Category Archives: books

CarPlay support added to Audio Books iPhone app for listening on the road

Audio Books CarPlay 5

Apple has only sanctioned a small set of App Store apps to support its CarPlay feature with Audio Books for iPhone today joining that limited list. The latest version of Audio Books adds integration with CarPlay head units for easily finding audiobooks to play through your car stereo on your drive.

Audio Books is a free iPhone and iPad app from with a collection of over 60,000 audiobooks including 2500 free titles. New Audio Books users can claim one paid title for free after signing up for an account including the new Becoming Steve Jobs biography (Review$12+Amazon$13 iBooksFree Audible/Audio Books).

The CarPlay interface for Audio Books presents both saved books in your library as well as featured books from the service. You can also easily navigate through genres of audiobooks and quickly find free titles to listen to on your drive without signing up for an account. You can see the Audio Books CarPlay interface below:

Audio Books CarPlay 3 Audio Books CarPlay 1 Audio Books CarPlay 2 Audio Books CarPlay 4

Aside from CarPlay integration, the new version of Audio Books includes a new design (but not iPhone 6 native resolution) and more:

What’s New in Version 5.0.3

-Fully updated user interface with a new minimalist look and feel
-Improved book browsing and general user experience for international users
-Full integration with CarPlay and select in-car infotainment systems
-Audio player updated to incorporate full functionality and controls without sub-menus
-Re-organized settings page displays critical account information more prominently
-Improved navigation throughout the app for a more intuitive user experience

Audio Books for iPhone is available for free on the App Store.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: App Store, Apps, audio, audio books, audiobooks,, Becoming Steve Jobs, Biography, books, CarPlay, CarPlay apps, Fiction, free audiobooks, free books, iPhone, non-fiction

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EU court says ebooks aren’t books, must be subject to higher tax rates


Europe’s top court has declared that ebooks are ‘services’ rather than books, and that European countries are not allowed to give them the same favorable tax treatment as paper books. The reasoning, such as it is, is that ebooks cannot be used without a physical device, and ebooks are a service provided to those devices.

Both France and Luxembourg have applied to ebooks the same reduced rate of VAT (sales tax) enjoyed by books made from crushed trees. The WSJ reports that the EU has ruled that this is illegal.

Since 2012, France has applied a 5.5% VAT rate and Luxembourg a 3% VAT rate on e-books, the same rate as for paper books. The European Court of Justice said both countries must apply their normal VAT rate, which for France is 20% and for Luxembourg is 17%.

Europe already closed one ebook-related tax loophole: Amazon used to use its Luxembourg base as a reason to charge just 3% on ebook sales throughout Europe, but a change in the law forced it to apply the VAT rate applicable to the customer’s own country.

There is some small hope that sanity may prevail in future. The European Commission has said that there may be legal mechanisms through which countries can in future define their own policies, with an “extensive overhaul” of VAT rules to be completed next year. However, don’t be surprised if ‘harmonization’ of tax rates for paper and digital books results in higher taxes on the former to pay for lower taxes on the latter …

Apple of course had its own legal troubles around ebooks, with its pricing model found to amount to anti-competitive practices.

Via Engadget

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: books, e-books, ebooks, Europe, European Commission, European Court of Justice, European Union, IBooks, iTunes

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Amazon’s Kindle for iOS app updated w/ Goodreads integration, Audible progressive play, more

Kindle for iOS 5 Kindle for iOS 4 Kindle for iOS 3

Amazon pushed out an updated version of its Kindle for iOS app today bringing a list of new features to the reading app.

Kindle for iOS now includes integration with Goodreads, the social cataloging service it bought last year, allowing readers users to share book progress and completion status, quotes, and more Kindle to Goodreads. iPad Kindle app users now have access to Amazon’s Book Browser to view book descriptions and customer ratings; Kindle Unlimited customers (3o-day free trial) can download books directly from the Book Browser. The new version also adds a feature called Audible Progressive Play, which allows audiobook listeners using the Amazon-owned Audible service to play content as it downloads.

The update also adds new ways for users to access information and details about Kindle books. Check the extensive change log of the latest version below for more information:

What’s New in Version 4.6

Just in time for the holidays, Kindle for iOS has something for everyone! Book Browser allows you to explore and read from a selection of over 700,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks available with a Kindle Unlimited membership. Our new welcome experience helps customers get personalized book samples and start reading with Kindle in three easy steps. Audiophiles can start listening to their Audiobooks immediately upon download thanks to progressive playback. On-the-go students can now access eTextbooks on their iPhones. These features and more make Kindle Version 4.6 the perfect reading app to start the New Year.

Version 4.6 Features

Welcome experience for new customers: New customers can get started reading right away! By selecting favorite genres, rating books, and identifying books they would like to read, new customers will get personalized book sample suggestions (powered by the Goodreads recommendation engine) to download and read for free.

• Book Browser (for iPad only): Using the Book Browser, customers can now view and get additional information about books. Tapping on a book cover displays a detail page that provides information about the book, including the book description and customer reviews. Kindle Unlimited members can download and read immediately. 

• Goodreads Integration: Goodreads customers can now share book progress, selected quotes and more from Kindle. Once connected, via “Settings/Social Networking,” customers can share book progress using the new [g] button in the reader controls, share quotes by selecting text, or share that they’ve finished a book from the “Before You Go” screen.

• Next In Series Information: Customers finishing a book in a series like A Game of Thrones can learn about the next book, A Clash of Kings, and instantly add it to their wish list from the “Before You Go” screen.

• Book Detail Pages in the Library: By customer request, book details can now be viewed by long pressing a book cover in the library and selecting “Book Details.” Customers can now see a synopsis of the book, Amazon reviews, and more.

• Audible Progressive Play: Start playing audiobooks as they’re downloading (no need to wait for the entire download). Audiobooks can be played once you’ve downloaded past your current reading location.

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Amazon’s Kindle app for iPhone and iPad is available for free on the App Store.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: Amazon,, Apps, Audible, Audible Progressive Play, audio books, Book Browser, books, cataloging, ebooks, eTextbooks, Goodreads, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Kindle for iOS, Kindle Store, Kindle Unlimited, Reading, social cataloging

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Kindle & Facebook Messenger updated for iPhone 6 support

Kindle 4 Kindle 3 Kindle 2 Kindle

The list of updated apps for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is still somewhat small since developers only learned of the new iPhone display resolutions earlier this month. The Kindle iPhone app from Amazon is joining that short list today, though, with a new version optimized for the iPhone 6.

That means that like iBooks, text you read in Kindle’s iPhone app won’t be fuzzy or scaled up. If you prefer the zoomed up version, however, iPhone 6 users do have that option to make every app larger using the Display Zoom feature found in the accessibilities section of the Settings app on iOS.

Kindle’s previous added a handy widget in Notification Center’s Today view for quickly accessing books you’re reading. Kindle for iOS is available for free on the App Store.

Facebook Messenger has also been updated for the new iPhone models. Notably, the chat app has beat the primary app for the social network in updating for the new iPhones.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: books, ebooks, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, Kindle, Reading

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