Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Global Digital Library Trends for 2015


Libraries in all over the world are undergoing a digital resonance as major publishers have firmly committed themselves to the concept of making e-Books available. Today, we look at some of the biggest trends facing libraries in Canada, US and United Kingdom.

A recent report by the Library Journal has stated that 95% of all US libraries have an e-book collection. That's up from 89% in both 2013 and 2012, when researchers thought that adoption had plateaued for good. The average number of e-books carried was 20,244 by each library, but that of course was skewed toward large libraries. Medium sized libraries statistically had around 10,434 titles.

Over 10 different libraries in the US and Canada had over one million digital loans in 2014, with two libraries lending out two million e-Books. This number will likely double in 2015, as companies like 3M Cloud Library and Baker and Taylor begin to gain further traction.

e-Books are doing quite well in the US, but over in the UK a sustainable model is still trying to be established by the government, libraries and major publishers.   In May 2013 the UK government funded a review looking into the viability of allowing customers to borrow eBook, without all of the drama. The Sieghart Review said publishers should not limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing eBooks after lending and having digital books "deteriorate after a number of loans".

A pilot project was initiated in four UK libraries in March 2014 that augmented the digital loaning period for up to 21 days and included a number of front-list titles, including bestsellers that just came out. The essence of the pilot is to carry out real-time, real-world research into the impact of eBook lending in public libraries on authors, publishers and on the library service so that a suitable and sustainable model.

Its been around six months since the pilot was first initiated and there has been some interesting findings. All four participating authorities have seen a significant increase in e-lending,  with longer loan periods leading to more titles being borrowed. The project has also found the increase in e-lending is not decreasing physical lending or footfall to libraries. They also found customers were not using the “Buy it Now” button to purchase an e-book.

Audiobooks to be the next big thing


In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible.

The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. In a recent  New York Times piece, they said "In the first eight months of 2014, sales were up 28% over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6%"

Digital audiobooks are finally starting to find their stride thanks to libraries embracing them in a big way. There are a number of major players providing audio services to libraries, 3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive. For the most part, these are the exact same companies that provide the libraries e-Book portfolio.

Many of the top audiobook distributors lean on 3rd parties for a full catalog of content. 3M and Baker and Taylor both get their audio editions from Findaway World, which is current market leader in production. Findaway has a catalog of over 50,000 titles and maintains production studios, narrators and crew in New York. Overdrive has their own internal solution, where they approach publishers directly and don't do business with companies such as Audible or Findaway World.

Tom Mercer, Marketing Manager of 3M Cloud Library said "we see a tremendous opportunity to grow in the Audio space in 2015. Right now we're two weeks into the "real world" of Audio, but customers really seem to like our solution. Our initial Beta feedback from very positive."

Hoopla is an audiobook solution for libraries that floats under the radar, but are quickly making a name for themselves. The company has a catalog of 13,000 titles with 1,000 added each month. Hoopla deals with over 100 libraries in the US and charges no licensing fees with setting up the system, which is quite appealing to the average library. How does Hoopla make money? The company has employed the Pay Per Use model, which only charges the library when a specific title is checked out by a patron. The San Francisco Public Library said they are are predicting that in 2015 more companies will embrace the Hoopla model, which will lower costs for libraries and get more content in-front of the patrons.

How well are the publishers doing in the audiobook sector? Cheryl Herman, marketing director for Penguin Random House's Books on Tape & Listening Library said. "Our library sales for digital audio are up nearly 35% over 2014, we're offering more and more titles on audio, and we're not alone in that. There are also more players entering the market, and more titles overall being published than ever before."

In 2015 digital audiobooks will gain further traction in libraries due to tapes and CD’s no longer being economically viable. Overdrive, the current leader in audiobook sales for libraries are developing a HTML5 based streaming solution that will allow patrons to listen to audiobooks without the need of the Overdrive Media Console.  This will be tremendously beneficial to users who employ alternative operating systems on their mobile devices, such as Firefox OS, Blackberry or Tizen.

Digital Newspapers and Magazines to gain more traction


Thousands of libraries are starting to embrace digital newspapers and magazine content. They are doing this because not only are the latest issues available but also back issues.

One of the ways this type of content is really shining is attributed to libraries installing tablets and e-readers in their different branches.  One example of this is the San Francisco Public Library system unveiling their new e-news center at their main branch and has since expanded it to Chinatown and North Beach. The premise is to draw attention to the virtues of reading digital magazines and newspapers on a bunch of Apple iPads. The actual content is provided for free to patron by Vancouver based PressReader, who is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the library sector.

