Welcome to another installment of the Good e-Reader Drop Test! Today we take a look at the Kobo Aura and see how fairs from a variety of falls from three and five feet. The intention is to see how the occasional drop affects the reading experience and if the screen becomes damaged.
The Kobo Aura is designed very differently than most other e-readers on the market. The screen is flush with the bezel, much akin to smartphones and tablets. We run a battery of tests such as the pocket miss at the three foot level to simulate how dropping it on the concrete or hardwood would damage it. The next tests are at the five foot level where we drop it from the back, sides and then directly on the screen.
How does the six inch Aura e-reader do in our drop test? You have to watch the video below to find out!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Barnes and Noble unveiled their second generation Nook with Glowlight at an exclusive event in New York City on Monday. Good e-Reader was live on the scene getting the exclusive scoop on what this new device brings to the table.
The new Barnes and Noble Nook with Glowlight has a six inch screen and a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. It has 62% more pixels than the first generation model and should result in a better eBook reading experience. One of the big factors is the new glowlight, which sees a more evenly distributed light on the screen. The first generation model did not have the most uniformed lightning when you were in a darkened environment. You often saw the light being very clear at the top and started to wane about half way down. The new light is very much akin to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura in terms of clarity. Underneath the hood is a 800 MHZ processor, 256 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal memory. There is no expandable memory, so you will have to stay under your cap.
"Barnes & Noble was the first company to recognize and answer E Ink customers' number one request with a breakthrough integrated light for reading in the dark and today, with the new NOOK GlowLight, we've taken the reading experience to a new level," said Mahesh Veerina, Chief Operating Officer of NOOK Media. "We developed an all new lightweight design that's extremely comfortable to hold in one hand for people who love to read anytime, anywhere. Lighter and brighter, with crisp, sharp text, no full page flashing and no ads, our redesigned reading experience is more immersive than ever making the device a must-have item for long-form readers. We welcome customers to their local Barnes & Noble store where they can try the new NOOK GlowLight and see it shine."
Barnes and Noble is employing the latest generation E Ink technology with Pearl’s Regal wave. This eliminates the full page refreshes that normally plague e-readers every page or every six pages. Instead, you will only see it happen every chapter. This new tech is really noticeable when you are browsing B&N’s online store and checking out books that are on a carousal.
There was a big design change in the way the new Nook model looks compared to the earlier iterations. You can tell that you can drop this thing and it will not break and has a large rubber casing that should protect it from day to day use. The physical page turn keys are also absent, which means you have to solely interact with the touchscreen. It is quite lightweight too, coming in at 6 oz.
Barnes and Noble borrowed a page out of Kobo’s playbook by offering new covers in a multitude of colors. These simply clip on and come in 6 different colors at launch, with more planned down the road. This will allow you to customize your reader without having to buy one in a particular color.
For people who love to escape to a great book, content is what matters most and the new NOOK GlowLight introduces an all-new customer experience intuitively designed to minimize distractions and let stories shine. The home screen has been refreshed to make it easier and faster for customers to jump right into their current books, magazines and newspapers directly from the home screen, even if they're reading more than one item at a time in the new "Reading Now" section.
This e-reader still maintains the permanent navigation bar at the bottom of the page and it is quite easy to access the Library, Shop, or Search. Customers can also now easily view their entire collection of books, magazines, newspapers, and side-loaded content right in the Library, where book covers are rendered beautifully on the device's new display. You can even use 3rd party programs like Calibre to send your book collection right to the device. The newspaper and college newspaper sections give you tons of daily news from most major USA publications. eBooks really shine with the enhanced screen and cover art looks great.
The new Nook gives you a very solid reading experience. Choose from 6 customized fonts, select from 7 font sizes, select one of 3 margin settings (thin, normal, expanded), or select one of 3 line spacing options (condensed, normal, expanded). If you are unhappy with any of these options, you can just establish the publisher defaults.
