Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good e-Reader Radio – Live from the Frankfurt Book Fair


Welcome to another exciting edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show. Today Michael Kozlowski talks to Mercy Pilkington who is live at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Today the two talk about the first day of CONTEC, which is a precursor to the main book fair, and focused on digital.

Today on the show Mercy and Michael talk about some of the digital publishing and eBook companies that had newsworthy days. Paperight won an innovation award and we talked to Tarryn-Anne Anderson, chief operating officer about her company. In essence it is a network of print-on-demand copy shops that print out and sell books quickly and legally.

A number of stalwart self-publishers gave talks on the first day, such as Hugh Howey, who encouraged young authors to get into fan-fiction, as a way to grow. He also mentioned that fan-fiction often gives the original books a second wind, as people might say “whats the deal with the Silo series?”

The Frankfurt Book Fair for the first year is being swarmed by indie authors, looking to make connections and to promote their books. Porter Anderson, Mercy Pilkington and Publishing Perspectives all give advice to authors going to the fair and what they can expect.

This is a jam packed show, with lots of insider information on what happened on the first day and previews on what is happening later on today. We will be live for the Tolino Shine 2 event happening at 10:30, now if we can only find where its happening, the guidebook doesn’t even say.

Good e-Reader Radio – Live from the Frankfurt Book Fair is a post from: E-Reader News

Barnes and Noble Simplifies eBook Error Checking


Barnes and Noble
has announced today that they have implemented a number of enhancements to their EPUBCheck tool to help solve common eBook errors. This will assist indie authors and publishers to insure that their EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 titles don’t have anything wrong with them, before they are put on sale.

New features of the tool include tests for content accessibility markup, CSS issues that might affect presentation quality, and tests for specific script usage patterns that require security consideration that will help publishers create exceptional, accessible, EPUB 3 content. In addition, an output option was added to EPUBCheck that makes all of the program's output available as data which can be easily consumed by other programs, making the tool more easily integrated into automated document processing workflows.

As part of our ongoing commitment to innovate in digital education, NOOK has added significant functionality to the EPUBCheck tool that will make it more powerful and manageable for the entire industry," said Steve Antoch, Senior Software Engineer at NOOK Media. Arwen Pond, Software Engineer at NOOK Media, adds, "The new features we added will help publishers create exceptional EPUB 3 content, while successfully implementing this new industry standard. This has taken a significant effort from our digital education development team."

"NOOK is one of the leading players in the digital education industry and the work they have done on the EPUBCheck tool is of great value to the industry as a whole," said Bill McCoy, Executive Director at IDPF. "The IDPF is dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing and content consumption and we are grateful to have innovative teams like the one at NOOK to help the industry move forward."

The updated EPUBCheck tool is available now and can be found at http://validator.idpf.org/.

Barnes and Noble Simplifies eBook Error Checking is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon and Audible Double the Amount of eBooks Compatible with Whispersync for Voice


Amazon and Audible have announced a series of enhancements for their seminal Whispersync for Voice technology found on the entire line of Kindle tablets.  The essence of this platform is to allow readers to buy both the audiobook and eBook and pick up where they left off. If you are reading an eBook at night and then fire up the audiobook during the morning commute, you will be able to start listening where you left off in the eBook. The big announcement today is the doubling of books/audiobooks compatible with Whispersync for Voice and a new Matchmaker feature.

Audible's new Matchmaker feature will scan all of the titles in the Kindle user's library that are Whispersync for Voice-enabled, and allow users to upgrade those books by adding narration with one click. A simplified checkout process for new purchases similarly requires just one click to add audio to a Whispersync for Voice-enabled Kindle title. Total available Whispersync for Voice titles now number over 30,000, with new titles being added every day, giving readers even more choice—and more control over how they experience their books.

"Whispersync for Voice customers continue to marvel at how this innovation has changed their lives," said Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz. "Some customers love the feature so much that they are now only buying books that are Whispersync for Voice-enabled. Whether commuting to work, driving to a soccer game, taking a road trip, exercising or making dinner, Whispersync for Voice allows people to continue enjoying books even when their eyes are busy, so a great story can continue throughout an active day. It truly is the future of reading."

Over one million Whispersync for Voice-enabled titles have been downloaded since launch; 70% of the current New York Times bestseller list supports this feature. All Audible titles are professionally narrated; Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meg Ryan, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Connelly and Susan Sarandon are among the luminaries who have recently performed audiobooks for Audible.

