Thursday, October 17, 2013

Students Found to Rely on Pirated Textbooks to Save Costs

student textbook

A study conducted by NetNames has revealed an unlikely source for the bulk of ebook piracy, students. The online security company further revealed that the extent of piracy is even more startling; with no less than 76% of digital content meant for academic use can be downloaded free from pirate sites. NetNames searched for 50 textbooks across 5 disciplines – Medicine, Mathematics, Science, Engineering, and Business – and found 38 to be available from one e-book sharing site completely free.

Experts pegged the high rate of piracy as far as academic ebooks are concerned to the high price tag that these typically come for. Some of the ebooks can be priced as high as £80 – £90, which has forced the students to seek other ways to avail of these. The typical mindset at work here is that many of the ebooks will be of use to them for a few months to about a year at the most, which prompts them to seek other alternatives so as not to end up drawing too much from their student finance loan.

"It’s something we’ve been talking to publishers about. We talk to all content owners about this sort of thing. The best way to beat piracy is to get your content out there, to give it to people in some way or make them buy it in some simple, cheap, easy way,” David Price, NetNames director of piracy analysis.

However, chief executive of Publishers Association, Richard Mollet seems not too concerned of the finding in spite for piracy proving to a major issue in the digital content segment.

“About a quarter of all novels bought in the UK are bought as e-books, so as that digital market grows, we’re bound to see a little bit of piracy alongside it.

“But I have to say, it’s a very small issue compared with the sort of levels we see in film and music. E-books are nowhere near that,” said Richard Mollet.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for companies such as Barnes and Noble, Google and Amazon that spent millions of dollars making their own digital textbook marketplace.

Students Found to Rely on Pirated Textbooks to Save Costs is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Aura HD Vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2

kobo aura hd vs kindle paperwhite 2

The Kobo Aura HD was a departure from the standard six inch e-reader and gave a larger viewing area with the 6.8 inch display. The limited edition model came out in April and quickly gained momentum and customer acceptance. It now accounts for 25% for all hardware sales for the Canadian based company.  Today, we compare this unit with the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2, which just came out.

The Kobo Aura HD features a 6.8 inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1440×1080 with 265 DPI. This e-reader is seriously the best in the business with its high-definition display.  This e-reader also has a built in comfort light, which allows you to read in the dark. In our side by side comparison, you can see that the new Kindle really puts this unit to shame.

The Kobo Aura HD is using a 1GHZ CPU processor and has 4 GB of internal memory. This is 2 GB more than what the Glo offers, and you can expand the memory up to 32 GB via the Micro SD card. Battery life is fairly respectable at a solid month of normal use.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 features a six inch e-Ink display screen with a resolution of 1024×768. The front-lit display has received a small upgrade and gives a better illumination experience then the previous model. Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor and 256 MB of RAM. There is 2 GB of internal storage and the majority of your content will be held in the cloud.

So what are the big differences between these two e-readers?  The Aura has more flexibility in your font selection, it has double what Amazon offers. Advanced users may dig the ability to load in your own fonts. The display screen on the Paperwhite gives you a better front-lit experience, but the Aura is higher resolution. One of the cool abilities the Kindle has, is being able to make notes, highlights and annotations in sideloaded PDF’s.

Kobo Aura HD Vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Expands into India with e-Readers and eBooks


Kobo has just expanded into India, bringing their entire line of e-readers, tablets and eBooks into one of the worlds most populous markets. Starting today, Kobo will be available in retail locations across India through its partnerships with Crossword, WHSmith and Croma. Readers will also have access to Kobo’s eBookstore, one of the largest in the world, featuring nearly 4-million titles across 68 languages including ninety-five percent of India’s bestselling content featuring work from top-selling Indian authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Ramachandra Guha and Sachin Garg to international bestselling authors like Dan Brown, John Grisham and Lee Child.