We had a good bit of one-on-one time to play around with this new device, and everything has changed from the prior models. The UI is completely different but borrows subtle elements from prior readers. It feels more intuitive than ever before to read and manage your collections. The Glowlight really gives the Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura a run for their money and you would be hard-pressed to find any flaws in the light distribution.
It is going on sale today in the B&N bookstores and college bookstores, as well as on the Barnes and Noble website, and will retail for $119.00 in the US without cost-savings measures like advertising. Current Barnes and Noble members will receive a ten percent discount.
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as its affectionately called, is almost upon us. Some of the benefits to authors who struggle and fight to complete a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days of the month–apart from the ability to print their own winner’s certificates and order a winner’s t-shirt at their own expense–are the perks from NaNo sponsors, which include everything from free writing software to discounted editing packages . This year, crowd-based publishing platform Wattpad is sweetening the deal with an incentive for participants to buckle down and complete those novels: the chance to win a $2,000 prize, awarded randomly from the pool of winners.
“A significant reason so many people have become successful novelists in NaNoWriMo is because of the community of support we provide online and in live events around the world. By partnering with Wattpad, we’re adding even more social features to what’s usually a solitary activity, writing,” said Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month, in a press release. “Our goal is to empower today’s writers by giving them the tools and community support they need to start and finish writing a novel in a month.”
Good e-Reader spoke with Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content Partnership for Wattpad, who mentioned one of the key benefits to authors reaching out to audiences via Wattpad. For participants who upload their content during the NaNo process, those authors can benefit from the added accountability and support of readers through the comments left on their works in progress. Couple that incentive with the $2,000 prize that Wattpad will award to a randomly drawn NaNo finisher, and the process of putting virtual pen to virtual paper looks all the more appealing.
Authors–both established and would-be–can still sign up to join the more than 500,000 annual participants from over 100 countries by creating a free profile at NaNoWriMo.org.
“It’s very exciting, we’re really aligned with the goals of NaNoWriMo and the sense of community that they provide,” continued Gardiner. “Wattpad is the perfect place to amplify a lot of the community features like commenting and the data that users can get from the stories. One of the things that Wattpad can bring to NaNoWriMo is, with how busy everyone is and with the small pockets of time that many people can dedicate to writing, our app lets people write on the go when they have a chance to keep writing their stories.”
The app is available as a free download and allows users to read content and to create their own original content for upload.
We’ve come a long way from the days when parents kept a tight reign on their tablets and portable electronics, keeping the kids firmly ensconced in print books, PC-based educational games, and other forms of learning and instructional content. Now, with new figures that show more than three-fourths of children show an increase in tablet use and forty percent of children under the age of two use a tablet on a regular basis, content providers are meeting these young consumers on their preferred digital playgrounds.
To this end, Disney will be launching its newest young demographic program “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” on tablets prior to its launch on cable television through its own branded app. While the show won’t launch until November 24th–shockingly convenient for parents who want to reclaim their television sets in time to watch Thanksgiving week football coverage–consumers are already eagerly anticipating the ability to put Disney-vetted material in their two- to seven-year-olds’ hands.
Is there really a market for programming that lets parents pass off their expensive tablets to their toddlers? If the figures of the Disney Junior app are correct, some five million households in the past five months believe so, as that number of app downloads for Watch Disney Junior has already resulted in 650 million video views.
Things do not seem to be as positive for Apple as its CEO would like us to believe. Its profit for the fourth quarter came out to be $7.5 billion, which is less than the $8.2 billion profit that the company made during the same period a year ago. What is even more disappointing is that the slight dip in profit comes on the heels of the company having sold a record 33.8 million iPhones during the quarter, a healthy jump over the 26.9 million iPhone devices it had sold in September last year.
CEO Tim Cook still seemed optimistic, saying, “We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones.”
Apple ended the fourth quarter with sales of 14.1 million iPads, a marginal rise over the 14 million iPad devices sold a year ago, along with sales of 4.6 million Mac devices, which marks a slight dip compared to the 4.9 million Macs sold in Q4, 2012.
