Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Look at the Tolino Shine e-Reader


The Tolino Shine features a six inch e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. You will be able to garner around seven weeks of battery life and store 2,000 ebooks on it with 4 GB of storage. If you need more memory, you can upgrade it via the Micro SD card. It primarily will read EPUB and PDF files. It does have support for Adobe Digital Editions, so you can read books you purchased from other stores. It will also be running on the Google Android operating system. This e-Reader stemmed from a partnership between Thalia , Weltbild, Hugendubel, Bertelsmann Club, and Deutsche Telekom.

At Sid Display Week 2013, we got our hands on this little unit and give you a first impressions of the device and what you can expect on a general level if you purchase one. This device certainly won’t compete with the Amazon Kindle, as intended. Instead, it offers an innovative feature that appeals to indie bookstores and publishers. When the device is sold, there is the ability to link in a specific bookstore on the e-Reader. This means, if Thalia sells in their shop, they can attach their own bookstore on it, if another company sells it, they can link to whatever digital bookstore of their choosing.

First Look at the Tolino Shine e-Reader is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Deems 55 Digital Comics Too Hot for In-App Buying


Remember a couple of weeks ago, when there was a fuss about Saga #11 not being available in comiXology’s iOS apps because of some sexy content? And then it turned out that comiXology, not Apple, had rejected the comics, because they felt that they didn’t comply with Apple’s content guidelines so Apple would have rejected them anyway?

Turns out they may have been on to something.

On Tuesday, comiXology announced, via its blog, that several comics had been removed from the apps “In order to comply with the Apple App Store guidelines regarding adult or inappropriate content, some new releases were rejected for our iOS app this week. In addition, certain previously released titles that fall outside of these guidelines were also rejected and will be removed from sale.”

This was blandly cast as a “content update,” and the rejected/removed comics were grouped together as “Featured Digital Comics.” (This is the cautious approach; when some Digital Manga titles were booted from Amazon’s Kindle Store two years ago, Digital gleefully responded by packaging the books as a “Too Hot for Kindle” bundle for every other platform.)

The list of too-hot-for-Apple comics is impressive and eclectic. As of this writing, there are 55 titles, including Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss, Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit and Angry Youth Comix, Jess Fink’s Chester 5000, the classic Omaha the Cat Dancer, and, predictably, a handful of Digital Manga titles.

While some may bristle at Apple’s action, the fact is that these comics are still available on comiXology—they just can’t be purchased by in-app buying. Instead, readers will have to buy them through the comiXology web store or Android app, and then sync to get them on their iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Apple Deems 55 Digital Comics Too Hot for In-App Buying is a post from: E-Reader News

Hands-On with the Sony 13.3 Inch Prototype e-Reader

Sony announced a new 13.3 inch e-reader last week that uses technology the company developed internally and in conjunction with E Ink Holdings. The new Sony e-Paper reader will seriously appeal to anyone that has lamented that their PDF reading and editing experiences have been sub-par on six inch devices. At SID Display Week in Vancouver, we caught up with Giovanni Mancini, the head of RND at E Ink, to check out the new Sony e-Reader.

This was the lightest device I have ever played with in the history of e-readers. The 13.3 inch screen is beguiling to behold and you would figure from looking at it that it would weigh significantly more than the Kindle DX. In truth it weighs only 12.6 oz, compared to the Kindle DX, which weighs a hefty 18.9 oz. The e-paper screen glides like a feather when dropped, as I found out.

The screen itself is quite respectable in terms of resolution and pixel density. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. It is dubbed Mobius by E Ink and the company is actively shopping it around to the who’s who list of the e-reader world. The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader. I have personally reviewed over 83 different e-readers since launching Good e-Reader in 2009, and this was the first one to give me a quality PDF experience. I have received emails from airline pilots, heads of research divisions, and publishers about what device they should buy to read their PDF Files. I would implore everyone to buy this Sony one when it comes out; it changes the game. I don’t normally gush about things like this, but when it comes to school, work, newspapers, gaming guides, and technical PDF documents, this is solid.

The software right now is quite buggy, and we often found ourselves hitting a function key many times before the feature loaded up. The digitizer pen has a small button it that allows you to erase things when pressed. One of my concerns, along with some of the other media people there, was that the “erase” button was placed where you naturally grip the pen. This may result in you pressing down on it during your natural tendency to grip the stylus like a pencil. We noticed that when you are holding down the button, you can’t launch any commands or click on any of the GUI buttons. This forces you to write on the e-reader in a very unconventional way that  may take some getting used to.

Hands-On with the Sony 13.3 Inch Prototype e-Reader is a post from: E-Reader News

eBooks Account for 15% of All Books Sold in Canada


Electronic books are catching on like wildfire in the US and UK, but in Canada, their traction leaves something to be desired. A recent study conducted by Book Net has its research saying that paperback books (including mass markets) comprised 58% of all purchases in 2012, hardcovers accounted for 24%, and ebooks 15%.

