Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Amazon Offering £30 Discount on All Wi-Fi Only Kindle Fire HDX 7 Tablets Till Jan 2


Amazon is offering a discount of £30 on all Wi-Fi only models of the Kindle Fire HDX 7. The special price offer applies to the base 16 GB version of the Amazon tablet that comes 'with special offers' and will remain in force till Jan 2. Of course users will have the option of getting rid of the ad and promotional offers that invade the device as screensavers by paying an extra £10. Till then, the latest gen 7 inch tablets can be picked up for a nice £169, down from the original £169.

Amazon had launched the latest gen 7 and 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HDX tablet varieties this fall and incorporates new design features as well as enhanced specifications. Powered by 2.2 GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 chip coupled with 2 GB of RAM, the 7 inch Kindle Fire HDX does pack in a mean punch. Now with a £30 discount, the tablet does make for a compelling choice to those out to buy a small tablet this holiday season.

Other tablet devices to consider in this price range include the new 2013 Nexus 7, the 8 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 as well as Amazon's own second gen Kindle Fire HD 8.9 all priced at £179. However, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 makes for a smart choice in it being the best performing of them all.

Amazon Offering £30 Discount on All Wi-Fi Only Kindle Fire HDX 7 Tablets Till Jan 2 is a post from: E-Reader News

Top 5 e-Ink e-Readers of 2013


Greetings everyone! Today Good e-Reader is proud to give you our Top 5 Picks of best e-reader of 2013! We have a brand new studio setup and our end of the year review gives you a definitive look back at the state of the industry.

E-Readers have certainly have come of age over the course of 2013. Many companies like Kobo and Amazon are on their 2nd and 3rd generation of front-lit technology and the Kobo Aura and Paperwhite 2 remain viable investments. We also show you some things you may not have heard of before, but in reviewing over 50 devices this year, trust us, this list cannot be missed.

Top 5 e-Ink e-Readers of 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Magazine Circulation Rates Soar in 2013


Digital magazines have really come of age in 2013, thanks to Apple, Google, Amazon and other companies entering the frat to distribute content. The total number of digital magazines downloaded every week has increased from 300,000 per week in 2011 to a staggering two million per week presently. These figures are courtesy of Adobe, whose Digital Publishing Suite powers around 80% of all digital magazine editions currently in circulation.

Adobe has confirmed that over the last year, the total number of subscribers to digital publications has more than doubled to 150 million, representing an increase of 115% over November 2012, and the total unique monthly readership of publications has tripled from October 2012 to October 2013.

Adobe’s head of digital publishing, Nick Bogaty mentioned "The audience is growing very rapidly both in audience size and engagement times, which is great news for the publishing industry in terms of building new audiences for ad businesses." Crucially, "it seems to represent an opportunity to gracefully transition their business from print to digital."

So how has digital magazines grown so much in the last year? Well, there are many new entrants to the market that have abandoned traditional printing and moved into the digital realm exclusively. We have also seen Hearst link mega deals with Magster and Rogers Media in Canada launch their Next Issue Service. Finally, as Google Tablets and Phones continue to gain tracktion, their Play Newsstand gives customers viable options to purchase content. Ditto with the iPhone and iPad in conjunction with the Apple Newsstand.

Digital Magazine Circulation Rates Soar in 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Top 5 iOS and Android Apps of 2013

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Welcome to a brand new look for Good e-Reader! Today we report live for our studio in Vancouver BC the top 5 Android and iOS apps for 2013. These are the games and media apps that we use on a daily basis and we give you a hands on review.

What apps made our own personal cut of 2013? We take a look at Dungeon Keeper, Simpsons Tapped Out, Vine, Angry Birds GO! and GI Joe Battleground. Let us know what you think of our new in-studio format.

Top 5 iOS and Android Apps of 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

What I Love About My Device – from the OverDrive staff

With the holiday's right around the corner, you may still be out shopping for a new device and looking for some recommendations. We thought you might be interested to hear what some of the OverDrive elves use for their device and why they chose their device for their personal use.

