Friday, December 20, 2013

DC and Madefire Team Up for DC2 Multiverse Comics

Batman Arkham Origins

Last summer, DC Comics announced two new digital lines, DC2 and DC2 Multiverse. They launched the DC2 line of digital-first comics almost immediately with the first issue of Batman ’66, but we haven’t heard much about the DC2 Multiverse comics until now.

This week, DC announced they are teaming up with the motion-comics platform Madefire to create new digital-first comics and remaster their top-selling Injustice comic as a motion comic. And it turns out that Madefire will be behind the DC2 Multiverse comics, which will allow readers to make choices that affect the course of the story. It’s like a really dark choose-your-own-adventure comic.

The first of these comics is Batman: Arkham Origins, which ties into the game of the same name. Interestingly, it’s available both on the Madefire platform and as a stand-alone app, but it does not appear to be available on comiXology or in the DC digital storefront (which is powered by comiXology).

Like all Madefire comics, Batman: Arkham Origins uses very limited animation, such as flat figures sliding across the panel, speech balloons that pop up, or slight rotation of the scene to give a 3D effect, along with sound effects (mostly doomy music and gunfire). The story is a dark Batman tale, and partway through, the reader is given the opportunity to choose which of three men the villain Sionis will use to carry out his dastardly plan. Each choice leads to a different storyline. It feels very natural, unlike some multiple-choice stories, which can seem forced. The story will consist of eight episodes, which can be purchased separately or as a bundle.

Annoyingly, neither the app nor the press release tells you how much the comic is going to cost up front; the only place I could find a price was at the end of the free preview. The first chapter is 99 cents and a “series pass” for all eight chapters is $14.99. It would be really helpful to know what the other chapters will cost, so the user could know whether that series pass is a good deal or not—presumably they are more than 99 cents, or the pass would be a terrible deal. But that information is nowhere to be found—not in the app, not in the press releases, which does the reader a serious disservice.

Hopefully this will be straightened out, because the multiple paths do make for some interesting storytelling.

DC and Madefire Team Up for DC2 Multiverse Comics is a post from: E-Reader News

Google Play Books Loses PDF Upload Support


Google Play Books introduced a feature last week that would allow people to upload EPUB and PDF books into their Play Books account right on their tablet. All you had to do was simply copy and paste the book on your device or email it to yourself and save the attachment. Google has now suspended the PDF uploading feature from your device but has kept EPUB working for now. The only way you can upload PDF Files now is to use Google’s online tool that will upload it directly to the cloud.

Google Play Books Loses PDF Upload Support is a post from: E-Reader News

Subscribe to Two Nook Magazines for the Price of One

nook newsstand

The Barnes and Noble Nook Newsstand is running a holiday promotion that will allow customers to subscribe to two digital magazines for the price of one, plus receive the last 12 issues of each magazine for free, making now the perfect time for NOOK customers to start building their library for one amazing low price. Customers can choose from over 50 participating bestselling titles from a predetermined list.

Most of the magazines available for the promotion are tethered together and come from the same publisher.  Some examples of the deals include; Food Network Magazine & O, The Oprah Magazine,  WIRED & GQ and Better Homes and Gardens & Every Day with Rachael Ray. 


Subscribe to Two Nook Magazines for the Price of One is a post from: E-Reader News

Txtr Beagle Now Available in Hungary via Magyar Telekom


After almost six months of searching, Berlin Germany based Txtr has found a telecom partner willing to subsidize the Beagle e-Reader. The Beagle is now available in Hungary via Magyar Telekom.

The Txtr Beagle ebook reader can be purchased on the Telekom website. Consumers ordering online can get it for as little as HUF 8,900 (approx. €29.50) in combination with one of three smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Young, Sony Xperia M, LG L7 II) and a two-year contract. The Txtr Beagle includes two free ebooks as well as a preview of Jo Nesbo's new thriller Police. Customers also can access plenty of new eBooks via the Hungarian version of the Txtr store that launches a few months ago.

Alternatively consumers can buy the Beagle online with a HUF 0 down-payment and 24 interest-free monthly instalments or at list price for HUF 17,928 (approx. €60.00) including a 10% web shop discount. The device is also available in the main Telekom shops, and will be in all Telekom shops from mid-January. There, the txtr beagle can be purchased for HUF 19,920 (approx. €66.00), while gold and platinum Telekom customers can buy it for HUF 0 down-payment and 12 monthly instalments of HUF 1,660 (approx. €5.60).