Book sales peaked in Q1 at 17.6% of unit sales and declined steadily over the rest of the year to hit 12.9% in the last quarter. The 5% decline is likely due to heightened sales in Q1 after receiving new devices over the holidays followed by declining interest or having enough titles banked after the Q1 spike, as well as a preference for giving physical books as gifts. Further proof is that paperback sales had an inverse trend throughout the year and steadily increased in market share over the course of the year. Hardcovers also had their strongest quarter in Q4. 16% of book purchases were gifts in the holiday quarter.

Digital adoption rate certainly needs some momentum behind it to increase the footprint of ebooks in Canada. It comes down to the devices we use everyday to read and Kobo usurped the lead from Amazon from 2011. Kobo accounts for 25.2% of the entire Canadian market, while the Apple iPad is at a steady 14.0%, and the Amazon Kindle at 18.4%.

e-Reader availability is not very high in Canada and this creates barriers for customers to fall into it. The only major retail outlet to sell them is Chapters/Indigo, and other big box retailers like Future Shop and Best Buy have a paltry selection, mainly on outdated devices from Sony, Aluratek, and Ectaco. You would be hard-pressed to find anything by Amazon in the retail environment and instead you have to buy it online only.

“The research suggests that the ebook market in Canada may have reached a plateau," says BookNet Canada President and CEO Noah Genner. "Early 2013 data backs this up. So far, we’re seeing the same pattern repeating itself."

eBooks Account for 15% of All Books Sold in Canada is a post from: E-Reader News

E Ink Debuts Spectra and Aurora Digital Signage at SID 2013

eink spectra

The one thing that was clearly evident at SID Display Week this year was the gravitation towards e-paper price tags, billboards, and advertising. E Ink Holdings is putting a priority on expanding outside of its bread and butter e-reader market and focusing on new applications.

Spectra is a new E Ink technology that is quite different from the full color Triton technology. It gives you the very crisp black and white shades, but also a new color: RED. Many companies, such as Target, KMart, Macy’s, and a slew of others, have their main logo in red. This technology is geared towards digital price tags and ranges from a few inches to six and greater. The intention behind Spectra is to offer commercial operations to implement digital price tags, with the sale logo or numbers to really pop out and grab peoples attention. It can be dynamically updated via WIFI or a dedicated internet connection. For example, E Ink hyped the fact that if it is raining outside, the companies could put an instant discount on umbrellas and prices would be automatically updated.

eink aurora

AURORA technology focuses on sub-zero temperatures, which is ideal for the freezer, milk and yogurt isles in super markets. It will function indefinitely at -25 C and is appealing towards labs, medical, and logistics markets. These new tags can be custom tailored from 2, 2.7, 4.41 and 7.4 inch screens. It can also be updated via WIFI, so you can update the prices on the fly, without having to worry about people updating them manually.

The spirit behind these new e-Paper technologies is to do away with the costly expensive of paper every month for retail stores and supermarkets. Most of the big stores spend close to $50,000 a month on tags, paper and other aspects of making pricing available on produce, microwave dinners and everything else. The new e Ink signage aims to streamline the process, and allows the IT department to update prices on the fly, and even dynamically offer deals. If its a really hot day, they could discount or increase the cost of water, if something is in season, they could reduce the prices, the applications are endless.

E Ink Debuts Spectra and Aurora Digital Signage at SID 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Qualcomm Mirasol Technology Reimagined as Wearable Tech

mirasol watch

“The Internet of Things” is the new mandate from Qualcomm, as the company transitions its Mirasol technology from tablets to wearable tech and smartphones. Many industry analysts wrote off Mirasol e-Paper technology as dead, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Qualcomm as updated the screens for a new breed of devices.

SID Display Week 2013 just kicked off in Vancouver and I had a chance to catch up with Jesse Burke, who is the new public face of Mirasol. He explained that Mirasol technology had an existing roadmap and that it has deviated from it in small ways to brave a new frontier of wearable technology. There were three new products showcased at the vent, such as a smartwatch, a secondary screen for a phone, and Mirasol technology as the main display on new smartphone.

One of the big adjustments to Mirasol across the board was fitting everything on a single screen. In the past, Mirasol had two different layers of screen for its line of tablets that came out a few years ago, including the Bambook Sunflower and the Kyobo. This gave the user a more washed out approach to images and colors and the tradeoff was great battery life. Qualcomm managed to merge the two layers, producing rich and vibrant color.

The Mirasol smartwatch was the main attraction at SID and had a 1.2 inch screen and lasts a few weeks before needing a re-charge. The intention behind this product is not just to tell the time, but to be an extension of your digital life. On average, we reach for our smartphones almost 100 times a day, to check Twitter, Facebook, messages, and missed calls. The watch will ping you with Google Now updates, Facebook Home, and other essential apps. Mainly, it will serve as a secondary screen that will assist you in staying on top of all the action, without constantly referencing your bulky phone. Currently, Qualcomm is shopping this technology to various vendors, and we will likely see something happening towards the end of 2013 and mid 2014.

