Monday, January 26, 2015

Join the first ever #ODchat – Jan. 28th

2015-01-26 10_56_34-Document1 - WordOn Wednesday, Jan. 28th at 8 p.m. (EST), OverDrive will host the first ever #ODchat on Twitter for our partners and users. To join the chat, simply log onto Twitter and follow the conversation using the hashtag #ODchat. This monthly event is designed to enable users to interact with each other, provide feedback to team OverDrive and discuss their experiences with digital reading.

The format will be similar to that of other Twitter chats like #TLchat, #Libchat and the #EdTech chats. We will ask a series of questions to start off the conversation and then anyone can respond with their answers and thoughts.

Each month's conversation will feature a specific theme, with this first chat centering around how digital reading has changed your reading habits. We hope you'll join us at 8 p.m. this Wednesday!

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive

Self-Publishing the Family Cookbook

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When the digital revolution kicked off, it sparked a wave–for better or for worse, depending on which supporter or critic you ask–of self-publishing opportunities that many were quick to take advantage of. But there were key groups who were left out at first, namely children’s book authors, graphic novelists, photo array creators, and similar content developers. But thanks to companies like Blurb, Draft2Digital, Story2Go, and many more, there are now opportunities for a wide variety of publishing types.

This has led to an increase in interest in private self-publishing, or a model of publishing in which an individual simply wants to have a professional-looking print or digital edition of a book that will not be listed for major sale. While outlets like CreateSpace function to list a professional-grade print copy on Amazon’s retail website, others like the addition of print services from Nook Press simply make print-on-demand copies available for the author to purchase.

A recent article for Economic Times highlighted the need for cookbooks to have a publishing process, as more and more people are sharing their old family recipes within their group of relatives, and are looking for a professional option. While church cookbooks in particular have long been a fundraising option, the results were often shoddy plastic spiral bindings between two pieces of card stock, while the books themselves had to be ordered in minimum shipments of bulk that the organizations then had to turn around and sell at an astounding price, just to make a return.

With print-on-demand, though, not only is the option available for single-purchase at much lower prices, the option to list the book on sites like Amazon is still there if organizations choose to direct their customers to the retailer and make their royalty that way. Of course, they are also free (and encouraged, even) to order their own copies at a significant savings and sell them at events as impulse purchases.

In the case on the family cookbook featured in Economic Times, the book actually went on to be picked up by HarperCollins India, given that it was a large collection of regional favorites and nothing else like it was available at the time. The publisher has gone on to actively seek out other cookbooks for the same reason.

Self-Publishing the Family Cookbook is a post from: Good e-Reader

Education, space, hacking and explosions – Bett 2015

Last Tuesday the Raspberry Pi education team beetled down to the ExCeL London for Bett, the gargantuan learning technology event. We spent the next four days on our new and fabulous stand talking, educating, demo-ing, entertaining, showboating, dancing and gerrymandering. There were astounding demonstrations of technological ingenuity, feats of strength and curious electro-mechanical devices.

Ready for action: the education team plus James Robinson (leftest), Martin O'Hanlon (bluest) and Sam Aaron (tallest).

Ready for action: the education team plus James Robinson (leftest), Martin O’Hanlon (bluest) and Sam Aaron (tallest). Clive is weeping openly but laughing inside.

 

We were happily overrun by what seemed like most of the Raspberry Pi community, many of whom made guest appearances in our back to back schedule. We ran hands-on-workshops in Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi, physical computing, games programming and much more. We stormed the BETT arena with Astro Pi and Fran Scott’s pyro-computing show. We ran about and hooted. It was a brilliant show. My post-show brain is far too fried to write so here are some of our favourite bits:

Set-up day. Dave says this is the only place he could get electricity.

Set-up day. Dave claims that this is the only place he could get electricity.

Ready for action: the education team plus James Robinson (leftest), Martin O'Hanlon (bluest) and Sam Aaron (tallest).

I am not a number, I am a free man!

James about to send up a time-lapse Pi on a helium balloon to spy on other stands.

James about to send up a time-lapse Pi on a helium balloon to spy on other stands.

 

Laura Dixon's (@codeboom) students from the Royal High School Bath talking about  Minecraft coding and their computing club

Laura Dixon’s (@codeboom) students from the Royal High School Bath talking about Minecraft coding and their computing club

Dr Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, showing people how to create beautiful music with code

Dr Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, showing people how to create beautiful music with code

Stunned silence then cheering: a blackout at Bett. (Nothing to do with us, honest.)

