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  • Publishers Take Note: The Kindle Fire means Increased eBook Sales

    The Kindle Fire and the newer, cheaper Kindles mean an additional retail outlet. A round-up of Amazon’s new prices:

    • Kindle Fire (tablet) $199
    • Kindle $79
    • Kindle Touch $99
    • Kindle Touch 3G $149
    • Kindle Keyboard $99
    • Kindle Keyboard 3G $139

    Amazon is already experiencing pre-orders for the Kindle Fire, and we’ll also see regular Kindle sales jump. When the iPad launched, Vook sales tripled the next day and have only increased since then. When the iPad 2 launched, we also saw a significant lift in sales. Devices just move more books. And kudos to Amazon for picking a magic price point. Ereaders will be in the hands of more of readers soon, and you can expect that they’ll be demanding high-quality digital content as well.

    The Kindle Fire is an attractive device. With access to Amazon’s cloud library and it’s 7″ color screen, the Kindle Fire will support video, high-quality images, and excellent ebook design. If you’re not already doing digital, you’re going to miss out.

    Vook Does Deep Flow Yoga

    Yoga and pilates expert David Moreno has trained world-class athletes, coached the 2024/2008 Olympics U.S. Men’s Swim Team and has been featured in a number of notable publications, such as LA Yoga Magazine. Now, he has brought his concept of Deep Flow Yoga to life in his new Vook series.

    “Yoga allows us to move outside of fear and anxiety and brings us fully into the present moment where everything is usually all right,” he said. “It can help take us out of our clinging to the past and our fantasies about the future and connect us to the peace, which is always present no matter how much is going on around or inside of us.”
    His series features engaging text and instructional videos revolving around Deep Flow Yoga, which he said was developed out of a preference for a fluid asana practice without bringing up excessive heat in both body and mind — thus preventing dehydration, exhaustion and the ambitious nature that arises in aerobic-oriented yoga.

    “Healthy Backs: Deep Flow Yoga” is available in the iTunes App Store. The other two titles in the series are available to download from inside the app.

    The first Vook, “Healthy Backs,” shows different poses, such as Tortoise Pose, Animal Relaxation Pose and Himalayan Forward Bend throughout eight chapters. Readers can also learn about energy invocation and chanting.

    “The greatest pose, the most favorite posture of position becomes the one I am doing,” he said. “Each posture has its own signature, both in feeling and in energy, and when I open to that experience within each pose then I fall in love with it, even when it’s challenging or mind boggling.”

    For those who are new to practicing yoga, David said to have self-acceptance, patience and compassion. He said he started down his yoga path once he stopped dancing professionally.

    “Finding a good teacher was challenging in the late 70s even in a city like Los Angeles, and when I did find one it was a commitment to driving up to an hour to study,” he said.

    David now teaches yoga classes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

    MY ORANGE DUFFEL BAG VOOK: Sam Bracken Gets Clean, Looms Large

    At age 5, an older boy lit Sam Bracken’s left arm on fire.

    When he was 9 years old, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    By age 13, he decided it was time to get clean and pursue his dream of playing sports.

    After suffering from numerous family hardships and homelessness in high school, he was awarded a full-ride football scholarship to play under Coach Bill Curry at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1981. Sam set out to create a new life for himself, his few possessions packed into a single orange duffel bag, a bag that became a symbol of years of struggling.

    “He taught me to value myself as a whole person — not just physically, but spiritually, socially and intellectually as well,” states a page in Sam’s Vook.

    A young Sam Bracken

    A young Sam Bracken

    Sam conquered his unfortunate circumstances, transformed his football scholarship into an academic one, and turned his life journey into a compelling story with messages of inspiration and his “7 Rules for the Road,” which launched as a Vook on Feb. 25 in the iTunes App Store and iBookstore.

    In celebration of his big release, I had a chance to speak with Sam about his Vook.

    “It’s a truly unique product that combines the best of what we’ve created for the book, and it all benefits the reader,” he said. “I look forward to doing many more Vook app projects with its great team.”

    Sam, whose mother worked three jobs to support her family, had a nervous breakdown and abandoned him when he was 15. Now, he has a family of his own, including three boys and a 5-year-old girl named Hannah.

