Kobo launched a new unlimited subscription program for e-books, called Kobo Plus. The first two countries where it will be available is the Netherlands and Belgium. Readers can pay € 9,99 per month to have access to 40,000 titles and 16,000 of those are in the Dutch language. This new e-book subscription platform is a byproduct of Bol and Kobo. Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital.
Audiobooks.com that offers streaming capabilities on tvOS, Sonos, CarPlay, Android Auto, and select infotainment systems in GM, Land Rover and Jaguar, has just introduced full support for the Apple iWatch and Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches. Smartwatch users can now launch the Audiobooks.com app from their smartwatch, browse and listen to any audiobook in their My Books library, access controls for play, pause, forward, rewind and volume. This announcement follows the recent Wear 2.0 version update for Android, with which Audiobooks.com is fully compatible. Audiobooks.com users who own wearable technology can start listening immediately, no action required.
Many GoodReads users set a book goal for the calendar year. Sometimes you simply want to reread the Harry Potter saga or one of the Divergent books, but in the past they would not count towards your goal. This has all changed with a new BETA ReRead feature that will be rolled out globally in the coming months. Next time you decide to reread a book that you’ve already marked as Read on Goodreads, simply mark it as Currently Reading. When you are done, just mark it as Read. You can do this from the Goodreads iOS and Android apps and on Goodreads.com, as well as in the About the Book feature on Kindle.
Microsoft Edge browser will allow to read EPUB eBooks
Microsoft that will release own digital bookstore sometime in the next few months is going to upgrade the EDGE internet browser with full support for EPUB. In the browser developers preview build you can now read any unprotected e-book or books purchased directly from the Windows Store in the EPUB file format with Microsoft Edge. When you open an e-book, you will be taken into a customizable reading experience where you can change the font and text size and choose between 3 themes: light, sepia, and dark. As you read, you can leave bookmarks. To navigate through an e-book, you can use the table of contents or seek bar at the bottom of the browser. And you can also search for words or phrases and use Cortana to define specific words.
Audiobooks.com announced its immediate availability on Sonos worldwide. Audiobooks.com subscribers can listen to their content of choice through Sonos speakers, offering high-quality sound in every room of their homes. To stream Audiobooks.com on Sonos, customers simply select Add Music Services from any Sonos controller app, scroll down to the Audiobooks.com icon, and login. This collaboration with Sonos is in addition to Audiobooks.com’s availability on Android Auto, CarPlay, tvOS, and select GM, Jaguar and Land Rover infotainment systems.
Microsoft is developing a digital bookstore
Microsoft is in the process of developing a digital bookstore and will soon be selling e-books. It looks like they will have a modest catalog of a million titles and will have a curated selection of bestsellers and editor’s picks. Customers will be able to read these titles in the EDGE browser, which gained EPUB support a few months ago. The new e-book store will be available this spring. You will be able to download free samples and buy the titles in a new section of the Microsoft Store, which already sells music, movies and apps. This will be a boon for people who have Surface Tablets and want an e-book experience that is crafted specifically for Windows.
Scribd is no longer offering digital comics on their platform and has removed over one thousand single issues and graphic novels. The company found it economically unfeasible to pay the large royalties for each comic read and decided to just suspend the service, rather than trying to make it work. Scribd is facing a number of hardships over the past few years, despite most of their competition exiting the field. They first culled over 225,000 romance and self-published e-books from their platform and then announced that they made cuts to their audiobook system because they are losing money. They ditched their unlimited audiobook package and subscribers can only listen to a single title per month. In 2016 they changed their business model from an unlimited service to a credit based one.
Findaway launched new audiobook app - Duobook
Findaway is the largest audiobook distributer in the world and they power the the collections of Nook Audiobooks, Scribd and hundreds of others. The company has just released a new app called Duobook, which blends the audio and e-book experience, which suggests the company might be pivoting in a new direction. At its core, DuoBook is an audiobook player and an eBook reader in one app, but its biggest feature is how it aligns the eBook and audiobook together, allowing you to switch between formats without losing your place in the story. You can listen for a while, maybe during your commute, and then at night maybe you prefer to read before bed — when you pick up the eBook, DuoBook puts you at the right page in the story so you can just pick it back up and continue seamlessly.
Poland-based ArtaTech released the InkBook Prime and InkBook Classic 2 ebook readers. InkBook Classic 2 features a 6 inch Carta E-ink touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 600. It does not have a front-light, so you will not be able to read in the dark. You can download e-books from the internet via WIFI, but it does not have Bluetooth or a 3.5mm headphone jack. This e-reader is available on Amazon for $89.99. The InkBook Prime features a 6 inch e-Ink Carta touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 x 758. It also has a front-lit display with 8 LED lights, which should provide great illumination at night. This e-reader has WIFI, Bluetooth and Android 4.2.2. It retails for 139 €.
Amazon Prime Reading is a new program where you can read as many books as you want from a revolving pool of titles, you can think of it as a scaled down version of Kindle Unlimited. There are around 1,000 e-books and magazines on the platform and today you can now read them on the Kindle app for the iPad and iPhone. All of the e-books you read are totally compatible with Page Flip, Popular Highlights, X-Ray and Goodreads.