Every Friday I highlight the digital comics bargains of the week, and every Sunday I look at the best-seller lists, and seldom do the two converge. This week is the exception (except for the Nook store).
1. Forever Evil #3
We’re seeing something that seldom happens on comiXology: Graphic novels make the best-seller list. All four are Batman graphic novels, the first volumes of a number of New 52 series, which were marked down this weekend from $12.99 to $3.99. ComiXology readers aren’t usually bargain hunters—the 99-cent sales seldom make a big impact on the top ten—but apparently a good percentage of them found these deals too good to resist. If you look at the top 20, even more of these books show up. That makes sense: These are people who are used to paying $3.99 for a 28-page comic, so the graphic novels are a super deal. You would think that comiXology readers would own all the single issues in these trade collections already, but maybe some do not—or maybe their collecting instinct extends to digital and they want to have both the single issues and the trades.
1. Batman, vol. 1: The Court of Owls
Kindle users, on the other hand, love a good sale, and every book on the top ten is discounted from its list price. Amazon actually discounted those DC graphic novels more heavily than comiXology, pricing them at $3.03; the only two books on the list that cost more than that are The Hedge Knight, a George R.R. Martin that just came out this week (and has already been on the best-seller list for weeks on the strength of pre-orders) and the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s original Sandman series, which has also been on the list for weeks, no doubt because of the new Sandman prequel series that just launched.
1. The Sandman: Overture #1
Barnes and Noble was also offering the New 52 graphic novels for $3.99, but nobody was biting; Nook users seem to prefer to save money by downloading the free stuff. That Big Nate book was Number 37 on the overall list, although Nook is the only one that mixes free with paid comics, so it may not be all that fair to keep pointing this out. Still, it’s odd that none of the DC graphic novels made the top ten, or even the top 20; the first one I could find, the Justice League one, showed up at number 89 on the overall list. It’s interesting that Viz’s most popular titles, Bleach and Naruto, usually make the Nook charts the week they come out; there must be a substantial manga-reading community, which occasionally dwarfs the Peanuts fans and the folks who prefer free downloads of action comics featuring scantily clad ladies.
1. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #12
Nothing knocks the latest issue of My Little Pony out of the top slot in the iBookstore, but the new Sandman series makes it to the number 3 spot. The rest of the list serves to demonstrate the eclectic tastes of iPad owners, and yes, two of the New 52 books do make it onto the list.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Verdict: 5 Stars
There is no shortage of reads–good, bad, and ugly–that offer readers either fictional stories in the military genre or completely honest, raw, non-fiction accounts of actual war. But Dan Sheehan‘s self-published title After Action offers readers something that not many well-known books present, which is an amazingly well-written open look at what happens when the bullets stop flying and a decorated soldier tries to come home to adjust to a new level of normal.
“It chronicles my combat experiences as a Marine helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2003 and 2004,” Sheehand explained in an interview with Good e-Reader, “then it delves into the challenges I faced when I came home in adjusting to normal life after combat. It wasn’t something I thought I would ever need to do. I found I was really well prepared for the technical and tactical aspects of going to combat, however I was basically unprepared for recognition of the human costs of doing so. It chronicles that journey of going to combat and then realizing the effect those years had on me.”
Sheehan didn’t start writing the book until five years after his second combat tour, wholly unaware that he needed some sort of outlet to process the feelings he had kept hidden from even himself about these events. When his younger brother was in a terrifying helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Sheehan was overcome with unspoken feelings about his own combat experience. He turned to writing to get some thoughts out on paper, explaining I could “keep them from bouncing around in my head if I gave them a place to live on paper.”
“Writing became a means to uncover what I was going through, even though I never intended to write anything about my military experiences. But in the aftermath of my brother’s crash, I realized that there was something going on in me and I needed to figure it out.”
Sheehan turned to CreateSpace to publish his book, following a brief look at the traditional publishing industry and quickly realizing that the model wasn’t right for his book. His decision was due in large part to the understanding that so many other veterans are undergoing the same process he experienced, and he felt the need to make this book available to those readers with a sense of immediacy. The response to his book has been overwhelmingly positive, with Sheehan hearing from other veterans in an ongoing way, people who thank him for putting a name to the feelings they, too, are experiencing.