    “Unfortunately, playing catch is difficult because I can’t throw the ball like I once did because of my shoulder injuries from college,” he said.

    Now the global director of product management marketing at Franklin Covey, Sam said he still speaks with Coach Bill Curry multiple times a year. He was honored on Nov. 19, 2024 at a Georgia Tech football game where the University recognized the 1985 football team on which he played.

    Sam nowadays

    Sam nowadays

    “I think he is doing a great job at Georgia State developing a Division-I program from nothing,” Sam said. “I am one of his biggest fans — he has always been like a father to me.”

    When asked about advice for people facing difficult family situations, Sam said to stay focused on one’s life visions and strengths to succeed.

    “Surround yourself with powerful, positive people who believe in you,” he said. “Work hard living one day at a time.”

    While Sam draws from many life experiences, he also faced the challenge of trying to find a publisher who would release the hardcover version of his life story. In the end, Sam decided to publish his own content.

    “Self-publishing has had its challenges, but nothing worth doing in life is easy,” he said. “We still hope to find the right publishing partner to reach the lives of millions.”

    Sam said he still owns that bright orange duffel bag.

    -Jules Shapiro

    Social Media Marketing Manager


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    Tools Of Change – Part One

    Vook had an insightful and informative time today at Tools Of Change. We met and reconnected with key players in publishing, both digital and traditional — such as Bowker, Oxford University Press and Sterling Publishing. New firms, such as Aquafas and the fresh face on traditional companies such as Macmillan’s MPS, underlined how quickly this market is expanding. We counted upwards of 8 ventures that could make solid contributions in the enhanced publishing space.

    If you haven’t already stopped by, please do, because we have a very special surprise to give you at our table. We have more love to give, even after Valentine’s Day! ;)

    And if you haven’t already heard, we are licensing our MotherVook technology for publishers to use. Hay House already has a head start on you, so visit table 404 for more information on how you can license our technology engine to create your very own enhanced e-books and apps from existing assets.

    Here is a snapshot of today’s scene:

    Busy exhibiting area at Tools Of Change

    Author Margaret Atwood signing books. Vook totally has her back …

    Lots of mixing and mingling

    Stop on by!

    Head of Acquisitions Matthew Cavnar is ready to answer any Vook questions.

    Vook is a happy camper!

    Vook had a fantastic time at Book Camp 2: The Return of Book Camp yesterday! We enjoyed a lot of discussions about open platforms, design for enhanced e-books in the editorial stages, and work flow management for digital products. We couldn’t walk anywhere without hearing about apps, digital product development, e-book marketing and technology advancements. And we apologize for eating some of the gobstoppers, we didn’t realize those were probably not Book Camp intended.

    We also enjoyed connecting with a lot of notable figures in the publishing space, such as Sharon Cordesse (sales manager for conferences) from O’Reilly Media, Brett Sandusky (director of production innovation) from Kaplan Publishing , and Matt Schwartz (director of digital strategy and business development) from Random House.

    As usual, it was a pleasure to see Ami Greko keeping the pieces in place and to hear Guy Gonzales drop some knowledge on how to build a sustainable social community.

    Make sure you come visit us this week at Tools Of Change and say, “hi!”

    Have a Vook week!

    Making Friends with E-Books

    This weekend, the New York Times suggested that “E-Books Make Readers Less Isolated.” The article asserts that someone carrying a new e-reading device or tablet is inviting conversation and interaction.

    Strangers constantly ask about it,” Michael Hughes, a communications associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said of his iPad, which he uses to read a mix of novels and nonfiction. “It’s almost like having a new baby.” An iPad owner for four months, Mr. Hughes said people were much more likely to approach him now than when he toted a book. “People approach me and ask to see it, to touch it, how much I like it,” he said. “That rarely happens with dead-tree books.”

    But the social aspect of e-books isn’t limited to curiosity about devices. People who are reading on tablets are often connecting to internet and sharing content or conversations while reading. Of course, the ability to connect has been a core value at Vook from the beginning.

