Amazon has a specialized version of the Kindle app for Samsung devices, called Kindle for Samsung. Every month readers have four e-books to select from and can read one of them for free. Amazon and Samsung never really hype this and they leave it up to their customers to figure it out for themselves. Today, lets take a look at the four books available for October 2015.
Emma’s Secret (Finding Emma #2 by Steena Holmes
For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family's youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family's home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.
But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.
Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan's best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.
Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.
Nightstalkers (Area 51: The Nightstalkers #1) by Bob Mayer
Staff Sergeant Winthrop Carter has just been drafted into the Nightstalkers—an elite group of soldiers that…
Actually, he's not quite sure what they do.
Born from the Area 51 initiative, the Nightstalkers defy sanity and decorum and include among their ranks Moms, a Black Ops trainee too extreme for Special Forces; Doc, a scientific crackpot; Roland, the weapons enthusiast; and Mac, a contemporary MacGyver. All of them take their orders from the elusive Ms. Jones, who everyone claims is just a hologram.
Those orders include tracking down and sealing tears in our reality that are releasing interdimensional beings known only as Fireflies— creatures that take control of both living and inanimate matter in order to unleash wanton destruction.
Just as Carter is settling in, a rogue scientist triggers a fresh invasion of Fireflies that swarm a swanky gated community. Now it's up to Carter and his new teammates to neutralize the threat while figuring out who's behind the breach.
Home by Morning (Powell Springs #1) by Alexis Harrington
The futility of war… An invisible, indiscriminate enemy, striking without mercy… Hearts broken, then restored and sustained by love… A story of two worlds—one at war on the Western Front, the other grappling with an unseen adversary at home. In October 1918, Dr Jessica Layton stops in her hometown of Powell Springs, Oregon, on her way to a new position at Seattle General Hospital. She has stopped to visit her sister Amy, now being courted by Cole Braddock, the man Jess once expected to marry. But before she can escape the heartache of seeing him again, the influenza epidemic that is ravaging the world comes to town. With no other doctor available, she must stay to care for the patients who are falling ill in alarming numbers. She must also deal with Cole, the love of her childhood, who broke his promise to wait for her to finish her medical training.
Cole Braddock isn't happy to see Jessica. Her promises to return home after medical school proved to be as insubstantial as mist. He's sure that Amy Layton, sweet and domestic, is the right woman for him. With his brother fighting in the trenches of France, he's busy operating the family horse farm and supplying mounts to the Allied Forces. He assumes he won't have to see much of Jessica. But time and again, their paths cross when they are faced with duplicity, treachery, and the ultimate betrayal..
The Gauntlet Assassin by L.J. Sellers
Each year, a down-and-out America looks to the Gauntlet games for sheer spectacle and — for one lucky state — a better chance at survival. In 2023, former-police-detective-turned-paramedic Lara Evans is poised to enter the punishing endurance competition, determined to bring glory and a major economic boost back home to Oregon.
But treacherous tests of physical and mental prowess — and a pack of cutthroat rivals — are far from the greatest obstacles Lara faces. Saving a hit man's victim has made her a target, and the murder of a fellow contestant has branded her a suspect. Yet the games must go on. And with a nation's eyes — and a killer's crosshairs — focused on her every move, Lara will have to think faster, hit harder, and risk far more than any player ever has in order to outrun the jaws of defeat and outgun the specter of death.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
To launch the 2015-2016 Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, today Pizza Hut announced a collaboration with Amazon to offer two free Kindle children's books to parents of BOOK IT! Participants. Hundreds of Kindle books from Amazon Publishing's Two Lions children's imprint have been discounted to 50% off with the promo code FUNREADS.
Amazon has been focusing on the restaurant industry in recent months to promote their extensive e-book collection and Kindle e-readers. A few weeks ago the company partnered with Chipotle for a writing contest and over 50 free e-readers are being sent out to winners every day.
It’s one of the best match ups since pizza and reading got together back in 1984: Pizza Hut, the world’s largest pizza company, is kicking off the 31st year of BOOK IT! with a literacy-focused collaboration with Amazon.
To help Pizza Hut celebrate the launch of BOOK IT! this year, Amazon is offering two free Kindle books to parents of BOOK IT! readers – 2015 Geisel Medal winner and ALA Notable Children’s Book You Are (Not) Small, by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant, and Secrets of the Book, by middle grade language arts and history teacher Erin Fry.
