Thursday, September 5, 2013

Esquire Weekly Launches on the iPad

esquire-weekly-contentEsquire has developed a new weekly magazine that is exclusive to the Apple iPad. The first 30 days are free and every Thursday a new issue will be automatically delivered to your device.

Its curated content spans Style, Gear, Food & Drink, Culture and Women, using text, pictures, audio and video content and the ability to buy clothes, tickets, box sets, and reserve restaurant tables without leaving the magazine app. Sometimes the app will recommend music, videos or television shows and link directly to the iTunes store to make a purchase or rent it.

Editor of Esquire Alex Bilmes said: “We are so excited to be the first men’s magazine to embark on this kind of digital innovation and it’s fantastic to see Esquire setting the standard for the men’s market.

Esquire Weekly Launches on the iPad is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Matchbook will Disrupt the Bookselling Industry


Amazon has announced a new program to debut this October that will severely disrupt the traditional bookselling industry. The Seattle based e-commerce giant intends on offering the digital edition at a severely diminished price when you buy the physical book. You will find most eBooks available from $2.99 to free, which gives incentives to purchase both.

Matchbook will be launching with over 10,000 titles. Publishers involved include Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Amazon is actively courting publishers to opt into the program and bundle the books together. “In addition to being a great new benefit for customers, this is an easy choice for publishers and authors who will now be able to earn more from each book they publish,” said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content.

Indie authors can find the settings for this program enabled by default, but they have to make sure they are enrolled in Kindle Direct Publishing. Self-published writers are really going to add more books to the platform very quickly via the synergy between Createspace, which physically prints books on demand and Matchbook. Self-published authors will obviously will see more value out of this than traditional publishing companies.

Many industry analysts are reporting that readers tend to purchase one or the other. Philip Jones, editor of trade publication the Bookseller magazine said “As far as I can tell most people read in one format, so they choose print or they choose digital and it’s quite rare that they read both.” I think this statement is misguided and Matchbook draws parallels between the success of Amazon Autorip, which gives you free MP3′s if you buy the physical CD and Ultraviolet.

Consumers love options and some people may be on the fence whether they want to buy into the whole eBook revolution. Ultraviolet has seen a tremendous amount of success buy bundling their DVD and Blu-Ray movies with free digital editions. Barnes and Noble has experienced modest success in their Nook Video program by just doing business with Ultraviolet. You would be hard pressed to buy a disk and NOT have the digital edition. Obviously not everyone will even use the digital edition once they purchase the physical disk, but some will. These people often go on to make more online purchases, whether they use iTunes or Google TV. Amazon is betting that the allure of a free or discounted eBook may bring more people into buying Kindles.

Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos told the BBC last year that his firm made no profit on Kindle hardware. Instead it aims to ensure shoppers come to its site to buy compatible eBooks and other goods from which it does make money.

Matchbook is going to put the traditional bookselling industry on notice if it even sees traction. Publishers and booksellers will feel a need to buy into alternative business models and bundle their content. This really drives home the buy once, read anywhere mentality that everyone is trying to promote.

Amazon Matchbook will Disrupt the Bookselling Industry is a post from: E-Reader News

Jeff Bezos to Washington Post: Don’t Be Boring


It could not have been a good feeling to come to work at The Washington Post one fateful day recently and find a memo on your cubicle desk that said, “We’ve been bought out by the guy who founded Amazon.” The world’s largest online retailer is known for cutting edge technology and innovation, and print newspapers are known for covering yesterday’s news. Obviously, any fears about how this model would turn out were completely founded.

According to an article for, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has now attended two different meetings at The Post, and apparently this most recent meeting ended with a standing ovation for the man who just sunk a reported $250 million into a print newspaper, albeit a news company rooted in history and who is still known for its engaging investigative journalism.

