Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HarperCollins Launches eInsider Program for Free eBooks

When authors do promotional tours or want to send copies of their eBooks to online reviewers or friends, things get difficult. Often, these promotional ARC editions do not have DRM, which make it fairly easy to pirate. HarperCollins has revealed a new program, that simplifies the process.

The new eInsider program is a new initiative by HarperCollins that will allow authors to send out samples, or the full edition of the book. Authors belonging to the publishing label will get a set of unique codes that can be redeemed for the entire eBook and can only be used once, before they expire. This puts a bit more power into the authors hands, to share their digital edition with whomever they want. The eBook they share, is fully encrypted with Digital-Rights-Management, which prevents other users from being able to view the book.

"Until now, providing secure digital copies of ebooks directly to authors was difficult," HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray said in a statement. "The eInsider program and platform allows us to distribute secure ebooks to authors, reviewers, bloggers or any other influential readers in the same way we have always distributed promotional print books at industry fairs and author events."

In order to redeem the full copy of the eBook you have to visit and follow the instructions on how to get the digital edition. The books themselves are in EPUB format, and should be compatible with every Adobe certified e-Reader or on your PC. I think this is a great move, and really gives authors the ability to assist with their own promotion, without needing to rely on the publisher or agent to distribute review copies of their books to fellow authors, journalists or their favorite book review website.

HarperCollins Launches eInsider Program for Free eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Launches Universal Login System


Amazon has just unveiled a new universal login system that will appeal to website, app or gaming developers. It basically draws parallels to Facebook or Twitter connect to make an account and instead uses Amazon’s API technology and servers. It allows end-users to feel a bit more safer and secure to use their existing account and rest easy an app or website won’t be spamming your social media accounts on your behalf.

According to a 2012 Harris Interactive study, over half of all American Internet users have five or more unique passwords to remember. Login with Amazon reduces sign-in friction by eliminating the need for users to create an account and password, and instead allows them to sign-in using their existing Amazon account information. Amazon customers can choose to share certain attributes of their account profile with apps, games, and websites by using Login with Amazon.

I can really see this new program appealing to most app developers who need their customers to login  to their app to unlock all of the functionality. It also will make webmasters lives a bit easier to not have to create an account on a proprietary system, like WordPress.

Amazon Launches Universal Login System is a post from: E-Reader News

Amanda Hocking Publishes Graphic Novel as Digital-First Comic


Amanda Hocking is a digital publishing phenomenon: She self-published her first nine books as e-books and sold over a million copies, making her a millionaire twice over.

Conventional publishers took notice, and Hocking’s paranormal romance novels are now published by St. Martin’s Press. Her prose novels, that is: Hocking’s newest work is a graphic novel, titled The Hollows: A Hollowland Graphic Novel, and it is being published as a digital-first comic by Dynamite. The graphic novel is based on Hocking’s The Hollowland, the story of a girl looking for her lost brother during a zombie apocalypse.

In an interview with Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly, Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci said that the book would be released as ten chapters, then collected late this year or early next year as a print graphic novel. The chapters will not be sold as individual issues.

The first issue of The Hollows is free, so I went ahead and downloaded it. It’s basically setup, introducing us to the characters in the story: The girl and her brother; a rock star whose band disintegrates after the zombie plague strikes during one of their concerts; a doctor who feels he is ethically bound to treat those afflicted by the plague even though the government has declared that infected people are legally dead. Frankly, zombies are pretty passe these days, but Hocking has managed to stock her story with characters that are solid enough to be interesting anyway. Steve Uy’s art serves the story well; it’s black and white with a subtle manga feel.

The second issue was also released this week, and subsequent issues will come out every two weeks and will be priced at $1.99. While I bought it on comiXology, the book is also available on Kindle, and on Dark Horse Digital.

Amanda Hocking Publishes Graphic Novel as Digital-First Comic is a post from: E-Reader News

Random House Launches BookScout Mobile App

Screenshot_2013-05-29-22-23-12Random House has spent the last five months, developing their new eBook discovery engine, BookScout. One of the most notable features of the service is that it does not put an emphasis on titles issued by Random House, but all publishers. Today, Random House announced that it has issued a new mobile version of their Facebook App and it actually works fairly solid.

Since BookScout's launch this January, the number the people using the app has more than doubled to over 6,000, primarily in the United States and as far as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and India. BookScout continues to see a high engagement rate with over 80,000 actions taken in the app, creating 1.3 million stories shared on Facebook. The app currently includes over three million titles across all publishers.