Stunned silence then cheering: a blackout at Bett. (Nothing to do with us, honest.)

Dave Honess introducing Astro Pi and the ISS. His pitch-roll-yaw demo is now legend https://twitter.com/Raspberry_Pi/status/558960988096307200

Dave Honess introducing Astro Pi and the ISS. His pitch-roll-yaw demo is now legend

Lance Howarth and Astro Pi on Bett Arena

Lance Howarth and Astro Pi on Bett Arena

“My favourite moment was being rushed for Astro Pi leaflets at the end of the opening ceremony of the main arena. I have a great feeling about this whole thing” — Dave Honess

A first for Bett arena we think: Fran Scott exploding hydrogen -filled balloons in the Arena.

A first for Bett we think: Fran Scott exploding hydrogen-filled balloons in the Arena.

Of course it’s not so easy to blow up stuff in the classroom so we made a safe version, the Balloon Pi-tay Popper:

Fran demonstrating the explosive-free Balloon Pi-tay popper resource.

Fran demonstrating the explosive-free Balloon Pi-tay popper resource.

Connecting Minecraft Pi to the real world: @whaleygeek's Big Red Button of Doom!

Connecting Minecraft Pi to the real world: @whaleygeek’s Big Red Button of Doom!

Our friends from Pimoroni show of their brilliant Flotilla

Our friends from Pimoroni show off their brilliant Flotilla

Andrew Mullolland, a student at Queen's University Belfast, and his LTSP classroom management system for Raspberry Pi

Andrew Mulholland, a student at Queen’s University Belfast, and his LTSP classroom management system for Raspberry Pi

Stewards Academy student @jaymegisbourne demonstrating his Porta-Pi

Stewards Academy student @jaymegisbourne demonstrating his Porta-Pi

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Cat Lamin and Tom Sale show how easy it is to use Pis in Primary Schools

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Cat Lamin and Tom Sale show how easy it is to use Pis in primary schools

Carrie Anne picks up her Best Author Award for Adventures in Raspberry Pi...

Carrie Anne picks up her well-deserved Best Author award for Adventures in Raspberry Pi…

...and celebrates in style with David Whale (@whaleygeek)

…and then celebrates in style with David Whale (@whaleygeek)

And that was that. Four days of manic educational goodness.

Thanks to CPC for supporting us, we couldn’t have done it without them. We had a fabulous stand and a great team across the way to give hardware advice and support.

A huge thanks to everyone who gave talks and demos and who helped out on the stand including: Sam Aaron, Laura Dixon, Martin O Hanlon, Alasdair Davies, Dave Honess & UK Space, Eliot Williams, Paul Beech, Jon Williamson, Phil Howard, David Whale, Tim Mockford, Simon Belshaw, Lauren Hyams, Fran Scott, Mike Horne, Tim Richardson, Jamie Mann, Matthew Parry, Cat Lamin, Tom Sale, Wolfram, Stephen Norbury, Naturebytes, Samantha Lubbe, Barry Byford, Karl-Ludwig Butte, Robin Newman, Andrew Mulholland, Spencer Organ, Geraldine Wright, Stewards Academy Raspberry Pi Club, and Cefn Hoile. If I’ve missed anyone then sorry and please email me!

Lastly a big thank you to all of the teachers, students, parents, educators and anyone else who came to see us. See you again next year!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Onyx Boox AfterGlow 2 Review and Video Walkthrough

The Onyx Boox AfterGlow 2 was first released back in November, and then it became available from Amazon US and Amazon UK in early January. Right now it’s out of stock unfortunately but it should be coming back soon. I finally got the AfterGlow 2 review posted today. It was a hard review to get […]

New Initiative Puts India Closer to Broader Digital Adoption

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One of the early adoption markets for tablet use, K12 digital textbooks, and a thriving e-commerce site to offer ebooks was India, but recent reports have shown somewhat stagnant responses, which experts have attributed to a lack of reliable wifi and internet connectivity throughout the country, as well as concerns about posting credit card information on unreliable digital infrastructure. But a new multi-billion dollar initiative from the Indian government in conjunction with a major telecom provider may change all that with the institution of free wifi in 2,500 cities across the country.

