Saturday, October 12, 2013

NYCC: Kodansha Comics Expands E-Books, Grabs More Attack on Titan Series


Attack on Titan has been a sleeper hit for the manga publisher Kodansha Comics, and at their panel at New York Comic Con, editor Ben Applegate announced that they had sold over 500,000 copies of the series, which is currently at seven volumes.

The series is set in a world in which giants roam the earth, eating people; to escape them, humans have retreated behind high walls. An intrepid group of teenage soldiers battle the Titans, with the help of vertical maneuvering gear that allows them to fly through the air and attack the Titans from above. The manga really took off in popularity after the anime began airing (you can see it on Crunchyroll), and last week, four of the seven volumes out so far made the New York Times manga best-seller list.

So it’s not terribly surprising that at Kodansha announced the acquisition of a number of Attack on Titan spin-offs and tie-ins at their panel:

Attack on Titan Guidebook: Inside and Outside, a 400-page guide to the universe of Attack on Titan, with concept art, character profiles, information about the setting, even Titan papercrafts. This came out as two volumes in Japan, but Kodansha is publishing it as a single volume. (June 2014)

Titan Junior High, a comedy manga set in the world of Attack on Titan but featuring middle school hijinks. (March 2014)

Attack on Titan: No Regrets, a spinoff that ran in the shoujo (girls’) magazine Aria, about the backstory of one of the more remarkable characters in Attack on Titan, the quietly competent, scrupulously clean Captain Levi. (August 2014)

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, a prequel that explains how humans first figured out how to fight the Titans, set 70 years before the current story begins. (March 2014)

(Another publisher, Vertical, Inc., has licensed the light novels on which Attack on Titan: Before the Fall is based and will release them in 2014 as print and e-books.)

Kodansha had two other new licenses to announce:

The Seven Deadly Sins, the tale of a princess who must round up seven legendary warriors and bring them back to her kingdom in order to claim the throne. (March 2014)

UQ Holder, a new series by Ken Akamatsu that is set in the world of his earlier manga Negima! but with a new generation of characters. (March 2014)

All will be available in the Nook, Kindle, and iBookstore the same day as print. Kodansha’s first move towards digital comics was a dedicated iOS app, but in July they announced they would stop updating it and would make their books available on those three e-book platforms instead. (I talked to director of publishing Dallas Middaugh about that in August.)

In addition, Kodansha is adding a number of other books to its e-book service: Shugo Chara, Shugo Chara-Chan, Sherlock Bones, Say ‘I Love You,’ My Little Monster, and Negima.

Kodansha also has two digital samplers available for Nook and Kindle.

In response to a question from the audience, Applegate said that Kodansha prices its books the same for print or digital and leaves it up to the retailer to discount them; the standard price for digital seems to be $7.99, which is currently the price in iBooks.

NYCC: Kodansha Comics Expands E-Books, Grabs More Attack on Titan Series is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 1 vs the Paperwhite 2


Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison! Today we check out the previous generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and one that just came out this week. We evaluate the hardware, software and glowlight.

The hardware for both models is relatively the same with the second generation having a bit faster of a processor. Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ vs the 800 MHZ on the Paperwhite 1. Both models have 256 MB of RAM and 2 GB of internal storage. The majority of your content will be held in the cloud that you purchased from Amazon.

The Glowlight seems more refined in the second generation model with the overall display being a tremendous upgrade. The original Kindle Paperwhite for its time blew away the Kobo Glo and Nook Simple Touch with its front-lit display. The second generation evenly distributes the light more evenly and its less blue then before on higher settings. One of the new software enhancements on the Paperwhite 2 is the ability to maximize the brightness with the click of a button. You also have the ability to completely shut off the light, which was lacking in the first iteration.

One of the big new features on the Paperwhite 2 is called Vocabulary builder. Any singular word you highlight will be placed in this folder accessed from the settings menu. Each word when you click on it will give you the dictionary definition and usage. The usage aspect is very interesting because instead of using the standard thesaurus, it will use the usage from the book you are reading. If you have a bunch of Vocabulary words, you can make Flashcards out of them, and have a virtual slideshow of all your words. This is useful for academic textbooks, bookclubs and a myriad of other practical uses.