The sales figure for the iPhone includes sales of the latest iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c during its initial phase, so only a small number of the new iPhone models make up the sales volume. As for the iPad, the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 do not reflect in the sales figure for September.
Apple is banking on its new range of iPhone and iPad devices to hit a high growth trajectory. Traditionally, the December month also proves to be the biggest for Apple, buoyed by strong sales during the holiday season. This time, its iPad and iPhone range will be up against some stiff competition from the likes of the new Kindle Fire HDX, new Nexus 7, and more. Google is also expected to launch its Nexus 10 and Nexus 5 devices on Nov 1, which could make things that much more difficult for both the iPad and the iPhone. There are also the new Windows 8.1 tablets based on the new Intel Bay Trail chips that could play spoilsport for both Apple and Android based devices.
It will be interesting to see how the equation stands following the holiday quarter. While the iPad is still expected to come out on top, it could be left with a smaller territory than it starts with.
Newspapers around the world are discovering one by one that their customers are coming to rely on digital editions, and as such, many long-established icons of journalism are turning to digital, either in a hybrid capacity which lets the consumers choose print, digital, or both; or in a natural evolution towards a strictly digital landscape. Unfortunately, according to a recent post for Poynter.org, many of these entities are making the transition without a fully-immersed digital editor at the helm.
According to the article by Rick Edmonds, “Managing an accelerated change to digital is difficult whatever the editor's background.” Edmonds went on to explain some of the challenges, as well as list by name a few of the more noted editors who have a strong background in web or digital publishing. Sadly, the numbers are small compared to the 1,380 or so newspapers still in circulation in the US.
In his piece, Edmonds quoted John Yemma, editor of the Christian Science Monitor‘s website and weekly print magazine since spring 2009, who makes an important distinction about the need for digitally savvy newspaper editors to help create this time of transition:
“It is both an exciting time, and honestly one of some apprehension in the newsroom. Like everyone, we've had staff reductions (about 20 percent from last year's budgeted level), most of which we captured via attrition and voluntary departures. The unknowns of the Web and questions about whether fast, responsive metrics-oriented journalism fits with our journalistic culture of thoughtful perspective abound. No one has answers to these questions, and I'm not pretending I do.”
Amazon has just rolled out their new Matchbook program today and it seeks to give you a low-cost or free digital copy when you buy a real book. Currently over 70,000 titles currently participating in Matchbook and is applicable to hard and softcover editions sold online.
Amazon will look up your purchase history of physical books via the Matchbook page, and tell you which books are eligible for digital. Of course, they won't know what you purchase outside of Amazon, but it's a great feature for those who may have lost a book, or just don't want to lug them around. The great thing about Matchbook is that it encourages people to read in general by giving you two copies of the same book. One for your Kindle or Kindle app and one for your bookshelf.
Many people tend to loan out their physical book to friends or family members. In most cases a great book is seldom on your shelf for long as you want to share it with the people who matter most. Digital books are not easily shared and often have short loaning duration’s and the entire process is needlessly complicated. Matchbook basically allows you to share the physical book with your friends and insure that you have a digital backup always there. So if the real thing is lost, you don’t have to spend the full price to buy it again.
"It's been great to see the positive response to MatchBook from both readers and publishers," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content. "MatchBook enrollment has grown from 10,000 to 70,000 titles in just a few weeks and we expect it will keep expanding rapidly in the months ahead."
Crunchyroll’s new streaming manga service, which will launch on Wednesday, looks like the manga publishers’ best bet yet for fighting piracy, for three reasons:
1. It has new manga chapters the same day they are released in Japan.
OK, it’s only partly free, but right now it looks like Crunchyroll is coming very close to the holy grail of manga publishing: A digital manga service that will lure readers away from bootleg sites and still make money.
