E-book Stories May 18, 2015

Google officially introduces Literata, the new default font for Play Books

Google today introduced its new default font family for Google Play Books, tweeting to show off the new typeface and saying that it’s “perfect for long reads on all devices.”

The new typeface default was actually included in Play Books version 3.4.5, released May 6th, alongside a new card-based interface for text translation and the ability to create notes in book samples. This, however, is the first time that Google has drawn any attention to the new font which replaces Droid Serif as the default.

The company commissioned the font from Type Together, a firm focused on creating new type designs tailored for corporate use. The group often works alongside companies like Google, and here’s what the design firm said about the challenge designing for digital books:

A new book typeface was needed that would provide an outstanding reading experience on a whole range of devices and high resolution screens running different rendering technologies. Additionally, the new Play Books type is meant to establish a recognisable visual identity for Google’s native eBook App and stylistically distinguish itself from other eReader competitors.

The electronic or digital book represents one of the most important challenge designers and developers face today. The technical limitations of devices regarding rendering of type, together with their variety of physical sizes, are only two of the main obstacles eBooks have to tackle. These facts contribute to an unfair yet appropriate comparison with their analog counterpart, where typography plays a leading role. The Play Books project offered an opportunity to approach some of these problems from a new perspective.

And further, how they arrived at the style they chose:

TypeTogether’s counterpart team at Google, lead by senior UX designer Addy Lee Beavers, agreed that the desired typeface should have a more interesting and varied texture than other fonts being used in eBooks or ones generally developed for on-screen use. This could be achieved by means of slanted stress, less mechanic letter structure and varied horizontal proportions of characters. Based on these premises and on an intensive iterative process, TypeTogether arrived at a solution of hybridisation taking inspiration from both Scotch and old-style Roman types. The resulting letterforms create a pleasant organic texture that helps to deliver very good results for ease of reading and comfort.

Literata most notably has a lower x-height and higher ascenders than Droid Serif, and features two different weights and matching italics. It includes PanEuropean language support—meaning that Western, Central, and Eastern European languages are all included—as well as type for full Latin extended, Polytonic Greek, and Cyrillic.

Type Together has made more pictures of the typeface available on Flickr.

 

E-book Stories July 17, 2014

Amazon is currently testing an all you can eat subscription-based ebook and audio book service called “Kindle Unlimited.” A product landing page spotted by GigaOM revealed that the unannounced service will provide customers with access to over 600,000 titles for $10 a month. While subscription-based e-book services for smartphones and tablets already exist, Amazon has a vast number of resources that could quickly make the company a force in this relatively untapped market.

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E-book Stories April 5, 2012

Google announced today in a post on the Inside Google Books blog that it would be discontinuing its reseller program that allowed independent booksellers to sell through Google’s eBook services. The American Booksellers Association sent letters to its members informing them that about 350 independent bookstores selling eBooks through Google’s reseller program would end as of Jan. 31, 2013. The full letter (via Paid Content) is below.

Google’s explanation comes from Director of Product Management for Digital Publishing Scott Dougall:

Looking at the results to-date, it’s clear that the reseller program has not met the needs of many readers or booksellers. While our role as an ebooks wholesaler to booksellers will be coming to a close next year, we remain as committed as ever to making the eBooks experience from Google the best it can be for readers around the world.

For books that customers have already purchased, Google confirmed they would continue to “be able to access and read their eBooks on the web, phones, tablets and compatible eReaders.” Google will also help its 16 reseller partners “as they transition in the coming months” by continuing to give access to free Books APIs and highlighting them in the “Buy this book” section of Google Book search.

The full letter from the ABA to its members is below:

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

E-book Stories March 27, 2012

J.K. Rowling’s widely popular Harry Potter series is at-last available electronically.

The author’s own online Pottermore Shop displays all seven titles in ePub format, and prices vary between $8 each and $10 each, per copy. Fans can also purchase the entire series for $57.54.

The ePub files are unprotected and compatible with most Android devices, iOS devices, and any other eReader, tablet, or smartphone that accepts ePub format. In addition, the Harry Potter eBooks are available in Amazon Kindle formats. A full list of compatible devices and reading services is also available on the Pottermore Shop website.

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E-book Stories September 23, 2011

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If all of the rumors are true, Amazon has a 7-inch “media tablet” that runs a forked version of Android and will connect to all of Amazon’s services, including its Appstore, Movies, TV, Music and of course eBooks. It won’t be true multi-touch but the rumored price is half of the iPad’s (just like the screen) at $250.  Who is making this for Amazon?  Foxconn of course.

Yes, it sounds just like a Nook (which is getting an interesting update soon) with a better backend store.

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E-book 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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