Tuesday, April 9, 2013

WorldReader sees 500,000 Readers a Month with their App


Worldreader is a non-profit organization that distributes Kindle e-Readers to schools and kids in Africa. They have not only gotten sizable individual donations but the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos contributed $500,000. Over the course of the last year Worldreader has been quietly distributing their iOS and Android app. The company reported that they have over 200,000 registered users and over 500,000 reads a month with their 1200 free eBooks.

Worldreader users spend 60,000 hours reading on their mobile phones per month. Approximately 100,000 of these readers read more than 20 times per month; they're what you might call "power readers." In January, Worldreader Mobile users read the equivalent of 17,000 books on their feature phones.

Many big publishers are supporting the Worldreader initiative, such as PCaine Prize for African writers, CK-12, Harlequin, Pearson, the U.S. State Department and the World Health Organization, to name a few. They are the same ones offering free eBooks to the schools in Africa and they are also available through the app.

The gravitation towards mobile phones is natural for Worldreader, because there are millions of cheap models in Africa and the surrounding area. Giving them the ability to tap into the companies ecosystem is important to enhance the brand. “There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes on this planet," said David Risher, our co-founder and chief executive officer. "Together with our growing e-reader program, Worldreader Mobile connects us to millions of the world's poorest people, providing the books they need to improve their lives."

WorldReader sees 500,000 Readers a Month with their App is a post from: E-Reader News

PressBooks and Bookbaby Sign Off on a New eBook Distribution Deal


Pressbooks is a solid ebook creation website that allows indie authors to submit their ebook and format it online. You can choose between different templates and export the book to EPUB, MOBI, and a number of other formats. The service is free and many authors found it confusing that they could create books, but not sell them. Selling ebooks can become a tedious process, with users having to create individual accounts on all of the networks they want. To solve this problem, Pressbooks has just signed a distribution service with Bookbaby.

Never heard of Pressbooks? Pressbooks is a unique set of tools that allows indie authors to create their own ebooks using the WordPress CMS. You can add cover art, a table of contents, and then create your book, chapter by chapter. This system for creating books is super intuitive, if you have ever used WordPress before. When your book is completed, you can convert it over to an EPUB, PDF, or MOBI file to have as your own, or just refer people to your personal version of the Pressbooks website.

The new relationship with BookBaby will get your books into 11 different ebook stores around the world, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. The company will do it for $99 (PressBooks users get a 10% discount!), and you get 100% of royalties earned.. You can monitor your sales through one simple interface, which many authors will love.

Honestly, it is probably better to self-publish yourself and do the legwork that comes with it. Sometimes people like taking the easy way out and paying someone to do all of the distributing and creating. As an author, it is your duty to self-publish yourself and go through all of the trials and tribulations that accompany doing something new. Of course, you will absolutely need an editor, this is the most essential factor.

PressBooks and Bookbaby Sign Off on a New eBook Distribution Deal is a post from: E-Reader News

Google Play Store Updated with a New Look


Google has come up with an update for its Play Store that promises to make things simpler and more organized than ever before. Google claims the entire operation has been designed to ensure anyone who makes it to the Play Store gets finds what they are looking for in the most hassle free  manner. Towards this, the changes that have been introduced include bigger images and grouping similar content together. So whether you are looking for the latest bestseller ebook or the newest movies or games, the new update will ensure you have it on your device as quickly as possible. As Michael Siliski, group product manager for Google Play, mentions in the company blog, the updated Play Store ”helps you find great entertainment, fast.” The checkout process to has been simplified as well. The update is already available and can be seen on devices running Android 2.2 and above. However, Google insists it might take some days or even weeks for the update to be evident on your tablet or smartphone, so don’t panic yet.

Google Play Store Updated with a New Look is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Boots Saga #12 and 1,500 French Comics from App Store

Saga 12

Writer Brian K. Vaughan released a statement today saying that the 12th issue of his science fiction series Saga, illustrated by Fiona Staples, will not be available via comics iOS apps such as comiXology because of “two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex” that did not make it past Apple’s content reviewers. The comic will be available digitally from the comiXology and Image Comics web stores.

Saga, which launched with a bit of controversy over the cover early last year, is rated for mature readers, and it has featured sex scenes in the past, but it’s possible that it was the graphic nature of these particular images (which are small but quite explicit), rather than who was doing what to whom, that caused Apple to refuse to carry the comic in its apps. Heidi MacDonald posts the unexpurgated images at her site, and in the comments, creator Tyler James posts comiXology’s guidelines, which make it pretty clear why those images won’t be in the app (presumably comiXology’s guidelines reflect Apple’s).

