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Forward Chess update

Things are moving far better with the Forward Chess app (finally!). New books are being added all the time. In NIC 4/2014 we will carry a full page add for the app on page 3. Sales are slowly picking up, making it feasible to do the conversions (though this was not the reason for the delays, they were technical) and we start to look at it a bit more optimistically.

Also, there is a decent review on ChessCafe of the app. I should note that we have a free book on it as well and will continue to put a few free books on it over the years.

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  1. Alex
    May 15th, 2014 at 13:46 | #1

    I have the app and bought several books from QC, ChessStars and Russel Enterprise.

    This is on an android tablet and overall the experience is satisfying and I believe that the reviewer has missed some points :
    – the apps can be used on various devices / OS where he personally reviewed it only on iPhone
    – the review does not really provide feedback on the “user experience” with the app (navigation, layout, easy to navigate through the books chapters, page well structured or not, make moves on the board …)

    Besides, there is a big practical aspect which is to allow you to carry your “chess library” at virtually no weight.

    By the way, I did appreciate that the electronic version of the latest published QC books were available at more or less the same dates as the paper version.

    About the app, my user experience is that the board handling could be improved with a larger font for the choice of variations / maybe coloring of lines/sub-lines and for the engine the lines (limited to 2) are displayed in such a small font that it hurts the eye :).

    To make sure my lines will not deter anyone to try and buy books, as I said in the intro, I am overall happy with the app.

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    May 15th, 2014 at 14:19 | #2

    @Alex
    Obviously it is early days for the app. It does work well on the Ipad, no need to worry there. Currently the Android version is a bit better. Soon the IOS app will be better and so forth. They work on one at a time.

    Sadly there is no way to give discounts for buying both book and ebook without putting us entirely in the hole. Gready multinationals…

  3. Ashish
    May 15th, 2014 at 19:30 | #3

    OMG. Now I need to buy all your books all over again! (They are worth many times the price.)

  4. Tom
    May 15th, 2014 at 21:53 | #4

    Thanks for sticking with this. In tech transitions, there’s always a period when people’s habits change during which the “newcomer” has to suck it up for a bit. FWIW I believe your choice of ForwardChess is a good one. Of the three competitors that I am aware of it is, IMO, far superior to the others (features, aesthetics, vision).

    Most people won’t buy a book twice, so when the electronic copy comes out some time after the print copy it is not surprising that the pickup is light. Having said that, I would buy Playing the French a second time if it ever came out on FC as one counterexample. As you are (or seem to be) moving toward concurrent release and can convince your readers of that then I think you will get a more realistic breakdown.

    Anyway, thanks for supporting FC (no, I’m not involved with them).

    Side comment: what happened to JS’s Playing 1.e4 French and Sicilian?

  5. Alex
    May 15th, 2014 at 23:00 | #5

    @Jacob Aagaard

    Thanks for the reply, about the discounts I understand this is easier said than done and has to be profitable but when you buy 2 times the same book (not exactly same because there is the bonus of the e-version) a little incentive on the price might not be bad. That said, I understand your position :)!

    @Tom , on my side I have a couple of doubles :), I guess that eventually it will depends on the books …

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    May 16th, 2014 at 07:33 | #6

    @Tom
    Thanks. FC made most sense for various reasons and we have talked to 5-6 different companies. We do not regret this for a second.

    Yes, we will have concurrent releases on most books. I am not putting GM Preparation on at the moment, because we want to get as many people as possible to see how great the hardcover books are. The extra income for us is almost non-existent on them, but for the chess specialists, it is a clear edge over Amazon!

  7. wok64
    May 16th, 2014 at 09:52 | #7

    I’m happy to hear that the app starts to gain momentum and I hope it will eventually turn into a financial success for you. For me as someone who’s travelling a lot it’s a no-brainer to buy both the hardcover books for home training as well as the app version for travel (if available).

  8. Paul
    May 16th, 2014 at 11:15 | #8

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Yes, I agree the hardbacks are excellent and well worth the few extra euros (or more if you wait to buy the paperbacks from amazon/one of their affiliates). BUT at least in London, the London Chess Centre does not stock (one of their staff told me they did not really sell compared to paperbacks). Of course, I could still order the hardback via them……..but that all seemed a bit of a faff, so I ended up just buying directly from you. When you don’t have 3 concurrent releases to get the free postage, I either just wait, or buy one of your older books I do not have (or very occassionally where the old paperback I have has taken a battering from over-reading, buy that in hardback, which happened with Attacking Manual).

    But to repeat, the hardbacks are an excellent investment.

    With regards to Forward Chess, probably the only books I would buy are the GM Prep or GM Guide to flick through variations on a train/between rounds at a tournament. Even without you being able to offer a discount there, your pricing is much much more sensible on there than some publishers (one in particular, where I would have bought their book were it not pretty much the same price as the physical copy. In the end I was so disgusted I ended up buying neither).

    The only thing which is slightly irritating (though I understand why you have done it), is that I can only view QC Forward Chess books on one device (perhaps there is some setting I missed), whereas for other publishers on there I seem to be able to view on my iPhone and iPad. Reading on iPhone on the tube, and an iPad at home without paying twice would be nice. Giving your worries about Kindle versions being read by different users, I guessed this was a setting you put in.