There has been a lot of speculation about how the Bezos Effect might impact the stalwart newspaper. One of the most widely thought views is that he will do his utmost to bring the technology behind the newspaper and its digital edition up to speed, something that a number of newspapers flounder with. It will also be interesting to see if the man behind one of the most value-conscious and successful retailers will have any impact on the current method newspapers employ of paywalling their digital content, allowing only so much of an article or a paper to be read for free before requiring payment.

As The Verge so interestingly pointed out, this crop of staff members at the paper were not put off by the man who plans to make some digital changes. In fact, while an older group might have expressed some disdain for a changing model for how a newspaper should run, the staff who were in the meeting were pleased with what they heard. That could have a little something to do with the fact that Bezos firmly stated that if any more layoffs or spending cuts were to take place at The Post, there wouldn’t be a newspaper left.

Jeff Bezos to Washington Post: Don’t Be Boring is a post from: E-Reader News

Interactive eBooks coming to the Apple iPhone


Interactive eBooks created with iBooks Author have always been relegated to iPad version. The large screen makes optimizing textbooks, kids books and a slew of other content really shine. iBooks support for the Mac will be coming as part of Apple’s launch of the full iBooks experience in OS X Mavericks, and iPhone support may also be in the works.

In the past, viewing an iBooks Author-created ebook online or via iTunes displayed the following message under the heading of 'requirements': "This book can only be viewed using iBooks 3.0 or later on an iPad. iOS 5.1 or later is required."

Today the text has been updated in the iTunes Store and you now see "To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3.0 or later and iOS 5.1 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later."

There is a strong likelihood that when Apple has their unveiling next week, where they will announce a new iPhone lineup, enhanced eBooks will play a role. This small change in text for iPhone on the iTunes store is an indication that they company plans to allow for EPUB 3 books to run on the iPhone.

Interactive eBooks coming to the Apple iPhone is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader Radio Show – Amazon Match, Kindle Paperwhite 2013, Kobo, and eBook Subscription Services


Welcome to another awe inspiring edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today Michael Kozlowski and Digital Book World’s own Jeremy Greenfield talk e-Readers and publishing.  The big news of the week is a series of Spotify for eBook services capturing mainstream news media and we give you the scoop on what Oyster and eReatah are up to.

The biggest news occuring this week is Amazon announcing their new Kindle Paperwhite e-Reader. We give you the low-down on what new hardware features are underneath the hood and also about the software side of things. GoodReads is at the forefront of this new device and should aid customers in eBook discovery. Amazon Match is another new service that gives the digital edition away for free or at a severely discounted price when you buy the physical copy.

Jeremy and Michael were both in New York last week for the big Kobo event, where the Kobo Aura and 3 new tablets were unveiled. If you were not able to attend,  you can live vicariously through our rundown on the entire event and our impressions of it.

Finally up for discussion is the new Sony PRS-T3 and how the company is failing in product innovation on all fronts and also wearable tech! Its a great show as always with songs and banter, check it out!

Good e-Reader Radio Show – Amazon Match, Kindle Paperwhite 2013, Kobo, and eBook Subscription Services is a post from: E-Reader News

Software Update for Kindle Paperwhite – Version 5.3.8

Amazon has been moving a lot of gears this past week. In addition to announcing the 2nd gen Kindle Paperwhite, they have also just started rolling out a software update for the original Paperwhite. As first when I saw an update was available I thought maybe Amazon was already adding some of the new features […]

Smashwords Announces New Publishing Milestone and New Subscription-Based Distribution Agreement

smashwords verticalDigital self-publishing platform Smashwords made two impressive announcements today, and in some ways, they go hand-in-hand. The first announcement focuses on celebrating the 250,000th title being uploaded by an indie author, and the second, seemingly larger announcement is that Smashwords’ catalog is now available for subscription-based borrowing through Oyster.

“I've been following the ebook subscription space for some time,” explained Smashwords’ CEO and founder Mark Coker in a post on the agreement. “As an ebook distributor, our job is to search out the most compelling opportunities to help our authors connect with reader eyeballs. Oyster is one such opportunity.

