Monday, March 30, 2015

Clean Reader Controversy: Censorship, or Right to Read?

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“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." –Mark Twain

One of the recent controversies in publishing involves the creation of an app called Clean Reader that has authors of every level crying censorship. Built by two parents who claim their daughter was upset by the amount and level of profanity in a book she was reading, the app takes an ebook and “filters” out the naughty words with three levels for the reader to choose from. Readers can decide that “damn” is okay but not “f***,” for example, all the way up to the strictest setting that will filter out biological terms for human genitalia.

Personal feelings on sheltering one’s children aside, it’s important to understand how this is not censorship. First, nothing about the original manuscript is actually changed. The author’s original work is still available for sale elsewhere; this would almost be akin to an app selling a translated version of the book, since the author himself cannot speak or write in Swahili and someone else decided what words would appear in the file. Second, by definition censorship requires a larger-scale effort than one reader choosing to read a version of the book with the profanity removed. If the government required the profanity to be removed in order for the book even to be published, that would be censorship.

The debate on both sides has been very interesting. Supporters of the app have stated that this is simply allowing choice for the readers, and that audiences who would have avoided the author’s work entirely for its word choices can now support the author and take part in the dialogue about the book. Other supporters have pointed out that this was a parent-driven effort, and that we should applaud these parents for not taking the typical route of complaining to the school and having the book pulled from the shelves. They didn’t interfere with other children’s enjoyment of the book, they simply provided an avenue (at their own expense) for their daughter to read roughly the same books as her peers–with their same tones, plots, and themes–without having to wade through words that the child herself found objectionable.

Where things got tricky was in the selling of the books through Clean Reader. Basically, the app isn’t capable of taking any document in any file format and simply replacing certain words. The book has to get the “cleaning” treatment and then be available for sale. While supporters can easily take the stance that authors should be grateful for any sale they get, this did irk a number of authors, and for good reason. It’s one thing to filter a book at the reader’s discretion, as that would be like flipping past the sex scenes in an erotica title to get to the story. It’s something else altogether when a bookstore owner rips out the pages that contain “smut” and then sells the book on her shelves with the claim that it is “clean.”

The saddest issue in this controversy is the argument that profanity in published books is a fact and that readers should have to simply put up with it because that’s how the author wrote it; the point was even made that the couple who developed the app are “sheltering” their daughter from the real world by not letting her read books with bad words in them. Critics of this app have basically said the authors’ craft is more important than the readers’ sensibilities. This would be far more understandable a concern if most consumers knew how much an author’s work is stripped away in the editorial process by major publishers, and then understood that self-published authors often chose to pursue indie authorship because random gatekeepers had deemed their book wasn’t fit or worthy enough for mass market publication. Telling an author that there’s now one more level of censor before the book can be read can sting.

Unfortunately, there’s a middle ground that could be reached, and neither side has looked for it. The answer may not be simple, of course, but nothing like this ever is. This app could have been incredibly helpful for teachers who wish to support indie authors or who wish to use controversial titles in their whole-group class instruction, but instead that tool is no longer available to them as the Clean Reader developers have ceased selling books through their app’s bookstore for the time being. Consumers who flocked to Clean Reader have also been left with a bad taste in their mouths over the idea that their dollars aren’t good enough–even for self-published authors who arguably could use the money–if it means taking out a few cuss words.

Clean Reader Controversy: Censorship, or Right to Read? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Will Publishers Start Adopting 3D Printed Book Covers as a Marketing Tool?

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Publishers and retailers are always looking for new ways for a book to stand out in the crowd. Sometimes they employ well known designers and artists to something visually compelling with an anniversary edition or bookstores will sometimes employ small motifs for bestsellers such as 50 Shades of Grey. This is all going to change with the advent of 3D printing technology.

In January 2014 Riverhead Books developed a 3D slipcover for And Chang-rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea. Riverhead holds the distinction of being the first publisher to ever do something like this.  The white slipcover, into which the book fits neatly, features the letters of the title rising off the surface at an angle, and the idea all along was to do something unlike anything ever seen in the world of publishing, Riverhead's art director, Helen Yentus said "I didn’t even think we'd be able to do it, because it's such a new and innovative technology."