“As e-commerce continues to expand and demand for digital content continues to grow, we are thrilled to be launching in India and look forward to introducing passionate Readers to our world-class digital reading platform,” said Wayne White, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Kobo. “India is in the early stages of what we believe is a 25-year transformation from print to digital reading. In partnership with some of the leading booksellers and retailers in the country, Kobo is poised to lead this transformation, by delivering a fully localized experience designed to meet the increased demand for digital content in India.”

In a survey commissioned by Kobo and conducted by Ipsos India, 93 percent of self-identified Readers, said they are familiar with eReading devices or apps that allow for reading across a variety of devices and 56 percent said they would prefer to read digital content on a dedicated eReading device. Furthermore, 54 percent of respondents said they would read more if they had an eReader that provided them with access to their own digital library anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

This is a bold move for Kobo and most people did not see this one coming. India is a natural fit, and with the high availability of their devices to be available in most bookstores, customer acceptance is all but assured. They have also discounted their e-readers to get people embracing it right away with the Kobo Arc available for Rs. 9999 and the Kobo Touch at Rs. 6999.

Kobo Expands into India with e-Readers and eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

Nook Update for Windows 8.1 Launched


Only last week, Theresa Horner, VP at Barnes and Noble, sat down with Good e-Reader at the Frankfurt Book Fair and effectively put to rest the ongoing rumors that B&N was working to distance itself from the Nook division. Today, Barnes and Noble backed up that point by launching the update for Windows 8.1 to power the Nook app.

"NOOK is one of the highest-rated reading and digital bookstore apps for Windows 8 and we've added even more great features to coincide with the launch of Windows 8.1," said Mahesh Veerina, Chief Operating Officer at NOOK Media LLC, in a press release today. "With the NOOK App for Windows 8.1, customers get an incredible reading experience and can choose from over 3 million NOOK Books™, including 1 million free titles, as well as magazines, newspapers and comics on any Windows 8.1 device."

According to the release, there’s an added incentive for customers who take advantage of the app update: “To celebrate the launch of the NOOK App for Windows 8.1, customers who download the app have access to an exclusive list of first-in-the-series titles available for $2.99 or less, for a limited time. Popular books available in this offer include One for the Money (Stephanie Plum Series #1) by Janet Evanovich, Liars and Thieves (Tommy Carmellini Series #1) by Stephen Coonts and A Time to Dance (Timeless Love Series #1) by Karen Kingsbury, and many more. NOOK for Windows 8.1 customers can simply scroll to "Shop Popular Lists" in the app to find and download these great titles for $2.99 or less.”

While the complete description of the updated and enhanced features can be found HERE, some of those features include better search capabilities, the ability to sign in through Microsoft accounts, the ability to import ePub and PDF files directly from the users’ SkyDrives, and much more.

Nook Update for Windows 8.1 Launched is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Announces the Launch of its India Platform


It’s very interesting that the e-reader and ebookstore company that holds the number three market share in the US is the only one who is present in over 190 countries–make that 190 countries plus one–but that is the case for Kobo, who announced today the launch of its bookselling in India. Kobo will be available through retailers across India through its partnerships with Crossword, WHSmith, and Croma, and will be bringing the Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo, Kobo Arc, and
Kobo Aura HD devices to Indian readers.

“As e-commerce continues to expand and demand for digital content continues >to grow, we are thrilled to be launching in India and look forward to introducing passionate Readers to our world-class digital reading platform,” said Wayne White, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Kobo, in a press release today. “India is in the early stages of what we believe is a 25-year transformation from print to digital reading. In partnership with some of the leading booksellers and retailers in the country, Kobo is poised to lead this transformation, by delivering a fully localized experience designed to meet the increased demand for digital content in India.”

Ever in tune with the culture of reading within the countries it serves, Kobo is celebrating its launch in India–which coincides with the Festival of Lights, “special Diwali
>pricing will be available until November 3 on select Kobo devices including: Kobo Arc available at Rs. 9999 (regularly priced at Rs.11, 999) and Kobo Touch at Rs. 6999 (regularly priced at Rs. 7,999). Free or discounted ebook offers will also be available with the purchase of Kobo devices or with the download of a Kobo app for a limited time.”

