Amazon Kindle Stories March 24, 2015

One of the great things about technology is the way it has democratized the publishing world. Today, anyone can publish an ebook on iBooks and Amazon, whether as a freebie or a commercial book.

Creating an ebook isn’t difficult. If you’ve written your book in Pages, you can export to EPUB–the format needed for iBooks–direct from the app. There is also the excellent Calibre app (featured in our How-to guide), which will convert just about any file format to any type of ebook. There’s also iBooks Author, but that has the disadvantage that if you use it to create your book, you’re not allowed to sell the iBooks version through other channels.

But as I found out when I came to create my own ebook, generating an ebook that looks attractive on all of the different devices available is a rather tougher challenge. That’s the job the Mac app Vellum claims to do, so I put it to the test …  expand full story

Amazon Kindle Stories December 4, 2014

Technology has totally changed the lives of teenagers and students in this generation, both for the good and the bad. There are apps and products that dramatically make our lives easier and more efficient, but also things that kill our productivity. I’m generally more favorable to the latter of those two, but I’ll breakdown the best of both worlds and exactly what gift the teens and students in your life today might be interested in this holiday season.

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Amazon Kindle Stories November 9, 2014

There are a lot of options for mounting your iPhone in your car. I’ve relied on the highly-rated Kensington suction cup windshield car mount for a few years without too much incident. However, I’ve never been too pleased about how it blocks a bit of my driving view and requires a non-elegant wire to go up my dashboard.

Today I’m looking at the Fuse Chicken Une Bobine (pictured above) and MONTAR by WinnerGearexpand full story

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Amazon Kindle Stories June 10, 2014

Amazon integrates Audible audiobooks directly into Kindle mobile apps

Amazon announced today that it’s integrating the Audible audiobook service it purchased back in 2008 directly into the Kindle apps for both iOS and Android. After installing a free update landing today for the apps, users will be able to listen to Audible audio books without ever having to leave the app.

“We continue to hear from a growing number of Whispersync for Voice converts who tell us the innovation has profoundly changed the way they read—in fact, switching back and forth between reading and listening has become their preferred way of experiencing stories,” said Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz. “And the feature has gotten easier and easier to use, as this exciting integration into Kindle apps attests.”

The service is an extension of the Whispersync for Voice feature that Amazon recently launched. That feature allowed users to switch “seamlessly” between reading and listening but required users to have both the Kindle and Audible apps. With the updated Kindle apps, users will be able to get narrations for 45,000 Kindle books and growing as well as purchase Audible upgrades for previously purchased Amazon Kindle books ranging from $1 to $4. The audio and text versions of the book will stay in-sync, pages turn automatically, and narration includes a x2 speed mode and sleep timer option. The best part is that you won’t be pulled out of Kindle and into the Audible app now when switching between text and audio. 

The update includes other new features too, including: improvements to the X-Ray reference tool for textbooks and the ability to download an entire collection with a single tap. A full list of new features is below.

The updated Kindle app for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 4.3

Listen to Audible audiobooks! Customers owning both the Kindle and Audible versions of a title can now listen to the audiobook right in the Kindle app.

Now you can use the Kindle app to switch back and forth between reading a Kindle book comfortably at home and listening to the story while driving to work.

Additional Features Include: •Access to more than 45,000 Kindle/Audible title pairs, including best sellers • Find audiobooks compatible with items in your Kindle library – audiobooks are delivered by Audible, an Amazon company • Whispersync for Voice automatically synchronizes reading progress between the Audible and Kindle versions of a book • Read and listen to a Kindle book at the same time; pages turn automatically • Narration speeds up to 2x and a sleep timer • Download an entire collection – gives customers the ability to download an entire collection with the tap of a button, making it easier for readers to download in bulk and load their favorite books on a new iOS device • Students can now find terms that are in X-Ray for Textbooks by using search – occurrences in X-Ray are shown right above occurrences in the book • Finding where an X-Ray term occurs on a textbook page is now easier – tap a page thumbnail in the X-Ray feature and you will see the term highlighted in the page of the book • Performance and stability improvements

Amazon Kindle Stories May 21, 2014

Italian authorities give Apple & others 20 days to submit defence to “unfair” in-app purchase claims

An Italian competition organization has given Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft twenty days to submit a defence to its investigation into in-app purchases or face a fine of up to €5M ($6.9M), reports ZDNet.

The companies now have 20 days to comply with the requests for information that came with the letter, and to respond with their defences to the allegations. If the alleged violations proved to be true, the three internet giants and the European game developer could each face a fine up to €5m — although the Italian watchdog told ZDNet that the punishment would be proportional to each company’s size.

The complaint is based on two concerns. First, whether consumers are clear about the likely total cost of the app at the time they download it. Second, whether sufficient information is provided about how to prevent or limit in-app purchases, especially in games played by children.

Apple settled a similar complaint with the FTC in January, after last year offering refunds to parents whose children had made in-app purchases. At that time, Tim Cook pointed to the safeguards in place, which include the ability to disable in-app purchases with a single switch, and requiring a password for any purchases made more than 15 minutes after downloading the app.

iOS also now alerts customers that further purchases can be made within 15 minutes without re-entering their iTunes password, and all iTunes apps that offer in-app purchases are labelled as such in the App Store.

Amazon Kindle Stories March 25, 2014

Amazon sending out credit to customers affected by ebook price fixing settlement

Amazon has begun issuing credit to accounts that qualify for a refund as a result of the price fixing settlement reached between Amazon and publishers. Customers are eligible for refund credit on ‘qualifying’ Kindle book purchases between April 1st 2010 and May 21st, 2012.

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