The Future of the Ebook
Let’s hope the various e-reader makers gathered their rosebuds while they could, because it seems the heyday of the e-reader is already passing. The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to one market researcher, e-reader shipments dropped 28 percent this year, to 19.9 million from 27.7 million in 2011.
On an anecdotal level, can you think of a single person who requested an e-reader as a holiday gift? Compare that to the number of people who got new phones or tablets.
Don’t be alarmed, but it’s very possible you wasted money on that smart TV. [PC Mag]
Companies might be reconsidering Amazon Web Services, after one outage too many. [Wall Street Journal]
Netflix is preparing to roll out new social features, like the ability to share what you’ve watched (if you want) through the company’s Facebook app. So you’d better finish watching every available episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” on the double quick. [TPM]
Doesn’t look like Poke is going to dethrone Snapchat juuust yet. [GigaOm]
Speaking of online video: is Hulu about to lose a lot of employees? [AllThingsD]
We hope you didn’t bet any serious money on the new version of Myspace turning the old girl around. [The Verge]
Were your plans to hunker down with loved ones and stream movies on Christmas Eve stymied by a Netflix outage? Blame Amazon, Netflix says. [NYDN]
Everyone has a Facebook privacy issue sometimes. Even the Zuckerbergs. [BuzzFeed]
New York City is launching a pilot program for taxi-hailing smartphone apps next year. European e-hailing company Hailo is raising a $30 million Series B to gear up for the trial. [AllThingsD]
Investment in venture capital-backed companies was down 32 percent in the third quarter of 2012 from the year before period. [WSJ]
Iran said it thwarted cyber-attacks against a power plant and other industrial targets in recent months. The report suggested that the attacks originated in the U.S. and Israel. [NYT]
These people posted photos of themselves showing off the assault rifles they got for Christmas. [Atlantic Wire]
Bet you thought the next big story in the ailing daily deals business was going to be Andrew Mason’s ouster. And yet, it’s a competitor making headlines: Bloomberg News reports that LivingSocial has laid off 400 of its 4,500 employees. That’s about 9 percent of its staff, for those keeping score at home.
Bad news, everyone: Researchers are claiming the smart-but-neglected nerds don’t actually win in the end. It turns out that, in the long run, the more popular kids actually make more money. No word on how a makeover changes things. [The Atlantic Wire]
A Norwegian woman who somehow angered Amazon found her Kindle account frozen and access to her ebooks blocked, for an unexplained infraction. This serves as a nice reminder that unless you own something IRL, you only kinda own it. [GigaOm]
In what’s likely evidence of testing going on at Twitter HQ, some users are reporting seeing the terms “star” and “like” pop up in the place of “favorite.” [TheNextWeb]
Wal-Mart is investing quite a substantial bit of time, money and effort in its Facebook marketing efforts this holiday season. So don’t fuck up, Zuck. [Wired]
Small businesses, unfortunately, can’t quite count on flying under the radar so as to avoid cybercriminals. [ReadWrite]
Apple is livestreaming today’s press conference, which is likely to be the occasion for the unveiling of the iPad Mini. [TheNextWeb]
The Future of the Ebook
An under-the-radar local startup named Oyster has raised a $3 million seed round, GigaOm reports, led by Founders Fund. Other backers include SV Angel, Founder Collective, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Chris Dixon, Sam Altman and others. But despite the foodie-friendly name, the company has other designs–namely, to feed you books to read on your iPhone.
As cofounder Eric Stromberg explained to Betabeat via email, ”Simply put, we are building the best way to read books on your phone, and we think we accomplish that through the subscription model,” he added.
Kickstarter announced today that the U.K. version of its crowdfunding platform would launch on Wednesday, October 31st. A very spooky day for a launch–or perhaps it’s just an excuse to dress up like the king and queen of England? Starting today, starving film students and wacky designers who live overseas can start registering their projects and get them approved, so that they can be ready to launch on the 31st.
To go along with the international expansion, the site also just added a streamlined international shipping option for both US and UK projects. The update makes it clear to international backers when the creator is asking for more money to cover the cost of international shipping.
Ebay announced two new product features today to help better position itself as a competitor to ecommerce sites like Amazon and Etsy. With Ebay Now, an iPhone app, customers are able to order things from their mobile devices and have them delivered anywhere they choose, usually within an hour. Ebay Now has been tested in San Francisco. An Ebay rep declined to elaborate on when the feature would be available in New York.
The site also announced an interface redesign to make search and browsing easier, as well as a new Pinterest-like feature called “Feed” that, as Ebay CTO Mark Carges said, “is a little like creating a newsfeed, but instead of search it offers visual shopping inspiration.” Users can follow brands, styles, bands–basically any topic aggregated on Ebay–and streamline it into a visual shopping board, a lot like Pinterest, where they can easily click through and purchase items with a seamlessly integrated Ebay-Paypal account.
Citing unnamed sources and an internal memo, Reuters reports that Walmart will stop selling Amazon.com’s Kindle line of tablets and e-readers. According to Reuters the memo said Walmart’s decision was in keeping with its general marketing strategy.
Target Corp. ceased selling Amazon devices last Spring, after deciding Amazon’s sales tactics were working against the retailer’s best interests.
The government of Germany is urging citizens to stop using Internet Explorer–at least until a security hole you could drive a Volkswagen through is fixed. But who goes back to IE once they’ve switched, even for a couple of days? [Reuters]
If you must patent troll, it’s important to get a few basic technological details correct. GitHub and Rackspace are different entities. [Wired]
It’s official–tech companies including Amazon, Yahoo, and Facebook are joining forces to form The Internet Association, their very own lobbying shop. [TNW]
Do not shell out $1,600 on eBay just to have the iPhone 5 a few days early. That would make you a chump. [CNET]
A visit to the Ace Hotel: “‘I’m just trying to figure out who those people are and do they have jobs,’ said Chip Morrow, a lawyer from Memphis, staying at the hotel while trying a prescription drug case. ‘I mean, I see laptops everywhere but I can’t figure out what everybody’s doing.’” [Marketplace]