Pressreader might very well be the largest company involved in distributing newspaper and magazine titles to libraries, but the limited competition is prompting new entrants to enter the market. EBSCO Information Services introduced Flipster in October. It  allows library patrons to browse the latest issues of high quality digital versions of popular magazines on iOS.

Senior Vice President for Product Management, Michael Laddin says that Flipster is a new way for EBSCO customers to provide content to their end users. "By providing a high quality digital reading experience for library patrons, whether they are at the library or accessing the digital magazines remotely, Flipster offers a unique approach for experiencing content in popular magazines as well as extending library services in an exciting new way. It has been designed especially for library patrons who want to browse the latest issues of popular magazines. Flipster complements EBSCO's full-text databases (e.g., MasterFILE, MAS, Business Source, etc.) which enable patrons to research topics of interest to them."

Not only are libraries leaning on 3rd parties to provide their digital newspapers and magazines, but some are actually digitizing it themselves. The Brooklyn Public Library system recently announced a new initiative to digitize backlist newspaper archives in order to make them available to the public via their online portal. This initiative, which will make all copies of the original Brooklyn newspaper,The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, available digitally. The original content was stored on microfilm from the Library of Congress.

I scan Google News for library news every single day and I have noticed a huge uptick in libraries announcing new partnerships for digital magazines and newspapers. Every week between 5 and 25 locations are buying into this concept and there is obvious value to their patrons. By going digital, they last forever and unlike e-Books there is not a one book, one lend policy. Magazines can be loaned out in abundance, which makes them a stellar value proposition. Likely in 2015, we will start to see even more companies entering this space to compete against PressReader and Zinio.

Here and There


The Queens Library system in New York has developed their own proprietary app for Android and iOS. It offers library patrons seamless search and access to audiobooks from Acoustik, magazines from Zinio, and eBooks from OverDrive and Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 platform. Other features include location, mapping, and contact information for each branch, a catalog search, an ISBN barcode scanning function that enables users to scan books in retail environments to see if titles are available at their library, an events schedule that enables registration, an "ask a librarian" live chat service, a contact information form, and even a text-to-donate option.

Since the apps launch in July they had 5,400 installations on iOS and more than 3,300 on Android. This has prompted Queens to start marketing the app creation service to smaller branches with little to no IT investment. One app to rule them all, this will be big in 2015.

One of the big trends in 2014 was new libraries forgoing books altogether and embracing digital 100%. The first library to do this was the Bibliotech in Austin and Omaha announced plans to construct one in 2015.

In 2015 more libraries will begin to offer their e-Book collections to residents living outside that particular county or city. Charging non-residents $50 to $75 a year will help offset that libraries digital investment and provide an alternative revenue stream to invest in better catalog.

In early 2014 Overdrive and Smashwords signed a new agreement to get 200,000 indie titles available to the library. Right now on the backend collection managers are finding it hard to select and purchase quality content. Look for this to change in 2015, I heard its going to be more refined. I have also heard rumors that other self-publishing companies such as LULU and maybe even Kindle Direct Publishing to get involved in this space.

Global Digital Library Trends for 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Visual Novels Find a Home on Steam


Steam is one of the most popular game distribution and sales platforms. The biggest budget games of 2014 have found a home on the service, as well as indie titles. Steam isn’t just for games anymore, anime infused visual novels have also been able to leverage steam to reach an international audience.

Unlike graphic novels or manga, A visual novel is an interactive fiction game, featuring mostly static graphics, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills (and sometimes video footage). As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels.  Visual novels are an extension of popular anime franchises and do quite well in Japan, where they made up nearly 70% of all PC game sales.

Even the most popular and famous Japanese visual novels usually never see a western release; instead they're translated by unofficial fan groups. Where the publishers and game creators do not generate any additional revenue. However visual novels have slowly been garnering popularity on Steam ever since Valve introduced the tagging system.

Before visual novels came to steam, they were normally sold directly to customers from the publishers or game studios websites. They sometimes cost over $100 and were made in very limited quantities. Now that publishers are using Steam to distribute their titles, they merely delivered via digital downloads.

Currently, there is 59 visual novels available on Steam and some of them are selling quite well.  Long Live the Queen has 5971 purchases, Analogue: A Hate Story has 3030, Cherry Tree High Comedy Club has 1514 purchases and Sunrider: mask of Arcadius has 1198. Aside from the bestselling editions the average title has around 600 purchases,

Visual novels have not sold in huge numbers yet on Steam, but this may change in 2015 as bigger budget titles start to make the crossover. Right now one of the largest selling titles of all time, CLANNAD, has launched a Kickstarter campaign where they asked for $140,000 for an English release, instead they raised $380,000. First published on the PC April 4th, 2004, CLANNAD has been ported to the PS2, Xbox360, PS Vita, and many other platforms. It was also adapted into a popular anime with the first season broadcast in 2007 and a sequel, CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~, broadcast in 2008. CLANNAD is a masterpiece by the visual novel studio Key, and its themes of family and bonds have deeply moved its fans since it was first released. In the near future it will be released on Steam.