Kobo Announces the Launch of its India Platform is a post from: E-Reader News

New CourseSmart Research Revealed at EDUCAUSE Conference


One of the key factors that educational stakeholders often cite as a source of major concern for a digital classroom is how to effectively measure student outcomes and mastery. Despite the prevalence of computer-based testing around the world, online or digital learning still leaves some administrators with more questions than answers.

Today, one of the world’s largest developers of digital educational content revealed the results of an independent study on the effectiveness of its CourseSmart platform in a white paper entitled, “Evaluating How the CourseSmart Engagement Index Predicts Student Course Outcome.”

"My analyses of these data show that the CourseSmart Engagement Index is a powerful predictor of student course grades and that the Index can serve as an effective barometer to help faculty evaluate how students are performing in their courses" said Reynol Junco, Associate Professor of Library Science at Purdue University, and Fellow at Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, in a press release. "Previous research has shown that time spent reading course materials is a strong predictor of student success; however, it is difficult for instructors to evaluate exactly how much their students are reading since asking them directly often does not yield effective information. The CourseSmart Engagement Index can show instructors how much students are reading in real-time in order toplan appropriate interventions."

At last year’s EDUCAUSE conference, CourseSmart first unveiled its CourseSmart Analytics platform, as well as shared the initial numbers of participation in the pilot program. Over 3,700 students, 76 faculty members, and 26 administrators tested the product during the spring 2013 term, and Junco compiled his research from that program. This research defined CourseSmart’s effectiveness as:

  • The CourseSmart Engagement Index is a transparent, unobtrusive, and effective barometer for student progress,
  • The CourseSmart Engagement Index is a readily-available and easy-to-access indicator of student reading,
  • Faculty can use the CourseSmart Engagement Index as an efficient method for formative assessment, and
  • Despite a student's prior academic ability, with CourseSmart Analytics and the CourseSmart Engagement Index, a course instructor can have an unobtrusive, real-time method to identify students at risk of academic failure that is not tied to student activity on a Learning Content Management System.

The results of the survey and its data can be found at

New CourseSmart Research Revealed at EDUCAUSE Conference is a post from: E-Reader News

Teenagers in Love: YA eBooks for Sweetest Day

Did you know that this Saturday October 19th is Sweetest Day? As a native Midwesterner, I only recently learned that Sweetest Day is a regional celebration. Started right here in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1920s, it’s similar to Valentine’s Day with significant others gifting each other with cards and candy. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the first Sweetest Day was actually planned by a committee of candy makers! While I can’t promise you candy this Sweetest Day, I can suggest a delicious batch of young adult eBooks to help celebrate both Sweetest Day and Teen Read Week, which wraps up this Saturday. To find these love stories and many more, visit OverDrive Marketplace.


Click any title below to read a sample:

Don’t forget that you can promote your Teen Literature eBooks any time throughout the year with our Teen Lit bookmarks, available in the OverDrive Partners Portal. Happy reading and happy Sweetest Day!


*Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive. 


Infrared camera – you asked us, so we’re making them!

You may have heard rumours about something we’re calling Pi NoIR (Pi, no infrared) – it’s been a very badly kept secret. Some months ago we featured some work that was being done at Reading Hackspace, where members were removing the infrared filter to use the camera to sense infrared signals, and for low-light work, especially with wildlife. The Reading camera boards ended up going to the Horniman Museum in London, where they’re currently being used to track the activity of corals at night.

A lot of you are interested in wildlife monitoring and photography. London Zoo mentioned to us that the infrared filter on the standard Pi camera board is a barrier to using it in projects like the Kenyan rhino-tracking project they’re running based around the Pi – although the Pi is used as the base of the project and does all the computational tasks required, they started out having to use a more expensive and more power-hungry camera than the Pi camera board, because that IR filter meant that it wasn’t useable at night.

