books Stories March 4, 2016

interactive_ebooks

Despite its storied history with books, Google still has a fascination with the format. Past efforts included book digitalization on a massive scale and most recently an attempt to make truly interactive eBooks. Today, Google was granted two patents (via Engadget) for physical books with interesting augmented reality elements…

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books Stories February 3, 2016

editions-at-play

Google’s previous attempt to bring books into the modern age involved digitizing and making them searchable. A new experiment between their Creative Lab and Visual Editions, a London-based publisher, have resulted in Editions at Play. In essence, they are interactive ebooks that are worthy of not immediately being written off as a gimmick.

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books Stories January 13, 2016

Google Play Books comes to Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and 5 more new countries

This one’s a quick one. Google has today launched Google Play Books in 9 new countries, bringing the total number of locales that have access to the service to 75. Those residing in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates will find that they can use Play Books effective immediately.

On a related note, Google updated Play Books this time last month with a new Night Light mode that lets you read in the dark without killing your eyes. Hopefully they’ll bring this feature to the OS as a whole soon, just like Apple is planning to do with the launch of iOS 9.3. Most of us have been using this on our desktops with F.lux.

books Stories December 3, 2015

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In past years, Google just highlighted the best apps in their end of the year list. But to demonstrate the content store’s shift into more than just apps, other forms of entertainment like music and movies are getting their own section in the Play Store’s Best of 2015 this year.

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books Stories October 7, 2015

Samsung Galaxy Tab E NOOK 9.6 Inch Tablet - Barnes & Noble 2015-10-07 12-38-10

Last year, Samsung and Barnes & Noble introduced the lower-end Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, and just last month the same companies partnered to launch the Galaxy Tab S2 Nook on the other end of the spectrum. Today, Barnes & Noble has announced that there’s now a Samsung Nook offering that joins the two halfway: the Galaxy Tab E Nook… expand full story

books Stories September 22, 2015

oyster

Oyster, the ‘Netflix for books’ service that provided unlimited access to over a million books for a $9.95 monthly subscription, is closing, with Re/code reporting that its CEO and two co-founders have been ‘acquihired’ by Google.

It’s not known at this stage whether Google plans to relaunch the service as a Google-branded product. Oyster said in a blog post that members that they will receive an email with more information in the next few weeks, and Google declined to comment …  expand full story

books Stories September 3, 2015

Following the introduction of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 a couple of months ago, it appears that the Korean company has now partnered with Barnes & Noble to launch a “NOOK” variant of the device. While the standard S2 comes in both 9.7-inch and 8.0-inch screen sizes, the S2 NOOK embraces the 8-inch variant and packs plenty of Barnes & Noble software on top… expand full story

books Stories June 25, 2015

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Amazon announced today new sharing functionality for its Kindle app that’s exclusive to the Android version until later this year. The new functionality provides the ability to share quotes, highlights, and book recommendations with friends over a host of different messaging services, and instant book previews for those who are on the receiving end of these shares.

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books Stories May 28, 2015

 

Google gave some stage time today at the I/O conference to a few family-focused changes coming to the Google Play Store. Families can now find age appropriate digital content from apps to game to books to movies and TV shows by tapping a new “Family” button.

This will take you to a section for each media type that allows you to browse for content by age and interest. When you browse the Play Store after tapping the Family button, you’re presented with more than just a curated section of content as other elements of the digital store change as well. expand full story

books Stories March 5, 2015

EU court says ebooks aren’t books, must be subject to higher tax rates

Europe’s top court has declared that ebooks are ‘services’ rather than books, and that European countries are not allowed to give them the same favorable tax treatment as paper books. The reasoning, such as it is, is that ebooks cannot be used without a physical device, and ebooks are a service provided to those devices.

Both France and Luxembourg have applied to ebooks the same reduced rate of VAT (sales tax) enjoyed by books made from crushed trees. The WSJ reports that the EU has ruled that this is illegal.

Since 2012, France has applied a 5.5% VAT rate and Luxembourg a 3% VAT rate on e-books, the same rate as for paper books. The European Court of Justice said both countries must apply their normal VAT rate, which for France is 20% and for Luxembourg is 17%.