The Digital India project will create some 50,000 to 60,000 hotspots in various cities, and offer citizens data plans through telecom-provider BSNL. These data plans, which will function in much the same way that consumers currently subscribe to data plans, will offer the free data packages, with the option to purchase additional data each month after the free threshold has been reached.

According to an outline of the project, the goals include:

  • Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  • Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  • Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  • eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  • e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
    Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs
  • Early harvest program

How does this affect the publishing industry? Nearly all sectors of publishing have seen lagging adoption–slower than predicted, at least–due to concerns of connectivity. While educational initiatives have put devices in place, retail websites like Flipkart and Amazon India have introduced easy ebook purchasing, and even major self-publishers have brought the platform to authors in India, the lack of internet connection has been blamed for disappointing results in publishing.

New Initiative Puts India Closer to Broader Digital Adoption is a post from: Good e-Reader

Secret Wars Gives Large-Scale Reboot to the Marvel Universe

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Announcements made at this year’s Secret Wars comic event brought an official end to the complex and sophisticated Marvel Universe (video coverage of the kick-off event is linked below so you can see for yourself). Once crowned the kinds of continuity, Marvel intends to apply almost 60-years of lessons-learned to a fresh universe (while trying desperately not to alienate die-hard fans of the franchise).

Instead of being an update on the original Secret Wars released in the mid 1980’s (within which, a variety of heroes and villains came together from universes near and far to battle each other), the plan appears to be a mash-up intended to bring all universes into one: Battleworld.

The good news? We don’t have to feign amnesia for the 616-universe. All of that history remains in tact, delightfully free from the complications and confines of current storylines.

The bad news? Marvel has confirmed the slaughter of at least a few beloved characters (though Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso also promised that other heroes will survive and thrive… or even see resurrection). Trying to anticipate who will remain is a guessing-game at this point, but it seems reasonable to assume that Captain America will make the cut ahead of Howard the Duck.

Three sets of comics will get things started:

    Secret Wars: Last Days – These titles will address what the characters from the Marvel Universe have planned for their final days before the start of Secret Wars.

    Secret Wars: Battleworld – If you want the full story, Battleworld is set to deliver a much-needed overview. Marvel Editor-in-Chief promises us answers to the questions already keeping us on the edge of our seats: “Who polices Battleworld? How do the various domains interact? What happens when those domains go to war? What strange, never-before-seen creatures inhabit this world? What familiar faces will make appearances?”

    Secret Wars: Warzones – Once you are ready to dig a little deeper, Warzones will deliver stories of the individual nations found in Battleworld… with a teasers that will offer a glimpse of the future.

Think of Secret Wars as a means for Marvel to do some streamlining and restructuring –but certainly not simplifying. An encyclopedic knowledge of their publishing history may be a value-add here, but in a world filled with bottom lines it seems wise to capitalize on new-comers who may have only hopped on board after enjoying Marvel’s highly-successful feature films.

If this all sounds a little familiar, DC tried a similar reboot of their universe called “The New 52″ that combined bits and pieces of their existing material into a fresh product –though hopefully Marvel has more success maintaining interest beyond the initial launch excitement.

We don’t have long to wait now, with the first issue (written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Esad Ribic) readying for launch on Free Comic Book Day in May.

Secret Wars Gives Large-Scale Reboot to the Marvel Universe is a post from: Good e-Reader

Friday, January 23, 2015

LibreOffice Viewer for Android Reads Nearly Any Document Type

LibreOffice

You may already be familiar with LibreOffice, known for being an incredibly popular open source office application (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). The good news, is the developers at Collabora are making the move to Android –beginning with a beta version of their LibreOffice Viewer. They warn that it’s not stable (and therefore not recommended for mission critical tasks), but they are also welcoming of all feedback and bug reports in an effort to make this app as successful as possible.

Easily capable of becoming a go-to app, LibreOffice Viewer can handle nearly any document type that is thrown at it:

  • Open Document Format (.odt, .odp, .ods, .ots, .ott, .otp)
  • Microsoft Office 2007/2010/2013 (.docx, .pptx, .xlsx, .dotx, .xltx, .ppsx)
  • Microsoft Office 97/2000/XP/2003 (.doc, .ppt, .xls, .dot, .xlt, .pps)

Functionality is pretty basic at this point, but future releases (available weekly) promise to work with URLs and accessing external SD storage.