In addition, Amazon has discounted hundreds of Kindle children’s books from Amazon Publishing’s Two Lions publishing imprint to 50% off as part of this year’s BOOK IT! launch, including Arthur’s New Puppy, by Marc Brown; Ralph Tells a Story, by Abby Hanlon; That’s (Not) Mine, by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant; The Missing Pieces of Me, by Jean Van Leeuwen; and The Blood Guard, by Carter Roy. Parents can access the free and discounted books by visiting www.bookitprogram.com/amazon.
“We are proud to team with the BOOK IT! Program toward our shared goal of helping kids develop a love of reading,” said David Blum, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Amazon Publishing’s children’s imprint, Two Lions, “We’re excited to have our authors’ fantastic stories available to kids across the country as they work toward their reading goals this school year.”
Since 1984, more than 60 million students have participated in BOOK IT!, which motivates children to read more by rewarding their reading accomplishments. In 2014, for the 30th anniversary of BOOK IT!, more than 250,000 alumni joined The BOOK IT! Alumni Program, celebrating the accomplishments of past “BOOK IT! Kids.” Today, BOOK IT! reaches more than 14 million students in 620,000 classrooms annually.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to play a role in increasing literacy awareness for 31 years, and we’re still going strong,” said Shelley Morehead, manager of the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program. “Moving from print to digital books is a natural evolution for the BOOK IT! Program and working with Amazon means BOOK IT! parents will have instant access to books to help students reach their reading goals each month; we can’t wait to see what’s in the next chapter for BOOK IT!”
Kids and their parents can read Kindle children’s books on Amazon’s Kindle e-readers or Fire tablets, on the free Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android and more, or on any web browser compatible with Kindle Cloud Reader.
In addition to the collaboration with Amazon, BOOK IT! offers tons of great features for teachers and families. For example, the Teacher Dashboard works in conjunction with a mobile app and a new web timer as an innovative way to track print and e-book reading goals. The app and web timer features an interactive game where students choose their favorite dragon to be their reading companion through the duration of the program. Students will earn “coins” for every minute spent reading that they can cash in for accessories for the dragons such as fun glasses, watches or scarves. The app and web timer is connected to an online teacher dashboard that can be used to track reading goals and to recognize students for making progress. To learn more about the app and web timer, visit http://teacherdashboard.bookitprogram.com/.
This year, BOOK IT! is entering into its third year partnering with bestselling author Jeff Kinney, creator of the award-winning Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. In addition to Diary of Wimpy Kid themed materials, students who are using the app will receive monthly personal motivational messages from Jeff Kinney himself.
Also in 2015, BOOK IT! will continue its tradition of challenging principals across the United States to be examples for literacy and the BOOK IT! program by choosing one day to read, all day long, from the first bell to the last during National Young Readers Week Nov. 9-13. To encourage a local school to participate, visit www.bookitprogram.com/nyrw. Students and families can also watch a new story each day during National Young Readers Week compliments of BOOK IT! and One More Story, an online library of the best classic and contemporary children’s picture books. Access the stories at pizzahut.com/bookit and check out onemorestory.com for special pricing on school subscriptions.
For additional information about the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, visit www.bookitprogram.com. Follow BOOK IT! on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bookitprogram), Twitter (www.twitter.com/bookitprogram) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/bookitprogram).
Kobo has announced that they are including free shipping to Canada, US and the UK for anyone that orders an e-reader. The companies current online ordering system stocks six different devices, including the new Kobo Glo HD and Kobo Touch 2.0. You have until October 14th 2015 to quality for the free shipping, so act fast.
PyConUK is one of the Education Team’s favourite events of the year. We love the fact that as well as being a great community developer event, they also run an Education track for kids and teachers to learn and share.
It started with one of the organisers, Zeth, humorously holding up a wall clock saying “This is not a bomb” referencing the recent case of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed clock incident, and it ended with evacuation from the building due to the discovery of an unexploded WWII bomb.
On the Friday, teachers were invited to the Education Track (bursaries to get teachers out of school sponsored by the Bank of America) to participate in workshops and discussion sessions. A teachmeet took place to give teachers a chance to give a short talk, presentation or demonstration of a great idea or teaching tool.
Saturday was the kids’ day. Our big interest at the moment is Astro Pi – we’re keen to see what people can do with the Sense HAT, the hardware that’s going to the International Space Station this December. Carrie Anne and Marc led workshops giving kids the chance to experiment with the board and learn about the physical world through activities using the sensors and LED display with Python.
