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News and tech help for the indie author

Morning Coffee ? 24 April 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
23 Apr 2018 at 9:55pm

Here are a few stories to read this Tuesday morning. GQ has a list on books you should and shouldn't read (Yes, another one).Indies Unlimited reports that free ebook promotions don't work nearly as well as they used to, but they still work.The LA Times gets defensive on Angelenos'reputation for not reading.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 24 April 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Kindle App for iOS Gains New Magazine Format Courtesy of KFX eBook Format
by Nate Hoffelder
23 Apr 2018 at 6:04pm

Amazon has wrapped a number of file formats around the magazines it has sold on the Kindle platform over the past ten plus years. The original magazine format was based on the old Mobipocket format, and it was replaced by magazines in the KF8 format, which launched in 2011/2012. And now KF8 is being replaced by KFX as the preferred format for magazines on the Kindle paltform. Amazon released a new update today for its Kindle app for iOS. According to the changelog, the updates lets users return ebooks to Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading. There's also a mention of "a new mobile-friendly" magazine format. I haven't seen the magazines myself (no iDevice) but I have asked around and the consensus is that the new magazine format is based on KFX, the "new" file format Amazon debuted in 2015. You can find the app in iTunes. Changelog: ReturnPrime Reading and Kindle Unlimited books from within the Kindle app.Simply long press on a book cover and select ?Return book?. Read your favorite magazines in a new mobile-friendly format. Initial titles include Food Network, Cosmopolitan, Life & Style, Us Weekly, and 15 others. A new setting lets you enable the highlight menu [...]

You just finished reading Amazon Kindle App for iOS Gains New Magazine Format Courtesy of KFX eBook Format which was published on The Digital Reader.

Thirty Minutes a Day is All It Takes to Automate Your Social Media Activity, ...
by Nate Hoffelder
23 Apr 2018 at 8:28am

As I am sure you know, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all your work done. This is why we are always looking for new ways to automate tasks, and why I started the Tech Tools for Authors series (soon to be a newsletter). Sometimes, however, the automation is counterproductive or just isn't worth using. For example, a couple months ago I developed a way to automatically gather tweets from chosen Twitter accounts and load them into a Buffer queue so the tweets can be shared from one of my clients' social media accounts. It's a clever and relatively low-cost trick that ties together IFTTT and Buffer in a way that lets the two services handle the majority of the work automatically. You'll need to invest some time in finding sources, but aside from that the only costs are a Buffer subscription, some skull sweat invested in choosing sources, and the time spent curating the Buffer queue to remove unwanted updates. I have been using it to share headline plus a link but you could optimize it for other uses (cute puppy photos, maybe?). I think it's a really neat shortcut, and I was planning to sell [...]

You just finished reading Thirty Minutes a Day is All It Takes to Automate Your Social Media Activity, But I Don’t Recommend it which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 23 April 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
22 Apr 2018 at 9:55pm

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning. David Gaughran has the scoop on the Indie Author Support Network. Kyle Chayka's piece is titled style is an algorithm, but it rambles on for so long that I can't tell if he ever proved the point. Miral Sattar has a detailed rundown on SEO for nonfiction authors. Anne R Allen explains why authors might want a newsletter over a blog. Matt Sweetwood reveals how his first book reached number one on the self-help list at Amazon.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 23 April 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

The Padmu Sheet Music Reader Features a Pair of 13.3? Screens (videos)
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Apr 2018 at 6:53pm

It looks like the promised Onyx e-Music Score is less a real device than a placeholder for a similar device from one of Onyx's partners. At the very least there was no sign of the e-Music Score at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair last week, but several sightings of thePadmu. This is a large-screen ereader from an Italian company,Outering. It is based on the older Onyx Boox Max Carta model (not the newer Max 2), comes with either one or two 13.3" E-ink screens, and costs $883 or $1754 USD. That is considerably more expensive than the Max CartaMax 2, which costs $550 on Amazon, but on the upside the Padmu ships with custom software designed for displaying sheet music. There's also aPadMu Controller appfor Android which you can use to control the device remotely and open and close files. I really don't see a reason to spend the extra $300 for the single screen Padmu rather than get the Max Carta; you can get nearly the same functionality out of the Max Carta by pairing it with one of the following BT foot pedals and using the Max carta to display PDFs: AirTurn DUO AirTurn PED PRO iRig BlueTurn [...]

You just finished reading The Padmu Sheet Music Reader Features a Pair of 13.3″ Screens (videos) which was published on The Digital Reader.

Barnes & Noble to Add a Kids Graphic Novel Section
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Apr 2018 at 8:27am

The Beat reports that B&N is adding a YA graphics novel section. I?ve heard separately from several people in the book world that Barnes & Noble has confirmed that they will be adding a standalone kids graphic novel section to their stores in the near future. Graphic novels have long had their own section, but the comics sections of B&N?s got much bigger in the Aughts. But kids comics have traditionally been shelved along with regular children?s books, making them harder to find for kids who are specifically looking for them. Publishers have been pushing for a kids GN section in B&N for years but I?m told there was internal resistance for a long time. Therecent explosive growth in the sales of kids graphic novelshas made the new section a much more viable idea. You can see the numbers for yourselfin our annual Bookscan report.Books-a-Million, the other book chain left in the US, also has a separate section for kids GNs. That sounds pretty cool. I am looking forward to strolling through that section when B&N holds its closeout sales in Februaryafter it declares bankruptcy. imagebyAndypiper