Yentus continues "A couple years ago, we thought this was the end of print and we'd just be going cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until the physical book disappears, because you could just get the e-book. With these special editions, I can't say 100% but I do think that we are trying to create a physical object that people would want to keep and have, probably as a response to the growth of the e-book," she says. "There's a lot of pressure to innovate. For us, at least in my mind, this has turned out to be a really successful result of that search."

The finished design, which took 15 hours to print,  was made for a special-edition run of 200 signed copies for sale—a number partially decided by how many could physically be printed in time for the shelf date.  Each copy cost $150, so it certainly costs more than  your standard e-book.

Retail stores such as Barnes and Noble or Chapters/Indigo could really take advantage of getting the stores designers to come up with a new way to make books stand out. Most books do not have custom display stands and merely sit on tables. If the store was really behind a new book that was coming out and was a surefire bestseller, they could print up a few 3D slipcovers per store in order to capture the shoppers attention. Likely local and national press would cover this story, giving the bookseller something new and cutting edge to talk about.

Publishers could also orchestrate a limited run of a book cover or slipcover that is 3D and even  include an autograph by the author. I know if a new book by William Gibson or Neil Gaimon came out and was one of a kind, with a very limited run, I would certainly spend $200 on it and use it as a status symbol.

3D printing is relatively a new thing and traditional industries have yet to employ it in an meaningful way. It tends to chiefly be used by geeks and hobbyists that are  looking to get some street cred on Reditt or a message board.  As Riverhead Books as demonstrated there is a market for this sort of thing.

Will Publishers Start Adopting 3D Printed Book Covers as a Marketing Tool? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Riot is Encouraging Women to Play the Victim

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Book Riot is a publishing blog and they have recently been garnering attention due to a post that was published by Brenna Clarke Gray who quit GoodReads. She alleged in a convoluted manor that when she left 2 and 3 star reviews of books the author and their publicists called her out on it. Brenna felt bullied about being asked to take down the review she left, so she quit GoodReads.

Brenna claims that Goodreads is not safe for women and that they are constantly being bullied “When I say the bookternet is not safe for women, I mean it. Thankfully I have never been physically attacked or directly harmed by my experiences tweeting and blogging about books. But I have certainly been made to feel unsafe, to live on the defensive, to question the motivations of those who engage with me, to block first and ask questions never. That's not the person I want to be, but it's the person I must be if I wish to have a public voice on a big platform like Book Riot. If I have to choose between my sweetness and my voice, my voice will always, always win. It has to.”

Her post on Book Riot has garnered a few hundred comments and moderator Kelly Jensen has been deleting almost every single comment written by men and people who disagree with the author. Kelly is even claiming that GoodReads is sexist because the site does not do enough to protect women from indie authors shilling their books or authors who have a problem with a bad review.

Kelly said “Sexism works when a group in power uses that power against another group. In other words, women can’t be sexist against men. Men have power in our society; women do not.” So, is Kelly saying that women have no power online and in the world at large? Many people have called her out on this issue and she has personally deleted everything that conflicts with her narrow world view.

Only four men have their comments officially sanctioned and even women have raised the issue about Book Riot promoting the fact that Brenna is playing the victim on one hand and over-zealously battling commentators on the other. Book Riot is claiming that fundamentally it is men responsible for driving women away from GoodReads and book blogs in general.

One gender group is not to blame as Book Riot is claiming. Women can also be hostile when people leave negative reviews of their books or call them out for being shills on Twitter. Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton said “My book-related stalkers and harassers have all been women so far. I had a trio make my life a living hell last year. It was so bad I thought about giving up writing. I mean, what’s the point when my stress level was through the roof. But of course, that would let them win. As a reviewer, I get a few nasty comments off and on, but again most (almost all really) were from women. I actually get stalked and harassed more as an author than a reviewer. The internet is full of people typing before thinking. It’s so easy to spout off without serious repercussions. It’s like the frontal lobe ceases to function in some people the moment they log on.”