Perhaps the folks behind the French comics app Izneo should have gotten a copy. Two weeks ago—on the eve of the long Easter week-end, the site IDBOOX notes—the Izneo folks got an order from Apple to remove the “pornographic” content from their app. With no clue as to what Apple would judge to be pornographic, the Izneo folks immediately took down 2,800 of the 4,000 comics in their app, cautiously removing anything that could hint of adult content, including Blake and Mortimer and XIII, both of which are published in print in the U.S. without any fuss. Then they reviewed those comics and put about half of them back, but that still leaves 1,500 titles that aren’t in the app any more. Izneo took quite a financial hit on this; turns out comics featuring “Les jolies filles un peu sexy” are their top sellers. (This story, it should be said, came from an anonymous source.)

Later, IDBOOX caught up with Thomas Cadène, one of the creators of the series Les autres gens, which contained all that Apple doesn’t want to see, he said: “Breasts, genitals, people making love, people who are not making love but are nude anyway—in short, life.” Cadène, of course, doesn’t regard his comics as pornographic at all, but he notes that at any rate, Apple is being hypocritical because the comic is still available on iBooks, Apple’s digital bookstore; the Izneo folks were simply told that iBooks was different from the apps. In another interview, Allison Reber of Aquafadas, another digital comics distributor, said that in 2009, Apple’s standards were so strict that an image of a nude man, seen from the rear, in the shower would be enough to scuttle a book, but that they have loosened up considerably; she hopes that the whole episode will turn out to be nothing more than a misunderstanding.

Apple Boots Saga #12 and 1,500 French Comics from App Store is a post from: E-Reader News

UK Government Mulling Author Compensation for eBooks Borrowed from the Library

uk authors

The UK government is seriously looking into compensating authors when their ebooks are borrowed from public libraries. Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced a decision will be made after a formal review, published last week, concluded libraries must stock digital titles or become “increasingly irrelevant”. The main thought is that authors and publishers will get royalties when an ebook is loaned out from public libraries, and that will be the deciding factor whether they will embrace a government initiative.

“Publishers have been collectively nervous of applying the same model for selling digital books as for their printed counterparts, when it comes to selling to libraries,” the independent panel concluded in its review.

“This is because of their concerns about remote downloading, where a library member downloads a book on to a digital device via the internet, avoiding the need for a visit to the library at all… publishers and booksellers fear that it would be too easy to borrow a book for free. So easy in fact, that the borrower might never need to buy another book.”

It seems that the UK Government is taking digital ebooks in the library very seriously. The essence of this report really says that customers shouldn’t have to pay anything extra to download ebooks and that they should be able to do it remotely. The rest of the report dives into the semantics of audio and video delivery and how that plays a part in the traditional library experience. You can read the full report HERE.

UK Government Mulling Author Compensation for eBooks Borrowed from the Library is a post from: E-Reader News

Blackberry Q10 Available in Canada April 30th


The Blackberry Z10 was the first phone that carried the brand new Blackberry 10 operating system. This new OS really hoped to turn the company’s fortunes around and appeal to a wider demographic. Most loyal Blackberry users can’t live without the physical keyboard and have either returned their Z10 or waited for something else. We have word today that the Q10 model will be released in Canada on April 30th.

The Q10 is much akin to the Blackberry Bold, but has a larger screen. It will allow users to load in their own Android e-reading apps. So you can get Comixology, DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, and VIZ. Blackberry World is still a barren wasteland when it comes to solid reading apps, but this is why our Good e-Reader App Store continues to get over 50,000,000 visitors a month downloading apps found nowhere else.

One of the main downsides of the new BB10 OS is the fact you can’t get BIS email service anymore. This means you lose the PUSH email services and don’t get access to the official Blackberry email servers anymore. We have heard from a number of people who frequently travel that they got a bill for $900.00. This is mainly due to the compression that you don’t have anymore with BB10, and all data is done via the carriers.

The Q10 will be available at Bell, Rogers, Telus, Wind, and a number of other carriers, so make sure you get there on release day if you have a hankering for a physical keyboard.

Blackberry Q10 Available in Canada April 30th is a post from: E-Reader News

Digipalooza 2013: Rock Out with the Stones

There are plenty of reasons to attend Digipalooza 2013. From the librarian-led sessions and publisher roundtable to the networking opportunities and breakout discussions, there is truly something for everyone. Check out the full program along with a list of benefits from attending and highlights from Digipalooza 2011.