Other games with smaller budgets are starting to rely on blitz media campaigns in order to get the word out.  One title that is getting lots of attention is Nekopara Vol. 1, which tells the tale of Kashou Minaduki, a young baker descended from a long line of Japanese confection makers who sets out on his own to open a patisserie. Of course, a couple of catgirls show up and hi-jinks ensue. Naturally.

Many publishers are still wary of Steam as a distribution platform for visual novels because Valve still has not created a dedicated section for them. Instead, they are merely using tags, which makes it hard for the average user to find the content.

Visual Novels Find a Home on Steam is a post from: Good e-Reader

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Windows Phone to Support Android Apps: Maybe, Probably


Microsoft has started to finally enjoy a little mobile marketplace success in the form of app development, but they are still circling the drain when it comes to creating a must-have smartphone or tablet. This isn’t to say they have given up: Windows 10 promises to be truly innovative and exciting (whenever it actually hits the streets). Too little, too late? Perhaps… but what if Microsoft’s new operating system also let you take advantage of Android apps? Now that’s a concept worth considering.

Rumour mills are spinning once again, suggesting Microsoft will buddy up with Android –though nothing is official yet (and some reports indicate this would be a last-resort move).

So would the addition of Android support indicate defeat for Microsoft, or brilliance? On the surface it may seem like compromising, but ultimately it may mean getting larger numbers of Microsoft-platformed hardware into the hands of consumers. If that happens, native Windows-based apps would likely be welcomed over ported Android apps.

Some developers are voicing concerns to the contrary, stating that by allowing Android apps on the mobile Windows platform, enthusiasm for native app development for Microsoft will be killed.

But let’s be realistic. Microsoft already has difficult attracting and keeping developers for their platform… why not take any opportunity they can to sell more units and gain marketshare?

Windows Phone to Support Android Apps: Maybe, Probably is a post from: Good e-Reader

Microsoft Replacing Internet Explorer with a New Browser


After all the pain Internet Explorer caused Microsoft years ago, it seems strange they would ever consider offering anything other than their flagship web browser. Of course, the tech giant of yester-year may also be starting to realize that their antiquated ways of thinking may just mean their demise… so as part of the new Microsoft, Windows 10 will feature a sparkly new web browser code-named Spartan.

While it appears the biggest change from Internet Explorer to Spartan will be the overall weight of the software (with the new web browser more closely resembling Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox). We don’t know much more about Spartan just yet, but it would make sense that Microsoft is targeting mobile users browsing the web from smartphones and tablets.

If there are any of you out there who actually love and use Internet Explorer (I am sorry), but have no fear –it appears Microsoft isn’t abandoning one browser in favour of another. This is equal parts good and bad: nice they aren’t forcing users into something new, but the company has never really excelled at supporting large and diverse product catalogues.

Microsoft Replacing Internet Explorer with a New Browser is a post from: Good e-Reader

Crunchyroll Streaming Service is Down


The Crunchyroll streaming service has been down the last few days as the company is a victim of a massive DDOS attack. This is the same type of Distributed Denial of Service that plagued Sony and Microsoft gaming networks for approximately three days around Christmas.

The online media service Crunchyroll  is likely the largest company in the world that exclusively shows anime and mange television episodes and movies. Most of their content is aimed at people outside of Japan, because the vast majority are subtitled.  The streaming company has over 400,000 reported paid subscribers — doubling its total in about one and a half years. Crunchyroll previously announced that it had over 200,000 subscribers at Tokyo International Anime Fair in March 2013.

The companies apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV and everything else went down late Monday evening. It is currently unknown whether or not Lizard Squad is also responsible for this attack.

One of the big concerns from the  Crunchyroll user base is what will happen to the weekly simulcast release schedule? Will everything be delayed a few days? Will the company is posting all of the new content as soon as the server situation as been stabilized? No one really knows at this point.

Crunchyroll Streaming Service is Down is a post from: Good e-Reader

Top 10 Best Manga of 2014


In Japanese culture, Manga is quintessentially apart of everyday life. It is ridiciously easy to buy one on the way to work and read it in a single day. Here in North America, things become a little bit more difficult, as bookstores often have a very paltry selection. This has given rise to digital distribution as an avenue for explosive growth. Viz, Crunchyroll, Manga Rock and a number of other apps make downloading and reading content very efficent.

