Monday, October 21, 2013

Overdrive Attains 9,000 eBooks from Macmillan


Macmillan and Overdrive reached an agreement earlier in the year to experiment with eBooks into the library system. The deal was select titles from their Minotaur imprint and it looks like all sides were happy with the deal. This has prompted Macmillan to contribute close to 9,000 digital titles for entry into the Overdrive system.

Most of the eBooks available are considered backlist titles, which means they are older and have been around awhile. Still, library patrons will still be able to read stuff by Emily Giffin, Robert Jordan and Janet Evanovich.

These new additions will carry the same terms as current Macmillan titles: 52 checkouts or two years, whichever comes first. Libraries that want to purchase these titles can now do so via the Overdrive Marketplace.

Overdrive Attains 9,000 eBooks from Macmillan is a post from: E-Reader News

Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader Begins Trials in Japan


The new Sony PRS-T3 e-Reader may be a bit underwhelming but the one device that everyone wants, is not commercially available. The Sony 13.3 e-Reader was unveiled at the SID Display Week conference in Vancouver, BC and we had comprehensive hands on with the next generation e-Reader. There has been zero news regarding this device for the last four months but we now have confirmation that it is being tested at three Japanese Universities.

The Three Universities are Waseda, Ritsumeikan, Housei and are scheduled to start pilot tests for the commercialization of the product. These schools will all be getting free devices direct from Sony to beta test the devices and to see if they will be the right fit for academia.

The 13.3 inch screen is beguiling to behold and you would figure from looking at it that it would weigh significantly more than the Kindle DX. In truth it weighs only 12.6 oz, compared to the Kindle DX, which weighs a hefty 18.9 oz.
The screen itself is quite respectable in terms of resolution and pixel density. The resolution on the display is 1200×1600 with 150 PPI. It is dubbed Mobius by E Ink and the company is actively shopping it around to the who's who list of the e-reader world.

The main attraction is using the active digitizer and interacting with complex PDF documents. You can edit documents by jotting down your own handwritten notes, or even highlight passages to go back to later. The large screen display will simply give you the best PDF experience you have ever had on an e-reader.

I have personally reviewed over 83 different e-readers since launching Good e-Reader in 2009, and this was the first one to give me a quality PDF experience. I have received emails from airline pilots, heads of research divisions, and publishers about what device they should buy to read their PDF Files. I would implore everyone to buy this Sony one when it comes out; it changes the game. I don't normally gush about things like this, but when it comes to school, work, newspapers, gaming guides, and technical PDF documents, this is solid.

Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader Begins Trials in Japan is a post from: E-Reader News

New Color e-Reader being Developed in Finland


A new Color e-Reader is being developed by five media companies based in Finland. Their intention is to offer a low cost device that can be charged via solar power and used primarily for the consumption of newspapers. There is a beta test beginning in November that will see the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper being delivered by their new cloud infrastructure.

Antti Korhonen of Leia Media confirmed to Good e-Reader that they are using the e Ink Triton 2 display screen on their device. It features a 9.7 inch screen and has a resolution of 1600×1200 pixels. One of the new things this reader has going for it is the solar cell battery. It will be able to recharge in direct or ambient light and this is currently the only way you can charge the device. It is also being billed as a waifer thin device in comparison to the Ectaco Jetbook Color, with dimensions of 203 x 250 x 6 mm.

“We would like to find out whether the physical newspaper can be replaced by a reading device delivered with the subscription”, said Santtu Parkkonen, Producer, Helsingin Sanomat development.

It will be interesting to see how this pilot project fairs due to the sheer amount of companies whose hands are in the cookie jar. Leia Media, Sanoma News, Bluegiga, Anygraaf and DNA have all developed this device an contributed technology.

New Color e-Reader being Developed in Finland is a post from: E-Reader News

Macmillan adds over 9,000 titles to OverDrive Marketplace

Macmillan has added 9,300 eBook titles to their existing offerings available for library lending in OverDrive Marketplace. These titles, which can include best sellers from Matthew Quick, Bill O'Reilly, Janet Evanovich and many others, will be available to add to your library collection later today.


According to Macmillan's Sales Division President, Alison Lazarus, "Macmillan is increasing our title selection to include all of our backlist e-books." She added, "Essentially anything published 12 months ago or longer will be made available for eLending.  This expansion of approximately 9,300 titles includes many requested books and we will continue to add backlist books as they become eligible on a monthly basis."