As hosts in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, we want to show our partners a little fun, too. This year's Digipalooza features an exclusive, private party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum on Friday, August 2. With the whole museum reserved for Digipalooza attendees, we can party like rockstars or explore as museum goers.


The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction exhibit opens Memorial Day weekend, so Digipalooza attendees will be among the first to experience this legendary exhibit featuring personal items and extraordinary collections from the band that have never been seen by the public before. Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction celebrates the Rolling Stones from their early years to present day.


After dancing the night away, we will kick off Saturday morning with yoga, lots of coffee, and then continue through the jam-packed day of conference sessions, panel discussions, and more networking activities.


As I write this, there are only 63 spaces left, so register today to guarantee your spot. We look forward to seeing you August 1-4 in Cleveland.


Cassie Renner is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Acer Might Cut Price of Its A1-810 Tablet to $149


The 7.9 inch Iconia A1-810 tablet is a surprise from Acer. Not many have seen it coming, though that is not the last surprising thing about it. Acer is reported to be considering the idea of pricing it ultra cheap, making the tablet a fox in the henhouse. At $149, the purported price of the new Acer tablet, it will be a cheaper alternative to the plethora of 7 and 8 inch tablets already on the market. This comes to a steep cut of $100, considering Acer had initially planned to price the 810 at $249. Interestingly, the price will be cut even before the tablet is officially launched. Mass production is expected to begin towards end of this month.

As for its features, the tablet offers a 1024 x 768 pixel 7.9 inch display, which is exactly the same as the present gen iPad Mini. The display is being provided by AUO, while Wistron will be putting together the device. The tablet comes with a 1.2 GHz MediaTek quad core MT8125 chip, which works in conjunction with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal memory. The tablet also features a microSD card slot along with a 5 megapixel camera at the rear and a VGA unit at the front.

Acer’s tablet sales have increased significantly in the first quarter, registering sequential growth of about 260-300 percent. A bulk of it, almost 70-75 percent, has come from increased sales of its budget tablet B1. In view of this, Acer has doubled its tablet sales estimate for 2013 from 5 million to 10 million units.

The Iconia A1-810 is already reported to have gone on sale in France via retailer Rue du Commerce.

Acer Might Cut Price of Its A1-810 Tablet to $149 is a post from: E-Reader News

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Will Make US Debut on April 11, Priced $400


Samsung’s contribution to the 8 inch tablet segment, the Galaxy Note 8.0, will finally be making its market debut in the US on April 11th. The price is a bit steep at $400 for the Wi-Fi only model with 16 GB of storage. However, that’s the price without any carrier support, which means the carriers can chip in to sweeten the deal further.

As for its features, the US version of the Note 8.0 is exactly the same as the one Samsung had unveiled at the MWC, with the only change being that its phone call feature has been removed for US consumers. The 8 inch display packs in 1280 x 800 pixels and is receptive to both finger and stylus support, the latter being one of its biggest USPs. At its core lies a Exynos 1.6GHz Quad Core that works together with 2 GB RAM.

Included in the offer are a few other goodies, such as 2 years of free usage of 50 GB of Dropbox cloud storage along with a month of free unlimited streaming from the Samsung Music Hub. Note 8.0 buyers in the US are also entitled to $25 worth of purchase from the Google Play Store.

However, the one thing that seems overbearing is the price tag, which does seem to be a bit on the higher side. The Note 8.0 is already on sale in the UK and will launch in Canada on April 29th.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Will Make US Debut on April 11, Priced $400 is a post from: E-Reader News

Asus Fonepad Now on Pre-Order in the UK for £179.99


Asus has stated announced that its Fonepad can be pre-ordered in the UK starting April 12th, with deliveries to begin by April 26. This marks about a month’s delay, considering the voice enabled tablet was earlier set for a March release. Price has been fixed at £179.99 and can be procured from Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, and Sainsburys.

The most interesting aspect with the Fonepad, apart from its phone calling capability, is that it features an Intel heart. The tablet is built around an Atom Z2420 processor while running Android Jelly Bean, which is a rare combination. The tablet includes 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, front and rear cameras, and a 1280 x 800 pixel 7 inch display. The tablet offers 10 hours of runtime.

Asus Fonepad Now on Pre-Order in the UK for £179.99 is a post from: E-Reader News

A Closer Look at Library Budget Woes

Details reported in Library Journal's Annual Library Budget Survey have been quite depressing for the past few years. And the news from their annual Book Buying Survey hasn't been any better.