Amazon and Audible Double the Amount of eBooks Compatible with Whispersync for Voice is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive reports record international growth at the Frankfurt Book Fair

This week members from Team OverDrive, including CEO Steve Potash, are at the Frankfurt Book Fair, offering exciting new data about the company's international growth.  By adding thousands of non-English in-copyright titles, OverDrive's catalog has surpassed 1.8 million digital offerings. We’ve also added more than 100 publishers from 18 nations, including Hardie Grant Publishing (Australia), Xinjiang Juvenile Publishing House (China), Scottish Book Source Limited (U.K.), TED Books (U.S.), and Penguin eBooks from the newly-formed Penguin Random House.


New school and public library partners have joined the OverDrive network including the Singapore American School, Cairo American College, Hong Kong International School, Qatar National Library, and National Library and Information System Authority (Trinidad and Tobago). These new libraries and schools are a part of the 27,000 OverDrive partners in 36 countries around the world.


At the Frankfurt Book Fair, we'll be demonstrating many of our latest innovations including our multi-language user interfaces as well as providing information on our streaming video services, which will be introduced later this year. You can follow the conference by using the hashtag #fbm13.


To read the full story, check out the press release here.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive



How to Expand Internal Storage of Kobo eBook Readers (Video)

There’s a little-known trick to expand the available storage space on Kobo ebook readers, including the Kobo Aura HD, the Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Touch (sorry the Kobo Aura is left out). The reason why this is possible is because Kobo’s ebook readers have microSD cards built in for the internal storage (except […]

Self-Publishing Lab at Frankfurt Book Fair’s CONTEC Event


In a standing room only panel presentation at CONTEC, a fact that is very telling about how the traditional publishing industry is beginning to view self-publishing, nine industry professionals participated in an interactive panel on how self-publishing is affecting authors and traditional publishing.

Some of the panelists included authors, literary agents, publishing platform CEOs, and journalists who have followed self-publishing since the early days of its current status as one of the fastest growing concepts in publishing today.

Florian Geuppert, CEO of Europe’s Books On Demand, shared a few of the results of a survey they conducted with their self-published authors. The results of the survey were fairly astounding, with 30% of those authors responding that they did not attempt traditional publishing first. Of the respondents, 75% consider themselves to be hobbyist writers, that is, not full-time professional authors. The top three reasons for self-publishing were creative control, ease and fast time to market, and just the fun aspect of being able to produce their own works. The one thing the authors almost unanimously agree upon is they missed out on the marketing aspect that many perceive traditional publishers to provide for authors.

Matthias Matting, an author who has followed the European self-publishing market, shared that 60% of the authors he interviewed were interested in pursuing print. Many of the authors would consider traditional publishing in the future for the reason that they want their books in physical book stores, a market that is still difficult for indie authors to penetrate.

A survey conducted by The Bookseller further demonstrated that only about one-third of self-published authors surveyed stated that they would consider a traditional book deal.

Kristin Nelson, literary agent, shared a story of a traditionally published client whose publisher declined to publish the remaining books in the series due to her mid-list status, but who turned to digital self-publishing due to high sales in foreign markets. Her series continued to grow due to her existing fan base and are selling quite well. Her client, Hugh Howey, added the concept that self-publishing is a long-term model, not a short-term bestselling moneymaker.

“We don’t appreciate yet the long tail of self-publishing. Your books are available forever. They have the same availability forever,” said Howey.

According to Johnny Gellar, “I think publishers will succeed in the long run because it’s too much self-publishing if you’re a career writer.”

Vancouver-based LeanPub’s Peter Armstrong spoke to the model that lets authors follow a lean start-up model by publishing a book before it’s even finished, which grows a fan base as the author is still creating the book.

“Because we’ve made it very easy for authors to self-publish, we have a lot of quantity but we’ve lost some of the quality. Authors can actually raise money to pay for that editing to get that quality,” explained Amanda Barbara of PubSlush. “People need to know the book is coming, and treat it like your business. But it can’t be rushed.”

Self-Publishing Lab at Frankfurt Book Fair’s CONTEC Event is a post from: E-Reader News

Adobe DRM Just Went From Bad to Worse

As if being forced to buy ebooks crippled by Adobe’s DRM isn’t bad enough, now Adobe’s system has been hacked and all the Adobe DRM ID’s and passwords have been compromised. If you’ve ever been required to create an account with Adobe just to be able to read your purchased ebooks on the device or […]

Mad about ‘Mad Men’ eBooks

If you're like me and you love Peggy Olson, want Joan Holloway-Harris's wardrobe and enjoy watching Ken Cosgrove dance – you're also a devoted Mad Men fan! With the recent series finale of Breaking Bad, TV lovers are reminded that the end is approaching for another hit AMC show, Mad Men. The final season of Mad Men is being divided and spread out over two years, with new episodes beginning here in the U.S. in early 2014. To fill the Don Draper sized hole in your heart until the new season begins, here are a few Mad Men themed eBooks available in OverDrive Marketplace.


