News & Trends: eBooks … By the Numbers
Read Me, TouchMe: New Touch Editions Hit Market
Now Selling: The Kobo Touch
Kobo Inc. (majority held by Indigo, Canada's largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer) recently launched the Kobo eReader Touch Edition, according to Technology Marketing Corp.'s website, TMCNet.com. The Kobo Touch was released for $139 CDN and offered in Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores throughout Canada, with shipment available to the United States. It also was released in select Borders stores and on Borders.com for $130 USD, according to Borders.com.
The new Kobo features a 6-inch glare-free screen, which uses a Real Touch interface to allow navigation and page-turning with only a touch; and higher contrast and sharper images than its previous version, according to the TMCNet.com article. The Kobo Store includes more than 2.3 million books, newspapers and magazine titles. According to TMCNet.com, the Kobo currently serves 3.6 million readers from100-plus countries. More than one book is downloaded per second during peak hours.
Nook Outranks Kindle With Simple Touch
Barnes & Noble's new Nook Simple Touch Reader has set the Nook ahead of the Kindle for the first time since their releases, according to an article by Doug Gross on CNN.com. Consumer Reports, Gross reported, rated the Nook Simple Touch one point higher than the latest Kindle and several points higher than other Kindle models.
Consumer Reports gave the Nook and Kindle the same score on battery life, but several features gave the new Nook the advantage. The new Nook "strips away bells and whistles from the first model, including a second navigation screen, an MP3 player and web browser," wrote Gross. The Nook Simple Touch also features a program which allows users to check out e-books from libraries free of charge. The Consumer Reports review forecasted Amazon's plans for a library program for the Kindle, as well as firmware updates to improve the device, may help the Kindle gain a leading edge in the near future.
Women Hot for E-books
"Women like e-books, and women like romance novels, a lot. So say goodbye to your stereotypes. New technology sales aren't always driven by four-eyed nerds with too much disposable income. … This new wave of electronic books looks like it's being driven by women who are more interested in the content than, er, screen sizes," wrote John R. Quain in the article "The Real Force Behind Ebook Sales: Heaving Bosoms" on FoxNews.com.
Women are quickly becoming as prevalent in the e-book market as men, and one apparent reason is romance e-books. Titles like "Maid for the Billionaire," "My Horizontal Life" and "Cotillion" are currently best-sellers for Amazon's Kindle, according to the article. Also, women's magazines such as US Weekly, Shape, Women's Health and Cosmo are top sellers on Barnes & Noble's Nook. According to Forrester Research, Quain's article reports, men now account for just 1percent more of e-reader owners than women.
Quain cites further evidence of this trend from the New York Public Library, which has the highest circulating e-book library in the United States. Romance is the most popular genre, according to the library, more than doubling the number of mystery novels—the second most popular genre.
Kindle Users Face Rise of Spam
Spam is a growing problem for the Kindle, reports Ysolt Usigan in a CBSNews.com article. Amazon's 35-percent to 70-percent revenue share with e-book authors is attractive to spammers, writes Usigan, and Amazon's self-publishing program makes the job easy for them: "These 'books' are built using Private Label Rights that allow virtually anyone to post written works. Although it sounds like a great resource for aspiring authors …, [it's] making it easy for spammers. …"
Internet marketing specialist Paul Wolfe told Usigan, "One tactic involves copying a [top-selling e-book] and republishing it with new titles and covers. …" The spam titles appear in searches with the real titles, making it easy for shoppers to accidentally buy the spam titles.