Thursday, November 14, 2013

Calvin and Hobbes eBook Debuts at Amazon, B&N and iTune


Calvin & Hobbes, the famous comic series has finally entered the digital realm. This applies to three titles as of now: The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, and The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes which makes the up the most read and treasured titles of the comic strip. The three volumes which has been priced $13 also covers the majority of what the comic strip offered for the ten years (1985 – 1995) it had been in existence. The titles have made their debut at the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple iTunes. Unfortunately, the Google Play Store is not among the recipient as yet which means a sizeable community will be kept out of all the fun. The comic strip has been seen in numerous newspapers all over the world even in digital form though this is the first time that it will be available as an ebook.

Calvin and Hobbes eBook Debuts at Amazon, B&N and iTune is a post from: E-Reader News

iPad Mini with Retina Display Hands on Review

ipad mini with retina

When the original iPad Mini was released last year most people lamented the poor resolution. This issue seemed to have been solved with the advent of the iPad Mini with Retina Display that just came out yesterday. How does it stack up against up against the first generation and is it worth it to upgrade? We dive into the e-Reading experience and show you how magazines, comics, graphics novels, newspapers and eBooks look.

Hardware – The Difference Maker


The iPad Mini with Retina has a 7.9 inch screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. This is the exact same resolution as the 9.7 inch Apple iPad Air and really shines with HD content. The screen itself was a huge upgrade over the original and in head to head tests anything that is graphic heavy really excels.

Underneath the hood is a duel core A7 1.3 GHZ processor, 1 GB of RAM, quad-core GPU and a new 64 bit architecture. The Mini has varying degrees of internal storage and you can opt for a 16, 32, 64 GB depending on your needs. It is important to note that HD content tends to fill up your device very quickly. The average HD comic by Comixology has increased to over 100 MB per issue, and magazines are sometimes much larger. I found that my 16 GB model would constantly run out of space with 50 comics loaded on it. So if you do a ton of online streaming for music and video, you should be OK with a smaller model, but if you download a bunch, consider the 64 GB edition.

Aside from the processor and resolution not much has changed from the first generation iPad Mini. You still have the front facing 1.3 MP camera and rear facing 5 MP camera. The stereo speakers next to the lightning connector have also remained consistent. The positioning of the speakers are somewhat odd as most movies tend to play better in landscape mode. When you are holding it with both hands it tends to muffle the sound.

The iPad Mini with Retina no longer feels out of date when you look at the specs on paper. Apple products are seldom about what is on the back of the box or on Wikipedia. It is all about the 475,000 tablet optimized apps in the store and tremendous first party support.

The most obvious competitors of the iPad Mini is the Kindle Fire HDX and Google Nexus 7. They are all a full one inch smaller and cost around $170 less than the $399 iPad mini. The most noticeable differences when comparing the Kindle and Nexus to the iPad Mini is when you are watching films. Anyone can easily distinguish between a 7-inch, 16:9 or 16:10 screen and a 7.9-inch, 4:3 screen. You have more than 33% percent more pixels on the iPad mini than the Nexus 7 and Kindle.

In the end, the resolution simply makes video and graphic heavy content really shine. The GPU and hardware underneath the hood will insure that anything the iPad Air can handle, this one can too. I used to use the Mini casually for short spurts of content consumption while commuting and rely on my iPad 4 for marathon movie sessions or playing serious games. No longer, the Mini will be my replacement for everything.

Software – The Apple Ecosystem


iOS 7 has its own idiosyncrasies when you compare it against Android. The Keyboard has not really changed over the years and five finger multi-tasking can be hit or miss. Apple has introduced pseudo livewallpapers with animation effects, but severely lack in interactivity.

Still, iOS 7 has more features once you can get past the cartoony icons. I like the ability to swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen and be able to turn WIFI off and augment other core features. I also like when you are multitasking you can simply swipe upwards to close an app, which feels similar to Android.

The Apple ecosystem is the entire draw about buying the iPad Mini with Retina. Most HD videos purchased from the iTunes store look really good and put it right on par with the iPad Air. The Mini no longer plays second fiddle in the entire gaming and multimedia experience.

e-Reading Experience – Good Things in Small Packages


When you open the Mini for the first time you are greeted by the iBooks app. This is the only bookstore on the iPad that allows you to purchase books within the app. Amazon, Sony, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and all other major booksellers disabled the ability to buy eBooks within their apps because they did not want to give Apple a percentage of every single sale. This really hinders the customers ability to easily buy from their favorite merchant. Instead you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to buy content via the website and then sync it to the app.

