Monday, August 19, 2013

Simon and Schuster and Barnes and Noble Resolve Book Selling Dispute


Publisher Simon and Schuster and bookstore chain Barnes and Noble have been locked in a quiet battle since March.  The bookstore chain wanted deeper discounts on books and leveraged their in-store ordering to make it happen. Authors also contended that this spat was damaging their sales. Barnes and Noble locations were not providing display space or allowing book tour appearances.  The New York Times reported that “The dispute centers on the financial arrangement between Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster. While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.”

It looks like the heavy handed approach worked and today both sides released a brief statement saying that the dispute has ended. “Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster today announced that they have resolved their outstanding business issues.  Both parties said they look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”

There is no public information on the new terms and what type of discounts Barnes and Noble is getting from one of the largest publishers in the world. Considering how deeply eBook sales are being slashed in price, B&N should be a little bit more sustainable in their retail book selling business.

Simon and Schuster and Barnes and Noble Resolve Book Selling Dispute is a post from: E-Reader News

B&N Cuts Price of Nook Glow to $99; Nook Touch on Sale for $49

Yesterday Barnes and Noble announced a new lower price on the Nook Glow ebook reader. When it was first released the Nook Glow sold for $139. Then when Amazon unleashed the Kindle Paperwhite on the world for $119, B&N matched the price. Now Barnes and Noble is cutting another $20 off the price to make […]

Barnes and Noble Launches Nook Video for Android and iOS


Barnes and Noble unveiled Nook Video when they originally launched their Nook HD and HD+ last year. This service allows for the buying and renting of television shows and movies, but was only reserved for the companies official line of tablets. This has all changed today, with Barnes and Noble announcing it has unleashed Nook Video for iOS, Android and Roku boxes.

One of the elements that makes Nook Video stand out from the competition is the integration of Ultra Violet. If you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray movie from select retails, a free digital edition via UV is provided. You can enter the code in the app, and automatically have the content delivered right to your device.

Customers who have the previous generation Nook devices, such as the Nook Color and Nook Tablet will now have access to Nook Video. iPad, iPhone, Android and Roku users can download the app right away via Apple and Google Play. This is a USA exclusive though and the app will not show up in unsupported countries.

Barnes and Noble has been fairly quiet since the CEO shakeup and the company has been slashing prices on their entire product line. Their entry level Nook HD can be picked up for a paltry $139 and their 9 inch tablet is only $10.00 more. Yesterday, they also dramatically lowered the cost of the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and is now available for a paltry $99.99.

You can download Nook Video starting today, check it out for Android or iOS.

Barnes and Noble Launches Nook Video for Android and iOS is a post from: E-Reader News

National Library Board of Singapore leads world with library innovation

Over the weekend the library world began to gather in Singapore for the International Federation of Libraries (IFLA) annual conference. The National Library Board of Singapore (NLB) offers state of the art facilities to its customers and leads the region in forward thinking technology, making it an ideal location for IFLA attendees. In addition to participating in the IFLA program, OverDrive has also provided grants enabling 60 delegates to attend the ASEAN caucus and IFLA conference in Singapore.


As a world leader in developing their digital collection, NLB understands the importance of providing a variety of content in formats that can be accessed and discovered by their users in new and inventive ways. This has led to a number of initiatives, including partnerships with OverDrive and the U.S. embassy. When OverDrive launched NLB's Next Generation website in June 2013, they saw a circulation increase of 100% compared with the previous June.


OverDrive has worked closely with NLB to enhance the user experience by providing an OverDrive Media Station for in-library discovery, creating the first branded version of OverDrive Media Console and adding the Simplified Chinese language translation to their user interface. NLB is also planning to integrate OverDrive's APIs in their library OPAC to make content discovery even easier for customers. These enhancements, combined with their robust digital collection of nearly 70,000 titles (including 350 titles created by local authors from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies), have led to an average of 28,000 checkouts and 1,700 new patron registrations per month. You can learn more about NLB's collection here:


The U.S. Embassy in Singapore has also contributed to NLB's growth, having donated hundreds of eBooks as part of a "sponsored collection". Additionally, they recently donated 400 eReaders for patron use to provide access to digital titles for more customers.


