Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cybook Ocean e-Reader Delayed Until 2014


Bookeen has announced their their upcoming Cybook Ocean e-Reader will not be commercially available until early 2014. The company has cited the need to work on the UI and other core features to make it a viable product for people to purchase.

The Cybook Ocean is a well kept secret and the French company has not really divulged much at all. We know its an eight inch e-reader with fairly good resolution and support for a myriad of eBook formats.

One of the big likelihoods that the Ocean is delayed is lack of FCC certification. The government shutdown in October has prevented a number of European companies from releasing and marketing their e-readers for the seminal holiday sales rush. One example of this is the ImCoSys ImcoV6L, which is delayed until early 2014.

Cybook Ocean e-Reader Delayed Until 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

Marvel AR, Marvel Unlimited and Digital Comic Sales to Combine into a Singular App


Marvel is actively developing a singular app that will replace Marvel AR, Marvel Unlimited Subscriptions and their dedicated Marvel app. The company is hoping to have more power and control of their digital empire. This may upset their current partner Comixology, which processes all of their sales for iOS, Android and a myriad of other platforms.

Marvel right now is hiring a bunch of positions to take their various apps they have developed over the course of the last two years and make a new version. This will not only be made for mobile platforms but also on the web. Paul Degnan, Director Of Web Development at Marvel Entertainment recently said “We're about to open some positions for frontend. If you think in closures and love local scope, if the coolest responsive design tricks are your obsession, come meet us! The company has also posted a series of job listings to work on this yet-announced secret project.

So what exactly is going to change with this new singular app? Marvel AR is basically an app that lets you use your phone or tablets rear facing camera to get extra features in print and digital comics. You can think of it as augmented reality, its something that hasn’t quite taken off yet, but a growing number of users are actively checking it out. Marvel Unlimited is basically there digital subscription platform, where you pay a low-monthly fee and get access to older comics. The marvel app, as it stands, is developed and run by Comixology, who has the majority of the digital comic market. Marvel really wants to combine all of these features into one app, to make it easier to market their AR and Unlimited services, which are basically relegated to the sidelines and don’t have the hefty user population that their comic reading app does.

Sources at Marvel have told Good e-Reader that they are in the early stages of the development cycle. They have an action plan on what they want to accomplish and need to bring in proven external talent to fast-track the process. I have heard that they want announce this at South by Southwest in Texas in 2014.

Marvel AR, Marvel Unlimited and Digital Comic Sales to Combine into a Singular App is a post from: E-Reader News

New Kindle Freetime Update Adds Educational Goals


Amazon Kindle Freetime is free software that is built into their Kindle Fire line of tablets. It allows parents to configure the amount of time their child can access the internet, read books, play games or watch movies. A new update is being pushed out today that gives new functionality for educational goals.

The educational goals system will allow parents to increase the allocated time their child can spend on leisure activity after meeting specific criteria. These could include time spent reading or, for preschoolers not yet able to read, it could mean only allowing access to parent-approved educational apps.

One of the main aspects of the educational system is being called “Learn First.” The premise is that until specific goals are met it removes non-educational content from the child's FreeTime library. Everything in FreeTime Unlimited—plus the top 10,000 most popular kids' books, videos, and apps on Amazon—has been categorized as education or entertainment, so when a parent sets goals for Learn First, the work of identifying which content is educational vs. entertainment has already been done for them.

"We know kids spend a lot of time every day looking at screens, and we're excited to add new tools that help parents make this time more educational," explains Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, in a statement this morning about the updated software. "Parents can use features like 'Learn First' to ensure study comes before play and set daily educational goals for reading and learning," he says.