Book blogger Celine said “I’m so sorry to hear you got harassed – no one should go through that. However, I’m not sure I agree that it’s gendered harassment, and that the female voice isn’t valued in the online book community. I’ve never noticed any sexual bias in the community, apart from the wider cultural denigration of “women’s fiction”. In the four years I’ve been active on the Goodreads forums and as reviewer, I’ve never been called out on my gender, nor have I had to block anyone. It could be I’ve just been lucky. But I don’t recognize your generalizing statements in my personal experience.” The Book Riot moderator team mocked her for this opinion.

Finally, Carol McNicol summed it up by saying “‘I’m a woman and personally I think this is just a big over reaction. Honest to God, we are becoming a nanny community where every little thing is an anti woman slur. I feel absolute no hesitance in sharing my opinions where and when I feel I have something to contribute. And if people (or men) feel the need to personally attack me, then that says more about them and less about me. Just ignore it and stop living your life in fear of what other people think and say. Let’s try raising a new generation of girls who aren’t afraid to speak out and defend themselves rather than running away when confronted with a little bit of resistance.”

Running away at the first sign of conflict is the essence of Brenna Clarke Gray’s rambling diatribe.  She is claiming that when authors ask a reviewer why they left a review or to ask them to remove it as a sign of bullying and sexism and the Book Riot staff are in agreement.

Book Riot is Encouraging Women to Play the Victim is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura H2O Can Survive Being Frozen Too (Video)

A few days ago I posted about how a Ukrainian tech site recently tested the PocketBook Aqua ebook reader to see if it could withstand being frozen in a block of ice. The device showed no ill effects whatsoever after being thawed out, and it turns out the same can be said for the IP67-certified […]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is Focusing on eBooks

The_Art_of_Renaissance_Europe_A_Resource_for_EducatorsThe The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most famous galleries in North America and visiting it in New York is considered a rite of passage. Traveling there is expensive and buying the physical books on Amazon will cost $118. In order to make their paintings and drawings more accessible the Met is focusing on digital and is now giving away a ton of digital content for free.

Met has been focusing on digital  since 2010 and had humble beginnings with only a few hundred paintings in the digital format and expanded into eBooks in 2012. Today, there is 422 art catalogs, eBooks and 400,000 free art images. All of the books are in the PDF format or are available online via a digital reader.

If you are into art on a personal level or an art history major you will want to take a gander at the MetPublications' current collection.  I would recommend African IvoriesChess: East and West, Past and PresentModern Design in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1890–1990; Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings; French Art Deco; or even a guide to the museum itself

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is Focusing on eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Buying an eReader in Canada Just got Harder

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e-Readers in Canada have poor retail visibility and you would be very hard-pressed to find anything but the odd Kobo. This is a stark contrast to the large selection found in the US or United Kingdom. Buying an e-reader in Canada just got more difficult with the announcement that 66 Future Shop stores will be closing and 65 will be converted to Best Buy. As a result of this consolidation, approximately 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time positions will be eliminated.

20% of all Canadians live in rural areas without a major bookstore and an electronics shop. Chapters/Indigo have been closing down locations and with Future Shop axing 65 locations, it will be difficult for Canadians to buy an e-reader on a retail level.

This is a blow to smaller companies that depended on Future Shop for distribution such as Aluratek and the Boogieboard writing tablet. Likely Kobo will also see diminished revenue because of this situation but Amazon is unaffected, because they sell their e-readers online.

Buying an eReader in Canada Just got Harder is a post from: Good e-Reader

Friday, March 27, 2015

Amazon is Experimenting with Selling Digital Content in Bulk

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Digital comics and manga are notorious for printing weekly issues for years. This is a massive barrier to new readers who want to start at the very beginning. Amazon is seeking to make peoples lives a bit easier with a new experimental program that bundles 25 issues into a single purchase.