All of these innovations are be on display as the library world gathers in Singapore for IFLA's annual conference through August 22nd.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communication Specialist with OverDrive 

Samsung Rumored to Develop 12 inch Tablet


Apple is not the only one thought to be developing a bigger tablet device at the moment. Sources also mention Samsung to be considering something similar as well. This latest revelation  has come from the Korea Economic Daily, that mentioned a 12 inch tablet could be the newest addition to the South Korean company's tablet lineup. Earlier, there was news that Apple is testing a tablet having a 12.9 inch display.

We don’t know much else about the device right now, which is hardly surprising. However, speculation is rife that the tablet will feature Samsung's latest Exynos 5 Octa chip, as well as a full HD display. Sources further state that the tablet will reach markets by October. If so, then there are good chances of Samsung having something up for public consumption during the upcoming IFA event in September.

Samsung Rumored to Develop 12 inch Tablet is a post from: E-Reader News

Fifty Shades of Grey Author El James Ranked Highest Paid Author


For EL James (real name Erika Leonard), giving up the job of a TV producer to pen her thoughts has proved highly lucrative. In early 2012, James decided to focus entirely on her writing career. Of course, there was enough reason to do so. The first of three Fifty Shades of Grey titles had been published in May 2011 and had been an instant hit. Whether it was the eroticism or her style of writing that appealed to readers is a topic of debate, though what perhaps matters the most is that the book went on to sell in millions.

What followed later were two more sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, with sales of all three combined being well on the other side of 70 million worldwide. The book, which deals with the steamy relationship between a young college student and a slightly older and thoroughly intimidating business magnate, has already made it pass the Harry Potter series as the fastest selling paperback in history.

All of that has translates to an earnings of $95 million for James which has made her the highest paid author in the world right now. Crime writer James Patterson is a close second with earnings of $91 million, while Suzanne Collins, writer of young adult fiction, is at the third spot with earnings of $55.

On the flip side though, the book trilogy has also received some negative criticism for glamorizing the darker side of men's sexuality and subsequent behavior towards women. A film based on the novel is slated for a release on August 1, 2014.

Fifty Shades of Grey Author El James Ranked Highest Paid Author is a post from: E-Reader News

More hot topics webinars coming in September!

September is almost here, so why haven't you heard anything about Training Month yet? We are shifting what you've traditionally known as Training Month into quarterly hot topic webinars, and for September we're going big. We'll have 4 new or updated courses (2 sessions each) on Next Generation Basics, and here's an idea of what you can learn:
1. Marketplace: Made to Order – Shopping for your digital library website has never been easier with Next Generation content and collection tools from OverDrive Marketplace.


Wednesday, September 4 at 6 PM EDT

Thursday, September 5 at 10 AM EDT

2. WE Are the Next Generation – In this forward looking session, OverDrive CEO Steve Potash shares his vision for partnering with libraries and schools to serve the next generation of readers.


Tuesday, September 10 at 2 PM EDT

Wednesday, September 11 at 6 PM EDT
3. From Browse to Borrow: Lead the Next Generation User Journey – Join us on a voyage of digital discovery as we guide you through how to help users make the most of their digital library website.


Tuesday, September 17 at 6 PM EDT

Wednesday, September 18 at 10 AM EDT

4. Take the User Assistance Challenge – How savvy are you when it comes to troubleshooting? Think you know all the tools available to help you help your users? Put your knowledge to the test in this interactive session. 


Tuesday, September 24 at 6 PM EDT
Thursday, September 26 at 2 PM EDT
Registration is open on the Learning Center, so be sure to sign up soon as seats are limited! If you have any questions, please contact


Beau Livengood is a Training Specialist with OverDrive



New Book Lending Initiative via Shanghai Public Transit


The dreaded commute is getting another literary facelift, this time in Shanghai. Just like initiatives in other parts of the world that aim to improve travelers’ often lengthy metro and subway rides by providing access to borrowable reading material, Shanghai’s bookselling chain Aizhi Bookstore is allowing commuters to rent a book for the ride and drop it off at a bookstall at the end of their rides. There are currently twenty-six book borrow stalls on the metro lines, and thirty locations in office buildings and neighborhoods where readers can return material.

