ebooks

Last year we looked at NARR8, a unique interactive book app/platform for Windows 8. NARR8 comes from NARR8 Limited – a subsidiary of Game Insight, makers of mobile Windows games like Cloud Raiders and Big Business Deluxe. Although games are obviously the publisher's main line of work, they also create dozens of exclusive digital books to sell through their NARR8 app.

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Correction: Turns out that this update is only for the Android and iOS versions of Kindle, and not Windows Phone. Which is pretty lame, eh? You can let Amazon know you want Audible integration on Windows Phone here.

Original story follows.

Amazon is integrating professional narration into its Kindle app through a software update. The new version of the app allow you to switch from reading a book to an audiobook version of the same for as low as $0.99.

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Reading electronic books on your phone or tablet can be more convenient than toting a physical book collection around, but otherwise most e-books don’t take advantage of the power of modern computing devices. Motion comics on the other hand, can spice up traditional comics with movement and even voice.

A group called NARR8 (sister company of Game Insight) has taken the digital comics-style multimedia reading approach and applied it to a variety of book styles, including nonfiction, children’s, and educational books. All of these exclusive books can be sampled and purchased through the NARR8 app, now available on Windows 8 and RT devices.

We recently sat down with Alexis Valerio, NARR8 Senior PR Manager to check out the app and a few of its books. Full video and download link after the break!

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Last summer Microsoft posted a collection of free eBooks and over 1 million copies were downloaded by geeks around the globe. Now, once again, the company is offering up a collection of completely free literature for your consumption in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF formats.

Topics include: Office & Office 365, SharePoint, SQL Server, System Center, Visual Studio, Web Development, Windows, Windows Azure, and Windows Server.

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While many readers still embrace the paper pages of a book, others have moved on to the embrace of an electronic ink or LCD display. Amazon was the first company to push eBooks into the mainstream market in 2007. Today, many readers choose to pick up a tablet, cellular phone, or dedicated eInk device to dive into a world of adventure. We are taking a look at the top three eBook reading apps (Kindle, Nook, and Kobo) for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices.

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As many of you may have noticed, two somewhat major apps for Windows Phone received updates in the last 24 hours, so we’ll pass on the news in case you missed it.

First up is Facebook, which has been receiving quite a few updates lately, generally a good sign…unless you consider everything so broke that it needs even more fixing. The last update was just a week ago for version 2.6 and now version 2.7  has landed in the Marketplace bringing with it some new fixes though no new features:

  • Notifications now show updated time instead of created time
  • Corrected thumbnail display on likes
  • Now respecting except clause on posts with custom privacy settings

That’s nothing terribly exciting though if you were experiencing any of those issues, hopefully you’ll be a bit pleased with the update.

Next up is Amazon’s Kindle ebook app. That app is now on version 1.2 which shows you how often that one gets updated (seriously, it has had one update in the last year). The good news here is this update is more significant:

  • Mango compliant including fast app switching, multi-tasking
  • Available in more regions, including Japan, Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Sweden and presumably other areas too [Forum]
  • Books are pinnable to start screen with 2 sided Live Tile

That’s some pretty cool stuff by Amazon and we’re hear they’re being quite proactive with customer support, see this post about a personal phone call from the company.

Should you wish to grab either app, you can pick up the official Facebook app here and the Amazon Kindle app here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Thanks, everyone, for the tips and sab742 for the images

      

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Nokia announced late last week that their Reading app would be coming to the Lumia line this week and sure enough, that app is now available for download.

Nokia Reading promises to fill in the gap where apps like Amazon Kindle are not available for Windows Phone users, which turns out is a large part of the globe. Having setup their own eBook marketplace, Nokia seems to have done have a good job of offering an important service to many on Windows Phone who otherwise would not have access to the latest NY Times best sellers.

Of course the bad news as can be discerned from the title is those in the US (and possibly elsewhere) cannot download the app. Much like Nokia Music, licensing and possibly territorial divisions are evidently keeping this app and service out of our hands. But seeing as we have Zune Pass and Amazon Kindle, we'll probably survive.

Pick up Nokia Reading here in thew Nokia Collection. Thanks, Tim S., for the tip!

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Besides all of the new phone goodness today, Nokia also showed off a few new apps heading down the pike for their Windows Phone users. One of those is Nokia Transport, an app dedicated to public transportation including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities--something us urban folk desperately need. The app nails down your position and shows you the nearest stops and schedules around you, allowing you to save and even pin to your Start screen a route of you choices. That Live Tile can then flip around showing you the next train or bus always keeping you in the loop.

Nokia Reading is an eBook app that also supports audio books. It turns out it runs through Nokia's store where you can browse for new books, including a lot of free ones, save and basically use it as solid eReader. The selection of books looks decent enough but we'll have to see more when it is closer to launch.

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Windows Phone and Audible.com have not had the best track record together.  Over a year ago, we thought an Audible.com app may be close to hitting the Marketplace, only to find out it was for WinMo 6.X.  Then we found out this summer that one was en route, but no ETA was given.  Well, hopefully, that is all water under the bridge, as one of our readers reports that the long lost ETA may be March 2012. 