The iPad Mini with Retina on a core eBook level really makes the text stand out. When comparing the Mini 1 against the Mini 2, the text really pops out and looks less pixelated. You would figure how difficult is it to make a white background and black text. On a hardware level, it is all about the resolution in this regard.

When it comes to magazines purchased from the Apple Newsstand and Comics purchased from Comixology the Retina Display shines. Graphic heavy content really shines. Most magazines these days from the newsstand actually have iTunes integration. For example, Rolling Stone magazine has a built in music player that allows you to play tracks right in the magazine and if you want to buy it, you are automatically directed to the store to buy it. This makes it more intuitive to do something very unlike any other ecosystem.

Comixology delivers comics in their CMX-HD format, which increases the size of the files from 60 MB to over 150 MB. This is the big advantage of Apple staying consistent with their resolution and size of their hardware. The iPad has always been 9.7 inches and the Mini 7.9. The last three generations of the iPad has maintained the exact same resolution and now the Mini has participated in that trend. This allows content delivery platforms to optimize everything for the same resolution and two different screen sizes. This is Apple’s greatest advantage and allows people who love to read graphic novels, manga, comics and magazines a better experience than Android.

Wrap up


If you have the first generation Apple iPad Mini you owe it to yourself to upgrade to the latest iteration. The resolution and hardware underneath the hood really makes your day to day tasks load faster and look better.

At Good e-Reader we normally focus on the overall reading experience and this is one of the most portable and lightweight tablets we have ever reviewed. It remains very pocket friendly and will last all day long with the 10+ hour battery. If you do roam around a lot you might want to spend the extra cash and get a model with a cellular connection.

People may not want to invest the $400 needed to buy the entry level iPad Mini with Retina and opt into purchasing the Nook HD+, Amazon Kindle HDX or the Nexus 7. There are viable and compelling reasons to walk down the road of Android but if you are a reader, you want to avoid these.

It comes down to the content delivery systems and the sheer number of Android tablets with varying screen sizes and resolutions. Magazine, Manga, Comic and Newspaper publishers cannot possibly optimize HD content for all of these different models and delivery it properly. This is the failing of the Kobo Arc 10, that has the highest resolution in the business but lack of HD content kills it dead. You spend the big money on a tablet to make everything look awesome, if the comic you bought was optimized for a tablet that is 800×600, it doesn’t matter how awesome your Android tablet is, it won’t look as good as the iPad.


Amazing Resolution
Lightweight and Portable
HD Content Shines
475,000 Tablet Optimized Apps


iOS 7 needs some work
Poor Availability – Sold out almost everywhere
Larger battery adds slightly to thickness and weight of original iPad mini.

Rating: 9.5/10

iPad Mini with Retina Display Hands on Review is a post from: E-Reader News

Judge Dismisses the Google Search Case


In a decision eight years in the making, a US District Court dismissed the case Authors Guild v. Google, upholding the status of the fair use doctrine brought up in the case. The decision has been hailed by libraries and their partner organizations, in light of Google’s tireless efforts to establish a searchable book database through scanning of millions of titles, many of which are housed in secure collections due to their rarity.

"It has become an invaluable research tool that permits students, teachers, librarians, and others to more efficiently identify and locate books," Judge Chin wrote, referencing an amicus brief submitted by the Library Copyright Alliance. "It has given scholars the ability, for the first time, to conduct full-text searches of tens of millions of books. It preserves books, in particular out-of-print and old books that have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries, and it gives them new life.”

While no one argues the clear benefits to Google’s efforts, especially in terms of book access for the underserved literary demographics and those whose impairments prevent them from enjoying the same textual access that other readers have, the Authors Guild fought the effort claiming copyright infringement, especially in terms of the estates of previous rights’ holders.

Judge Chin heard further remarks in support of the dismissal, outlined in a press release today:

"It facilitates access to books for print-disabled and remote or underserved populations. It generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits."

"ALA applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case," said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association. "This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google's Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning."

"This decision, along with the decision by Judge Baer in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, makes clear that fair use permits mass digitization of books for purposes that advance the arts and sciences, such as search, preservation and access for the print-disabled," said Carol Pitts Diedrichs, president of the Association of Research Libraries.