These eBooks range from a complementary cookbook and style guide, a look at real advertising men in the '60s and philosophical musings about the fictional characters. TV drama fans will want to make sure to check out Difficult Men – Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, which features interviews with creator Matthew Weiner and star Jon Hamm.



Click on any of the titles below to start reading a sample:

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.


Digital Textbooks a Major Focus at #CONTEC13


Today’s CONTEC event, held in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book Fair, is all about innovation. The Startup Showcase showed us what is possible, while the metadata presentation showed us exactly what the industry knows about how books sell. If it can be related to digital understanding correlated to books, it’s probably being discussed here today.

Two back-to-back panels on digital publishing in education have demonstrated the importance the topic is to the publishing industry, and some long-held beliefs about where digital textbooks should go were effectively dispelled.

First, a panel by HP demonstrated that print is not quite as dead as some critics would hope, at least in the area of education. Rather than going with either a straight-digital or a strict-print model for both higher education and public education, students want a combination of both. HP met that need with hot spot embedded within texts that allow users to access content from the material via their mobile device. This has the added benefit of providing value-added content such as videos, audio, and links, while still offering a print based text that so many students need. An additional benefit is the savings on printing and shipping from creating much thinner textbooks once a significant portion of the material is made mobile.

One of HP’s more interesting points was in what they call a Blended Learning model, which aims to take the best parts of both print and digital material for the classroom and combine them into the most effective learning tool for a wide variety of students.

Next, long-time educational publisher Schilling presented a white paper on what educational publishers need to keep in mind about going digital. Rather than jumping on a bandwagon, publishers need to remember that “digitization has redefined books.” It’s not just a matter of tossing out paper and producing a digital version, but more about capitalizing on the capabilities of digital textbooks, such as better feedback on where learners have progressed.

Schilling highlighted some of the things that publishers need to keep in mind, such as content-based learning tools, the development of new technology for students, and the politics involved in both producing a textbook and in marketing or selling that book.

According to Schilling’s survey, “The strategic positioning of publishers must take into consideration that successful publishers should be able to operate effectively in all four dimensions even if the main value creation comes from one single dimension.”

Digital Textbooks a Major Focus at #CONTEC13 is a post from: E-Reader News

Should Books Be Priced the Same?


This morning’s first breakout session at the Frankfurt Book Fair CONTEC conference was supposed to be the future of the book, led by several speakers who have innovated in social reading, online publishing and blogging, and more. But the conversation kept coming back around to what the future of the book store will look like, let alone what those book stores will sell.

Much of their debate focused on what role bookstores will play for consumers. Some argued that the physical bookstore is a place that serves that community, fosters authors’ careers, and makes individualized recommendations to customers based on their previous purchases in the store; the argument, though, is that online communities are getting much better at doing those things more and more accurately.

“My local bookstore will deliver a book to your house by bicycle,” stated Tumblr’s Rachel Fershleiser on the importance of small book sellers.

“Amazon will deliver it to your house, too,” countered Sascha Lobo.

Lobo, founder of tomorrow’s launch Sobooks which focuses around the concept of social selling, did engage in a very interesting dialogue with Fershleiser on what the inherent value and definition of a book will be.

“One of the genres I’m least optimistic about is books like Photoshop for Dummies. If you’re buying a book only because you need knowledge, there are free online ways to get that. Storytelling is going to remain valuable,” explained Fershleiser.

“I totally disagree with that,” countered Lobo. “A book in which the author can communicate with you and answer questions will be valuable.”

“But what is the difference between an interactive ebook in which you communicate with the author, and an online course?”

“The price,” said Lobo.

“Places that don’t innovate or give readers what they want will close,” said Fershleiser.

One of the arguments for small bookstores came from Dr. Torsten Casimir, Publishing Director for mvb, who raised the interesting point that when books are legislatively priced the same across the board, bookstores have to offer their customers more in terms of benefits in order to keep them. So is that even a viable options for saving bookstores? If all books were priced uniformly across sales channels, there would be no price fixing lawsuits and no Daily Deals. Stores would have to compete with each other for their customers’ dollars through other offerings.

Should Books Be Priced the Same? is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Sales Remain Stable in the UK

A woman reading a Kindle ebook on a London bus. Amazon says downloads have overtaken print sales

Contrary to the general perception, ebooks are not all the rage in every part of the world. Take for instance the findings of Nielsen BookData compiled in its latest report, Understanding the E-book Consumer that has revealed a 9% decline in sales of ebooks in May over the same period a month ago in the UK. The drop in sales is recorded over almost all segments including non-fiction as well as children's books.