Let’s back up a bit. Starting in about 1998 or so, before many titles were available in English, readers hungry for new content would buy manga in Japanese, translate it, reletter the manga with the English translation, and post it. Eventually this developed into a whole scanlation scene, with fans communicating and sharing downloads of their favorite series via IRC (Internet Relay Chat). It was small and clubby, and most scanlators had an informal rule that they would stop translating a series (and often pull their scanlations from circulation) once it was licensed by a publisher.
Then in about 2005, websites started popping up that simply posted manga online for anyone to read—no special technical knowledge or secret handshake required. These websites quickly caught on, and soon it was possible to find pretty much any manga online, for free, with a simple Google search. Manga sales slowed, and then in 2007 the curve turned around and sales began to decline. Many people within the industry blame piracy for the turnaround.
Publishers had two alternatives: Shut the sites down or offer a better alternative. Shutting them down is not easy, as many are located in countries with looser copyright laws than the U.S. And offering a better alternative has been difficult. Freed from the constraint of actually having to pay anybody, pirate manga sites can offer a huge selection of manga, including recent releases, for free, and still come out ahead because of advertising. Publishers have legal obligations to pay the creators, the licensors, and their translators and other staff. Yet readers want free manga, and they want it now. I talked to Gagan Singh, who heads up Viz’s digital services, just over a year ago, shortly after Viz announced it would publish manga chapters in its digital magazine Shonen Jump the same day they come out in Japan, and here’s what he had to say:
Actually, Singh left out a third axis: The popularity of the available series. It’s no coincidence that Viz chose its Shonen Jump line for its digital experiment—those are some of the top selling manga in the U.S. While Shonen Jump offers high-profile titles the same day they come out in Japan, however, it isn’t free, so a lot of readers, particularly younger ones, won’t touch it. There’s a big jump from free to paid content.
By contrast, the digital site JManga, which was run by a group of Japanese publishers, was the opposite of the ideal we are discussing here: It offered obscure older series no one had heard of, and when it launched the price was quite high. The prices came down fairly quickly, and the staff did a great job of communicating with readers and building community, but the niche audience they built must not have been enough to sustain the site, as it folded earlier this year.
Along the way, JManga spun off a sister site, JManga7, that allowed readers to access manga for free—but again, none of the series on the site had a big following.
Crunchyroll is managing to get pretty close to Singh’s holy ground: It offers a range of Kodansha manga, including the monster hit Attack on Titan, on the day they are released in Japan, for free. Those free chapters are available only for a limited time, though; when a new chapter goes up, the old one will disappear. Readers who pay a monthly subscription fee can access all the manga on the site, an “all-you-can-eat” model that is similar to Marvel Unlimited (but with far fewer titles, at least for now). The 12 titles available at launch are a good start, and Crunchyroll promises to have 50 titles available by next year.
This is possible because Crunchyroll is different from almost all other manga services in one important respect: It is a streaming service. The user cannot download the manga. That’s how most pirate sites work as well, and it actually makes sense to go after their audience with the same model. Given a choice between free streaming manga or download-to-own manga at a price, a substantial part of the manga audience has opted for the free service.
Many manga readers do feel a responsibility to support the creators and publishers of the original work, and Crunchyroll is giving them the opportunity to do that without having to pay any actual money, at least at first. And their two-tiered service is a great idea. It may seem like madness to give away your most valuable property—brand-new manga chapters—but that’s what it will take to lure fans away from the pirate sites. It also gives them a reason to come back every week. And eventually, some of them will start paying the subscription fee so they can access the back issues. That will be easier not only because they are familiar with the site but also because they or their friends may already be paying a subscription fee to watch anime there. Crunchyroll started as a fan site where people could upload and share videos, and then it went “legit,” banning unauthorized content but also seeking out authorization to run the content its users had been uploading. In other words, the content came first.
There’s one more thing worth mentioning: Crunchyroll’s manga service will be available in 170 countries. While manga publishers were locking down digital distribution with regional restrictions, the pirate sites were serving anyone who wanted to read manga, and it’s clear from the comments when sites are taken down that many readers are coming from outside North America.