Moto X – Andrew Bucher

The Moto X has been getting a lot of press time in the recent weeks and it is definitely warranted. The Moto X is one of the first phones that Motorola has released under the Google umbrella and consumers are benefiting from this. On paper, the Moto X specs do not beat any of the “flagship” devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. However, the Moto X does everything well, without all the frills that the other phones offer. The Moto X comes with fairly close to stock Android, which is a plus for those that enjoy the Android operating system without any of the bloatware that device manufacturers like to add to the operating system. The Moto X has added some nice features to the Android operating system; however, these additions only add to the overall Android experience.

The battery life on the Moto X is what you would expect from a new device these days. From my use I have found that you can get about a day of usage depending on what you are using it for. If you are using the phone to read and listen to audiobooks using the OverDrive Media Console, you will be able to get around 14-18 hours of usage. The 14-18 hours of usage is taking into account that you will still have around 25% battery before bedtime, which to me is very good battery life.

In using my Moto X, I absolutely love the size and feel of the phone. I normally use a case on phones for the added protection, but I have yet to bring myself to add a case to this phone because it feels so nice in my hand. The phone does a nice job of giving you the 4.7-inch screen in a device casing that does not make the device too big to fit in your pocket. There are times when I do not even realize the phone is in my pocket because it is such a slim device. While holding the device, it has a nice soft touch to it and a dimple in the back to keep the device from rocking if you set it on a table. All these features make the phone a pleasure to use while reading an eBook, listening to an audiobook, or watching OverDrive's new streaming videos.


NOOK HD/HD+  – Kelli Woods

When it comes to reading on the go, the NOOK HD and HD+ are great options. The NOOK HD comes with a 7-inch screen while the HD+ has a 9-inch screen along with many other great specs. If you enjoy watching OverDrive streaming videos, you will have no problem viewing them on either device's HD screen. The picture quality surpasses that of previous NOOK Tablet models. The speakers are clear and volume controls are easily accessible on the side of the device. You can also download or transfer audiobooks and music to the devices for on-the-go listening with OverDrive Media Console. If needed, users can add additional memory with a micro SD card. This is good if you plan on adding a lot of eBooks, audiobooks and music.

On both, you can get up to 10 hours of reading and nine continuous hours of video playing with a single battery charge. One drawback I have found is that you cannot charge the device using a computer's USB connection and the charger is proprietary to NOOK. If this device is for someone that is a dropper, I would recommend a case as the plastic housing can crack easily.

Overall, the NOOK HD and HD+ are good devices for the chronic reader who also likes to dabble online and download occasional apps.


iPhone 5/5s/5c – Daver Jennings

Around here and everywhere for that matter, Apple products are very popular. The iPhone 5 is great for reading eBooks using the OverDrive Media Console app for iOS. The 4-inch (diagonal) retina display of the iPhone 5 provides a crystal clear high definition screen perfect for reading eBooks and watching OverDrive's new streaming videos. The screen also has a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front keeping the pages of your eBooks clear and visible along with many other great features.

The iPhone 5 is also great for listening to audiobooks with the OverDrive Media Console app. My iPhone 5's battery can handle audio playback up to 40 hours allowing plenty of time for me to listen to titles without having to plug in to a charger. The iPhone 5 is light weight (only 3.95 ounces (112 grams) making portability easy. The iPhone 5 also has Bluetooth capability allowing you to listen to audiobooks through Bluetooth compatible speakers in your house or car without having to mess around with pesky wires.

The iPhone 5 and its new companions the 5s and 5c are great devices for using the OverDrive Media Console app while on the go for enjoying eBooks and audiobooks borrowed from your digital library. If you haven't checked out the latest iPhones, I highly recommend them to you.


iPad Air – Josh Walker

The iPad Air is Apple's 5th Generation full-sized iPad with much improved hardware and software over last year's iPad with Retina Display (4th Generation). The design of the new iPad Air is extremely light and thin for a device with at 9.7 inch display. The device is a joy to hold, but even more of a joy to use. I noticed one of the most noticeable enhancements is the graphics performance. iOS has always been a very user-friendly mobile operating system. The new iPad Air takes full advantage of its new A7 64-bit chip, M7 motion coprocessor, and iOS 7 allowing apps to open with no lag and the new streaming video titles load with ease.

