Wednesday, December 11, 2013

OverDrive Media Station Marketing: A new twist from Toronto Public Library

OverDrive’s Media Stations are great for digital collection discovery within the library, but Toronto Public Library has been getting creative with their use of the touchscreen kiosk. Maria Cipriano, Collections Librarian – Electronic Resources and self-proclaimed “eBook Diva,” has been taking their OverDrive Media Station on tour around area shopping malls to introduce the library’s eBooks and audiobooks to consumers who haven’t been to the library in a while.


Maria sets up the OverDrive Media Station around 11 a.m. right across from the mall’s food court. As long as she has an electrical outlet, her iPad and an internet connection, she’s good to go. Some consumers have seen TPL’s advertisements on the subway, in bus stops or in the newspaper and are curious to learn more. Others see the cover artwork flipping by as someone swipes the screen and are intrigued. Maria simply shouts out to some and encourages them to stop over for a demonstration. All are very happy to learn that browsing and borrowing eBooks is a free service from their library.


“The Media Station is really good because it does a great job of bringing out the best titles in the collection,” Maria says. “The large display, the ease of use, the touchscreen technology, the ability to sample and listen to the audio – people really enjoy that and it makes our collection look really good.”


Maria says that TPL has been aggressively marketing their eBook collection, stressing that it is free and always available. Taking the OverDrive Media Stations on the road is part of a long-term marketing strategy to raise awareness for their digital catalog, and so far, Maria says it’s working.


“We have a big drive here to get more people signed up with library cards, and especially the elusive male in his 20s and 30s,” she says. “And it’s been pretty good – I’ve gotten a number of people get library cards right on the spot.”


Maria also takes the OverDrive Media Station to staff meetings at select branches to get the dialogue started and get the staff members on board. With 99 branches, Toronto Public Library has a very large staff, and some are not as well versed in digital media as others. Taking the OverDrive Media Station to them and demonstrating its capabilities encourages the staff members to talk with their patrons about the library’s digital offerings with more confidence, and gets them excited about eBooks and audiobooks.


The city of Toronto also has a large book fair called Word on the Street, which sees about 100,000 visitors each year. Maria sees this as another fantastic opportunity to bring the OverDrive Media Station for the public to interact with and learn more about the library’s digital collection.


“We work really, really hard to get the [content] in there, and the tax payers are paying for it regardless, so I think it behooves us to make people aware that we have it,” Maria says. “It’s the best advertising for the collection because it’s constantly refreshed, and it’s a really amazing tool.”


Have you thought of creative ways to use your OverDrive Media Station, or other OverDrive products? Let us know by emailing


OverDrive Media Stations are now available for public libraries worldwide. Contact your Collection Development Specialist to learn more or to order yours today.


Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Wattpad Contest Winners Receive Publishing Contracts with Harlequin


Story posting social media site Wattpad has garnered a tremendous following in a short amount of time for its notably unique offers for both authors and publishers. Apart from the ability for writers to post excerpts for readers to enjoy and comment on–a feedback process that Wattpad staunchly guards from trolling–the platform has worked with a number of different partnerships to provide opportunities for its members to take their writing further.

The world’s leading romance publisher Harlequin allowed users to participate in its annual contest, So You Think You Can Write,  by submitting their work via the platform. The contest, which received more than six hundred entries, was declared final today with the announcement of Tanya Wright as this year’s winner.

This year’s contest included a New Adult category, which was where Wattpad came in. Entrants submitted their work via the open platform, allowing them to receive vital feedback from the 20 million registered users of the site.

"The New Adult contest on Wattpad was a huge success with more than 60,000 people voting for their favorite story," said Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content, Publishing at Wattpad, in a press release. "Harlequin editors were spoiled for choice and ended up selecting six amazing Wattpad stories to publish from the entries on Wattpad, more than originally planned."

“The winners, a diverse group from five different countries and four continents, are Jo Watson of Johannesburg, South Africa for Burning Moon; Amber Lindley of the United Kingdom for Confident Women; Sarah White of California, USA for Rookie in Love; Melinda Di Lorenzo of British Columbia, Canada for Promises Made, Promises Broken; Claire Chilton of York, England for Hunted Hearts and Avril Tremayne of Sydney, Australia for Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Ms. Tremayne, in a remarkable display of talent, was also a finalist in Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest. The stories are scheduled to be published by Harlequin in two New Adult ebook box sets in May and June 2014.”

Participants in the annual contest receive feedback, guidance, and insider tips from some of the top names in the romance industry. The contest will be staged again next year, with details coming prior to the September launch.

