The PageMeld Blog

Following the digital publishing revolution

Scribd launches eBook subscription service, partners with HarperCollins

Multi-platform digital library provide Scribd says it’s launched a book subscription service and has inked a publishing deal with HarperCollins.

The service offers readers unlimited reading for $8.99/month and works on iPhone, iPad, Android and desktop web browsers.  

With the HarperCollins publishing agreement, the majority of the HarperCollins US and HarperCollins Christian backlist catalog will be available to Scribd subscribers.

Québec bookstore Archambault launches new mobile app 160,000 books

 Québec bookstore Archambault says it’s launched new mobile app called Archambault Reading, with access to 160,000 eBooks. The app is free and works on tablets and smartphones. The app is available on Google Play and Apple’s App store.

WordPress buys file-sharing service Cloudup

WordPress’ parent company, Automattic, says it’s bought file-sharing service Cloudup for an undisclosed sum.

Cloudup was in private beta before the acquisition and the company says it’s already sent 10,000 invitations out to users to test-drive the service. So far, Cloudup beta testers have streamed 300,000 items, which add up to nearly 1,500 gigabytes.

WordPress says Cloudup will remain in private beta “as we work behind the scenes.” However, Wordpress says it will open up another 5,000 spots for users who want to try the service out.

Cloudup has a real-time collaborative editing system and Wordpress says it plans to integrate the technology with its visual editor. WordPress hopes that “what Google Docs has done with documents, we believe we can do with blog posts.”

Mobile broadband growing faster than any technology in human history

“Mobile broadband is growing faster than any technology in human history,” finds a new study from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a pro-Internet advocacy group backed by the UN.

The study found that in 2012, 13 countries had mobile Internet access that exceeded one subscription for every two users. Today, that number has shot up to 32. Additionally, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Korea and Sweden now have mobile broadband penetration “in excess of 100 connections per capita.”

The commission predicts that by the end of the year, mobile broadband subscriptions will exceed wired broadband subscriptions by a ratio of 3:1, up from 2:1 two years ago.

Electronic ink maker Intrinsiq raises $4.1M

Electronic ink maker Intrinsiq says it’s raised $4.1 million in venture funding. Intrinsiq CEO Robert Cournoyer said the company plans to use the new capital to “continue its research, development and commercialization” of “printed circuit boards, solid state lighting, photovoltaics, displays, smart media, biosensors and aerospace” products.

Venture firm Cayuga Venture Fund lead the funding round and previous Intrinsiq investor Trillium International LP also came back with more funding. First-time Intrinsiq investors Rand Capital SBIC Inc., The Rochester Angel Fund, LLC and a few angels also contributed.

Washington Post tries new layout system, new ad formats

The Washington Post is already looking a hell of a lot sexier, just weeks after Jeff Bezos and the paper tied the knot. The post can already be seen gussied up in a new look, called “Topicly” that’s primed to move ads.

Featuring a Windows Metro-esque tile layout, The Post says Topicly is for “users who are interested in consuming content in a visual way.” Readers can glance at the layout and “understand the pulse of what is happening …. [by reading] a rolling 72 hour display of the most-published content.”

True to Bezos’ style, the Topicly experiment is about more than just seducing readers – the layout has a new advertising product that looks promising. A small header at the top of the page declares that Topicly is “sponsored by Land Rover.” In the second row of tiles a larger ad for Land Rover can be seen, marked as “Sponsored Topic.” The ad is the same size as one of the news tiles, adopting the inline continuity print magazines have offered for decades.

The Post says Topicly works by processing “all Post journalism – stories, blog posts, photos, videos” into “15-minute snapshots… story topics are being determined in real-time based on the content.”

The Washington Post's new Topicly layout

The Washington Post’s new Topicly layout, with an ad in the second row

Twitter iOS update makes RSS obsolete with Safari integration

Twitter says it’s new iOS app integrates with Safari, so users can more easily read links tweeted by the people they follow. The feature formalizes a mobile reading pattern most of us know well – using social media in place of RSS feeds and readers.

In addition to Safari integration, the new Twitter app also offers voice search via Apple’s Siri software. 

Adobe revenue slides 58%, but sees spike in subscription service

Adobe says it’s revenue slid 58% between August 2013 and August 2012, although its new Creative Cloud digital service grew to 1,031,000 paid subscribers. The company says the “enterprise adoption” of Creative Cloud was higher than the company expected.

Creative Cloud offers Adobe’s well-known line of publishing tools like Photoshop and Illustrator as a monthly software subscription rather than a one-time purchase of a specific version.

Tiger Global invests additional $75M in WordPress

Founding developer of WordPress Matthew Mullenweg says venture firm Tiger Global has invested an additional $75 million in Automattic, the parent company that makes the blogging software. Tiger’s investment came in the form of a stock buyout of shared owned by previous Automattic investor, Polaris.

Mullenweg says Tiger already invested $50 million in Automattic this May.

Adobe experimenting with Bluetooth drawing hardware

Adobe has a demo showing off two experimental Bluetooth-enabled hardware tools: a stylus and smart ruler. The tools work together and use an iPad for the drawing surface.