Value sales of ebooks are down 12.2% on a year on year basis so that the corresponding figure in monetary terms stands at £10m. This has been attributed to an increase in the cost of ebooks which in some case costs even more than the hardcover version of the same. For instance, the latest JK Rowling novel, The Casual Vacancy can be bought for £9 after a £11 discount on the original price. However, the same in ebook format is costlier at £11.99. Similarly, the hardcover version of the book, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey which is sold along with the TV series also enjoys about £3 price benefit for the hardcover version which is sold at £12.99 as an ebook. The same as a hardcover is cheaper at £10.

In terms of volume, sale of ebooks are down to 3 million ebook sold which corresponds to a decline of 25.7% over the previous year. However, ebook sales are still ahead of what it was a year ago, with Amazon claiming they are selling 112 ebooks to every 100 hardcover books sold via their store. During the first 6 months of the year, ebook sales have reached 22 million in the UK which is worth £66.2m. This marks an increase of 9% in sales and 11.2% in value terms over the same period in 2012.

Also, it is the sale of ebook in the fiction segment that is expected to reach 59.7% in 2014 over all other segments. Sale of ebooks in the non-fiction category is expected to contribute about 29.5% to the overall sales with children's titles making up 10.8% to the ebook revenue in 2014.

eBook Sales Remain Stable in the UK is a post from: E-Reader News

Paperight Spreads Book Access by Reverting from Digital to Paper


One of the startups featured at today’s Startup Showcase at the CONTEC conference, part of the events surrounding the Frankfurt Book Fair, is Paperight, a company that seems to fly in the face of everything that is happening in publishing at the moment. Not only is Paperight working to put print editions in reader’s hands rather than the more affordable, more accessible digital versions, it’s also contracting with photocopying shops to print books on their copy machines, something that raises eyebrows among publishers.

Tarryn-Anne Anderson, chief operating officer of Paperight, spoke to Good e-Reader about the need to put its business model in place for the estimated two to three billion people worldwide who do not have access to books.

“Paperight is essentially a network of print-on-demand copy shops that print out and sell books quickly and legally. We started Paperight because our founder was in publishing for a long time, and tried to start the ebook revolution in South Africa fifteen years ago. What he found was that the industry was about five years behind.”

Paperight’s model brings books to people who don’t have access to the internet or the necessary credit cards to purchase them online by licensing titles to the shop owners who then sell a licensed copy of the book to a customer, then print and bind the book. Much like the Espresso Book Machine kiosk that was supposed to make small stores and bookshops into print-on-demand centers but without the high cost of technology, Paperight allows copy shop owners to not have to turn a blind eye when a reading consumer resorts to illegally copying a book due to lack of otherwise access.

Around two million people in South Africa made up the book market, leaving an additional 49 million without access to even a bookstore. By allowing readers to purchase a printed version from an ebook through the company–embedded with the customer’s name and phone number as a watermark, along with identifying data on the bookstore–Paperight is working to increase access to reading material in a legal, viable way.

A large segment of the market that has relied on Paperight is actually in education, where it can take between three and six months for printed textbooks to arrive. By allowing schools to print licensed, legal copies, students have more instantaneous access to material.

Paperight has already won awards for innovation at Tools of Change, London Book Fair, and in South Africa, and today is up for an award through the Startup Showcase.

Paperight Spreads Book Access by Reverting from Digital to Paper is a post from: E-Reader News

Preview Launch of Startup Sobooks at Frankfurt Book Fair


Sascha Lobo, blogger and startup founder, announced his new startup this morning at the CONTEC conference, one that will go live tomorrow. (He admitted being responsible for delivering a keynote address the day before launching a new venture may not have been the best use of his time.) His keynote outlined where his startup’s concept was born, out of the frustration of a friend who engaged in a social reading app but received nothing but silence, as social reading wasn’t catching on.

“The core idea of books doesn’t change,” explained Lobo. “That doesn’t mean anything to you, but it means a lot to the publishing industry. The core idea doesn’t change, but it translates.”

But what is a book, really?

“Books are the best way to pay people for sharing their thoughts. I want to live in a society where people are getting paid for sharing their thoughts. But the publishing industry isn’t acting very economical, they are making the same mistakes as everyone who are presented with change in a very deconstructive way. But books are the best way of sharing thoughts. Books have been about sharing always.”

According to Lobo, the internet is also about sharing, pointing out that people excuse their illegal sharing activity online since that is the key function of the internet.

“Ebooks are some form of ancient technology. They are just the digitization of the printed thought, with pixels. This is now how to get along in the internet days.”

“The future of the book is the web. Think of ebooks are being on the internet. Buying ebooks, selling ebooks, interacting with ebooks.”

Preview Launch of Startup Sobooks at Frankfurt Book Fair is a post from: E-Reader News