Nicholas interviewed a few kids and parents about their experience at the event:
As well as our Sense HAT workshops there were other activities for the kids – Minecraft Pi with Martin O’Hanlon, and the Internet of Toys with Alan O’Donahoe. Meanwhile, a group of teachers from Skycademy did their own high altitude Pi balloon launch and James tethered a balloon at the venue to take birds-eye-view photos:
At the end of the day some of the the kids were asked to present what they’d done on the conference’s main track:
Also on the main track I gave a talk on Physical Computing with Python and Raspberry Pi:
On Sunday, James and Marc drove to the National Space Centre in Leicester to do a balloon launch with a Sense HAT collecting data throughout the flight. You can download the data as a CSV file – see if you can do anything interesting with it and let us know in the comments!
Carrie Anne was part of a panel discussing the state of Python and its future before the closing of the main event, and James presented some photos taken by the Pi he sent up that morning:
On the final day we joined in with the sprints, where we invited developers to help work on some education focused projects. We had teams working on PyGame Zero, GPIO Zero and porting PITS (Pi in the Sky) software to Python.
Humongous thanks go out to the organising team, and particularly to Nicholas Tollervey who took on the running of the conference part way through the year when the long-standing chairman John Pinner sadly passed away.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
As a book lover, you might find it hard to take the plunge when it comes to switching to an e-Reader. What you might not realize, however, is that e-Readers come with their own set of unique benefits that can be quite useful and exciting for avid readers. If you're getting ready to "turn the page" and upgrade your methods of reading, here are five good reasons you might want to consider when it comes to investing in an e-Reader.
Most e-Readers are small and lightweight, which makes them easily portable. Who hasn't felt the regret of packing their bag full of books for travel, class, or an afternoon lounging in a park or on the beach? While you may enjoy collecting physical, printed books, having to carry your collection around with you can be taxing. Plus, if you've ever had difficulty deciding exactly which books to take with you, being able to effortlessly carry hundreds will permanently eliminate that problem. E-Readers are also very convenient for public transportation. They're easy to operate with one hand, so you won't have to let go of a subway pole or handrail to turn the page (and risk toppling over off balance in the process!).
If you're the type who likes to take notes and bookmark certain parts of your novel, an e-Reader makes this easier than ever, without ruining your book with pencil marks and dog eared pages. EReaders also make it easy to search through the text, easily jump to whichever page you want, and bookmark different pages. As PCMag notes, many eReaders have touch screen keyboards, which have a more user-friendly, intuitive flow, and make it even easier to take notes or run searches while reading books. You can also easily look up the definitions for words you don't recognize, as eReaders often have built in dictionaries. You might eventually see even more reading-enhancing features in the future, as well– More interactive digital novel formats might be on the way, as Tech Radar points out that creative publishers might soon begin to experiment further with the eBook format and its technological potentials.
Books on Demand
Can't decide what to read on any given day? With an e-Reader, you won't have to, as you'll have all of your books available on demand at your fingertips. Cloud storage is popular and convenient nowadays, and with an eReader, you'll be able to store all of the books you've downloaded in your personal cloud. This not only creates a backup, but also allows you to access your entire library of books—and gives you the option to purchase and download even more—anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Is there a new installment of your favorite series out, or did your favorite author release a new book? Do you just really want the new issue of a particular magazine? You don't have to get up and lug yourself to a bookstore in order to get it. Everyone loves instant gratification, and when it comes to books, an e-Reader is exactly the way to get it.
Privacy – No, Really!
With an e-Reader, nobody will know what you're reading, which means that you don't have to feel bashful for picking up that saucy romance novel, or for delving into that far-out conspiracy theory book you otherwise wouldn't want to be caught dead with. On a more serious note, The Conversation also points out that older or otherwise visually impaired readers often aren't able to easily read printed books, as they aren't always available in accessible formats. Since eReaders allow you to change the size and color of the text, you'll be able to adjust it in a way that makes books easy and enjoyable to read, without the stress. If you don't want others to know that viewing printed text is challenging for you, an e-Reader could be the solution.
A Slew of Extra Features
E-Readers aren't just for reading books anymore. Purchasing an eReader is bound to give you access to many other extra features, including the ability to take photos, listen to music, use GPS services, or even browse the web. Some eReaders even have apps that can help you enhance your productivity; there's a Nook eReader that comes equipped with Microsoft Office, for example. Creating and editing documents, reports, or just taking notes on what you're reading has never been easier that what today's e-Reader technology allows.
Feeling hesitant about switching to an e-Reader is understandable, but the benefits of technology do outweigh the sadness of leaving physical books behind. Besides, there's no rule that says you can't have both! In today's changing technological landscape, however, an eReader seems like the logical next step for the avid reader. It might just be the next best gadget you never realized you needed.
