News – This week marked the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the first Kindle. Five years later, The Los Angeles Times reports on a prediction that the Kindle Fire HD will outsell Apple’s iPad mini by a margin of two to one.
Tech Tip – You won’t find a Kobo app at Amazon’s Apps for Android store, but if you are willing to stray a little outside the Amazon garden you can get a Kobo app on your Fire. The key is to allow installation of applications from unknown sources, which sounds ominous, and rightly so. The safest route is to stick with Amazon apps, but the one I’m going to recommend has been reliable in my use of it. The way you open up your Fire to unknown apps is to go to settings, then device, and then tap on Allow Installation of Applications if it’s not already in the on position.
From there, make sure you are connected to a WiFi network, then open your Fire’s browser and navigate to m.getjar.com. In the search box at the upper right, enter “Getjar” with a capital G. A list will be returned. Look for one titled “GetJar Apps,” a red icon with a big G on it. Tap on the yellow Free button, then tap on the yellow Download button.
In your download list at the upper left of the screen, which you access as if pulling down a window shade from the top, you should see GetJar.apk and download complete. Tap that, then tap on Install.
Go to apps and tap on the Getjar app. In the search box, enter Kobo. In the returned items, you should see Kobo eBooks. Tap on Free, then tap on Download. A progress bar will appear and then an opportunity to tap on Install. You can then open the app and sign in with your Kobo account. If you already have a Kobo account, as I did, you can create a new one with a different email address, starting the process from the web page of your participating independent bookstore if you want them to receive some benefit when you buy Kobo books.
Just telling you about this process is a way of underlining a point you will hear Neil Strandberg make in the interview. Few eBook readers are going to be willing to go through this level of technical hoops to add another eBook platform to their device. Not to mention the inconvenience of having more than one eBook library. But if you are curious about how the other eBook platforms live, you might enjoy experimenting with the Kobo connection, especially now since they have this new partnership with independent bookstores in the U.S.
Interview (starts at 8:51) - I spoke with Neil Strandberg, director of member technology at the American Booksellers Association, by Skype on November 19th about the ABA’s new partnership with Kobo ebooks. In followup conversations on November 23rd, I visited with Carole Horne, general manager of the Harvard Book Store (interview starts at 29:00), about the Kobo program, and with John Damroth, owner of Planet Records (interview starts at 40:33) about what book stores might learn from the digital revolution in music.
Next Week’s Guest – Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content.