    One of our earliest Vooks, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It, drew in readers with relevant hyperlinks and access to Gary’s Twitter stream.  Less than a year later, you can email your friends videos and highlighted passages from within a Vook you’re reading on your iPhone or iPad. The ability to interact with authors and co-readers always seemed like an obvious next step in innovative publishing, but it turns out that it’s also essential to the sharing of ideas, on and offline.

    The benefits of connectivity don’t end inside the binding of an e-book.  Dialogue online creates a welcoming environment for dialogue in person. The Times says:

    Suddenly, the lone, unapproachable reader at the corner table seems less alone. Given that some e-readers can display books while connecting online, there’s a chance the erstwhile bookworm is already plugged into a conversation somewhere, said Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University.

    Are e-Books bringing us closer together? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or tweet us @vooktv.

    WE MEANT — 20,000 Sherlock Downloads!

    We are thrilled to announce a tremendously successful week of downloads for our Sherlock Holmes Experience vook. With great support from Apple, picking our app as the #1 “Staff Favorite” for the holiday week, Sherlock received over 17,000 20,000 downloads in just a matter of a few days (Ed: we just got some NEW sales info, upping the numbers even higher!).

    2009 was a great year for Vook—it was the year we launched and it was the year we saw the publishing industry start committing to the digital medium. As our holiday present to everyone, we gave away our Sherlock Holmes Vook for free in the iTunes store from December 23rd through the 27th. We expected we’d get at most a few thousand downloads—after all, it’s difficult to attract attention even for a free app. And it was the middle of the holidays. So, with modest expectations, we set the app price to free and welcomed a few days of vacation.

    Imagine our surprise this morning when we got our sales figures from Apple for those days.

    17,000 20,000 downloads! (Ed: We can’t get enough of this)

    We were stunned. We’d seen some good responses on Twitter and through email, but nothing of this magnitude. 17,000 20,000 people have had the chance to read and watch and enjoy our enhanced version of Sherlock Holmes. 17,000 20,000 people know what a Vook is—and why we think it’s such a great new platform for books.

    We want to thank all of you who downloaded the free Sherlock Holmes Vook. We thought we were giving the reading public a gift, but you all made our offer into a huge present for us. Thanks to all of you who downloaded the Sherlock Holmes Experience, tweeted about it, mentioned it on Facebook, told their friends, and sent us emails. We’re glad we have such a great audience—and we can’t wait to bring you more great vooks!

    Happy New Year!

    Team Vook

    Welcome to the neighborhood, Jane Friedman

    Rumors have been flying for months — actually since the much admired Jane Friedman left HarperCollins over a year ago — that she would, indeed, be back.  Today, Paid Content reveals that she is indeed back, with a new publishing venture that has raised at least $3milion.  The specifics are characteristically vague but you can bet it’s not because Jane doesn’t know what she’s going to do, but because she wants to control the flow of information. . . As someone who followed/covered her as a journalist for a number of years, that ability to handle the press was both my favorite and my least favorite thing about Jane.   About her as a publisher, I had no mixed feelings:   she knows what she’s doing, as all who loved and remember such authors as Michael Crichton can attest.

    What Will They Think of Next?

    To those who think the magazine industry just doesn’t get it — and I know who you are, all 20 million of you — I direct your attention to this cool little thing vook’s Joel Burshem turned me on to:     It’s a video ad stuck smack in the middle of an issue of good old fashioned Entertainment Weekly.  As Joel said, it might scare the pants off you if you didn’t know it was there, but if the goal of magazine editors and publishers is to get your attention — and live in the 21st century — it’s a great way to start.

    The Collyer Brothers

    doctorowWhat would EL Doctorow, author of Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, and many other great novels have done if electronic books had been invented a century ago?  He wouldn’t have had such a great topic for his latest novel, Homer and Langley, because there wouldn’t have been the great epic iconic story of the Collyer brothers, recluses who — as every baby boomer’s mother told every child — died under an avalanche of books and newspapers.   “Clean up your room, you’re going to end up like the Collyer brothers,” my mother used to tell me regularly:  never mind that this was a woman who’d saved every issue of the New York Times and New Yorker she’d ever received.   I became fascinated by these bibliophile freaks, and now, Doctorow has imagined their story in his new novel.  It’s fascinating, and odd and interesting, just the way I like my books — traditional or otherwise.

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