically Designed for Libraries

Findaway launched its Playaway audio player in 2006, a device that came pre-loaded with one audiobook. Despite distribution deals with Borders and Barnes & Noble, the product failed to gain traction, likely due to the lack of customization options. However, since libraries are in the business of passing one item from person to person, the device had some appeal. Now the company is introducing its Playaway Launchpad, designed specifically for the children’s sections of libraries. The device comes pre-loaded with educational apps developed by app maker Fingerprint. Continue reading Findaway Launches Tablet Specifically Designed for Libraries

Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

Novelist Ed Park, a senior editor at Amazon’s publishing office, has decided to leave the company and move to Penguin Press as an executive editor. The shift highlights Amazon’s battle with its image as competition grows within the publishing ecosystem. Amazon faces obstacles as bookstores refuse to carry books published by Amazon, and authors and agents are therefore disinclined to join. However, Park explained that such conflict was not the main reason for his departure. Continue reading Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Amazon and Hachette have finally resolved their ongoing public dispute, which began back in January. Hachette will now have the ability to set its own prices for e-books and print books, but will be offered incentives for selling at lower prices. Despite yesterday’s announcement, seen by most as a victory for Hachette (in the short term), Amazon still controls almost half of today’s book trade. In addition, the long-running dispute showed the industry that Amazon is not afraid to use its power to affect sales. Continue reading Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

Scribd recently announced that in addition to its collection of e-books, subscribers now have access to a compilation of over 30,000 audiobooks. The company is one of the first e-book companies to have implemented a monthly subscription fee in exchange for unlimited access to its content. Joining the likes of models offered by Netflix and Spotify, Scribd subscribers can pay a monthly fee of $8.99 to access all available e-books and audiobooks belonging to the service’s catalog.  Continue reading Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

E-commerce giant Amazon reportedly has plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the heart of New York City. The company’s new space on 34th Street across from the Empire State Building may likely be used as a mini warehouse that will handle same-day delivery, product returns, and pick-ups of online orders. A physical store is expected to help provide faster service and delivery for New Yorkers in addition to building more brand recognition for the online-based company. Continue reading Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Amazon recently announced the expansion of its tablet line and e-reader offerings. As part of an effort to strengthen ties between its tablets and other new hardware, Amazon has dropped the name “Kindle” from its tablets. Formerly called Kindle Fire tablets, the simply named Fire HD and Fire HDX will be more closely aligned with the company’s Fire TV and Fire Phone. The rebranding highlights the distinction Amazon hopes to make between the Kindle e-readers and more advanced Fire tablets. Continue reading Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Hachette and Amazon Continue to Battle Over E-Book Prices

As Amazon and Hachette continue to battle over the prices of e-books, Hachette’s authors have decided to appeal directly to Amazon’s board. Authors United is warning the board of the reputation that the retailer will develop if it blocks the sale of books, a tactic that may prove helpful considering the significance Amazon places on its reputation. Authors United members have until Wednesday to sign the letter, which will be sent to Amazon’s 10 board members. Continue reading Hachette and Amazon Continue to Battle Over E-Book Prices

Total Boox Offers New Pay-As-You-Go E-Book Reading Service

Entrepreneur Yoarv Lorch’s newest enterprise hopes to disrupt what he views as an antiquated system of book sales. Total Boox offers book payments by the page, rather than paying for the entire book up front. Lorch argues people often purchase a book on a whim and then realize they do not like it after a few pages. When books had to deal with publishing and distribution costs the advanced payment method made sense, but may not in the world of e-books. Continue reading Total Boox Offers New Pay-As-You-Go E-Book Reading Service