The battery performance on every iPad has been excellent. The iPad Air doesn't disappoint in this category with a 32.4 – watt/hour lithium polymer battery. This will allow up to 10 hours of usage on the device (web browsing, watching video, listening to music) and an amazing 30 days of standby! More than enough to keep me happy and well entertained.

The iPad Air has 2 cameras (front and rear) that take still photos as well as record video. Both cameras offer face detection and a tap to focus feature that is very helpful. One item I have found is that sadly there is no flash along with the camera so pictures in low light aren't as crisp and clear.

The iPad Air continues the iPad legacy as a great device. It can be an entertainment device, learning tool, or a productivity machine. The hardware is top of the line and the software integration is absolutely seamless with user-friendliness of the new iOS 7. Overall iPad Air is a solid device that works well and can be enjoyed by users of all ages.


Surface Pro 2 – Zach Bischof

The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 has only been out for a couple months and has gotten great reviews from many tech news websites and retailers. I have enjoyed using this device because it provides the best of both worlds. Like a recent advertisement states, "A tablet when you want it, and a computer when you need it."

The Surface Pro 2 has some updated features that were not included in the first Surface Pro such as a more flexible kickstand, improved type covers (keyboard), longer battery life, and improved design. This device can compete with other top-of-the-line tablets such as the Apple iPad, Google Nexus 10, and Kindle Fire HDX. The Surface Pro 2 ships with Windows 8.1 which offers improvements to the Desktop mode, additional personalization options for the Start Menu, a Start button to the Desktop screen, and the ability to disable the hot corners.

The 10.6 inch display of the Surface Pro 2 feels comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The kickstand on the backside of the device comes in handy when sitting at a desk or table, that way both hands are free to type or touch. At a weight of just 2 pounds, the Surface Pro 2 could feel heavy to some; but, I prefer this to the cheaper lighter hardware because the Surface Pro 2 feels sturdy and solid. I like that Windows decided not to use a plastic chassis and went with stronger, more durable material. The size of the device could affect users with smaller hands as I have large hands and sometimes struggle to press the middle start button or press the volume buttons. I enjoy the size and feel of the device and I really like the optional keyboard cover that clips into the device to be used as a screen cover when closed and a keyboard when open.

The battery only lasts about six hours if you are a power user, which is about an hour or two better than the original Surface Pro but not as much as an iPad or Nexus 7. If you are a more conservative user you can probably get eight to 10 hours of battery life. A Microsoft-issued firmware update has significantly improved the battery life of the Surface Pro 2.

Overall, I love using my Surface Pro 2 because I can do anything I need to do on a laptop and run my favorite applications like a tablet. The Windows Store is constantly growing and I am always on the lookout for my favorite Android Apps to become available on my Surface Pro 2. This device is perfect for users that don't want to carry around a tablet and a laptop because this device can be used perfectly for any task, whether you are just browsing the internet, working on a project, enjoying an eBook, audiobook or streaming video, the Surface Pro 2 can handle any task.


Droid Mini – Tammi Cascone

Motorola and Verizon have partnered up to create a line of Droid-branded Android smartphones with the Droid Mini as the smallest of the group.

When it came time for me to upgrade my phone, I spent at least six months researching and comparing phones. I compared price, weight, display, and memory. I watched drop test videos and read reviews on cnet, Engadget, and other sites.  I didn't want to give up my old phone, but I really needed an upgrade.

My main concern was being able to read my eBooks on my phone comfortably. My old phone was light-weight and had a nice size screen. It also had a lot of memory; but, I never really needed it since I seldom saved music or had more than a couple apps installed at any given time. My other concern was durability. I constantly dropped my old phone…constantly! And, I never broke the display or the casing.

