Saturday, July 30, 2011

News to Review: Borders, Barnes & Noble, a New E-Reader from Kobo, and an Interactive E-book That Will Wow You!

After 4 weeks of super interviews with authors Helene Boudreau, Lisa Bergren,  Ni-Ni Simone and Addison Moore, it’s time to get caught up on the latest news in e-format-land.

I was at a writer’s workshop two weeks ago when we caught the news that Borders was closing their last 399 stores and going out of business. As the news buzzed from person to person, it visibly affected the authors, editors and publishers there. Although this time of change is exciting on one hand, it’s also sad to see a major book store chain gone forever.  In case you missed the news, here's a report from the L.A. Times.  They report that Borders was “defeated by poor management decisions, massive debt and a changing industry.”

Of course, many of Borders’ customers will now turn to Barnes and Noble for their book/coffee/hang-out needs. And that leads me to an International Business Times article on Five Things Barnes and Noble Can Do To Survive. Number 5 has to do with....e-books, of course!  “Gain more eReader market share by setting the trend instead of merely following Amazon’s lead,” says the article. “Barnes and Noble needs to set the trend, not follow the trend, it the company is going to survive.”

Speaking of trends, last Friday it was announced that Kobo is debuting a new touch screen e-reader, launching it first in Hong Kong. Besides the touch screen there are many other new features. My favs are: you can read up to one month on a single charge,it is  customizable with 7 font styles and 25 font sizes, and it accepts almost any format of e-book. Check out the full press release.

The debate continues about interactive e-books for children. Do the razzle-dazzle interactive features limit children from using their imagination as they read or hear a story? Do they help or hinder kids as they learn to read.The jury is still out, but here’s a story about designer William Joyce who used to work for Pixar. This story tells us, “he’s now taking that skill and making the next generation of interactive experiences on the iPad. He and his colleagues at Moonbot Studios created the short film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore“, an amazing story inspired by Hurricane Katrina, The Wizard of Oz, and Buster Keaton movies.”  Have a look at the article and the various videos showing his work on this e-book. Is it a movie? Or is it a book? At what point does the imagination stop and the special effects take over? The debate goes on.

As always, the Kids' E-Book Bestsellers List has been updated with this week’s top tens. Enjoy!