Amazon Japan has just launched the Kindle Buying Corner that bundles popular manga series such as Attack on Titan, Magi and Yowamushi Pedal. This is beneficial for readers because they only have to make a single purchase, instead of selecting each one individually. If a reader already owns a few issues in the bundle, the cost is dedicated from the overall cost.

The Kindle Buying Corner makes sense to debut in Japan because Amazon has been heavily focusing on getting publishers to include them in their digital distribution pipeline and make their manga solution very competitive with the local market.

It is expected that Amazon will likely debut the service in the US at some point in 2015. Industry experts are forecasting that Amazon will leverage the vast digital comic library from Comixology, which they purchased last year. The North American audience is obsessed with comics due to the massive success of the Marvel and DC franchises and new readers might find buying them in bulk very compelling.

Amazon is Experimenting with Selling Digital Content in Bulk is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Unlimited Cloud Drive – Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

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Amazon is trying to compete with Dropbox, Google and Microsoft with it’s Unlimited Cloud Drive option. The new service goes beyond simple a simple photo storage solution and can now handle video, music and e-books.

Amazon has nixed the free option with photo storage and now demands that their users subscribe to Prime in order to keep on using the service. You can store unlimited photos and up to 5 GB of everyday files. If you are not a Prime member, it costs $11.99 per year. The Unlimited Everything plan basically has no limits on storage and is $59.99 per year.

Not everyone is excited about this new product offering. Serious video editors and film makers lament that Amazon only has a 2 GB file upload limit, which prevents them from storing their media properly. The only way to bypass this restriction is if you use the Desktop software, instead of the mobile apps. Other users have lamented that the Send to Kindle function for popular browser extensions no longer work unless you are a paid subscriber. This is especially troubling because Amazon used the free Send to Kindle function as a marketing ploy to get users to switch to their ecosystem.

In the end, this move is to pick up users that want to store media and aren’t investing into other cloud storage platforms. Amazon is certainly not the first company to offer "unlimited" storage, but it looks like it's the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google focuses on enterprise and small businesses. Its closest competitor, Microsoft does offer a user service, but it requires a monthly subscription fee to Office 365.

I think Office 365 is still one of the better deals. $69.99/year but you’re also getting Office & Skype with your unlimited storage. You can also get access to the Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps that have recently been developed for Android and iOS.

Amazon Unlimited Cloud Drive – Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be is a post from: Good e-Reader

Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter to be Released this October

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Scholastic has just released the exclusive cover image of the fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It will be available to purchase in major bookstores October 6th 2015.

The illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book will not be the last, Scholastic plans to publish fully illustrated editions—one per year—of each of the seven titles. Over 450 million of the Harry Potter books have sold worldwide and the series continues to appear on bestseller lists in the U.S.

The new book cover features Harry Potter on Platform 9 ¾ surrounded by witches and wizards, trunks and owls, about to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time.

Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter to be Released this October is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Has Removed 5GB Free Option for Kindle Personal Documents

Yesterday Amazon announced new pricing plans for their cloud storage service, and with it comes some bad news for Kindle owners and Kindle apps users. In a highly-questionable move, Amazon has removed the free 5GB tier. This means that Kindle users can no longer add personal documents to their Kindle accounts for free using email, […]

Boyue T62+ Has Upgraded E Ink Carta Display, Costs $118

The Boyue T62 is one of the best options for an Android-powered E Ink ebook reader on the current market, and it recently got even better with the release of the Boyue T62+, a newer updated version. There appears to be only one main difference between the T62+ and the regular T62: the screen. The […]

Digital Magazine Haqiqah Spreads Message of Islamic Beliefs

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Religious leaders across practically every belief structure and faith can expound on the woes of trying to reach new generations of believers as the societies we live in change at rapid-fire pace. For decades younger generations have complained that their parents’ religions are outdated, don’t “get it,” or are just obsolete. But one new digital magazine has launched with the specific intention of not only reaching younger believers, but in correcting a tidal wave of extremism that the leaders fear is taking over their faith.

