Extra! Extra! April was a big month in the world of eBooks, eReaders, and digital publishing. Here are a handful of headlines. Click the links to read more details on each story.

1. Barnes & Noble and Microsoft ink a $300 million deal. The Nook digital bookstore will be bundled with Windows 8.

2. Barnes & Noble expands its foreign language eBook selection, adding Russian, Afrikaans, Urdu, and more.

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In the book world? Yes.

Barnes & Noble has announced that their physical stores will not carry any title published by Amazon. The boycott does not extend to B&N’s (Nook) eBook offerings, however.

Two giants duke it out in a battle for the ages, but there may be only one! Just kidding. Hopefully there’s room for both B&N and Amazon in the bright future of books.

Details HERE.

-Chris R. at BookBaby

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports are in; Kindles, iPads, and Nooks are flying off the shelf! I was in a Barnes & Noble on Friday and the line at the Nook station almost went out the door. What does that mean? eReaders will be under millions of Christmas trees this year. But it’s a little more difficult to imagine gifting something as virtual as an eBook, right? Wrong!

Now you can easily gift an eBook with a few clicks of the mouse. Amazon and Kobo allow you to purchase specific eBooks as gifts. All you have to do is type in the email of the recipient, along with the date you’d like the eBook “delivered.” Or you can print out a gift receipt to put in a Christmas Card.

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With a spate of new eReaders and tablets hitting the market, we thought it worth spelling out some of the features and specs of the major players to help you discern which is right for you – or at least help you figure out what the differences are. Bear in mind, there is no real apple-to-apple comparison here (no pun intended). eReaders have black and white “eInk” screens and are designed to be fairly basic – the introduction of the latest $79 Kindle is the best proof of that. Tablets, on the other hand, are designed to be something like a laptop in your palm – and can be used for reading, gaming, browsing, streaming, recording, and many other “-ings” to boot. In the end, your (and your readers’) preferences may be driven by your choice of book retailer as much as by the features of any given eReader.

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It’s strange to say, but a lot of the questions we get asked about eBook formatting and conversion seem to stem from the fact that many writers have never read an eBook. Many authors are unaware of the benefits and limitations of digital books. They have not seen how text behaves on various eReading devices.

For those of you who are uncertain about how line-spacing, font size, pagination, and word-count work in eBooks, I highly recommend going to Barnes & Noble or Best Buy or a Mac Store and trying out an eReader. You don’t have to buy one, of course. But just a little experience with a Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, or Sony Reader will probably answer 75% of your basic formatting questions.

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NOOK Color’s 1.2 software update was just released. It includes Android 2.2 “Froyo” and Flash 10.1, along with Barnes & Noble’s Nook-specific app shop. Previously, it may have been difficult for you to budget precious reading time when entertaining distractions like “Angry Birds” were competing for your attention, but now those alternatives are all going to be housed on the same device. You’ll really have to stay focused! Read more