"I echo the comments of my colleagues that this ruling, that strongly supports fair use principles, enables the discovery of a wealth of resources by researchers and scholars," said Trevor A. Dawes, president of the Association of College & Research Libraries. "Google Books also makes searchable literally millions of books to students and others with visual disabilities. This is a tremendous opportunity for all our communities."

The effects of Judge Chin’s decision stand to have another impact in another similar case, Authors Guild v. HathiTrust.

Judge Dismisses the Google Search Case is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive: Schools Are Going Digital Faster Than Ever


According to new data from digital content distributor OverDrive, schools are adopting digital books and textbooks at a faster than ever rate. This data, compiled in part from its 6,500 public school library partners, shows that more students than ever before are using smartphones, tablets, and ereaders in the academic environment, with a 252% increase in October in school library visits to the lending website from the same time a year ago. Visits per day increased by 244% for that same time frame.

“School digital library websites powered by OverDrive have shown substantial growth in interaction since the rollout of functionality and design enhancements began in August. A steady rise in page views, visits, new visitors, visitors per day and time spent on the websites highlights the effectiveness of the new features and layout.”

Part of the reason for the dramatic increase in OverDrive-powered usage is the wider reach of devices in schools, either through funding for technology or the increasingly popular Bring Your Own Device initiative. The greater understanding among educators and administrators in the best practices for using digital books in the classroom has also contributed to the further utilizing of the platform.

OverDrive recently announced a more streamlined experience for educators which lets them view vital data on the books themselves, such as Accelerated Reader information and leveled reader scores. At the same time, the company incorporated better search features that let students recommend specific titles from the OverDrive catalog for their school libraries to make available.

OverDrive: Schools Are Going Digital Faster Than Ever is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon to Offer Personalized Accessories in Time for Holiday Shopping


What to get that person on your holiday list who has everything? If he has a Kindle device, he doesn’t have one of these…yet.

Amazon announced today the personalization service that lets users upload their own images and designs or choose from some of the many images in their catalog to create one-of-a-kind Kindle covers. These stock images in their library include photos from popular television shows like Peanuts, National Geographic, Breaking Bad, Star Trek, and more.

"With this new service, we're making it possible for customers to dream up virtually any design and seamlessly turn it into a Kindle cover—at no additional cost," said Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "We've also created designs exclusive to Amazon that work perfectly with our new Origami covers to give customers even more options. We're excited to bring this all-new technology to Kindle accessories and we can't wait to see what customers come up with."

The covers, which Amazon calls its Origami covers, are fully versatile and serve not only as a protection for the device, but also as a stand for both portrait and landscape. The Origami covers are compatible with Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX, plus previous generations of Kindle e-readers and tablets.

For more information on creating a singular personalized cover, go to

Amazon to Offer Personalized Accessories in Time for Holiday Shopping is a post from: E-Reader News

Pi 3D scanner: a DIY body scanner

The blog’s rather late today but definitely worth the wait we think. It’s an jaw-droppingly brilliant Raspberry Pi-driven 3D scanner by Richard . He used it recently to scan over 200 people at the Groningen Makerfaire with spectacular results like this:

Richard’s site has details on recent events (including the best party ever: a scanning party) and instructions on how to build your own. It uses 40 Raspberry Pis and cameras but Richard says that he has had impressive results with 12 Pis.

Setting up the scanner. Each of the ‘arms’ has three Pis and camera mounted top, middle and bottom.

Of course once you’ve been scanned you can be 3D printed:

An early sample taken with 21 cameras. Notice the lettering on the shirt.

There are lots of 3D scanners popping up at the moment. The standout thing about Richard’s build is that the scan is instant—the Pi cameras take simultaneous photos—so there’s no standing still in a ker-ayzee pose whilst lasers or Kinects wibble about doing their thing.

But best of all is that you can build your own 3D scanner and then print yourself. For a science fiction-brewed child of the 70s like myself this is a deeply magical thing and it makes me insanely happy. And just bit overawed.

Student engagment skyrockets with OverDrive’s new features and design

eBooks are being used by millions of students in schools all over the world. Research and the latest data from OverDrive shows that students are engaging more than ever with devices such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and computers. OverDrive serves a growing network of more than 27,000 libraries and schools worldwide, 6,500 of which are K-12 schools.