Haqiqah, or “The Truth,” launched recently through the efforts of website ImamsOnline, aims to educate younger generations of Muslims about the dangers of fanaticism that pervade religious sectors around the world. This effort is specifically focused on combating the extremely tech- and social media-savvy group ISIS, or Islamic State, as well as other similarly intentioned extremist groups.

In an interview with the BBC, Qari Asim, senior editor at imamsonline.com, said,  “Someone has to reclaim that territory from ISIS, and that can only be imams: religious leaders who guide and nourish their community. But now that we live in a digital mobile world, some young people are not coming to the mosque so we must reach out to them – and this is the Muslims’ contribution to combat radicalisation on the net.”

This digital effort is the latest in a long-awaited realization from publishers and content creators that the old standbys are no longer effective. Current studies and survey reports have shown that millennials are simply not interacting with print periodicals in the way they once did; if there is no digital edition or online interaction, how are readers to be affected? This is an especially important question that the editors at Haqiqah have worked to address considering “more than 100,000 pieces of information, tweets, and Facebook posts coming out of Syria and Iraq every day,” and that the number of pro-Islamic State Twitter accounts is anticipated to be close to 70,000.

The editors of the digital magazine and the supporters of the ImamOnline website obviously hope this effort will be effective, and if comparable growth numbers for other publications that have made the leap to digital hold true in this case, it should be. The goal of not only spreading a more genuine message of Islam but also reaching out to younger believers through relevant social interaction is one that mobile connectivity can help foster.

Digital Magazine Haqiqah Spreads Message of Islamic Beliefs is a post from: Good e-Reader

EU Looks to Dissolve Geo-Blocking for Netflix, Similar Sites

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A new look into film and television rights and a new observation on how exactly the European Union is supposed to function as a single marketplace may lead to big changes for companies that offer streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. One EU commissioner has demanded some answers for why certain markets in the EU are open to international entertainment content, and others are restricted.

In an interview with news site Independent.ie, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “I, for one, cannot understand why I can watch my favourite Danish channels on my tablet in Copenhagen, a service I paid for, but I can't when I am in Brussels. And it's not only me who struggles with digital borders. About one European in five is interested in accessing content from other EU countries. Geo-blocking prevents consumers from accessing certain websites on the basis of their residence, or credit-card details. It is very difficult to explain this to the people and, at the same time, make the point that we are all residents of the EU and consumers in the same internal market."

While it might seem logical to blame internet service providers or the streaming companies themselves, a lot of the blame lies in how international rights are addressed for film, television, and video games, just to list a few. Just as in the world of publishing, the rights to books, movies, and other content are sold on a border-by-border basis. That’s one of those “this is how we’ve always done it” issues, and Vestager is tired of it.

Unfortunately, international rights are not only a tremendous source of revenue for rights holders, they’re also a rather large bargaining chip when it comes to negotiating with television stations, streaming services, and film venues. While this battle could go either way, it also opens the door for a reexamination of how books are sold throughout Europe and how VAT penalties such as those currently imposed in France and Luxembourg could be reconsidered. After all, if Vestager’s point is that the EU now functions as one semi-borderless retail space, there’s no reason for different costs in different regions.

“European consumers should be able to access goods, content, and other services no matter where they live and travel in Europe," said Ms Vestager. "It is high time we removed these digital barriers, which keep Europe's digital markets fragmented."

EU Looks to Dissolve Geo-Blocking for Netflix, Similar Sites is a post from: Good e-Reader

LEGO model smart home

I do love a good demo. The folks at PubNub have been showing users of their software how home automation with a Raspberry Pi works – on a itty-bitty scale, with LEGO.

This little house is rigged up with seven embedded LEDs (representing things like the stove and the fireplace, as well as lights); sensors to measure humidity, barometric pressure, and temperature; and a stepper motor that remotely opens and closes the door. Scale the system up, and you could apply this ability to remotely control appliances in a full-size house.

Joe Hanson at PubNub says:

The project is includes both the hardware (the house, Raspberry Pi, and accessories), and software (an interactive GUI). This blog post is the proof-of-concept and high level introduction to the project, and we'll dig deeper and give full tutorials in the coming months.

