Google has embarked upon another major expansion drive, this time targeting the Latin American countries for making available its Google Play Book services. The five new countries that will now have access to Google Play Books include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. The last time we have seen Google expand its service was about a month ago when it's Google Play Book services was launched in South Africa, Turkey and Switzerland. With this, Google's ebook service is now available in 44 countries worldwide. However, in stark contrast, Google Magazines are only available in a handful of countries, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and United States.
In any case, those in the aforementioned countries can log into their Google account to access the ebook section, an inherent advantage of which is that it can also be accessed via non-Android devices as well.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Just when you thought there were no new worlds for comiXology to conquer, they show up on a new platform: eBay.
Up till now, eBay has been pretty much a place where you buy physical goods; they allowed sales of a few categories of digital items, but with plenty of restrictions (including the rather odd requirement that ebooks listed in categories other than “Everything Else” have to be sent to the buyer via postal mail).
On December 5, though, they launched eBay Digital Comics, which really looks like a storefront for comiXology: eBay users can look through a selection of comics on the eBay site, but when they pick a comic they are immediately transported to comiXology for the actual purchase. Buyers must have a comiXology account—they can’t buy the comics with their eBay login—and once they buy the comic they can read it in the comiXology apps or on the comiXology website.
Everyone is in business to make money, so it makes sense to look at the costs and benefits to eBay. The risk, it would seem, is the same one that comics shops worry about: That digital sales will cannibalize print sales. Since eBay has dealt only in hard copies right now, that’s a reasonable concern. On the other hand, there is money to be made in digital comics. But with comiXology handling the sales, how would that work? Presumably eBay is getting a cut of sales, as it would if it were a brick-and-mortar retailer using a comiXology digital storefront.
The current setup is a little puzzling, though, because the digital comics only seem to appear in eBay’s dedicated digital comics storefront. One reason to put comics on eBay is because it’s a site that a huge number of people visit and browse every day. But the comics seem to be in only one place; they don’t come up in searches on titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and even adding “digital comic” to the search terms doesn’t bring up the comiXology comics. That does reduce the risk of digital sales detracting from hard-copy sales, but at the same time it reduces the likelihood of digital sales as well.
The storefront itself seems to have a limited number of comics, including The Walking Dead, X-Men, some collected editions, and this week’s new comics. Publishers represented include Marvel, BOOM! Studios, IDW, and Image. I didn’t see any DC comics or collections there.
Right now, though, this looks like like comics without a country. If the digital comics don’t show up in product searches, the vast eBay-using public won’t run across them. Users can got to the digital storefront, but if they are going to do that, they might as well go to the comiXology storefront. The comics aren’t any cheaper on eBay (alas!), there’s an extra login involved, and the standard eBay safeguards and mechanisms aren’t there, because readers are actually buying the comics via comiXology, not eBay.
It’s early days yet, so maybe these things will change. Leena Rao of TechCrunch says this is a limited beta test, so maybe we will see the digital comics service become better integrated into eBay. If that happens, it could be a powerful tool, bringing potentially millions of new readers to digital comics.
American restaurant chain Applebee’s has purchased 100,000 tablets that will allow the public to order and pay for food. The company plans on keeping staffing levels the same and will not fire anyone due to the tablets being setup at each table.
Instead of going with the Apple iPad like most companies, Applebee’s has decided to go with Presto, which is similar to the Point-of-sale software that the servers use. The tablets will also be outfitted with a standard credit card reader as well as NFC to link up to mobile wallet apps. These are going out to 1,800 Applebee’s locations in the US by the end of 2014. The company also says it plans to add other features like streaming music, video, and even tools that will let you share what you’re eating with Facebook buddies.
During initial beta testing, Applebee's management discovered that the tablets encourage more orders of appetizers and desserts during a typical meal. For families, the tablets will include a variety of video games that can be accessed through a modest fee. A trivia game, for instance, would likely cost $1 to play, fairly identical to microtransactions on consumer owned smartphones and tablets. Conceptually, Mom and Dad can keep the kids entertained with the tablet while waiting for their meals to arrive.
Barnes & Noble together With Microsoft has announced an exclusive Nook for Windows 8.1 offer that will allow residents in UK to download books and magazines for free. Of course it is a limited period offer, enabling those who installs the Nook for Windows 8.1 app on their devices to download up to 5 ebooks and 5 digital magazines from a select list free of cost.
“By providing bestselling books and top magazines for free, new NOOK customers in the UK can start their digital libraries with some great content from the NOOK Store. We look forward to rolling out similar great offers to customers in more countries in the future, helping them to experience our unmatched reading platform,” said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble S.à.r.l.
