MediaFile

Barnes & Noble plans big (e-reader?) event

Brace yourself for the next salvo in the battle of the ebook readers (or electronic reading devices, or e-reader, or whatever you want to call them).

Barnes & Noble is planning a “major event” next Tuesday in New York to announce a mystery… something.

The bookseller won’t say exactly what it will announce, but we’d be surprised if its NOT a digital book reader, to compete with Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader series.

In fact, Gizmodo says it has the goods on the device — which it says has “a multi-touch display like an iPhone” — and picture of the device. Click the link and take a look.

What do you think of this device (which may or may not be the actual product)? For that matter, what do you think about e-readers? Are you ready to buy one?

from Commentaries:

Twitter backlash foretold

Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies," its effort to chart out what's hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It's just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Jackie Fenn, the report's lead analyst and author of the 2008 book "Mastering the Hype Cycle," delivers the main verdict:

Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among corporate users.

Amazon sparks digital ownership debate

“Orwell fans, lock your doors,” was the reaction from Amazon user Caffeine Queen after she and others had received notice from Amazon last Friday that their e-book versions of “1984″ and “Animal Farm” had been removed from their Kindle device.

Amazon explained later that these electronic versions were distributed illegally and that customers were refunded.

Amazon’s decision to remotely delete the e-books not only infuriated customers, it sparked a debate on digital ownership.

Tuesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s stories about the media industry:

Amazon Patents Detail Kindle Advertising Model (Mediapost)
Laurie Sullivan writes: “The patents clearly note that Amazon would insert advertisements throughout the ebooks, from the beginning to the end, between chapters or following every 10 pages, as well as in the margins.”

> In-Book Ads Coming to the Amazon Kindle? (Fast Company)
> 6 Reasons Why Ads On The Kindle Don’t Work (Business Insider)

Deadline for Globe bids postponed (Boston Globe)
“The New York Times Co. has postponed tomorrow’s deadline for prospective buyers of The Boston Globe to submit preliminary bids for the newspaper, people briefed on the sales process said. No new date has been set for the bids,” writes Robert Weisman.

Murdoch toys with idea of Kindle-like reader

Where will the mogul strike next? Doesn’t seem like he’s yearning right now for The New York Times, which is doing battle with a guild that doesn’t want to give up lifetime job guarantees of 190-odd Boston Globe staffers.

Instead, New York Post’s Peter Lauria reports, Rupert Murdoch has set his sights on building a Kindle-like device that will deliver content from News Corp publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and the NY Post. The device would also offer content from TV shows and movies that come from the News Corp stable. Murdoch sees it as a way of charging for content on the Web, rather than giving it away free as much of the publishing industry has (which, needless to say, is a big source of current troubles).

The global team assembled for this purpose consists of Murdoch himself, son James, Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton and News Corp’s new chief of digital operations, Jonathan Miller, the paper says.

Mr. Sulzberger goes to Amazon

When Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry convenes a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday to discuss the fate of U.S. newspapers, don’t look for the man who controls the fate of Kerry’s hometown Boston Globe on Capitol Hill.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr, whose New York Times Co is threatening to close the Globe, will be at a press conference in New York City where online bookseller and retailer Amazon.com plans to release a new version of the Kindle electronic book reader. At least, that’s what The Wall Street Journal says. Amazon and the Times declined to talk to us about the Wednesday event or Sulzberger’s planned appearance.

Senator Kerry need not worry that he can’t question Sulzberger in person. As much as Sulzberger probably wants to limit his talking points to the Kindle, we’re in a Globe state of mind. After all, talks resume tonight over $10 million in cost cuts it wants to wrest from the Globe’s biggest union. We would be happy to ask Kerry’s questions on his behalf.

USA Today: Paper goes well with Kindle

Before we get to the point of this blog post, let’s see what’s up with Gannett lately.

Its stock rocketed some 40 percent last week, something many experts and news outlets said was because a big investor doubled its stake because it thinks that Gannett’s newspapers might have a future. It rocketed again on Monday, though it’s down 20 percent today (Tuesday). Some of that’s likely because of short sellers covering their bets on the stock’s movements.

Not only that, the company rejected the latest overture from a possible buyer on its Tucson, Arizona paper, prolonging the agony over whether the paper will close or not. Quarterly earnings are on their way this week too, which the company already said would be less than hot. Finally, USA Today is going to show up in fewer hotel rooms now that Marriott said it will start offering customers the option to get no paper at all.

Icahn vs Lions Gate heating up

Not so fast Mr. Icahn. Lions Gate Entertainment is trying to defend itself against famed financier Carl Icahn by hiring an advisory team, including investment bank Morgan Stanley and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz.

It also is in talks to offer a board seat to Mark Rachesky of MHR Fund Management, the studio’s largest shareholder.

Icahn controls 14.5 percent of Lions Gate’s shares and wants to increase his sway, seemingly because he’s frustrated with things like costs and the company’s decision to buy the TV Guide cable channel.

Can’t get enough of that (Kindle) reading thing

Just as we’re getting over the buzz and acclaim for the new Kindle e-reader, Amazon comes right back at us. This time, it is selling    e-books for the iPhone and iPod — that’s right — through a Kindle application that can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

Here’s how the Wall Street Journal describes it: “Amazon’s software application, which can be downloaded free of charge, allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to read books or periodicals purchased on the Web or through their dedicated Kindle device, usually for $9.99. Using a service that Amazon calls whispersync, the program keeps track of a readers’ latest page in any given book across both a Kindle and iPhone.”

Amazon has competition, of course, from Google as well as other e-book sellers. Still, give credit to Amazon for creating big hype for its Kindle (which is still a relatively small market, regardless of all the press it gets).

from Shop Talk:

Your new Kindle is talking — but not paying

AMAZON-KINDLE/Amazon's hotly anticipated Kindle e-reader got even more press on Wednesday, but not the good variety.

In an op-ed titled "The Kindle Swindle" that appeared in the New York Times Wednesday, the president of the Author's Guild, Roy Blount Jr., took Amazon to task for its text-to-speech function on the new Kindle that began shipping this week.

The new Kindle can read books aloud -- but unlike audio books, royalties are not paid to authors. Blount argues the technology Amazon uses to turn text into a human voice is quickly improving, and authors need to be "duly vigilant" about this new means of transmitting their work.