Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Tumblr Turned a Book Into a Bestseller


In early 2013 Yahoo purchased social media website Tumblr, and many people thought it was a bold move. The a community of millions add 75 million daily posts about everything from politics to pets. Few people saw Tumblr as a promotional and marketing tool, but the online service turned Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O'Brien into a viral sensation and overnight bestseller.

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology is the book form of O'Brien's site Better Myths, where he retells mythology and other popular tall tales using casual netspeak, as though he were recounting the story to you over Whatsapp or Line. Classic myths like Persephone's journey to the underworld and Abraham sacrificing Isaac get the raucous, rowdy, and irreverent treatment.

Many readers thought the table of contents was so compelling, before even getting into the book that the thread got 100,000 replies in under two weeks, catapulting the book into the Amazon's bestseller list.

Tumblr user Braro weighed in on his recent acquisition “My copy of this arrived last night and we stayed up late reading it out loud on the couch because it is amazing. Funny, interesting, and written so that you can read it out loud while still sounding like you are just having a conversation or telling a story. Tempted to take it to the pub today to read over with friends.”

Obviously the author is a professional and when he found out his book had become a bestseller on Amazon due to a series of Tumblr posts, he exclaimed his jubilation by articulating the following;


How Tumblr Turned a Book Into a Bestseller is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for December 15, 2013

Batman 13

ComiXology’s chart gets skewed by a giveaway, Kindle and Nook remain about the same as always, and zombies begin to take over the iBookstore. Here’s our weekly look at the top-selling comics and graphic novels on four different digital platforms.


1. Batman #13
2. Red Sonja #1 (digital exclusive edition)
3. Lazarus #1
4. Judge Dredd #1
5. Revival #1
6. My Little Pony: Micro Series – Twilight Sparkle #1
7. The Walking Dead #118
8. Batman #26
9. Justice League #25
10. Justice League 3000 #1

It’s an interesting week at comiXology. The top ten seems to be dominated by older comics and #1 issues (Batman #13 kicks off the Death of the Family storyline), and here’s why: ComiXology has been offering a free comic every day for the past six days, and their top six comics are those free downloads. (The promotion goes on till December 20, so go ahead and click that link.) What’s the top comic people will pay money for? The Walking Dead #118. Here, let’s try this again without the free comics:

1. The Walking Dead #118
2. Batman #26
3. Justice League #25
4. Justice League 3000 #1
5. Uncanny X-Men, vol. 3, #15.INH
6. Justice League of America #10
7. Nightcrawler #1
8. Wolverine and the X-Men #39
9. Superman/Wonder Woman #3
10. Invincible #107

Aaah, that’s a little more like it. All this week’s comics from the Big 3, except for that Nightcrawler one, which is a couple of months old… I got nothin’. It’s interesting to compare the two lists and see how much more diverse the top one is; apparently a lot of people will read a Judge Dredd comic if you give it to them for free.


1. Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin, vol. 1
2. The Hedge Knight
3. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
4. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
5. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
6. The Sandman, vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
7. Justice League, vol. 1: Origin
8. Batman, vol. 1: The Court of Owls
9. Iron Man: Extremis
10. Ultimate Comics Wolverine vs. Hulk

With no free comics to distort the rankings, the Kindle list looks a lot like the last couple of weeks, although the order of the books keeps changing, so someone is buying them.


1. The Sandman: Overture #1
2. Naruto, vol. 63
3. Forever Evil #3
4. Smallville #1
5. It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy
6. Sandman #1
7. The World According to Lucy
8. Snoopy at the Bat
9. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
10. Adventures of Superman #1

It’s the same books, in the same order, as in the last few weeks, except that Demon Love Spell is missing. So apparently everyone but shoujo manga fans was buying Nook comics this week, but it’s interesting how they always buy the same comics in the same order.