Barnes and Noble is teasing a new Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook tablet on their developer page. This will be the second tablet that the bookseller will release in 2015 after the 8 inch Samsung Galaxy S2 4 Nook came out earlier in the month.
I think Barnes and Noble will likely be releasing the 9.7 inch edition of the Samsung Galaxy S2 that came out at the beginning of September. This is the only other tablet that Samsung has released recently, so it makes sense that Barnes and Noble will start selling this model too.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 9.7 inch will retail at all Barnes and Noble Bookstores for $499! Who will be able to afford it? Has Barnes and Noble finally lost their minds? I keep hoping for a turnaround from the bookseller, but they keep pumping out more expensive hardware. What ever happened to the tablets they used to make that cost less than $200 and everyone bought one?
It is very interesting that Barnes and Noble has the Nook Glowlight Plus e-reader ready to launch and but they intend on releasing yet another tablet first. Then again, maybe they will announce them both at the same time.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 at a glance
Audiobook consumption is at an all time high thanks to the sheer number of titles currently available. In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible. One of the most popular methods to consume digital audio is via subscription services such as Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Scribd. Is there a future for unlimited streaming audio or is it just a flash in the pan?
Scribd initially got into audiobooks back in 2014 when they ironed out an agreement with Findaway World to include over 30,000 titles. They expanded their network in April of 2015 with directly fetching audiobooks from major publishers. The company had a minor setback last month because people were listening to them in such great numbers that they were failing to generate a profit. They pivoted from unlimited listening to allowing members to have access to a single audiobook per month and users have the ability to purchase more credits.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited may get a lot of attention with their extensive e-book collection but in 2014 that added over 2,000 audiobook titles. They currently have the smallest pool of titles to choose from, but they managed to make it work.
Major publishers are very apprehensive about the unlimited subscription model when it comes to e-books and audiobooks. 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 cannibalize 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."
Audiobooks.com does not have an unlimited subscription model but they have been in the business for a really long time. This has afforded them a unique prospective on the inner workings of the industry and recently GM Ian Small sat down with Good e-Reader for an exclusive interview.
Many e-book subscription sites have dabbled in audio, but have since scaled back, because of the market demand and high costs, making it unprofitable, what are your thoughts?
I think the audiobook listener is a rather unique customer to satisfy. Offering an extensive catalogue and a convenient but effective way to listen to the books are not the easiest solutions to provide. I think some organizations might underestimate how competitive the audiobook market has become. If you're not able to offer an excellent customer experience at a competitive price, and meet the consumers overall high expectations, you'll lose them.
Amazon continues to offer a small audiobook library of around 2,500 titles in their unlimited platform, how is Amazon succeeding at this, but others are failing?
I don't want to speak on Amazon's behalf because I don't work for the company but as someone familiar with the industry my suspicions would be that by enforcing such a strict limit on the catalogue offering they're able to control their costs substantially. It's also not a standalone service but one of many product offerings Amazon provides so it doesn't need to generate a level of profitability that other companies may require for it to be successful. Let's be honest, Amazon is usually more concerned about selling shares than how they sell books.
Is there a future in an all-you-can-eat audiobook service?
Yes, I absolutely believe so. I'm a big champion of the model. There are many stakeholders involved with audiobooks – Authors, narrators, publishers, customers, and retailers so it's going to take some time (and obviously trial and error) to find a model that works for all parties involved. But it is becoming more commonplace for the consumer to enjoy their digital media in this capacity. There are perceptions of other industries that are currently using the "all you can eat" model and that it has not worked out favorably for all parties involved (see the music studios). So I understand the reluctance to completely dive in and deviate from existing retail models. It's going to take some time and a little tweaking to get it right for audiobooks.
Why is the unlimited model a broken business strategy from an industry insider's perspective? Can you please give me your thoughts on this and the reasons why it's broken?
I wouldn't say it's broken, I would say that we're at a pretty important and defining crossroad right now. We're trying to find a model that can expand the market and lower the barrier for consumers to enjoy audiobooks while trying to avoid mistakes that have happened in other markets and their rights holders. It's a learning process (albeit an expensive one) to figure out what doesn't work, and then build on what does.
Readers who’ve been with us since the beginning of this year might remember Bernd Krolla’s beautiful and elegant Raspberry Pi-based Wordclock. Since we last wrote about it, Bernd and friends have continued to work on the project, and they’ve added a few new features, which Bernd introduces here.