So, I never quite found a phone that I was willing to upgrade to for less than $100.00. When Motorola released their latest line of phones, I was excited to find out they had an inexpensive option. After researching this option, I quickly fell in love with the Droid Mini. Well, I really fell in love with the price of $99.99 and I really liked that the display size and weight was the same as my old phone. I also was pleasantly surprised to find out that the casing was made of Kevlar and display was made of Gorilla Glass. Let's just say a gorilla could jump on it and then shoot it and it probably wouldn't make a dent so it should hold up to my constant drops.

All this, a great set of specs, and the price really sold this phone to me. I can comfortably hold the phone and read using OverDrive Media Console while lying in bed. I often fall asleep while reading and the phone drops (loudly) to the floor, yet it survives every crash.

This phone responds quickly and the display is gorgeous. I use the touch-less controls quite a bit. At first I didn't, but the more I use it, the more I like it. By saying "OK Google now…", I can do almost anything on my phone without touching it.

I am extremely happy with my decision and I hope to enjoy the phone for the next two years!


Samsung Galaxy S4 – Matt Wester

These reviews wouldn't be complete without a review of arguably one of the most popular smartphones of the year, the Galaxy S4. I've been happily using the Samsung Galaxy S4 for six months now, since just a short time after its release. In my opinion, the biggest draw of any Android phone is Android itself. I admit I vastly prefer Android's openness to Apple's more tightly-controlled experience with iOS. iOS is great for consistency, which many people enjoy; but, I'm a tinkerer and Android really lets me roll up my sleeves and dig in.

For instance, the "launcher" on an Android phone – the home screens and application list – is just another application that you can replace with a different one to totally change how your phone looks. With other apps, I can configure my phone to automatically change settings based on where I'm at or what I'm doing – for instance, when I'm at work my phone automatically turns off the ringer volume. OverDrive Media Console and plenty of apps help to pass the time while I'm waiting anywhere.

But all of these apps are usable on any new Android phone, so why do I prefer the Galaxy S4?  It has a fast processor and plenty of memory. It's just the right size – big enough to display a bunch of information, with bright and crisp colors, but small enough for a pocket.

There are plenty of new phones out there with gorgeous screens and fast processors, so what really sets the Galaxy S4 apart from the others? In my opinion, the biggest differentiators are the removable battery and SD card slot. Too many phones these days are built in one piece, and don't let you open them up. With the Galaxy S4, I added a 64GB SD card which gives plenty of space for eBooks and audiobooks, as well as my own music collection. I carry a spare battery to swap in to keep me listening all day, even if I'm away from a power plug. Just like any modern smartphone, the screen can be a bit of a battery drain; the difference is I can swap in a fresh battery anytime, while users of other devices will be tethered to a wall. The Galaxy S4 still remains a top option for anyone looking for a new smartphone that is considered one of the "flagship" devices of 2013.


Hopefully these reviews provide you with an interesting look into the types of devices that actual OverDrive employees are using and love. Now you can make more of an informed decision when choosing a device for yourself or that holiday gift for the loved one who loves eBooks, audiobooks, music, and now streaming video.

Datawind Introduces Ultra Cheap Tablet Computing in the US, Range Starts at $38


Datawind shot to instant stardom with its tablet priced at an ultra low $35 announced it has a similar offer for the US as well. The company has lined up three versions for the US market, with the range starting at $38, while the top of the line model is priced at $130.

The specs are fairly down to earth, which is hardly surprising given the price, though as Datawind CEO Mark Tully has mentioned, they aren't out to compete with rival tablet makers on the spec front. Rather, what they'd like to achieve is to unleash the power of the web to even the least affluent sectors of society.

“Affordability shouldn't be the reason people can't get on the Internet,” said Tuli. “We want to specifically reach a customer base that right now is not on the Internet.”

As for the tablet devices and their jaw dropping price tags, the company has been relying on slightly outdated tech coupled with cost effective manufacturing practices to arrive at the price points. To put this in a better perspective, the top of the line Ubislate 3G7 offers roughly the same specifications as the first generation Samsung Galaxy Tab, which launched more than three years ago. The Ubislate 3G7 is also the only version to come powered by a dual core chip, a camera on the front and rear, and with Android 4.1 as the OS.

