Announcing Bluefire Reader 1.3 for Android!

The trees and flowers are blooming in Seattle! We’re celebrating with the release of Bluefire Reader for Android version 1.3. The release includes the following new features:

  • Support for the new Android 4.0 user interface
  • Support for external hyperlinks in ePUB and PDF titles
  • Support for multiple Adobe IDs
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes and performance improvements

Look for it in your favorite Android marketplace!

Happy reading!

– The Bluefire Development Team

Announcing Bluefire Reader 1.7 for iOS!

We’re welcoming Spring with an exciting update of Bluefire Reader. Version 1.7 is now live in the Apple iTunes App Store. The release includes the following new features:

  • Support for the new iPad Retina display
  • Support for external hyperlinks in ePUB and PDF titles
  • New on-screen swipe for brightness control
  • Improved side-loading
  • Improved support for editing metadata
  • Support for multiple Adobe IDs
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes and performance improvements

An update to our Android reader will follow shortly.

Happy reading!

– The Bluefire Development Team

Visit Us at the London Book Fair!

It’s a beautiful Spring day in Seattle, which means that it’s just about time for us to pack up for the London Book Fair where the weather will be… It doesn’t matter! We never see the light of day anyway when we’re at the show! Happily, we’ll be demoing our latest bright and shiny new features—guaranteed to brighten your day. Drop by and see us at stand X800.

– Cliff

Customer Profile: Hastings Entertainment

goHastings Logo 

Location: Amarillo, TX
Branded app: goHastings Readmor App

Readmor app iconHastings Entertainment is a successful brick and mortar chain with more than 140 locations in the United States. Their entertainment superstores sell new and used books, music, videos, games and more. Hastings recognized that their loyal customers had a growing interest in eBooks. The company decided to integrate the sale of eBooks into their already successful goHastings website—to retain their loyal customers and compete for new customers in the growing eBook market. They committed themselves to delivering a seamless end-to-end mobile shopping and reading experience.

Hastings turned to Bluefire Productions to build the goHastings Readmor apps for iOS and Android. They also decided to launch their own white-label Android device, again with the help of Bluefire. The Readmor app for Android gives customers the ability to shop for books and read books in the Hastings branded and managed environment. Customers can download the app on their Android phone or tablet, or purchase a device in a Hastings store. The device sold in the stores has the Readmor app pre-installed, so new users can shop and read right away.

Readmor Android App Store

The Bluefire powered Readmor app enables customers to explore the hundreds of thousands of eBooks on sale goHastings.com. Now, Hastings loyal customers can build their personal eBook collections with new releases, a deep catalog of backlist titles, free eBooks and more.

The iOS Readmor app makes it easy for iPhone and iPad users to download and read previously purchased eBooks. iOS users can also shop through the mobile Safari browser.

Feedback from customers (old and new) has been very positive. Vicki Maloney, Director of eCommerce at Hastings Entertainment noted that the app, “has been a turning point in helping shift our presence to being mobile. Now, with the customized Hastings Readmor App we are able to provide that end-to-end experience for our customers and give them what they want in the format they want it in.”

The Bluefire Platform

Bluefire Reader integrates Adobe® digital publishing technologies, the most widely used eBook distribution and reading system. The Adobe Reader Mobile-based applications support ePUB and PDF content, including files protected by Adobe Content Server (ACS) encryption technology.

Hastings Background

Founded in 1968, Hastings Entertainment, Inc. is a leading multimedia entertainment retailer that combines the sale of new and used books, videos, video games and CDs, and trends and consumer electronics merchandise, with the rental of videos and video games in a superstore format. They currently operate 140 superstores, averaging approximately 24,000 square feet, primarily in medium-sized markets throughout the United States. They also operate three concept stores, Sun Adventures Sports, located in Amarillo, Texas and Lubbock Texas, and TRADESMART, located in Littleton, Colorado.

www.goHastings.com is an e-commerce Internet Web site that makes available to our customers new and used entertainment products and unique, contemporary gifts and toys. The site features exceptional product and pricing offers.

– Danielle

Hello (Again) World

Wow, three years have gone by since my last blog post. It has been quite a journey.

That last blog post was in January 2009. At that point we at Bluefire had been working closely with Adobe for a couple years on a substantial overhaul of their ebook platform. At that point, Adobe Digital Editions had been available for about a year and Adobe Content Server 4 had been out for a few months. Sony had recently become the first major ebook retailer to adopt the new Adobe eBook Platform.

In February of that year Adobe released the Reader Mobile Software Development Kit (“RMSDK”) and it took off like a rocket ship. Many hardware companies built ereader devices using RMSDK, and key industry players leveraged the platform including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Overdrive, Ingram, and Google – among many, many others.

As 2009 progressed we continued to work with Adobe on building out components of the platform and worked with several other clients in the digital publishing space. A lot of our client work that year was focused on developing technologies for browser-based reading systems.

By the end of 2009 my partner Patrick Keating and I recognized an unmet need in the market: mobile ereader apps. Yes, any company could license RMSDK and build their own app, but that process is a time consuming and expensive proposition that requires skill sets that are still very hard to find. We recognized that this skills gap represented a big opportunity for us because we were intimately familiar with the technology, and because, after many years working in the ebook space, we had been bitten by the ebook bug. We believed that many retailers, publishers, and libraries world-wide would be interested in deploying their own mobile ereader apps. Even large companies and institutions that we don’t necessarily think of as being in the “book” business seemed to be likely candidates to want to distribute long format content to their employees, investors, partners, and members on mobile devices.

So, after 8 years working as a boutique UX design and development services firm, Patrick and I decided it was the right time for us to reinvent Bluefire as a digital publishing platform provider. Our initial goal was to create a “white label” mobile app development system that would enable us to deliver customer-branded ereading apps to retailers and publishers so that they in turn could distribute ebooks directly to their own customers under their own brand. The idea was to “level the playing field” so that lots of new retailers and publishers could enter the rapidly evolving ebook marketplace quickly and affordably.

In the fall of 2010, after many months of hard work, we delivered our first white label iOS app to Books-A-Million, one of the largest brick-and-mortar retail chains in the US. In early 2011 we became an authorized reseller of Adobe eBook Platform technology licenses and services. And in August of 2011 we began delivering Android ereader apps to our customers as well.

I’m pleased to report that today, just one year after releasing our first product, we have over 75 enterprise customers in 18 countries and that Bluefire is entering 2012 as a growing, profitable and 100% independent company.

All of us here at Bluefire are looking forward to what should be an eventful and exciting year.

– Micah