Among the titles offered free include bestsellers The Moaning Of Life by Karl Pilkington, Booker Prize winner The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, and Of Lions and Unicorns by Michael Morpurgo. Magazines on offer include the likes of Cosmopolitan UK, Men's Health, T3, Esquire UK and and so on.
Speaking of the development, Dr. Fiona Fyfe, Product Marketing Manager, Windows Apps said: ”We are really excited to have the NOOK App on our platform. Our customers will benefit greatly from the exclusive offer of five free books and magazines from the NOOK Store. The Windows 8 operating system works across a range of devices, making it perfect for an eReading app like NOOK. This year, activations of Windows 8 devices has grown, and this in turn has seen our customers engaging deeply with the Windows Store. Currently, we have over 100,000 apps in the Windows Store and the NOOK App is a strong addition which will deliver a great reading experience to our customers.”
B&N had recently embarked on a major expansion drive, making available its Nook app for the Windows 8.1 platform in 32 countries and 12 languages. Among the countries the app has been made available include Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.
December’s MagPi was released this morning, and it’s full of Christmas cheer. This month you’ll learn how to make your Pi sing carols with Sonic Pi; and you’ll find out about environmental monitoring, so you can keep your electricity bill down without having to turn off the tree lights.
We’re very taken by the first in a new series on building your own quadcopter: and by the second installment from Project Curacao, where a Pi is dangling from a radio tower twelve degrees north of the equator working on environmental monitoring, which makes us feel the cold and dark in Cambridge something rotten.
There’s plenty for beginners, with a continuation of Jake Marsh’s button and switch tutorial (if you’re looking for the earlier part of any of these series, they’re all available for free in back-copies of The MagPi); an OpenELEC tutorial and a tour of the Pi Store. And, of course, that Sonic Pi tutorial, where you’ll be able to program your Pi to play Good King Wenceslas with ease, even if this is the first time you’ve plugged a Raspberry Pi in.
One of our favourite projects this month is the electronic painting tutorial using XLoBorg, where you’ll find yourself Pollocking the night away. And on the practical side of things, you’ll find out how to add an LCD display to your projects via GPIO, and use it to scroll text.
The MagPi is a magazine produced by the Raspberry Pi community for the Raspberry Pi community. It will always be free to download; but if you prefer a physical magazine you can also buy print copies, thanks to the team’s successful Kickstarter. All the back issues are available for you to download, and they’re full of tutorials, interviews, type-in listings and everything you’ll need to get started with a Raspberry Pi.
Team MagPi is always looking for people to join them: at the moment they are particularly in need of volunteers to help with layout (you should be a Scribus user), and testers. You can get in touch with them via the MagPi website – tell them we sent you!
OverDrive is delighted to announce that more than 500 Penguin Audiobooks are now live and available for purchase in OverDrive Marketplace! Penguin Audiobooks are available for public and college libraries in the U.S. and Canada under the one copy/one user lending model in both the WMA and MP3 format.
Here is just a sample of some of the hottest Penguin authors you'll want to buy right away: Ken Follett, Clive Cussler, Anita Blake, Maya Banks, Roald Dahl, W.E.B. Griffin, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, Jen Lancaster, and Lee Child. Click here to view the suggested list in Marketplace.
Public and college libraries (including consortia) can shop the Penguin Audiobook catalog now on the Marketplace homepage (if catalogs are merged), or the “One Copy/One User” section. You can also search for the content in advanced search under Publisher Account: Penguin Group (USA), Inc. – Audiobooks
Now is a great time to stock up on new titles before the busy holiday season. Your avid listeners will be so happy with your new purchases! Your Collection Development Specialist is always available to help create recommended lists of the Penguin catalog. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information today!
Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.
|Let your creativity flow with custom-made holiday cards using Microsoft Word|
OverDrive, the world’s largest provider of digital content to academic and public libraries, announced a new partnership today that will increase its catalog of offered titles, specifically in key areas of business, science, and research. McGraw-Hill Professional, a widely respected provider of content and services for the medical, technical, and business communities, is making its list of books available for OverDrive’s 27,000 partner libraries. These libraries include both public and K-12 school libraries, as well as higher education libraries.
“McGraw-Hill Professional is committed to supporting libraries and making our world-renowned content easily available to patrons in multiple formats,” said Philip Ruppel, President of McGraw-Hill Professional, in a press release. “We are very pleased to work with OverDrive to help us reach students, professionals, and those seeking to advance their education or careers.”
“McGraw-Hill Professional titles represent the best of breed in every business and technical category of publishing,” continued Karen Estrovich, Manager of Collection Development at OverDrive. “Our library and school partners have been asking for their award-winning titles, and we are pleased to be able to make these valuable titles available now to students and patrons worldwide.”
According to a statement from OverDrive, this new partnership will make titles such as collections as 5 Steps to a 5 AP (test prep series), Practice Makes Perfect (foreign language study), Schaum’s Outline (study aid series), Mike Meyers’ CompTIA (technical certification series), and Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees. High-demand bestsellers include The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley; Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, et al, McGraw-Hill’s 5 TEAS Practice Tests by Kathy Zahler; and Programming the Raspberry Pi: Getting Started in Python by Simon Monk, available to patrons of member libraries.
An area of interest in much of the Chinese culture is a fun fascination with world records, and specifically with breaking those records. Now, to fuel that interest for a larger audience, the Guinness Book of World Records has signed an exclusive publishing deal with Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Publishing (FLTRP), the Beijing-based leading education products and services provider in China. This deal will establish a Mandarin translation of the 2014 edition of the book, along with a special featured section in that edition to highlight records that have been set and held by Chinese nationals.
In a post earlier this year from the annual Guinness book creators, Rowan Simons, President, Greater China, for Guinness World Records, stated, “This first deal with FLTRP is just one part of a long term strategy that will see GWR introduce full Chinese language products and services across its business lines. "FLTRP was our first choice to bring record breaking solutions to kids known for their thirst for knowledge. The scale of the opportunity in the ELT sector alone is superlative with FLTRP estimating that over 500,000 students participated in its most recent language competition.”
FLTRP President, Cai Jianfeng went on to state that "FLTRP is proud to launch our co-operation with Guinness World Records by publishing the official Chinese edition of this famous annual book, which has been entertaining and informing audiences across the globe for nearly 60 years."
At the end of this summer, a record was attempted to commemorate the partnership between Guinness World Records and FLTRP, in which they attempted to secure the most people writing a story in honor of the city’s reading initiative. The record was held by a group of 953 participants in Ireland, in 2011.
The National Library of Norway has embarked on an ambitious mission, that of digitizing all of its titles with the hope of achieving this by mid-2020. Such an endeavor will cover every book ever published in the country since, as per Norwegian law, all published material in all media should be deposited with the National Library of Norway. This will ensure everyone in Norway has access to the books at all times, which also includes those that come under the purview of copyright laws. Users will be able to download the books, though this applies only to those that are not copyrighted.
The National Library has stated they will continue to hold onto their physical collection in spite of the digitization efforts. Also, with books becoming machine readable which will not require a physical presence in the library, the authorities stated they will continue to encourage and promote the library as a physical meeting place. The library owns some rare collections of manuscripts, maps, posters, special books, photographs, and more, and will continue to make these available.
There have been widespread digitization efforts elsewhere in the world given the public preference for digital copies of printed texts and the sense of urgency surrounding preserving rare volumes. Also, given that maintaining digital copies is far more cost effective than their printed counterparts, libraries around the world have taken to digitizing their physical collections in the wake of budget cuts.
Amazon revealed that as many as 25 out of 100 of its best-selling titles in 2012 were from indie publishers. This should serve as a measure of the growing clout that the indie publishers and authors have come to wield. Also, lest anyone have any doubt about what exactly “indie” refers to or whether it would include publishing via any of those other than the big six publishing house in the US, an Amazon spokeswoman clarified by saying: “This figure is referring to Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012, with ‘indie’ meaning books self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). So a quarter of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012 were self-published via KDP.”
Experts believe the share of authors preferring to publish their own books is fast catching on, so the percentage of indie authors is expected to rise further in the coming years. As Orna Ross, director of the UK Alliance of Independent Authors, which is a representative body of self-published authors, said: “We are in the middle of a major change. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we reached a situation where the majority of the top books are author-published. I don’t see what would stop that.”
Another trend is self-published authors who make it big ending up landing lucrative deals with conventional publishers. Paul Pilkington, a lecturer in a university in the UK, signed up with the UK-based publisher Hodder & Stoughton after two of his novels went on to sell more than 150,000 copies, other indie authors who got picked up by conventional publishers include the likes of Kerry Wilkinson and Beth Reeks. Kerry Wilkinson signed up with Pan Macmillan after success with his crime series which he had initially self-published. Beth Reeks, the nineteen-year-old student of physics, has been picked up by Random House after her romantic fiction, The Kissing Booth, which she had published at the storytelling site Wattpad, created a fan following of over 19 million.
However, not everyone is impressed with the development. As independent publisher Colin Robinson of Or Books cautioned: “It’s possible that some of the publishers I’ve never heard of are in fact imprints set up by the author of the book but, especially as several appeared with books by more than one author (or at least one author’s name), it seems unlikely that more than a few are. Disney and Little Brown are doing great. So are joke books.”
There has been a recent furor when erotic or adult themed novels ended up being listed alongside children's titles, pointing fingers at self-published authors of those works. The booksellers blamed this on the rampant increase in indie authors who often would publish such stories to gain publicity or earn money.