The Paperwhite 2 will see a number of software upgrades over the course of the next month. Kindle Freetime will allow parents to setup accounts for their kids and manage permissions. Goodreads will also be available for a social book network, to talk and rate books.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 1 vs the Paperwhite 2 is a post from: E-Reader News

Dark Horse Announces Free Ninja Gaiden Z Digital Comic


Dark Horse has just announced a free three issue series in conjunction with Team Ninja. Fans will be introduced to the world of YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z with an all-new digital comic revealing essential pieces of this stylized living comic book!

The series will be a free download through the Dark Horse website and app for iOS and Android. It is is penned by writers Tim Seeley and Josh Eamons, with art from Rafael Ortiz. A physical comic will also be available at Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z’s launch.

Dark Horse Announces Free Ninja Gaiden Z Digital Comic is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Change Nook Backlight Color For Better Sleep


The likes of the Kindle Paperwhite or the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight have endeared many an ebook addict to digital reading. The biggest benefit of those devices is their backlit display, which has come as a benefit to those who indulge in late night reading but do not wish to depend on an external light source. However, some readers have gone on to make some improvements to the hardware to achieve what a near perfect lighting system that is even more friendly to the eyes.

The device in question is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which has been subjected to some modification by Vivek Gani. The main issue that Gani faced is the hue of the backlight, which with its bluish tinge has led to many a sleepless night for him (this he claims is a scientifically proved fact), enough to cause him to act on his own accord.

Surprisingly, the remedy to the above problem is as simple (as well as cheap) as the kapton tape which offers a soft amber hue to it. Now the primary application of Kapton tape is to ensure electrical insulation but has been found to be surprisingly effective in allowing for a better hued glow light that is much softer on the eyes.

The entire operation calls for disassembling the device, which is something that is to be done with some care. For this, Gani is referring to the ifixit guide which spells out the step by step guide to get to the internals of the device. In this case, one only has to strip the device to reach the display in its bare form and reveal its LED lighting source.

The next thing that is to be done is to use the Kapton tape and to “cut it into small squares the width of each LED, and make it long enough to go into the side (where the led will be shining most of it’s light) and have enough area to stick on top. That is, you’re going to have small squares where each square is in an L-shaped formation.”

The next step is going to be crucial as it involves sticking the Kapton tape. “The key here is to stick the tape in between where the led actually outputs light and the plastic ‘diffraction grating’ cover. This is a really thin space, so it may take a few tries,” reveals Gani in his web page.

This pretty much sums up the entire operation, to be followed by putting the components back in the right order and with due care of course. In the meantime, Amazon has followed up its Paperwhite device with a new version that incorporates a lot of enhancements over its predecessor. This also includes a more responsive display that has a better contrast and better readability.

How to Change Nook Backlight Color For Better Sleep is a post from: E-Reader News

3M and eBook Lending Make an Appearance at Frankfurt Book Fair

Matt Tempelis and Heather McCormack of 3M

Matt Tempelis and Heather McCormack of 3M

eBook lending is in a state of frustratingly slow adoption, which is still a vast improvement from the initial phases when libraries struggled to adopt digital lending in light of back list or empty virtual shelves. A number of measures and the work of companies like OverDrive and 3M have allowed huge inroads in the lending market, and as 3M Library System’s Matt Tempelis explained from the Frankfurt Book Fair, it’s been a busy year for libraries and digital content providers.

“First, the announcement at the show is that we now have a ‘buy and donate’ program through Kobo. It’s easy to do an affiliate program, but what we did was negotiate a deal with Kobo so that it was a significant donation. Proceeds of the profits will go directly to the library and they can use it to buy additional collections, and we can take it from there. What that allows us to do is additionally support some of the publishers who are interested in the market, but are skeptical. We think we’re going to get even more reciprocity with those publishers who are on the sidelines.”