New Kindle Freetime Update Adds Educational Goals is a post from: E-Reader News

Get in the know: New Marketplace updates


Marketplace – OverDrive's online purchasing portal for eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video – is the sum of years of customer feedback and recommendations on how to make the selecting and purchasing process of new digital content easier and more efficient.  Thanks to your suggestions, we have been able to create an online bazaar of popular titles that is easy to navigate, manage, and use.  It is this feedback that we relied on for our most recent update to Marketplace last month, featuring several noteworthy improvements:



You can now edit a 'Basic' or 'Advanced' search after it has been run, using the 'Edit search' option at the top of the search results:



Audience levels now available when searching or using the facet filters:












Marketplace now features pre-populated searches by audience to make selecting popular content easier than ever:









You can now run a search to find all the titles missing in series:






You can now purchase content credit right from Marketplace:














A new 'Invoicing' tab has been added to offer an easy, efficient way to contact our accoutning team with any invoicing issues questions or issues:




*Please note that only users with an 'Invoicing' permission will see this tab



We have added a 'Promotion' tab to showcase this year's Holiday Gadget Giveaway:





Also, various bugs and errors have been fixed.


Please stop in to Marketplace today to check out all the new improvements. While you're at it, look for our December sales and promotions that will be expiring soon! For any questions, comments, or requests, please contact your Collection Development Specialist or collectionteam@overdrive.com.


Rob Mooney is a Collection Development Specialist with OverDrive.



Nokia 8 Inch Tablet Rumors Gain Steam


Unconfirmed reports point out an 8 inch tablet  from Nokia may be in the making for a release in the coming months. Sources maintain a limited number of the device, codenamed RX-115, were shipped by Indian importer Zouba to a testing center in Bangalore. Details are sketchy at the moment, though it is believed the tablet will feature a 8.3 inch full HD display and includes a micro SIM card slot. The rest of the details indicate that the tablet will run Windows 8 RT, given that the current Lumia 2520 does, and many would like that to be replaced with the full featured Windows 8.1. It’s possible that Nokia should consider coming up with a version for both the Windows versions, something that especially applies to the Lumia 2520 given its brilliant credentials.

As for a release date, the next major event to look forward to while also providing for enough time for the device to come to its final shape is the MWC event in 2014. We might be treated with a prototype in the CES, though, scheduled in early January.

There have been several instances of companies coming up with 8 inch tablets running Windows 8.1 and all have been priced competitively at around the $300 mark. Assuming the upcoming Lumia 2020 runs Windows RT, Nokia will have to price the tablet really well to ensure it is able to ward off the challenge posed by the new crop of 8 inch Windows 8.1 tablets and the army of cheap Android tablets.

Nokia 8 Inch Tablet Rumors Gain Steam is a post from: E-Reader News

Hellboy Launches on Madefire


The motion-comics platform Madefire announced a new addition to its lineup today: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy in Hell. The first episode is available to read on their site, alongside Madefire’s motion-comics versions of Transformers, My Little Pony, and Star Trek comics.

Madefire has been around since 2011, and over the past year it has made several important strides, signing with Deviantart, a major social media platform for artists, to provide a web reader and inking deals with IDW, BOOM! Studios, ITV, and Top Cow to transform their properties into motion comics. Adding Dark Horse brings in another high-profile publisher, and one with an impressive array of content. Although no other titles were announced today, Dark Horse does have a deep inventory of licensed and original comics, including many game tie-ins, that would be a natural fit for a platform like Madefire.

Many of the motion-comics techniques Madefire uses on its Motion Books platform will be familiar to readers of Thrillbent and other digital-first comics: Rack focus, panning, panel-by-panel reveals, word balloons dropping in with a swipe or a click. Madefire also incorporates sound, adding ominous background music for the Hellboy comic, for example.

The comics are available on Madefire’s iOS app and on Deviantart and most are priced at $1.99 per episode (as I noted when I reviewed Madefire’s My Little Pony motion comic, the episodes are half of a standard comic issue). The platform also carries original comics, many of which are free, and as part of the Deviantart deal it has plans to open up its authoring tools to Deviantart users.

You can see a preview of the Hellboy in Hell motion comic on the Madefire site.

Hellboy Launches on Madefire is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple’s “12 Days of Gifts” Now Open to US Residents

12_day_giftsIt’s that time of the year again, time to celebrate Apple’s annual “12 Days of Gifts” giveaway. This has been a regular feature in Apple’s yearly calender, though surprisingly, the offer wasn’t applicable in the US. That’s all changed, and Apple fans in the US can now take part in the giveaway this year. Other regions that have been included are Japan, Canada, Europe, and a few other countries.