Thomas Leliveld, CEO of Txtr, says: "We are absolutely delighted to bring the Txtr Beagle to market in Hungary in partnership with Magyar Telekom. Together we are delivering all the necessary ingredients for a successful service by combining our unique device with the e-reading competence of txtr and the consumer marketing knowledge of Telekom."

Txtr Beagle Now Available in Hungary via Magyar Telekom is a post from: E-Reader News

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Series Review

Galaxy Tab 3Samsung released an updated line of the Galaxy Tab 3 series tablets earlier this year. This series sees a lot of similarities to the Galaxy S4. The similarities these devices share with the Galaxy S4 are nice, however if you're looking for a more cutting edge tablet, you would be better served looking into a Galaxy Note or a Nexus 7.

This isn't saying the Tab 3 series tablets aren't great devices; just some users want a little bit more of a cutting edge experience with their brand new device. The Galaxy Tab 3 line offers any Galaxy fan a solid experience in three reasonably priced sizes. These tablets are not only slim, but they are some of the lighter tablets that I have gotten my hands on to date.

The Tab 3 series as mentioned earlier comes in three different sizes, a 7-inch, an 8-inch and a 10.1-inch tablet. For me, after reviewing all three, the 8-inch design is probably my favorite of the group. This tablet offers not only ample amount of screen real-estate, but it also fits nicely in my hand (mind you I have somewhat large hands). I will break down the specs for each of the devices so that you can get a feel for what each device offers.

7-inch Galaxy Tab

  • Android 4.1.2
  • 1.2GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8GB or 16GB internal storage, expandable through microSD card
  • Screen Resolution of 1024×600 LCD
  • 3MP rear camera and 1.3MP front facing camera

8-inch Galaxy Tab

  • Android 4.2.2
  • 1.5GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage, expandable with microSD card
  • Screen Resolution of 1280×800 LCD
  • 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front facing camera

10.1-inch Galaxy Tab

  • Android 4.2.2
  • 1.6GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 1GB or RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage, expandable with microSD card
  • Screen Resolution of 1280×800 LCD
  • 3MP rear camera and 1.3MP front facing camera

After seeing the specs for all three devices, the 8-inch tablet stands out as the best option. It is cheaper than the 10.1-inch version and you actually get better specifications as well. The screen resolution on all of these tablets allows for enjoyable reading indoors from any angle you should happen to be holding the tablet while reading. Reading outdoors is another story, but that goes for a lot of tablets, not just these in particular. This is where OverDrive audiobooks would come in handy; you get to experience your title outdoors, without straining your eyes to read the screen.

While reviewing these devices, they all handled everything I could throw at them really well. The applications opened without any hesitation and websites opened very smoothly. Using the OverDrive Media Console on all of these tablets was a very pleasant experience. The smaller tablet versions provided more enjoyable reading experiences though, as they fit in my hand more like a book would. The 10.1-inch tablet was nice if you wanted to take advantage of the column reading that OverDrive Media Console offers while holding the tablet in landscape mode.

The speakers on these devices seemed a little underwhelming to me, but then again I wasn't expecting anything groundbreaking in regards to audio from tablet speakers. If you want fuller sound, I would recommend using headphones when listening to audiobooks, or anything else for that matter. Using the speakers or headphones, the devices performed respectably using OverDrive's new streaming video service. The video was crisp with no noticeable lag besides the initial buffering of the video.

Overall, this series of tablets is a great option for someone who is looking for an entry into the Android tablet experience. They all perform admirably in all areas of multimedia and with the price tag of $200, $300 and $400 respectively, these tablets are a pretty good deal.


Andrew Bucher is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.


eiNetwork and OverDrive provide Circulation API solutions to partner libraries

In the fourth quarter of this year, OverDrive's new Circulation APIs have been integrated into several partner library online catalogs. Recently joining the list, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Library Association have launched Circulation API solutions through their ILS provider, eiNetwork.

The Circulation APIs enable seamless checkouts and holds within a partner's OPAC, giving end users one singular experience on the library's online discovery interface without having to leave the website to checkout eBooks and audiobooks. eiNetwork's objective was to give users a better overall experience.

