Friday, July 5, 2013

Nintendo to Launch Kids eBook Store on the 3DS


Nintendo is looking to get into the ebook business and will soon be opening up a children’s store on its handheld 3DS gaming system. Currently the company has purchased the rights to 300 Japanese children's books and will begin releasing them in September. Each title will retail for 700 to 800 yen and are mainly centered on Action, Heroics, and Fantasy.

The Japanese ebook market is currently thought to be worth $180 million dollars and is poised to triple in the next five years. Nintendo is looking to add a bit of drawing power to the 3DS, as a viable ebook reader. The gaming unit is already fairly popular with the youth demographic and the company is looking to try some new things.

Nintendo is toying with the idea of developing 3D books with animations and video. This will have parents look long and hard at investing in this device, instead of phones and tablets, which proliferate in Japan. When it comes to mobile reading, most Japanese youth are using their iPhone or Android gadgets to read Manga and play games. Nintendo is hoping to leverage its existing properties and develop a future set of books that are based on Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong.

Nintendo to Launch Kids eBook Store on the 3DS is a post from: E-Reader News

Vampires and Zombies and Manga: Digital Comics Bargains for the Weekend

Dark HOrse digital

Anime Expo is this weekend, and publishers are dealing out a couple of digital bargains for fans who can’t be there. Dark Horse has put a selection of manga on sale: It looks like the first three to five volumes of an assortment of series, including some classics: Blade of the Immortal, Oh My Goddess, and Trigun Maximum are among the selections. Honestly, Dark Horse’s digital manga is not super cheap, but Trigun Maximum for $2.99 a volume is a good deal, and the sale brings the price of each volume of Oh My Goddess down to the standard manga price of $4.99. So if you have been holding out, now is probably the time to buy.

Meanwhile, the weekly manga magazine Shonen Jump is offering an Anime Expo special: Check the site for a special code that drops the price of an annual subscription from $25.99 to $19.99. This deal is good through July 14.

Viz also takes 20% off a handful of manga volumes every Monday; this week’s selections are the first two volumes of Biomega, Itsuwaribito, and Rasetsu.

Back in the realm of American comics, comiXology is running a 99-cent sale on American Vampire. In this series, published under DC’s Vertigo imprint, there are several species of vampire, and the story jumps around in time following different characters in different eras. It’s a great read at a bargain price. This is a seven-day sale that started July 2.

And if you like your superheroes with complications, check out comiXology’s sale on Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible. Irredeemable is the story of a superhero who becomes a villain, while Incorruptible flips that around and tells the story of a villain who changes his ways. You can buy both as single-issue comics for 99 cents each or in handy omnibus editions at a higher price (it varies). This sale ends at 11 p.m. (EST) on Sunday so don’t dawdle. Then you can head over to Waid’s Thrillbent digital comics site and read the third story, Insufferable, for free in a digital-friendly format.

I’m not familiar with the third series comiXology has on sale, ’68, but it looks like Vietnam War-era zombies, which could be interesting.

Vampires and Zombies and Manga: Digital Comics Bargains for the Weekend is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Enable Night Mode (White Text, Black Background) on Kobo eReaders

I came across an interesting trick at MobileRead the other day for Kobo’s line of E Ink ebook readers—the Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch, and Kobo Aura HD—to get them to display white text on a black background instead of the usual black text on a white(ish) background. It’s a straightforward trick that doesn’t [...]

Sony Launches New Affiliate Program for eBooks


The Sony Reader Store is redoubling its efforts to stay relevant by offering a slew of new features. The company has developed a new enhanced ebook section that is aimed at children and has a number of multimedia features. It also launched an online book club and a number of book discovery programs to make shopping easier. Today, Sony has officially announced its first ever ebook affiliate program that will give people a chance to make money on digital sales.

Sony has worked on a new commission that will pay 6% on every ebook sold. It has partnered with Commission Junction for the physical logistics and payouts. This is the first time Sony has ever launched a program like this and the company is betting on extra sales stemming from book reviewers and internet blogs.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. eBook commissions tend not to earn much monetary revenue for website owners, unless you have a copious amount of web traffic. This is more about people advertising on Sony’s behalf and including the company on their list of ebooks. In the past, people tended to just do business with Kobo, Amazon, and B&N. This is normally why links only pointed to those sites, and if anyone bought anything, the website owner would get a few cents.