Tempelis spoke on the recent collaboration between digital media collection OverDrive and Sourcebooks, a project which sought to provide definitive numbers to the industry about how ebook lending impacts future sales of the title and of the author’s and publisher’s other books.

“It’s been a busy year. If you think about it, diversity in the ecosystem has helped prod some publishers back into the market, and hopefully 3M has played a role there. I’m really excited to hear those that have come back in this year are seeing additional sales to their businesses, just like we always thought. They’re not seeing the erosion that was hypothetical at the time, which only means there’s going to be more impetus for others to join.”

“We’ve always said, our first goal is to get everyone in the market and we can work out the details later. I always say there are going to be two or three models that are going to be prevalent, depending on the publisher.”

One of 3M’s recent innovations is the ability for libraries to stock their collections on their own servers as well as allow other libraries to work within their collections to share content.

“We have introduced our cloud-link functionality, and we’re rolling that out now with the Melsa group in Minnesota. It allows libraries to have their own private cloud, but they can share unused titles with sister or consortium libraries. The costs of a larger system means they buy more but there’s more cost, as we pay money every time there’s a circulation. The other thing we’re seeing a lot of is circulation of ebooks is really heavily skewed towards Kindle e-ink, whose users are still growing. But when they bring 3M on, they see another dramatic growth in circulation, literally doubling. It’s because, we think, that those people who’ve tried other systems and failed have kind of moved on. It gives people the opportunity to rediscover the platform. We’re really enjoying a dramatic circulation growth in the 3M cloud library as users are discovering our titles.”

3M and eBook Lending Make an Appearance at Frankfurt Book Fair is a post from: E-Reader News

Story2Go AppBuilder Makes Digital App Books Easy


Even as self-publishing continues to open doors for authors without the permission of a gatekeeper, there are still some realms of publishing that are not as easy for authors as uploading a Word document to Kobo Writing Life or Kindle Direct Publishing. Creators of children’s books, photography and art books, and even some forms of poetry that require a unique level of formatting often find it difficult to locate inexpensive yet professional options for publishing their graphics-intensive work for tablets.

Story2Go, an exhibitor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, offers a fairly user-friendly interface for content developers who need stand-alone app products across a variety of tablets, but who also want a level of full-color and enhancements like audio and graphics.

“Story2Go is an interactive content builder which is designed for providing a bit more than ebooks or standard form of content,” explained Tomas Bonis, CTO of Story2Go, in an interview with Good e-Reader. “The editor itself is designed for the iPad, and you can create your content there. Insert your image, add your text, background, basic interactivity and audio, and once you put it together, you can see it on the editor on the iPad before you launch. Once you have everything together, you send the data to us and we create the stand alone application.”

The content is created via an iPad app that can be downloaded upon full launch on November 1st. Authors of children’s books, graphic novels, educational content, magazines, and more can develop their content through the app, or rely on Story2Go’s team to create the content for them. The base price for the launch of the app is $99 for one platform, or $149 for all supported platforms.

Story2Go AppBuilder Makes Digital App Books Easy is a post from: E-Reader News

Snapplify Talks on Filling Specific Needs in the African and Global Reading Markets


The Frankfurt Book Fair, though situated in Germany, is a truly worldwide book event with entire halls dedicated to international publishing and rights, and vendors and exhibitors from literally all over the world. But one of the issues still plaguing digital publishing is that the world is still cutoff from ebooks in much the way the print rights must be secured on a country-by-country basis; this is compounded by a lack of cultural understanding in the ebook arena, and the impact that location has on book consumption in a particular country.

Good e-Reader met with South African-based Snapplify at the Frankfurt Book Fair to talk about some of the issues and how they can be overcome, specifically in terms of the lack of news coming from markets that are leading their own innovations that work for their cultures of readers, rather than trying to simply recreate a US model abroad.