While we have long carriNight by Elie Wieseled many of these titles in the audiobook format, eBook titles you can now find in OverDrive Marketplace include:

  • Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  • Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
  • Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Husband List by Janet Evanovich
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
  • Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

These new additions will carry the same terms as current Macmillan titles: 52 checkouts or two years, whichever comes first.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive



Can The Book Genome Project Solve the Riddle of Categorizing eBooks?

Graphic courtesy of

Graphic courtesy of

The anger over the decision by several retailers to stop carrying self-published titles continues to rage, as it is even extending to authors whose books were not even remotely close to the adult nature of titles that stores like WHSmith and Whitcoulls railed against. Authors have taken to launching petitions and their social media platforms to vent and try to compensate.

But today, an article by Aaron Stanton for Digital Book World may provide the answers to how to categorize ebooks to ensure the safety of online shoppers–especially underaged readers–while also offering consumers more detailed information about the type and level of content within the virtual pages of a book. This type of tool also helps authors, both traditionally and self-published, pull their books from relative obscurity by helping them become more searchable.

By analyzing a scene-by-scene play of each of the 40,000 to 100,000 books per week that the project tracks, the tools and metrics are able to give a fairly accurate portrayal of the sexual content within a book. That data can then be compared to the category listing of the book, so that a middle grade title, for example, would be flagged if there was too much sexual content or mature themes within the story.

According to the article, “From our perspective, we're mostly interested in whether or not a book is in the right category.  As Erotica, this graph wouldn't have raised an eyebrow, but if it had been misclassified as Juvenile Fiction we would certainly have flagged it.  To give you an example that's more specific to this topic, here's a graphic showing the sexual content of one of the objectionable books identified by The Kernal as being for sale at Amazon, called Daddy's Invisible Condom. This book was flagged as both Erotica and Incest by our automated tools.”

While the project team has been busy creating this type of identifier, it’s hopefully not a case of too-little, too-late for the self-publishing industry. There’s also the matter of convincing ebook retailers to use this option and to display the results, but it’s far more palatable than simply erasing authors’ work.

Can The Book Genome Project Solve the Riddle of Categorizing eBooks? is a post from: E-Reader News

We Know Where Publishing Has Been, But Where Can It Go from Here?

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

A commentary piece by Kirsti Knolle came through the Reuters wire today, and it was jam packed with a lot of information that the industry already knows. It proves the point that we’re really good at observing what is actually taking place around us and we’re even better at discussing ad nauseum the things that have already happened. But where are the people who can tell us where publishing is headed?

There is a job for these people, these aptly-named book futurists, and they’re out there making their predictions and projections. People like David Houle and Kristen McLean attend various conference and make insightful speeches, and then they are left asking those in attendance the very same questions they asked at that very same event, only a year before. And probably the year before that.

One thing that Knolle’s article only touches on and is vital to the continuing growth of the publishing industry is better access to data. Right now, book data is a tight-lipped secret, guarded over and only discussed in closed door meetings. But how can an entire industry adapt to shifts and changes and fall in line with solid predictions, when no one is willing to share the information right in front of them?

It’s good to know that, according to Knolle’s article, one thing hasn’t changed: we still hate Amazon. I’m not sure why and I’m not even sure that most other people know why, but we do. They’re too big, but more importantly, they’re too radical. They do crazy things like let everyone publish a book, they pay their traditional authors monthly instead of quarterly…heck, their CEO even bought a newspaper at a time when print news media is fighting to go digital. We fear them for the changes they bring about across the publishing spectrum, and we hate them for being a disruptor.

One thing that Knolle does make clear throughout the piece is that eventually authors and publishers are going to come around to the idea that it really is all about the readers. Social reading is on the rise and fan interaction with authors via social media is becoming more and more commonplace. Readers are even developing a semi-brand loyalty to publishing houses and imprints, knowing what kind of content to expect from the brand. The true powerhouse driving publishing is slowly emerging as the reader.

Wherever the publishing industry ends up, both in the near future and the far, only one thing is certain: it won’t look a thing like it does now.

We Know Where Publishing Has Been, But Where Can It Go from Here? is a post from: E-Reader News

Brussels Vote Might Eliminate the VAT on eBooks in the UK

Budget blow … publishers argue that ebooks' current 20% VAT rate is out of proportion.