“The closest analog to Oyster in the music business is Spotify, and in the video rental business it's our Los Gatos neighbor NetFlix. The closest, most familiar analog to Oyster on the ebook market today is Amazon's Kindle Owners Lending Library, where subscribers to Amazon's Prime service who own a Kindle can download and read one ebook for free per month. The author or publisher, who must enroll their book in Amazon's KDP Select program to benefit from KOLL, earns about $2.00 for each download.”

Oyster, who offers its users unlimited access to a catalog of content which includes over 100,000 titles for just $9.95 a month, may be treading in waters which have already swallowed other companies’ attempts at a subscription model. But agreements with distributors like Smashwords will only grow their catalog, which will in turn entice more readers.

“Five years and 250,000 books in, I still feel like we’re just getting started at Smashwords,” continued Coker. “Wait until we reach 500,000 books, or one million. Our amazing authors have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Watch, you’ll see.”

Smashwords Announces New Publishing Milestone and New Subscription-Based Distribution Agreement is a post from: E-Reader News

New Smart Watches Announced at IFA


By now, most consumers should be aware that the humble wristwatch has become pretty smart. There have been smartphones and smart TVs so far, but manufacturers had waited this long for something as intimate as the watch to be given the smart treatment. Thankfully, it has happened, and the 2013 IFA has ample proof.

Here are the smart watches launched so far:

Samsung Galaxy Gear:

Made of stainless steel, this smartwatch offers a comprehensive set of features which even exceeds what many had expected. The device is only compatible with the latest crop of Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1. The company has announced that updates for Note 2, S4, and S3 are coming soon, which will make them compatible with the Galaxy Gear.

The Samsung smartwatch is also among the biggest, with a 1.63 inch Super AMOLED 320 x 320 display which suits its intended purpose well enough. The device can be considered an extension of the Samsung smartphone in that it displays notifications that otherwise can be seen only on the smartphone. This includes a preview of incoming messages, calls, texts, emails, and alerts, with the option for the user to accept or deny them right from the Gear itself. There’s no need to pull out the smartphone for this, but the notifications from the Gear will automatically be transferred to the smartphone via Smart Relay.

What's more, the Galaxy Gear even includes a built-in auto-focusing camera of 1.9 megapixels which will let users shoot pictures and 720p videos, although they are only 10 seconds long. Interestingly, the camera is included in the wristband which makes for an innovative design feature. The camera is also designed to work in conjugation with the Memographer, which means users will have the option to take quick notes or voice memos. Users can transcribe the voice memos into text when needed. Other tech specs include a 800 mhz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal memory, all quite respectable considering the size and intended application of the device. Meanwhile, the Gear also boasts an accelerometer as well as a gyroscope, and can be used to control the music being played by the smartphone.

Samsung has also lined up a few apps specifically for the Gear. Predictably enough, there are fitness apps to begin with, which includes the RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. Of course, there will be around 70 apps ready to be installed when the Gear goes on sale on September 25th. All of the above comes at a price, which stands at $299 and is higher than many of the entry level tablets out there.

However, price apart, what can be considered as the biggest complaint about the Gear is its dismal battery life. The 315mAh battery will tend to fizzle out by the end of the day under what the company claims as “regular use.”

Sony Smartwatch 2:

Curiously, it's named Smartwatch 2 even though this marks the company's third product in the smartwatch segment. Sony’s name is because it claims to be a second screen of your smartphone.

It features a 1.6 inch display that is lit up by 220 x 176 pixels. The display is big enough to house six apps at a time but can be scrolled to bring more on the display. Also, the display has been made sunlight-friendly, thanks to the use of a transflective panel, though it's more monochrome in bright sunlight compared to a colored display indoors.

Made of aluminum, the Smartwatch 2 has a solid build quality. Also, another inherent advantage of the Sony smartwatch is that it is waterproof (for up to 1 meter and 30 minutes). This can be helpful as users will be saved from fishing out their smartphones every time a new notification has arrived. All of those can be dealt with via the Smartwatch 2 itself.