Here's how LJ summed things up for overall library budgets each year since the economy crashed in 2008:

2009 – Permanent Shift?
2010 – Bodies Everywhere
2011 – Furiously Treading Water
2012 – Cautious Optimism


And here's how the Book Buying Survey looked:

2009 – Think Edvard Munch's The Scream
2010 – Uphill Battle
2011 – Book Circ Takes a Hit As Budget Cuts Take Effect
2012 – Material Budgets Flat, Print Book Budgets Fall


But here is how circulation shaped up for OverDrive library partners in the same years:


2009 – 8.7 million digital titles checked out
2010 – 15 million digital titles checked out = +72%
2011 – 35 million digital titles checked out = +133%
2012 – 70 million digital titles checked out = +100%


How does digital content factor into the whole equation? The most recent LJ report covering 2012, shows that downloadables are now offered by 87% of the respondents to their survey—up from 79% in 2011. eBooks accounted for an average of just 6% of the materials budget for libraries, and downloadable audiobooks had an average 9% share, for a total of 15%. But if we look at the largest and the highest circulating libraries, the percentage is higher. For libraries serving a population of at least 50,000, eBooks were at least 8% of the budget, and as high as 10%, for a total share of up to 18% including audiobooks.


As you can see, circulation of OverDrive titles is growing at astronomical rates, and the company now has over 1 million titles available to libraries. With budgets showing strain, and libraries struggling to keep up with the increased demand with fewer staff members, we understand that one thing we can do to help with the overload is to try to make it easier and quicker to take care of selection. We recently added a new feature in the “Must Haves” section of Marketplace: Starred Review titles. This list contains eBooks and audiobooks which have received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal, or Publishers Weekly. If you have any suggestions for other features we can add to make your life as a selector easier, please just let us know. We're committed to doing whatever we can to save you precious time.


To view titles in the new Starred Reviews feature, login to Content Reserve. For additional help, contact your Collection Development Specialist.



Cindy Orr is a Digital Collection Advisor at OverDrive.

Barnes and Noble Introduces eBook Publishing Platform – Nook Press

nook press

The world of self-publishing is rife with unfriendly, non-intuitive platforms that demand a strong technical knowledge to be able to produce compelling ebooks. Barnes and Noble is hoping to solve this problem with the unveiling of its Nook Press platform. Announced today, it is a direct follow-up to the company's first generation PUBIT initiative that was launched in 2010.

Theresa Horner, the VP of Digital content at Barnes and Noble, explained the company's process in an exclusive interview with Good e-Reader. "When we launched PUBIT, we had no idea how big the community would be," she said, and went on to describe how difficult it would have been forming direct relationships with authors without PUBIT. "If we did not start PUBIT, we wouldn't have been able to get content from all of these great indie authors. We are investing two times into the new platform than we originally did PUBIT."

Nook Press provides an all in one solution that allows authors to upload existing Microsoft Word documents and instantly see how they look in EPUB, or create EPUB documents from scratch using the online tools. One of the barriers to ebook creation is being able to constantly refine your work; many self-publishing platforms do not allow you to make changes in the web-interface and demand you make the changes locally and then re-upload the finished result. Nook Press allows authors to make any changes on the fly and even create an interactive table of contents, something that makes everyone's life a little bit easier.

When you have selected your cover art and added your metadata, it is time to list your book on the Barnes and Noble ecosystem. US publishers and authors can select whether they want the book for sale both in the US and the UK, and establish different prices accordingly. You also have the option to choose whether you want your finished product to have DRM or not. Having the option to avoid encryption and allow your ebook to be free and open will resonate with the segment of outspoken authors that love freedom of information. Another thing most people will love is the ability for all ebook titles to be included into LENDME—Barnes and Noble's social sharing feature—that allows users to loan a title out only once to a friend for up to two weeks.

The entire ebook creation is done in EPUB2 and there is no functionality to include interactive content, videos, or animations with EPUB3. Also, there is no way to export your ebook as a PDF, so self-publishing comic books may not be the easiest thing in the world to smoothly accomplish. The Nook Press program is exclusively available for US residents only and will not accept submissions from any other market. The company may look at the United Kingdom at some point, but does not have immediate plans to make publishing available there.

nook press sub header

Many authors love to know how their sales and metrics are doing for a title they have just released. Nook Press has new analytical functions that can give you an immediate report on every single purchase made. It is on a 3 hour delay for sales reports, as the company has to verify credit card data and other purchasing information. You can see the raw numbers, or juggle the graph data to show how it is performing over time.

First time authors have lots of questions when they are self-publishing for the first time. Barnes and Noble is making customer support for authors its top priority by introducing a new live chat feature. From 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays, authors can talk directly to a Nook specialist to get help for anything that they need. Theresa told us that she recognized B&N's support for self-publishing has been very weak in the past, and the company is remedying it with Nook Press.

