February 9, 2016 Last Updated 10:02 am

The Granite State goes to the polls; platform updates for Magzter, WordPress and Kindle

Morning Brief: Guardian Media Group gets needed new funds after magazine publisher Ascential goes public, newspaper publisher owns about one-third of the company

The votes are in from New Hampshire. Well, some of them, anyways. In a quaint tradition, three small towns – Dixville Notch, Millsfield and Hart’s Location – vote at midnight on the day of the primary. In total, 65 votes were cast: 37 for the Republican candidates, and 28 for Democrats (including two for Mark Stewart Greenstein, the Connecticut resident and was actually the first presidential candidate to file to run in the New Hampshire Primary).

Sen. Bernie Sanders gathered the most votes on the Democratic side, while the GOP side was a three-way tie between Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Gov. John Katich.

It is expected that there will be a few more than 65 votes cast when the day is done.

Three publishing platforms released updates in the past day.

Magzter released a minor bug fix update for its iOS digital newsstand app. The app has not been receiving bad reviews of late so it is doubtful that the fixes involved anything major.

WordPress had its iOS app updated, as well. This one allows users to use the app to create a new website from start to finish with a mobile device, though why one would really want to do this is a bit of a mystery (maybe if I owned an iPad Pro I’d feel differently about that.

What’s New in Version 5.9

  • No Desktop Required: You can now create a new WordPress.com site right from within the app!
  • Themes at your fingertips! Search and filter in the Themes Browser.
  • Activate and customize those themes to your heart’s delight.
  • Other magical behind-the-scenes improvements to make sure our codebase is stronger than ever!

D.B. Hebbard

On Monday, Amazon released new beta version of Kindle Previewer, the app that many developers use to convert Epub to Kindle ebooks.

Kindle PrevieweIt’s available for OSX and Windows, and can be downloaded from Amazon. This is a beta release and thus not for the faint of heart, but the changelog does give us at least one good reason to try it:

  • Support for previewing books with Enhanced Typesetting and Bookerly
  • New widget through which you can easily change the device type and orientation, navigate through the table of contents, and search within the book
  • Simplified installer for Mac that does not require you to manually download and install Java and X11
  • Full-page previews without having to scroll
  • Ability to change the fonts during preview
  • Separate navigation pane for quicker page navigation
  • Faster text search, page navigation, and book re-open
  • Yes, the app will let you preview an ebook with the enhanced typography that Amazon added to the Kindle platform in may of last year.

It doesn’t say whether the app will let you _make_ the ebook with the enhanced typography, however.

n related news, Amazon has also released a new version of the Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF). This document details all of the tools you can use to make Kindle ebooks. According to its changelog the new set of guidelines have been updated:

  • Reorganized document.
  • Updated 2.2.2 Kindle Previewer Software
  • Added 2.2.3 Kindle Textbook Creator
  • Added 2.2.4 Kindle Comic Creator
  • Added 2.2.5 Kindle Kids’ Book Creator
  • Added 3 Comparing Formats
  • Updated 9.3 Text Guidelines
  • Added 12 Creating Fixed-Format Books Without Pop-ups
  • Added Appendix A Enhanced Typesetting

Nate Hoffelder

Guardian Media Group received a much needed cash infusion Ascential, the magazine business jointly owned by The Guardian’s publisher and the private equity group Apax, went public in a £800 million IPO. Ascential publishes 17 magazines including Drapers and Retail Week, as well as the Lion’s Festival.
Guardian Media Group owns about a third of the company. About 35 percent of the company was made available, priced at 200p a share. While the IPO will be helpful, the overall investment hasn’t really panned out as the Guardian and Apax paid over £1 billion for the company in 2007. Timing is everything, and that was not a great time to buy a media company (right before the fiscal crisis and the coming recession).

If the name Ascential doesn’t ring a bell it might be because the publisher has changed its name a few times – from EMAP to Top Right Group to Ascential. The publisher’s mobile apps and websites still refer to EMAP.

European and US stock markets had a rough day yesterday. Unfortunately, today is looking to be only modestly better. European markets have opened down again, and Dow futures point to a fall in the market when trading begins.

The German DAX is down over 1.7 percent, while some other markets in Europe are down over 2 percent (the UK’s FTSE 100 is doing best, down only 1.3 percent).

Crude oil fell in value again today, priced at just over $29 a barrel.

At the risk of repeating myself, the issue with oil right now is that many banks may be faced with a run of bad energy loads with oil priced lower than $40 a barrel. This is what investors are concerned about whenever the price of oil falls.

D.B. Hebbard

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