Ready to try an alternative for reading documents on your Android devices? Download LibreOffice Viewer Beta for free now!

LibreOffice Viewer for Android Reads Nearly Any Document Type is a post from: Good e-Reader

Need for Digital News Drives Users towards Dedicated Platforms

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Internet news devotees have had to become very selective about the articles they read due to the abundance of available content, which has led many to adopt dedicated digital platforms that only display news from sources they choose. Apps like PressReader and Newsbeat have stepped up to fill the gap, and offer customizable options for current news, including region-specific content and categorical selection. Digital newspapers and magazines have also grown in popularity, possibly in relation to the unreliable options flooding social media; OverDrive reported on its growth of digital content yesterday, citing the convenience of access to news through public library portals as a chief patron service.

One platform in particular, Press Reader, released a new video that explains its all-you-can-read digital news model, as well as its emergence as a leading provider of digital newspapers and magazines to the all-important library sector.

Press Reader bills itself to users as a premium content provider, meaning its not the same old headlines that are available scattered across news blogs. This has helped the crucial lending market make a trusted choice in subscribing for their patrons to access digital content.

Need for Digital News Drives Users towards Dedicated Platforms is a post from: Good e-Reader

Story2Go SelfPub Children’s eBook Creator App

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The digital revolution and its subsequent self-publishing hey day have perhaps sparked more change in literature and publishing than any event since Gutenberg started tinkering, but for all of the great talk of “equalizing” and breaking down barriers, what industry watchers were really referring to was text-based novels. A number of demographics in the publishing business were left out, such as comic book creators, graphic novelists, children’s book authors, and more.

But as startups began to recognize the self-publishing and digital platform spheres were overloaded with options for authors, a few other companies began quietly meeting the needs that other companies had overlooked. One such market was the image-heavy ebook space, where books had to be converted into apps for consumption in various operating system-specific app stores rather than sold through e-reading sites like Amazon or B&N.

Story2Go, first interviewed by Good e-Reader at Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013, launched at the time with an inexpensive iOS app that allowed authors and creators to essentially build their ebooks with simple drag-and-drop and uploading features, then rely on the bigger guns to actually distribute the book to a variety of app stores. While the process of creating the file isn’t entirely intuitive–this is no “Children’s eBooks for Dummies” level of process–there are clear-cut instructions at each step of the way to help authors along.

For a limited time, the Story2Go app is free in the Apple App Store, and despite the time that the company has producing and distributing books on behalf of authors, the price to distribute is still only a one-time $99 fee for the first platform, and $149 for multiple app stores.

Story2Go SelfPub Children’s eBook Creator App is a post from: Good e-Reader

Looking for some Good Manga to Read?

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Book Walker, one of the largest digital bookstores for IOS, android, and PC, owned by Kadokawa, announced today it’s sales ranking of 2014 for 10 categories. They are based on the sales made between December 1, 2013 and November 30th, 2014 from it’s 151,000 titles.

This year the Book Walker award goes to the top selling digital book of 2014 to Mamare Touno’s fantasy adventure series Log Horizon. The series follows Shiroe, a socially awkward gamer and his friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki trapped in an MMORPG with thirty thousand other players that were trapped in the game after an expansion pack gone wrong. Donning their in game avatars, they must face the game world which has now become their reality, while facing challenges and obstacles.

Largely the success of Log Horizon is thanks to the fact it’s digital edition is only excursively available to Book Walker and had the two anime adaptions airing at the same time. Other winners include;

No Game No Life

"Sora and Shiro are two hikikomori step-siblings who are known in the online gaming world as blank who remains as an undefeated group. One day they are challenged to a game of chess by Tet, a god from another reality. Winning the game, they are offered to live in a world that revolves around games, accepting the prize as a joke, they find themselves in a reality called Disboard."

Again My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong"

"This story follows loners, Hachiman Hikigaya and the beautiful Yukino Yukinoshita, who despite their varying personalities and ideals offer help and advice to others as part of their school’s service club."

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

“By 2039, global warming had cause sea levels to rise and large amount of territory to be lost. A group of warships clad in mist appear in every corner of the ocean and begin attacking himan ships. Seven years later, a humanoid life form that pilots a sub appears before Gunzo Chihaya and offers her assistants to man kind.”

