Amazon launches Kindle book sales in Canada

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Dec 072012

AmazonAmazon today began selling Kindle Books on its Canadian store. The new site features Canadian pricing and a spotlight on Canadian fiction. Unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are not yet on sale on the site.

The move does suggest that Amazon will eventually launch Kindle hardware in Canada. Whether it will happen before Christmas so that Canadians can buy a few Kindles for the holidays remains to be seen. It might well start with its Kindle e-readers with the Kindle Fire to launch when Amazon can line up additional content such as TV shows, movies, and music.

For now, Canadians will need to rely on the Kindle apps to get their reading fix but at least ebook buying is a bit easier. The Kindle app is available for Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows devices.

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Sony launches new PRS-T2 eReader

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Aug 162012

Sony PRS-T2 e-ReaderSony today announced the Reader (Model: PRS-T2), its latest 6-inch eReader. It includes both Facebook and Evernote features that let you post short passages to Facebook or save them to Evernote. It also includes a stylus and improved controls allowing finger swipes to turn pages, finger pinches to zoom in or out, and more. The upgraded display promises “more paper-like page turns, improved continuous page turns and a smoother zoom in and out.”

Sony Reader (PRS-T2) specifications:

  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Display: 6-inch SVGA (800×600) E Ink Pearl
  • Input: Clear Touch Infrared Technology
  • Storage: 2GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Dimensions / weight: 174.6 x 111.1 x 9.5 millimeters / 167.3 grams

Sony is also offering, for a limited time, a voucher for a free download of the first eBook in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone through the Pottermore Shop (the exclusive home of the Harry Potter eBooks).

Available in three colours (white, red, or matte black), the Sony Reader sells for CA$139.99 at Sony Stores, online at and other authorized retailers nationwide.

Read more: Sony Canada

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble form Nook e-book platform partnership

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Apr 302012

MicrosoftMicrosoft and Barnes & Noble today annnounced a new partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary focused on e-reading technologies. The new subsidiary, called Newco until a final name is found, will consist of the Nook unit as well as Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business. Microsoft will make a US$300 million investment in Newco for a 17.6% equity stake.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

As part of the new partnership, the two companies also announced that they have settled their patent litigation. Barnes & Noble and Newco will now have a “royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.” The litigation had been tied to Barnes & Noble’s use of Android on its Nook tablet.

Microsoft will bundle the Nook digital bookstore with Windows 8 when it launches later this year. The move will significantly broaden its exposure both in the U.S. and globally.

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Apple unveils iBooks 2 and iAuthor

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Jan 192012

AppleAt a press event today, Apple unveiled an updated version of its iBooks and the new iAuthor software. As expected, both focus on new interactive textbooks intended for the education market.

iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned.

The iBooks 2 app supports multitouch, highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions. Textbooks can also include lesson reviews and study cards.

Initially, Apple will offer high school-level textbooks from partners that include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson. Most will sell for US$14.99 or less from the iBookStore.

Apple also unveiled its new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool that will allow the creation of new iBooks textbooks. Authors will be able to use a variety of Apple-designed templates as well as their own and embed a variety of content including text, images, video, 3D objects, and HTML to create their books. Publication to the iBookstore will also be done within the app.

Both iBooks 2 and iAuthor are now available for free. Textbooks and iBooks Author are only available in the U.S. for now. This is likely to change once Apple secures licensing and publishing deals in other countries.

It will be interesting to see how schools and their boards embrace this new model. Will they jump on or will the price of the necessary iPads hold them back?

Read more: Apple

Amazon eBooks now outselling all print books combined

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May 192011


Amazon today announced that it is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover and paperback print books combined.

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO,

Since April 1st, Amazon has been selling 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books sold. The figure would be even higher if free Kindle books were included. It has already sold three times as many Kindle books so far this year as it did during the same period in 2010.

