Monday, December 9, 2013

Good e-Reader Radio – How Much do Authors Make?


The Good e-Reader Radio Show is back with Editor in Chief Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World. Today on the show they discuss how much do authors make and is it better to cut your teeth self-publishing or to go for a traditional book deal right away?

Also on the show they regale you with tales of a few editorials done in the Wall Street Journal on judge involved in the Apple case and the court appointed monitor. Apple is not happy that in two weeks they got a bill for $150,000 and the guy wants to meet Al Gore, Tim Cook and other board members without legal counsel present.

There is lots of news about various library and school initiatives to talk about in relation to Axis 360 and Overdrive. If you are in those sectors, you may dig some of the details they talk about. Finally, in the next few weeks Good e-Reader will be doing out forecast of 2014 and an audio show to coincide with the events.

Good e-Reader Radio – How Much do Authors Make? is a post from: E-Reader News

Marvel NOW! Previews #1 Launches Today


Marvel has just announced that they are now digitally distributing a monthly preview list for their Marvel NOW! line of comics. It is a FREE download available now in the Marvel Comics app for iOS and Android devices and in the Marvel Comics webstore!

The new monthly previews for the Marvel NOW! universe features sneak peeks of Avengers World #1, All-New Invaders #1, Black Widow #1, All-New X-Factor #1, Thunderbolts 20.NOW, All-New X-Men 22.NOW and Savage Wolverine 14.NOW – All-New Marvel NOW! Previews #1 features some of the industry's top creators tackling some of the Marvel Universe's biggest characters!

So what exactly is Marvel NOW?  It is basically a rebrand of several ongoing comic books that debuted in October 2012 with new #1 issues. The relaunch also included some new titles, including Uncanny Avengers and All-New X-Men. Described as a shifting of the Marvel Universe following the conclusion of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, Marvel NOW! entails changes to both the publishing format and the fictional universe to attract new readers. Publishing changes include new creative teams for each of the titles and the in-universe changes include changes to character designs and new storylines.  It is not exactly the Ultimates, but quite different from the normal Marvel universe.

Marvel NOW! Previews #1 Launches Today is a post from: E-Reader News

Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 is Starting a Pilot with Simon & Schuster to Make eBook Titles Available to Schools


Baker & Taylor, the world's largest distributor of digital and physical books and entertainment products, announced today that through a pilot program it will now be able to make available more than 450 popular ebook titles from Simon & Schuster imprints to classrooms and school libraries using the Axis 360 digital media circulation platform.

The brand new pilot program will allow Baker & Taylor's K-12 customers to purchase access to many popular, classic and award-winning Simon & Schuster ebooks for school-aged readers. Some of the titles included in the pilot are Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

"Even more than their parents, young readers are very comfortable with digital content, so the addition of children's and teens' ebooks from such a large and influential publisher as Simon & Schuster is a welcome development in our industry," said George Coe, President of Baker & Taylor's Library & Education division. "Children now have more ways to discover books that engage their minds, and can do so on platforms that are familiar and easy to use."

Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 is Starting a Pilot with Simon & Schuster to Make eBook Titles Available to Schools is a post from: E-Reader News

Publishers, Take Note: YA Genre Growing at Faster Rate

Some surprising information from Nielsen Book Scan has showed that, not only has the young adult genre grown by 24% in the last year, but that 80% of the market for young adult fiction is actually made up of adult readers. So while the publishing industry slowly starts to take notice of that trend, what does that mean for indie authors? Why are adults suddenly so interested in teen fiction?

“Young adult novels let me experience those earth-shattering firsts all over again,” explained Gena Showalter, author of the Alice in Zombieland series, to Good “First kiss, first heartbreak, first love. And now that I'm older and wiser (kind of), I get to dig into the lives of these fictional characters and root for them to make better choices than I did. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but at the end of the day, there’s still hope for a happily ever after.”

Author Tim Miller, whose book Blood Slayer features a vampire-killing autistic teen, explained: “I’ve read some Harry Potter and loved all the Hunger Games. I think a big part of it is, when I was a youth, most ‘young adult’ books were things like Goosebumps and Hardy Boys. By the time I was 12 or 13, I was reading Stephen King and Clive Barker because the stuff that was out for kids my age at the time just was too light. Not to mention, kids today seem much more insightful than when I was a kid. Kids now have grown up knowing war and recession, as well as broken families and broken homes. So as a result, young adult authors have had to write things more relevant to the kids of today. A byproduct of that is the same stories appeal to adults as well. Books like Hunger Games have a lot of good messages and appeal to both adults and kids. Blood Slayer is intended to inspire and uplift special needs kids and their parents, but anyone who reads it will hopefully get the message that kids with special needs are indeed special in some very positive ways.”