Appraisal Case Files of the Omnicompetent Q

"Featuring the heroine Riko Rinda, an appraiser with an incomparable gift for instantly seeing through all mitigating facts and circumstances to the true value and essence of whatever is presented to her for assessment."

Invaders of the Six-Tatami Mat Room?!

"Kōtarō Satomi decided to live on his own at the beginning of his high school life and chose Room 106 of Corona House due to cheap rent. Unfortunately Kōtarō soon discovers that numerous other supernatual girls also want his room for various reasons and aren’t willing to back down. As a result, Kōtarō and the girls find themselves forced to live together as they try to settle who will end up with the room. "

Knights of Sidonia

"The story follows Nagate, a low-born youth in a society of genetically engineered humans, refugees that escaped the destruction of Earth one thousand years earlier and now occupy the massive ship Sidonia. When Nagate’s talent as a pilot is revealed he becomes one of Sidonia’s elite defenders against the Gauna, shapeshifting aliens bent on eliminating humans from existence."

Tokyo Ghoul Remastered

"Strange murders are happening in Tokyo. Due to liquid evidence at the scene, police conclude the attacks are result of of ‘eater’ type ghouls. Friends, Kaneki and Hide come up with the idea that ghouls are imitating humans so thats why they have never seen one. Little did they know that their theory will become a reality."

Okitegami Kyoko no Bobiroku

"This story follows a detective named Kyōko Okitegam who is also known as the forgetful detective. She forgets everything in a day but can solve cases the same day. An unlucky yung man named Yakusuke Kakushidate somehow ends up as the suspect in every caseand he always asks for the detective for help.

Looking for some Good Manga to Read? is a post from: Good e-Reader

There will be 700 Million Pirated e-Books in 2018

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Many publishers often think their current Digital Rights Management solutions are enough to combat e-book piracy. This is why the vast majority end up using Digital Watermarks or Adobe DRM in order to make it hard to upload material you have purchased to file sharing websites. Rightscorp, likely the biggest anti-piracy player in movies, music and television shows told Good e-Reader that “we estimate that there were 500 million e-Books distributed in the United States on peer-to-peer networks in 2013 and this will grow to 700 million by 2018.”

Rightscorp has developed digital loss prevention technology that tracks copyright infringement and ensures that owners and creators are rightfully paid for their IP. They developed extensive tracking analytics that allows them to see what content is being distributed through Bittorrent and file sharing sites and then goes after the people involved. In April 2014 they made the company decision to market their services to the publishing industry and actively go after eBook pirates.

Business is booming for Rightscorp right now. The company has just announced that it has closed over 170,000 cases of copyright infringement to date, up 40,000 since November 2014, representing an approximate 30% growth within a 2 month period. They have received settlement payments from subscribers of more than 200 ISPs and has approval to collect on over 1.5 million copyrights.

We are firing on all cylinders and have been able to consistently generate growth on many of our operational metrics,” said Christopher Sabec, CEO of Rightscorp. “The latest count includes more than 1,000 cases closed on the Comcast and Google Fiber networks, which control the largest markets in the U.S. It seems clear that the entire industry is now beginning to recognize our solution as the most effective in preserving the rights of copyright holders – artists and content owners. We will continue to work hard to protect those who create and own intellectual property.”

Overall, the publishing industry is not really concerned with eBook piracy. Many of the top companies such as HarperCollins, Hachette, S&S and Penguin have told me that piracy is a minor blip on the radar and does not hamper sales to any discernible degree. They all admit it is an extreme minority of tech savvy individuals and statistically people who pirate eBooks tend to be the biggest purchasers of digital content. There has even been some notable authors such as Tim Ferris that harnessed the power of Bitorrent to promote his book, the 4 Hour Chef. He recently said "Torrent conversion is NUTS. Of 210,000 downloads earlier this week, more than 85,000 clicked through "Support the Author" to the book's Amazon page. We all had to triple and quadruple check that to believe it.

Sales of eBooks reached $3 billion at the end of 2012, up from $68 million in 2008 according to a recent article posted onYahoo! Finance. The article also cited that Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, said that "Kindle owners buy more books now than they did before they owned an e-Reader". PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates "consumer eBooks will drive $8.2 billion in sales by 2017, surpassing projected print book sales, which it thinks will shrink by more than half during that period."