An email received by said reader (who chooses to remain anonymous) says:

Dear ,

An Audible app has been in the work for quite sometime. It was not until recently that we were given a tentative release date. If everything goes as scheduled, the app should be making its debut on Windows phones near the end of March 2012.

Sincerely,

Audible Customer Support

While we always take such matters with a grain of salt, we remain hopeful that this is indeed true.  Audible remains one of the few marquee apps to remain absent for Windows Phone.

(Thanks for the tip, Unamed Reader!)

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BooksAlive series of childrens books by XIMAD

The team at XIMAD, who have brought us  titles such as Bubble Birds, 100 Top World Wonders and an array of joke apps, have now revealed their latest project for Windows Phone 7: BooksAlive.

The BooksAlive series will offer children and their parents insteresting apps with high quality. XIMAD have just released two new titles for this series: The Little Engine That Could and The Real Princess (Zune links). Some highlight features:

  • Illustrations that respond to your hand-gestures and come to life as you flip the pages
  • Objects that move and get animated when you tilt your device and tap on its screen
  • A perfect way to get your children interested in reading and keep them entertained whenever you are busy.

Both are availabe on the Marketplace for $0.99 and appear to be popular ebooks already. Check out two videos after the break for the two ebook titles mentioned above. 

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Already being available on iOS (with Android 'coming soon' too) TouchyBooks is developing for Windows Phone 7, which will provide younger users with a large array of ebooks to download and read. While we already have the likes of Kindle on-board, it's great to see this type of addition to the availability of ebooks for reading.

They're a pretty small publisher so an advance onto the new platform is a bold, but welcomed, move. It's good to see even the companies/publishers without huge fund backing is looking at WP7.

Source: eBookNewser

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If you have an HTC developer unlocked ("jailbroken") phone, then this trick may be for you: evidently you can convert PDF books into .PRC files that can then be sideloaded on the device and viewed with Amazon's Kindle app. The reason? As DominikZ over at XDA notes, Charles Petzold's eBook "Programming Windows Phone 7" which is 100% free, costs $22.53 on Amazon (we actually see two versions, one XNA, one Silverlight, but both do cost ~$20 for the Kindle edition). Through this trick, you can convert the free PDF version of the book to a Kindle compatible one.

The task is not too difficult, but hardly elegant. As noted, only HTC devices can do this right now because the trick relies on TouchXplorer, which doesn't work to well on non-HTC devices.:

  • Download MobiPocket Creator or any other Program, capable of converting pdf to prc.
  • When the conversion is done, apply the registry hack, so that your phone will show up in Windows Explorer.
  • Copy the newly created *.prc file to your phone. If not already done, install TouchXplorer and go to My Documents\Zune\Content\0400\03 and cut the newly created file (It will be renamed to*.z)
  • Paste it to Applications\Data\48195FB4-EE0E-9264...\Data\IsolatedStore\kindle
  • Now rename the file so you will remember the it (e.g. programming.prc).
  • Start up Kindle and the newly added book should be available.

Like we said, not easy but once you do your first one, the rest are a breeze. Conversion usually takes less than five minutes from our experience and this seems a great way to load school PDFs, free eBooks, etc. onto your Windows Phone.

Source: XDA

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This is some pretty big news: it appears that HTC is getting in on the e-Book business. Watch out Apple iPad?

The latest version of Manila/Sense 2.5 (2012) features a tab dedicated to reading e-Books that can be purchased by Boarders or, evidently, though Adobe. No word on Amazon.com at this time.

HTC Reader 1.0 is the name of the program that will render the e-Books and overall it looks pretty great. It follows the usual UI/UX that HTC has laid out with their other tabs, which includes a directory for browsing, book art, and of course reading the book. There does seem to be some scrolling action needed, in addition.

The other big news is that this latest ROM comes from a Chinese Rhodium Shipped ROM.  To translate and as we mentioned in the last podcast, this is coming from a Touch Pro 2 ROM that is ready to market. That HTC, they never rest.

Does this mean the reason for the Sprint WM6.5 ROM update is taking so long is so they can get their hands on this version? We have no idea and zero indication that is the case, but that notion has at least entered the realm of plausible. Keep your fingers crossed.

In the mean time, you can expect some custom ROM action to start including this latest build as it spreads through out the community.

[Big thanks to tek818 for the screenshots & info!]

   

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WMExperts discount from Fictionwise

Fictionwise.com, a Barnes & Noble Company, is your one-stop shop for fiction and non-fiction ebooks. Fictionwise offers thousands of titles compatible for your Windows phone (via Microsoft Reader, Adobe Reader, Mobipocket, etc) as well as other formats for the eReader, Kindle, Sony Reader and Franklin Reader. Titles range from sci-fi to romance to history to politics.

Why are we telling you this? Well, Fictionwise.com is giving WMExperts.com readers a 25% discount for the Holidays. Just enter "wmexperts25" when you check out to receive the discount.

The discount expires on December 31, 2009 and we like to thank Fictionwise.com for extending this offer to our readers.

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