The EU is having a vote in Brussels this week that might have a reverberating effect on the taxing of eBooks. The UK has no VAT fee when it comes to buying paperbacks or hardcovers but eBooks are subject to a 20% VAT fee. This has prompted companies like Kobo and Amazon to operate in Luxembourg where the VAT is only 3%. The new vote could feasibility eliminate the VAT on digital books and put them on par with the ones found in bookstores.

Experts said abolishing the rate could cut the price of an eBook by £1 or more if booksellers such as WH Smith and Amazon pass on the savings. Books are considered to be an essential contribution to society and the booksellers industry say there is no distinction between the tangible and intangible.

'Most of the EU countries are frustrated by the VAT differences on eBooks. The Polish presidency could end up delivering UK readers a real boost whilst levelling the playing field for the region's digital industries,' said Richard Asquith, head of tax at business adviser TMF Group.

The goal with this vote is to harmonize the VAT rate on eBooks across the entire EU. Many different countries already charge their own VAT rate for digital books, France is at 5%, Luxembourg at 3% at the UK at 20%.

Brussels Vote Might Eliminate the VAT on eBooks in the UK is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader Radio – Erotica Self-Pub Statistics, New Nook, Apple iPad News


Welcome back to another edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today Michael Kozlowski of Good e-Reader and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World regale you with tales of eBooks, e-Readers, Tablets and Digital Publishing.

Today on the show we discuss a very detailed report published on Digital Book World about the amount of self-published erotica titles vs traditional print. We discuss what this means from an American and Canadian perspective and how the industry is responding. Barnes and Noble also submitted a new FCC application for a new Nook, Baen Books are now available and the company has committed their ecosystem to the One Laptop per Child initiative. Finally, we wrap the show up with lots of tablet and iPad news.

Good e-Reader Radio – Erotica Self-Pub Statistics, New Nook, Apple iPad News is a post from: E-Reader News

New Barnes and Noble Nook e-Reader to be Announced Soon


Barnes and Noble is developing a new e-Reader that should be announced within the next few weeks. The company has a yet unnamed device that just cleared the FCC this morning and the filing report does not give any details away on the hardware or software.

The new Nook e-Reader is an upgraded version of the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and is thought to use the same e Ink HD screen that is found on the new Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura. The front-light should also undergo an upgrade as the technology has come a long way since the nations largest bookseller released it last year. Hopefully they adopt either Regal or Carta, which dramatically eliminates the full page refreshes that plagued the last few generations of e-readers.

Barnes and Noble when submitting the FCC application for the Nook e-Reader asked for confidentiality on all hardware specs and pictures for 90 days. All we do know is the shape and that it has WIFI.

New Barnes and Noble Nook e-Reader to be Announced Soon is a post from: E-Reader News

China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair to Kick Off Nov 7

China Kids Book Fair

Publishers from all over the world have made a beeline for the China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair, set to run from Nov 7-10. Among the publishers that have confirmed their participation at the event include Hachette, HarperCollins, Oxford University Press, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill and Garnet Education. The country is home to more than 230 million people below the age of sixteen, which translates into a $5 billion children's publishing industry. The segment has been showing impressive growth, with children's publication having increased by 35 percent between 2011 and 2012.

“The purchasing power of young Chinese parents is huge, with more than 52% preferring to buy books than borrowing from libraries. In fact, 70% of these parents purchase books for their kids every month," says senior project manager Randy Wang from Reed Exhibitions that is managing the entire event. "The statistics from China's biggest online retailer shows that 80% and 90% of the top 10 children's bestsellers in 2012 and 2011, respectively, were imported titles. On the other hand, teachers and educators are in dire need for new educational materials while parents and their children are looking for imported titles to add variety to their reading list and broadening their understanding of various world cultures."

This happens to be the inaugural event, and is being organized by the Shanghai Press & Publication Administration, the China Education & Publishing Media Group, and China Universal Publication & Press, in acknowledgement of the growing importance that the children's book segment now commands.

Lucy Vanderbilt, group rights director for HarperCollins, said: “In the last year we've done a few major deals in China, including for David Walliams and for Judith Kerr's backlist. There's a really strong appetite for our books at all ages—picture books and chapter books. I'm going to spend time with our customers and see what Chinese publishers themselves are doing. Many travel to Frankfurt, Bologna and the London Book Fair, but this is a chance to meet the publishers who don't travel.”

