On Sunday, July 17, iriver's Story HD e-reader, the first e-reader whose platform is the Google eBooks e-bookstore, goes on sale at Target stores and Target.com. The device will retail for $139.99 and offers more than three million free titles and "hundreds of thousands" of titles for sale. Story HD's arrival adds to the competition between Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook.
Story HD also has some of the features that are standard on the best e-readers: the ability to buy and download books directly via wi-fi and the ability to read the same title on different devices, picking up where the reader left off. Story HD has an e-ink screen and titles are stored in the Google cloud.
Since its launch last December, Google eBooks has been available as an app on most every computer, smartphone, tablet, etc., except the Kindle--and is available through IndieCommerce--but this is the first e-reader that is integrated with Google eBooks. Google said there are other integrated devices "to come."
TMCnet noted that Story HD "has 63% more pixels and faster page turns than its closest rival [and] is also expected to be lighter and have a greater battery life than the Kindle or the Nook. Unfortunately, Google's first entrance into the e-book space won't come on a touch screen device. The Story HD comes with a QWERTY keyboard positioned just below the 6-inch display."
In related news, Barnes & Noble Color was the most popular e-reader in the first three months of 2011, the first time Amazon's Kindle did not hold that distinction, according to IDC, which focuses on worldwide shipments. IDC noted that Amazon's current lack of a color e-reader had hurt its sales. E-reader shipments in the quarter fell to 3.3 million units from the holiday quarter but were still up 105% over the same period a year earlier. IDC forecasts that some 16.2 million e-readers will be shipped worldwide in 2011, a 24% jump from 2010.
Seeking to overturn California's new law requiring it and other online retailers with operations or affiliates in the state to collect sales tax, Amazon is calling for a referendum on the issue "as early as February, which could ignite an expensive and noisy political battle pitting the deep-pocketed Seattle-based Internet seller against a much larger coalition of brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy and Target," the Los Angeles Times reported.
Amazon's v-p of global public policy Paul Misener called the action "a referendum on jobs and investment in California. We support this referendum against the recent sales tax legislation because, with unemployment at well over 11%, Californians deserve a voice and a choice about jobs, investment and the state's economic future."
Amazon has filed papers for a referendum and needs to collect signatures from 504,760 registered voters.
According to the New York Times, Evan Westrup, a spokesperson for Governor Jerry Brown, said, "Amazon should be spending less time punishing its affiliates, threatening lawsuits and collecting signatures and more time doing what every other retailer does in California every day." He added, "Where does Amazon plan to collect these signatures--in front of bricks and mortar retailers that collect sales tax everyday?"
has launched books.usatoday.com
, which will allow consumers to discover, discuss, share, preview and purchase books online. The site will include USA Today
's current 150-title bestseller list as well as the more than 10,000 titles that have appeared on the list. Users will be able to browse books, news and reviews, comment on them and share recommendations. Users will be able to preview titles on the bestseller list.
Readers who purchase books on the site will be able to do so from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore or IndieBound.
Algonquin's latest Booksellers Rock entry focuses on Liberty Hardy, "book slinger" at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. Our favorite of the q&a's:
"Why I do what I do: If I didn't have an outlet for talking about books, my brain would swell and ink would leak out my ears. And it's so satisfying putting great books into people's hands, especially ones they haven't considered before, like High Wind in Jamaica or Jamestown. I think books are the greatest thing in the world, and being taught to read at a very young age was the best present I have ever been given. (A signed copy of Skippy Dies made out to 'Lady McSexypants' was a close second, though.)"
Beach read season continues. Flavorwire suggested "10 decidedly highbrow but still beach-appropriate summer reads."
The Forbes list of "10 teetotalling moguls," included Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer.
From classics to bestsellers, Huffington Post readers chose the "books they hated that everyone else loved."
Weezer's "Tired of Sex" just had to make Alexander Portnoy's literary mixtape. Flavorwire assembled "what we think Alex Portnoy would suffer--suffer!--and get spoiled and, um, borrow the liver to."
Effective January 1, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, Wash., will be sold and distributed in the U.S., Canada and internationally by Random House Publisher Services. The agreement is for traditional books and e-books in both trade and special markets. Sasquatch is currently distributed by Publishers Group West.
Founded in 1986, Sasquatch publishes a range of nonfiction titles, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and California, and has grown to include such national books as the Book Lust series by Nancy Pearl and The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.
Olivia L. Griffiths has joined Sourcebooks as associate marketing manager, children's and YA. She has six years of experience in book marketing, most recently at Holiday House Books for Young People, where she was associate marketing manager. Earlier she worked at Random House Children's Books.