Tag Archives: Kindle

Can Orson KO Kindle?

Richard Mason reading an Orson digital book

Richard Mason reading an Orson digital book

IMAGINE reading an ebook – let’s say it’s an historical novel – on your tablet computer and one of the characters plays a Chopin composition on the piano to impress a young woman … and suddenly you can actually hear him performing it as you read the passage.

Look closely at the screen and you’ll see the book’s text is typeset on the background of 19th-century paper embellished by hand-drawn designs from that era. As you read through the text, you’ll see historic illustrations. Tap on these, and up comes a host of floating images from the period.

Not sure where the story is set? Then a pull-down menu will call up a map of the exact location, along with image and video galleries to act as visual guides to the story.

And if you get tired of reading, tap the next paragraph on the screen and actress Joanna Lumley will step straight in with audio narration. Just sit back and listen to her reading the story to you.

These are just some of the features of a new digital book app called Orson, a high-tech reading experience due to be launched in 2017 by a Glasgow-based team of five.

On its website www.orsonandco.com, the Orson is described as “a digital edition that’s as memorable and beautiful as a printed book. It’s the result of authors, actors, musicians and visual artists collaborating to create awe-inspiring reading experiences”. The Orson app will be available free in the App Store for iPads and iPhones, and individual book titles can be bought in-app. A video demonstrating the Orson app can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDlRVpMgbhU

Orson co-founder and novelist Richard Mason writes about the new app in the latest edition of The Author magazine, issued by the Society of Authors in London, in an interesting article headlined ‘What ebooks could be’.

Richard Mason, co-founder of Orson & Co

Richard Mason, co-founder of Orson & Co

He says he and Orson co-founder and designer Benjamin Morse hit on the idea of a multi-media reading experience after Mason tired of Amazon’s Kindle reader. “I was exposed to the dull, repetitive reality of actually reading ebooks,” he wrote.

Their enterprise – Orson & Co – is a digital publishing house “in which the artists and storytellers are in charge of the coders”. Mason claims it “blows the Kindle out of the water”.

“We are at the birth of a new form, and the tools now exist to put authors in charge of its progress,” he added.

It’s a fascinating idea, and it’s admirable to see a small operation taking on the mighty Amazon’s Kindle platform, but it also raises a few questions about the future of ebooks and digital publishing.

Will this new multi-media reading experience detract from the simple pleasure of reading the written word? Do we need fancy videos, audio, maps, illustrations and all the other bells and whistles when all we really want is a damned good read?

And where will it end? Will the written story eventually become overpowered by the multi-media elements, rendering it almost worthless in the reader’s mind?

Kindle the conqueror

A NEWS snippet in The Author magazine also reveals that Amazon’s dominance of the ebook market is now estimated to be around 90 per cent of all sales. This follows Waterstones, Nook, Tesco and Sainsbury all pulling out of the ebook market. This monopoly is alarming, but it’s also comforting news for self-published authors, many of whom rely of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform for their livelihood.

If you’d like to comment on this blog, please use the comments box below.

Happy New Year … and all the best for 2017!

FOOTNOTE: If any of you have written a book – either fiction or non-fiction – and need help with editing, proofreading, formatting for Kindle, or paperback design and cover design, I can help you on the road to publication. See below.


kindlegirlJPEG - Copy (2)

My ebooklover.co.uk business offers editing, proofreading, formatting and book and cover design services to self-published writers, of both fiction and non-fiction. See my website www.ebooklover.co.uk for full details. Check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/ebooklover.co.uk and follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/ebookswizard

 

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Kindle dwindle is a fantasy story

Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins, Guardian columnist, applauds the ‘demise’ of ebooks

IS the Kindle on the dwindle, while the paperback claws its way back?

Well, that’s the latest shock news from the book publishing industry, as reported this week in The Guardian newspaper − but is it the real picture or a distortion of the truth?

The article cites new figures from the Publishers Association showing digital book sales in the UK fell by 1.6% last year from £563 million to £554m − the first drop in seven years (when such sales were first recorded).

Meanwhile, printed book sales in the UK rose by 0.4% from £2.74 billion to £2.76bn − the first rise in four years, albeit a small one.

Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins applauds these figures, saying: “Clearly publishing, like other industries before (and since), suffered a bad attack of technodazzle: It failed to distinguish between newness and value. It could read digital’s hysterical cheerleaders, but not predict how a market of human beings would respond to a product once the novelty had passed.”

Deriding ebooks, Jenkins adds: “Virtual books, like virtual holidays or virtual relationships, are not real. People want a break from another damned screen.”

And he backs up his argument with this quote from the Publishers Association, which represents 120 publishing companies: “Readers take a pleasure in a physical book that does not translate well on to digital.”

But are these new figures an accurate reflection of book publishing in the UK, with ebooks seemingly on the slide?

computer-book

The Guardian piece (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/books-ebook-publishers-paper) triggered almost 900 responses from readers, with many of them rubbishing the claims.

Mike Robbins wrote: “The Publishers Association release should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Actually, an entire salt mine.

“I assume they’re referring to ebooks sold by their members, which are likely a small minority of those sold, because mainstream publishers’ ebooks are so stupidly overpriced. I buy more ebooks than physical books, but none of them are from members of the Publishers Association. They’re from independent authors and small presses. So the figures Mr Jenkins quotes are meaningless.”

Another reader, Lynne, wrote: “The Publishers Association publishes figures from publishers. It doesn’t take into account sales from a site like Amazon. Where do you think most ebook sales are made?”

Eden Sharp also slammed the report, saying the Publishers Association did not count books without an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) in its sales figures. Self-published ebooks often don’t have ISBNs, especially on Amazon, which allocates its own serial number (ASIN) to an ebook released on its Kindle Direct Publishing platform, at no charge.

Authors’ earnings figures probably give a more accurate picture of the state of the market. They show that self-published ebooks now account for 45% of digital sales on Amazon, while ebooks from the five biggest publishers have fallen to less than 25% of market share on Amazon.

My book editing operation (www.ebooklover.co.uk) helps independent authors to publish their books as Kindles on Amazon, and almost all of my clients choose not to have ISBNs − and so sales of their ebooks, and many millions more across the self-publishing spectrum, are not included in the Publishers Association figures.

One self-published author recently claimed to have sold 750,000 Kindle books on Amazon − all without ISBNs and therefore excluded from the Publishing Association figures. And there are many more like that.

So, far from being a Kindle dwindle, surely the real story continues to be an ebook explosion, largely driven by a fast-rising number of indy authors? And perhaps it’s snobbery in the traditional publishing houses that excludes self-published success stories from the big picture on book sales.

 

FOOTNOTE: If any of you have written a book – either fiction or non-fiction – and need help with editing, proofreading, formatting for Kindle, or paperback design and cover design, I can help you on the road to publication. See below.


kindlegirlJPEG - Copy (2)

My ebooklover.co.uk business offers editing, proofreading, formatting and book and cover design services to self-published writers, of both fiction and non-fiction. See my website www.ebooklover.co.uk for full details. Check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/ebooklover.co.uk and follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/ebookswizard

 

 

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