Google Book Settlement Getting Further Review?

The settlement of a long standing lawsuit over Google’s practices of scanning and displaying books at Google Book Search was announced in October and expected to be finalized between May and June.  Two weeks ago, in late April,  the judge overseeing the case extended the dates until September and October to allow concerned parties more time to digest the complex agreement.  Chief among those looking for more time was authors but reports also suggested the Department of Justice was taking a look too.

Now it appears that the Attorney General’s of several states are also interested in taking a gander.  According to a Reuters report published Friday, the AG’s held a one hour conference call earlier this week to discuss the settlement.

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Widescreen Kindle DX Debut

dx kindleIt’s now official.  A day after receiving a design patent for the look of the Kindle, Amazon revealed a widescreen model of its eBook platform called the Kindle DX.

The new model, with a 9.7 inch diagonal screen is two and half times larger than the second generation model revealed in February.  Overall, its size nears the scale of a standard sheet of paper. 

The storage on the device jumps to 3.3GB, enough to store 3,500 books, the company says.   The DX model also features native PDF support and an auto-rotation feature similar to the iPhone that reorients the display to portrait or landscape mode depending on the way the device is held.

Confirming earlier rumors of newspaper involvement – three papers, the New York Times, The Boston Globe (also owned by the New York Times Company), and the Washington post will offer Click to Read More

New Kindle for News Distribution? Wednesday Event Scheduled

kindle 3 eventIf printed newspapers are slowly dying, are eBook readers the phoenix to rise from their ashes?  Is the answer to next-generation media delivery really portable devices tailor-made for reading periodicals and daily news?

With competition between smartphones, netbooks, laptops   - not to mention the fact that delivery technology doesn’t directly address the cost issues associated with news generation, and reporting – the answer is debatable but plenty are taking a close look at the prospect, or even wagering a bet.  News Corp., for one, has expressed interest in the exploration.  Hearst is expected to launch its own product this year (and is also invested in display maker E ink).   And then, the companies behind USA Today (Gannett) and the Financial Times (Pearson Plc) have also jumped, working with Plastic Logic.

Whenever the products come out, though, they may be playing catch up.  Amazon beat them all to the punch with its Kindle, and now, it appears, some new variation on the theme more narrowly aimed at news media may be revealed this week.

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Boston Globe Gets Stay: New York Times and Unions Reach Agreement

digital-news2-sm.jpgThe print media’s struggle to adapt to the drastic changes wrought by the Internet is far from over but today the New York Times Co. managed to at least partially defer the immediacy of one of its pressing problems:  Boston Globe union negotiations.  After more than a month of contentious talks, a settlement was reached with most participants.

The Boston Globe paper lost $50m in 2008 and was poised to lose another $85m this year if it continued on the same path.  Looking to slow the bleeding, the Times Co. wanted at least $20m in concessionary cutbacks, and other contractual concessions (including the elimination of some lifetime job guarantees).

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Google Book Search Settlement Review Extended

In October, Google announced the settlement of a three year copyright battle over its practices of scanning and displaying books at Google Book Search. 

With high level soundbytes, the deal was billed as an achievement.  Richard Sarnoff, Chairman of the Association of American Publishers, characterized it as a “win for everyone.”  All that was necessary to go forward was court approval and that was considered a formality scheduled for May 5th.   Turns out, that timetable was a little optimistic.

On Tuesday, responding to objections made by a number of authors, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York extended the settlement’s review period until September 4th and scheduled a final fairness hearing for October 7th, 2009.

The authors had expressed concern that the original schedule didn’t provide enough time to review the complex settlement’s terms.  They requested six more months.   Google and the Author’s Guild, the core parties of the settlement, thought a sixty day extension should be enough.  The judge split the difference.

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Kindle’s Margins? Teardown Yields Clues

kindle image metueAmazon beat the street Thursday with a 24% gain in earnings and operating margins well ahead of expectations but true to form, the company broke out little detail on its high buzz, in-house, product, the Kindle.

Kindle is a tiny part of Amazon’s larger retail and services businesses and at this point, the company is choosing to keep the product’s performance metrics under wraps.   Fortunately, for those looking for color, iSuppli recently completed a tear-down of the eBook reader.  The results can’t shine a light on sales totals or consumer demand but they do give a hint at the margins Kindle’s making on hardware sales.

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Exits and Beginnings: ex-Seattle P.I. Staff Start New Competitor

digital-news2-sm.jpgIn March, Hearst  made a difficult decision and shuttered the 146 year old Seattle P.I newspaper, hoping instead to salvage the brand as an online-only news portal.  The goal, Hearst CEO Frank Bennack, Jr., said in a statement, was to turn into “the leading news and information portal in the region.”   That goal may be a little harder to achieve thanks to some of the very staff the paper let go.

Tuesday, a collection of prior Seattle P.I. staff launched a competing site at

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