Currently, Sony is poised to release its new PRS-T3 e-Reader, which is around six inches. It is also going to be ushering out its 13.3 inch e-Reader, that is geared towards schools.

Sony Launches New Affiliate Program for eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

Ahhh! Zombies!


Will you be prepared when the zombie apocalypse happens? I will – I happen to like my brains intact! And after tuning in for the last season of The Walking Dead, I'm still feeling queasy. Like most people, I have been acutely aware of the recent outbreak of zombie films, books, and TV shows that have been extremely popular worldwide. Even the CDC has an official page that discusses "Zombie Preparedness". ( See? I can't make this stuff up.


Are we all terrified of being turned into mindless flesh eating ghouls? Perhaps. I think Freud would have a thing or two to say about our current obsession, whatever the motive, fear or entertainment. For me, zombie stories tap into our basic survival instincts. After all, many of the stories deal with that very topic – survival. From questions about basic survival such as, why is a crossbow a better choice than a firearm for protection, what do you do when the water supplies are contaminated to the more philosophical, "can zombies think or what can we learn from them?", zombie stories have taken our interest in the undead to a new level. Here are some of the current "zombified" titles available from OverDrive:


*Click on the titles names to preview these eBooks!*


World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks

"The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result."


The Zen of Zombie: Better Living through the Undead, Scott Kenemore

"Do you struggle out of bed each morning and sway lifelessly across the room, mouth agape, arms hanging slack, murmuring unintelligibly? Well, take heart: you’re not alone! But these other staggering, limp, perpetually drowsy folks just happen to be zombies—and it turns out they can teach us a lot about enjoying life. And only here, between the covers of this book, will you learn their secrets to happiness. Learn how to slow down and move at your own pace, become your own boss, and just devour those irritating people who get in your way."


Flu, Wayne Simmons

From Wayne Simmons comes a well-paced, terrifying, frighteningly real zombie horror story.

Whatever people's motives for loving all things zombie, there is little denying that its popular and quite entertaining! And according to the CDC zombie preparedness has real world applications, even if the zombie apocalypse is just a thing of fantasy.

I'm not taking any chances though – I've already signed up for archery lessons.


Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Sony Getting More Serious About eBook Business, Now Paying 6% Commission on Sales, Offering More Discounts

A couple of days ago an interesting email turned up in my inbox. A representative from Sony’s affiliate program with Commission Junction notified me of Sony’s new affiliate program for ebooks. For the first time ever Sony is now offering a 6% commission on the sale of ebooks from the Sony Reader Store. Up until [...]

PrivateEyePi – a DIY home alarm system

A big thank you to Recantha for spotting this one: PrivateEyePi is a project that went straight on my “I MUST make one of these” list when I saw it. Right now, that list includes an aerial Pi and camera board with the IR filter removed to take pictures of Iron Age sites in inaccessible bits of Cornish moorland; an Airplay-alike MagicPlay receiver; a garden irrigator and an Ambilight clone for the TV. I need a holiday so I can work on all this stuff – there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

PrivateEyePi is an open, configurable, automatable home alarm system that you can build and program yourself. Its maker (identified only as “Gadjet Nut”) has documented the whole system minutely and provides parts lists and pricing; wiring schematics; and all the code you’ll need. You can use motion detectors, or switches attached to doors, or a mixture of the two. There are instructions on adding cameras to the setup, and you can even add a temperature gauge to check on whether your central heating’s working when you’re away. You’ll be able to monitor everything via your computer or smart phone.

Even if you’re not an experienced electronics hacker, this project is very approachable, with clear instructions, great diagrams and an easy learning curve; beginners should feel at home here.

Click on the images to visit the PrivateEyePi project, and let us know if you decide to hack your own alarm system together.

A word of warning here: your home contents insurer may not recognise an alarm system you have made yourself under the terms of your insurance agreement – if you’re going to use this in earnest (and there is no reason why you should not – it’ll do the same job as an expensive, off-the-shelf alarm), it’s best to check first that it won’t affect your premiums. And if you’re disconnecting existing alarm equipment, be aware that in some places there are laws which require you to have a licensed electrician do the work for you. 

