Worlds First Braille Smartwatch Also Lets You Read Ebooks

All the way back in 2013, we reported on a mobile phone being created by an Indian start-up that would be the world’s first braille phone. Now in the world of wearable tech, say hello to the first braille smart watch.

Dot, as it is titled, is the world’s first braille watch. On their website, the startup based on South Korea have three simple goals. 1% of books are translated to braille while e-braille readers cost upwards of a whopping $2000. These reasons contribute to almost 95% of blind people giving up learning to read braille, meaning that braille users are often unable to read books or any digital messages.

To combat this the group are making the Dot not only affordable (with a target price of under $300), able to display e-books, able to provide help in learning braille, all while being in the form of a smart watch providing everything from a messenger, alarm and more.

The Dot looks just like any other smart watch, expect the active braille technology that allows the dots to protrude from its face to provide you with your favorite stories and tales while on the go.

With clear goals and a piece of technology that can revolutionize people’s lives the Dot could quickly come something that is not only wanted by, but also given to blind people to help support them in an ever more technical world.

Thank you Dot for providing us with this information.

Amazon to Pay Authors Per eBook Page Read

Amazon will soon implement a plan which will essentially sell eBooks page-by-page, paying its authors for every page read. From 1st July, authors who self-publish through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Program – an eBook only outlet that gives authors 70% royalties on their works – will earn money for every page that remains open long enough to be read on an e-reader, making page-turning cliffhangers a revenue generator. Dan Brown is said to have ordered a case of Bollinger in anticipation.

The scheme, however, could be seen as Amazon finally rewarding authors of longer works, since it was previously seen as pushing novellas and short stories. As The Atlantic puts it:

Amazon’s letter to writers who publish through its Kindle Select program explained that the formula was changing because of a concern “that paying the same for all books regardless of length may not provide a strong enough alignment between the interests of authors and readers.” Amazon is being clever: While the authors of big, long, and important books felt that they were shortchanged by a pay-by-the-borrow formula, they probably didn’t expect that Amazon would take their proposal a step further. Instead of paying the most ambitious, long-winded authors for each pagewritten, Amazon will pay them for each page read.

A market in which authors are constantly fighting and searching for new ways to coax readers into turning that page could change the future of written fiction forever. What would entice you to turn the page?

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Ebook Piracy Sites to Be Blocked by UK ISPs

Yesterday, the UK’s High Court ordered that websites carrying pirated ebooks should be blocked by the country’s internet service providers. The court ruled that an application made by The Publishers Association grants that the sites be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). Within the next 10 days, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, and EE will be legally obliged to block any and all sites deemed to be carrying copyrighted reading materials.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said of the victory:

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

Much like the MPAA, it seems that The Publishers Association hasn’t heard of proxies or VPNs, and I would not be surprised to discover that the cost of this legal action was more than any offset loss of sales through piracy by publishers.

Thank you The Publishers Association for providing us with this information.

Kindle Convert: ‘Rip’ Books to Your Kindle

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We’re all familiar with the practice of ‘ripping’ CDs. You stick a disk into your computer and copy the songs onto your hard drive. From there, you have the option of putting them on your phone, tablet, MP3 player, etc. But what about eBooks? Since it seems that books are going through the same transition that music went through 10-15 years ago, can’t we take all of our physical copies and read them digitally?

Well yes, we’ve always been able to do this – with a scanner. You take each page of a book and scan it to your computer. From there, you can take the book and put it on pretty much any device that can read PDFs. You could even use OCR software to turn it into an eBook-friendly ePub file. However, if you have a book that consists of hundreds of pages (like most books), this is going to be quite a laborious process.

So, Amazon has arrived to save the day and to make things much easier. Or has it? In fact, if you look at their new ‘Amazon Convert’ service, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking that they’ve made things a whole lot more difficult.

The whole scanning business is still there, but then they make you pay $49 for a piece of software, and then make you highlight each section of text, headings and subheadings. Plus, they’ll even ask you to edit the text to fix any issues.

A laborious process already, made even more laborious.

Source: Engadget

Adobe Collecting Mass Amounts of User Data from eBook Software!

In a digital world that is (rightly) obsessed with online security and privacy, Adobe seem have have taken the risky and rather silly move of spying on users of their Adobe Digital Editions (V.4) software. Reports have been surfacing that Adobe are tracking vast amounts of detailed information on user habits that seems to go above general user statistics or analytics.

According to Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, Adobe’s DRM for their latest Epub app is tracking information and uploading it to the Adobe servers, a suspicion that was later confirmed by Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the same security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com.

Abode are tracking data on which eBooks have been opened, which pages you’ve been reading, the order of those pages, the title, publisher and metadata, all of which is all being sent to Adobe’s server; to make matters even worse, this data is being sent in clear text, meaning that anyone running a server in between could also easily access the data.

It’s also reported that the software is collecting information on eBooks used in Calibre and any other eBooks that are stored on user hard drives, which tells us that the software is scanning hard drives and other user files. The Digital Reader provided two examples of the data that is being tracked, which you can view here and here. The data was collected by an app called Wireshark and was sending it to 192.150.16.235, one of Adobe’s IP addresses.

This is a stupid mistake on Adobe’s part and one that users should be more informed of; Adobe have failed to respond to these claims so far, but we expect we’ll be hearing an official statement very soon to reflect some kind of update to stop the monitoring or give a very good reason for it (unlikely).

Thank you Digital Reader for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WavingCat.