The “12 Days of Gifts” app will offer apps, songs, movies, games, or books for free for twelve days starting Dec 26 through Jan 6 for iPads and iPhones, although it is not known what freebies Apple has lined up this year. The 12 Days of Gifts can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes Store and can also be set to ping you whenever new gifts become available. The gifts will only be available for 24 hours, though Apple has also stated not all of the goodies will be relevant in all countries.

Apple’s “12 Days of Gifts” Now Open to US Residents is a post from: E-Reader News

Samsung, Philips Raided in EU on Suspicions of Indulging Unfair in Trade Practices


Some front line companies such as Samsung and Philips along with the biggest electronics retailer in Europe, Media Saturn, had to deal with unannounced guests from the European Commission. Neither of the companies divulged any details of the raid, though they did confirm their premises were subjected to scrutiny on suspicions of an unfair collusion to limit the sale of devices to jack up prices. The companies will be liable to pay 10 percent of their global earnings if found guilty by the EU Anti-trust Regulator. No charges were pressed though and it's not known either if any incriminating evidence were found against any of the parties involved. The raid comes at a time when retailers are having a hard time keeping themselves relevant against online operators such as Amazon, Otto, Staples and the likes. The three companies have, however, pledged all support towards completion of the investigation.

Samsung, Philips Raided in EU on Suspicions of Indulging Unfair in Trade Practices is a post from: E-Reader News

Kids: we’re giving away 2000 Pi kits for your class, or for your home projects!

You met Lance Howarth, the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation (this means he heads up our charitable giving), when he joined us earlier in the autumn. Today Lance has some news for you – and a very silly hat.

Lance says:

Ho Ho Ho!

He’s leaving presents under the tree, not stealing them. Honest.

Here at Pi Towers we are getting into the festive spirit, and we’ve been thinking how best to pay back the goodwill our community has shown us over the last year. So, in support of “Hour of Code”  as part of Computer Science Education week, we got together with our friends from Google and we are going to give away Pis for Christmas. That’s right: we’re giving away up to 2000 Google Raspberry Pis to anyone under the age of 18 in the United Kingdom. To qualify for a free Pi you need to do one of two things. Either:

  • Get your school to do an “Hour of Code” between now and the end of term and we’ll send a Pi for every participant to your school (up to a maximum of 20), or
  • Design a “My Pi Project” poster and send it to us here at Pi Towers, and we’ll send you your own Raspberry Pi.
How do I take part?

You can get more information on Hour of Code week from our friends at Code.org. They have lots of great ideas of what you can do for the Hour Of Code. If you are a member of Code Club, how about getting your class to have a go at their festive project Christmas Capers? To quality for your Google Pi, just ask your teacher to register here. At the end of next week we’ll take the first thousand Raspberry Pis and start shipping them out on a first come, first served basis, so the Pis should be waiting for you when you come back to school in January.

Not everyone is going to get the opportunity participate in the Hour of Code week, but don’t worry, you can still get a free Google Pi. All you need to do is design a poster showing us what you think would be a cool Raspberry Pi project. This might be something to do with your pet, like an automatic cat flap or feeder; something to do with photography, like looking at the thermal image of your house; or something festive like controlling the Christmas lights so they flash along to music. If fact, anything will do, we are just looking to see how imaginative you can be and to learn what you think would be a cool project. Once you have designed your poster you need to get your parent to print this form out, fill it in, and then send it with your poster to us by post at:

Poster Competition
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Mount Pleasant House
Huntingdon Road

You can also send us a scan of your poster and completed form by email at postercompetition@raspberrypi.org.

Your poster needs to be with us by the 8th of January, so you’ll have plenty of time to get this done over the Christmas break. So get thinking!

Who ate all the Pis? Santa, of course!