Rightscorp has not seen the traction in the e-Book space as they have with other media. The company has told me that “While Rightscorp has closed some cases with e-Books, we do not yet have large catalogs of e-Books like we have with movies, television and music.”

This goes to show that publishers believe in the power of DRM to such a large degree that they don’t really care to go after e-book pirates at this stage in the game.  They are more concerned with Amazon having too much power in e-book sales and distribution and trying to find alternative avenues to generate revenue, such as  e-Book subscription websites like Scribd and Oyster.

There will be 700 Million Pirated e-Books in 2018 is a post from: Good e-Reader

“Zuckerbook” review: The End of Power

Mark Zuckerberg is a visionary in many things, always looking to the next hot trend to get all of us addicted to, which is why he made such news two weeks ago when he announced his newest venture: reading. His Facebook group A Year of Books will announce a new book to read every two weeks, then provide an open forum for discussion, even bringing in the author for live Facebook Q & As when possible.

This is ambitious for Zuckerberg, as he has chosen to concentrate on books that foster thought and learning, especially about ideas and peoples with which many may not be familiar. Also, this should be a great way for all of us to learn some new things and become a New Year's reading resolution. As a lover of all kinds of challenges, I will be reading along with the A Year of Books list (in my head, I have dubbed them "Zuckerbooks"), and keeping all of you informed as I go! So join me as we start on this year's book journey.

For the first entry of the year, Zuckerberg chose The End of Power by Moisés Naím, former executive director of the World Bank, Venezula's Minister of Trade and Industry, and editor of Foreign Policy. Naím currently is a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, along with writing columns for many different publications. Needless to say, when it comes to international relations/politics and economics, the guy really knows what he is talking about.

I confess, this was not a book that I would have picked up on my own. While I did minor in Political Science when I was in undergrad, I have not read a good poli-sci book in quite some time, so I was a bit intimidated. Imagine my surprise when I found Naím's text to be not only interesting, but incredibly readable as well! The chapters all ended with a bit of a "cliffhanger," causing the reader to need to keep moving. Every time I finished chapter, I was shocked at how quickly it had come, as he really is a master of pace.

Naím really did his homework on this one, and he harkens back centuries and across the globe to build his argument: power is more decentralized than ever, and this change has both good and bad consequences. His premise is well thought out and well-articulated, and really does give the reader a great deal to think about, or in my case, a great deal to bring up in almost every conversation I have with friends, family, and coworkers, to the point where I wonder if they will stop talking to me soon…

This book club starts strong and shows that Zuckerberg is out to broaden our reading, our discussion, and our outlook on the world. Whether or not you agree with Naím's ideas of the power revolution due to "The More," "The Mobility," and "The Mentality" of current society, you cannot help but be drawn in to his strong writing and his passion for his arguments.

Meghan Volchko is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive and is looking forward to adding lots of good wrinkles to her brain over the next year.

Thirty-five Pixels, powered by Raspberry Pi

Creative Director and Interactive Developer Michael Newman was tapped by UCLA Extension to design their 2015 winter course catalog cover. To accompany his work, he also designed, developed, and built a Raspberry Pi-powered interactive installation called Thirty-five Pixels which is currently on display at UCLA Extension’s 1010 Westwood building through the 2015 Winter Quarter.

Michael Newman along with his installation Thirty-five Pixels in situ.

Michael Newman along with his installation Thirty-five Pixels in situ.

Although it uses a single 50″ LCD HDTV mounted vertically, the masking on the piece gives the effect of a 7 by 5 matrix of individual circular displays. On the inspiration for the design, Michael says:

Using the mantra "Play, Learn, Explore, Connect" I have created a framework which abstracts my experiments into a visual experience. First exploring physical media, such as black and white ping pong balls and CNC controlled devices, I iterated through a variety of concepts and ultimately developed a digital mechanism that can display both simple, dot matrix style data, and complex data and images simultaneously.

Thirty-five Pixels runs on a Raspberry Pi Model B+ and uses a camera module for motion detection and image capture. The piece is also Internet-connected so that users all over the world can interact with it and control what it displays. It can pull content from Twitter, Instagram, and other media such as past course catalog covers.

You can try out the remote interface here and also watch a camera’s view of the piece to see how you have an effect on it. Michael wrote about Thirty-five Pixels on his portfolio site, which I encourage you to look at for technical details and for some of his other fantastic work.