School digital library websites powered by OverDrive have shown substantial growth in interaction since the rollout of functionality and design enhancements began in August. A steady rise in page views, visits, new visitors, visitors per day and time spent on the websites highlights the effectiveness of the new features and layout.


October 2013 school digital library website visits climbed 252 percent over the previous year to 417,000. Visitors per day increased a whopping 244 percent to 11,350 in the same time period. Month-over-month visits also showed significant increases (accounting for summer months), starting with 150,000 in April and growing to 418,000 visits by October, while new visitors jumped from 49,000 to 139,050 in the same six months.


The usage statistics underscore the increasing integration and creative adoption of eBooks and audiobooks in school libraries and classrooms through OverDrive Marketplace. Examples of ways teachers are incorporating digital reading are prevalent, ranging from 1-to-1 device programs to BYOD (bring your own device) to offering 24/7 access to classroom reading material online. Specifically designed for teachers and students, the newly enhanced school digital library websites through OverDrive make it even easier by creating a simple, more impactful user experience.  A more robust search, enhanced metadata, and filtering based on standardized reading level information such as Lexile, ATOS and Accelerated Reader scores help students and teachers navigate their digital library collections effortlessly.


Visit OverDrive at AASL November 14-16 in Hartford, Conn., at booth #313 to see a demonstration of these features and more. Don't miss noted NY school librarian Paige Jaeger's Concurrent Session, "Raising eBook Readers – Rising Above Your Reluctance," 8 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Friday, November 15.  For more information on OverDrive's updated school digital library experience, visit To see a list of libraries, schools and retailers in OverDrive's network, visit


Heather Tunstall is Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


YotaPhone With a Secondary eInk Display Set For Market Debut in December


The Yota smartphone, which comes with a secondary e-ink display, is all set to arrive at markets in December, just in time to make the most of the coming holiday shopping frenzy. The device breaks new ground in that, apart from a regular 720p color LCD display at the front, the Yota smartphone also includes an e-ink panel along the rear which can be used to read or hold images for an extended period of time without draining the battery. E-Ink displays have been known for their lesser drain on battery power, which has been put to ingenious use by the Russia-based Yota.

As for specs, the Yota dual screen device comes with a 4.3 inch 720p display, 12 megapixel camera, 2,100mAh battery, and features 4G LTE support. The device is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 Plus chip and is based on Android 4.1 at the time of its unveiling almost a year ago. What this implies is that we can expect the final product to see several of its specs updated when it is finally launched in December.

However, the all crucial pricing details remain quiet, though unconfirmed sources maintain it could be priced around 20,000 rubles. This translates roughly to about 600USD which, if true, will no doubt be applicable for the unlocked version of the device. Of course the price will come down once the carrier subsidies comes into the picture. The device, no matter how innovative it is, has to be priced right for it to be translated into a commercially successful entity.

YotaPhone With a Secondary eInk Display Set For Market Debut in December is a post from: E-Reader News

Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs Kobo Aura Comparison Review (Video)

The Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura are the latest ebook readers from Amazon and Kobo. Both have unique cutting-edge features, but are very similar devices overall, both from a software and hardware perspective. For this comparison review I’ll point out the areas where one clearly stands out above the other. For more detailed information […]

Amazon Now Offering Personalized Kindle Covers and Skins

Amazon is rolling out a new service today for Kindle accessories that enables customers to create personalized Kindle covers and skins. And the best part is it doesn’t add any additional cost. You can upload your own photographs and images to use, or select from a library of existing images and patterns, including designs made […]

How to Create a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in Microsoft Word

Need to create a bibliography or works cited page for your next research paper? Learn how to create one automatically using Microsoft Word!

Small Business Saturday Sees Authors Pitching In at Indie Bookstores

Consumer reaction in the US to the complete gluttony of shopping following Thanksgiving is often mixed. With some cities seeing shoppers literally camping out on the sidewalks in order to be there when the doors open on Black Friday, other parties take a more reserved stance, opting to shop online to take advantage of the steep discounts, and still others boycotting the shopping frenzy altogether. A movement to encourage shoppers to stay home on Thanksgiving Day in order to send a message to retailers about requiring their employees to work on a traditionally family-oriented holiday has also gained a lot of ground.

