Thursday, November 7, 2013

Flagship Toronto Chapters Bookstore to Close


In 1999 Chapters moved into the The Runnymede theatre that was first established in 1927. The curtain is about to fall for the last time as the flagship bookstore in the Toronto area will be closing in the next few months.

"It's a great store that's served the neighbourhood incredibly well," said Drew McGowen, vice-president of real estate and development at Chapters Indigo. "We're at the end of our lease and the landlord can get far, far more money than we are able to pay."

Following Book City’s demise, will that leave ANY bookstores between Jane and High Park? Very bad news for the community because in Chapters place will be yet another Shoppers Drugmart.

Parent company Indigo has experienced frequent quarterly loses as Chapters bookstores are under the gun to transform themselves into a “lifestyle” geared store. Less books are being ordered as the company tries to push our kids toys, pillows, martini sets and exotic chocolate. In many cases stores perform so badly that they lease a part of their store interior to companies like StarBucks to help subsidize the rent.

Flagship Toronto Chapters Bookstore to Close is a post from: E-Reader News

Bookstores Express Disdain with Amazon Source


Indie bookstores in the US and UK are expressing a massive amount of trepidation about the new Amazon Source program. This provides bookstores with a 10% commission on Kindle and eBook sales. If a customer buys a Kindle, the bookstore will earn a small % of each book sold for the first two years. Many stores and their organizational bodies are not reacting to this new program in a positive light. Today, we look across the web for industry responses to Source.

Most indie bookstores in the USA belong to the American Booksellers Association, which assists them in marketing materials and ideas for seasonal themes. The CEO of the ABA, Oren Teicher, commented “Given Amazon’s aggressive corporate tactics and their longstanding strategy to avoid the collection of sales tax, we don’t see this new program as being at all credible.”

"If Amazon thinks indie bookstores will become agents for the Kindle, they are sorely mistaken," says Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. "There is no way I will promote Amazon products in my stores after the havoc they have wreaked on our industry as a whole. Sorry, Jeff. I'm not buying it."

Tim Walker, owner of Walkers bookshops in the UK, said: "One would have to ask the question 'Why would Amazon want to take that step? Where is the motivation?' Because at the end of the day, they haven't really ever given a shit about everyone else in the book trade . . . My worry would be that by selling Kindle devices, we would be converting customers to using Amazon for their physical book sales as well as e-books. I would be very reluctant to jump in."

Carole Horne of the Harvard Book Store commented "Hmmm, let's see. We sell Kindles for essentially no profit, the new Kindle customer is in our store where they can browse and discover books, the new Kindle customer can then check the price on Amazon and order the ebook. We make a little on their ebook purchases, but then lose them as a customer completely after two years. Doesn’t sound like such a great partnership to me."

The entire staff at Skylight Books in California weighed in, "This offer seems clearly disingenuous and is obviously a Trojan Horse style attempt to gain access to our customers. As independent booksellers, we don't have the negotiating power of Amazon, or their market share, or the luxury of losing money each year while being propped up by worshipful investors. What we do have is our own stores—physical spaces that are each unique (and many, like us, already offer e-readers), that serve as a center of their communities, that are frequented by passionate book lovers and supported only by their purchases. On the other hand, Amazon has always proved itself to be an opponent of 'e-fairness' at every turn, has done grievous harm to communities of readers across the country by driving booksellers out of business and leaving many cities without a bookstore at all. Therefore, our convictions tell us that Amazon, no matter how much they try to bully and encroach, will not be allowed access to our stores. We are not Amazon franchises. We don't want 10% of a Kindle sale or anything else from Amazon."

Christine Onorati of WORD Bookstores in New York expressed "No surprise here, it's not for me. From a purely dollars and cents point of view I'm sure some booksellers somewhere will see value in this. Especially the ones who dwell in the gray areas of buying deeply-discounted books from Amazon to resell in their stores or those who charge authors who publish through CreateSpace a fee to stock their books on their shelves. I know they exist, and I know they think they are 'sticking' it to Amazon in some way. But I have no desire to sell my customer info to Amazon or send more of my customers to them. I'm happy keeping completely separate from them. I also said no when I was approached by Audible (owned by Amazon) to sell them my customer data by sending my customers to them. So Amazon is obviously interested in us indies right now. Let's hope that's an optimistic sign that we're making a difference."