The main change since January is that all the Wordclock’s software is now plugin-based. By default it uses one that indicates the time in words; other plugins allow other display functionality, with a new menu button to switch between them. A number of new plugins use the Wordclock’s letters as pixels to display low-res images and animations: you can view sunrise and sunset along with appropriate time information, the current phase of the Moon, and a basic local weather forecast with icons.
The coolest plugin, in Bernd’s opinion and in ours too, is by new project co-author Markus, and lets you play a classic ’80s game.
Bernd and the rest of the team would like as many people as possible to experience the joy of Wordclock, so you can find all the code used on GitHub, and there’s comprehensive documentation covering both the hardware and the software the project uses. If you want to optimise a Wordclock layout for a different language (or a different shape of display), Miniature Giant Space Hamster’s instructions are the place to start.
e-Books have been dramatically increasing in cost to the consumer ever since publishes have gained the ability to dictate their own price. Some people have called this phenomenon predatory pricing, devised to put the bulk of digital bookstores out of business. In a recent keynote with the Book Industry Study Group, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy proclaimed she doesn’t have a problem with high prices.
Despite predictions that e-books might reach 50% of all book sales, Reidy said e-books sales have slowed and are likely to settle at about "25% to 30%" of total book sales. Although initially e-books helped jump backlist sales, Reidy said, "not anymore," noting that "the novelty has worn off." She said now "there are fewer readers" entering in the digital category and said the slowing growth in e-book sales have pushed publishers back to "highlighting books as beautiful physical objects."
Asked if the higher pricing of e-books, in the wake of publishers' new agency agreements with Amazon, had also figured in the slowdown of e-book sales, Reidy noted that in the wake of publisher settlements over e-book price-fixing charges in the case with Apple, "I'm not supposed talk about pricing, " but added that “our data says that our pricing is effective."
The Chinese market has been very appealing towards companies heavily involved in selling digital content, such as e-books. Amazon has been the only mainstream company to successfully enter the market and encourage adoption of their Kindle bookstore. The Seattle company is poised to have some real competition as Apple has announced that they brought their iBooks system to China.
The iBooks Store offers customers a wide selection of both paid and free Chinese language books from top local publishers, including "Big Head Son & Little Head Dad" by Zheng Chunhua, "The Family Belongings of Chinese People" by Ma Hongjie, and for the first time in China, Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series will be available in a digital format. Purchased books are available anytime on customers' Apple devices.
Apple will likely see moderate success in the Chinese market that has often been accused of being heavily fragmented. There are a number of industries in the hunt for e-book revenues: online retailers, hardware manufacturers, social networks, telecom operators, search engines and even traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Public libraries have always played a vital role in the communities they serve. The changing needs and demands of patrons have led to a physical evolution of libraries, including an increase in group work spaces, expanded computer and internet access and dedicated kids and teens hangout areas. Concurrent with this physical transformation has been a change in the way libraries deliver books to readers, with 90 percent now offering digital content to complement thier print resources.
In advance of the American Library Association's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, OverDrive, the leading eBook and audiobook platform for libraries, conducted an end user survey from June 26-July 15, 2015. Administered via library websites, the survey collected input from 16,756 respondents. This report will utilize this data to examine the positive effect the shift to digital content has had on the role of libraries in their communities by helping attract new readers, serve existing patrons better and reach beyond their physical walls.
|Amazon’s new lineup of Fire tablets officially get released today, with the first wave of orders arriving at customers’ doors. So there’s no better time for a roundup of free Kindle ebooks to help load up on some content for these new devices. And don’t forget about Amazon Underground for a ton of free apps. […]|
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Pronoun is a new company launched by the folks at Vook. They want to convince indie authors that they are a better alternative to LULU, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life and Smashwords. How can a startup basically come out of nowhere and be a compelling value proposition for digitally savvy authors? Simple, they will put you in every major online store and give you 100% of all the royalties.
Pronoun knew they had to present a better alternative to most of the major online bookstores, which only pay authors between 60% or 70% per each sale. The sales should be fairly steady, as Pronouns distribution network includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.
Authors do not need to be skeptical about Pronouns intentions. They are a profitable company without dipping into the pockets of authors. Pronoun just raised $3.5 million in new funding from Avalon Ventures, so they have enough to remain in business. They also have big clients such as the New York Times, Forbes, and Fast Company who pay them for their real-time data and analytics service that stemmed from the Vook acquisition of Booklr.
Pronoun is not only appealing to authors but has picked up some allies in the formation of their company. Stefan Pepe, who formerly served as Director of Amazon's North American books division, had joined its Board of Advisers at Pronoun. Stefan previously held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga.