Despite the downturn in sales since 2007, there’s plenty of evidence that the audience is still there for manga: Attendance at anime cons is rising steadily, the print market has stabilized a bit, and bootleg sites continue to proliferate. The puzzle for manga publishers has been how to draw that audience toward legal digital manga services that will make a profit. Older readers will buy manga in print or download it to their tablets, but the younger readers don’t have a lot of money to begin with and are conditioned to reading manga for free online. It remains to be seen whether Crunchyroll has cracked the code, but it certainly looks like the best attempt yet.
Ookbee which happens to be the largest online ebook store in Thailand is in an overdrive with major expansion plans being worked out. That is hardly surprising, considering every ebookstore around the world worth its salt is busy charting their own growth strategy. However, what has made things a bit sticky for Ookbee is that their keenness to have a bigger presence in the world ebook scene has pitched them against its own partner companies. While competition is healthy and promotes growth, for Ookbee, there does exist the risk of things getting ugly.
Now Ookbee has to its credit the lions share – read over 90 percent – of the Thai ebook market. It also has presence in Vietnam and Malaysia. The company had recently released an iOS app and hopes to launch an online subscription based Netflix-Style-real-all-you-can Ookbee Mee service soon. It shares a business relationship with B2S and AIS though all of their recent ventures have brought them head to head with its partners than being on their sides. From what seems evident is that it seeks to have a more active role to play in the ebook business rather than being on the sides lines with other calling the shots.
However, there have been ripples in the tech circles in the region wondering if there is a major shake up in the making. Ookbee CEO Moo Natavudh though brushed aside all concerns saying: "In terms of competition, Ookbee app aims to be a regional store, not only in Thailand. But locally there might be some competition with existing bookstore of ours. However, we think each bookstore has it own strengths anyway. For example, AIS has promotions for its users on its bookstore. B2S is known for its actual stores so it has a pool of loyal customers. Ookbee's app tries to capture the remaining sector in general."
What remains to be seen is whether Ookbee's partners too are thinking along the same lines.
Samsung got itself in the kid's tablet segment with the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids which is essentially the Galaxy Tab 3 device that has been tweaked both internally and externally to suits its intended clientele, kids. Launched in August, the tablet now is ready for prime time action, with the pre-order process set to kick off in November 1st. The tablet has also been priced a quite modest $229.99, although the non-kid version of the same is even cheaper at $199.
Perhaps Samsung would like to justify the higher price tag with the extra cladding the tablet has been provided with along the sides to ensure it survives the harsh handling that kids can sometimes subject their wares to. That's not all as the tablet has also been provided with enough software tweaks to ensure the device is completely safe for kids to use. These include parental controls who have the option to specify the time limit that parents would like their kids to be exposed to a particular app, something more relevant for gaming apps. In a similar manner, parents can also impose restriction on the type of sites that the kids can visit.
The above has been brought about by introducing two specific modes, the child mode and parent's mode. With the former in place, the tablet will have a simpler user interface to make it easier for the kids to make their way. Similarly, parent's mode will mean much the same tablet as the regular Galaxy Tab 3. Parents will also have the option to prevent their kids from switching modes on their own with the use of a suitable pin. A thoughtful feature, it must be said given the tech savvy nature that today's kids have grown to be.
These apart, the specs remain more or less the same: a 1024 x 600 pixel 7 inch display, dual core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, front and rear cameras, a 4000 mAh battery pack along with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean as the OS.
Samsung is also throwing in a few other goodies to make the Tab 3 Tablet all the more appealing. So there will be Galaxy Perks for the taking which can be credited at the Google Play and Samsung Hub. There is also a $10 Google Play credit, one year of Boingo Mobile Wi-Fi, three months of Hulu Plus, and up to 50 GB of free DropBox storage use for two years for the taking. The tablet also comes loaded with several applications such as Toca Train, Wipeout, Fruit Ninja, Disney's Toy Story: Smash It! and Where's My Perry and so on.