The purpose of the top 10 manga list of 2014 is to give you a sense of what these are all about. Not only are they available in manga form, but most also have television shows that are available to watch via Crunchyroll or without subtitles in Japan. Maybe you will find a compelling read!

Attack on Titan – Eren Jaeger lives in city surrounded by monolithic walls. Outside dwell human murdering Titans. For decades members of the Scouting Legion have been the only humans who dared to leave the safety of the walls and gather information on the Titans. Every time they return, many of them are dead. Freedom loving Eren has no greater wish than to join them.

Tokyo Ghoul – Ken Kaneki is a bookworm college student who meets a girl names Rize at a cafe he frequents. They’re the same age and have the same interests, so they quickly become close. Little does Kaneki know that Rize is a ghoul – a kind of monster that lives by hunting and devouring human flesh. When part of her special organ – “the red child” – is transplanted into Kaneki, he becomes a ghoul himself, trapped in a warped world where humans are not the top of the food chain.

Yowamushi Pedal – Sakamichi Onada is a wimpy high school freshman who loves anime. He initially wants to enter the anime club, but winds up joining the cycling club after meeting two classmates who are already famous cyclists. He undertakes the grueling training to compete in races, and discovers his own hidden talent in cycling. This manga has spawned a TV show and various gatherings in Japan where people meet up and cycle together now.

One Piece – Twenty two years ago, the legendary pirate, Gold Roger was executed. His final words told that his treasure known as “One Piece” was hidden somewhere on the Grand Line. This started the Age of Pirates. Now, twenty two years later, seventeen year old Monkey D. Luffy desires to find One Piece, and become the Pirate King. But to do this, he needs a crew.

Haikyu!!- Shōyō Hinata began playing volleyball after seeing the “small giants” who played the sport when he was in elementary school. He suffers a crushing defeat in his first and last tournament in middle school at the hands of his rival Tobio Kageyama. So, Hinata joins Kurasuno High School’s volleyball team, vowing revenge against Kageyama. However, Kageyama is also on Kurasuno’s team. The former rivals form a legendary combo with Hinata’s mobility and Kageyama’s precision ball-handling. Together, they take on the local tournaments and vow to meet Kurasuno’s fated rival school in the nationals.

Ace of Diamond – It is a manga of high school baseball. The main character, who is a pitcher from a country high school, accidentally gets teamed up with a catcher from a school with an elite baseball team. He decides to quit his school to attend the school that this catcher plays…..

Magi – In a fantastic middle-age world where slavery is very common, there are mysterious tall towers named “Dungeon” which mysteriously appeared out of nowhere fourteen years before the story line. Someone who conquers a Dungeon becomes very powerful and wealthy. Our hero Ali Baba is a teenager who works for merchants to support himself. He dreams for conquering a lot of Dungeons and becoming a very rich person. One day, he comes across with a strange young boy named Aladdin who carries a mystical flute with supernatural powers in it. Ali Baba and Aladdin agree to travel their first Dungeon together.

The Seven Deadly Sins – Elizebath sets out to save the Kingdom of Lyons by searching for the infamous group of criminals who tried to overthrow the Kingdom, to ask them to save the Kingdom. She stumbles into a travelling Bar where she meets Meliodas, the owner of the Bar and the Dragon’s Sin of Wrath. After a brief encounter with a Holy Knight, the journey starts, to find the other members of the Seven Deadly Sins and to try and save the Kingdom.

Terra Formars – With Earth quickly becoming uninhabitable due to a swelling population, humans develop a project to terraform Mars, one that involves leaving cockroaches on the planet’s surface. Five hundred years later, Earth sends a team of astronauts to “exterminate” the roaches and prepare Mars for colonization. Once there, however, the astronauts discover that the roaches have rapidly mutated into terrible humanoids, more powerful than any normal human. But the astronauts have been given special, insect-like abilities to deal with the roaches, and a violent struggle for control of the planet ensues.

Chihayafuru – Chihaya Ayase is a frank and ebullient girl who becomes fascinated by the obscure world of competitive karuta, a card game based on Japanese poetry. Introduced to the aggressive style of the game by a quiet and thoughtful elementary school classmate named Arata Wataya, the two quickly become close friends. They start playing as a group with Taichi Mashima, Chihaya’s smart and athletic childhood friend, until they have to part ways during their middle school years due to several circumstances. As their high school life begins, they meet once again.

Top 10 Best Manga of 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Apple Designs a New Stylus that Digitizes Notes Drawn on Paper


Apple has designed and patented a new stylus that will digitize drawings and notes drawn on physical paper. This will appeal to authors who prefer to write their novels or designers who have a brilliant idea while jotting something down on a napkin.