Whatever the reasons for the shift in the industry, publishers and authors alike need to take notice. With ever-increasing sales in the genre, audiences are not mindlessly buying anything with a vampire anymore. Today’s YA readers, regardless of their actual age, are in tune with the dynamics in a series, are apt to compare one book to another, and are fully expecting a movie release of their favorite books. And as readers come to expect an evolving and complicated plot, the industry needs to recognize that fact and be ready with compelling reads that speak to a range of readers.

Publishers, Take Note: YA Genre Growing at Faster Rate is a post from: E-Reader News

New Journaling App Can Prove Handy for Authors


A new app, Heyday, that joins a growing list of mobile apps that help users keep track of their days in a journal format. Heyday, along with apps like Saga, use the user’s stored photos, status updates, physical locations, and more, to create a journal of that person’s daily life.

But where this app can really come in handy is for authors who need a record of their daily activity, for a variety of reasons. From memoir writers to people who find that inspiration strikes at the oddest times, journaling–specifically via convenient apps–can help authors keep track of their writing.

Part of what has made Heyday (not to be confused with the virtual farming game, Hay Day) so appealing is its low-battery drain, as it only records the user’s actual stops, not their travels along the way. This can be especially useful for authors who brainstorm in a coffee shop, for example, or during a long commute. Also, the app basically works on its own, not requiring input from the user, although the writer can add text to the events that the app records.

While Heyday does require access to the user’s location and camera roll, it claims to not post anything to the user’s social media, unlike apps that make this type of data known across registered social media accounts. The app takes time stamped images and creates a looping journal out of them, allowing the user to add notes and text.

Organizational apps like this are becoming widely popular among writers, as many authors are still members of the daily work force and often grab time to write or plot at inopportune times. Of course, with busy schedules outside of work, technology is still helping authors organize and stay on their writing targets.

New Journaling App Can Prove Handy for Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

Pi-powered Ping Pong Pursuit

Will Jessop is a systems administrator for 37signals and he runs the North West Ruby User Group in Manchester. I bumped in to him recently and discovered he was working on a personal project with a Raspberry Pi. The aim of the project is to solve the problem of ping pong balls on the floor at the 37signals office in Chicago. The solution is a web-enabled robot with mounted camera allowing people to collect balls in to a basket.

The original version of the robot used the Custard Pi breakout, and then I suggested he looked at the MotorPiTX motor controller developed by Jason Barnett. He ordered one and joined Manchester Hackspace and began working on building or otherwise sourcing all the parts needed for the robot.

An early mains powered version using the MotorPiTX

Finding the new motor board much neater sitting on the original chassis, Will proceeded to design and 3D print motor mounts, caterpillar track mounts, a new base, a ball basket, and then added a mounted picamera with fish-eye lens.

3D printed parts

The underside, showing the pi

With a neat little camera robot, Will looked at options for battery powering it so it could roam free. Looking at power requirements and testing its usage while running the motors and streaming video over wireless, Will opted for a 5000mAh 7.4V lithium battery. He also added a lifter arm to the chassis, controlled independently of the robot itself.

Pi camera board with fish-eye lens

Basket case

All the software on the Pi is written in Go, which Will sees as a great language for the Raspberry Pi as it creates small, efficient, statically compiled binaries that easily fit within the resource limits of the Pi. This runs alongside Will’s gamepad library (in C, available as a Ruby gem) on a laptop. Will also wrote a power control script to aid clean Pi shutdown via the MotorPiTX.

With the robot roaming free on its new battery, controlled by an xbox controller, the camera feed streaming over wifi, and the lifter arm functional, it was ready to present at the 16th Manchester Raspberry Jam! On a tour of the Manchester Hackspace during the Jam, Eben, Liz and Pete got to see it in action. Eben got hold of the controller and took it round picking up ping pong balls by watching the video stream on the laptop.

Playing at Madlab

Liz, Eben, Pete and Will at Manchester Hackspace

Eben – moustache and all – examines the robot

Eben gets a go

Will then took the robot to Miami to show it off at RubyConf, where many Rubyists got to have a play with it.

In action at RubyConf

Robot picking up ping pong balls:

Robot’s eye view:

Check out the series of posts on Will’s blog. Thanks to Manchester Hackspace and Jason Barnett for helping to facilitate the project. The robot’s not been placed in the 37signals office yet, but when web access to it is available, we’ll be sure to post the link so you can all have a go!

Will also wrote a Go library for the Pimoroni Go and take a look, have a play, and let us know what you think!

Nelson Mandela: 7/18/18 – 12/5/13

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have

fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have

cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together

in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to

achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

(Spoken at Nelson Mandela's Rivonia Trial, 1964)


Listen to Mandela's Own Words



In the wake of his death on December 5, we remember Nelson Mandela's leadership, achievements, and inspiration. The first democratically-elected president of South Africa, Mandela is honored as an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist.


Biographical Titles


Stories Set in South Africa


Renee Lienhard is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.