The tablet can be picked from a host of locations including Best Buy, Amazon, Fry's, Office Depot, Tiger Direct, Toys "R" Us, Sam's Club along with of course Samsung's own website.
|Today Amazon officially launched their new program called Kindle MatchBook, which gives customers that purchase a print copy of a book from Amazon to get the ebook edition for $2.99 or less, sometimes free. The most interesting aspect of Kindle MatchBook is that it applies to past purchases as well as new purchases. So anyone […]|
So your new Pi NoIR has plopped through the letterbox, and you’ve unpacked it. There’s a little square of blue gel in there. What’s it for?
If you’ve been reading our posts about why we developed an infrared camera board keenly, you’ll have noticed that we mentioned a lot of interest from botanists, who use infrared photography to work on the health of trees. We started to read up about the work, found it absolutely fascinating, and thought you’d like to get in on it too.
A short biology lesson follows.
Photosynthesis involves chlorophyll absorbing light and using the energy to drive a charge separation process which ultimately (via a vast range of hacked together bits and pieces – if you believe in intelligent design, you won’t after you’ve read the Wikipedia page on chlorophyll) generates oxygen and carbohydrate. Here’s a nice picture of the absorption spectrum of two sorts of chlorophyll, swiped from Wikipedia:
Notice that both kinds of chlorophyll absorb blue and red light, but not green or infrared.
So: why are trees green? The graph above shows you that it’s because green is what’s left once the chlorophyll has grabbed all the long wavelength (red) and short wavelength (blue) light.
Let’s say you’re a biologist, and you want to measure how much photosynthesis is going on. One way to do this would be to look for greenness, but it turns out an even better method is to look for infrared and not blue – this is what the filter lets us do. Bright areas in a picture filtered like this mean that lots of photosynthesis is happening in those spots.
There’s a long history of doing this stuff from space (the Landsat vehicles, for example, look at the Earth across a very broad spectrum), and Public Lab have done loads of research as part of their Infragram project (and associated Kickstarter) to find ways of modifying cameras, and to find cheap alternatives to expensive optical bandgap filters. Our friend Roscolux #2007 Storaro Blue (that’s the blue thing’s full name) turns out to be a great example – we buy it on giant reels and the guys at the factory in Wales where we make the Raspberry Pi and both kinds of camera board cut it up into little squares for you to use. It’s not very expensive at all for us to provide you with a little square of blue, and it adds a lot of extra functionality to the camera that we hope you’ll enjoy playing with.
The work of the folk at Public Lab has been absolutely vital in helping us understand all this, and we’re very grateful to them for their work on finding suitable filters at low prices, and especially on image processing. We strongly recommend that you visit Public Lab’s Infragram to process your own images. We’re talking to Public Lab at the moment about working together on developing some educational activities around Pi NoIR. We’ll let you know what we come up with right here.
We sent Matthew Lippincott from Public Lab an early Pi NoIR (and a blue thing), and he sent it up on a quadcopter to take some shots of the tree canopy, which he’s processed using Infragram, to show you what’s possible.
We still have some to do in getting images taken with the filter absolutely perfect (notably in white balance calibration), but we hope that what you can do with the filter already gives you a feel for the potential of an infrared camera. In a way, it’s a shame we’re launching this in the autumn: there’s less photosynthesising going on out there that there might be. But you’ll still get some really interesting results if you go outside today and start snapping.
Lloyd's List has been carrying authentic shipping information since the 18th century, and is the latest to embrace digital technology. The newspaper, which is to be the world's oldest as it has continuously been in print since 1734, stated the paper will be entirely digital from December 20th. A survey conducted in June showed that only 2 percent of readership still relied on the print version of the newspaper while an overwhelming 97 percent said they preferred to seen an online version.
“We are very proud to take this next step in the evolution of Lloyd's List,” said editor Richard Meade. ”Lloyd's List first started in 1734 as a notice pinned to the wall of a coffee shop in London offering customers trusted shipping news and information. That aim has not changed, but the technology has and our customers are now accessing the industry's most sophisticated intelligence source in any coffee shop, anywhere in the world 24 hours a day.”