Europe already closed one ebook-related tax loophole: Amazon used to use its Luxembourg base as a reason to charge just 3% on ebook sales throughout Europe, but a change in the law forced it to apply the VAT rate applicable to the customer’s own country.

There is some small hope that sanity may prevail in future. The European Commission has said that there may be legal mechanisms through which countries can in future define their own policies, with an “extensive overhaul” of VAT rules to be completed next year. However, don’t be surprised if ‘harmonization’ of tax rates for paper and digital books results in higher taxes on the former to pay for lower taxes on the latter …

Via Engadget

books Stories August 18, 2014

Google Play textbooks now available to purchase & rent in Canada

Google announced today that it’s launching the ability to purchase and rent textbooks in Canada through its Google Play Books service:

Starting now, students in Canada can rent or purchase digital textbooks from Google Play Books. With thousands of textbooks from top publishers, we have a comprehensive selection of higher education titles from science and mathematics to history and English, and everything in between… With the Google Play Books app, you have convenient tools at hand to make studying simpler and faster. You can instantly search within a textbook for a particular word or phrase, bookmark chapters and pages, highlight and annotate key passages and get quick access to dictionaries, translation tools, Wikipedia and Google search.

Google first started rolling out the feature to Google Play Books in the US last year.

The textbooks library is available through Google Play Books and accessible on Android, iOS devices, and through Google Play on the web. Canadians can head over to Google Play now to purchase or rent textbooks now.

books Stories June 17, 2014

CFy1R1O

Oyster, a startup out of New York which lets you pay a subscription fee for access to books, has released an Android app after having been available on iOS since August of last year. It has appropriately gained a reputation of being the “Netflix of books,” allowing users to pay just $9.95 for unlimited access to over 500,000 ebooks, but also touts human curation as being one its most important features. expand full story

books Stories March 4, 2014

Google-Play-Store-logo

When Android first hit smartphones, it shipped with the Android Market, a storefront for downloading apps. Two years ago, however, Google decided to replace the Market with the new, revamped Google Play Store. The new store would house all of Google’s offerings, from music and videos to books and Android apps. You can even buy a new phone through the store these days.

Now, to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the launch, Google is giving users discounts and sales on movies, music, apps, and more store-wide. A special page has been setup that will list the various discounts you’ll be able to take advantage of during the sale.

The promotion isn’t yet running in the United States, but should be available soon.

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books Stories December 2, 2013

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If you’ve been looking for a good book these days, Google just made selecting your next novel a little easier with a special Google Books sale. The Cyber Monday deal is good on over 100 bestselling books, with discounts up to 75% off the cover price.

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books Stories September 25, 2012

Google has updated its Books app experience on Android, which already features over 4 million books in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, France, Korea, Spain, and Japan. The latest version of the app introduces a number of new features including: highlighting, dictionary, notes, and new “Places” info cards.

In addition to including dictionary definitions when tapping on words, Google highlighted some of the new features in a post on its official Android blog:

Starting today, when you come across an unfamiliar geographic location—a faraway city or distant mountain range—you can tap on the location to learn more about it. You’ll see an info card with a Google Map and the option to get more information by searching on Google or Wikipedia.

Also in the update is the ability to translate words and phrases to a number of currently supported languages. Other features include: expand full story

books Stories July 12, 2011

Google has announced that a new Android Market is coming to Android phones. Along with an overall redesign, the new Market will be receiving a Book and Movie tab. The updated Market is available for phones running Android 2.2 and up, and will be rolling out in the coming weeks.

Movies will be available in the U.S. for $1.99, where they can be downloaded right on the Android phone. We assume Books will be priced book-to-book, like almost all e-book stores. Movies and Books will be linked to your Google account, so all of your Android devices will be in sync. Check out screenshots after the break.

The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. You don’t need to do anything – the update is automatic on supported phones. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll also be able to download the Videos app, rent movies, and buy books once you receive the new Android Market.

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