Sunday, May 24, 2015

Top 10 New Android Apps for May 2015


This week a number of notable titles have been released. We have a new entry to the popular franchise Ice Age and many new entertainment apps. All of the below apps are available to download for free from the Good e-Reader App Store, no registration required.

Tidal – This is the big Jay Z venture everyone is talking about. Tidal is the world's first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and Curated Editorial by music journalists, artists and experts, making for a simply superior experience.

Bubble Cloud Widgets + Wear – Place apps, contacts and bookmarks in AppleWatch style “circle galaxy” on the launcher homescreens or Android Wear watch.

Meerkat – Meerkat allows you to live stream video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. Press ‘Stream’, and instantly your live video stream shows up in your follower’s Twitter feeds.

Layout from Instagram – Instagram’s newest app lets you create fun, one-of-a-kind layouts by remixing your own photos and sharing them with your friends.

MixRadio – MixRadio is the perfect FREE app for music lovers who like to discover fresh new tunes every day. As you listen, MixRadio learns the artists you like, giving you a PERSONALIZED experience. The more you listen, the better it gets. So, with a whole world of songs out there, you can spend more time listening and less time searching.

RealTimes (with RealPlayer) – RealTimes with RealPlayer automatically turns your photos and videos into beautiful video "Stories" that you can share with friends and family and relive using any device! All your moments get saved in a private cloud that's just for you.

Lumi: Smart News & Videos – Lumi uses powerful data science to pick stories just for you and learns every time you like or skip a story. They source from all major news outlets as well as indie publications, and cover everything from current affairs to business and politics, sport, design, tech, and music.

Ice Age Avalanche – Join Sid, Manny and Diego on an epic Ice Age journey in search of a long-forgotten treasure in this fun new puzzle game from the makers of Ice Age Village and Ice Age Adventures! Swipe fruit in any direction to match 3 or more of the same kind as you travel with the Sub-Zero Heroes around the Ice Age world.

Amy the Starry Archer – The evil Star-Eater has stolen all of the stars from the night sky, and it's up to Amy and her magical bow to get them back! Soar through the skies of a fantasy world, in this visually stunning, flight-based action game!

Star Walk 2 Free – Star Walk 2 is an exquisite stargazing tool that combines astronomical data with premium technology to deliver an effortless journey through thousands of stars, comets, and constellations. All you have to do is point your device at the sky.

Top 10 New Android Apps for May 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Authors Guild President Advises Authors Not to Write for Free


The President of the Authors Guild has decreed that authors should not be writing online for free. She says that it devalues book sales and there is no correlation between blogging and making more money.

In an interview with the Bookseller, Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson said "People write on Huffington Post, they write for Goodreads, they write for valuable sites owned by big tech companies that make a lot of money for those companies. Writers choose to write there for nothing and to provide content for nothing. That's another issue, and that is something that writers are doing deliberately."

Robinson drives home the point that writing for free, does not increase book sales. "I don't know that anyone has figures on sales that result from this kind of writing (for free)," she said. "Everyone says, 'get your name out there', but does that really translate to connecting to the hard mental presence of the book? We want writers to recognize what is happening, to be aware of this trend, that writers themselves are contributing to the idea that their writing doesn't deserve to be paid for."

Roxanne is dead wrong about authors devaluing their books if they write for free. Many of today’s most notable writers are constantly in the media, whether its William Gibson writing for Wired or Hugh Howey’s Authors Earnings website. Its important to be build brand identity and to write for publications who reach readers, who wouldn’t have otherwise known who the author was. I have discovered many new writers who after the article ends, mentions their latest book.

What Roxanne is advocating is that writers shouldn’t be blogging or contributing book reviews to GoodReads. Instead, they should be writing more books. I think this is a load of crap, if you are just writing books, who is going to read them if they don’t know who the author is? You might as well as be a lowly self-published writer on Smashwords.

Authors Guild President Advises Authors Not to Write for Free is a post from: Good e-Reader

Saturday, May 23, 2015

21 Thousand Developer Accounts on the Good e-Reader Android App Store


The Good e-Reader Android and Blackberry App Store is the largest in Canada and we have just hit a major milestone. Over 21 thousand developers have registered accounts with us in the last two years.

Developers on Good e-Reader can submit both free and paid apps. Free apps are accessible to be downloaded on our website and official Client. Paid apps are only on our website right now, but all developers will earn 70% of each transaction and have their apps visible by over 90 million yearly visitors.