The significance of the event for the publishers can be gauged from the words of Adrian Mellor, Managing Director of Asia Education for Oxford University Press who said: “We see the CBBF as an important new channel for furthering our reach in the growing Asian market. It allows us to find new partners and opportunities for disseminating our wealth of resources for children—published both in the UK and in our four branches in Asia. It also acts as a perfect complement to Bologna, enabling us to reach different markets at a different time of year.”

Speaking about the event, Wang said: "CBFF is focused on facilitating closer interactions between industry players local and international, between publishers and the reading public, and between authors and their fans. Exhibitors and attendees will discover a huge range of content—books, e-books, educational software and other edutainment products—and we hope they will go away wanting more and looking forward to the next CBFF."

The slogan adopted for the China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair is "Content Without Borders.”

China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair to Kick Off Nov 7 is a post from: E-Reader News

Review: Noreve Leather Cover for Nexus 7 2

I’ve posted a couple of reviews of covers for the Nexus 7 2 over the past couple of months. The first review was for the official Asus travel cover, and I didn’t like it very much at all. Things got better with the Snugg cover that I reviewed last month; it proved to be a […]

Kobo Arc 7 HD and Arc 10 HD Set For US Launch Soon After Clearing FCC


Kobo is ready to enter neighboring United States with its Kobo Arc 7 HD and Kobo Arc 10 HD tablet devices soon after the company launched the devices in India. A formal launch isn't too far off, as evidenced by the tablet's appearance on the FCC site. However, FCC documents have always been short on useful information; instead, the bits and pieces of FCC data have banked heavily on the technicalities associated with the wireless connectivity aspects of the tablet. There is mention of the user manual which does reveal illustrations on ways to invoke the airplane mode, adjust settings and more.

Kobo has never proved to be a serious player in either the 7 or 10 inch genre of tablets, though that could change with the new Arc 7 HD and Arc 10 HD devices, both of which sport some interesting specifications. The Kobo Arc 7 HD offers a 7 inch 1920 x 1200 pixel display and is powered by a quad core Tegra 3 chip, mated to a 1 GB RAM while storage options include either 16 or 32 GB. All of these do make a strong case for the Arc 7 HD, more so when it's priced quite reasonably at just $199.

In contrast, the Kobo Arc 10 HD is pricier at about $400, but justifies the higher price tag with a more generous spec sheet. The tablet is powered by a 1.8 GHZ quad core Tegra 4 chip that works in unison with a 2 GB RAM. Upfront, it has a 10.1 inch display with a resolution of 2560 X 1600 pixels, which is even more than the 4th generation iPad’s resolution of 2048 X 1536 pixels. Another inherent benefit with the Kobo tablet device is that, unlike the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX range, these are not tied to the parent Kobo store.

Fortunately, the enhanced pixel density does not come at the cost of a reduced battery performance, as the tablet still returns respectable figures of around 10 hours of run time. The Nexus 10 has the exact same number of pixels, but failed to make it big as it performed subpar in battery life. However, while the images are just stunning, the overall look of the Kobo Arc 10 HD can still be considered quite conventional with its narrower bezel width.

Kobo Arc 7 HD and Arc 10 HD Set For US Launch Soon After Clearing FCC is a post from: E-Reader News

Petition Circulates Demanding Fair Treatment for Indie Authors’ Works


Yesterday, Good e-Reader radio posted an hour-long discussion of the current controversy surrounding the removal of self-published titles from specific UK retailers’ websites, an issue that affects an estimated one-third of self-published titles, according to Digital Book World’s data. While there is no clear solution to the issue, several indie authors have begun circulating a petition at asking to not be forgotten.

One of the key aspects to the controversy that has been overlooked by both authors and readers is that Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo are not at fault here; in this particular instance, they are not the retailer, they are the distributor. As such, a separate retailer who derives its content from the self-publishing platforms built by those three entities has the right to say, “We’re not selling certain content.” It would be akin to a religious ebook website only allowing religious or inspirational titles, and shunning mainstream fiction, even age-appropriate and non-inflammatory titles.

The intro to the petition states that “we are all consenting adults,” but that has also not proven to be the case. While there is no evidence yet that the erotica titles that ended up in the children’s ebook section were placed there intentionally, and there is also no evidence yet that children were affected by being able to see inappropriate titles or cover art, the fact remains that children could easily be exposed to adult content. Until that possibility is resolved, the retailers have demanded that no industry-vetted content make its way to their platforms.