I think Pronoun is a safe bet for indie authors. They have an online digital e-book creator suite that can create cover art and insure everything from table of contents to mobile readiness can be established. They are utilizing their real-time data service to monitor sales and report them faster than anyone else. Hell, they even throw in a free ISBN number so your books aren’t relegated to the shadow realm.
The digital book publishing platform for authors, announced today a $3.5 million investment from Avalon Ventures. This venture capital financing closely follows the announcement of Pronoun's new book publishing platform, which uses technology and data to empower authors to create, distribute, and market their books while controlling all intellectual property rights and keeping 100% of earnings.
With this financing, Pronoun is further developing its technology and data analytics, creating a viable alternative to the exclusions and restrictions of traditional publishing as well as to the complexity, limitations, and high costs of self-publishing for authors.
"At Pronoun our mission is to put the author at the core of everything we create," said Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer of Pronoun. "This funding allows us to continue building a team of people who sincerely value authors and their books, and to deepen our commitment to providing authors with free and meaningful tools, resources, and capabilities."
Major media companies, brands, and bestselling authors, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Jon Krakauer, Jodi Picoult, and Nick Hornby, have published more than 7,000 titles on Pronoun's digital book creation and distribution platform. Pronoun's proprietary data and analytics engine, which tracks performance, customer behavior, and pricing statistics on more than 5 million books each day, helps authors find and reach their audience for the lifetime of their books.
Pronoun joins Avalon Ventures' successful investment portfolio in digital media, which includes Zynga, Simulmedia, Tapad, and Bookbub. Avalon Ventures partners Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann join Pronoun's Board of Directors in conjunction with leading this investment.
"Book publishing remains a multibillion dollar industry and an important part of our media culture, but its infrastructure and business model is trapped in an analog world. We believe there's a massive opportunity to rethink how publishing works and operates,” said Rich Levandov, Partner, Avalon Ventures. "As an investor, I look for companies and teams that are not only willing to be first movers, but that stand up for, and empower, creators. We invested in Pronoun because, like us, this team believes the future of publishing will be driven by technology, data, and a model that puts authors first."
In addition to Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann, Elisabeth DeMarse, Chairman and CEO of TheStreet, joins Pronoun's Board of Directors. DeMarse also sits on the board of AppNexus, and brings with her more than two decades of operational experience in traditional and digital media. Pronoun also welcomes Amazon veteran Stefan Pepe to its Board of Advisors. Pepe formerly served as Director of Amazon's North American books division, and held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga. He is also a board director at Domino Media Group.
"I spent a decade at Amazon as digital technology transformed the publishing landscape," said Pepe. "I am excited for a new phase of innovation, and Pronoun's emphasis on technology and data, paired with the team's unparalleled focus on the author, uniquely positions the company to create a better model for book publishing."
Pronoun is a digital publishing platform that empowers every author to create and distribute beautiful digital books, own and control their work and their rights, and receive 100% of their earnings – all for free. Pronoun is based in New York City. It is backed by several leading venture capital firms, including Avalon Ventures, Floodgate, Tribeca Venture Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective, Felicis Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and SV Angel.
Kobo has been actively developing a loyalty program for the last six months. The idea was to reward people who bought e-books with credit, that can be used to get free content. Today, Kobo officially announced Superpoints.
Kobo SuperPoints rewards you with 100 points for every $10 you spend on e-books and digital magazines. You can use the virtual currency to get free e-books, the average title costs around 2,400 points and there are over a million of them to select from. If you manage to accrue 4,500 points you can enroll yourself in the Kobo VIP program which saves you 10% off everything in their bookstore and you can also select one free e-book a year. If over four thousand points is a bit daunting, you can spend $10 as a one time fee and become a VIP member.
At certain times during the year Kobo has promised that they will run “Bonus Days” which will reward double the credits on everything in the store. Likely they will do this at certain times of the year, such as Christmas, Halloween and Mothers Day.
I think Kobo did something really great with this loyalty program. It rewards people who read the most with discounts and free books.
Google announced plenty of new devices today at an exclusive event in San Francisco. The phones are made by LG and are dubbed the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Likely, one of the coolest new offerings is a a 10.2-inch tablet with USB-C that starts at $499. And instead of running Chrome OS, the Pixel C runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Both of the new Google Phones will come with a free 90-day subscription to Google Play Music, and if you’re pre-ordering in the US you’ll also get $15 Google Play credit. Also available only for US customers is Nexus Protect ($69), which extends the standard one-year warranty to two years for mechanical breakdown and accidental damage. You can get a replacement phone the next day.