Overdrive Shows Off Library Media Station at ALA 2013

overdrive 1

Overdrive is currently the largest digital ebook company that facilitates the loaning of content to libraries. At the American Library Association 2013 conference in Chicago, the company showed off its new Library Media Station.

The Overdrive Media Station is a touchscreen terminal that users can browse the library’s ebook, audiobook, music, and video collection. The terminal itself features Overdrive Read, which is its HTML5 technology that allows users to read samples and listen to audio right on the terminal. There are QR codes and an entry for your email address, so it can quickly send you the link to download the full copy of any type of content you want to borrow.

The Media Station in this video, features an “all in one” PC, but libraries can use their own touchscreen computers if they have licensing deals with other hardware companies. David Burleigh of Overdrive told me that “Libraries can purchase the optimized 27 inch touchscreen computer from us, or use their own. If they decide they want their IT department to deploy different computers, we will work with our partners to insure everything works properly.”

The one great thing about this Media Station is that libraries have a great deal of flexibility in showcasing their collections. They can create their own sections on the main home screen for genres they want to promote. This can be anything from Young Adult to the recent Best Sellers they have added. Of course, there are branding options to showcase the libraries’ logos and taglines.

You might notice in this video that we show you the new streaming video service. Overdrive is quietly testing this in beta, and has not announced anything official about the program yet. What we do know is that Overdrive signed a deal with Paramount Pictures for hundreds of movies. Overdrive has four other deals in play and will eventually roll out PPV events.

Overdrive Shows Off Library Media Station at ALA 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

What Do You Think of Amazon Purchasing GoodReads?


When Amazon announced it purchased ebook community website GoodReads, it polarized many hardcore readers. There was a large segment of users that thought that their darling website would transform into something they wouldn’t want to use anymore. Other people were excited about the possibility of the eventual incorporation of many of the websites features into next iteration of Kindle e-Readers.

Last month we ran a survey that asked the question, “What do you think of Amazon Purchasing GoodReads?” 452 users cast their vote, giving us a great indication of how people are feeling about the whole issue. According to our data, the vast majority of people really hate the news (26.99%) and think its bad for readers (37.69%). 17% of readers are excited about the prospect of the GoodReads API or some aspects of the service built into future Kindle products (17.1%). Finally, only a paltry 14% were excited about the news and are celebrating the move.

At Book Expo America 2013, we spoke to the head of the Amazon Kindle eBook division and Otis Chandler. Neither party had concrete information on what the future of GoodReads will be. My impression is that it will take around six months or longer to wrestle with the internal decision on what to do with the technology.

What Do You Think of Amazon Purchasing GoodReads? is a post from: E-Reader News

Miami Vice, Punky Brewster to Storm Your E-Reader


If you pine for the days of big hair, shoulder pads, and Don Johnson’s pastel linen jackets, rejoice! The St. Louis-based digital publisher Lions Gate has announced a partnership with NBCUniversal that will bring five classic TV shows back as digital comics: Airwolf, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Punky Brewster, and Saved by the Bell.

Enterprising comics publishers have been drawing in the fans of canceled TV series (generally a small group for TV but a large group for comics) with comics sequels for a while now, from Dark Horse’s revival of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to DC’s digital-first Smallville, and in February, IDW announced it would publish a line of comics based on Cartoon Network properties.

Lion Forge jumps onto the bandwagon with a quintet of digital comics series that will bring back some iconic properties. The writing team all seem to have more experience with television and film than comics: Joelle Sellner, who has written a number of animated shows including Teen Titans and an Olsen Twins cartoon, as well as comics for IDW and Marvel; Jonathan London, a film writer and director who hosts the Geekscape podcast; Geoffrey Thorne, who began his career as an actor and then became a writer, and whose credits include scripts for Leverage, and Ben 10 and Star Trek novels as well as a couple of comics; and David Gorden, writer of the Lion Forge comic Catalyst Prime: Accel. The visuals will be handled by Lion Forge artists Jason Johnson (Wetworks) Carl Reed, and Lorenzo Lizana.

The comics will start coming out in the fall and winter of this year and will be available via Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.

Miami Vice, Punky Brewster to Storm Your E-Reader is a post from: E-Reader News