"People love to talk about books at any time and in any place. With this in mind, we made BookScout accessible everywhere and on every device," says Amanda Close, Random House’s Senior Vice President, Digital Marketplace Development. "Now that BookScout is fully mobile accessible, our focus will turn to creating fun, fresh ways to share book recommendations and help connect readers. This includes new reading recommendations from our editors across all publishers, and additional social-sharing features within the app."

Random House Launches BookScout Mobile App is a post from: E-Reader News

Hybrid Authors Weigh in on a Myriad of Issues


The publishing world has ushered in a new classification of authors that straddle two worlds, hybrid authors. This term applies towards traditionally published authors, that end up branching out into the realm of self-publishing. It also applies to the digitally self-published authors who end up getting a traditional publishing deal.

Hybrid authors often have many reasons why they switch up their mediums and we have some insightful data courtesy of Phill Sexton of Writers Digest on some of them. He surveyed almost 4,000 authors who would be considered hybrids and gives an indication on their thoughts and overall mentality. Overwhelming creative control over their eBooks are one of the biggest factors in self-publishing. Often, in the traditional publishing world, there are trends that publishers will immediately dismiss. For example, According to Sylvia Day “Paranormal Romance novels are on the decline, and you would be hard-pressed to have a New York based publisher accept your new novel. Unless you have an established name, like Cassandra Claire. Being able to digitally self-publish insures you could buckle some declining trends and put a fresh new spin on it.”

Hybrid authors not only flex more creative control, but they tend to write on their own terms, without deadlines. One of the largest barriers that aspiring writers face, is being able to cope with a dedicated writing schedule. When you traditionally publish, you have the publisher, agent and editor all lobbying for due dates. This actually helps authors publish digitally and succeed, because they have a good work ethic. On the flip side, authors who publish digitally often find they receive more help and a further reach with marketing and book-tours being organized on their behalf.

Finally, hybrid authors actually earn more revenue on average than dedicated disciples of each singular discipline. On average, hybrid authors earn $38,000 for each title, whereas traditional authors earn $27,000 and self-published ones $7,000.

Hybrid Authors Weigh in on a Myriad of Issues is a post from: E-Reader News

First eBook in Overdrive’s Big Library Read Program Downloaded 24,000 Times


Overdrive announced a new pilot project that allowed all participating libraries to opt into give an eBook away for free, with no strings attached. The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone was donated by Sourcebooks and apparently resonated with readers, as it was downloaded over 24,000 times from May 15th through May 23rd.

One of the big questions I had about this program was how could a publisher and Overdrive artificially create a bestseller. This is actually a fairly huge question and could have reverberating effects on the future of Big Library Read. In the week this eBook was featured on Overdrive, it also climbed the Amazon's Sales Rank charts moving up more than 50,000 spots from 67,198 to 16,798.

The Big Library Read project was featured in 7,500 public, academic, military, and school libraries. Overdrive has verified it has excessive interest from other libraries in their network and also other publishers. This will ensure that the pilot project turns into a regular one.

First eBook in Overdrive’s Big Library Read Program Downloaded 24,000 Times is a post from: E-Reader News

Microsoft to Launch Surface Pro in Japan on June 7, New 256 GB Model on Offer

Surface Pro

Microsoft is all set to unleash its Surface Pro device in Japan on June 7th. It is a late debut, considering it reached markets on the other side of the Pacific in February. However, there is a new enhanced model that Microsoft has developed. The enhancement is restricted to the internal storage of the device, which has been doubled to 256 GB. The extra bit of storage does make a lot of sense, considering the Surface Pro is aimed at the enterprise sector that often requires storing huge amounts of data. The operating system itself will be using a sizeable 48 GB of the above mentioned storage, another reason why the beefed up internal memory is always welcome.

Everything else with the Surface Pro remains the same, with the 10.6 inch 1920 x 1080 pixel display, an Intel Core i5 chip, and a 4 GB RAM. All of the above with 128 GB of storage will cost 99,800 yen or about $975. The same with 256 GB will set you back by a cool 119,800 yen or $1,175. There are a few other designer accessories thrown in as well, which includes a touch cover that costs an additional for 9,980 yen or $100. A tactile key type cover will come for 10,980 yen or $110. The package also includes a pressure sensitive pen, and the Surface Pro will come bundled with the Office 2013 suite.

However, it remains to be seen if the Surface Pro sales will get a sales boost due to the extra storage offered. It’s no secret that demand for the Surface Pro, as well as its RT counterpart, has been tapering off recently, which can be attributed to the cross-segment position Microsoft attempted with the device. It’s a bit too heavy to be classified a proper tablet, and it has a unique cover ensuring it can be used as a traditional notebook device. It’s an excellent device, no doubt, though it ended up not being a true performer either as a tablet or a notebook.