Nexus 5X Review
Nexus 6P Review
Pixel C Review
Youth in the United Kingdom are not very enamored with the entire concept of reading on a e-reader, smartphone or tablet. The first survey from a new company called YouthSight asked 1,000 people what type of medium they regularly employed to read novels. 64% said they preferred print books, while 16% said e-books.
When it comes to electronic reading devices, nearly half of all of those surveyed (43%) said they read using their smartphones. The next most popular device was a Kindle, used by 34%, then iPad (27%), laptop (23%), other tablet (19%), desktop computer (3%).
The majority (64%) said less than £3 is the right price for an e-book, whilst 26% said they would be willing to pay between £3 and £5.
|Kobo has just launched a new promotion called Kobo Super Points. Basically customers earn Super Points when purchasing ebooks and magazines that can be used to get free ebooks. There are two levels to the program. One that’s free for all customers to use (Super Points automatically accumulate with each purchase). And there’s an upgraded […]|
At OverDrive we know a few things for certain: 1) #BannedBooksWeek is awesome and 2) offering your users customized curated collections is a great way to boost your circulation. Why not marry those two undeniable facts by creating a #BannedBooksWeek curated collection for you site today! We’ve even done the hard work for you. At overdrive.com you’ll find some of our favorite banned books in a collection you can sample and share and then, when you’re ready to purchase check out this complete list of over four hundred banned and challenged books in Marketplace. In fact, adding all of these titles is a great way to boost the value and variety of your library offerings.
We’re also celebrating #BannedBooksWeek by using the hashtag on social media to share some “mug shots” of Team OverDrive getting caught reading banned books. We’re also giving away two devices a day to the first person who answers our banned books trivia correctly so make sure your users are following @OverDriveLibs for their chance to win! If we can let you in on a little secret, we actually read banned books all year along (*gasp*) but this week we get to shout that pride from the digital mountain tops. Join in the fun and give your users a whole new collection to discover because if it’s worth being banned it’s definitely worth reading!
The largest electronics retailer in Australia JB Hi-Fi started selling digital books two years ago. Things haven’t been going so well for them and they announced that on September 30th they will be shutting down the JB Hi-Fi Now ebook store.
The company is the midst of emailing all of the customers who have registered an account on the platform or have bought an e-book.
Toronto based Kobo has picked up the contract for the users and all JB Hi-Fi Now purchased will be transferred over to the Kobo ecosystem. JB is also giving everyone a free $10 credit that they can use to buy any digital book they want from Kobo. If you have any questions about the transfer to another bookstore JB Hi-Fi hascreated an FAQ page with 11 questions on the transfer from NOW eBooks to Kobo.
Kobo has an extensive track record of swooping down on companies about to go out of business and somehow works out a financial arrangement to buy the users. They did it with Blinkbox books, a UK bookseller that was run by the supermarket chain Tesco. But perhaps Kobo’s biggest triumph was when they took over millions of users from Sony, when the Reader Store went out of business in North America, Europe and Australia.
It is not very surprising that yet another digital bookstore is going out of business. Worldwide e-book sales have plummeted over the last two years and it seems as though the format is being deliberately sabotaged by the publishers.
Jessie is here? Who’s Jessie? Wasn’t she the cowgirl doll in “Toy Story 2” – you know, the one who got abandoned in a park to that Sarah McLachlan song, resulting in at least one software engineer finding he had something in his eye at that point…?
Yes, it is that Jessie, but not in that context. The Raspbian operating system is based on Debian Linux, and the different versions of Debian are named after characters from the “Toy Story” films. Recent versions of Raspbian have been based on Debian Wheezy (the penguin who’s lost his squeaker in “Toy Story 2”), but Raspbian has now been updated to the new stable version of Debian, which is called Jessie.
So what’s new?
Many of the changes between Wheezy and Jessie are invisible to the end-user. There are modifications to the underlying system to improve performance and flexibility, particularly as regards the control of system processes, and as with any update, there are numerous bug fixes and tweaks. And at the same time as the upgrade to Jessie, we’ve added a bunch of changes and improvements to the desktop user interface.
Look and feel
The first thing anyone starting the new Jessie image from scratch will notice is that the default behaviour is to boot straight to the desktop GUI, not to the Linux command line. This was a decision taken because this is the expected behaviour for all modern computers; the default interface for a personal computer in 2015 is a desktop GUI, not just text on a screen. It is still possible to set the Pi to boot to the command line for people who prefer that – just toggle the relevant setting in the Raspberry Pi Configuration application described below.
