Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Amazon Brings X-Ray to Apple iPad and iPhone


Amazon has just unleashed a massive new update for their Kindle app for iOS 7. Users of the iPhone and iPad will finally be able to access X-Ray and Book Extras on their devices. This is the first time X-Ray is available anywhere but Amazon e-Readers and Tablets.

X-Ray is a popular feature that gives you an indication of the people, places and things in a particular novel. You can get a sense on who the main characters they are and how often they are referenced throughout the book. If you are juggling many books at once or just coming back to one after a long hideous, you can immediately see who the major players are.

The new Kindle app is also optimized for iOS 7 and features an all-new new design, as well as Collections, which make it easy for customers to organize their books, documents, and magazines. Collections on Kindle are unique because customers can add their content to multiple categories, rather than just one – for example, put A Game of Thrones in "My Favorites" as well as "Fantasy Epics".

Amazon Brings X-Ray to Apple iPad and iPhone is a post from: E-Reader News

4.0 Update for Kindle iOS App Adds Collections and New Look

As Apple starts transitioning to their new mobile operating system, a lot of iOS apps are getting updated for compatibility reasons. Amazon released an update for the Kindle iOS app last week for that very reason. Now just 10 days later, coinciding with the release of iOS 7, Amazon has another update for their popular […]

World Book Encyclopedia to Offer Subscription Plan to Schools, Libraries


As well-known and highly respected publishing entities like newspapers and reference books struggle to compete with free information available on the internet, publishers of these types of content are forced to find new ways to stay relevant and more importantly, to stay in business. With the announcement last year the the two-hundred-plus-year-old Encyclopaedia Britannica would stop publishing its volumes, other publishing mainstays took a good look at the state of the industry and took steps to evolve.

Another widely used encyclopedia, World Book, initially began looking into digital reference materials, but has now expanded its business model to include an option that meets users where they are. With this week’s announcement of its subscription model for schools and libraries, the online platform World Book eBooks can continue to sell its content in ways that users can actually consume it.

According to a press release on the launch, “The e-book collection includes beautifully illustrated, engaging titles that contain such multimedia features as videos, audio, and games. Subscribers to World Book eBooks receive 24/7 unlimited simultaneous access to the entire collection, enabling school librarians and public librarians to offer World Book eBooks at all times to all users­––no holds or waiting. An ‘early adopter’ subscription includes updates and revisions to e-books, as well as all new titles that are added to the site during their subscription.”

The content, which can be accessed from any internet-ready computer or tablet, is not limited by the bounds of typical library licensing in which there are predetermined numbers of check outs or patron use. Participating organizations can enjoy simultaneous checkouts, and can also experience the added benefit of helping the library continue to be a relevant source of information; rather conducting internet searches for information, library patrons can access World Book’s content through their libraries via the internet.

World Book Encyclopedia to Offer Subscription Plan to Schools, Libraries is a post from: E-Reader News

Frankfurt Book Fair Opens to Authors


As the countdown to one of the largest and oldest publishing industry events in the world begins, publishing industry professionals are focusing on the Frankfurt Book Fair. One of the more interesting aspects of this year’s staging, though, is that an unheard of number of authors appear to be attending what was traditionally considered to be strictly a rights’ fair, one of the more exciting but distinctly business-oriented aspects of the publishing industry.

But with the greater focus on including authors and the public this year, what do authors need to know about Frankfurt before booking a very expensive trip? Good e-Reader will be attending this year’s event to cover industry news, and spoke to Hannah Johnson, Deputy Publisher at Publishing Perspectives, about what is important for attendees to understand about the event as a whole. Johnson’s guide, “Authors Guide to the Frankfurt Book Fair,” is available for download HERE.

“The industry is in transition and it’s new territory. I think authors are going to Frankfurt more and more to make their own connections in the industry and meet people that they wouldn’t otherwise get to meet, especially as authors are taking a little bit more control over their careers.”

One key area that authors may be interested in attending for is the foreign rights and translation issues that are handled at Frankfurt, especially if they are far enough along in their careers that selling their foreign rights is crucial. So what kind of author would benefit from the investment involved in going to Frankfurt?

“It depends on what stage they’re in in their careers. If you’re an established author with a list of books being published, or if you’re a little more well-known and have an established readership, I think an event like Frankfurt is a good investment in your career. If you haven’t been published yet and you’re a brand-new author looking to start your career, there are plenty of other events that are better suited to your needs this year.”

Johnson suggests that writers’ conferences are a much better investment for authors who are looking to connect with agents and publishers. At an event like Frankfurt, agents are actually quite busy working to sell the rights to books from clients they already have; it’s not a safe bet that an author’s elevator pitch will be effective at a frantic, high-paced event like this one.

That being said, one option authors are looking at now is incorporating some type of book event into their existing vacation plans. Authors whose focus is a vacation to Germany or New York might plan it in such a way that it includes the ability to spend a day at the book fair or at BookExpo America, for example. But planning a full trip for the specific purpose of attending a publishing event is an investment that only pays off in terms of forging long-term connections in the industry, not in terms of fulfilling immediate agenting or publishing goals.

The fact that Frankfurt is even open to authors and offering industry workshops for digital and self-publishing is still very telling of the direction the industry is taking, namely that authors are being given greater access to choices and control in their careers.

“It’s really interesting to watch. It’s an exciting time to go to Frankfurt and to work in publishing.”