All the models come with 512 MB of RAM and offer 4 GB of internal storage. Fortunately, all three versions support micro SD card slots. Also, while the base model Ubislate 7Ci connects to the internet via Wi-Fi, things are a bit better with the mid-range Ubislate 7C+ in that it offers 2G support. The flagship Ubislate 3G7 takes things further by incorporating support for 3G networks. Also, true to their intended business model, the company is offering a year of basic browsing with the Ubislate 7C+ and 3G7 models for just $20 more, though the exact terms of the deal is yet unknown.

What remains unanswered is whether there will be enough buyers for the tablet even at this price tag, which itself runs the risk of making the tablet seem too expendable to be worthy of any serious consideration. While the top end model sports slightly better specs than the rest, it still has to ward off competition from cheap Chinese versions offering better specs. Instead, it is the cheaper versions that might seem enticing for first time tablet buyers or for parents who want their kids to be introduced to tablets and the internet without having to break the bank. In any case, the tablets are not expected to sell in huge numbers in the US, a stumbling block that has been a problem for the company even in India.

Datawind Introduces Ultra Cheap Tablet Computing in the US, Range Starts at $38 is a post from: E-Reader News

The blog gets a makeover!

We're excited to show off the brand new look of The website was designed to make it easier for you to get the news you want to know about. We'll continue to provide the latest updates about new features, content, sales, marketing ideas and “Librarian share” stories, but now you're able to select whether you’d like library-specific news, school posts, or our latest content specials (or all three!) sent directly to your inbox. Simply look on the right-hand side of each page for your subscription options.

The blog home page will show you the latest news from all sections of OverDrive, but the categories in the drop-down menu on the right-hand side make it easy for you to find articles on a number of topics. You can even meet our full team of wonderful bloggers as well!

Don’t forget to use the subscription link on the pages you'd like to follow, and of course, let us know what you think of the new site!


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive.


iStoryTime Announces Children’s Enhanced eBook Giveaways


One of the first companies to begin producing high-quality, interactive ebook apps for the little readers among us was zuuka’s iStoryTime, who has produced many of the licensed movie adaptations on the market. Through agreements with companies like DreamWorks, iStoryTime has released exciting renderings of storybooks to go with popular titles like Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Rise of the Guardians, Madagascar, and more.

Throughout the rest of the month, iStoryTime will be giving away free copies of select titles to all users via access codes scattered among app and publishing industry websites around the web. Today’s ebook, for example, is Kung Fu Panda Holiday, and the code is only available by visiting

Of course, Good e-Reader had to get in on the fun, so visitors to the site on December 26th will find the unique code needed to download a free copy of the interactive book Shrek Forever After, based on the final movie in the beloved Shrek series.

A full list of the titles to be given away includes:

12/18 – Kung Fu Panda Holiday
12/19 – Turbo
12/20 – The Smurfs 2
12/21 – Ice Age
12/22 – How to Train a Dragon
12/23 – Rise of the Guardians
12/24 – Arthur Christmas
12/25 – Barney’s Storybook Treasury: What Can It Be?
12/26 – Shrek Forever After
12/27 – Meet Biscuit
12/28 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

This giveaway would be a fantastic opportunity for teachers and librarians to fill their classroom iPads with vetted, high-interest content that contains bonus games, highlighted read-alouds, independent reading, and more.

To find out where the codes will be available, follow iStoryTime on Twitter and Facebook for daily instructions. Once readers have the code for their iOS devices, they will open the book title in iTunes and select it, then tap “Use Storycode” to grab the free ebook.

iStoryTime Announces Children’s Enhanced eBook Giveaways is a post from: E-Reader News

Smashwords Unveils New Website, New Features


It’s a testament to the company model that self-publishing platform and ebook distribution company Smashwords hasn’t changed its website since it launched in 2008. Rather than throw around flashy landing pages that don’t really do anything, the site has spent the last several years sticking with its tried-and-true site while it focused on more important factors, such as ease of use for both authors and readers, and ease of searchability for its more than one million visitors each month.