When the desktop launches, you might notice some slight tweaks to the appearance of things like menus, check boxes and radio buttons. This is because the appearance of Raspbian is now based on version 3 of GTK+, the user interface toolkit used for the LXDE desktop environment. The older version 2 of GTK+ is slowly being replaced with version 3 in many applications, so this change was inevitable at some point – the new appearance isn’t a huge change, but does look slightly more modern. Many of the applications in Raspbian are still using GTK+ version 2, but the PiX theme for GTK+2 has been changed to bring it into line with that for GTK+3.
You’ll notice on the menu bar that there is now an eject icon at the top right – this is a new plug-in that allows USB drives and the like to be safely ejected without the risk of losing data. It’s slightly risky to just pull out a USB drive, particularly if you have just copied a file to it, as the system manages the write to a drive in the background, and the write takes a finite amount of time. If you pull the drive out before the write has finished, you’ll corrupt the file and lose data – clicking the eject icon and then selecting the drive to remove waits for any pending writes to complete and then prompts that it is safe to remove the drive.
One of our main aims with regard to Raspberry Pi is not just to make it a great cheap computer for education, but also to make it a great cheap computer in its own right. To this end, we want to make it possible to use a Pi to do the sort of things you’d do on a Mac or a PC, so we’re including some more applications that we think people will find useful. In this release, we have added the LibreOffice suite and Claws Mail.
LibreOffice is a full-featured office suite which is compatible with Microsoft Office files – it includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, vector drawing and database programs, all of which should feel familiar to anyone used to using Office. It has had some optimisation for Pi, and runs pretty well, particularly on Pi 2.
Claws Mail is an email client for those of us who are old-fashioned enough to prefer not to do email through a browser – it supports all common email protocols, and offers all the functionality of a standalone mail client like Windows Mail or Thunderbird.
There are also two new applications in the Programming category – these are two new environments for writing Java applications, called BlueJ and Greenfoot (from the University of Kent and Oracle). If you’re interested in learning Java, or already a Java programmer, have a look at them. There are some sample projects for both in the /home/pi/Documents directory.
Settings and configuration
There are a couple of new settings dialogs in this release, found under the Preferences entry in the main menu. The first is Raspberry Pi Configuration – this is a GUI version of the old raspi-config command-line application, which provides all the same functionality in a nicer interface. (The old raspi-config is still on the system and can be accessed from the command line by typing “sudo raspi-config”, but it shouldn’t be necessary to do so any more.)
The new Raspberry Pi Configuration allows you to enable and disable interfaces, tweak performance and configure internationalisation options, such as timezone and keyboard. It also allows some more control over boot options than was available in the past, with the option to automatically log in as the “pi” user available when booting to both CLI and desktop.
There is a new keyboard setting dialog, accessed from the Localisation tab, but hopefully many people won’t need this – the system will detect some common keyboards sold for use with Pi and set up the GUI keyboard driver correctly. If that doesn’t happen, it’s now easy to choose the right country and keyboard type in this dialog.
The other new setting dialog is the Main Menu Editor. This is a Pi version of a menu editor called Alacarte, written in Python – this should make it easier for people to add or remove items to the main menu. (And, by popular demand, the Other menu is back on the system – but it will now only appear if applications are installed that don’t appear in any other categories…)
There are updates to several of the applications that used to come with Raspbian. There are new versions of Scratch, Sonic Pi, and the Epiphany web browser; none of these have changed fundamentally in operation, but they all include bug fixes and performance improvements.
Support has been added for some of the new Pi peripherals that have been released recently, including the Sense HAT as used in Astro Pi – this is now supported under Scratch and Python.
Python users used to have to launch Python with sudo in order to allow access to the GPIO lines – Python can now access GPIOs as a standard user. Also for Python, the Pygame Zero game environment is installed by default – have a look at pygame-zero.readthedocs.org for information on what it can do.
One final small thing – if you want to get a screenshot of your Pi, just press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. A PNG file will be put in your home directory, thanks to the (slightly strangely named) scrot utility.
Where can I get it?
This is a major version upgrade – due to the large number of changes to the underlying operating system, we strongly recommend using Jessie from a clean image, so you’ll need to download a new Jessie image from the downloads page on our site.
Starting with a clean image is the recommended way to move to Jessie. If you really need to update a Wheezy image, we have tried an unsupported upgrade path which is documented on the forums here. This has been shown to work on a vanilla Wheezy image, but we can’t predict what effect it may have on any packages or data that you have installed, so this is very much at your own risk. Feel free to add your experiences and improvements to the upgrade process to the forum so others can benefit.
As ever, your feedback on the release is very much welcome – do add a comment below, and I’ll try to respond to as many as I can.