"The seamless account for patrons has always been our goal," said Rebecca Serey, Director at eiNetwork. "The Circulation API allows eiNetwork to ensure our patrons have a consistent user interface experience via our catalog. We can also be more efficient in adapting new features/capabilities as they are released from OverDrive. The patron's experience is improved performance (faster response time) and they have noticed it."

OverDrive's full suite of APIs enable libraries to access catalog metadata, see availability, search the library's collection, authenticate user login information, and request checkouts, downloads, holds and returns within the library's own OPAC.

All OverDrive APIs are available through the Developer's Portal. The full complement of OverDrive APIs simplifies the user experience and promotes the discovery of digital media content on library and school websites, meeting the ReadersFirst guidelines. OverDrive APIs are used by developers and ILS companies to provide a streamlined experience for patrons looking to access libraries' full catalogs in one location. To add this functionality to your OPAC, contact your ILS provider today.


Heather Tunstall is Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Ebook Bundles Add Value, Discovery to Authors’ Works

As authors and publishers clamor to help their titles be found in an ever growing ebook market, one source of promotion and increased revenue has come in the form of ebook bundling. Some publishers were early experimenters with the concept in its early form, which included titles such as Hilary Jordan’s When She Woke being offered for one price in both print and digital by Algonquin Publishers and the American Bookseller’s Association; another similar concept is that of the Kindle Match program, which lets the rights holders determine whether or not readers can have the digital and print versions for one price or for an additional–albeit fractional–price.

But a new concept has emerged, which is that of the boxed set or anthology collections of ebook files. These bundled digital files are offered by both stand alone authors who lump their titles together, such as Ella Fox’s first four books in the Hart Family series, or by a group of authors–such as the four erotica authors behind The Naughty List–who piggyback existing titles with each others’ works for added promotion and publicity, ebook bundling is a way to make additional income and grow a fan base through digital.

A blog post by Lindsay Buroker on bundling features an interview with part of the collaborative team behind the boxed set of ebooks called Faery Worlds. As Buroker points out, bundles are selling quite well on ebook retail sites right now, as readers look for content to read over the holidays and as they invest money in a savings such as this. Together, the six authors behind Faery Worlds put their complete novels into one ebook file, crediting each author and title individually, and the end result is currently in the top five hundred for all paid titles on Amazon, as well as ranked numbers one and two in several different book categories.

One thing that is important for authors to know is that a boxed set of works from a single author may result in additional revenue, but that authors collaborating on a project of this kind will lead to very little once the royalties are split, but can mean a dramatic increase in readers who are interested in purchasing future titles from the authors they only met as part of the bundle.

Ebook Bundles Add Value, Discovery to Authors’ Works is a post from: E-Reader News

Christmas delivery: we’ve got Pis and kits in the Swag Store!

If you’re in the UK and you’re looking for a last-minute present for someone this Christmas, there’s still time to get a Raspberry Pi, a starter kit or other Pi goodies: we’ll deliver them to you in time to get them under the tree.

We’ve got complete starter kits at £75. If you order any time before Tuesday, we’ll be able to courier them to you in time for Christmas.

The kit includes:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B 512MB
  • 8GB Micro SD (pre-imaged with NOOBS)
  • Micro SD Card Adaptor
  • Your Choice of Pibow Case
  • Chiclet Keyboard
  • Optical Mouse
  • 1 Amp Power Supply
  • HDMI cable
  • Micro USB cable
  • A Raspberry Pi tote bag to cart the lot around in
  • …you just need to bring the screen!

If you just want a Raspberry Pi, we’ve got stock of Model Bs that we can get you in time for Christmas too – but you’ll have to order today, because these go via Royal Mail. They’re £32.88.

We’ve also got this furry fellow for sale. Babbage is £9, and is looking for someone to snuggle with this Christmas. Order him today, and he’ll arrive just in time.

Other items from the Swag Store: Carrie Anne’s book, Eben’s book, Pibows, accessory bundles, shirts, and more, are all available, and again, if you order today, you’ll get them in time for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!


Oyster eBook Subscription Gets Titles from Perseus


When subscription reading was first introduced several years ago, companies like Spain-based 24Symbols introduced some of the first of a variety of different models. Some companies experimented with Netflix-style unlimited reading for a flat fee, others tried charging per page view, while still others tried freemium models. While any number of pricing and reading options may have suited the readers, early attempts at subscription digital reading fizzled because the publishers were a hard group to convince. It’s no wonder, though, as the time honored royalty structure was something the industry understood, whereas charging readers to read a page in their books was uncharted territory.

The end result was the very few publishers came on board with the services, and many of those who did only brought their back list or a handful of midlist titles. Now that the concept of ebooks and digital reading is firmly solidified for the industry, more and more publishers are accepting the invitations of a growing number of ebook subscription services.

Popular service Oyster has already had some success with introducing sought after titles into its catalog, and announced this week that Perseus Books Group would be contributing some titles to its growing library. These titles include Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, Masters of Sex by Thomas Maier, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Other Perseus titles will be included in the Oyster library soon.

The deal with Perseus adds their titles to those from publishers who’ve already signed with Oyster, including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Workman, Rodale, Melville House, Verso, Akashic, Other Press, and perhaps most exciting, Smashwords, who has taken great strides this week in opening its catalog to rival subscription service Scribd.

This addition goes hand-in-hand with the more than 100,000 titles that Oyster already has available in its catalog, available in unlimited reads for $8.99 a month.

Oyster eBook Subscription Gets Titles from Perseus is a post from: E-Reader News

Japan Enjoys a Stable Newspaper Subscription Base but the Future is Digital


Newspapers in North America are in a state of flux and the entire industry is a cacophony of mergers, acquisitions or bankrupt companies. Ailing advertising revenue is prompting many local, regional and major papers to adopt the New York Times Paywall strategy, to varying amounts of success. The Washington Post was sold to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and general upheaval has forced The Rocky Mountain News into the abyss, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reduced to a bare-bones internet operation.

What makes Japan so different from their counterparts in the USA and Canada? You rarely hear about mergers and acquisitions or longtime papers forced into bankruptcy.

Professor Hayashi Kaori of the University of Tokyo said that “Newspaper circulation figures remain remarkably high in Japan. Among the major national papers, the Yomiuri Shimbun — Japan's largest — puts its circulation at slightly less than 10 million. The number two, Asahi Shimbun, has an official circulation just shy of 8 million. Japan's regional newspapers typically reach 50 percent of households in their market, and a fair number boast a penetration rate of 60 percent or higher. Moreover, Japanese regional papers are almost all independently operated — unlike their US counterparts, which are mostly owned by nationwide newspaper chains like McClatchy.”

Newspapers in North America have seen dramatic declines in both circulation rates and advertising revenue. Nearly two-thirds of the 25 largest papers in the U.S. posted circulation declines of 10% or more in 2011 alone.  Japan has only seen  a 20% decrease in the last 15 years.

How does Japan remain so stable?  Hayashi Kaori explains, “The chief reason is that for most Japanese adults over a certain age, newspapers not are merely an information medium but an integral part of their lifestyle. If you are an adult in Japan, chances are that one of the first things you do after getting up in the morning is to go to your mailbox and collect your morning paper. Later, when the evening newspaper arrives, you scan the headlines to catch up on the day's events. Japanese readers remain loyal to one newspaper or another simply because their family has always subscribed to that newspaper, or because they happen to know the neighborhood distributor.”

The Youth are moving towards Digital 


We live in a world where most of the breaking news occurs on Twitter, Facebook and Reditt. No matter what subject interests you, there are dedicated websites, blogs or forum communities devoted to it. The Figure above is data from a survey conducted in 2005 and 2010 by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute. In 2010, men in their twenties reported spending four minutes per day with a print newspaper on average, as compared with 68 minutes online. Most often, if youth are getting their news from a digital source, they are very unlikely to embrace print as they grow older.  This creates a problem where subscription circulation remains steady, but there is a severe lack of new signups.

Many of the leading Japanese newspapers have not embraced a digital format yet, chiefly because of their extensive distributor base and people reliant on them for an income. If the newspapers start to move into a digital direction there would be a backlash from the traditional subscription base and everyone involved in the manufacturing and distribution.  Some newspapers are starting to move into digital, slowly, but have not yet embraced it.

Yomiuri, Japan's largest daily newspaper, makes its paid digital edition, Yomiuri Premium, available only to print subscribers. Similarly, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun hype their print-plus-digital packages, but discourage digital-only subscriptions by pricing them almost as high as print subscriptions. Most regional newspapers, meanwhile, have balked at publishing a digital edition. Their websites carry only free content in the form of "article teasers" designed to spark interest in the print edition.

The newspaper industry in Japan is stable and has been somewhat immune to most of the trends plaguing the North American market. They have an aging, but loyal core-base of readers, where cultural values sustain the industry at large.  The entire industry as nothing to worry about in the immediate future, but a problem may arise in 10 years from now, when the youth of today are the adults of tomorrow and have children. If the trend continues of reading more digitally and only spending a few minutes a day with a physical paper continues, Japan may be in big trouble.

Japan Enjoys a Stable Newspaper Subscription Base but the Future is Digital is a post from: E-Reader News

New Version of the Good e-Reader App Store Released


Today Good e-Reader is proud to release the latest update to our Android App Market that works on all Smartphones and tablets. There are new features and enhancements that we have worked diligently on to produce the best, most stable build ever.

One of the big new features we have introduced today was the inclusion of simultaneous app downloads. Now, you can download more than one app at once, with no limitations. We have also worked on closer integration with Facebook for our Cloud Storage App Locker. Now, you can store all of your downloaded apps in the Good e-Reader Cloud. You can install the App Market on all of your devices and keep a running history of all the cool stuff you downloaded. This makes installing your favorite apps on a new device very easy!

Want to see how popular a game or app is? We now have an accurate listing of the total number of times someone has downloaded it!

The Good e-Reader App Store is available via Google Play or from our own Good e-Reader App Store. The best thing about our market, is that you don’t need to register to use it. Whether you use our web-based version or our Android client, everything is done in 1 click.

New Version of the Good e-Reader App Store Released is a post from: E-Reader News

British Digital Archive Now Available Only at the Library – No Web Access


The ambitious archive project embarked upon in the UK that aimed to preserve a digital copy of all websites, tweets, Facebook entries, ebooks, newspapers along with other cultural and intellectual works pertaining to the country is now ready to be harvested. Ironically, such a huge digital cache of information can only be accessed from a few select terminals located at pre-designated spots which for now will be located in one of the top six academic libraries un UK and Ireland. While the digital archive is now available at the British Library, the same is set to be rolled out in other sites which include the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Library Dublin.

The project is unique just by the scope of it in that can be considered a digital repository of everything conceivable, which includes centuries old archival material to the more recent social networking updates will make it to digital archive, with anything and everything thrown in in between. The scope is huge and it shouldn't be surprising the entries have already run into billions of pages.

“Its not a public archive. That’s the absolute key point,” said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council in response to reactions from some quarter of the digital archive being only accessible from a physical location. “The [internet archive] legislation has always been constructed for people who go into the Legal Deposit libraries – for the readers, with a capital R. It’s an archive for preservation and for research,” further added Angela obviously referring to the 2003 Legal Deposit Libraries Act that makes it mandatory for digital archives to be treated on par with the archives of yors that comprised of printed material.

However, with such a huge collection of information that provides immense potential for research, its only a select few that will have the privilege to savor the details as permitted by the space that the library locations are able to spare.

Legal Deposit Libraries' manager Richard Gibby too opposed unrestricted access to the digital archive citing problems it might create for companies that rely on advertising to drive business.

“While there were some discussions into the possibility that the Act might be changed in future so that the archived copies of websites might be made available via the web, it was noted that freely accessible web content can be part of a commercial business model, e.g. to support advertising and 'click-through' traffic to the rights owner's website,” said Giddy while further adding: “Making archived copies of material available online, and also allowing it to be indexed by search engines, could potentially affect the volume of web user traffic to the rights owner's live website and harm their business model.”

However, tech writer Glyn Moody expressed grouse at the time it took for the project to take its final shape citing the millions of sites that could have been part of the archive but won't be now that they have ceased to exist. It took over a decade for the British publishers and others concerned to approve of the digital archive.

Worth mentioning here, the National Library of Norway has also taken up a similar project of digitizing all that has ever been published in that country.

British Digital Archive Now Available Only at the Library – No Web Access is a post from: E-Reader News