A couple of notes: this promotion is only open to schools and kids in the UK (this requirement is placed on us by our partners at Google UK). You’ll receive Google Pi kits, which include a cased Pi, an SD card, a power supply, a copy of The MagPi, some projects recipe cards and a Getting Started guide. If you are a teacher and you send us a successful application, we will be getting in touch later in 2014 to talk about what you’re doing with the Raspberry Pis.

RoyaltyShare Attempts to Block Disbursement of Refunds in DOJ, Publisher Suit

Late last week, Judge Denise Cote, the judge who has presided over the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple and five of the then-Big Six publishers, approved the terms of the settlements with the publishers, meaning the doors have finally been opened for the money to begin making its way back to the consumers who overpaid for ebooks.

But one entity, RoyaltyShare, has been working to block the approval of those terms on the grounds that the publishers will not try to stand up for themselves (the publishers maintain there was no effort to bilk the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars, they quickly settled out of court to avoid what would end up costing them more in legal fees), meaning RoyaltyShare must step in.

Bob Kohn, founder of the digital solutions company RoyaltyShare who works with a number of major publishers, did not attempt to object to the settlements posed earlier this year with HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, or Hachette, but objected Friday to the settlement terms for Macmillan and Penguin. His argument was that the actions of the publishers were not in violation of the Sherman Act (which is in place to prevent companies from colluding on the prices of goods to inflate them artificially, for example), but that their actions were necessary to prevent Amazon from growing even larger than it already is.

While some may feel that’s a “noble” reason for breaking the law, Judge Cote disagreed.

Kohn took a huge risk in posing his objection and asking for a Motion to Intervene. The states’ attorneys general were prepared to ask Kohn to foot the bill for a bond to return that money to consumers should he have succeeded in his motion to delay the settlement. While he was unsuccessful, Kohn’s motion in no way impacted the decision or proceedings against Apple for its part in this issue; Apple is appealing its own ruling, handed down by Cote earlier this year in which she found sufficient evidence of price fixing on the part of the company.

As the settlement with the publishers has been approved, consumers should soon start to see refunds–most likely issued in the form of credits on their accounts–for ebooks purchased during the time period of the stated collusion. Some studies of the case found that more than 20 million consumers were affected by the illegal price increases on ebooks.


RoyaltyShare Attempts to Block Disbursement of Refunds in DOJ, Publisher Suit is a post from: E-Reader News

Tablets Projected to be on the Decline in 2014


Over the course of 2012 and 2013 tablet sales have been steadily increasing with 45.2 million units being shipped out in Q1 2013 alone. The growth may be coming to an end as major display production companies are shifting their manufacturing might to smartphones.

Taiwan-based makers together will ship 242.72 million smartphone touch panels and 51.81 million tablet touch panels in 2014. This increases the smartphone production segment by 11.7% and decreases the tablet market by a whopping 29.4%.

It seems from sources we have talked to Asus that the market will be eroded in 2014 as basically “anyone who wants a tablet already has one.” Dell, HP, Barnes and Noble and Acer have all scaled back on their product offerings for most of 2013 and the trend will continue.

Tablets Projected to be on the Decline in 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

Readers Resist the Allure of eBooks


Major publishing companies such as Penguin, Hachette and Simon and Schuster are starting to see 24% of their revenue stem from eBook sales. Certainly many tech savvy users are embracing the format, but not everyone. Nearly 70% of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016, citing an emotional and visceral attachment to tangible texts.

You would be hard pressed to go a week without reading a news headline about how eBooks are dominating the world and the printed book is dead. Despite their perceived popularity, 60% of eBooks downloaded are never read in the US. Since 2012, the growth of eBooks has slowed significantly as dedicated e-Reader sales are declining, and tablet PC devices are increasingly becoming utilized for other forms of entertainment.

"More than 500 years after the invention of the printing press, book manufacturers and publishers are playing a pivotal role in the next renaissance in books that is happening now," said George Promis, vice president of continuous forms production solutions & technology alliances, Ricoh. "To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, reports of the printed book's death are greatly exaggerated. Print is alive, well and sought after in today's book market. At Ricoh, we're focused on ensuring this stays true for years to come."

via Ricoh

Readers Resist the Allure of eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News