One of the strongest advantages of our Developers System is that we have full support for OBB files, which are large data files. Almost every single game from Electronic Arts and Gameloft have these. We store these safely on Amazon AWS, instead of forcing developers to host their own files. The only other company to offer this service is Google.

The Good e-Reader App Store is a viable solution for Android developers who want to port their apps over to Blackberry. We have one of the best APK to BAR converters, which allows anyone to submit an Android app and automatically convert it to Blackberry. This gives developers increased visibility on  not only our store, but its perfect for submission to Blackberry World.

We would like to thank our cadre of loyal developers that have supported us during the last few years. You are all true heroes.

21 Thousand Developer Accounts on the Good e-Reader Android App Store is a post from: Good e-Reader

What Would Make you Upgrade your e-reader?


e-Reader technology does not improve at the exponential rate as tablets and smartphones do.  New e-paper comes out every two or three years and there seldom is a compelling enough reason to spend a hundred dollars to buy a new device.  Once in awhile new e-readers like the Kindle Voyage and Kobo H2O comes out and pack in new features not seen before. So the question is, what would make you upgrade your e-reader?

Over the course of the last 13 days we ran a poll on Good e-Reader and poised a new series of questions on what type of new hardware features that would make them spend their money and upgrade their existing device.

The number one thing that people want to see  on a new e-reader is colored e-paper. 56 people that represented 24% of the entire vote want to see e-Ink Triton 2, Liquavista or new technology on a mainstream e-reader. We have reviewed every single colored e-reader on the market and its not there yet. I would like to see an investment of new technology that would not only give people a solid color e-reader, but also carry over to devices like the Yotaphone 3 or smartwatches.

New e-paper technology came into second place with 40 votes (17.5%). The latest and greatest is E-Ink Carta and it originally came out in 2013. Only a handful of e-readers currently employ this technology, such as the Kobo H2O, Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Voyage. Lately, the price has decreased and a number of 3rd party companies are starting to issue new devices.

The problem, is that Carta is over two years old and I think people want to see higher resolution screens and the true elimination of full page refreshes. People want an e-reader that is indistinguishable from a real book.

39 people (17.1) of the vote said that they wanted a larger screen. The industry standard is six inches and once in awhile someone bucks the trend and does something a bit bigger. The Kobo H2O and Aura HD was 6.8 inches, Cybook Ocean 8 inches and Onyx Boox i86 is also 8 inches. Sometimes they even get a bit larger, such as the Icarus Excel and Amazon Kindle DX. The problem with 9.7 inch e-readers is the price is often over $350 and people tend not to want to invest that much in a singular purchase digital reader.

Still, apparently people are tired of six inch e-readers. The most common thing people wanted was an A4 screen, 10 inch screen or a company like Amazon to release an 8 inch e-reader.

The other most notable poll result was the fact people want to see Android on more e-readers. I have been lobbying for years that companies such as Barnes and Noble should firmly embrace an open version of Google Android and optimize the Nook App Store for e-ink devices. Many European brands such as Icarus, Onyx, Energy Sistem and Boyue have released e-readers with either Google Play or the Good e-Reader App Store. This gives people the ability to not be locked into any one specific book ecosystem and give true freedom to deal with whatever company you want. Sadly, the average person has not heard of these small European companies before and want a mainstream e-reader with a vanilla version of Android.

What Would Make you Upgrade your e-reader? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle eReader, Tablet, and eBook Deals

A couple weeks ago I posted about Amazon Warehouse Deals offering the 9.7-inch Kindle DX, open-box units, for 20% off, taking the final price down to a mere $103, which is a crazy low price for a 9.7-inch E Ink ebook reader, even if it is outdated. Now the same deal is back for the […]

Can eBook Subscription Services Evolve?

Teenage boy using a digital tablet at night

Amazon Kindle Unlimited, Entitle, Oyster and Scribd all have e-book subscription models that allow you to read as many titles you want, for a low monthly price. Given that there are close to 100,000 books on each platform are people binge reading the same way Netflix users watch television? Do they have the capability to evolve?

Over the course of the last few years the concept of binge watching has been established. Netflix has been the poster child of this movement and they release an entire season of television episodes in one shot. House of Cards has been a critical success due to the high production values and massive media attention it gets for the first few months.