The new patent Apple was awarded will translate notes written down on papers to an iPhone or iPad. It also details various exchangeable tips for the stylus, including actual ink, markers for a whiteboard, or a rubberized nub akin to most popular tablet styli. The stylus activates when various motion-sensing hardware, including accelerometers, detects when the pen is picked up out of its dock, pressed to a writing surface, or simply turned on manually.

Thanks to motion sensors able to detect a 3D plane, the stylus uses an initial zero point to transmit the movement and flow of handwriting as varying changes in position to the desired computing device. This technology also means an actual surface isn’t needed to transmit data — simply writing notes in the air would suffice. The patent even details ways for users to choose how the data is transmitted, including continuously or at chosen intervals, allowing battery life to be preserved.

I think a smart stylus is a great idea. It would certainly have a place in schools, as students continue to make notes on paper, while preserving a digital backup for editing. I think authors, designers and artists might find this technology especially compelling.

Apple Designs a New Stylus that Digitizes Notes Drawn on Paper is a post from: Good e-Reader

Commonly stolen library books

When I worked in a public library, I was amazed at the amount of books that were stolen or never returned. I came to learn that my library was not unique.

We did some research and polled our Facebook followers asking which books were notorious for being lifted from the shelves. Using the results, we curated a list of the most commonly stolen library books.

One of the great things about eBooks is that they can't be stolen. Consider adding (or replacing) these commonly stolen books with eBooks!

Commonly Stolen Library Books

If you would like more suggestions, the Collection Development Team is available to help create recommended lists. for more information today!

*Some titles in lists may have limited regional or platform availability.

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.

10 libraries exceed 1 million checkouts in 2014 through OverDrive

We’re excited to announce that 2014’s “1 Million Checkout Club” includes 10 public library systems, surpassing the dix lirbaries that accomplished this feat in 2013! Checkouts include all borrowed digital items including eBooks, audiobooks, music, streaming video and periodicals from the library's OverDrive-powered collection and each of the libraries experienced significant year-over-year growth from 2013.

The following libraries have joined the 2014 Million Digital Checkouts Club:

2 Million or more digital checkouts

1 million+

In addition to these independent library systems, several large consortia also achieved the Million Checkout milestone in 2014, including Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WI), Greater Phoenix Digital Library (AZ), The Ohio Digital Library (OH), Tennessee READS (TN), Digital Downloads – A Library Collaboration (OH), Maryland's Digital Library (MD), Ontario Library Service Consortium (ON),My Media Mall (IL) and North Carolina Digital Library (NC).

Each of these libraries consistently produces large digital checkout numbers by providing their users a robust collection updated frequently with a variety of new releases in a wide range of subjects, with all available formats (eBooks, audiobooks, streaming video and, just recently in some libraries, periodicals) on a single website to streamline the user experience.  In fact, streaming video is the fastest growing format in the digital catalog of many libraries.  In addition, these libraries have demonstrated ongoing success in their marketing efforts to reach more of their communities with specialized sections for kids and teens and multi-lingual website interfaces.

Will your library make the list in 2015? Be sure to keep your collection refreshed often, fill your holds and keep up to date on our latest news and features and you could be the next member of the 1 Million Checkout Club!


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive

Monday, December 29, 2014

Europeans Have Two Weeks To Return Apple iBooks


Apple has quietly amended their return policy for iBooks purchased in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and many other EU countries. Readers now have up to two weeks to get a full refund, no questions asked through an automated feature.

Apple has maintained a policy that users in European countries did have the right to cancel purchases that were defective or before digital delivery has occurred. In order to get a refund though, it required getting assistance from Apple Support.

The big change in policy is that  even if the e-books are delivered, customers still have the option to get a full refund. Readers have up to two weeks in order to fill out the automated form and get an intimidate refund. There is no need to talk to to Apple support directly.

The changes appear to be related to a new consumer rights directive in the EU that introduced a required 14 calendar day right of cancellation or return period for both goods and services purchased in EAA countries.

Outside of Europe refunds for exceptions like failed delivery of content or technical problems are handled directly by Apple support.  iBooks purchases abide by the "all sales and rentals of products are final” philosophy.

Europeans Have Two Weeks To Return Apple iBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Hotels Demenstrate a Willingness to be Tech Savvy


Hotels these days are embracing technology in order to appeal to the seasoned traveler. Instead of having a wake-up call, new touchscreen devices wake you with with melodic sounds. Room keys are a thing of the past, as smartphones are becoming the new norm and when guests enter a room, the curtains open and music plays while climate control switches on.