Kindle for PC Now Available in Japan

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Amazon launched their Japanese e-Book store in 2012  and in order to read e-books,  manga or comic books you basically needed to use the dedicated Kindle app for Android or iOS.  Now users have another option, Kindle for PC has officially launched in Japan.

The premise of Kindle for PC is to keep your content synchronized across multiple devices. It also allows for a ton of versatility for Japanese text and displays anything you would buy from the Amazon digital bookstore.  All of your purchases will be able to be viewed in both landscape and portrait mode.  Customization options include changing the background color, font size, font type and access the dictionary.

Amazon launched the Kindle Cloud Reader in Japan last September, this is their online based HTML5 e-reading app. It was fairly limiting, because it was relegated to only reading novels, not magazines, newspapers or manga.

The debut of Kindle for PC comes at an opportune time for Amazon. Earlier in the month the company launched Kindle Free Manga Magazine. This is a platform that has a revolving pool of single issues and magazines, all available for free.  The initial lineup includes the recent issue of Shueisha's Grand Jump magazine, as well as Manga Action, Comic Ran Twins, Comic Zero-Sum, Manga Box service, and Square Enix's Hobo Gekkan Otameshi Gangan.

Kindle for PC Now Available in Japan is a post from: Good e-Reader

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 Underway

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Haruichi Furudate's high energy volleyball manga, Haikyuu!!, has already been slated for a second season. Fans of the show weren't surprised to hear this at all, given the show's popularity when it aired last April. But while waiting for a release date of the second season, Haikyuu!! fans will be happily tided over by the news of a compilation film.

The film is part of the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015. Production I.G, the company who animated Haikyuu!!'s first season, have released a slew of information concerning the volleyball boys. As well as the second season of the anime and the compilation film, there is to be a summer event. Considering that the second season will most likely air in July, the summer event could be something celebrating the return of the anime. Production I.G also promises more announcements are on the way.

The compilation film will consist of the first season of Haikyuu!! condensed into a series overview lasting about two hours. Although nothing has yet been confirmed, anime compilation films usually contain additional pieces of animation, often made in a higher quality than the animation designed for TV. Even the prospect of new animation alone is enough to entice viewers, but with the second season on the horizon, watching the film will be a great way to catch up on the series and remind yourself of everything you've missed.

Sports anime has been one of the fastest growing genres over the last three years, and it seems Production I.G is looking to milk it for all it's worth. The company already produces another popular sports anime, Kuroko no Basuke. It's no surprise they would want to bring focus on Haikyuu!!, a manga that has sold over two million volumes. As for fans of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club, we're simply excited to see what else the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 will contain.

Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 Underway is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Virgin Hotel Chain Caters to Female Business Travelers

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Well-lit vanity mirrors? Shower benches for leg shaving? Kinder lighting in the corridors? Why not?

Some critics of Virgin Group Ltd., the chain of entertainment and service industry offerings owned by billionaire Richard Branson, have scoffed at the corporation’s latest attempt to win over a key demographic with its new hospitality chain, Virgin Hotels. The luxury hotel chain is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of female business travelers, but it’s not just makeup mirrors and smooth legs.

One key feature of this hotel chain is a divided room that allows the guest to accept deliveries like room service or luggage service through the main room door, while staying locked behind a second door with a peep hole. Corridor lighting has been enhanced to ensure that there are no dark corners for someone to lurk in. Of course, there are the less intimidating amenities like larger closets to accommodate business travelers’ suits and dresses, helping to ensure that the purpose of the trip comes off as stylishly as possible.

While some news sources have openly stated that female guests have no need of these extra features because “they’ve done okay without leg-shaving benches thus far,” Virgin’s founder sees it a little differently, considering the numbers of women who travel for business, not just for vacation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Virgin determined early on that appealing to female business travelers was part of that approach. Company executives cited a 2011 report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University that highlighted the market opportunity: While females accounted for only a quarter of business travelers in 1991, they now comprise about half.”

It may seem gimmicky to some, but in a crowded hospitality industry, hotel chains are working overtime to meet the needs of guests in a way that make them stand out. Anyone can offer a bed, a bath, and a bagel in the lobby each morning, but companies are actively working to provide features that make travelers choose their accommodations based on features like wifi that remembers you from your last visit, free digital newspapers and magazines through apps like PressReader, the ability to read the news from “back home” while traveling, and more.