Netflix hired Harris Interactive to study what's happening on its platform. Among the results, it was found that 61% admitted to binge-watching (tuning in to two or three episodes in one sitting) regularly. Most in the study considered the behavior positive, with 76% saying packing in multiple episodes was a welcome distraction and refuge from life, and 79% claiming that binging out on shows makes them better.

e-Book subscription services are relatively a new thing and there isn’t much data that is publicly available that supports the notion that people binge read. Companies like Amazon don’t publicly disclose any viewership metrics and keep everything internal. The other major services likely don’t have the capital to put into advanced metrics or to hire an exterior company to evaluate reader habits.

What we do know is that most publishers and authors remain wary of e-book subscription services, which they worry could devalue books in consumers' minds. And binge-reading is a far more time-consuming proposition than binge-watching.

Many industry experts are in agreement that the current e-book subscription system is deeply flawed and publishers do not commit front-list titles that are on the bestseller lists. Instead, they only contribute older titles that have been around for a few years and likely any serious reader has already borrowed them from the library or read it in another format.

Tim Hely Hutchinson, chief of Hachette UK simply sees the current generation of e-book websites as not being viable. “"people are always pitching new models to me, and the first thing I say is that the existing model works really well. I don't believe in subscription. I don't see how it would do anything other than cannibalise the business we already have. I know other people take a different view. Within the limits of the law, I hope [HarperCollins UK c.e.o.] Charlie Redmayne will explain it to me, because I don't get it." Neither is he interested in selling direct—"I don't think the consumer wants it. The last thing I think we should be doing it undermining our customers, the retailers."”

Meanwhile Hachette Livre chairman and c.e.o. Arnaud Nourry said in a recent interview that e-book subscription sites are a flawed idea. "Offering subscriptions at a monthly fee that is lower than the price of one book is absurd," he said. "For the consumer, it makes no sense. People who read two or three books a month represent an infinitesimal minority. And there are bookshops. If I seem like a dinosaur, so be it. My colleagues at Penguin Random House say the same thing."

Is the financial aspect of e-book subscription sites not compelling for publishers? How exactly do publishers get paid? Well, Scribd and Osyster have adopted the pay-per-read system in order to pay publishers. Indie authors and publishers earn 60% list price when a reader opens an e-book and reads more than 10% of the book.  On average, Amazon pays authors $1.39 for each qualifying read. In some cases, Amazon ironed out exclusive deals with Pottermore and Susanne Collins for the Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series.

I don’t think that the standalone novel  is not indicative to a large amount of growth potential. The companies involved in e-book subscriptions don’t either and this fact has made most pivot from their core business. Scribd for example now offers audiobooks and comics. Oyster has started selling new e-book titles, instead of just having an subscription platform.

Can e-book subscription sites evolve? Can they offer more than just a fiction novel? I have a few ideas.

I think one thing that they can do is have a standalone subscription for a specific author or book. For example, a school textbook is frequently updated, sometimes on a yearly basis. It would be nice to subscribe to that specific book and get the yearly updates. If you love a romance author, you can just subscribe to her and get notified whenever a new book is added into the platform.

Most subscription platforms have a fairly paltry sports selection. I would like to see more of an emphasis on titles being added when a new season starts or when a big event like Wimbledon or the Masters transpire. I would gladly play an added surcharge on top of my existing subscription for things like this.

I also think that serialized fiction  is also one of the ways e-book subscription services can gain more users. Short fiction or books that just have a hundred pages would be easier to read and promote “binge reading.”

Authors too are starting to embrace short-fiction or serialized novels and enroll them on Kindle Unlimited. Susan Kaye Quinn author of 18 Debt Collector novellas told Good e-Reader that "Romance readers are ravenous, in general, and many subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. In romance, serials allow authors to get material out quickly to their fans, and KU lets romance readers gobble them up without breaking the bank. But not every romance reader is enrolled in KU, so there are, in effect, two audiences for a romance serial – KU readers and non-KU readers. Understandably, the KU readers read episode-by-episode, taking advantage of the fact that each episode is free to them. They get the excitement of serial-reading (the episodes are generally fast-paced) for free. Non-KU readers tend to wait for the box set. Pre-orders are actually perfect for serials, as they allow readers the choice: pre-order the next episode, or skip ahead and pre-order the full box set. Readers then have the best of both worlds: read-as-you-go or get the full story, depending on your preference."