Many first time authors want to share their books with their friends and family. Whether you have added a new chapter, or are just starting out, there are new tools to involve collaborators. You can invite people via email to get access to your book in the cloud. They can leave their impressions on specific sentences or chapters via the notes tool. Currently, the ability to edit an ebook as a collaborator is not included in the first release, but is on the company's roadmap to introduce in the future.

Speaking of the future, introducing new features is something most people love when they are self-publishing on any given platform. Since PUBIT was first released in 2010, there has not been a single new enhancement added. The entire point of Nook Press is to create a scalable product in which new enhancements can easily be pushed out for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of PUBIT, the entire platform will be retired once Nook Press sees a broader rollout.

Considering where PUBIT left off, there is a night and day difference with the unveiling of Nook Press. The entire process of creating an ebook is actually very intuitive and easy. The platform eliminates anything that would be a barrier to you proudly launching your first title.

Barnes and Noble Introduces eBook Publishing Platform – Nook Press is a post from: E-Reader News

iPad 5 Production Could Begin in July or August


That a new iPad is in the making is all too well known. What is also a known fact is that the intervening period till the device is actually launched is always marked with a series of leaks and speculations. This makes it quite hard to make out which one of these actually reflect the truth or otherwise. Take for instance the recent revelation at Digitimes claiming production of the iPad 5 set to kick off in the July-August period. If that be true, we are looking at a market launch much later than that, maybe during fall this year. Apple had launched iPad 4 together with the iPad Mini during November last year and its likely that could be the new launch schedule Apple would be following from now onwards. The usual period for Apple to launch a new iPad used to be Spring, during March and April. It was rumored some time back that Apple would be launching a new iPad towards end of this month itself.

Meanwhile, what has also emerged is that the new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the current version, while sporting thin iPad Mini like bezels. Also, it is LG and Sharp that would be supplying the touch panels.

Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

iPad 5 Production Could Begin in July or August is a post from: E-Reader News

Raspberry Pi in schools: discussion

This video of the closing panel discussion from last month’s Raspberry Jamboree has just appeared, and if you’re interested in applications of the Pi in schools, it’s well worth your time. If you want to find out more about the successful teaching of Computing in schools, this is a great place to start.

The OCR materials that are mentioned in the discussion are available for download for anyone: you don’t have to be a teacher. They’re only the start of a large planned scheme of work, and you’ll find materials for both pupils and teachers.

So watch the video, have a look through the worksheets, and let us know what you think. I’m meeting Alan O’Donohoe, who runs the Raspberry Jams, in…about ten minutes – if you have any questions for him please leave them in the comments, and I’ll pass them on!

Rumor: Google In Talks To Acquire WhatsApp, Denial ain’t just a River in Egypt


The rumor world is abuzz with news of Google being on the hunt to acquire the popular mobile chat program WhatsApp. The entire deal is pegged at an astounding $1b with WhatsApp reported to be playing hard to jack up the price further. The negotiations is said to have started almost a month ago though we are yet to hear anything concrete on this as yet. So far, both the parties involved had maintained a studied silence on the entire thing except the almost customary "We do not comment on rumor" thing. If that is not enough, an entirely new twist to the story has come in the form of WhatsApp denying outright they are negotiating with the search giant on a possible takeover.

All the confusion apart, the deal though does make a lot of sense for Google that already offers related services such as Google Voice, Gmail, Google+ and so on. A free messaging service like that of WhatsApp would be a nice fit to the lineup. Also of course, with a company as successful as WhatsApp that consistently features among the top paid apps category, Google would surely be saved the time and also money to build one from scratch. WhatsApp commands a huge user base in more than 100 countries across 750 mobile networks. The company boasts of more than 100 million active users on a daily basis, with as per an Oct 2011 estimate, it is serving about a billion messages every day on average. During the New Year eve in 2012, the company set a new record by processing 18 billion messages, which marks a significant improvement over its previous single day record of 10 billion message a day.

Another factor that makes WhatsApp extremely popular is its ultra-low costs which stand at just $0.99 while doing away with ads. iPhone users pay that amount once to download the app though there is a new subscription model that is being mooted. Under the new plan, users will be able to download and use the app for one year free of cost but will have to pay an annual subscription of $0.99 thereafter. The service is available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, and the Windows platform.

Rumor: Google In Talks To Acquire WhatsApp, Denial ain’t just a River in Egypt is a post from: E-Reader News