Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Amazon is making books unavailable for pre-ordering and extending shipping times due to its dispute with one of the country’s largest publishers, Hachette Book Group. These tactics put pressure on Hachette as the two companies negotiate new terms of a deal for Amazon to sell the publisher’s books online. Amazon wants to increase its cut of the sales from Hachette books and e-books. In a statement Tuesday night, the online retailer said it does not expect the dispute to be resolved any time soon. Continue reading Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

In a blog post this week, Yahoo announced that its privacy policy will no longer recognize when users activate “Do Not Track” signals in their browsers. Although users purposefully use this setting to indicate they do not want companies to monitor their online behavior, the tracking is necessary for Yahoo to create a more personalized experience for its users. The move is part of larger strategy by CEO Marissa Mayer to brand Yahoo as a “personalization company.” Continue reading Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Amazon announced that it will acquire comiXology, the digital comics platform that had its 200-millionth download last fall. With the sales of physical comics fading, comiXology is developing tech to allow the craft to move online. The company operates a comics store and a mobile comics app, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013. Its library includes 40,000 comics from 75 major publishers. ComiXology also opened a self-publishing platform last year. Continue reading Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Startup Develops Secure Method to Access Data on Your Phone

Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader, released with the iPhone 5s, includes a sensor the thickness of a human hair, a sapphire crystal button, capacitive tech and complex data analysis. Alabama-based startup IDair believes it can replicate the quality of the Touch ID with a simpler approach that uses existing smartphone cameras to capture images of users’ fingers. IDair’s tech uses an algorithm the company has patented to convert the image into a means of identification. Continue reading Startup Develops Secure Method to Access Data on Your Phone

Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

As the book industry struggles with plunging prices and a decrease in demand, some publishers are turning to magazines to save their businesses. At SXSW in Austin this week, San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched Rooster, a subscription-only online fiction service. The service is an example of the new alternative in packaging books like magazines. A similar service is Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails customers five-minute installments of classic literature. Continue reading Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

Ev Williams Reimagines Online Writing with Launch of Medium

Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, is launching a startup called Medium to improve the way people write and collaborate online. The goal is to find a balance between traditional journalism, where professional editors help reporters publish articles, and modern journalism, where anyone can post anything online. Williams hopes to tackle the massive amount of articles and posts currently online, which makes it challenging for readers to decipher which information is important and accurate. Continue reading Ev Williams Reimagines Online Writing with Launch of Medium

News Reader Flipboard Strikes Deal with CNN to Acquire Zite

Digital magazine platform Flipboard has acquired rival app Zite from CNN for an undisclosed amount. Flipboard, a popular cross-platform news reader app, is expected to launch custom magazines linked to a number of CNN shows. It also announced a new advertising partnership with CNN to help monetize combined coverage. CNN bought Zite in 2011 for a rumored $20 million. Flipboard, which generates 2.5 billion page views per month, launched on iOS in 2010 and landed on Android in 2012. Continue reading News Reader Flipboard Strikes Deal with CNN to Acquire Zite

Paper: Facebook Launches Mobile App for Streaming News

Last week, Facebook finally unveiled Paper, its much-anticipated mobile app that allows users to enjoy a personalized news stream. The app is launching today for the iPhone (an Android release has yet to be announced). Paper is essentially staffed by a computer algorithm and human curators, based on links shared by Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Paper offers news in sections, similar to those of a newspaper, and uses smartphone tech such as gyroscopes and sensors to help drive interactive navigation. Continue reading Paper: Facebook Launches Mobile App for Streaming News

BuzzFeed: Consumers Reading Longer Stories on Their Phones

Although many have thought that phones are largely used to consume short form content, stats recently released by BuzzFeed suggest otherwise. More than 50 percent of BuzzFeed’s traffic now comes from mobile devices. Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith believes this is partly due to the form factor of mobile devices. They feature a simple singular screen that allows the reader to infinitely scroll through an article without any disruptions, similar to a regular page of a book.  Continue reading BuzzFeed: Consumers Reading Longer Stories on Their Phones

Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

The concept of “literary Netflixes” has been gaining momentum in the past few months. Oyster, a book subscription service that launched four months ago, recently raised $14 million to expand. Many members of the publishing industry are cautious about adopting a subscription model for e-books because they believe it could cannibalize sales and devalue books. However, Oyster notes that despite the apprehension, it has been signing publishers and already has a library of more than 100,000 titles. Continue reading Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

Google Gets Serious About Public Cloud: Previews New API

In December, Google made its IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) Google Compute Engine (GCE) available as a full-fledged commercial service, after testing it in preview mode for more than a year. Last week, the company introduced its new Billing API as an easier way for developers to monitor and analyze how much running an application on the Cloud Platform costs. According to Google, the Billing Export offers a new means of accessing usage data, and is available in preview. Continue reading Google Gets Serious About Public Cloud: Previews New API

Goji Play Transforms Fitness Equipment into a Game Machine

Charles and Kai Huang, co-founders of RedOctane (“Guitar Hero”), have teamed with Coleman Fung, founder of OpenLink, to form interactive fitness startup Blue Goji. The company recently launched Goji Play, a $99 set of exercise equipment-friendly game controllers with velcro straps, that encourages users to play games while working out on a treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike. An activity tracker measures how quickly you’re moving, and powers game characters. Continue reading Goji Play Transforms Fitness Equipment into a Game Machine

Nook Video Apps Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets

Now that Barnes & Noble is getting out of the tablet business, the company announced it is launching free Nook Video Apps for Android, iOS and Roku devices. The new apps enable users to purchase or rent movies for streaming and includes integration with individuals’ UltraViolet collections. No longer keeping content exclusive to Nook devices, the retailer has also updated its Android and iOS e-reader apps with the ability to read Nook Comics titles, previously not available outside of the Nook ecosystem. Continue reading Nook Video Apps Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets

Square Market Can Now Make Every Business an Online Store

Square, the credit card reader and processor for mobile devices, recently introduced its own online marketplace, Square Market. This move is an expansion of its mobile payment services and a challenge to other online marketplaces, such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay. Square Market is the latest shopping system to support social selling. Its minimal approach allows social media platforms to become an online storefront for any business. Continue reading Square Market Can Now Make Every Business an Online Store

Will a Facebook News Reader Fill the Void Left by Google?

Earlier this week, we reported that for more than a year Facebook has been quietly working on a service called Reader that could essentially become a newspaper for mobile devices. As Google retires its RSS news reader on Monday, Facebook Reader could become an opportunity for the social giant to increase engagement and create a viable ad channel. However, there is a question regarding whether Facebook can offer a mobile app that competes with existing readers. Continue reading Will a Facebook News Reader Fill the Void Left by Google?

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