For apps, Sony has devised what it has named as watch apps that are designed explicitly for the Smartwatch 2. There will be apps specific to the Smartwatch 2 that can be considered as “extensions” of the apps already present on the user’s smartphone. What this means is that users will get to keep a tab on their inbox, Facebook status updates, or Twitter feeds, right from the smartwatch itself.

As for its battery, Sony claims the Smartwatch 2 will be good enough to support 3-4 days of operations. Availability is pegged at around the end of September and is priced at 179 euros.

Qualcomm Toq:

No one expected Qualcomm to launch a smartwatch, and bearing a name as weird as Toq. The device, though, is quite impressive, even when lacking many of the frills seen on the Galaxy Gear. However, the Toq enjoys many advantages over the Gear in that it is not tied to a single smartphone brand but can be connected to any Android device running version 4.0.3 and above. However, company sources did mention the Toq won't remain tied to only the Android platform, as the smartwatch will soon be made compliant to the iOS as well.

The Toq comes with the Qualcomm Mirasol color display that is known for being extremely frugal on the battery. This clearly is one of the biggest advantages of the Toq, with its makers claiming a battery life of three to four days at the least. It is easily readable even in bright sunlight and is always on, features that make it more akin to the regular watches that it intends to replace. The Toq can also be charged wirelessly using Qualcomm's WiPower LE technology.

The Toq will be able to handle phone calls, messages, or reminders, along with other notifications. Qualcomm also stated the device will benefit from regular updates which will make it even smarter from time to time. The device is powered by a 200 Mhz Cortex M3 processor and is slated to reach markets in the 4th quarter, sporting a sticker price tag of $300. Also, a nice feature of the Toq is that it can be connected to wireless stereo headphones via the Bluetooth, but the device lacks a speaker or a microphone of its own.

Worth mentioning here, Seiko too has launched an e-ink based smartwatch. Catch up with the review here.

In the end, while three are just three smartwatches right now, both Apple and Google are slated to launch their own take on wearable computers in the coming months. In fact, with these being so closely tied to smartphones, every manufacturer with a smartphone in their products line up is expected to launch smartwatches sooner or later. What this means is that LG couldn’t be far from launching a smartwatch of its own to accompany the G2, and the same applies to Nokia, not to mention the cheap clones that are expected from Chinese manufacturers soon enough.

New Smart Watches Announced at IFA is a post from: E-Reader News

The Truth Behind e Ink Regal and Carta

Yesterday e Ink announced their latest generation screen technology named Carta. E Ink Carta displays utilizes a new electronic ink formulation and technology to provide a dramatic 50% improvement in contrast ratio and over 20% improvement in reflectance over previous generations of E Ink displays for a remarkably improved viewing and reading experience. The new Carta displays utilize the most advanced bistable electronic paper technology to deliver the best contrast ratio E Ink has ever delivered to the market with the same extremely low power consumption expected from an E Ink display.  We know that the new Kindle Paperwhite is using Carta, but what does Pearl, Mobious and Carta mean to the e-Reader Industry?

I may be throwing some terms that you might not be totally familiar with.  Here is an overview of the e-paper used in the vast majority of commercially viable e-readers. e-Ink Pearl has been the de facto display screen that have  been used over the course of the last few years. The Kobo Glo, Kindle 4, Nook and Sony all  used this format for the last few generations of their readers. This technology is a bit dated now and has been supplanted by Pearl HD, which normally gives a resolution of 1024×758.

E Ink Mobius was announced a few months ago and uses a TFT technology that will enable the development of much lighter and rugged products. Mobius displays can weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT. This is particularly important for mobile products requiring larger display areas.  The new Sony 13 inch writing Slate is using this technology. You can think of it as a display that is optimized to be light and flexible. Currently Sony is the only company using it in a series of trials in Japan, but neither Sony or e Ink will comment on how the trials are going.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 uses both Regal and Carta technology. This will allow for faster page turns and a full page refresh occurring every chapter, instead of the industry average of every six pages.  Good e-Reader recently found out that the new Kobo Aura, which ships at the end of the month, does not use Carta, but uses E Ink Regal waveform technology. Regal waveforms dramatically reduce the need for full page refreshes after a few page turns. This enhances the reader's experience by providing smoother page turns and more focused reading.