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Books Inc., a 12-store indie chain based in San Francisco, described it as more or less a form of suicide. "In the long term, for anyone who gets into it, they would be losing their customers for what would end up a very small return."

Bookstores Express Disdain with Amazon Source is a post from: E-Reader News

Recommendations come to school digital libraries


Recommend to Library, OverDrive's enhancement that lets users suggest titles for libraries to add to their digital collection, is rolling out for our school partner websites. This feature, which will enable students to view OverDrive's catalog of titles not currently in your digital library, helps answer the ultimate questions, "What should we put in the collection?" and, "What do my students want read?"


Recommendations will be tracked in OverDrive Marketplace for staff members to review and add to their carts. If a school purchases titles that a student recommends, the student will be alerted via email so he or she can check out the book. This new feature will empower your students and open lines of communication with staff members as to what titles readers are interested in and what the most popular recommendations are. By making your students a part of the selection process, you can create a collection of titles you know your students want.


While students will be able to recommend titles not currently in your collection, they won't have access to OverDrive's full collection. Students will not be able to recommend titles such as "Fifty Shades of Grey," for example. They will be limited to viewing titles that are a part of OverDrive's collection with any of the following criteria:

  • Titles with Juvenile or Young Adult subject categories
  • Titles that have school metadata, such as Lexile/ATOS scores
  • Titles that have been added to other school library collections


Pilots for this program will begin soon with a full rollout expected later this year. Visit OverDrive at AASL in Hartford, Conn., November 14-16, to learn about the new recommendation feature and much more. If you'd like more information about the Recommend to School feature, you can contact your Account Specialist.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive


Sony 13.3 e-Reader to Launch this December in Japan


Sony has been quietly developing a 13.3 inch e-Reader that is specialized for reading and editing PDF Files via a Stylus. The company has announced today on their Japanese website that they intend on commercially releasing it in Japan this December for $1100 US. The move to sell it in Japan first is due to a trial that five Universities engaged in to test the feasibility of the product in an academic setting.

The first time Sony had displayed this product publically was at the e Ink booth at SID Display Week in Vancouver. Not only is this the first 13.3 inch e-reader in the world, but the screen technology was developed by Sony, called Mobius. This is a flexible high resolution e-paper display screen that makes it lighter and more durable. e Ink told us that the major benefit of Mobius is that the tech allows them to cut it to any size they want, and still retain all of the benefits.

The new Sony e-Reader 13.3 will be known as the Digital paper “DPT-S1.” The PDF experience is the main attraction of this device, obviously you can take notes and make annotations by either writing with the stylus or the full virtual keyboard. If you make a note, you can save that page as an independent file. If you have a big PDF document and make all sorts of edits, you can save it as a "Workspace" into its own PDF document. This insures you have your virgin file, with no edits and then your changed document with all of your notes.

If you have a large document with many notes, you can actually initiate a new feature that will allow you to look up all of the notes or changes you made on the document. A search feature will bring up a list on the right hand side, listing every single change you have ever made. If you tap on any of them, the page will open.

When we reviewed the e-Reader at SID Display Week it did not have support for EPUB books, just PDF Files. Sony has confirmed today that the e-reader will ONLY support PDF files, so you won’t be able to read your normal eBooks on it, unless you use a 3rd party program to convert your books from one format to another.

Finally, Sony intends to launch this in Japan first, but plans on doing an international rollout in April 2014 to Canada and Europe. They are trying to market it to schools and businesses that can push out documents from a centralized server right to the e-readers via WIFI.

Sony 13.3 e-Reader to Launch this December in Japan is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Arc 10 HD and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Both Available Today


If you are looking for a large screen device and want to bypass the entire Apple ecosystem there are a few new ones available today. Amazon has just announced it is shipping the brand new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 in the US, all other markets will have to wait until November 26th. The Kobo Arc 10 HD has just been released via the main Kobo website and dealers such as Best Buy and Shop e-Readers in North America.

The Amazon and Kobo ecosystem are fairly different in terms of content and execution. You only really benefit from doing business with Amazon if you live in the US, as the wellspring of content is only truly accessible there. If you live in Canada, the UK or other international markets you will be able to buy book, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers but not videos or rent television shows. You also are basically locked into exclusively dealing with the Seattle based company, unless you load in your own apps.

