Saturday, December 14, 2013

15,000 Penguin eBooks Available for Canadian Libraries via Overdrive


Overdrive has just signed off on a deal with publishing giant Penguin, to have 15,000 eBook titles made available to Canadian libraries. This is a big move and thousands of libraries and consortiums will be able to finally offer mainstream titles by some of the worlds best authors.

The new Penguin titles will be made available under the one copy/one user lending model. Libraries will be able to get backlist titles by notable authors such as; Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Ken Follett, Junot Diaz, Khaled Hosseini, John Greene, Harlen Coben, W.E.B. Griffin and many others.

Libraries in Canada are getting a hefty dose of Penguin with the 15,000 titles currently available. Just last week Overdrive announced that they have secured over 500 audiobook titles, which finally gives Canadian libraries quality digital editions.

15,000 Penguin eBooks Available for Canadian Libraries via Overdrive is a post from: E-Reader News

New Zealand iPad Market Projected to Shrink Against Increasing Competition From Cheap Android Tablets


New research by Frost & Sullivan in New Zealand has revealed tablet devices to be lagging smartphones in the country. It's just 26 percent of the population in New Zealand in the age group 15 to 65 years that currently owns a tablet device, compared to 64 percent owning a smartphone in the same age group. Taken from another perspective, about 42 percent household in the country have a minimum of one tablet owner. However, tablet devices are expected to make it big in the country in the coming years, predicted as it is to reach market penetration of 78 percent by 2018 from a rather modest 44 percent in 2013. While the above should be a sweet piece of news for tablet manufacturers, it does seem to be particularly so for Apple which is expected to see demand for its iPad device shrink in the face of rising competition from the affordable range of Android tablets. Analysts predict the iPad to end up with about 40 percent of the market to itself from the current 59 percent by 2018.

As for the pattern of tablet usage, consumers responded they preferred using the device the most during evening at home, for watching TV as well as in bed before going to sleep. However, not many are keen to read newspaper articles on their tablet, with about 62 percent tablet users having read an article in a month's time. However, senior research manager, Australia and New Zealand ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan, Phil Harpur believes the new age mobile connected devices such as smartphones and tablet do have the potential to unsettle print media in about a decades time.

New Zealand iPad Market Projected to Shrink Against Increasing Competition From Cheap Android Tablets is a post from: E-Reader News

iPad Mini Shipping Times Down to 1 – 3 Days in North America and Asia-Pacific


Shipments of the iPad Mini with Retina Display has picked up steam just in time as we approach the holidays. Delivery schedules in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Ais-Pacific region have come down to 1 – 3 days. This can be termed a healthy improvement over the 5 – 10 days that the tablet earlier took to deliver in the above mentioned regions. However, the same does not apply to the European region where the latest iPad mini device continues to ship in 3 – 5 business days.

Supply issue was the biggest reason that forced Apple to begin selling the latest iPad mini much later than its bigger cousin, the iPad Air. Both the new gen devices were launched on Oct 22 but it wasn't until Nov 22 that the iPad mini with Retina Display went on sale. However, availability was still an issue as it was just a limited number of device that were on offer; so much that the first gen iPad Mini ruled the roost during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Also, it is issues related to supplying the high resolution display that is believed to have led to some supply constraints during the initial stages. Fortunately, all of that is a thing of the past which means good news for Apple fans though just the opposite for Android and Windows tablets that might have thought of making it big in the absence of one of the most sought after tablet device.

iPad Mini Shipping Times Down to 1 – 3 Days in North America and Asia-Pacific is a post from: E-Reader News

Sony Hires “Brain Trust” to Create a Spider-Man Universe

It looks like the movies are following in the path of comics, as Sony announced two spinoffs of its Amazing Spider-Man movies and the hiring of a set of writers who will create a shared universe of interlocking stories—the announcement gives their mandate as “to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.”

The news was first broken to sharp-eyed viewers of the new trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2, who noticed a hidden URL in a beam of light. That URL led to a website,, which seems to have a single animated image; mouse around, though, and you’ll find a link to the press release. And there’s a countdown, too, although there’s no indication of what it is counting down to—the target date is New Year’s Day.

According to the hidden press release, the “franchise brain trust” will include Marc Webb, the director of the first two Amazing Spider-Man movies, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, and writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon and Drew Goddard. With Amazing Spider-Man 2 due in theaters next May, Kurtzman, Orci and Pinkner (who collaborated on Fringe) will start work on Amazing Spider-Man 3, which Webb will likely direct as well.

The spinoffs will center on longtime Spider-Man foes Venom and the Sinister Six. Venom is a “symbiote” who must bond with another being to exist; he first entered the Marvel universe as a new suit for Spider-Man in Secret Wars #8, then shifted to Eddie Brock as the host in Amazing Spider-Man #300 (which is available on Marvel Unlimited but not comiXology). Venom has taken over several other hosts as well, and ComiXology also has a good assortment of Venom titles. Kurtzman and Orci, who collaborated on Star Trek: Into Darkness and Transformers, will write the Venom movie, and Kurtzman will direct it.