In the end, I think its tremendously important that e-book subscription sites pivot from their core business model and try new things out. There is an established demand for serialized fiction, as the success of Wattpad demonstrates.  Non-fiction materials such as sports, textbook and education material would bring in an entirely new demographic and promoting binge reading to make all parties involved more money. Additionally most of these companies need to scrap the US only policy and expand into foreign markets.

Can eBook Subscription Services Evolve? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Friday, May 22, 2015

Where in the World are 13.3 Inch e-Readers?


Over the course of the last year many companies have expressed interest about designing and marketing a 13.3 inch e-reader.  Many of the devices currently in development are in limo and the only customer to actively bring a device to market, is Sony. Where in the world are the 13.3 inch e-readers?

There are two prevailing technologies used in large screen e-readers. E Ink Fina is the cheaper option, since its made of glass, but its not very viable in a 13.3 inch device due to the fact it can easily shatter and is not very portable. The other technology is Mobius, which is what the Sony Digital Paper employs. It features a plastic screen, so its very flexible and lightweight, but tremendously expensive.

Without any fanfare the Pocketbook CAD was at an e Ink booth in January 2014 at CES. It featured a 13.3 inch screen and utilized Fina. The device was designed for construction business, designed to work on construction sites with dump & moisture proof body

In December 2014 Pocketbook announced that they had developed a second e-reader called the Pocketbook CAD Flex. This model upgraded from a glass based Fina e-paper screen to a 13.3 inch Mobius panel.  This is the exact same screen that the popular Sony Digital Paper employs. The processor was increased to a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, but the RAM was decreased to 512 MB and internal storage lowered to 8 GB. They also mentioned that the final price will be around $574.00.

Onyx has not officially announced anything yet, but the are developing a 13.3 inch e-reader. They basically said back in 2014 they wanted to do it, but nothing really has been heard about it yet. We do have some new rumors surrounding the device though.

The Onyx 13.3 inch e-reader will have a functioning prototype this Autumn. This device will employ  an e-Ink Mobius display, but the plastic screens are still terribly expensive and the company wants the display to come down in price. Technically they could release it in two months but it will be at such a high price, that few people would pay the money for one.

Not very much market research has been done on the mass production costs of Fina and Mobius display screens or how much money users would fork over to buy an 13.3 inch alternative to the DPT-S1. So the question is, how much would you pay for one?

Where in the World are 13.3 Inch e-Readers? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Penguin Random House Negotiating a New Contract with Amazon

Penguin-Random-House-interim-logo123Penguin Random House is negotiating its first mega contract with Amazon since the two sides merged in July 2013. Their current contract with Amazon UK expires at the end of the month and the contract in the US is up for renewal towards the end of the year.

When Penguin merged with Random House the publisher now accounts for 1/4 of all new novels in print. With so many books in their repertoire comes tremendous negotiating power. There are not many online digital book sellers that could stay viable if suddenly all of the books published by Penguin Random House were pulled.

It is very unlikely that the two sides won’t sign off on a new contract. Sources within Amazon and the Publisher have stated they are not going to get to the point where suddenly all print and e-books are not available to be purchased. Penguin Random House spokeswoman Claire Von Schillin said "We are in continuous conversation with Amazon with whom we have an ongoing business relationship. We have no intention whatsoever of ceasing to sell our print or digital titles on Amazon. We want our books to be accessible and available everywhere."

In the last twelve calendar months Amazon has successfully ironed out new contracts with Macmillan, Hachette and S&S. These publishers can set the prices for its electronic books, though Amazon promised "financial incentives for them to deliver lower prices." This is known in the publishing industry as “agency-lite.”

It will be interesting if Penguin Random House signs off on the same contract that the others did. You would figure with being the biggest publisher in the world, they could get better terms.

Penguin Random House Negotiating a New Contract with Amazon is a post from: Good e-Reader

Major Publishers Are Not Listening to Authors


The dream for many aspiring writers is to be picked up by a major publisher. This is often seen as the key to international distribution and being able to attain a fat advance in order to write a single or series of books. According to a recent report, there are many problems with traditional publishing and is driving authors to self-publish instead.

One of the big problems in the traditional publishing industry is that the major publishers simply don’t have time to talk to their authors. They are more concerned hyping up the next big novel and making sure the business is making money.

The average traditionally published author has found it difficult to love their publisher. A recent survey conducted by Harry Bingham and Jane Friedman polled 812 writers in the UK and US. It found that 75% of responding authors said they have never been asked for feedback from their publisher and 28% said communication from their publisher before, during, and after publication was inconsistent, confusing or always poor.

Why aren’t publishers talking with their authors? Writer Sara Sheridan basically spelled it all out. "Authors are 100% invested in the book [they have] written", while an "editor has a stable of books coming out in the same month or season and the reality is that they only need one or two of those books to make it big". She added: "Corporate publishers are engaged in a kind of intellectual property gambling. In this environment, your precious book is less important to them than it is to you."

Harry Bingham who was one of the organizers of the poll lamented “It's odd, isn't it? You buy a book from Amazon and it'll ask you to rate the packaging. You publish a book with a major publishing house . . . and no one asks you to rate anything. According to our stats, 74% of authors aren't asked to give feedback at all, while only 16% felt that they were asked for feedback in a manner which allowed them "to communicate freely". That's not very good, is it? When we looked only at the responses from authors on larger advances, the pattern of responses was essentially identical.”

Is the clear lack of communication driving authors away from traditionally publishing and instead electing to self-publish? There has been an exodus of authors in the last few years that have successfully branched out to having control of their own destiny and reaping financial rewards. It takes a special type of  person to have success in this arena. You have to be motivated to succeed, while others need an agent, or editor berating them to meet deadlines.

If one thing is clear. Publishing companies aren’t interacting with your average author, they simply have too many things on their minds

Major Publishers Are Not Listening to Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx M96 Plus e-Reader Now Available in Europe


Large screen e-readers are an anomaly in the market, as the vast majority of companies focus exclusively on the six inch class. Onyx has continued to buck the trend with their portfolio of 9.7 inch e-readers. This week, Onyx has just launched an improved version of their Onyx Boox M96 in Europe.

The M96 Plus features an e-Ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1200×825 Pixels and 256 PPI. This model is a bit of an upgrade over the M96, which is a bit long in the tooth. It has 1 GB of RAM, instead of 512 and 8 GB of internal memory vs 4 GB of the original model.

I think users will be attracted to the fact this large screen e-reader has built in speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This will allow you to listen to music and audiobooks. Additionally for people with vision disorders there are options for text to speech.

Likely the major selling point is the fact it runs Google Android. It ships with Android 4.04, but a source at Onyx has told me that within a month they will upgrade the OS to 4.4 (Kit-Kat).

The M96 Plus is currently being sold by a single German website, that ships the e-reader anywhere in the world, but the focus is Europe. The e-Reader just received an English firmware update, so its completely viable for most users.

So the big question, is the M96 Plus a good e-reader? A user emailed us and gave their thoughts on the new model. “As a student at the University I had to print every week some 200 pages. With this new e-reader, I don’t do that anymore. Their Neo Reader app, exclusive for their devices, is the best I have seen to date, for tackling PDF documents. There are multiple zooming variants which help you to adapt to the characteristics of your document.”

So what are the cons? Well, he said “The glass screen makes the e-reader very heavy, so its hard to use it while commuting. It also does not come with any dictionaries, you have to download them yourself. The software is also not as refined as Amazon or Kobo, this is because the Chinese market is really not that choosy about design and software, so there is not so much pressure to make things more attractive.”

Onyx M96 Plus e-Reader Now Available in Europe is a post from: Good e-Reader

Japanese Instant Messaging Service LINE is Trialing Paid Music Service


Line Free Calls & Messages is one of the most popular apps on Android and the Japanese company boasts 205 million active users. In order to further cement themselves as the definitive messaging app the company is trailing a $2.00 a month music streaming service.

Thailand is the second largest market for Line users, next to Japan. This is where Line Music is starting its pilot project. Will 30 million users embrace a paid music service that comprises of over 100,000 songs from major record labels such as RS Music?

Line is betting that they will. The main factor is that there is no international music streaming services in Thailand, other than Deezer. This gives Line the advantage of being able to offer a huge catalog of music by Thai artists.

The Thai market is not used to paying for digital content. Line will have an upward battle training their users to pay the $2.00 a month for unlimited music.

The overall timing of Line Music couldn’t be better. Last year Line purchased MixRadio Music from Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. The service just went live this week on Android and iOS devices. Line has confirmed that the two music services are being independently run from each other, but you have to figure that there will be crossover synergy on the business level.

Japanese Instant Messaging Service LINE is Trialing Paid Music Service is a post from: Good e-Reader

Adobe Discontinues Photoshop Touch


Adobe has announced that they are discontinuing Photoshop Touch for Android and iOS.  The app will only be available until May 28, whereupon Adobe will yank it from the market. Copies of the software installed on devices will continue to work “for the foreseeable future.”