“It’s an overlooked concept. You assume you’re 100% fine unless you have full-blown, incapacitating PTSD. There’s a whole middle ground of veterans who are dealing with the after effects of combat, consciously or unconsciously, and it’s impacting their lives.”
After Action is available now in print and for Kindle.
This holiday season, shoppers might encounter a new shop here and there, temporary locations that have sprung up just to cater to the needs and spending whims of holiday consumers. One retail book chain, Blackwell’s has already announced several new locations that will serve as temporary store fronts for the holiday season.
While traditionally an academic bookstore, Blackwell’s hopes that these pop-up shops will increase their brand recognition in the eyes of consumers, and offer more shopping opportunities at the same time. Scott Hamilton, Head of Sales for Blackwell, spoke with The Bookseller about the importance of these temporary sales points.
"We have looked to open in sites associated with book lovers. All the temporary shops will be located in successful consumer shopping areas which people know well," he said.
While bookstores may not have found their mobile retail points in the US, American consumers are accustomed to temporary kiosks and point-of-sale locations for everything from cell phones to Christmas goodies to annual tax preparation, especially at timely points throughout the holiday season. But as brick-and-mortar bookstores continue to flounder amid the success of online shopping, these low-inventory locations might be the push they need to post successful sales figures for the holiday season while also providing temporary holiday employment for people who need an immediate job.
One suggestion is for temporary locations to sell ebooks and a limited selection of print books to holiday shoppers who are weary of waiting for friends or family members in the holiday rush, although audiobooks and noise-cancelling headphones to block out the endless loops or recorded Christmas carols might prove to be an even bigger sell.
Here is another compilation of Good e-Reader Top 10 Apps for Google Android, this time targeting kids and education. All the apps mentioned here have one thing in common: all of them are designed to enhance the math skills of toddlers or kids from kindergarten to about second grade. These apps are built to make the kids pick up elementary math skills from a very young age without making the subject seem too boring or uninteresting to youngsters.
Here is our list of the top 10 apps, all which are available free at the Google Play Store.
Math Training for Kids for Android - Practice for mathematical operations. Ideal for children but also fun for adults to practice math. Three difficulty levels to choose from.
Kids Numbers and Math Lite for Android – A simple game for preschoolers that makes learning numbers and basic math skills enjoyable. It will teach kids how to count, as well the basics of addition and subtraction.
Einstein Math Academy for Android - Playing the game is easy (finding equations that work), but mastering it is hard due to the cleverly crafted scoring system. Players will have to make strategical decisions and improve skills to plan ahead.
Kids Math for Android - This is an educational math game for kids, but could be just as much fun for grown ups as well. This is a good brain test, and can improve your math calculation speed.
Mad Math 4 Kids for Android - A fun and educational math game that teaches your child basic arithmetic. Find and calculate a simple three number addition or subtraction equation anywhere on the game board. When a correct answer is made, the numbers explode and new numbers take their place, so your child's brain is continually working. The object is to score as many points as possible before time runs out. MadMath4Kids is an easy yet challenging math exercise to do with your children.
Math Ninja for Android - This is a game to improve your mental arithmetic and calculus (your children also can!) but have fun at the same time. There are several game modes, just normal mathematics for you to practice and an Arcade Mode in which you will fight to survive doing math operations while being attacked by Math Ninja.
Marley’s Math Farm for Android - Marley’s Math Farm is an educational game for kids that teaches how to do math using money. Kids will learn to count, add, and subtract with dollars and coins over five different levels of difficulty. The game includes a fun shop that awards players for getting questions right by giving them currency to spend on animal prizes. The shop helps reinforce the lessons in the game, and offers fifteen different animals to buy.
Baby Learns Numbers for Android - Baby Learns Numbers is a mathematical enlightening game for babies. It has two scenes to choose from. Your baby can learn and understand numbers and quantities while playing and enjoying the underwater world scene and the panda fishing scene.