Wattpad Contest Winners Receive Publishing Contracts with Harlequin is a post from: E-Reader News

Strong News About Library Use by Pew Internet

One of the really interesting dynamics about public libraries is that, even as patronage appears to be dropping, more and more Americans claim that libraries are vital to the health of a community. Data from a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project polled over six thousand Americans about their library use, as well as their attitudes about the need for widespread library access.

“In a larger sense, Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for improving the overall quality of life in their communities. Many library resources are particularly valued by those who are unemployed, retired, or searching for a job, as well as those living with a disability and internet users who lack home internet access,” according to the report.

Some of the specific percentages from the Pew study include:

  • 95% of Americans agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.
  • 81% of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.
  • 48% of Americans have visited a library or bookmobile in person in the past year, down from 53% in November 2012.
  • 30% of Americans have visited a library website in the past year, up from 25% in 2012.
  • Taken together, this means that 54% of Americans have used a public library in the past year.

However, the survey found that, while the number of people visiting a physical library location may have dropped by a few percentage point, library website use is up, possibly due to increased access to ebook lending to personal devices and library subscriptions to streaming videos, music, and research tools.

The complete survey and its results are available through Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.

Strong News About Library Use by Pew Internet is a post from: E-Reader News

Start gaming with Shea Silverman, and add a startup animation to your Pi

Under 18 and in the UK? Check out our Christmas giveaway!

We first met Shea Silverman, based down in Florida, on one of our 2012 hackspace tours when we first visited FamiLAB. Shea’s brilliant – he does a lot of work with the Pi and MAME (the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), and he made us a really cute little Pi arcade cabinet which we display in the office. We’ve stayed in touch, and he’s let us know about the projects he’s been working on in that time; most recently Shea has written a book called Instant Raspberry Pi Gaming for absolute beginners who want to start gaming with the Raspberry Pi. (Thanks for the copy with the inscription, Shea!)

The book shows you how to set up software like MAME, SNES, Atari 2600 and PlayStation emulators; and how to keep them up to date. If you’re a gamer who wants to get started with a Pi, or someone who’s interested in retro gaming, it’s a great place to begin.

Shea’s blog is another great resource for Raspberry Pi users, with a particular emphasis on games, emulation and embedded systems. Recently, we’ve seen more and more people wanting to add a start-up video to their Pi, and Shea’s noticed the same thing, and has blogged his solution, which is rather neat.

This is Shea’s bootsplash animation for his PiMAME system, running on a Pi-enabled Motorola Lapdock. He’s using OMXPlayer to play a video file while the Pi itself is booting.

You can use any video you choose – it needs to be around 20 seconds long so it runs for long enough to cover up the scrolling kernel messages that you usually see during the Pi’s boot sequence. Shea walks you through the very simple startup script you’ll need, and through installing your video, on his blog. It should take you all of five minutes to set up.

Thanks, as always, for all your work on the Pi, and on your book, Shea. The Raspberry Pi depends on community members like you and the amazing amounts of effort you put in: we couldn’t do it without you and the thousands of other people that make the ecosystem around our little device so rich and interesting.

Kobo Expands Its Retail Channels in France in Time for Holiday Shopping


E-reading platform Kobo may be a quiet company where retailing is concerned, given that many US consumers may not have even heard of the company that falls just slightly behind Amazon and Barnes and Noble is ebook and device sales, but the company who has made more international headway than either of the two larger platforms combined has now increased its retail partnerships in France.

Kobo, whose line of devices includes ebooks and tablets and whose catalog includes more than four million titles, is already available online in over 190 foreign markets and currently leads the field in access to foreign language titles. Now, Kobo’s line of devices will be available through new partnership agreements with Pixmania, Cora, Casino, Auchan, and Boulanger, just in time for the holiday shopping rush.

“The appetite for digital reading is gaining momentum in France,” said Jean-Marc Dupuis, Managing Director of EMEA, Kobo, in a press release. “Expanding on our partnership with FNAC France, we’re excited these new retailers will make Kobo available to people passionate about reading.”

Kobo recently raised the ire of some authors due to restrictions in its self-publishing platform, Writing Life, due to the appearance of erotica and adult-themed self-published ebooks making their way into online book retailers’ children’s sections, with the end result being a statement from the company that they will not consider for sale certain inappropriate thematic elements and that, like most of the other retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, they would be deleting titles whose metadata or keywords seemed intentionally misleading.