Like other free programs such as Books for London, Books on the Underground, and Readioactive Books, Aizhi’s inexpensive book rental works strictly on the honor system by assuming that the borrower will actually return the book later. There are no registration cards or credit cards to secure the rental, just the willingness of the reader to return the book so that another passenger can borrow it.

Sadly, so far most of the unreturned books and magazines have been borrowed from rail station that ends at a major international airport, indicating that some patrons may be taking the reading material on flights with them. But Aizhi is not concerned, as most of the content that makes its way to the borrow stalls is not high-commodity or new release material. Like other programs of this kind, the company and individual readers can donate titles to the program.

New Book Lending Initiative via Shanghai Public Transit is a post from: E-Reader News

Tesco Supermarkets to Launch a Tablet to Rival the iPad


While the largest supermarket chain in the UK is keeping quiet and refusing to comment on market speculation, the news is out from reputable papers that Tesco will be launching its own branded tablet in time for Christmas gift buying. The tablet, an Android-powered device that is intended to compete with the iPad, will come pre-loaded with the Blinkbox entertainment streaming app as well as Tesco-specific shopping helps.

What makes this grocery store uniquely suited to a move into the digital realm? Its large presence in India, for one, where it has forged strong ties to technology manufacturers. Of course, Tesco is not entirely new to the technology market, as its cell phone carrier service is currently in the top five in the UK. Tesco also currently sells tablets and other devices for other companies, so adding its own branded device to the slate of tablets it offers is not a large stretch.

Tesco actually has two very important allies in this venture if they go forward with it. Apart from having a communications provider already under its umbrella, and in response to losing out to Amazon and Apple for sales of movies, books, and music, Tesco bought streaming service Blinkbox, which is already rumored to come installed on the tablets. Second, Tesco also owns a consumer trend tracking company Dunnhumbly, which helps it leverage marketing to its clients’ specific purchasing habits through its Tesco Clubcard. With an entertainment giant in the family and a marketing data provider already within the company, Tesco has probably done its homework in terms of offering something unique to its customers in terms of mobile communication, data, and downloads.

Tesco Supermarkets to Launch a Tablet to Rival the iPad is a post from: E-Reader News

Dewarping 360° images from the Pi camera board

Katherine Scott, newly equipped with a Raspberry Pi camera board, was looking for an image processing challenge. She realised she had an unused panoramic lens for an iPhone rolling around in a drawer somewhere at home, and got to work with the silly putty and cardboard to hook it up to the camera board.

Since my RPI camera module is just loose, and not mounted to anything, I needed a non-destructive and quick way to attach the lens to the camera. I created three cardboard shims using my pocket knife, one that fit snugly to the camera, one that fit snugly to the protrusion on the lens, and one to space the two parts out. I used silly putty to "glue" the boards together while allowing me to slide them around to get the alignment just right. Silly putty works great for this as it is non-conductive and easy to pick out the RPI camera board without breaking it. Also cleans up fairly easily.

The raw output from a lens like this gives you a doughnut-shaped image and a lot of surrounding cruft – Katherine uploaded some unmanipulated footage from the camera to YouTube to demonstrate what she had to work with.

Katherine’s job was to cut and unfold that doughnut, until she had a dewarped it into a recognisable rectangular image. To do this, she needed to understand where the centre of the doughnut was, what the radius of its hole was, and what the radius of the doughnut itself was. This information meant she’d be able to be able to map all the points in the image, and then translate them to a rectangle instead of a torus. Here are her notebook calculations:

Katherine coded all this in Python and has made it available for you to play with on GitHub. The results:

You can read much more, including a first draft of the dewarping code, Katherine’s plans for the project (which include 3d printing a more robust shim to attach the lens to the camera – we’re kind of sad about that, because we love the silly putty) here on her blog. The rest of the website is also well worth a browse; Katherine’s got some really interesting computer vision projects on the go. Thanks Katherine – we’re looking forward to seeing what you do next with the camera board!

Quebec Considers Move towards Uniform Book Prices


In what is sure to become a hotly contested issue, the government of Quebec is looking at legislation that would make book prices mandated by the publishers and nearly unchangeable by the retailers. In what was supposed to be a move to give the independent booksellers a leg up over major chain retailers, online retailers, AND ebook distributors, the publishers would set one price per title and no seller would be allowed to discount that title more than five percent.