1. The Walking Dead #118
2. Blue is the Warmest Color
3. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #12
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 19
5. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
6. The Walking Dead #117
7. The Walking Dead: Compendium Two
8. The Walking Dead, vol. 18
9. My Little Pony: Micro Series #9 – Spike
10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #13

Six out of the top ten on iBooks are different versions of The Walking Dead, both single-issue comics, collected editions, and one volume of the Compendium, which is a deluxe collected edition. The fact that volume 1 perennially makes the best-seller list bodes well, of course, because it means new readers are coming in. It’s also true, though, that iBooks users aren’t scrambling to get this week’s new comics; the only title on the chart that came out this week is The Walking Dead #118, although it’s true that the number 11 slot is pre-orders of My Little Pony: Micro Series #10 – Luna, which is out next week.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for December 15, 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: King & Maxwell by David Baldacci


Verdict: 4 Stars

There can be a lot of pressure on an author when his characters take center stage for a wider audience. It’s one thing when reader fans become attached to a story line, but it’s something else altogether when television or movie audiences also latch onto the story line and the players.

Even before Baldacci put pen to paper (well, you know what I mean) to write this latest book in his popular series about two Washingto, DC private eyes, he faced the challenge that mystery and thriller fans tend to be a hard demographic to impress. Some of the greatest and most well-known authors in the genre, including Baldacci but also names like James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, routinely maintain three- and four-star average ratings for their books. It tends to feel like the readers have very high expectations, and if they’re not met to the tiniest detail, the readers are quick to point it out.

In this case, the author faced a growing audience who fell in love with the June debut television series, and readers quite possibly compared this book to the quite-brief by comparison TV episodes. Personally, I struggled a little bit through the choppy sentences and the attempts at stereotypical PI wit, but overall, the book did not disappoint.

What made up for the surprising writing was the eerie and timely plot. We live in an era where citizens trust the government possibly less than ever before, and a story line in which a soldier dies in Afghanistan and later manages to contact his son can grab anyone who watches the evening news. When the son, a mere teenager, hires the two investigators to look into his father’s death, what they learn is fodder for every conspiracy theorist’s dreams.

King & Maxwell is available now, although the corresponding television series was cancelled in September.

eBook Review: King & Maxwell by David Baldacci is a post from: E-Reader News

Digitization of 550-Year-Old Bible Sparks Conversation About Publishing

Photo of The Morgan Gutenberg Bible Online

Photo of The Morgan Gutenberg Bible Online

Sometimes, the real news on the internet happens in the comments’ section, all trolls and grammatically incorrect ugliness aside. A post that shared photos of a digitized Gutenberg Bible gave readers a lot of background information into the historical implications of the book itself, as well as an interesting and educated peek into the evolution of language and print.

While much of the conversation is about the Bible itself and the stylistic and grammatical conventions at the time of its writing, a very real concern was raised by the actual digitization, which in this case, is really only professional-quality and non-invasive or destructive photography. The license attributed to the photos of each page indicates, according to one user’s conversation, that it will not be usable online due to terms of use agreements with various websites, including Wikipedia:

According to user huskyr, “Although i applaud the effort of putting this publication online in such a nice, interactive way, i’m a bit saddened to see the license underneath the page leading to a Creative Commons Noncommercial (BY-NC-SA) license (

“This means that the images are not usable on, for example, Wikipedia, that only allows CC-BY and CC-BY-SA licenses. Also, there seems to be no easy way to get those images and reuse them, apart from reverse-engineering the application and scraping the files.

“Apart from that, adding any license to a work that has been in the public domain (Gutenberg died in 1468) is questionable in terms of copyright law. Reproductions of 2D public domain works (such as this text) are not applicable to renewed copyright law, considering Bridgeman vs Corel ( and many other similar rulings in other countries.”

To which another user, rmk2, added his reply, as well as his understanding of the current law:

“If I understood the linked article correctly, nobody knows about the actual effect these rulings have on UK law, where this digitalisation originated. Until there has been a similar case brought before the court, little seems to suggest that this is, indeed, not copyrightable?”

The legal battles that have surrounded several different companies’ efforts to preserve rare texts have often included concerns that the text will be widely available for public consumption and manipulation. However, supporters of the digitization of these rare and irreplaceable collections have cited that exact point as the reason to move forward. These pieces of history are cutoff from public, global use, when they could be seen around the world at the click of a mouse.