Home automation, of course, is something you can do without proprietary software (you’ll find plenty of examples on our blog); but we really like the slick user interface that PubNub offers; and…tiny LEGO houses. You can learn more over at PubNub’s own site. And I am reminded that I still haven’t got that PIR sensor for the hall light hooked up to a Pi.

Amazon Controls 95% of the eBook Market in the UK

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The president of the UK Booksellers Association, Tim Walker spoke at the Nielsen BookInsights conference yesterday and made some startling revelations.

During a round-table discussion Tim said “I do a have a concern that Amazon’s dominance is causing problems. We estimate Kindle has a 95% market share of e-book sales in the UK and this is having a damaging effect… Consider the struggles of Barnes & Noble and the Nook platform, the problems of the established Txtr in Germany, and the decision here of Tesco to pull out of Blinkbox Books.”

Txtr recently was put into receivership and the company for all sense and purposes is done. The company originally burst onto the international scene in 2008 with plans to capitalize on the e-reader boom. Production and design issues led to their first device never being released. The company flipped gears in 2009 and started doing development for online digital publishers and traditional book sellers. In 2010 and 2011 they quickly became one of the largest companies outside North America developing whitelabel eBook ecosystems. The company's former portfolio includes clients such as Vol Retail and Weltbilde, who is the largest EU book retailer.

At the conference, Nielsen released data showing that online spending on books had overtaken in-store spending for the first time. E-books now account for 30% of book units purchased in the UK, and the sales of print and e-books together in 2014 stood at £2.2bn, up from 4% the previous year.

There is no denying that eBook sales in the UK are booming and Amazon is reaping the lions share of the profits. Tim Waters basically said that they are dominating the landscape and not having to put in millions of dollars into advertising, they are so big now, they simply don’t have to.

What does the future hold for the eBook market in the UK? Barnes and Noble has failed to erode  market share from Amazon and homegrown starts are finding it hard to compete. Will Amazon be the only way we can buy books?

Amazon Controls 95% of the eBook Market in the UK is a post from: Good e-Reader

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Onyx Developing 13.3 Inch e-Reader

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The six inch e-reader market is heavily saturated and many serious readers are looking for a large screen alternative. The Sony Digital Paper 13.3 inch e-reader fits the bill, but was only designed to read PDF files and is quite expensive at $999. Onyx is in the process of making a consumer grade e-reader using a 13.3 inch screen and employing  e-ink Mobius that will be released this October.

A source close to the situation has told Good e-Reader that “Onyx could have done a technologically sound big e-reader some time ago, but they are afraid the price would discourage the potential buyers. At the moment the Mobius screen costs around $600. The end product could cost 700-750 €/$. I don’t know why the company finally decided to run the risk, but Onyx now thinks there is a substantial market even at the higher price tag.”

e Ink Mobius is perfect for large screen displays because it was developed to weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT and maintain flexibility. This is particularly important for mobile products.  The standard 13.3 inch screen has a resolution of 1200×1600 pixels with 150 PPI, which is fairly solid to read digital content such as books, magazines, newspapers and technical documents.

The new Onyx 13.3 inch e-reader will likely be running Google Android 4.4 and this will allow users to install their own apps. This is particularly important because you can simply install the Kindle, Kobo or Nook app to buy and read e-books in a multitude of formats.

Onyx Developing 13.3 Inch e-Reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Anime and Manga: What Pirating Is Doing to the Industry

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In 2014 Japan passed a new anti piracy law and had begun cracking down the whip on copyrighted materials and intellectual properties such as anime and manga from Japan. The Japanese government then commanded a lot of illegal streaming and hosting sites which has resulted in a lot of websites getting shut down.

