Cybercrime Officials Shutdown Large eBook Portal, Three Arrested

Three individuals believed to be behind a large illicit eBook portal have been arrested. Lul.to carried an estimated 200,000 titles, including eBooks, audiobooks, and newspapers, each downloadable for a small fee. It claimed to be the largest site of its type in the world. Bitcoin and a large quantity of cash have been seized.

download-keyboardBack in February 2015, German anti-piracy outfit GVU filed a complaint against the operators of large eBook portal Lul.to.

Targeted mainly at the German audience, the site carried around 160,000 eBooks, 28,000 audiobooks, plus newspapers and periodicals. Its motto was “Read and Listen” and claimed to be both the largest German eBook portal and the largest DRM-free platform in the world.

Unlike most file-sharing sites, Lul.to charged around 30,000 customers a small fee to access content, around $0.23 per download. However, all that came to end last week when authorities moved to shut the platform down.

According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, searches in several locations led to the discovery of around 55,000 euros in bitcoin, 100,000 euros in bank deposits, 10,000 euros in cash, plus a “high-quality” motorcycle.

As is often the case following significant action, the site has been completely taken down and now displays the following seizure notice.

lulto.png
Authorities report that three people were arrested and are being detained while investigations continue.

It is not yet clear how many times the site’s books were downloaded by users but investigators believe that the retail value of the content offered on the site was around 392,000 euros. By volume, investigators seized more than 11 terabytes of data.

The German Publishers & Booksellers Association welcomed the shutdown of the platform.

“Intervening against lul.to is an important success in the fight against Internet piracy. By blocking one of the largest illegal providers for e-books and audiobooks, many publishers and retailers can breathe,” said CEO Alexander Skipis.

“Piracy is not an excusable offense, it’s the theft of intellectual property, which is the basis for the work of authors, publishers, and bookshops. Portals like lul.to harm the media market massively. The success of the investigation is another example of the fact that such illegal models ultimately can not hold up.”

Last week in a separate case in Denmark, three men aged between 26 and 71-years-old were handed suspended sentences for offering subscription access to around 198 pirate textbooks.

Author: Andy
Twitter: @torrentfreak
Source: https://torrentfreak.com

Don Foxe’s Japanese poetry reach the top spot on an Amazon’s list of Top 100 e-Books

donfoxIn June 2017, Bluffton resident Don Foxe saw his second collection of Japanese poetry reach the top spot on an Amazon’s list of Top 100 e-Books, by category. Foxe wrote “Haiku Seishin” with Melissa Dolber Grappone of New York and fifth grade students from East Granby, Conn. The collection of exchanges between the authors and the students is a follow up to the release of “Seasons of Henka Suru,” his first collection of poems. The students used Foxe’s first book as their poetry study guide. They contacted the author, and the book that resulted is a collection of their haiku exchanges with Foxe.

Don Foxe has lived in Bluffton since 2000. He and his wife Sarah own Beach City Health and Fitness on Hilton Head Island. Foxe is a member of the Academy of American Poets and The Southern Independent Book Sellers. He is also the author of the science fiction series Space Fleet Sagas.

When asked about haiku, he said, “I began writing seriously in college, even having a few poems published in established literary magazines. Learning about haiku, the way writing a haiku poem forces you to see things differently, and present what you see in words designed to create an emotional response, made me a better writer regardless of the genre.”

Haiku Seishin (Spirit of Haiku) includes a short story to introduce haiku, as well as a complete workbook for anyone interested in learning how to write haiku poetry.

It is available as an ebook or paperback through Amazon Books / Don Foxe or donfoxe.com.

Author: Editor by Hilton Head Monthly
Twitter: @hhmonthly
Source: http://www.hiltonheadmonthly.com

‘Screen fatigue’ sees UK ebook sales plunge 17% as readers return to print

4428

A tourist in Goa reads an Amazon Kindle – the market leader in ebooks. Photograph: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Consumer sales down to £204m last year and are at lowest level since 2011 – when Amazon Kindle sales first took off in UK

Britons are abandoning the ebook at an alarming rate with sales of consumer titles down almost a fifth last year, as “screen fatigue” helped fuel a five-year high in printed book sales.

Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17% to £204m last year, the lowest level since 2011 – the year the ebook craze took off as Jeff Bezos’ market-dominating Amazon Kindle took the UK by storm.

It is the second year running that sales of consumer ebooks – the biggest segment of the £538m ebook market, which fell 3% last year – have slumped as commuters, holidaymakers and leisure readers shelve digital editions in favour of good old fashioned print novels.

“I wouldn’t say that the ebook dream is over but people are clearly making decisions on when they want to spend time with their screens,” says Stephen Lotinga, chief exeutive of the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Thursday.

“There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week. [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”

Sales of consumer ebooks hit a high water mark of £275m in 2014, when they accounted for half of the overall ebook market. The decline in consumer ebooks has been led by a slump in sales of the most popular segment, fiction, which plummeted 16% to £165m last year.

Lotinga says that while there has been an increase in sales of ebooks and subscriptions in non-consumer areas, such as education and academic titles, there are certain types of consumer books people prefer to read in paper format.

Among last year’s biggest sellers were children’s books by JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and David Walliams (The Midnight Gang, The World’s Worst Children), which helped sales of print and digital kids books to soar 16% to £365m. Diet book guru Joe Wicks (Lean in 15) was also a huge hit.

“The titles that sold really well last year did not lend themselves to digital,” says Lotinga. “People prefer to give, or read, children’s books like Harry Potter titles in print, and healthy cooking titles and biographies sell very well in print compared to ebook format.”

Print sales of consumer book titles – fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles – rose almost 9% last year to £1.55bn. The total UK print book market, including non-consumer areas such as journals, rose 8% to a five-year high of £3bn.

“We saw a very marginal increase in overall print sales in 2015, but last year people flocked back to print in droves,” says Lotinga.

Issues with a slowdown in ereaders being bought, linked to the rise of smartphones, has contributed to the decline in ebook popularity and renewed surge in book sales.

“The ubiquity of larger screen smartphones and tablets appears to have impacted the demand for ereaders,” says Richard Broughton, analyst at Ampere. “However, for many consumers the screens on smartphones and tablets are not as conducive to reading, not as comfortable”.

With most Britons now carrying hi-tech, expensive phones many just don’t want to have the extra cost, and potential headache, of carrying and looking after more devices.

“For consumers travelling or on holiday having an additional ereader device to look after is awkward,” says Broughton. “A physical copy of a book is a disposable low-cost entertainment tool. It doesn’t matter if you leave it in your hotel room, on a train or by the swimming pool.”

The issue with consumer ebooks aside the UK book industry is in fine fettle. Total sales of print and digital books and journals climbed 7% to £4.8bn last year, the largest growth since 2007 when digital sales were first included.

Looking purely at the book market total sales rose 6% to £3.5bn, as an 8% rise in print sales outweighed the 3% decline in ebook sales.

Overall digital sales grew 6% to £1.7bn, with academic, professional and educational journals outstripping the fall in ebooks, to account for 35% of total revenues.

Despite this success Lotinga warned that with Europe the largest market for UK books, accounting for 35% of international sales, it is imperative that Theresa May’s Brexit deal protects the publishing industry.

“Whatever the makeup of the new government, they must ensure that any post-Brexit trade settlement it reaches with the EU and other countries reinforces this success,” says Lotinga.

Overseas sales increased 6% last year to £2.6bn, 54% of total revenues.

Author: Mark Sweney
Twitter: @marksweney
Source: https://www.theguardian.com