Photoshop Touch came out in early 2011, which was about the same time that the post-PC era began. The app has been considered the kitchen sink of software, with a ton of features jam packed into a single paid app.

Adobe is piviting from one app to rule them all, to a series of specialized apps.  In the last few years they pushed out  Photoshop Mix (which specializes in compositing), Photoshop Sketch (drawing), and Adobe Shape (which lets you snap a photo and convert it for editing), and a myriad of others. These are iOS apps at the moment, but Adobe says it’s working on Android versions.

Adobe is quietly developing a new photo retouching app, that will be released sometime this year. The video below shows the new app in action, and you can see a number of Photoshop features.

Adobe Discontinues Photoshop Touch is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Adult Edition of eHighlights for August and September are out!

The Collection Development team has scouted the best titles for August and September in the newest edition of the Adult eHighlights catalog!

With new books from Jonathan Franzen, Alice Hoffman, James Patterson, Kim Harrison, Sue Grafton, Christopher Moore, Haruki Murakami, Edward St. Aubyn, John Scalzi, and, Margaret Atwood – there is something for everyone. I'm especially excited for the new Lisbeth Salander novel by David Lagercrantz, The Girl in the Spider's Web. This Blockbuster lineup cannot be missed so make sure you stock up on titles for your patrons!

Stay tuned for the August & September edition of eHighlights for Kids and Teens coming soon.

Is Digital Publishing Broken?

It’s been eight long years since Amazon rocked the reading world with the introduction of the Kindle. It was certainly not the first e-reader device on the market, but it was the first one with the power of Amazon’s PR team to put it in consumers’ hands in a big way, and it was the first one that came with the world’s largest online bookseller to feed it.

And the industry hasn’t stopped changing since then.

But one of the more dynamic areas of digital publishing that has brought with it tremendous change is in the abundance of companies who offer some for of publishing solution. Whether it’s for individual authors with a dream of finally publishing their books or major powerhouses in the content field who wanted to digitize their catalog, there was no shortage of startups–both great and fairly evil–who came out to offer their services for a fee.

By now, many of the original players–primarily those who saw instant dollars signs instead of a long-haul industry option–have moved on, leaving behind a few steadfast game changers. Some of them, unfortunately, such as Author Solutions just won’t take the hint and go away, while others like Vook have shifted and adapted many times over the years to keep up with a changing market.

Vook, which recently announced its acquisition of both Byliner and Booklr, has rebranded itself as Pronoun and has shifted focus to working directly with authors with an unheard of free model that gives 100% of the royalties to authors. This emerging new concept is intended to fix a broken publishing industry, but just how broken is it?

“Though the publishing industry is filled with people who care deeply about books, it always privileges someone above the author — whether it's the retailer, the distributor, or the publisher. When there's a conflict of interest, the author loses. When margins increase, the author is the last to benefit,” they stated in an announcement this week.

The post highlights a crucial issue facing the digital publishing industry, whether it starts with traditional or self-publishing: we still don’t have a way to use technology to make a book more visible. We can blame the glut of content out there, but that’s a pretty easy target. There were books than any consumer could ever read long before self-published authors filled Amazon’s catalog with vampire-dinosaur-Big Foot-erotica. But despite the promises from the industry, no one has found a foolproof way to take an ebook file and put it directly in front of its ideal customer.

That will be the next wave of revolutionary startup in digital publishing, the powerhouses that find a way to fully address book discovery. Where players like Amazon, Goodreads, and other recommendation engines have failed to help either authors or readers with the issue, the next winner in publishing will have the technology to help books rise above.

Is Digital Publishing Broken? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Getting started with the Internet of Things

By 2020 there will be twelvety gigajillion of Internet Things all shouting at each other and sulking – Alice Bevel

The Internet of Things had been around for a while (since 1982 apparently) but it's still a bit of a mystery to many. The concept of hooking up physical devices and letting them talk to each other is great, but how do you get started? How do you get useful data from them?

A Thing

A Thing

I've been playing around with IoT this week and came across this great starter IoT project for the Pi, a people counting project by Agustin Pelaez. It's an oldie but goodie and worth a mention because it's as simple as it gets in terms of IoT—a sensor sends data to a server, which then presents the data in a nice, human-friendly form.