With the help and cooperation of fifteen major anime production companies and manga publishers, the Japanese government started a huge extermination operation against 580, and counting, foreign sites which have illegally uploaded anime and manga contents on the web without the copyright holder’s permission. As Japan has began supporting the genre as one of their important cultural exports, there seems to be no end of illegal uploading of anime and manga via pirating sites, mainly operated by the Chinese. In the year 2013, the Cultural Affairs Agency estimated a loss at 560 billion yen ( around US $5.5 billion) in China alone.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) revealed it’s Manga-Anime Guardians project, which will monitor and remove illegally uploaded copies of anime and manga. The project aims to create an environment where fans can truly enjoy official creations, spur creations and continue to support and cultivate new talent. The METI states that online piracy hurts Japan at nearly $20 billion a year. Over half of US anime and manga fans read and watch pirated works, according to the METI.

The project is a part of the Manga-Anime Anti-Piracy Committee, which includes Aniplex, Kadokawa, Good Smile Company, Kodansha, Sunrise, Shueisha, Shogakukan, ShoPro, Studio Ghibli, Tezuka Productions, Toei Animation, TMS Entertainment, Bandai Namco Games, Pierrot, and Bushiroad.

It’s certainly an interesting topic, growing up all through out high school, I certainly didn’t have much of an income so streaming from websites or reading online scanlations was the only way for me to keep up to date with a lot of anime and manga, not to mention at the time, the Western audience was definitely suffering from lack of material. Let’s face it, for the almost 100+ anime that get released each season, there are only so many official sites that do grab these shows or manga. Nowadays it’s a little different, we have official sites that are more accessible, Crunchyroll and Funimation being the two main contenders, and more and more anime and manga have begun getting licensed. Which is fantastic, but even Crunchyroll will have restrictions on which countries can view what.

But all that aside, I do wholeheartedly believe we should be focusing our money on official merchandise and subscriptions to help the industry out. Can you imagine what kind of shows, licencing projects and possible earlier anime releases we would get if Japan wasn’t getting hit for $20 billion a year? It may seem like you are doing completely harmless by reading that latest released scanlation or downloading the newest episode of your favorite show, but please think of the developers, support the artist and it’s industry! And after all of this, what do you all think? As I noted earlier, I can see the pro’s and con’s for both but I know which direction I’ll be going towards from now on.

If you’d like to view the METI document which has a list of which sites have been taken down, you can view it here. The site is all in Japanese but you can find the list of websites in English on pages 11 and 12 for manga scanlation sites, pages 13-15 for video hosting sites (Youtube, Dailymotion etc.) and pages 16-18 for torrenting sites.

And those who’d like to support M.A.G, Manga – Anime Guardians, you can find them and their message here!

Anime and Manga: What Pirating Is Doing to the Industry is a post from: Good e-Reader

Digital Magazine Growth Reaches as High as 78%

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A new report from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) highlights not just what consumers are reading, but also how they’re utilizing publishers’ content. Some sectors of the industry reported staggering growth in digital consumption, especially on mobile devices, with increases of as much as 78% year-over-year.

The February report looked at the combination of print and digital readers–both online and mobile device based–for US magazines, and found a 12.6% increase from February of last year to this year. The 2015 numbers showed a total audience of over 1.7 billion readers across the various pathways.

“Audience growth was driven largely by increases in the total video audience, which rose 18.7%, and magazines' mobile audience, which soared 78% compared to the year before.

“Mobile readers increased from 14% of the total audience to 22% over the same period. Their gross Web audience, including desktop and laptop, increased 6.9% over February 2014 — but in proportional terms, the Web audience actually shrank from 17% to 16%.”

This kind of growth, when coupled with the report earlier this week on the trends impacting different age demographics of newspaper readers, should serve as an illustration of where publishers and advertisers choose to focus. The earlier report pointed out that millennials are not consuming print newspapers in anywhere near the numbers the industry once saw, and that more than half of the 1000+ survey respondents didn’t pay for any type of news, digital or otherwise. Instead, both newspaper and magazine publishers need to take a hard look at the current behaviors of their target audiences, namely that this kind of reading is happening online or on mobile devices, and then plan accordingly.