    Also the one QC book I bought on Forward Chess- Carlsen’s Assault- seemed to have a few issues (guess these were the early days), and because it seemed to be withdrawn and then re-issued to fix these did not automatically update when these were resolved (I bought within a few hours of it first being uploaded.) The Forward Chess app as a result does not seem to recognise me having bought the book…….though I guess I could contact them if it were mega urgent to resolve. Though I started to worry what would happen with my purchase when in a few years I buy a more modern iPad and want to look on it on that….

  9. John Shaw
    May 16th, 2014 at 13:45 | #9

    Paul :
    The only thing which is slightly irritating (though I understand why you have done it), is that I can only view QC Forward Chess books on one device (perhaps there is some setting I missed), whereas for other publishers on there I seem to be able to view on my iPhone and iPad. Reading on iPhone on the tube, and an iPad at home without paying twice would be nice. Giving your worries about Kindle versions being read by different users, I guessed this was a setting you put in.

    Hi Paul,

    I am checking this out, but as far as I know our books on Forward Chess are available on more than one device. So iPhone and iPad should work fine.

  10. John Shaw
    May 16th, 2014 at 15:15 | #10

    @Paul

    Hi again Paul,

    Just to confirm what I said above, if you buy Quality Chess books on Forward Chess (Apple or Android version) you can read them on more than one device. So in the case of your Apple version, you can read it on iPad and iPhone, with no need to pay twice.

    And there is no need to worry about upgrading to a new device – books you have already bought will not be lost.

    If you struggle with any of the details of reading the books on more than one device, I would suggest contacting Forward Chess. They are excellent at dealing with any questions.

  11. tckwan
    May 20th, 2014 at 13:18 | #11

    if this application can be developed to such an extent that it’s be possible for anyone to write their own chess book using your platform, and use your application and site as publication vehicles and for digital rights management, then I think you’d really have something;

    …anyone can then ‘self publish’ and sell their chess ebooks here with you getting a share of the $sales, with a win-win situation for everyone,

    I’d predict there would be an explosion of materials from chess enthusiasts and you’d become the de facto standard for chess ebooks!

  12. Kostas Oreopoulos
    May 24th, 2014 at 20:03 | #12

    The books are linked to your “android account = google mail” as all your play store purchaces.
    You can view it on your mobile phone(s) and (or) your tablet(s) (which is my case).

    If you lose/change your tablet, you can just download them to your new one (if you use the same google account ofcourse)

    Since my library is almost full of books (not only chess though) , the e-versions of the books is my format choice.

    Thumbs up from me.

  13. Ihab
    June 6th, 2014 at 10:54 | #13

    yes you can download and see on more than one device as long as all of them are on one platform i.e. Google OR Apple but not both as the purchase and billing is handled by them not by Forward Chess or QC.

    I am happy to see that QC has ironed out all the initial issues and now I am really enjoing the app- I find it is much more likely I would finish a book i.e. less hassle – no need for board and pieces – comes with engine and can read on the train

    Hope QC add more books to it

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    June 6th, 2014 at 11:40 | #14

    @Ihab
    We are adding 4-6 books a month for a while, I hope (but won’t promise). We are also having a one page add in New In Chess in the next issue.

  15. Waldorf
    June 6th, 2014 at 17:18 | #15

    If I remember correctly, you wrote on the blog that the book on the tarrasch will be available on forward chess in the future. Still true?

  16. Paul
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:09 | #16

    John (and others)- thanks for looking into this, and it is good to know. It seems at the moment a bit of an academic point as- at least for me- following the recent update forward chess does not work on an iphone (iPad is fine).

  17. Paul
    June 7th, 2014 at 12:15 | #17

    Though deleting and reinstalling the app makes it work and synchs with the books I bought on my ipad. Might go on shopping spree for Slav and French books this afternoon:-)

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    June 7th, 2014 at 23:46 | #18

    @Waldorf
    Nikos is working on an updated version. There is hope.

  19. Waldorf
    June 8th, 2014 at 07:42 | #19

    very good news 🙂

  20. Ed
    June 11th, 2014 at 18:17 | #20

    I can’t access 2 books that I download and viewed last month. I double tap on icon and just get front page. I know this is a problem at Forward Chess end and not Quality Chess.
    Just very frustrating. My preference is a paper book any day!

  21. ForwardChess
    June 11th, 2014 at 18:23 | #21

    Ed,

    Please contact us directly and we can certainly resolve your issue.

  22. Paul
    June 17th, 2014 at 15:50 | #22

    First chapter in “Playing 1d4 – The Indian Defences” on ios (apple) in the Contents “Page” is Queen’s Gambit Declined (at least in the sample)……….though when you go to the chapter it is on the Nimzo.

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    June 17th, 2014 at 21:10 | #23

    @Paul
    I think this is a mistake that came through from the books :-). I will check later, if I remember.

  24. Paul
    June 17th, 2014 at 22:49 | #24

    @Jacob Aagaard
    No, I checked is fresh for the app version….though on the other hand I think the “lighter” grandmaster guides come across well in the app.

  25. ForwardChess
    June 18th, 2014 at 01:23 | #25

    Paul,

    There was a slight mislabeling, but not impact to content. Whatever its source, the issue has been fixed – thank you for letting us know.
    In general, if you contact us directly info AT forwardchess DOT com, we can respond faster.

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