Digitization of 550-Year-Old Bible Sparks Conversation About Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

Notion Ink Adam II Now On Sale in India


The Notion Ink Adam II has already been launched a few months ago though its only now that the tablet has gone on sale. However, this applies to only India as of now though company sources did mention they intend to reach out other world markets as well with the new Adam. The company didn't reveal which markets they have on their sight or when it is going to be launched though none of it is likely to happen before 2014.

Coming to the tablet devices, Adam II is available in both Wi-Fi and 3G versions. They are targeted at the mid-range tablet segment and come with matching specifications. Cost wise, the Wi-Fi only version will set one back by ₹16,499 while the 3G version of the same has been priced ₹18,999. Both the prices in US dollar terms come to $265 and $305, which it must be said is a bit on the higher side. The company is offering a ₹500 and ₹ 1000 discount on the Wi-Fi and 3G versions respectively right now.

For that amount of money, the Adam II offers a 1280 X 800 pixel 10 inch display which is rather disappointing. Even 7 inch display that many pixels is considered dismal, something that is further amplified when spread over the larger 10 inch display of the Adam II. Powering the device is a dual core Cortex A9 chip mated to a 1 GB RAM which is another let-down considering the 2012 Nexus 7 costing half as much sports better specs.

Also, Notion Ink isn't gunning for the lightest and thinnest tablet spot with the Adam II and is shaped more like the Surface tablet range, what with an aspect ratio where the length has higher precedence over the width. However, the one aspect of the Adam II that is unlike any other tablet currently available in the market is the incorporation of a second monochrome display along the side which displays notifications or other information which otherwise would have required the users to fire up the entire device.

However, on the whole,the Adam II can be considered far less impressive than the first gen Adam that had generated a lot of hype and hoopla with the Pixel Qi display and other unique qualities.

Notion Ink Adam II Now On Sale in India is a post from: E-Reader News

November Comics Sales: The Big Two Slip a Bit

November 2013 dollar share

Diamond Comics Distributors is the exclusive distributor of print comics to specialty comics shops, so their monthly numbers give a pretty good picture of the print comics market.

That market is dominated by Marvel and DC, but that dominance slipped a bit this month as both publishers had less than a 30% market share (in terms of dollars). This isn’t the first time that has happened—and in fact, DC had less than a 30% market share for much of 2013, but that’s because it was elbowed out by Marvel, which had almost 40% in March. For the two publishers combined to go below 60% of the market is much more unusual.

It’s tempting to attribute this to the strength of Image, the third-largest publisher, which has two solid hits with The Walking Dead and Saga, plus a suite of other well-regarded series. However, Image’s market share has fluctuated quite a bit this year, reaching a high of 9% in April, and it was actually a bit less than that, 8.67%, in November. IDW, the fourth largest publisher, also fluctuates but generally stays in the 6-7% range.

Looking down the chart to the other small publishers, though, a pattern seems to emerge: As a group, they are doing better. Dark Horse has been taking a steadily larger share all year, going from 4.55% in January to 6.55% in November. Dynamite, Eaglemoss, and Valiant are each taking a bit more of the pie, and Viz had a bumper month in November, with a 1.19% share, somewhat larger than usual.

While we don’t have comparable numbers for digital comics sales, I do track the digital comics best sellers each week, and Image has been a greater presence lately on comiXology (which is the digital distributor that most closely mirrors the direct comics market). Two weeks ago, DC was bumped off the top ten list entirely, as Marvel had six titles and Image had four.

Overall, year-to-date comics sales in brick-and-mortar stores are up by 11% and graphic novel sales are up by 5% compared to this time last year. This has been quite consistent over the past year or so: Despite speculation that digital comics sales would hurt brick-and-mortar comics stores, print and digital sales have gone up in tandem.

In terms of what’s selling, Batman #25 was the number one monthly comic in November, followed by Harley Quinn #0. Both are from DC. The top-selling Marvel comic was Amazing X-Men #1, in the number three slot. The two publishers each placed five comics on the top ten list, squeezing out Image and the other independents entirely. That means all those incremental sales that are squeezing out Marvel and DC are coming from lower down on the list.

November Comics Sales: The Big Two Slip a Bit is a post from: E-Reader News