Frankfurt Book Fair Opens to Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

Halloween costumes: Doc Brown

Halloween’s a little way off yet, but here in the USA, preparations are in full swing. (Can someone explain to me what earthly use a Pumpkin Spice Latte is in New Orleans, with temperatures above 30ÂșC and 100% humidity?) Halloween cards are in the shops, vampire teeth are on sale on every street corner. We know many of you are making costumes for Halloween which incorporate a Pi, and we hope more of you will mail us (or leave a note in the comments) to let us know about them and share your builds in time for the end of October.

This first costume was something I spotted on Twitter. @ForToffee volunteers with the Scouts. He put up a picture of his Delorean Time Circuit, used at a fancy dress do at the end of a Scout camp, and I asked whether he’d consider writing about his project online so I could blog about it. I was delighted and made to feel guilty in equal measures when he went away for a few days, then came back to announce that he’d started a whole blog to talk about it, and had made a huge, detailed, beautiful, multi-post tutorial to talk you through making your own setup.

We think the wig leaves something to be desired, but the rest of it’s bang tidy.

@ForToffee (whose actual name is Carl Monk) has done one of the best project writeups I’ve seen so far. Even if you’re a beginner, his clear explanations and wiring diagrams should have you able to put one of these together yourself.

It’s a monstrous snarl! I’ll never be able to replicate it…

…Oh, I see. That’s actually quite straightforward, isn’t it?

Because Mr Fusion is made up, the Time Circuit is powered by batteries bought at Tesco. Jiggawatts of power are not required. You’ll learn all about seven-segment displays, do some hard thinking about hexadecimal, and use some Python too.

He also made a Flux Capacitor. Instructions are, of course, laid out very simply so you can make one too.

Carl says the housing looks as if it’s seen better days because…it has: when this video was taken, the whole device had been through the rigours of a Scout camp, including some in-the-field (literally) repairs when a wire did something poky.

Scouts these days are less than familiar with the early roles of Michael J Fox. Carl says:

What's more worrying is the state of teenagers awareness of classic 80s movies.  The number of Explorer Scouts that asked "What's that?" or "Are you Einstein?" was mildly worrying.  They were all told to hunt out the films when they got home and watch them to aid their education :-) I was asked by one lad "Did you buy that off eBay?"

The real heart warming thing was the number of youngsters (and a few adults) that either correctly guessed there was a Pi inside or knew what it was when I told them. There's hope for them yet….

Thanks so much, Carl. I really didn’t expect you to respond to my initial inquiry with anything like this much detail and swagger. More power to your lab coat.


Livrada, Hook Book Events Bundle Print and eBook Options


Livrada, the ebook distribution platform that first made headlines by creating an innovative way for people to buy ebooks in major retail chain stores via specifically branded gift cards for individual titles, has announced this week its partnership with Hook Book Events to enable event attendees to select a print or ebook edition of titles available for sale at the event when purchasing their tickets.

Livrada has developed the most seamless, simple and elegant way to deliver e-books to a large audience. With Livrada, we're able to offer an innovative way for our customers to engage with authors at our events by giving them the choice of an e-book or print copy when they purchase a ticket," said Perry Pidgeon Hooks, President and co-founder of Hooks Book Events, in a press release.

The event, which will be held September 24th, will feature Honest Tea co-founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman, who will talk about his book, Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently – and Succeeding. At the event, participants will receive a copy of Mission in a Bottle, and thanks to Livrada, will have the option to receive the print or digital edition, regardless of the device platform the readers choose.

"We're excited to offer this new feature to serve the growing e-reading population. Our partnership with the well-respected Hooks Book Events is a logical fit. They are trailblazers in connecting leading thinkers and authors of our time with sophisticated audiences," continued Leonard Chen, CEO of Livrada.

Livrada, Hook Book Events Bundle Print and eBook Options is a post from: E-Reader News

Get help with your Next Generation school library website

In August we announced that all school digital library websites will be getting a Next Generation makeover. Updated sites come with a suite of new features, such as powerful search and filtering options, a refreshed design, enhanced metadata, and more—including these help resources for students, parents, and staff:


Printable help
Students, parents, and staff can click the Help icon on your site for navigable, printable FAQs about your school's OverDrive website, including:

  • How do I borrow titles?
  • What is OverDrive Read?
  • How do I use the dictionary, notes, and highlights in OverDrive Read?
  • How do I download borrowed titles?
  • How do I put an unavailable title on hold?
  • How do I make a list of titles I want to borrow later?



Video help
For your audio-visual learners, we also have an overview video about your Next Generation school digital library, which walks through the process of using your OverDrive website, borrowing titles, reading eBooks with OverDrive Read, downloading titles, placing holds, and more.

OverDrive Help
Under the Help icon on your site, you'll also find links to additional resources, including OverDrive Help, our searchable help database. Here you can find how-to articles about using specific devices and software, troubleshooting errors, and more. While some screenshots on OverDrive Help may not exactly match the look of your school's OverDrive website, most instructions should work for you and your students.


Direct link between students and school staff
If the above resources don't answer your students' questions, they can always click Support under the Help icon and submit a request to receive personalized help from your library staff.


Staff training

For school staff members, we have training materials available on OverDrive's Learning Center to help you build your digital collection, navigate your digital library website, assist your students, and more. Just pick an On Demand recording and watch at any time—we suggest starting with Just the Basics: Schools – Next Generation, Education Evolution, and Advantage for Schools.


OverDrive Support
If your or other school staff members ever receive a technical question you can't answer, you'll receive prompt help from our support experts here at OverDrive by filling out the support form in OverDrive Marketplace (under the Support tab).


Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.