Smartphone screen technology is a huge focus for Qualcomm right now and the opportunity is ripe for Mirasol to sweep in and gain some market share. The average phone has a better life of 12-24 hours, depending on your use. Mirasol will extend this up to six times, which amounts to hefty savings over LED and OLED screens

There were two phone displays shown at SID, one was a fully featured smartphone, using Mirasol, and the other was a second display screen on the back of the phone, that draws parallels with the upcoming Yota. The smartphone had sported a 5.1-inch panel with a stunning resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 577 ppi. This phone is in the RND phase and is not commercially available yet. It is likely we will have to wait until 2015 to really see it in action. The second display was on the back of the phone, and mirrors the watch in terms of form and function. It allows you to have a secondary screen with dedicated apps running on it. Useful, but it remains to be seen if multi-screen smartphones are viable with your average consumer.

Qualcomm Mirasol Technology Reimagined as Wearable Tech is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive Media Console for Android and iOS out May 28th

OverDrive Media Console v2.6.5 is coming to iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch) and Android on May 28th.

This release is all about bug-fixes to improve the end user experience.  Here is what's coming out in v2.6.5:

  • Enhancements made to improve the speed of the in-app browser (iOS)
  • Fixed a bug that causes the app to crash when working from a proxy server (iOS)
  • Improved bad SSL certificate error messaging (iOS)
  • Fixed a bug that prevents page turns beyond page 161 on some devices (Android)
  • Various minor bug fixes and performance improvements on both iOS and Android

Due to a change in Apple's privacy policies, we've had to make changes to the way we handle licensing of EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks.  As a result, the OMC for iOS v2.6.5 update will de-authorize every users' Adobe ID.  Upon opening OMC for the first time after the update, users will be prompted to re-authorize.

Audiobook users that have only partially downloaded an audiobook prior to the update will need to return to the library bookshelf to download any missing parts.  If users try downloading missing parts directly without first reactivating the download from their library website bookshelf, they will receive a 'downloadManagerErrorDomain:403' error.

Note: The Adobe authorization and audiobook download issues will only impact iOS users.

We've created two help articles to help end users through both Adobe authorization and audiobook download:

If you have any questions, please contact support through Content Reserve under the Support tab.

The Ultimate Teen Summer Reading list

Here at OverDrive, one of the most common requests we get is for recommendations of young adult titles that can attract the interests of today's savvy, gadget-equipped, imaginative youths. Although we can suggest titles that are circulating well, it is often hard to satisfy the interests of every love-drunk teen, junior detective, adolescent explorer, and future novelist that has access to a library card. Sure, kids have their summer reads, book reports, and class projects, but what about the titles that can take their imagination beyond the classroom?


Fortunately, the folks at TeenReads.com have compiled a list of titles that they have dubbed the 'Ultimate Teen Reading List'. With over 400 titles, this smorgasbord of young adult books contains something for just about every kind of reader. They tout, "One of our goals each month is to inspire you to read — and to keep reading. We have found that required reading lists for school — especially summer reading lists — are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List — over 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list. How did we create our list? We compiled entries from Teenreads.com readers who weighed in with their selections, and we also asked our staffers for suggestions."


Interested in seeing what they picked? You can find the list by visiting teenreads.com.


With special thanks to OverDrive's extensive catalog of over one million titles, we were able to recreate nearly the entire Ultimate Teen Reading List with our own collection of eBooks and audiobooks.  We have made this list available to you in Content Reserve, and would like to invite you to log in and check it out. With such an amazing plethora of visionary, infamous titles to choose from, you'll find it hard not to get inspired to buy them!


(Their imaginations will thank you.)


Rob Mooney is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Bowker Reaches Out to Self-Published Authors


Most industry professionals know Bowker as the source for ISBN numbers. And while the company is the overseer of those cataloging numbers for North Amercia, Bowker has also long been the driving force behind bibliographic information and searchability. Now, Bowker is setting its sights on helping indie authors find the tools they need to publish.

"Bowker has tracked extraordinary growth in the number of self-published works over the past five years," said Beat Barblan, Bowker director of identifier services, in a statement. "There are thousands of authors who need access to advice, guidance and resources. SelfPublishedAuthor.com is designed to be their partner, helping them bring their books to market in the most effective way."

According to the statement on Bowker’s website, it makes sense for the company to offer a stronger connection and toolset for self-published authors and indie publishers since purchasing ISBN numbers is often the first step in beginning a book’s publication process. Thanks to a new site, SelfPublishedAuthor.com, Bowker is able to offer advice to authors, connect them with other industry professionals, and more.

"We're committed to being a comprehensive, practical and valuable resource that helps publishers build connections with the right partners and the right audiences," said Mr. Barblan.

SelfPublishedAuthor provides newcomers with a checklist of items to be done on their book projects, a resource of blog posts written by professionals on key decisions that need to be made, and vetted companies, like publishing professional clearinghouse BiblioCrunch, that they will endorse to help authors who aren’t quite ready to go it alone. The information is aimed at no single subset of of indie publishing, but instead seeks to speak to a broader audience of users whose publishing plans involve more oversight and creative control.

Bowker Reaches Out to Self-Published Authors is a post from: E-Reader News