PIR connected to Pi

A £2 PIR connected directly to the Pi with just three wires ( Photo: Agustin Pelaez)

It's also as cheap as chips—apart from a Pi you only need a passive infra-red sensor (PIR) as used in several of our resources. We love PIRs: they cost a couple of quid, connect directly to the Pi GPIO pins and they can be used for all sorts of useful and/or mad projects. The basic Ubidots account that stores and analyses the data is free. So this is an ideal IoT beginners' project— cheap, straightforward and can be adapted to other projects. (Note that there is a bug in the code, peopleev = 0 should read peoplecount = 0.)

node-red and thingbox

Node-RED on Thingbox, controlling LEDs on the Pi via the web (Photo:

If you want to dig further without too much pain, the ThingBox has an SD card image for the Pi that allows you to "Install Internet of Things technologies on a Raspberry Pi without any technical knowledge" and has a number of basic projects to get you started. It works with Ubidots out of the box and has a number of tutorials that will help you learn common IoT tools like Node-RED on the Pi (including a PIR counter project which is a nice compare-and-contrast  to the Python based one above.)

I like the ThingBox a lot. It lowers the activation energy needed to get started with IoT on the Pi (actually, it makes it easy) and it allows all Pi owners access to what appears at first glance to be an arcane … Thing. The Internet of Things is fun, useful and empowering, and a natural extension to physical computing using the GPIO pins on the Pi. Hook up some Things today and have play.

Another Thing

Another Thing

The post Getting started with the Internet of Things appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Top 7 E-reading Apps for the Sony Z3


Once upon a time, the dilemma facing bibliophiles was where to store their latest page-turner so they could sneak in a read on the go. Then came e-readers, which let bookworms carry all their favorite reads on one device the size of a small paperback. Just when you thought reading couldn’t get any more portable than a Kindle or Nook, e-reading apps debuted, transforming cell phones into uber-portable mini libraries.

While almost all smartphones have e-reader capabilities, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that delivers a better reading experience than the Sony Xperia Z3. With its Android platform, the Xperia offers an endless selection of the latest and greatest e-reading apps. The only question is which of these apps can do the powerful Z3 justice while also giving you an immersive e-reading experience. Read on to find out which e-reading apps are best suited to the Sony Z3.

Google Play Books


One of the coolest features of the Sony Xperia Z3 is its waterproof design, which makes it the perfect beach or poolside reader with the right app and the right network. The only problem is that most e-reader apps are backlit, making them almost impossible to see in direct sunlight. Fortunately, Google Play Books is the answer to all your beach reading woes. In addition to its impressive selection, the Google Play Books app comes with a brightness option that will automatically adjust based on the amount of available light.

Cool Reader


The Xperia Z3 comes equipped with Google’s latest operating system, Android 4.4 Kitkat. This OS has a long list of new features, one of which is full-screen immersion. This means that the top notification bar is transparent and the bottom menu bar disappears in full-screen mode. With your whole screen to play with, you want an e-reader app with a visually striking appearance. Cool Reader is that app, with a dizzying array of theme and text options.



The screen of the Z3 is incredibly vivid and clear thanks to its 5.2 inch HD display. With resolution like that, you owe it to yourself to choose an e-reading app that’s as easy on the eyes as your phone screen is. FBReader offers theme options specially designed to minimize eye strain, such as wood and sepia.



If you have a voluminous e-library, you can put the Z3’s massive 3 GB RAM and 32 GB ROM memory to good use. Aldiko is a great e-reading app if you have a lot of books you want to import on your phone. It has advanced library management features and even lets you import your own PDF and EPUB files.

Moon + Reader Pro


Everyone has had one of those moments when you want to read but your screen-weary eyes aren’t cooperating. That’s when it’s time to channel your inner child and let someone else read to you, even if it’s just a robot. The Xperia Z3 delivers booming, crystal-clear sound with its dual front-facing speakers, making it an ideal medium for e-reading apps capable of text-to-speech (TTS). One of the best such apps is Moon + Reader Pro, which offers TTS within the paid version.



It would be a shame not to experience the power of the Z3’s state-of-the-art keyboard, which boasts lightning-quick response times as well as gesture-based typing. With Kobo, you can make use of this sophisticated tool even when you’re lost in a book. Kobo lets you actively comment on your book while you’re reading it.



Nook is one of the best reading apps out there for any phone, including the Sony Z3. With the Nook app, the biggest selling point is access to Barnes & Noble’s staggering selection. Another impressive yet underappreciated feature of the Nook app is its dazzling page-turning animations, perfect for the crystal resolution of the Z3.