A Chicago hotel called theWit has pioneered a new way for guests to wake up in the morning. Instead of relying on a call from the front desk the touchscreen display allows you to customize the voice to suit their needs. Some of the stock options include Muddy Waters, Ann Landers or even Chicago villain Al Capone.  The hotel also has motion sensors that reset the thermostat to an energy-efficient temperature when you leave and readjust it to your own setting when you return. There's even a voice that offers a personal greeting when you enter your room, bidding you a good morning, afternoon or evening.

The Peninsula Hong Kong opened in 1928 and just spent $58 million on renovations to make the hotel more digital friendly.The Wi-Fi is fast and complimentary, and all calls (local or international) are free, thanks to the sophisticated in-room VoIP phone system. In addition to Samsung Galaxy tablets that allow guests to control assorted room features and place service requests, rooms boast in-wall touchscreen panels that can control lighting and temperature; in the bathroom, these panels also control entertainment options like TV and music. All electrical outlets are now "world" outlets, meaning you won't need any adapters. Conveniently, a charging dock pops out of the desk, making it easy to juice up all of your devices in one place. In addition, all rooms come equipped with a touchscreen-controlled Nespresso machine, offering complimentary coffee and tea. Perhaps most impressively, every room now sports a 46-inch, 3-D flat-screen television (loaner 3-D glasses and movies can be ordered via the tablets); hi-fi surround-sound system; and Blu-ray.

When guests enter a room at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas the curtains open and music plays while climate control switches on. Everything reverts back to the hotel's setting when they leave the room and returns to the guest's preferences when they come back. Preferences are also recorded and stored for the next visit.

One hotel does something totally amazing, and is sure to impress. At the Hotel 1000 in Seattle they are employing body-heat-detecting infrared sensors let the housekeeping staff know when guests have left their rooms.

The Trump Hotel in Chicago, Shangri-La Hotel, and 3,500 Accor hotels are all offering complimentary digital newspapers to their guests by Pressreader. Thousands of international papers are available business travelers and have the ability to conveniently keep up-to-date with the latest global or hometown news.  In addition to being available to overnight hotel guests all of these locations also give access to visitors attending corporate meetings and events at the hotel.

Not all hotels are including in-room features to lure travelers but some are taking advantage of the technology in your pocket.  At select Starwood hotel brands around the world, guests will no longer have to fumble for their room key card at the bottom of their bag now that the chain has rolled out keyless technology that opens doors with the swipe of a smartphone. Starwood's SPG Keyless program is being called a first for the hotel industry and will roll out to 10 hotels around the world in markets like Beijing, Doha, Hong Kong, New York, and Singapore. Starwood is not the only company experimenting with being able to open your hotel doors with an app. HotelTonight has also developed a mobile app-enabled feature that allows guests to open their doors with a swipe of their phone which is being negotiated with hotels worldwide.

Hotels Demenstrate a Willingness to be Tech Savvy is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Deals: $99 Aura with Free Cover; up to 70% off eBooks

As the holiday shopping season comes to a close, there are still some good deals to be had on Kobo ebooks and some Kobo devices. The original 6-inch Kobo Aura is marked down to $99 as part of Kobo’s Boxing Week Deals. That’s $40 off the regular price. The sale is ongoing at and […]

New Kobo e-Reader to Have a Wacom Display


Sony was legendary in the e-reader business because the vast majority of their e-readers had touchscreen displays and came with a stylus. This appealed not only to casual readers, but people who needed to make highlights and annotations with pinpoint precision. Now that Sony has exited the consumer sector, there is now a void to be filled, and Kobo is aiming to rise to the challenge.

When Kobo starts to design their next generation e-readers, the logistics and manufacturing is actually done by one of their longstanding partners, Netronix. Back in August Netronix was demoing a new e-reader in Taiwan and showed off a new touchscreen device with a Wacom technology. What was most interesting was that the shell containing the new screen was the Kobo Aura HD, which is 6.8 inches and very distinctive.

Wamcom is well known in the industry for making digital pens and touchscreen displays that are often selected by artists. When I worked in the game development industry, almost everyone involved with creating 2D or 3D art, was normally using a stylus. Many of the leading comic book artists, whether they are making print or web-comics also swear by Wacom.

I have heard various rumors coming out of Taiwan that the new Kobo Aura HD will be using a specialized version of Wacam called “WILL.” The Wacom Ink Layer Language (WILL) is an universal inking engine and ink layer framework which connects hardware, software and applications. WILL is a technology that enables high quality digital pen and ink experience. Likely, Kobo will be employing the WILL SDK for its Linux based operating system and integrate it into their reading app and note taking apps.