New Virgin Hotel Chain Caters to Female Business Travelers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Textbook Creator Launches

Today Amazon announced the release of a new digital textbook creator tool for educators and authors to easily create digital textbooks, called eTextbooks, and other educational content to promote and sell on the Kindle Store. The new program is called KDP EDU. It’s a new division to the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. KDP EDU is […]

Amazon Textbook Creator Could Be the Khan Academy of Textbooks

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Once you secure your position as the ultimate player in self-publishing, where do you go from there? The textbook self-publishing market. Amazon has released the specifics on its new textbook creator app, Kindle Textbook Creator, and while it doesn’t look like it has much to offer in the way of never-before-seen innovation, it does bring the benefits of self-publishing to those who have something great to share in terms of academia.

Just as Khan Academy and the advent of online video uploads brought a whole new realm of instruction to the internet and classrooms alike, the ability to build, sell, and market something that looks like a textbook but behaves like any other title in the Amazon Kindle store–except for the very obvious difference, you can’t read it on a Kindle–renews the coup of self-publishing for a whole new demographic of content creators.

According to an article by Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch, “Kindle Textbook Creator seems designed for speed, and for working with the legacy textbook publishing industry, as opposed to iBooks Author which is more designed to help educators build digital-native experiences from scratch. Books built with Amazon's new tool offer multi-color highlighting for students, as well as built-in notebooks, flashcards for review, dictionaries, and of course multi-platform support, in addition to translating the PDF version of their document into something that works on any reader.”

Currently in a rudimentary format, Amazon has already stated new features will be rolled out as they become available. What also remains to be seen is how the possibility for professional academic publishing can evolve with a tool like this one, considering the intense pressure some universities place on their faculty to publish. As self-published fiction authors have discovered, what may be lost in prestige can be more than made up for in dollars.

Amazon Textbook Creator Could Be the Khan Academy of Textbooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

2014 saw widespread growth in K-12 market for eBooks and digital content

2014 was a great year, and we’re excited to see what 2015 will bring! This past year, we experienced a record number of new K-12 partnerships in the U.S. and abroad. As of January 1, 2015, nearly 12,000 schools and districts have incorporated the OverDrive service into their curriculum and library plans, a 50% increase over the same time last year. We now works with K-12 partners in 38 countries, with 10 countries added to our global network in 2014.

Our school eBook catalog has also reached record size, with 24% growth over the last year, adding more than 100,000 new titles and bringing the total digital catalog available to schools to more than 2 million titles. Audiobook availability has increased 15%, with more than 5,500 new titles available to our school partners. Notable additions to the catalog in 2014 included Pearson eTextbooks, Macmillan, and classic eBooks from Dr. Seuss. In addition, the 2014 acquisition of Teacher's Notebook has given our K-12 partners access to teacher-created curriculum materials from more than 500,000 educators. In 2014, OverDrive also introduced Narrated eBooks, a feature that provides a single eBook file synchronized with audio. Publishers supplied hundreds of popular children's titles in this new format, which are now available for schools and libraries.

Students and educators are accessing OverDrive-powered websites and engaging with the school's digital content more than ever before. The number of new visitors to these websites grew 234% to 2 million year-over-year. The school digital content websites had 6.26 million visits in 2014, an increase of 276% over the previous year.

Are you at FETC? If so, stop by and visit us at booth #336 to see demonstrations including fixed-layout titles and narrated eBooks, and learn more about what we have in store this year.

NEW! eHighlights catalog moves to a new location

Thank you for following our various eHighlights catalogs on this blog. To make it easier to review title selections, we have created a new Catalogs page to better feature our new, noteworthy, and hot titles each month.

Along with our Recommended Lists page, the Catalogs page is intended as a landing place to help you more easily access the titles you really need to know about without spending a large amount of time combing through OverDrive's huge selection of titles in Marketplace.

Each of these books, audiobooks, and videos are hand selected by our team of Collection Development librarians. Think of eHighlights as an easy way to make sure you'r not missing titles you should really have in your collection. As always, the titles have been saved into Marketplace carts for your convenience, or you can click directly on a title to go to its Marketplace listing.

Happy New Year, and please let us know if you have any suggestions for improvement.

Click here to go directly to the first catalog: eHighlights January 2015 Adult Edition

The Kids & Teens Edition will be coming soon, and will be followed by a Video Edition, which we will produce every other month.