Once the news from Reading Hackspace and the Horniman got out, we were inundated by emails from you, along with comments here on the blog and on the forums, asking for a camera variant with no IR filter. You wanted it for camera effects, for instances where you wanted to be able to see IR beams from remote controls and the like, for low-light photography illuminated by IR, and especially for wildlife photography. Archeologists wanted to take aerial photographs of fields with an IR camera to better see traces of lost buildings and settlements. Some botanists got in touch too: apparently some health problems in trees can be detected early with an IR camera.

Initially we thought it wasn’t going to be something we could do: Sunny, who make the sensor, filter and lens package that’s at the heart of our camera board, did not offer a package without the filter at all. Removing it would mean an extra production line would have to be set up just for us – and they had other worries when we started to talk to them about adding an infrared camera option. They told us they were particularly concerned that users would try to use a camera board without a filter for regular daytime photography, and be would be upset at the image quality. (There’s a reason that camera products usually integrate an infrared filter – the world looks a little odd to our eyes with an extra colour added to the visible spectrum.)

We convinced them that you Pi users are a pragmatic and sensible lot, and would not try to replace a regular camera board with a Pi NoIR – the Pi NoIR is a piece of equipment for special circumstances. So Sunny set up an extra line just for us, to produce the Pi NoIR as a special variant. We will be launching Real Soon Now – modules are on their way and we’re aiming for early November – so keep an eye out here for news about release.

RS Components have got their hands on an early prototype, and Andrew Back produced a blog post about using it in timelapse wildlife photography at night, with infrared illumination. You can read it at DesignSpark, RS’s community hub.

Andrew’s garden is a paradise of slugs.

Jon and JamesH would like you to be aware that the red flashes are most likely due to not letting the camera “warm up” sufficiently before taking each picture. Jon says: “Raspistill defaults to 5 second previews before capture which should be enough. If using the “-t” parameter then don’t set it below 2000. The “-tl” parameter is for timelapse, which doesn’t shut the camera down between picture grabs.” (We’re checking the white balance before release all the same, though.)

Let us know if you’re in the market for a Pi NoIR in the comments. We’d love to hear your plans for one! We’re planning to sell it for $25, the same price as a regular camera module. Check back here: we’ll tell you as soon as it’s released.

Oyster Subscription Reading Goes Live to the Public, Brings an iPad App with It


One of the most elusive arms of digital publishing has been a viable solution for Netflix-style subscription-based reading. With everything from freemium models to all-you-can-eat reading, solutions providers, publishers, and reading consumers have struggled to find a model that works for everyone.

In September, New York-based Oyster launched an invitation-only beta period for iPhone only that seemed to be taking subscriptions in the right direction. Currently priced at $9.95 per month for unlimited online reading and up to ten offline titles per month, Oyster has also added an iPad app that takes full advantage of the additional screen space over the iPhone. The public launch of Oyster subscriptions went live yesterday, offering the public access to a catalog of over 100,000 titles.

But the key issue that plagued subscription-based reading from the start seems to still be a problem, which may affect customers and publishers alike. When companies like 24Symbols introduced this model, very few publishers were willing to take a risk on a model that may or may not result in due compensation for their authors and their bottom lines. As a result, the publishers who were willing to take a chance on this new revenue stream often offered up only their back list titles, and some reviews of the launch have stated that this seems to be the case as of now.

The iPad app only works with iOS 7, but users of previous versions can view the iPhone version of the app on their tablets. They will still have to request the invite, as the app is the older beta model. All in all, the layout and aesthetic of the app are appealing, but only user feedback will determine whether or not this is finally a solution that works for subscription-based reading. New users can enjoy a 30-day free trial of the service before deciding to join.

Oyster Subscription Reading Goes Live to the Public, Brings an iPad App with It is a post from: E-Reader News

Meet GCF’s Newest Mobile App, GCF Quiz!

Quizzes have a bad reputation. GCF Quiz is trying to fix that.