What I think Kobo is hoping to accomplish is to make a consumer version of the Sony Digital Paper. The DPT-S1 is 13.3 inches and is legendary for its lightweight nature and stylus integration for editing PDF files. It is very expensive, normally retailing for $999.99. I think Kobo really wants to make a 6.8 inch variant and aim it their existing customer base and hopefully give old Sony e-Reader owners a reason to upgrade.

New Kobo e-Reader to Have a Wacom Display is a post from: Good e-Reader

National Digital Library to Launch in Russia


Russia has unveiled new plans to launch a National Digital Library in 2015. The Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky said that the new initiative will transform local libraries into modern information and cultural hubs, adding that citizens' access to the service will be via the internet with a single electronic library ticket.

"Next year we will launch a national electronic library, set to be the largest collection of online texts, books, magazines in Russia" Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky told regional governors. "We will send you an approved model of a library, the implementation of which will allow the libraries to be turned into modern information and cultural centres at minimum cost.

The intention behind the National Library is to be able to give smaller branches the ability to offer wireless internet access and tap into e-Books. There are only a few thousand digital editions currently available in most of the modern libraries, such as Moscow and Murmansk.

It is currently unknown who will be providing the e-Books. Currently in Russia most of the libraries only offer academic and historical digital editions. The type of content that is primarily used for educational purposes and not leisure reading.

National Digital Library to Launch in Russia is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wattpad Releases New eBook Cover App


Wattpad is one of the largest fan-fiction websites on the internet with over 40 million users and 80 million stories. Indie authors know the value of cover art, its normally the first thing readers see and first impressions really matter. This has prompted the Canadian company to release a brand new app called Covers by Wattpad.

Covers by Wattpad allows authors to upload images from your phone or tablet or choose from a selection of beautiful sample photos. Add text, effects, and photo filters to make the perfect book jacket for all of your Wattpad stories. There is also options to add in image filters such as blur and sepia. You can then modify the text to highlight the title of your story and the byline. Once the cover is complete, authors can then upload it directly to any of the eBooks hosted on Wattpad.

This app has been requested for a number of years and authors who publish their fan-fiction on Wattpad can now design their own book covers more intuitively than ever. You can download Wattpad Covers for Android and iOS for free.

Wattpad Releases New eBook Cover App is a post from: Good e-Reader

Changes to the Raspbian user interface

I should start by introducing myself. My name is Simon Long, and my claim to fame is that many years ago, when in charge of recruitment at Broadcom in Cambridge, I interviewed some guy called Eben Upton. We thought he was pretty good, so we gave him a job – and the rest is history…

Even more years ago than that, though, I worked for ten years as a software engineer attached to the industrial design team at Cambridge Consultants, responsible for user interface design, simulation and implementation. I’ve designed interfaces for a wide range of products, from medical devices to surveying equipment to mobile phones. I love making things intuitive, attractive and easy to use; my aim is that people shouldn’t need to open the manual.

Unfortunately, moving into management some years ago meant I didn’t get to do all that fun UX stuff any more. I really missed it though, so when Eben offered me the chance to come and do it for Raspberry Pi, I leapt at the chance. I’ve been with them for four months now, and it’s been a blast.

I took a look at the LXDE environment in Raspbian on day one, and, while perfectly functional, I felt it could do with a bit of a tidy up. I’m not about making changes for the sake of change, but a lot of the behaviour was inconsistent and potentially confusing to the user, and I wanted to fix that as a priority.

User interface design is mostly about applying consistency, really – users get used to the way something works, and if something else works slightly differently, it jars. (As a designer, you can use that to your advantage sometimes, for drawing someone’s attention to something, but you don’t want it happening all the time!) A lot of the changes I have made are quite subtle – for example, when you move the mouse pointer over the menu bar at the top, everything now highlights in the same colour – previously, hovering the mouse over something on the menu bar had a fairly random effect, colour-wise.

With regards the move of the menu bar to the top, on which a few people have commented on the forums – in this respect, Apple got it right and Microsoft got it wrong. (I suspect Microsoft got it wrong on purpose, to avoid being sued by Apple when they launched Windows 95…) The reason for putting the bar at the top is simple – we read (in Europe and the US, at least) left to right and top to bottom; because of this, the first place you instinctively look in a UI is the top left corner. Your eyes automatically follow the mouse pointer, so when you click on a menu heading, the menu should drop down, as that way your eyes can then read downwards from the mouse pointer. Hence the menu button is now at the top left, and if you right-click something on the taskbar, its menu drops down. But it’s all about personal choice at the end of the day – if you prefer the menu bar at the bottom, feel free to move it back there; just right-click the menu bar and choose a new position in the Geometry tab of Panel Settings.