Digital Magazine Growth Reaches as High as 78% is a post from: Good e-Reader

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How digital libraries are helping prisoners across the country

Recently we spoke with Cindy Mclaughlin of the American Prison Data Systems (APDS) about their OverDrive-powered National Corrections Library (NCL), a first of its kind digital library for inmates at correctional facilities across the country. In the short time since the NCL went live they’ve seen great success with prisoners of all ages engaging in digital reading as well as a decrease in violence in the facilities. What follows is her story of adoption and integration of their system.

 

Describe your situation and why you wanted a digital reading solution?

  • APDS offers a connected Android tablet-based solution to correctional facilities, to bring online education, job training, and rehabilitation to those involved in the criminal justice system.  We work with prisons (minimum and maximum security), jails, probation departments, re-entry facilities, and alternative-to-incarceration programs to service their male, female, juvenile and adult populations.  We partner with best-in-class content providers for our educational/vocational/mental health programming, but create some of our own customized tools to solve specific problems within facilities where there's no clear third-party answer.
  • CaptureOne of our most exciting home-grown product offerings is National Corrections Library (NCL), powered by OverDrive.  This is a recreational library we’ve curated for inmates with the help of OverDrive staff and prison librarians nationwide.  It's a powerful addition to our solution, as it solves a range of problems for our client facilities and for the inmates they house.
    • For Facilities, NCL meets the needs of facilities that require filtration of what they feel to be objectionable or unsafe content.  NCL can both replace and augment the paper-based recreational libraries, which
      1. often take up much-needed space and administrative and security staff.
      2. are key vehicles for the distribution of contraband, which promotes increased violence and the consequences that follow (solitary confinement, sentence extensions, cycles of retribution, etc)
      3. struggle to offer ADA-compliant text for the vision-impaired.
    • For Inmates, NCL offers an ever-expanding set of engaging, informative, aspirational, and inspirational titles to inmates at all reading and educational levels.  As literacy is a major problem with our audience, we work especially to bring hi-lo and audio-supported content, that addresses topics of interest for a teen and adult audience, but is written for lower Lexile levels.  NCL lets inmates peruse books in private, at their own pace, and with their own text-size and contrast settings.  This is critical for those who may be:
    • low-literacy
    • checking out mental health or other self-help titles that would reveal an underlying diagnosis or condition or experience they'd like to keep to themselves.
    • students with learning interferences, such as vision impairment or dyslexia

Describe how your set up process has been with Team OverDrive?

Ours is a unique case, as we require both technical security – our users are not allowed to access the main OverDrive website, social media, or any other external website – and a curated book list that's both engaging to inmates, and non-threatening to our facility clients.

  1. We started by working with the OverDrive sales team to ensure that our site was customized for us, by identifying and eliminating or disabling all offending links.
  2. We then worked to build in layers of access permissions that would allow our adult and juvenile facilities access to age-appropriate and relevant content for both their populations.
  3. Finally, we customized the site with our branding and content, with help from OverDrive's curators.
  4. On an ongoing basis, we add content to our library based on data about which titles and categories are most popular, and sunset titles and categories that don't get much traction.  This allows us to spend our funds wisely to ensure engagement and ongoing use by each of our unique audiences.

How have you implemented the service?

APDS offers National Corrections Library to each of our facilities, free, as part of the broad service we provide.  Each of our inmate tablet users has access to NCL.

What type of training have you provided for your staff?

Relevant APDS staff went through a phone- and PPT-based and online training to help us administer our library, and understand the features and tools available to us.

How has the service been received?

NCL has had tremendous acceptance both by our facility clients and the populations they serve.  We've had thousands of checkouts across all our users since we launched NCL in September, 2014.  We get ongoing feedback from facility staff, teachers, and inmates themselves with thanks and encouragement to continue this great program.

Any specific examples of how it's being used?

The Indiana State Department of Corrections uses NCL in a juvenile girls' maximum security prison.  We've watched the girls checking out titles steadily, and increasingly, while violence in the facility has gone down substantially since our solution has been implemented.  Corrections Officers attribute the reduced violence, in part, to increased recreational reading via NCL.