The Sinister Six are an alliance of supervillains originally organized by Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. The lineup has changed considerably over the years, with the most recent incarnation appearing in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Goddard, whose writing credits include Cloverfield and World War Z as well as Cabin in the Woods, which he also directed, has just been tapped as the showrunner and executive producer of the Netflix Daredevil series. He will also write and direct the first episode. As Sean O’Connell of Cinema Blend points out, that raises the possibility of yet another expansion of the Spider-Man universe: A Spidey-Daredevil crossover.

frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Sony Hires “Brain Trust” to Create a Spider-Man Universe is a post from: E-Reader News

2013′s Kindle Fire HD and HDX Review


With all of our new device reviews and more to come, it’s shaping up to be a very merry digital holiday season! There’s still time to curl up with an eBook on a tablet in front of your video fireplace with a robotic dog at your feet. (All right, I still prefer real fireplaces and real dogs, even if both could be more dangerous than their digital doppelgangers. I’m still a fan of quality tablets to use OverDrive Media Console with, however.)

We reviewed the Kindle Fire HD last year. Like 2012's 7-inch model, 2013's offering has the same 1280 x 800 pixel display (with a crisp 216 ppi) and 1 GB RAM, and also comes in 8 GB and 16 GB versions. It's slightly thinner and lighter than the previous Kindle Fire HD, but it also drops the front-facing camera (and $60 off last year's price—it now starts at $139). There are a few other performance differences, but aside from the visibly upgraded operating system on the device, most users won't notice a difference between the two 7-inch devices. (If I hadn't known about the differences in advance, I wouldn't have noticed, either.) Amazon continues to sell last year's Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch model, but starting at $269.

Where the real changes lie are in Amazon's new flagship tablet models, the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch and 8.9-inch, starting at $229 and $379, respectively. Both screen sizes come in 16, 32, and 64 GB models and have a speedy quad-core 2.2 GHz processor (a step up from the dual-core 1.5GHz processor of the normal Kindle Fire HD models), which makes them perfect for using OverDrive's streaming video service! eBook text looks clear and sharp on both the 7-inch model's 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) screen, as well as the 8.9-inch model's 2560 x 1600 (339 ppi) screen. The resolution is comparable to both the previously-reviewed Nexus 7 (2013 Edition) and the iPad Mini with Retina display. Both Kindle Fire HDX tablets were extremely light, yet still felt sturdy. The only thing that concerned me was plugging in the micro USB cable to charge them. The cable tilts slightly upward instead of lying parallel to the tablet, making me somewhat worried that if I accidentally dropped something on top of it, the metal part of the cable might break off inside of the device (not that it ever happened to me with a video camera once.…).

Both sizes of the Kindle Fire HDX have a front-facing HD camera and microphone, the latter of which comes in handy for Amazon's latest customer service feature that we were eager to try out: Mayday!

Amazon's brand-new "Mayday" button, designed for instant help on the Kindle Fire HDX from a real human being via video, was extremely impressive. Pressing it indicated that we were in the queue waiting for a technician to become available, but the response time afterward was almost immediate (granted, we tried this before the start of the holiday season).

When the video of the live technician popped up on the lower part of the screen, it was almost shocking. We asked, "Can you see us?" He explained that he could not see us, but he could hear us, and could see and control anything on the screen of the Kindle Fire HDX. We explained that we just wanted to see how it worked, and he kindly provided a demo of swiping through menus, opening an eBook, and circling various items on the screen. We were quite impressed.

The "Mayday" button would be a great tool for library staff members to suggest to patrons who may be having trouble with a Kindle Fire HDX, especially if they are new to the world of tablets. This holiday season, thanks to Amazon's new Kindle Fire devices, the tablet world may get a lot of new users!


Jenny Norton is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.


Kindle Owners Spend More Money than Amazon Shoppers

A Kindle alongside some paper books

Amazon has a habit of every single year touting the success of the Kindle franchise at the end of December.  They do this to build continued brand awareness and to keep themselves in the headlines. The company never divulges exact sales figures, so there is really no factual data to backup their wiley claims. Some new data has just been produced that paints the picture of “Amazon doesn’t care about hardware sales, its about how much Kindle owners spend.”

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners has issued a report based on a survey done with over 300 Amazon shoppers.  It was conducted during September, October and November to get an accurate portrayal of what the standard buying patterns are of Amazons average customer.  Based on its research and analysis, CIRP estimates that Kindle owners spend $1,233 per year on Amazon compared to $790 per year for Amazon shoppers who don’t own one of the company's e-readers or tablets.

Amazon Kindle owners are not buying more at once, but they are buying more frequently. e-Reader users tend to buy more eBooks, whereas tablet owners are purchasing more apps, audiobooks and magazines.

It is estimated that in the US there is a grant total of 20.5 million Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are being used day to day in the US.  The research does not talk about usage in other countries, but the only other markets of note is the UK, Japan, and Canada.

Kindle Owners Spend More Money than Amazon Shoppers is a post from: E-Reader News

This Years Best Screenplays Now Available in eBook Format


This year is almost over and a number of cinematic films are all vying for contention for various award ceremonies, culminating with the Oscars. In order to build demand and awareness for the films in contention the major studios have digitized the scripts in PDF format.

The following scripts are free downloads and be viewed online or via your favorite PDF Reader. They are being used in many schools right now and many movie buffs are also checking them out. If you are feeling ambitious you can use a 3rd party program like Calibre to convert these to MOBI or EPUB.

All Is Lost , August: Osage County , Before Midnight , The Blue Umbrella , The Butler

Enough Said , Frozen , Fruitvale Station , Gravity , Kill Your Darlings , Lone Survivor

Monsters University , Nebraska , Philomena , The Place Beyond the Pines

Prisoners , Rush , Saving Mr. Banks , The Spectacular Now , Spring Breakers

12 Years a Slave , The Way Way Back  and Wolf of Wall Street

This Years Best Screenplays Now Available in eBook Format is a post from: E-Reader News