It was just under a year ago that Kindle books started outselling hardcover books. Then in July 2010, Stieg Larsson was the first author to sell more than one million Kindle books.

Amazon also today announced that its recently introduced Kindle with Special Offers is now its bestselling Kindle device in the US.

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Amazon planning “entire family” of Android devices?

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May 152011

Amazon is widely expected to launch an Android tablet later this year. When asked to comment in an interview with Consumer Reports this week, Jeff Bezos simply said “stay tuned.” All he would add was that such a device would complement rather replace the Kindle. Now, has learned that Amazon’s plans may be more ambitious than a single tablet.

Citing "industry insider with direct knowledge," has learned that Amazon is planning to launch an “entire family” of Android devices this holiday shopping season. No further details are given unfortunately. Could Amazon be planning differently-sized tablets, an Android-powered eReader (similar to the Barnes & Noble Nook), or even a smartphone? One device that appears to have been ruled out is a colour e-ink reader as Bezos indicated that the technology is “not ready for prime time…the colors are very pale.”

One thing is clear: An Android tablet would be an excellent fit for the growing list of services Amazon now offers: Its AppStore, Cloud Drive digital music locker service (along with its AmazonMP3 store), Unbox movie and TV streaming and Kindle ebooks.

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Amazon launches Appstore for Android

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Mar 232011


Amazon yesterday announced the launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android. Much like Google’s own Android Marketplace, the Amazon Appstore will offer customers the ability to browse, search, and purchase Android application and games. It also includes Amazon features like personalized recommendations, customer reviews, detailed reviews with screenshots, and 1-Click payment options.

All apps found on the Amazon Appstore will be tested to ensure they work as described and that they are free of malicious software. Apps will also need to conform to Amazon’s general content rules.

The Amazon Appstore for Android also comes with a feature called ‘Test Drive’ which lets customers try out an application on a simulated Android phone prior to downloading it.

“Our customers have told us that the sheer number of apps available can make it hard to find apps that are high quality and relevant to them. We’ve spent years developing innovative features that help customers discover relevant products. By applying these features – plus new ones like Test Drive – we’re aiming to give customers a refreshing app shopping experience,” says Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics for

An Amazon Appstore application is also available to enable the use of the Amazon Appstore from any Android device.

Unfortunately, the Amazon Appstore is not yet available in Canada.

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Amazon Kindle out of stock as first author tops million ebook downloads

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Jul 282010

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle has been showing as “Temporarily out of stock” since yesterday. No ETA is being provided with Amazon telling customers only that they will be notified via email when further information is available.

While it is entirely possible that the Kindle’s recent spike in sales (after a price drop to US$189) has caught Amazon by surprise, another possibility exists. Is Amazon about to announce a new Kindle as past rumours have suggested? Or perhaps even two (3G model and a second with either Wi-Fi only or both Wi-Fi and 3G)?

On a brighter note, Amazon announced that Stieg Larsson, author of the internationally bestselling Millennium Trilogy, has become the first author to sell over 1 million Kindle books. He is the first inductee into the new “Kindle Million Club.”

Recently, Amazon announced that Kindle ebooks were now outselling hardcover books.

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Indigo Shortcovers ebook service spun off as KOBO

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Dec 162009

Indigo Books & Music announced yesterday that it has spun off its Shortcovers ebook service into a new company called Kobo. Indigo will retain a 58 percent stake in Kobo which will also be backed by Borders, REDgroup Retail, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd., and other leaders in technology and retail.

According to Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, “We have assembled a strong syndicate of investors and partners across the channels that are key – retail and mobile distribution. We have a unique opportunity to power the eReading revolution by reaching consumers on any device they choose."

Indigo launched Shortcovers back in February. Its ebook application is available for a number of different devices including smartphones (iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Android versions available), desktops and some ebook readers such as the Sony Reader.

Kobo’s catalog of 2 million ebooks is available to customers in over 200 countries. Prices typically range from CA$4.99 to CA$19.99.

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