Math Bingo for Android - Math BINGO is a fun way for children to practice math facts on your phone/tablet. Choose from addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division BINGO, then select a level of difficulty.
Math Duel: 2 Player Math Game for Android - Two can have fun at the same time. Math Duel: 2 Player Math Game is one of those fun educational games where two players challenge each other. Cool game for both kids and their parents to have fun.
NewspaperDirect announced more than 50 titles from Singapore Press Holding Magazines will now be available via PressReader as well as its online site, PressDisplay.com. PressReader is already considered the world's largest publication kiosk app, which no doubt will get a further boost to its appeal now that it has 50 more publications in its catalog from a publisher as prestigious as SPH. In fact, it is a win-win situation for both ND and SPH, as the new deal will ensure SPH magazines now have a world audience and won't be limited to just Singapore and the region. Instead, its magazines will now be available in more than 12,000 libraries around the world thanks to the deal with ND; SPH magazines will also end up in countless other hotels, offices, cruise ships, and airlines due to its tie-up with ND.
"We are committed to offering our readers and channel partners the very best magazine and newspaper content from around the world," said Nikolay Malyarov, vice president of Publishing and Legal Affairs at NewspaperDirect. "SPH Magazines' publications will not only delight our subscribers, they will open untapped markets for the publisher, allowing them to instantly reach millions of new readers through our large and growing library, hospitality, marine, and aviation segments."
The magazines offered include Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, Golf Digest, Harper's BAZAAR, Seventeen, CLEO, Home & Décor, Her World, Female, and Shape, just to name a few. All of the magazines will be available to subscribers of PressDirect.com and PressReader, and can be read on PCs, smartphones, Mac computers, tablet devices, or ebook readers. The publications are compatible with iOS, Android, Android for Amazon, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10 platforms.
"Our vision to engage minds and enrich lives across multiple languages and platforms inspires us to continually strive to give our magazine subscribers a superior reading experience," said Joseph Lee, managing director, New Media at SPH. "NewspaperDirect shares our vision and has the innovative technology and market leadership we need to showcase our publications to more readers around the globe."
Singapore Press Holding is considered to be among the leading publishers from the Southeast Asian region and is known for eye catching magazine design themes as well as rich editorial content. It has been a publishing partner of NewspaperDirect since 2007 and the inclusion of the titles to the kiosk app is the outcome of SPH's strategy to have a bigger media foot print in the world.
National Library of Australia Launch Unique Cartography Exhibition, Russel Crowe Lends Hollywood Grace
The National Library of Australia recently held an event in Canberra to mark the launch of the “Mapping our World” exhibition that is showcasing some of the rarest and oldest maps . Lending grace to the occasion was none other than Hollywood star Russell Crowe, a self-professed “map geek who said he has loved pouring over maps since his childhood.
"We have a history of cartography from the time of the ancient Babylonian world, to Ptolemy, through the middle ages right up to Matthew Flinders…to do that in 120 items is quite something," said Nat Williams, Director of Exhibitions with the National Library.
Special mention must be made of Fra Mauro, which the authorities explained is a hand painted world map that dates back 600 years. It is also expansive, at three square meters and weighing a mammoth 1,300 kilos. It also is the first time that the Fra Mauro has ever left its home in Venice.
"It was disassembled in three crates, and the journey was by air freighter with couriers all together and it was really very difficult. It was a great challenge but we won it," said Director of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice Maurizio Messina.
The British Library has lent some of its rare maps from its huge collection of over 4.5 million pieces, which includes a map of the world that once adorned a wall in the bedroom of Henry VIII. However, the map is only of historical significance as most of what has been depicted has been found to be largely inaccurate.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing people in here – that's really when it's it. At the moment, the lighting people are out, and I can see these wonderful objects for what they are from any angle, I can compare this map with that map, I can understand the cartography of the French and the British, or the Dutch and the Portuguese," said a naturally excited Martin Woods, National Library's curator of maps, who said the exhibition marks the culmination of years of planning and negotiations.