When you have a phone with the power and features of the Z3, it’s hard to go wrong with an e-reading app. Still, some are better suited for this phone than others. Z3 owners won’t be disappointed with any of these seven apps.

Top 7 E-reading Apps for the Sony Z3 is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Load e-books on the Kobo Glo HD


Whenever a new e-reader hits the market, many users are purchasing one for the first time. Inevitably people will want to load their own EPUB or PDF files on it, whether they were bought from other retailers or downloaded from random websites. Today, I will teach you how to load e-books on the Kobo Glo HD using Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions and Windows Explorer.

It is important to note that in order to load e-books on the Kobo Glo HD they have to be in EPUB or PDF format. Kindle books bought from Amazon are totally incompatible. If you have a book that does not have DRM, that is in a different format, you can convert it from one format to another using Calibre.

In the video below you will receive a step by step guide on how to load e-books. If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below.

How to Load e-books on the Kobo Glo HD is a post from: Good e-Reader

15,000 Free e-books Now Available on Entry Level Samsung Phones

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Samsung is trying to make their entry level smartphones viable in Africa. The South Korean company has ironed out a partnership with Worldreader and Jumia to offer over 15,000 free e-books.

Worldreader is well known in the e-book world with providing African schools with e-readers that are full of great free content. The non-profit has been doing it for years and has finally caught the attention of smartphone makers in order to expand their brand, but also get their e-books in front of more users.

In the last year, Worldreader has received a massive amount of support.  CEO of Amazon,Jeff Bezos contributed $500,000 and received an undisclosed sum from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Worldreader Android app will be pre-installed on the Samsung Ace 4 Lite, Ace 3, Trend Lite, J1, Star 2 Plus and Ace 4 Neo. Samsung has promised that the app will be regularly updated in order to provide the best experience. Incidentally, the phones will be available only on Jumia.

15,000 Free e-books Now Available on Entry Level Samsung Phones is a post from: Good e-Reader

Scribd Brings Bestselling eBooks to Australia


Australia has proven itself a major growth market for Scribd. Subscriptions have more than tripled in the country in less than a year. This has prompted Scribd to negotiate with their publishing partners to bring modern bestsellers to Australia in a bid to appeal to serious readers.

Scribd has just added more than 200 front-list e-books to the catalog available to Australian readers, including best-selling titles from Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Harlequin Australia.

According to a Scribd spokesperson, the company is focused on taking a targeted approach to international growth, "and one of the main ways we're accomplishing that is through localization."

That strategy operates in two ways. Not only is Scribd working with the large, global trade publishers it's already partnered with in order to make more of the titles in its catalog available in more territories, it's also striking deals with local publishers and divisions to bring exclusive content to readers in key markets.

"Testing the success of front-list books in key markets internationally is a great sign for the future of even more front-list everywhere" Scribd operates, the spokesperson added, describing the cooperation of some of its biggest publishing partners as proof of their "growing faith in the model."

Scribd Brings Bestselling eBooks to Australia is a post from: Good e-Reader

Reader’s Advisory Project collections are live!

The Reader's Advisory project collections, Book Club Picks and Fantastical Fairy Tales, are ready to Publish in the curation interface in OverDrive Marketplace! Boost circulation and reader engagement by publishing the collections to your site today.

Public your curated collection:

• In Marketplace, select the Shop drop-down menu and choose Switch to curate.* The curated collections landing page is displayed and, in the Draft collections section, you'll find Book Club Picks and Fantastical Fairy Tales.

• Click on the collection title to open the draft, or put a check next to the draft, and select Publish Draft.

Note: The first time you publish a collection, you'll be asked for your "curator details" (your name and title). You can always change your curator details by clicking the Update your Curator information link in the upper-right corner of the site.

• In the popup that opens, select where you'd like the collection to be published on your public-facing site.

• Once you've selected your location, select Publish to publish your collection.

Note: You may need to refresh your public-facing site after you publish a collection in order to see it added on your site.

Don't forget to visit our Recommended Lists page for inspiration and take a look at the Marketplace User Guide for information on creating additional curated collections.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your OverDrive team (you can find the team members and their contact information in OverDrive Marketplace > Support tab in the right column)."

*"Library Site Admin" permission is required for Marketplace users to access the curation interface. For consortia, the curation interface is available at the consortium level only.