Good e-Reader also found out that Regal is compatible with both Pearl and Carta, but is not compatible with Mobious. This will mean that any e-Reader that uses it will be unable to take advantage of better contrast and the refresh rates.  E Ink has also confirmed that Mobious technology is not finding much traction within the e-reader industry and getting more interest with signage and wearable tech. You can bet that a new breed of smart watches is going to be on their way fairly soon and longtime partner Seiko is rumored to be working on a new product line. The first smartphone to use e-Ink, the Onyx Android Phone, is going into production at the end of October and will be available late November for sale.

The one type of screen technology I have not talked about yet is Triton 2 e-Paper. The entire product line has been languishing in obscurity due to the sub-par hardware that showcases it. Pocketbook and Ectaco are the only two companies to use color e-Paper, but sub-par hardware and woeful internals hamper wide screen adoption. The question I have is, Triton 2 compatible with Regal. If it was, this would actually produce a really solid e-reader. The only dependency on the success of Triton 2 is recommend hardware from e Inks end. I know they are a business and need to produce sales, but they really need a poster child for Triton and color e-ink in general.

The e-Reader industry is in a state of flux right now with different screen technologies emerging during the last four months. Many companies are currently releasing new products based on outdated technology. One example of this is the new Sony PRS-T3, which seems dead in the water. Wexler, Icarus, Onyx, and Bookeen are all announcing new readers within the next month. We currently have no idea on exactly what they are cooking because they seldom appear in FCC certification and normally focus on Europe and Russia. The Paperwhite 2 is using the latest generation hardware and is one to watch in terms of using the most current EPD and e-Paper display screens.  The Aura uses both Pearl HD and Regal, and we know from our extensive reviews that it is the best reader currently on the market. It will be very interesting to test page turn speed, reading experience and overall performance when the Paperwhite comes out at the end of the month.

The Truth Behind e Ink Regal and Carta is a post from: E-Reader News

Wattpad and Sourcebooks Form a New Partnership


Wattpad and Sourcebooks have announced a partnership that will create new opportunities across multiple publishing platforms for Wattpad writers and Sourcebooks authors. The two companies aim to build more synergy between their businesses and are going to be engaging in a number of new initiatives to accomplish this.

First, Sourcebooks will edit and produce select new Wattpad-branded editions of young adult stories into print and e-book platforms, as part of Wattpad's recently announced Fan Funding experiments where writers have an opportunity to enlist their fans and the Wattpad community to help fund their dreams. The original e-narratives will remain a part of Wattpad. This partnership will bring successful Wattpad authors and their books to a new readership, with distribution throughout national and international retail channels. The books will live under Sourcebooks Fire, the company's YA imprint.

In the second collaboration, Sourcebooks will be a presenting prize sponsor for Wattpad's 2013 Watty Awards, a program that showcases the community's most popular content as voted by Wattpad's thriving community of active young adult readers. As part of this search to find the "next big thing" in YA fiction, Sourcebooks will be developing channels for top Wattpad writers to have their stories secure traditional retail distribution in print and e-book formats.

And finally, several notable Sourcebooks writers including CJ Lyons, Miranda Kenneally, Janet Gurtler, and Zoraida Cordova, among others, will be making exciting new stories available for free and engaging with readers on Wattpad as part of their social media marketing strategies. This promotional channel includes featured content slots and algorithmic targeting and will allow Sourcebooks authors to build a fanbase of highly-engaged readers around their books and series.

