Welcome to the weekend on the internet. Let’s get it started with Mr. Joe Kubert.
I had the pleasure of working for a company that published one of Mr. Kubert’s books (Abraham Stone) and got to hang out with him a little at Comic Con International one year. Just a great, great guy, as well as a fantastic artist. Marty Pedler at Bookslut has a new interview with him, and if you haven’t read it yet, get over there. Here’s a little snip: “I still feel that if it’s not a children’s medium, it’s at least a young person’s medium—despite the fact that the average person who reads comic books is now, I’m told, probably in their early twenties. Maybe it’s because I’m an old fogey, I don’t know, but I still feel a little strange and awkward when I see stuff that’s so blatantly sexual.”
The ebook reader wars are kicking into high gear today, as earlier Barnes & Noble announced a price drop for the nook, and now Amazon has responded with a big price drop on the Kindle. The same 3G-powered Kindle that sold for $259 this morning is now available for just $189. That’s $10 less than the 3G nook, and $40 more than the Wi-Fi-only nook model. Competition is always a good thing. Here are the links:
It’s about time that quality ebook readers dropped below the $200 mark.
According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal Google Editions—Google’s attempt to elbow its way into the ebook market—will launch sometime this summer. When it does become available, Google Editions will launch with some 400,000 to 600,000 titles available. When you compare this to the 330,000 titles available on Amazon.com for Kindle supporting devices, it is clear that Google means to be a major player in the ebook market right from jumpstreet. With Google Editions, not only will people be able to buy books via multiple devices—including the iPad—using Google’s book search service, but independent shops will also be able to sell Google Editions copies of books via their own personal websites. With the availability of titles coming directly from their search engine, and not from a typical store-based website, Google is betting heavily on its massive web-presence to make Google Editions the standard of the ebook market. Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the (ebook) dogs of war!
My buddy Shaun McLaughlin was a producer at Warner Bros. and responsible for some of their best Bruce Timm-related toons like Batman Beyond, Static, and various incarnations of Justice League. It adds up to over 400 episodes of prime animated entertainment, so he knows how to make something with mass market appeal.
He’s moved on to freelancing, pushing several projects through the development wormhole, including both an animated feature (with Omens Studios) and a live-action one. But when you’re in development, you get a lot of down time while you wait for people to make decisions, give notes, and update their social networks.
You could watch a lot of TV or surf the web or blog about your cat, but Shaun’s put his thumb-twiddling time to good use and come up with a nifty little project with his biz partner Gabriel Benson: Cheapjack Shakespeare.
When Apple finally revealed the iPad to the world back at their January 27th event, it was a long time coming for many an Apple fan. After almost three years with the iPhone around, everyone figured it was time for Apple to unleash a full-sized, proper tablet. However, time and time again the rumor mill was incorrect, as Apple Event after Apple Event came and went with nary a mention of a tablet device. So when the announcement finally came, and when pre-orders finally were being taken, many prepped to grab the iPad on day one. That day came on April 3 with the launch of the Wi-Fi iPad in the United States, which you can now purchase at the Apple Online Store.
The hype has been off the charts, so let’s step back for a minute and examine this thing. The iPad sits somewhere between the iPhone juggernaut and the ridiculously popular MacBook. Many have said that it is simply a “big iPod touch” and nothing more. Apple has called it “magical and revolutionary.” Who’s right?
We bring you the answers in our review, so hit that read link and follow along as we delve into the iPad.
A quick clip from CNN as they go over the upcoming launch of the iPad, and the fact that Apple has just made deals with publishers Perseus and Workman to distribute books on the iPad. They also look at the pressure that Amazon is feeling as it pertains to the Kindle, as publishers want Amazon to mimic the Apple agreement method of selling eBooks.
You can pre-order an iPad now.
Just like the Barnes & Noble iPad app that we talked about previously, an Amazon Kindle app that is specifically made and formatted for the iPad is also on the way. The folks over at the New York Times were able to get a look at it, and it sounds fairly similar to what we saw from Apple with their iBooks app. You can control the speed of a page turn with your finger, and it has a couple of new ways for people to view their entire eBook library. One of those, above, shows books covers with a background of someone reading a book under a tree. The position of the sun in the background changes depending on the time of day, which is fairly cool.
We find the whole things with both B&N and Amazon rushing to get their eBook reader apps ready for the iPad to be very interesting. In a nutshell, the iPad is now the only mobile device that will let you read eBooks purchased from Apple, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. All the other devices are tied to one store. Between the eBook stores, and apps like Instapaper, the iPad is prepped to be the most feature-rich eBook reader on the planet, and that doesn’t even take any of its other features into account.
Read More | NYT
Looks like Apple isn’t the only company looking to capitalize on the iPad hype in order to sell eBooks. Barnes & Noble has just made it public knowledge that they plan on releasing an iPad-optimized version of the B&N reader app, with the goal being to have it ready in the App Store on day one. We must say, we like it. In fact, this may cement the iPad as the best reader device around, because you’ve got the B&N app, the Kindle app, and of course, the Apple iBooks app as well (among others.) This means that you can purchase a book in any of those three ebook marketplaces, and read them all on your iPad. That’s something you just can’t do with a Kindle or nook. Let’s just hope that Apple doesn’t give these apps the same treatment that they’ve given to others, like Google Voice.
Amazon is getting into the apps game, with “active content” coming to the Kindle later this year with the announcement of the Kindle Development Kit (KDK.) You’ll be able to download these apps wirelessly using the Kindle Store once they launch, and we already know that there are some devs that are already hard at work on their Kindle active content.
Amazon says it has already released the Kindle Development Kit to a select number of partners, including the video game giant Electronic Arts, and will make it more widely available when a limited beta period starts next month. It anticipates formally adding what it calls “active content” to the Kindle store sometime later this year.
Some are seeing this as a reaction to the many, many new ereaders that we saw debut at CES 2010, while others think it is a preventative measure to take some steam out of whatever it is that Apple will be announcing next week at the January 27th Apple Event. Regardless of what it is, having more value added to a device is never a bad thing.
Read More | Amazon
We’ve been anticipating the nook for about a month-and-a-half now, even since Barnes & Noble announced the nook back in October. Seeing a potential, real competitor to the Amazon Kindle sporting both an e-ink screen alongside a capacitive color LCD touchscreen just about made us drool. Oh, and it runs Google Android too, so, there’s that whole thing. Well, we’ve finally got the Barnes & Noble nook into our hands, and we’ve done some testing, some reading, and some playing, all in the spirit of letting you know how the nook stands on its own, and how it compares to the Amazon Kindle. We think we’ve done that, and we invite you to continue reading for the full Gear Live nook review.