It is important to note the Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble are not refusing to sell these titles from their own platforms, and that the self-published titles have not been removed from every international market. It is also important for authors to understand that in many countries, there is simply no “right to publish,” and that the “gift” of publication can be revoked according to their laws.

For their parts, the authors who are concerned enough to petition for readmittance to the ebook stores do raise a valid point: erotica has become mainstream fiction. Why are the erotica authors the targets here, and not crime thrillers or horror fiction writers, for example? And where does this level of pseduo-censorship stop? Will we see retailers refusing to sell books that have profanity within the text?

Authors and readers can weigh in by signing the petition, found HERE.

Petition Circulates Demanding Fair Treatment for Indie Authors’ Works is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Aura Sleepcover Review

A few days ago I posted a review of the Kobo Aura ebook reader. It’s the seventh Kobo ereader that I’ve reviewed over the three and a half years, and it occurred to me that not once have I ever reviewed a Kobo cover. So this time around when ordering the Kobo Aura I decided […]

The world’s largest Raspberry Pi display?

David Whale, a STEM ambassador and all-round good egg, mailed me last week to tell me about a project he’d been involved in at Goodwood race course.

The Greenpower Education Trust run an electric car series for schools and businesses, where students and staff build electric race cars, and compete in 4hr mileage marathons around the country.

Essex Goblins 2013

They’ve been doing a lot of work with Raspberry Pis (many of the cars have a Raspberry Pi inside), and asked David if he could use a Raspberry Pi to populate a giant display at the Goodwood course with race information. Ninety six entrants’ information needed to be displayed, so David produced a system whereby the top three cars were always displayed at the top of the board, and everybody else scrolled down the rest of the page on a loop.

David says:

One of the things I often get asked in my role as a STEM Ambassador, is "What's it like to be an engineer". I've thought about this a lot and honed my elevator pitch quite a lot now, but there is one phrase that always comes out "It's a huge lot of fun, and hard work". I certainly had a lot of fun and did a lot of hard work (at the last minute!) putting this one together. The program was finished 11pm Saturday night, I boxed it all up, went to bed, got up at 5.30am Sunday and drove to Goodwood to install and run it. But it all worked in the end!

You can read about the build from the bottom up (and download code; have a think about displays and data processing; and marvel at the fact that there’s anybody in the world still using Delphi) on David’s blog. It’s a really thorough write-up, and one we think you’ll get a lot out of.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in getting involved with The Greenpower Challenge and building your own electric car (there are categories for everybody over the age of nine), you can learn more at

Monday Marketing Idea: Add a web graphic

What’s the number one way that users find out about your OverDrive digital collection? For many of our partners, the answer is through their main library website and catalog. Sharing information about your digital titles or adding MARC records to integrate your eBooks into your catalog can help users discover your ‘Virtual Library’. We also highly recommend adding a text or graphic that links to your collection. This is a quick, easy and free way to drive traffic to your eBooks.


We have a variety of sizes and designs of ready-made web graphics to choose from in the OverDrive Partner Portal, including:

  • A small web graphic (180 x 150), encouraging users to click through and enjoy your eBooks:

  • A graphic sized perfectly for use in email signature blocks* (250 x 116), inviting anyone that you email to ask you (and your staff) about eBooks. You can also hyperlink the graphic to to your digital collection to provide immediate access:

  • A medium web graphic (300 x 250) letting users know that you have eBooks available for their smart phones and tablets:

  • A large web graphic (500 x 300) to help generate excitement before launch about the digital titles coming soon:

  • A graphic (729 x 90) that can be used as a ‘banner ad’ across the top of library pages, promoting your digital collection:

  • Smaller options available for catalogs:



You can find these graphics and many more, including options for promoting additional formats (audiobooks, music and video) in the Partner Portal. Just click on Marketing & Outreach, choose your platform – library, school or academic – and select Web Graphics.


As we shared last week, we also have images optimized for use on Facebook for cover photos, status posts and in custom tabs, available in the Social Media section of the Partner Portal!


*Please note: Email signature block graphics may not be recognized by all email programs, as some people have settings that only allow text based messages to be received. Our suggested best practice would be to include a text link to your digital collection URL alongside the graphic, in addition to hyper-linking the image.


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.