Baidu Likely to Acquire Ailing Chinese Literature Site Zongheng


According to rumors from China, the domestic game developer Perfect World has reached some sort of a conclusion in its talks with Baidu to acquire the former's literature oriented website, Baidu is hailed as the Chinese equivalent of Google and its attempt to acquire Zongheng can be seen as a move towards emerging as a viable player who offers content services as well.

Zongheng plays host to more than 100,000 works of literature and has its own set of permanent authors. This make up just one among the scores of other sectors where Perfect World is reported to have poured millions of RMB into the site, though the returns from the investment have not yet been to the satisfaction of Perfect World. This has prompted the parent company to restructure their operations, culminating in seeking a new buyer for Zongheng.

Baidu has emerged to acquire the literature site with the deal said to be worth anywhere between CNY300 million and CNY400 million. Zongheng has some impressive statistics as well, including more than 60 million page views on a daily basis, drawing in visitors from over 2.6 million individual IP addresses every day. The site records about a third of its traffic from mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, and has seen its mobile traffic jump by about 50 percent during 2012-2013.

Maybe next in line will be an ebook reading device from Baidu that will cement its position as a viable Google alternative in China.

Baidu Likely to Acquire Ailing Chinese Literature Site Zongheng is a post from: E-Reader News

Whitcoulls Shuts Down eBook Store in New Zealand due to Erotic eBooks


Whitcoulls is one of the largest bookstore chains in New Zealand and has been running a Kobo powered eBook store since 2010. Today, the company has announced that it has completely shut down their bookstore, leaving customers unable to buy content.

The New Zealand bookstore released a terse statement today that said “Due to recent publicity surrounding eBook publishing through automated feeds provided by our eBook partner, Kobo, Whitcoulls has suspended the sale of eBooks through our website. This suspension will remain in place until we can guarantee that any inappropriate material, that has been available through self published eBooks, has been removed from the Kobo eBook catalog.”

Indie Authors are currently abusing the system and having hardcore erotica placed in the kids section of many popular bookstores. This is mainly attributed to self-published content not having its own category and all of the titles are intermixed with everything else. This results in innocent searches for Daddy’s little girl, to be books about incest and rape, while in the kids section, somewhere once thought safe.

Many of the leading online bookstores all offer self-publishing programs and allow other traditional bookstores to tap into their feed. The problem is when you have so much self-published content being added every single day, there is no quality and control. There is no way to curate the content and make sure there is not graphic depictions of sex on the cover. Digital bookstores MUST take a page out of the traditional bookstore, where that type of content is sequestrated in a small section, away from everything else.

Whitcoulls Shuts Down eBook Store in New Zealand due to Erotic eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

‘Japan Digital Library Service Co.’ to Come Into Being in Early 2014, Aims to Define Standards of Digital Library Services

Japan ebook

An as-of-yet unformed Japanese company wishes to accomplish something that none has attempted befor:, setting standards for digital book distribution, their prices, and terms of using the service. The Japan Digital Library Service Co. is expected to become a reality during the first half of 2014 and comprises of equal stakes of publishers Kadokawa Corp. and Kodansha Ltd. as well as the bookstore Kinokuniya Co. The consortium has made it known that they are open to investments from other bookstores or publishers in future. The company, once formed, will look to provide services to schools and public libraries in future.

The attempt to set standards of operations for digital libraries does seem befitting of a country that has seen the evolution of ebooks and dedicated ebook reading devices earlier than anywhere else in the world. Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba were the initial players in this segment, and the ebook and ereader markets have seen massive overhaul since then, and ebooks and other digital content are a thriving business in Japan. However, it’s still Amazon that has gone on to become the market leader there after making its debt in 2012. Among the other major developments in the ebook scene in the far eastern nation is the acquisition of Kobo by the Japanese firm Rakuten.

‘Japan Digital Library Service Co.’ to Come Into Being in Early 2014, Aims to Define Standards of Digital Library Services is a post from: E-Reader News