In recent years, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Small Business Saturday,” a PR campaign intended to help consumers remember to support the locally owned businesses in their communities. This year, that concept has been extended to independent bookshops, due in large part to the efforts of author Sherman Alexie.

Alexie, the author of the bestselling and award-winning Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian wrote an open letter to authors through the American Booksellers Association, encouraging authors of any type to support bookstores by pitching in on what is traditionally the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

“I was a bookseller-for-a-day at Seattle’s Queen Anne Book Company when it reopened this past April,” explained Alexie. “Janis Segress, one of the new co-owners, came up with this brilliant idea. What could be better than spending a day hanging out in your favorite hometown indie, hand- selling books you love to people who will love them too and signing a stack of your own? Why not give it a try? Let's call it Indies First.”

Partly an effort to help the shop owners with extra manpower and partly to draw consumers to the stores to meet authors they’ve read, Indies First has grown to stores around the country. Authors like Alexie and James Patterson will be in independent bookstores, ringing up customers, gift-wrapping books, and more. Of course, it also stands to be a win for authors whose sales have been shown to increase while they are on location.

“This is a great way to fight for independents—one that will actually help them. It'll help you as well; the Indies I've talked to have told me that last year Small Business Saturday was one of their biggest days of the year, in some cases the biggest after the Saturday before Christmas—and that means your books will get a huge boost, wherever you choose to be.”

Click HERE for a complete list of authors and bookshops who will be participating in Indies First.

Small Business Saturday Sees Authors Pitching In at Indie Bookstores is a post from: E-Reader News

Readly eMagazine App Allows Unlimited Reading For $9.99 PM


Readly launched a new app that follows the Netflix model for reading emagazines. The subscribers pay $9.99 a month, which allows them unlimited access to all the magazines listed on the Readly catalog. The app is available for Android, iOS, and Windows 8, which pretty much covers the entire mobile devices landscape. Readly also allows each subscription to its app to be shared on up to five different devices, which mean enough reading material for the entire family.

“Readly opens a new era in digital magazine publishing,” said Per Hellberg, CEO of Readly International. “For people like me who love magazines Readly will become a new best friend. With so many people taking advantage of the power and convenience of tablets and smart phones Readly also offers an entirely new source of readers to magazine publishers with no additional investment.”

Also, an inherent advantage of the Readly app is that it provides a variety of reading material, which makes it redundant to keep separate subscriptions with separate apps for specific magazines. With the unlimited browsing offer, users no doubt will also be tempted to try out other magazines as well, something they perhaps would not have attempted had they been required to subscribe to them individually. There is also a huge collection of past issues which should prove handy for research purposes.

Readly stated they have also worked hard with the user interface which they claim has been made to mimic a print-like experience. The app also comes embedded with several advanced technologies such as “high-resolution graphics and reader interactivity” which optimizes the graphics to ensure the best possible reading experience. Users also have the option to bookmark pages or share articles with friends and associates.

“Interest in Readly among US publishers has been fantastic,” added Henrik Barck, Readly Co-Founder and VP Global Sales & Business Development, “we have forged agreements to add new titles to our catalog almost every week. It is a clear endorsement of our business model and speaks to a marketplace that is primed for what Readly offers. We are launching Readly with 75 titles and anticipate a major announcement regarding our catalogue in the very near future.”

Readly eMagazine App Allows Unlimited Reading For $9.99 PM is a post from: E-Reader News

Stop by and see us! OverDrive is at AASL, Booth #313

If you will be at AASL (American Association of School Librarians) National Conference and Exposition November 14-16 in Hartford, Conn., stop by booth #313 to learn more about  OverDrive’s exciting new service offerings, upgrades and more!

See a demonstration of our school digital library websites, complete with enhanced functionality, features and design. The upgraded school digital library websites through OverDrive create a simple, more impactful user experience with a more robust search, enhanced metadata, and filtering based on standardized reading level information such as Lexile, ATOS and Accelerated Reader scores. A new feature, Recommend to School, will be rolling out soon – stop by the booth to see how this will work.


If you plan to attend any of the Concurrent Sessions, make sure you don’t miss noted New York school librarian Paige Jaeger, who will be presenting “Raising eBook Readers – Rising Above your Reluctance,” from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Friday, November 15.


Either way come on by booth #313 and talk with the friendly OverDrive team to see what’s new in our collection, and how we can work with you in your school. We look forward to seeing you in Hartford!