The Kobo ecosystem is a bit more agnostic. You can purchase books, newspapers and magazines in most countries in the world. The company relies on the Google Play ecosystem to get all of your apps and games. This might be a deciding factor for the vast majority because Google is simply integrated into more markets than Amazon is.

Kobo Arc 10 HD and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Both Available Today is a post from: E-Reader News

Lincoln Heard, Minibeasts and Raspberry Pi

I often get how old the youngest kids we see using the Pi are. A lot depends on the individual kid’s dexterity: if they can handle a mouse with reasonable accuracy, they’re old enough to use Scratch. Usually the younger kids we see are the children of engineers or other people who are already confident around computers – and typically they start at about five.

Lincoln hooks up a camouflaged camera

Lincoln Heard a bit of an outlier. He is four years old. When he was three, he made a video with his Dad (an ICT teacher) about how to set up your Raspberry Pi (“So easy a three-year-old can set it up!”). Lincoln really loves his Pi, and when he came home from school with a form inviting him to enter a Minibeasts habitat incorporating recycled materials, hit upon the idea of incorporating a Pi into the build.

A cereal box, a webcam, a Pi as a webcam server, some Minecraft cutouts and some weatherproofing later, Lincoln and Dad came up with this (the engineering knowhow is Dad’s, but the design and much of the work you see here is Lincoln’s):

And here’s snailcam in action:

If you’d like to make your own Minibeasts habitat like Lincoln’s, Dad has written the project up: you’ll find a full parts list and tutorial, as well as some discussion of design decisions he and Lincoln talked through (weatherproofing, wireless strength, power options). And, of course, you’ll find out how Lincoln did in the competition, in case you hadn’t guessed already.

Sony’s 13.3″ E Ink PDF Reader Gets a Release Date in Japan, and a Hefty Price Tag

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Sony’s new large-screen PDF reader ever since the prototype first showed up online in videos and at press events. What makes it so compelling is the large 13.3-inch A4-size screen that Sony and E Ink worked together to build. The new screen tech is called Mobius, and unlike […]

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Google eBook Launches in South Africa


Google has included South Africa as the list of nations that have access to its online book store. With this, it is now 39 countries world wide that will have access to the Google online ebook store. Users will have access to millions of ebook titles that include both bestsellers and classics with everything in between. Also, the other inherent benefit is that users can read the books on a variety of devices, which can be PCs or any other tablet or smartphone running Android.

Among the other benefits of reading online is that users can start reading on one device and carry it forward on other devices. That is not all for users will also be able to highlight, annotate, search, create bookmarks or translate the contents. eBooks listed at the online store are also priced competitively vis-a-vis their print counterparts.

“Holistically, the app had to be compelling across the board, and pricing is a key attribute,” said De la Mora, Google’s regional director of print product partnerships.

However, self publishers won’t be able to upload their content to the Google Play Store just yes though the feature will be made available soon, promised De la Mora.

Google eBook Launches in South Africa is a post from: E-Reader News

South Africa in Need of a Reliable Digital Reading Platform


Malcolm Seegers, digital publisher for Macmillan stressed on the need to have in place a robust digital reading platform that the academic sector in South Africa can benefit from immensely. He also stated the publishing platform should be able to operate in both online and offline mode. Malcolm cited the example of Makro which sources a variety of goods from suppliers before selling them to retailers as the model that the digital reading platform in South Africa should be shaped around, more so for the educational sector. Such a concept will act as a point of amalgamation for publishers and their content. Another area where Malcolm said there is still some work to be done is interoperability between the various operating systems such as iOS or Android for digital publishing efforts to derive maximum benefit.

"None of them really answer all of the needs that we've got in the digital publishing space. Some of them will only distribute online, which can become a problem especially when you have a school buying 2,000 digital books," groused Malcolm.

He also touched upon the sensitive topic of DRM which he claims is imperative for publishers to have control over what they publish. The existence of DRM also makes it illegal for other to reproduce the content published by them, though the common public perception about it being that it's grossly unnecessary.

"A lot of people feel that DRM is… a manifestation of the devil and I can understand why because it's really a pain. For us as publishers it's also a real big pain and if we could remove DRM… we would do it so quickly," said Malcolm.

South Africa in Need of a Reliable Digital Reading Platform is a post from: E-Reader News