Microsoft to Launch Surface Pro in Japan on June 7, New 256 GB Model on Offer is a post from: E-Reader News

Rumor: Apple Developing a Cheaper iPad Mini


Apple is believed to be developing a new iPad Mini variant that would be cheaper than the current version. Of course, there is no official confirmation, though it does fit with the California based company’s newfound penchant to drive down the price in order to pick up sales. A report from Citi Research is claiming Apple might indeed be doing this, as information from the company's Asia based supply chain network reveals such a possibility. The lowest priced iPad Mini now costs $329, while the low cost Android tablet brigade is flourishing in the $200 – $250 price bracket. The iPad Mini is still selling in millions and is more in demand than its bigger cousin.

Apple is already believed to be in advanced stages of building a low cost version of the iPhone to ensure it remains competitive against renewed competition from manufacturers, such as Samsung. An announcement towards this is expected in the fall, which is when Apple is likely to launch the new iPhone 5S, the budget iPhone, as well as new variants of the iPad and iPad Mini. This isn’t the first time we have come across reports of Apple developing a budget priced iPad Mini as rumblings on this were heard back in April.

Keep watching!

Rumor: Apple Developing a Cheaper iPad Mini is a post from: E-Reader News

OnTheRoadAudio – For your commute listening pleasure

How much time do we spend traveling every day? An hour? Two hours or more? That time is likely spent in a car in traffic or on public transit, but how many of us actually enjoy the commute? With summer officially underway, many families and friends are kicking off the summer road trip season. Why not make both the daily commute or family road trip enjoyable experiences by listening to an audiobook? For the month of June, OverDrive has a great selection of audiobooks on sale for 30% off! To simplify the purchasing process, check out the list OnTheRoadAudio available in Content Reserve. Here are a few of our favorites:


The Forgotten, the latest thriller from suspense master David Baldacci


"John Puller is called out on another case—and this time, it’s close to home. His Aunt Betsy has been found dead in her Florida apartment, drowned in her backyard pool. The local police have ruled the death an accident, but Puller isn’t so sure. Before she died, Betsy mailed a letter to Puller’s father, telling him she was afraid…but wouldn’t say what, exactly, she was frightened of."


Bossypants, the funny and heartwarming biography of writer and comedienne Tina Fey


"Tina Fey, one of the most powerful and beloved women in entertainment, brings sharp wit and uncanny observational skill to everything she does, from television to major motion pictures. She’s managed to be known as both the thinking man’s sex symbol, and every woman’s alter-ego/imaginary best friend. Now, for the first time, Fey takes her writing talent off-screen and into the pages of an audiobook."


Guilty Wives, a saucy summer beach read by James Patterson


"Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. In the morning’s harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened—something impossible, unthinkable…"



The list also includes classics you always meant to read but never quite got around to such as Fahrenheit 451, The Hobbit, The Maltese Falcon, Anna Karenina, and many more.


Indulge the kids on your summer road trip with these children's and YA selections:


Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins and Cris Dukehart


"In the first book of the Hex Hall series, Rachel Hawkins introduces teenage witch Sophie Mercer, who is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward witches, faeries, and shape shifters."


Jepp Who Defied the Stars, by Paul Michael Garcia, Katherine Marsh


"Fate—is it written in the stars from the moment we are born, or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands? Jepp of Astraveld needs to know. He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in the strange, luxurious prison that is Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish infanta."


Or children's classics like Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Little Women just to name a few.


We all spend countless hours traveling in some fashion. Why not actually enjoy that time by listening to an audiobook? OverDrive makes it even easier with the OverDrive Media Console app that can be downloaded to your smartphone for free. Just plug in, download, and go. Enjoy the silence in the backseat. Enjoy the drive. Most importantly, enjoy a new world with an audiobook.


Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Join OverDrive at BookExpo America for a demonstration of OverDrive Media Station

This week team OverDrive will be at BookExpo America (BEA) offering hands on demonstrations of OverDrive Media Station at booth #1438. In addition to in-library use, OverDrive Media Station is designed to merchandise and sell eBooks in retail stores. OverDrive Media Station is a digital touchscreen eBook station that can be customized with a retailer's brand for in-store engagement with readers.  It displays top-selling titles and provides access to one million eBook and MP3 audiobook titles in every genre.


"Publishers and authors are very excited to support retail booksellers to supplement their print book sales by enabling them to sell eBooks to customers in their stores," said Erica Lazzaro, Director of Publisher Relations at OverDrive.  "It's one more way to broaden digital content discovery and bring publishers and retailers closer together, which ultimately creates a richer experience for readers."


