Book Expo America Roundup

BookNet Canada was at Book Expo America last week. Noah and I were both in NYC to attend. I was mainly there to go to the IDPF Digital Book conference, but I managed to find some time to wander the floor as well. Here’s a roundup of interesting tech-related products and presentations I saw while I was there:


Kobo launches the Kobo eReader Touch Edition

Michael Tamblyn announced the release of the new Kobo eReader Touch during his presentation at the IDPF Digital Book conference on May 23, 2011. I happened to be sitting beside Cameron Drew at the time when, right on cue, he pulled out his e-reader from his jacket pocket and placed it in my hot little hands.

I currently read on the Kobo Wireless eReader and the first thing I noticed with the new eReader Touch was the size difference: the screen is the same size, but removing the giant button made the overall device much smaller (165 mm x 114 mm vs 184 mm x 120 mm). It also feels a bit more solid than the previous version, even though it’s actually lighter at 200 g vs 221 g.

Barnes & Noble launches the Nook Simple Touch Reader

B&N announced a new touch screen E Ink e-reader during BEA as well. The Nook Simple Touch Reader is an updated version of the first edition Nook reader. They’ve simplified the device by removing the little LCD touchscreen from the bottom, instead going with touchscreen E Ink only.

Overall, seems like the new Nook and new Kobo e-readers are very similar: both are using the same 6” E Ink Pearl technology, both are touchscreen devices, and the size, weight, and price are all comparable.

E-Book Signing Systems

As e-reading gets more and more popular, e-book signing systems are cropping up and giving people who read digitally the chance to get their books signed too.


Autography is an e-book retailer that provides a way for authors to sign e-books both in-person and remotely. There’s also the ability to do things like take a picture with your favourite author with your phone and have the author sign that photo. The system uses Android and iThing apps so it crosses devices, but is limited to books sold through Autography.


iDoLVine brought out the big guns for BEA, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman and others giving a demo of LiveSign (originally Atwood’s LongPen). Like Autography, LiveSign e-book signings can happen both in-person and remotely, but they claim that they can also sign DRM-protected e-books. There’s a live video chat option where the clip is saved for the fan and LiveSign can be used to remotely sign print books as was done with the LongPen.


Two presentations jumped out at me during the IDPF Digital Book conference: Liza Daly on Creating Highly-Accessible Interactive Content and Justo Hidalgo from 24symbols who presented during the Breakthrough Business Models session.

Creating Highly-Accessible Interactive Content

Liza Daly of Threepress Consulting gave a fantastic presentation demonstrating the possibilities for accessible interactive content in EPUB3. She’s promised to post her slides soon, so I’ll update with a link when available.


24symbols is Netflix for e-books. (I know, right?) Content is stored in the cloud, there’s a social element that lets you share quotes and see your friends’ favourite books, and they use a freemium model. I’m really excited about this one and plan to blog about it again once I get more details.


Ok, so this isn’t necessarily directly “tech-related” but it was funny, interesting, and a nice break from the usual tech-filled work trips.

7x20x21the presentation style where speakers have 7 min, 20 slides, and 21 seconds per slidereturned to BEA, hosted by Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman. The speakers were hilarious, charming, and filled with good ideas. I could summarize their presentations, but Chapman already didso go read about it over on Chapman/Chapman. Overall, it was a great way to end my quick trip to BEA.