Kobo Expands Its Retail Channels in France in Time for Holiday Shopping is a post from: E-Reader News

Quebec’s Book Price Fixing Law Can Ruin the Book Economy


The government of Quebec has gone forward with a law that was months in the making, putting a restriction on book pricing. Retailers can not discount a book more than ten percent now, and that restriction applies to both print and ebooks. However, despite the celebration of the news from booksellers and publishers, there are several problems with the measure.

First, there is no word as of yet as to how this will affect foreign retailers, specifically those who operate strictly online. While it is presumed that will have to follow the same pricing structure as booksellers in Quebec, that does seem fairly impossible, given that this law only applies in the province itself. Customers elsewhere in Canada do not have to follow these restricted pricing guidelines, so it seems plausible that Amazon will not have to affect its customers throughout the country just to appease Quebec. Basically, this could set up a situation that actually drives more customers to, rather than helping the booksellers.

Second, customers who live close enough to a border to another province or to the US will simply buy their books across the line, not only hurting the booksellers again, but hurting the entire tax structure of the economy as consumers flee to do their shopping. And as not many people may drive out-of-state simply to buy a book, it’s foreseeable that those consumers will do a lot of their shopping while their making the trip, hurting other industries within the province.

Perhaps the most upsetting is the time limitation: the law states that a book cannot be discounted below 10% off during the first nine months after publication. Consumers–including individuals and libraries–will know that after those nine months are up, the price of the book will drop, leading them to simply wait to make book purchases (assuming it is not a long-awaited sequel, for example). That means libraries are going to become even less relevant to patrons who are already leaving in droves, as they won’t stock current bestsellers, knowing that their meager budgets can be spared if they wait to make new book purchases.

Finally, the law, which goes into effect January first (after the holiday book buying season that is so important to retailers), is only good for thirty-six months, giving the government time to evaluate it and make more permanent decisions about the measure. If there is any backlash from the authors, publishers, booksellers, or major foreign retailers, party opponents can easily point to the law’s failures come campaign season.

Essentially, this seems like a thinly veiled attempt to tear down retailers like Amazon while throwing a bone to the booksellers. Until the entire publishing and bookselling industries are willing to stop trying to cling to the ancient system of book economy, no measure–no matter how good or bad–is going to save them.

Quebec’s Book Price Fixing Law Can Ruin the Book Economy is a post from: E-Reader News

Google Play Books Now Allows eBook Uploads Right from your Android Device


Google Play Books may not be the most popular e-reading app out there, but there is one reason why Android phone and tablet users might dig the latest update. There is new functionality that will allow you to upload a PDF or ePub eBook to any directory and then via a file manager upload it to your Google Play Books account.

Google first introduced the uploading of content to your Google Books account back in May. It was a very simple uploading feature that allowed you to scan your computer and upload books via a special web-form. The latest update works with any file manager program, such as Astro, ES-File Explorer or the stock one. Simply plug your phone into your PC, drag and drop any PDF or EPUB book into a directory of your choice. Once its on your phone, you can just click on it and there will be a new option called “Upload to Play Books.” If you want, there is also the ability to email a book to yourself, download the attachment and then open it with your file manager.

It seems Google wants to be your eBook reader, whether you are buying books from them or not. It is preloaded on any phone or tablet you buy these days, that is Google Certified.

Google Play Books Now Allows eBook Uploads Right from your Android Device is a post from: E-Reader News

LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition Launched, Priced $349.99

LG G Pad

Welcome to the first ever tablet to earn the Google Play Edition moniker, the LG G Pad 8.3. Those who have been craving for a relatively new tablet that offers the stock Android experience know where to head to. Price quoted is a quite competitive $349.99 and is already on sale in the US via the Google Play Store. For that amount of money, what you get is a new tablet running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat which together with its Full-screen Immersive mode makes the most of the brilliant 8.3 inch HD display.

Another positive quality of the G Pad 8.3 is that with its expanded 8.3 inch display, the tablet is unlike many in the market, including even the Nexus 7 2013 that looks likes an expanded smartphone. The thick bezels along the top and bottom make the 2013 Nexus 7 a bit ungainly, something that is non-existent on the LG tablet.

The G Pad 8.3 also includes a micro SD card slot which will let users add some more memory in case they run out of the built-in 16 GB of storage. This happens to be another extremely positive aspect of the device considering all Nexus branded devices miss out on this.

LG's other most recent venture with Google, the Nexus 5 has already taken the market with storm though sources maintain the G Pad 8.3 should not be confused with the 8 inch tablet that Google is actively rumored to be developing. However, while that is still in the nebulous stages, buyers have an excellent tablet option to consider in the form of the G Pad 8.3.

LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition Launched, Priced $349.99 is a post from: E-Reader News