Despite the support of authors’ organizations and booksellers, there are some nearly unbelievable flaws with the proposal. First, the price of the book will remain the same, regardless of whether the consumer buys the print or digital edition. Despite the fact that ebook readers are not consuming paper, ink, or fuels associated with shipping costs, they would now pay the same price for a digital download as they would be required to if they had bought print. Second, this legislation would only affect Quebec, so consumers in other parts of Canada would not have to pay the artificially inflated price, meaning readers who live along the borderline between Quebec and a neighboring province would simply move their book purchases across the line to avoid paying a higher price. Finally, it appears as though the legislation still wouldn’t affect online retailers who don’t have the proverbial “physical presence” that allowed Amazon to avoid collecting sales tax in US states; this would not only strengthen Amazon’s power to provide cheaper books to citizens in Quebec, but would also prevent the retailer from ever building a distribution center or affiliate relationships in the province.

A similar measure was passed in France and actually did have some of the desired effect for independent booksellers, but the key difference is their “Lang Law” was universal within the country, so there was no incentive to shop in a different region or buy online from retailers who would not be held to this regulation. By passing such a law in only one province, this stands to hurt independent bookshops even more than the current situation.

For its part, Canada’s second largest book retail chain, Renaud-Bray, is against the proposed legislation, and its president and CEO Blaise Renaud openly states that the only people who will benefit from the measure are the book distributors, not the sellers and certainly not the readers.

Quebec Considers Move towards Uniform Book Prices is a post from: E-Reader News

Indigo Tech to launch today in Chapters Bookstores

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Chapters and parent company Indigo plan on unveiling a new program called Indigo Tech. The bookseller plans to launch their expanded tech area in 40 different stores by the beginning of 2014. Not only will they continue to sell e-Readers and tablets, but they have just signed a deal with Apple to carry iPads and Apple TV.

Indigo recorded an $8.2-million loss for the last financial quarter, compared to the $125 million profit they had over a year ago. The main reason the company is in a state of decline is mainly attributed to selling their stake in Kobo. Indigo basically does not hold any allegiances to any one specific vendor and can now expand on their tech portfolio.

A few Indigo stores in Toronto are already starting to develop their core tech area, and will see wider rollout within a few weeks. We have reports that the Brampton location is launching today. We also have confirmed reports that they are expanding their tech offerings and will have close to 10 new e-readers and tablets. Most of these will be Apple products, as Indigo signed a distribution and retail agreement. By October, you are likely to see the iPad 5, iPad Mini 2, Apple TV and various cases and accessories be made available.

Indigo said during a recent investors call that it will revamp many of its large format stores to fall in line with the growing popularity of the store-within-a-store concept at many other retailers. The new physical format store will feel like you can meander through a series of shops, each one anchored by books. Indigo Tech is one component of the new format, alongside Indigo Home and Indigo Kids.

Indigo Tech to launch today in Chapters Bookstores is a post from: E-Reader News

Next Generation Amazon Tablets Revealed


When new tablets are almost ready to be commercially released they often go through benchmark testing. This gives an accurate reading of the hardware and if there is any inconsistencies with the software. Amazon is testing three new tablets, that are codenamed Soho, Thor and Apollo.

The Kindle Fire Soho is basically an entry level tablet, that is reminiscent of the current generation Kindle Fire. It has a 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display and will be running Android 4.2.  Meanwhile the Amazon Kindle Thor is a revamped Kindle Fire HD 7 and will have a very respectable resolution of 1920×1200 pixels. The Kindle Fire Apollo will have a 8.9 touchscreen display and pack an amazing resolution of 2560x1600p pixels.  The processor on the Apollo will be fairly robust, packing a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. It will also have a rear facing 8 MP camera and 2 GB of RAM.

The new Kindle lineup is basically just refreshed with modern specs and quad-core processors. It won’t bring any new and exciting hardware to the table, but instead be a small upgrade to a very successful product line. Amazon is expected to formally announce three new tablets and an e-reader in the first few weeks of September. Love to dig deep into specs? Check out the benchmark pictures below to dive into all of the specifics.

Next Generation Amazon Tablets Revealed is a post from: E-Reader News