You just finished reading Barnes & Noble to Add a Kids Graphic Novel Section which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 20 April 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Apr 2018 at 9:51pm

We are going to try something new this Friday morning. Camestros Felapton has a guide on what you should do if your ebook was pirated in iBooks. Techdirt has new commentary on the ongoing crusade against Sci-Hub. Writing over at The Book Designer,Judith Briles argues that social media shouldn't be a time suck. Anne R. Allen lays out the ground rules for when you should abandon a WIP. JStor wants you to know that before blogs, there were zines. Brian Eno thinks creatives who want to do their best work should not get a day job. David Gaughran has a guide to making killer graphics in Canva. The reason I changed up the formatting is simple: social media. I want to share more interesting updates, which means no more sharing title plus a link. Instead, I need to share summary sentences (I expect they will get more attention/clicks). It only takes a little more work to write the summary sentence instead of copy/pasting title, but it would take twice as much work to do a sentence for social networks and a title+name for this link post. So I am only going to do the former.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 20 April 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon KFX Format Updated With Support for MathML
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Apr 2018 at 1:40pm

Yesterday's changelog for the Kindle for PC update mentioned that you could use the app to zoom in on math equations, and now we know why. Amazon released a new version of the (technical)Kindle Publishing Guidelines last week, and buried in the long and detailed changelog was a one line mention of MathML. This is a markup language that is used to write math equations in much the same way that html is used to format ebooks. Amazon's KFX ebook format now supports MathML - mostly. The guidelines name seven tags that are explicitly listed as not supported, and there could be more that aren't mentioned (I have not been able to find a list of all MathML tags). Edit: Actually, it doesn't support MathML at all. Amazon was being misleading when they said it was supported; what Amazon actually does is convert the equation to an image and display that. what a joke to call "we'll run MathJax in an unspecified configuration and the generate jpg out of it" anything like "support". Makes my point from Ebookcraft that you can simply do this yourself and retain better control. — Peter Krautzberger (@pkrautz) April 20, 2018 While Amazon had announced [...]

You just finished reading Amazon KFX Format Updated With Support for MathML which was published on The Digital Reader.

Kobo Content Sales Up 60% in 4th Quarter 2017 ? Mostly Due to Tolino
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Apr 2018 at 10:02am

It turns out Kobo has a lot in common with the major trade publishers; in both cases, much if not all of their growth comes from acquisitions rather than growing sales. According to Rakuten's annual report to investors, which was released in February, Kobo's net content sales were up 60.4% in the firth quarter over the same period in the previous year. The report also showed that Overdrive's total checkouts were up 17.5% in that same quarter. Rakuten did not reveal any additional detail in the report or in the presentation for investors. In fact, Kobo wasn't mentioned in the presentation at all. Did you look at that first chart? Kobo got a huge boost when they took over operations of Tolino early last year, but ever since then their revenues have declined. That comes as a surprise given that I have not heard any complaints from users which would indicate they were turning away from Kobo. And yet, that is probably what is happening given that Overdrive did not see a similar dip in checkouts, and Author Earning reports showed that the ebook market continues to grow. Have you stopped buying your ebooks through Kobo/Tolino?

You just finished reading Kobo Content Sales Up 60% in 4th Quarter 2017 – Mostly Due to Tolino which was published on The Digital Reader.

Prime Reading Launches in China
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Apr 2018 at 8:04am

Amazon China announced on Tuesdaythat it will launch Prime Reading in China.Amazon Prime members in China can now enjoy unlimited access to more than 500 Kindle titles,including several best-sellers and issues of popular magazines. Gu Fan, head of Amazon Prime China, said that a recent study showed the digital reading adoption rate had increased in China for eight straight years, reaching68.2% in 2016. "Reading has been one of the most frequently-requested new benefits from members since Day One of Prime in China. We will continue innovating for Prime members in China by adding more benefits, making Prime the best deal." Amazon revealed yesterday that it has over 100 million Prime members in the US. It has not revealed numbers for China, noting only thatsubscribers to its Prime service in China increased more than threefold, year-on-year, in 2017, "Prime Reading enables us to connect with Amazon Prime customers, and we look forward to bringing additional titles to Prime members in the future," said Wang Ziqi, senior vice-president at DuKe Publishing, which will join Prime Reading with 38 of its most popular titles.   BookFrere

You just finished reading Prime Reading Launches in China which was published on The Digital Reader.

Hands On with the One-Handed Onyx Boox Ligo (video)
by Nate Hoffelder
18 Apr 2018 at 12:51pm

Chinese ereader maker Onyx was less than forthcoming when they announced their new models last week; they left out the most interesting model. Onyx is working on a Kindle Oasis clone called the Ligo. While it has very similar specs to Onyx's other new ereader, the Poke, the Ligo takes after the Oasis by having page turn buttons only on one side of the screen. The Poke and the Ligo run Android 6.0 on a quad-core 1.2GHza CPU with512MB or 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. They have a 6" E-ink screen with frontlight and screen resolution of1448 x 1072. Both ereaders have a 2.5 Ah battery and Wifi, and they have been cursed with a USB type-C port. They ship withGoogle Play Store pre-installed, which will then allow you to install thousands of Android applications including the most popular for reading: Aldiko for the Epub, but also Kindle, Kobo, and Tolino. You can see the Poke and the Ligo in the video below (the Ligo is shown at 2:10).   Notebook Italia

You just finished reading Hands On with the One-Handed Onyx Boox Ligo (video) which was published on The Digital Reader.

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