OverDrive Media Station will provide an affordable option for independent and large brick-and-mortar booksellers to offer one million eBook and audiobook titles for direct sale to customers and is ideal for discovery and sampling.  Using wall-mounted or free-standing touchscreen stations, customers will have the ability to browse and instantly sample eBooks and audiobooks compatible with hundreds of popular devices including tablets and smartphones.  The ability for readers to instantly sample the first chapters from nearly one million titles provides the same previewing experience that hardcopy books do.


In addition to previewing its new eBook station at BEA, OverDrive will focus on how publishers and retailers can create a branded reading experience, such as, Simon & Schuster's branded teen community, as well as early results of the worldwide Big Library Read event that began May 15 and concludes June 1.  The first event of its kind, the Big Library Read invites millions of library patrons around the world to simultaneously access and read The Four Corners of the Sky, by Michael Malone.  More than 7,500 libraries around the world are participating in the Big Library Read, which was organized to demonstrate the importance of libraries as a discovery channel.


For more information about OverDrive Media Station use for retail stores, contact


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive

Chinese Kindle Reportedly Coming June 7th

Amazon China

According to an article by Catherine Shu for TechCrunch, a long-awaited Kindle for the Chinese ebook market may finally be a reality. While the Amazon China store has been an operational site for some time, and the Kindle store–compatible only with the Kindle app–launched in December, kiosks have already sprung up to sell the Kindle as early as next week.

Prices for the devices, including the Kindle Fire HD, are somewhat comparable to US prices for the e-readers and tablet, and are slated to be available in Suning’s Tesco stores.

Some of the lag in rolling out the ebook sales to what is reported to be the second largest ebook market in the world have been caused by slow adoption by China’s regulatory commissions over censorship concerns. Amazon China is not approved to sell ebooks, and instead partnered with an approved third party to sell digital editions to customers, something that the General Administration of Press and Publication has stated violates the law.

Shu’s piece on the Kindle rollout does bring up a very interesting question, namely, will Amazon actually make any money on this venture? If the site is paying a third party vendor for ebooks and is competing with the existing ebook storefronts, how can the online retailer plan to come out ahead on devices that typically sell in the US for cost? An article from Doug Young for Forbes predicts that Amazon’s strong brand recognition could easily result in a 20% market share of the digital book scape, assuming the consumers respond.

Chinese Kindle Reportedly Coming June 7th is a post from: E-Reader News

Wired UK – in shops on Thursday

We’re getting back to the UK late on Thursday. First stop: a Heathrow branch of WH Smith.

I shall forestall the obvious question: it’s a Pibow in Toxic, by Pimoroni.

Tech-Savvy Parents Still Choosing Print for Their Kids


a few years ago, preschool-aged children were the demographic least likely to be given ebooks to read, while teens were reported to be the least likely age group to choose ebooks for themselves. At the time, it seemed that the device was the issue; teens viewed their portable devices as social or entertainment tools, and parents of younger children were shy about handing a toddler an expensive tablet.

That dynamic has changed to some extent, notably with the advent of tablets and smartphones becoming more widespread and less expensive. But now, a Pew Internet study demonstrates that parents are still choosing print books for their children in order to connect with the nostalgia of enjoying a book in the way that they did as kids.

According to a write-up of the report by Kathryn Zickuhr, “More than nine in ten parents of minor children say it is important to them that their children read print books—eighty-one percent say it is ‘very important,’ and an additional 13% say it is ‘somewhat important.’ Very few say having their children read print books is ‘not too important’ (3%) or ‘not important at all’ (3%).”

While the research survey itself didn’t explain why parents felt that it was important for their children to experience print reading despite the increased numbers of Americans over age sixteen who now own e-readers or tablets, there was some information from focus groups that provided a little insight.

Some parents felt that reading a print book–for both their children and themselves–modeled good reading behavior. While reading on an electronic device, especially a tablet, kids can’t know that the parents are reading rather than playing on social media. Other parents wanted to pass on the childhood memories that the print book experience brought with it.

For many parents, print reading may actually result from a more intentional “power down” mentality. With the abundance of devices available, concerned parents are actually making intentional headway into getting their children to pursue other activities with portions of their time.

Tech-Savvy Parents Still Choosing Print for Their Kids is a post from: E-Reader News

Sales and Deals on eBook Readers, Tablets and eBooks

There are some good deals to be had on ebook readers and tablets as we approach the end of May. The Nooks are on sale again at Walmart, and you can snag an older Android tablet for as little as $55 new from eBay. And there are some discount codes if you like shopping for [...]