But now that Smashwords has its legs under it, so to speak, they announced a new look at the company to aid those millions of readers in finding and sampling books. While the design of the site will still at least look familiar to veteran users, it has a more streamlined look and easier search opportunities for readers.

Down the left hand column, books can still be searched by category, but the addition of twenty-seven new filters within those categories means users are more likely to find books that fit their categories even better. Incidentally, no other retail ebook platform offers anywhere close to this many book categories, meaning when the book is uploaded elsewhere by the author or publisher, the options to describe the book accurately for better discover can be pretty limited.

While Smashwords has always had selected books appear on the home screen, the number of books has gone from ten to twenty, and a button has been added that allows users to turn the covers off to compress the screen or to help filter out graphic images if the reader so chooses. Whether by chance or by design, a quick look today at the twenty selected titles showed a much more diverse offering of genres than previous searches, made possible by doubling the number of titles that appear.

Perhaps the most important update has been to the design of its mobile site, now that increasing numbers of smartphones users are reading on their small-screen devices. According to the announcement from Smashwords, this particular enhancement has been a long time coming.

“Our previous mobile version of the site was, to put it kindly, limited. The new mobile experience – whether you're accessing the site from a smart phone or tablet – is darn near beautiful. Our improved mobile support is enabled by our responsive design. It preserves user access to nearly all the same features you'd expect from a large browser on a desktop computer, making it easy for mobile users to browse and discover books without pining for a larger screen.”

A complete look at all of the features and redesigned enhancements can be found HERE.

Smashwords Unveils New Website, New Features is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Publishing Ad Revenue Up 18% in Q3, 2013 in UK


Advertising revenue from digital publishing has hit a new high in the UK, reports Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte, a business advisory firm. Growth recorded is 18 percent in Q3, 2013 compared to the same period last year, which the report claims is the highest recorded since 2010.

The majority of publishers which constitute about 85 percent of those polled claim to have seen positive growth in their advertising revenue during Q3, 2013 while the increase in revenue is reported to be more than 30 percent by half of the newspapers.

Commenting on the above development, Howard Davies, Deloitte media partner said: “These results demonstrate the growing digital strength of UK publishers and that money can be made from digital activities. Whilst there is still an element of exploration and testing, it is clear that publishers are increasingly finding sustainable business models beyond pure print.”

John Barnes, Chairman AOP and MD Digital and Tech Incisive Media, said: “It is a little over 18 years since the first banner ad was served and in that time digital advertising has become the most significant revenue stream for most media owners and a sophisticated and established targeting medium.

“The changes in ad technology such as better targeting are giving premium publishers new opportunities and are helping to target high value consumer and B2B customers, benefiting media owners.”

Digital Publishing Ad Revenue Up 18% in Q3, 2013 in UK is a post from: E-Reader News

Gert plays Santa Claus

Gert, creator of the Gertboard and Gertduino, and all-round good egg, has really been getting into the Christmas spirit this year. He’s designed the world’s simplest Raspberry Pi add-on board – a 5×5 matrix of LEDs driven directly from the GPIO pins which I’m going to christen the Gertenlights.

The assembled Gertenlights in all their glory

Yesterday he brought 100 parts kits into the Broadcom office and announced a lunchtime “matrix grab”, prompting a good fraction of us to descend on the kitchen to collect our free toys. Going to break out the soldering iron this evening.

The ravening hordes descend on the kitchen. Andrew Holme, of homebrew GPS fame is in profile on the left.

The blog gets a makeover!

We're excited to show off the brand new look of The website was designed to make it easier for you to get the news you want to know about. We'll continue to provide the latest updates about new features, content, sales, marketing ideas and “Librarian share” stories, but now you're able to select whether you’d like library-specific news, school posts, or our latest content specials (or all three!) sent directly to your inbox. Simply look on the right-hand side of each page for your subscription options.


The blog home page will show you the latest news from all sections of OverDrive, but the categories in the drop-down menu on the right-hand side make it easy for you to find articles on a number of topics. You can even meet our full team of wonderful bloggers as well!


Don’t forget to use the subscription link on the pages you'd like to follow, and of course, let us know what you think of the new site!


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive.