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Amazon Refreshes Kindle eReaders and Tablets, Adding Kids Tablet

After some leaks at their international stores, on Wednesday evening Amazon announced new ereaders and tablets, all set to ship in October. The new basic Kindle is thinner, adds a touchscreen, and sells for $79, with ads. (That's $10 more than the previous basic model, or 15 percent higher. So the people who fight to control…

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Inkling Closes Consumer Business to Focus on Enterprise Side; Lays Off 25 Percent of Staff

Inkling is officially closing its consumer retail business and has laid off something close to 25 percent of staff as a result. (CEO Matt MacInnis confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch, indicating that 25 percent "was a little high.") The company will focus on the enterprise/platform side, licensing their technology to…

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Google Play for Education Expands In K-12 with Houghton Books and More Devices

Google is rolling out an expansion of their education initiative (Google Play for Education) in the K-12 market with a number of announcements and new partnerships, timed in conjunction with the Florida Education and Technology Conference (FETC). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will "provide access to a broad range" their K-12 education content…

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A New Children's Subscription

There is a new entrant in field offering ebook subscriptions for kids, Epic!, which targets kids 12 and under with an app that offers unlimited reading for $9.99 a month (starting with a one-month free trial). They stream the books rather than download them, and the company says participating publishers include…

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New Ventures and Partners: Filmmakers Publish Mezrich, Random Buys Figment, Match Book Launches

RatPac Entertainment, run by media mogul/heir James Packer and film director/producer Brett Ratner, is creating a book imprint, RatPac Press, designed "to bring more Hollywood related projects to market in both non-fiction and fiction genres." Their first announced project is author of Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House Ben…

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Ruckus Is Sold

Ruckus Media has found some refuge with mobile app company KiwiTech, which is acquiring a 75 percent stake in the digital children's media company that has struggled to find a lasting business model. Ruckus founder and ceo Rick Richter will depart following the sale, though he will continue to serve…

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People, Etc.: Elmore Leonard Dies, and More

Elmore Leonard, 87, author of more than 40 novels who helped redefine the crime genre over the past four decades, died Tuesday morning at his home outside of Detroit from complications of a stroke he suffered earlier this month. His novels, many of which were the basis of successful film…

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Anonymous Microsoft Insider Denies Nook Story; Barnes & Noble Stock Suffers

The grain of salt we advised on the flawed TechCrunch report of potential interest in Microsoft buying out the digital assets of Nook Media has turned into a veritable salt flat. Another site, Insider Monkey, posted an item early Monday afternoon said to come from "a highly placed source inside…

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Corporate: HMH Buys Tribal Nova; Penguin Partners with Mind Candy; Amazon Defends "Heavy Investments"

Two new acquisitions highlight publishers' increasing interest in game development. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced they acquired Montreal-based educational technology company Tribal Nova, which develops digital games, products and services for pre-school children. The Tribal Nova team will continue to operate out of Montreal, though they will be absorbed into HMH's Content…

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Kids Retain Strong Preference for Print, As Influence of Online Bookstores and Friends Rises

Bookigee founder Kristen McLean and Bowker executive Carl Kulo kicked off this morning's Publishers Launch conference Children's Publishing Goes Digital with updated data findings from fall 2012, the latest installment in their ongoing analysis of the purchase and discovery of children's books. McLean underscored the overall stability of the children's…

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