branding together

Nook vs. Kindle: Microsoft Picks a Side the e-Reader Battle

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 30, 2012 01:16 PM

Microsoft has invested $300 million in a digital venture with Barnes & Noble in a bid to make the bookseller's Nook e-reader available to millions of new customers, from consumers to students, through integration with the Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. 

"Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them," commented Microsoft president Andy Lees to the BBC. "We're on the cusp of a revolution in reading."  

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Lees in a statement.

Microsoft gets a 17.6% share of the yet-unnamed joint venture, for now (Hulu-like) being called NewCo, with Barnes & Noble owning the remaining 82.4%. The deal includes Barnes & Noble’s College business and the company’s shares are up more than 80%, reaching $25, the highest level since 2009.Continue reading...

see you in court

$9.99 E-books Will Return Thanks to Popular -- and Government -- Demand

Posted by Dale Buss on April 13, 2012 01:04 PM

The under-$10 bestseller -- so prominent a part of the promise of e-books when they burst on the scene about five years ago -- looks to be returning soon to a screen near you.

That's the most anticipated outcome from the suit filed Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department against Apple and five leading book publishers who, the government said, conspired to lift the price of many best-selling e-books to $12.99 to $14.99 -- after they didn't like the financial compression provided when Amazon succeeded in cutting the price of many books for its Kindle e-reader to $9.99.

While making books easier for consumers to obtain and read, of course, e-books have proved a financial challenge for traditional book publishers and authors, because they tend to flatten the industry's financial structure. But the government said, basically, "Tough!" and sided with consumers. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: BlackBerry, Burger King, BP and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 30, 2012 08:56 AM

In the News

Apple grapples with Foxconn labor audit.

BP says Gulf oil spill was smaller than claimed.

Best Buy reboots big-box format.

BlackBerry owner RIM sees former co-CEO depart amid $125 million loss, trims exec staff, and explores strategic options including sale of Canada's troubled smartphone-maker.

Burger King sells 278 restaurants to biggest franchisee; tests new menu items; cedes U.S. crown to Wendy's; and brings lamb burgers to the U.K.

CBS and Turner boost digital ad sales through March Madness.

Chrysler unveils new spots to follow Super Bowl's "Halftime in America" commercial with Clint Eastwood.

Daimler and BYD announce Denza, a new EV auto brand for China.Continue reading...

digital moves

Scholastic Opens Kids E-Book Market with Storia App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2012 01:25 PM

Scholastic is going digital. The world's largest children's book publisher is digitizing the bulk of its titles and releasing its first e-reading app, called Storia. While many trade publishers are reaching 20% in digital revenue, the kids’ e-book market is stuck at about 5%, and Scholastic is eager to change all that.

The Storia app, free to download with a beta version available today, offers about 1,300 e-books and multimedia e-books with popular series including “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Ready, Freddy!” available in digital format for the first time. It's designed for children ages 3-14 and currently available for PC tablets, with versions for iPad and iPhone and Android devices coming soon.

According to PaidContent, Storia's titles can be sorted by grade level, reading level, age and character/series, and enriched e-books “use word games, story interactions, and animation to deeply draw your young reader in, further developing confidence and critical thinking skills.”Continue reading...

in the spotlight

In China, Apple Goes Out of the Wok, Into the Fire

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2012 07:02 PM

On Friday, Apple's week of bad news from China got the proverbial icing on the cake in the form of an initial report from The Fair Labor Association about Apple's manufacturing partners. The report had a number of points but the single bite the media latched on to was "tons of issues."

From its lost iPad trademark to working conditions to a smoldering conspiracy theory about the brand punishing The New York Times, Apple stands on the verge of flipping from the brand we love and hold up as an example to emulate, to the brand we love… begrudgingly.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Amazon Eyes Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores. But Will They Deliver?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 7, 2012 03:51 PM

Most retailers are trying to find a way to get more consumers to go online. The reasons are simple: less overhead, fewer employees with health insurance, and a much higher profit margin.

But Amazon isn’t like other retailers. The word on the street in its home base of Seattle is that Amazon is thinking about opening its first-ever brick-and-mortar location, according to the Good E-Reader blog. “Amazon sources close to the situation” tell the site that the company is aiming to open the store in the next few months. 

“This project is a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable,” Good E-Reader reports. “They intend on going with the small boutique route with the main emphasis on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives and selling their e-readers and tablets.” At least they'll have a well-honed delivery system.Continue reading...

ad watch

Amazon Kindle Commercial Knocks Apple

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 7, 2012 12:01 PM

Amazon joins Samsung in mocking Apple with a new commercial that points out that three Kindles cost the same as an iPad.

brand news

In the News: Zynga, BlackBerry, Kindle & more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 16, 2011 08:55 AM

In the News

Zynga prices IPO at $10/share (which CEO Mark Pincus played early). Its $7 billion valuation could lift all social gaming.

BlackBerry crisis mounts as troubled RIM co-CEOs announce they're deferring smartphone relaunch until late 2012.

Amazon reports selling more than 1 million Kindles a week.

Apple struggles to take a bigger bite of China.

Covidien to spin off pharmaceutical unit.

Dell abandons netbooks.

eBay counters Amazon's shopper incentive.Continue reading...

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