Wattpad and Sourcebooks Form a New Partnership is a post from: E-Reader News

Bitcoin operated pool table

A couple of weeks back, Stuart Kerr from Liberty Games mailed me to let me know they were thinking about using a Pi to mod a coin-operated pool table to take bitcoins instead; he wanted to know about using our trademark. I mailed him a link to the trademarks rules, made a note about the pool table idea, and then got back to what I was doing – lots of people mail us to tell us they’re starting projects, but not everybody actually finishes the project they’re mailing us about.

Stuart and his team did, in very short order – and it’s great.

Pool tables are another of those things with acres of unused space inside, ideal for filling up with electronics if you’re that way inclined, so finding a slot for a Raspberry Pi wasn’t difficult. The table has a regular coin slot, which works as you’d expect – but next to that the Liberty Games team have installed an LCD screen displaying a price in bitcoins, with a QR code next to it. To play, you scan the code on your phone, and send the amount displayed to the operator’s bitcoin wallet. The table’s ball release mechanism then triggers.

Stuart says:

There were a number of challenges: make it easy to use, fast, secure, idiot proof (for those Bitcoin aficionados who've had one too many ales before they play) but most of all – try to make it easier to pay with Bitcoin than cash (although paying with cash should still be an option).

Immediately we thought about the Raspberry Pi (a cool $25 credit card sized computer) – we've seen Pis do all kinds of fun and interesting things (even go to space), so we were sure the Pi would be the key. Luckily the Pi is extremely flexible and has a very active community of developers and add-ons.

After a fair bit of coding we managed to get the Pi talking to a server which itself was talking to the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network, with the Pi checking to see when an incoming payment of the correct value came in. We also designed a web-based admin panel (run by a web server on the Pi), to allow operators to set the price per play and transfer Bitcoin to another wallet.

As the value of Bitcoin is variable (to say the least), we also incorporated an LCD display which calculated the current price in Bitcoin of the selected price per pay.

So all we needed to do was install the Raspberry Pi in the pool table (we chose to use a Supreme Winner table due to their popularity in pubs and bars). The Pi can run either from a battery pack or from a mains adapter (the same as the electronic coin mechanism), so there's no extra hassle.

We really liked this idea, and its implementation: it’s great to see bitcoins being used in mainstream, real-world situations, and we’re looking forward to seeing much more of this kind of application. If you want to learn more about what Stuart and the team did, you can check out their website – they’re looking for customers for this technology, which only adds a small amount to the cost of a regular pool table. There’s also an in-depth look at the idea, including an interview with the owner of several UK pubs that accept payment in bitcoins, at


Five Free Ways to Protect Your Kids Online

Keep your kids safe online with these helpful tips and tricks!

Macmillan School Collection Now Available

We are excited to announce that, starting today, over 640 eBooks  from the renowned publisher, Macmillan, will be available to K-12 schools in the US and Canada. The release is a part of a pilot program that began March of this year, with Macmillan providing hundreds of popular titles for school and library lending through OverDrive. This newly available catalog will include many highly requested titles, including:


  • BOOTLEG by Karen Blumenthal
  • BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE by Eugene Yelchin
  • BYSTANDER by James Preller
  • CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE by Tommy Greenwald
  • DEAD END IN NORVELT by Jack Gantos
  • MY LIFE AS A BOOK by Janet Tashjian
  • REVEALERS by Doug Wilhelm
  • SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
  • TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt
  • UNDERGROUND by Jean Ferris
  • WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle



These titles will be available on a one copy/one user lending model for a one year term at $15 USD or $17 CAD. They can be found in OverDrive Marketplace under the 'Metered Access' section if your catalogs are not yet merged, and locating them can made easier by using the Advanced search on the OverDrive Marketplace homepage.  Just search look for "Macmillan Publishers" in the 'Publisher Account field'.



As always, your Collection Development team is here to help create custom collection lists of these newly added titles based on any criteria you may have. Feel free to reach out to your designated Collection Development Specialist directly with any questions or requests, otherwise, please send all inquiries to


Rob Mooney is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive