Monday, October 7, 2013

CONTEC Event Kicks Off the Frankfurt Book Fair

This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the world’s largest and oldest publishing industry events, kicks off with the pre-conference CONTEC event this morning. One of the more interesting aspects to CONTEC is the large number of publishing startups present, primarily in digital publishing.

“Within the publishing categories, it’s completely cross-platform,” explained program manager Kat Meyer of the variety of professionals who take part in CONTEC.

“The digital publishing revolution isn’t going to be enough to take us where we need to go,” said Wiley president, Stephen Smith in his opening keynote.

On schedule today to speak are names like Wiley’s Stephen Smith, Sobooks founder Sascha Lobo, Rachel Ferscleiser of Tumblr, Laura Dawson of Bowker, Michael Tamblyn of Kobo, and well-known independent author Hugh Howey, among others.

One of the more interesting presentations today promises to be Lobo’s presentation on what books are going to look like once ebooks are a thing of the past, as well as a full afternoon session on self-publishing and what it means for the industry; Bowker’s data release this week that demonstrates that self-publishing is not only growing but traditional publishing’s recent related growth will hopefully provide some background insight into that presentation.

To follow the tweets from Good e-Reader and other news outlets from Frankfurt, follow the #CONTEC13 hashtag today.

CONTEC Event Kicks Off the Frankfurt Book Fair is a post from: E-Reader News

1.75 million sold so far – and 1 million made in the UK

We’ve reached a bit a landmark. As you’ll know if you’ve been following us since we started documenting what happens when you decide to make a tiny computer for education back in 2011, the first Raspberry Pis were made in China. Back in September 2012, we started moving manufacture to a plant owned by Sony in South Wales. Gradually, both of our manufacturing partners, RS Components and Premier Farnell, have reshored all the production of Raspberry Pis to that factory, and for the last few months, all the Pis you buy have been made in the UK.

The really big news today is that the Pencoed factory has made its millionth British Raspberry Pi. Add these to the existing Chinese ones, and that makes one and three quarter million Raspberry Pis out there worldwide, the majority of them made right here at home. Sony’s Pencoed factory has just won a slew of trophies at the British Factory Awards: they took home the Best Factory award, Best Electronics Factory, Best Factory for Innovation – and were highly commended for their work on minimising energy use and environmental impact. They’re great to work with, their quality control process and attention to detail is exceptional (as those of you with UK Pis have been happy to tell us), and we can’t think of anyone who deserves those awards more.

What’s happened to the millionth British Raspberry Pi, you ask? Sony have made us a gold-plated case to keep it in, and we’ll be displaying it proudly here at Pi Towers.

Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s Technological Correspondent (and a man without whose blog there might never have been a Raspberry Pi – it was only when some personal footage he’d taken with his phone went viral that we realised that hundreds of thousands of you might actually be interested in buying the thing) dropped into our offices last week to do some filming about the millionth Pi. Keep an eye on BBC news bulletins today, and especially on BBC Breakfast – you might spot us there!

New York Comic Con Is Right Around the Corner


Why should San Diego have all the fun? This weekend, the East Coast gets its turn at a mega comic con, when New York Comic Con takes over the Javits Center. This is the last big comics convention of the year, so publishers are hustling. Here’s some of what we’re seeing.

Guests: New York is still the headquarters of the Big Two, Marvel and DC, as well as a host of smaller publishers, so there will be plenty of writers, artists, editors, and industry honchos on hand. The comics guests include some top-notch talent: Scott Snyder (writer of Batman and American Vampire), Darwyn Cooke (the Parker graphic novels), Dan Slott (Amazing Spider-Man), and of course Stan Lee, who despite being 90 never seems to miss a comics convention.

News: Comics publishers roll out their big announcements at the con, or often just before it, so stay tuned for all the latest news. One of the early reports has a digital side to it: Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics announced a crossover between two of their characters with The Shadow vs. Grendel. The digital angle is that Dynamite sells its comics on the Dark Horse platform (as well as comiXology and the usual places—but they are the only other publisher on Dark Horse Digital). When I spoke to them last spring, Dark Horse president Mike Richardson and Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci talked about how their lines complemented each other, and it looks from here like that digital collaboration got everyone thinking. Another breaking story: Marvel, which is owned by Disney, will publish a new series, Disney Kingdoms: Secrets of the Weird, launching in January of next year. Marvel staff and the Disney Imagineers are working together on this comic, and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada will have more to say about it during his panel.

Digital Comics: They will be everywhere. ComiXology will have two panels, on making comics the comiXology way and their ComiXology Submit indy-comics program, as well as My Little Pony artist Katie Cook, The Bunker creators Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari, and other creators at their booth signing special art cards. V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd will be talking about his Aces Weekly digital-comics site, and the motion-comics publisher Madefire will have a booth on the floor. At this point, almost every comics publisher has some sort of digital component, so it almost doesn’t make sense to separate out digital comics, but every con can be counted on to have a few pioneering digital-first comics and apps, and hopefully there will be some boasting about sales numbers as well. Stay tuned!

New York Comic Con Is Right Around the Corner is a post from: E-Reader News

Imminent Kindle Shortage in Germany

Inside An Distribution Center On Cyber Monday

Disgruntled workers at the warehouses at Amazon Germany are in the early stages of planning a strike. It is set to begin in the first two weeks of December to prevent people from receiving their Kindles. The intention is to strike when the holidays are in full swing and be in better position to bargain for added pay and benefits.

The workers union is trying to convince Amazon to accept collective bargaining agreements for staff under the mail order and retail industry sector as benchmarks for warehouse workers' pay at Amazon German distribution centers, but Amazon says the employees are making enough money and that they pay them the same as other distribution centers. The union countered and said "If I were Amazon I would not rely on being able to make all deliveries to customers on time before Christmas.”

Amazon Germany been a hotbed of worker malcontent for the last few years.  Over the course of the last holiday season security guards were said to intimidate employees that were demanding better working conditions and higher wages.  Since then, the security agency was fired but working conditions are less then optimal.

Hopefully a worker strike will not impede the delivery of Amazon Kindle Paperwhites or Kindle Fire HDX tablets. It is encouraged that you want to get one for the holidays, I would do it before December.

Imminent Kindle Shortage in Germany is a post from: E-Reader News

New Aquafadas Publisher Update Brings Support for iOS7


Aquafadas is a French technology company that has a mighty array of tools for companies looking to publish digital magazines. They were a very appealing takeover target for Kobo, who needed technology to give to publishers the tool to submit content to their upcoming magazine store. Today, Aquafadas has announced a big update to their tools and will offer compressive support for iOS 7.

Publishers that have a vested interest in enhanced kids books may benefit the most from the latest update. This is due to the addition of real world physics, which will add physical properties to any element of the design. Companies will also be able to take advantage of the tablet's accelerometer and create maze type of games.

Many industry pundits are now speculating that when Kobo launches their magazine store later in the month, the Kobo iOS reading app will be updated to allow readers to browse and read magazines.  Likely the new Aquafadas technology is what is going to power this and offer cool new tools for graphic novels, manga, digital comics and eBooks.

New Aquafadas Publisher Update Brings Support for iOS7 is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader Radio – International eBook Growth


Welcome back to the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World. Today on the show we talk about the aggressive international expansion of publishers into the Chinese Market and various eBook subscription services.

The Frankfurt Book Fair and New York Comic Con are both happening this week and Good e-Reader is live on the scene to bring you the most comprehensive coverage of both events. On the show today, many companies have been making announcements leading up to the conventions and Michael and Jeremy dive into some of the most important stories.

The Early Bird rates for Digital Book World 2014 are ending tonight at midnight. If you want to get the lowest rate possible and to check out some of the speakers, you can reserve your seats HERE.

Good e-Reader Radio – International eBook Growth is a post from: E-Reader News

Overdrive Experiences Tremendous Growth in 2013


Overdrive is primarily responsible for the digital infrastructure for libraries to loan eBooks, audiobooks and videos to their patrons. The company has announced that 2013 has been a year of exponential growth and that they have signed up over 500+ new libraries to join the eBook revolution.

Joining the international OverDrive network in 2013 are booksellers in Malaysia, Turkey, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Canada, Germany, Norway and Taiwan. The most recent addition was Big W, one of the largest brick-and-mortar department store chains in Australia. This is Big W's first time offering eBooks to customers.

"OverDrive's network has grown to 27,000 libraries and schools in 36 countries, providing tremendous discovery opportunities for readers around the world," said Claudia Weissman, VP of International Sales at OverDrive. "Awareness and engagement with local libraries and schools has skyrocketed as eBook and audiobook circulation continues to reach new milestones each month."

Overdrive is poised to grow even further in the coming year, with a new agreement signed with China. The China National Publications Import & Export Corporation  and OverDrive signed an E-Publications Import License Agreement in an official signing ceremony a month ago.

Overdrive Experiences Tremendous Growth in 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Simon & Schuster and Yilin Press Announce new eBook Deal


Simon & Schuster and Yilin Press today announced an unprecedented distribution and publishing agreement that will greatly expand the availability of electronic editions of works in Mandarin for digital readers worldwide. The official signing ceramony will take place at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Good e-Reader will be live on the scene.

Under the agreement, Simon & Schuster will distribute ebooks of a broad cross-section of Yilin Press's Mandarin language titles, making these works available worldwide to the large population of Mandarin readers outside China. The books, which will be available through all major ebook retailers working with Simon & Schuster, include Mandarin translations of both modern and classic works, and also many classic Chinese titles.

The project will launch with a list of approximately 300 titles. Notable translations included in the first wave of releases, which will be available beginning in November, include LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel, AIR MAIL by Tomas Transtromer & Robert Bly, THE FOXES COMES AT NIGHT by Cees Nooteboom, THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen, UNDERWORLD by Don DeLillo, THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by Doris Lessing, THE COVE by Ron Rash as well as classics by Mary Norton, Amos Oz, and authors of wide-ranging international interest including Julian Assange, Julian Barnes, Mikhail Gorbachev and Michel Foucault.

In addition, the Simon & Schuster trade imprint has acquired from Yilin world English rights to a select list of books. The list will be comprised of nonfiction titles about Chinese culture and history as well as popular and acclaimed fiction, and will feature major Chinese authors including Shen Congwen, Lu Xun, Bing Xin, Ye Zhaoyan, and Su Tong, some of whom have never before been translated into English. Simon & Schuster will publish the first list of eight titles in Spring 2014.

"We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Yilin Press and its parent, Phoenix Publishing and Media Group," said Carolyn K. Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. "This is an exciting, modern marriage of content and technology that will benefit the many millions of Mandarin readers who live outside China and who will now have easy access to many of the best works of our time, from Chinese and western authors, in Mandarin."

"With the increasing level of interest in Chinese language, literature, and culture in both the United States and around the world, we believe that the time is right to offer these classic works in electronic editions that will appeal to both the general reader and the educational market," said Jonathan Karp, President and Publisher of the Simon & Schuster trade imprint.

"Globalization and digitalization are among the top six strategic priorities of the Phoenix Publishing and Media Group," said Chen Haiyan, Chairman of PPMG. "Yilin's cooperation with Simon & Schuster is indeed an innovative project that provides PPMG with a model for the worldwide publishing and distribution of our books. We are eagerly looking forward to the day our books are available on a truly global basis!"

"Yilin Press has for decades been dedicated to introducing top foreign works to mainland Chinese readers through first-class translations." Said Gu Aibin, President of Yilin Press. "Now we think it's time for us to serve a global audience, making Yilin's Chinese language titles available to overseas Chinese readers, as well as translated works of Chinese writers for English readers. Our authors are very much looking forward to reaching this wider audience, and Simon & Schuster's strong position in high quality publishing and ebook channels will help us make all this possible."

Simon & Schuster and Yilin Press Announce new eBook Deal is a post from: E-Reader News

Cave Story

Dave “Davespice” Honess, one of our indefatigable forum mods (a crack team of men and women with darting eyes who never sleep, spending their downtime making sure our forums are a welcoming place for new users, and a really crappy place for people who want to spam or start flamewars), has been working on porting games to the Pi. His most recent addition to the Pi Store is Cave Story, a side-scrolling freeware platformer with a distinctly retro look and feel.

I’d been chatting to Dave about why he’d chosen Cave Story to work on, and what he said was really worth sharing, so I asked him if he’d mind writing a few words for the blog about it. He said:

In my view Cave Story is one of those games that genuinely deserves to be played by everyone. Two main reasons. One is that it is, truly, a brilliant game and two is the amount of work that went into it. Daisuke Amaya (aka Pixel) made the entire game by himself. All the graphics, all the programming, he composed all the music, wrote the story and the dialogue for all the characters. The game is intentionally retro in honour of the games he played during his youth. You can easily see the influences of games like Metroid, Wonder Boy and Castlevania in there.

If you've never heard of this game before, you should play it. Don't argue. Just trust me. It has some amazingly fun boss fights! The retro chiptune soundtrack is just wonderful. Personally I love how you can level up the weapons, they're very satisfying when maxed out!

There is actually a third reason. If you've ever wanted to make computer games yourself then Cave Story shows what can be achieved by a single person. In my view a platform game offers a much better opportunity to think about how the code is working as opposed to these photo-realistic 3D shooters that are popular now. Everyone has to start somewhere and you won't go far wrong if your first game is a platformer. So I hope some of you reading this will go and play Cave Story and draw some inspiration from it. Try to make a simple clone of it in Python using PyGame and you will learn a lot in the process. Amaya himself started by just writing the title screen and programming some basic character movements.

The game runs through a very light build of RetroArch that was especially compiled for Raspbian. It incorporates an improved version of Caitlin Shaw's NXEngine as its core. The result is a smooth gaming experience with the Pi easily achieving 60 fps. We should all be grateful to Daisuke Amaya himself, Caitlin Shaw for NXEngine, Daniel Wilmes and Hans-Kristian Arntzen for RetroArch.

So there you are. Go and download it, and when you’ve spent a while playing, follow Dave’s advice and see how far you can get writing something of your own using PyGame, and tell us how you get on!

Getting new staff members up to speed

Let's say you have a new staff member starting at your school or library. Their responsibilities will likely intersect with your OverDrive digital collection. Maybe they are going to be handling Collection Development, Marketing, or Staff Training. Perhaps they will assist patrons whenever they have one off questions. How should you prepare these new staff members? What do they need to know?


First, be sure to contact your Account Specialist with the new employee's information and their areas of responsibility. We can update your library or school's records so that the new employee receives the necessary updates pertaining to their area of specialization. This is also an important step if you have librarians leave your school or library—we need to update your records in these cases as well.


Second, give them access to OverDrive Marketplace. Whether they’ll be building or purchasing carts or contacting OverDrive's Support Team, you can assign them the necessary rights when you create their account.


Next, new employees should sign up for alerts from the Digital Library Blog and OverDrive Newsletters to stay on top of OverDrive news and alerts.


One important resource your employees (both new or old) should be familiar with is the Partner Portal. In the Partner Portal you can find Marketing Kits and Library Service FAQs.


Also within the Partner Portal is the OverDrive Learning Center. The "On Demand" portion of the Learning Center allows your staff to view trainings anytime, anywhere, at their convenience. For staff members just getting started, the Just the Basics training provides a great overview of your digital library. Trainings more specific to the staff members' roles can also be found here (for example, Collection Checklist for your librarians in charge of purchasing content, or User Assistance for those librarians on the front lines with patrons).


Employees savvy in the social media arena can follow OverDrive on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Your entire staff may not play a direct  role in your digital library, but these are great places to help make every member an OverDrive champion.


Karen Jakubczak is an Account Specialist with OverDrive


Google Chief Economist Proclaims Tablets as the Savior of Newspapers


Google Chief Economist Hal Varian gave a keynote speech recently at the International Journalism Festival in Milan, Italy. He cited that the traditional newspaper industry has been in a state of decline since 1972 and that modern day news websites are eroding them further. The one bright spot in the future of the newspaper is the digital edition via tablets.

Citing a Pew Foundation study, Varian pointed out that tablets are the preferred electronic news reading medium for mornings and evenings—during which readers spend the most time absorbing the news—beating out both desktop and smartphones for those periods. Ad revenue depends on the amount of time spent reading the news, he said, and therefore the proliferation of tablets will help the online newspaper industry to gain a new foothold for the first time in 40 years.

"Subscribers to physical newspapers spend about 25 minutes a day reading them," Varian said. "The typical time spent on an online news site in the US and UK is about 2-4 minutes, roughly one-eighth as much. Interestingly, newspapers in the US make about one-eighth of their total ad revenue from online ads."

Newspaper companies these days are competing against very niche specific tech blogs, like Good e-Reader. You would be hard-pressed to find the kind of cutting edge digital publishing and eBook news, as you would find on our website.  If you take into account hyperlinks, videos and multimedia, you can see why newspapers are being eroded.  The startup costs involved in setting up a pure digital publication dwarfs a physical newspaper company, where half of their costs are derived from production and distribution.

The most fundamental change newspaper companies have to make when going digital is the amount of time readers are engaged.  More time reading the newspaper online translates into more online ad revenue. Doing this requires two things: capturing the user interest during the day by reporting fresh and interesting news, and encouraging readers to follow up later on when they have the time to devote to a more in-depth analysis.

Encouraging  readers to scan the headlines, the sports scores, and the finance pages to locate the stories they are interested in will ultimately lead to more engaged readers. Those quick glances during the day can translate into loyal readers and increased revenues later on if, and only if, the newspapers can satisfy both the demand for timely reporting along with the demand for in-depth analysis of the news stories of the day.

Google Chief Economist Proclaims Tablets as the Savior of Newspapers is a post from: E-Reader News