“[Some conferences] are way too America-focused,” explained Snapplify CEO Wesley Lynch. “Not just for the sake of being representative, but if the market was a little more outward focusing, there’s opportunities that they can pick up, not just for access to other markets, but for improvements that other markets have been forced to address through innovations of necessity.”

It’s not just a concern in Africa, either. As Lynch explained, “Only two percent of the members of the IDPF are represented by Africa and South America. “Everyone is carrying on about Brazil, and it seems like there’s almost a battleground in Japan, Brazil, and some of these other key markets, and they’re the guys who are pushing and innovating and contributing to the ePub Standard. But Korea has more IDPF members than anyone else. The spirit is the same in the world of collaboration.”

One aspect of digital publishing that Lynch spoke at length about is the need for more awareness of cultural and geographical implications before advances can be made in some of the underrepresented book markets. For example, e-ink readers are still wildly popular as opposed to tablets in many outlying parts of Africa, due to their longer battery life and the ability to add ebooks via a USB cable in places with little or no internet connection. Other Asian markets, as an example, will not adopt a retail model similar to that of the US or UK when it comes to books, so adaptations have to be considered and put in place.

“I’ve got this utopian view that we’re all going to get together and play nice, and for the greater good. We’ll all end up with better ePub readers.”

Snapplify Talks on Filling Specific Needs in the African and Global Reading Markets is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Load eBooks on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2


The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 e-Reader is starting to ship out to customers living in the US and Canada. One of the most common concerns is about how to load in your own eBooks. There are plenty of websites that offer free books, but may not be in a Kindle Friendly format. In other cases you simply want to load in your own PDF Files. Today, you will get taught on how to load PDF and MOBI files on your Kindle Paperwhite 2 with Calibre, Dropbox and Windows Explorer.

PDF and EPUB files are two of the most common digital book formats out there. The Kindle Paperwhite 2 has no problem with PDF files at all, but will not read EPUB. This warrants you having to convert the book from an incompatible format to something like MOBI, PRC, or AZW. In order to acomplish this task, you will need a free program like Calibre. This will not only convert one format to another but will also allow you to change metadata. If you have ever downloaded an eBook from a file sharing website or from the greater internet, often books are rife with errors. The person who uploaded the book may have their own name as the authors and the title might be a mess. Calibre allows you to change all of this info and even swap out book covers.

Windows Explorer continues to be the option that most people get familiar with. You simply copy and paste eBooks from your PC into your Kindle. This process gets complicated once you have 50 to 100 books and can get unwieldy. This tutorial outlines some common tips you can employ to organize it a bit better.

Finally, Dropbox is one of the best cloud storage lockers out there. It allows you to upload books from any computer or tablet to your account. You can then access the website from the Experimental Browser found in the settings menu. It is very simple to just download any books from the cloud right to your e-Reader.

How to Load eBooks on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 is a post from: E-Reader News

How to load eBooks on the Kobo Aura

xl_kobo aura-1

The Kobo Aura six inch e-Reader just saw a wide commercial release in the last few weeks. Many people often wonder how to load eBooks they purchased from other stores or downloaded from the internet onto their new e-Reader. Today, we teach you how to use Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre, Dropbox and Windows Explorer.

Adobe Digital Editions is the program of choice to load content on your e-reader that you have purchased from other stores. The most popular eBook format sold online is EPUB, which is friendly to Kobo. You can download the free program and setup an account, then authorize your computer and you are good to go. You can simply add books to your device either one at a time, or in bulk.

Calibre is a free download and is one of the best programs to convert eBooks from one format to another, change book metadata or just manage your collections. A very powerful and easy tool for beginners.

Windows Explorer is the most common way people copy books to their Kobo, but it tends to provide the least flexibility. In this video, you will get a sense of the internal directory structure of the reader and what directories you should be coping your books to.

Finally Dropbox is a free cloud storage solution that gives you a few Gigs of space for free. You can easily upload books to your account from work and then access them via the Kobo web browser when you are at home and they will automatically be added to your readers library.

How to load eBooks on the Kobo Aura is a post from: E-Reader News