“The digital approach offers new avenues and opportunities to innovate an up-to-the-minute service that offers in-depth news and information on every aspect of shipping as well as unrivaled market intelligence and data provision which can be tailored to suit our readers' needs,” further explained Meade. ”The overwhelming majority of our customers choose the capabilities of digital over print.”
Lloyd’s List is not alone in charting a digital route, as almost every major newspaper has already made the transition to digital or are in the process of doing so. However, some have adopted a hybrid approach, continuing with the print version and co-existing with the digital edition of the newspaper.
However, company sources have made it clear that their commitment towards providing authentic information on all things pertaining to shipping, including energy and insurance, remains paramount.
“The digital migration process has been very carefully planned and we have undertaken significant investment in our digital platforms, enabling us to provide our readers with a much enhanced and very popular service online,” said the group’s managing director, Phil Smith.
“This success has resulted in huge growth in digital usage, with ever-increasing numbers of customers opting for digital over print.”
In August, we announced the winners of this year's Digital Library Champions contest. Each winner has agreed to share their success story through a series of Librarian's Share blog posts. This week, we feature the winner of the “Online” category, Jackson County Library Services (member of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium):
For some time, the Patron Technical Support staff at Jackson County Library Services has been focusing on video as a means to educate and inform our patrons. We use printed handouts for how-to functions, and flyers as advertisements for our Digital Download workshops, but we receive many more comments concerning the help and information videos posted on our JCLS Need2Know You Tube channel and advertising from our digital displays. When it was announced that OverDrive-sponsored websites would be redesigned, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to utilize this medium to both advertise and create excitement for the change.
We began by deciding on the direction the video would take and chose to go more in the "infotainment" direction than just providing a straight rundown of facts, figuring that more people would watch something that was fun and (slightly) hip with key information included, instead of possibly being bored by and not absorbing an information-only approach. The silent-film to modern-era theme was created by our videographer to highlight the updates that were going to take place and generate excitement, since people can be very resistant to change and especially so when that change involves a technology that they have become comfortable with. The statistics we collected and the general reaction of our local Library2Go (our OverDrive site) patrons suggest that we were correct.
The video went live on February 28, posted on our www.jcls.org home page and You Tube channel, as well as promoted on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and received almost 400 views in the first week. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube!) Checkouts from our virtual branch increased by almost 800 in March, increased again slightly in April, and have more or less maintained that level since that time. We had very little negative reaction to the changeover, with many people seeking further help but with an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the redesign.
Based on this success, we have continued to create promotional and informational videos, which have had a positive effect on various aspects of library service, from the benefits of traveling with eBooks as opposed to print, to librarians actually having a sense of humor (who knew?), to how the library benefits the community. For us, it has been a marketing tool that is extremely effective in that it only requires an initial outlay of funding for equipment and software, which is not prohibitively expensive, plus the time involved in learning its use. In many cases, the end result can reach far more people than would otherwise be the case. With the ever-increasing number of mobile devices across all age groups, we can reach out and inform the entire community we serve.
Eric Molinsky handles Patron Technical Support at Jackson County Library Services, member of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium and winner of the Online category in this year's Digital Library Champions contest.
Bloomsbury Publishing is reporting that half of their total sales now stem from eBook sales in some markets. Overall, digital sales accounted for 17% of Bloomsbury's total revenue in the first half of 2013 compared to 11% in the 2012 six month period.
“Our Adult division enjoyed a very good interim result, reflecting an impressive new book programme including And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner) and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, as well as a flourishing cookery list,” said Nigel Newton, chief executive.
One of their strongest earners right now are cook books such as Masterchef: the Finalists and the Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds. Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, the follow up to the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, is expected to generate strong sales over the Christmas period.
One of the avenues of growth for Bloomsbury is the recent acquisition of law publisher, Hart, in September for £6.4m in cash. Their intent is to market the eBooks to academic libraries, online re-sellers and schools.