People have also commented on the removal of the “Other” menu category. Another fundamental of UI design is MECE – “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive”. In other words, make sure the menu has everything you need in it, but each thing should only be there in one place. The “Other” category was a huge catch-all that didn’t really hold “other” stuff; it actually held everything, which is why it was so huge. Many things in it had confusing names (and actually, if you tried them, quite a few didn’t even work…) As a UI designer, a great long list of everything is something you avoid like the plague, so the first thing I did was to try to impose some form of MECE-ness on the menu; you’ll also notice that a lot of the names and tooltips have changed in an attempt to make it a bit easier to explain what is actually in the menu.


A final thing I should mention – by default, there are now no icons on the desktop other than the wastebasket. I strongly believe that it is up to the user to customise their own desktop – put the stuff on there that you actually use often, not the stuff that we think you might use, otherwise it just gets cluttered with stuff you don’t need. It’s easy to add a desktop icon for a program you use a lot – just right-click its menu entry and choose “Add to desktop”.


What you have seen is the first release of the modified desktop, but there is a lot more to come. People have already mentioned a new interface for accessing wifi networks to replace wpa_gui – that’s having some final tweaks and testing, but will be available in the next release. I think you’ll like it….

Raspberry Pi is an awesome computer, and I’m thrilled to be working on it. I’m going to do my best to make the user experience as awesome as everything else, but do feel free to comment on the forums about the UI changes. While there is a lot of psychology behind it, UX isn’t an exact science, and it really helps to know what users think. I can’t promise individual replies to every comment, but rest assured I’ll be reading as many as I can and taking what you say into consideration whenever possible.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dark Horse Bids Farewell to Star Wars


Dark Horse is bidding a fond farewell to the Star Wars universe. The comic book publisher has printed hundreds of comics and is holding a fire sale. For the rest of 2014, all Dark Horse Star Wars comics are 50% off, and you can buy every single comic — 28,353 pages — for $300, or 80% savings.

In early 2015 the rights to the Star Wars comic book series will be transferred to Disney, and they will publish the comics in-house. It remains to be seen what exactly will happen to the copyright that Dark Horse has over the comics it has produced over the years, but it may be a moot point, since they aren’t considered canon anymore.

“As the end of an era closes, we say a fond farewell to Star Wars. The Wookiees will be missed, and bounty hunters will be sad. But take heart, young Jedi, for in these last few days, you can seal in carbonite the entire Dark Horse Digital library of Star Wars,” the publisher said in a press release. “Get every comic, every panel, and every battle in perfect digital format in your collection. Access via the Cloud City whenever you want. Many of these comics may never be in print again, and this is your chance to get over twenty years of Star Wars comics history at a once-in-a-lifetime price.”

There are a number of notable comics to be purchased via the Dark Horse app for Android, iOS and a number of other platforms. Legacy and Old Republic come to mind as two of the series that lasted the longest. The series that was the most compelling to me was Crimson Empire, a 22 comic adventure.

Dark Horse Bids Farewell to Star Wars is a post from: Good e-Reader

South Korean e-Book Market to Make Huge Gains in 2015


The South Korean e-Book market is one of the ten largest in the world. The overall book market is currently worth about $3.2 billion in revenue per year, and that amount is expected to grow 30% over the next few years. e-Book sales have steadily been climbing with $178 million in sales in 2012 and over 228 million in 2013.

South Korea's mobile phone penetration rate topped 100% in 2010, meaning that there are more phones than people in use in the country. The rate was 111% as of 2013, according to data provided by the International Telecommunication Union. This gives the online bookstores tremendous reach and digital books are suddenly finding a more captivated audience than ever before.

The Korean e-Book market is basically exploding right now, and keenly aware of this fact is the local brick and motor bookstores. In 1999, there were around 5,000 bookstores in Korea, today, there are barely 1,500 nationwide. The bigger chains such as Kyobo, Aladdin, Youngpoong, Yes24 and Bandi & Luni's have all successfully transitioned into selling e-Books.

YES24 is likely the largest player in the market and controls 42% of all e-Book sales. On average, their nine million registered users purchase around 100,000 titles each day.  The company also also launched their own dedicated e-readers, the Crema Touch and Crema Shine. They retail from $120 and $150 respectively. To-date, more than 50,000 units of the e-readers have been sold.

Meanwhile, the largest bookstore in Korean, Kyobo started an e-Book subscription service in early 2013.  It is called “Sam” and readers can sign up for a one-year membership and borrow five e-books for a monthly fee of 15,000 won ($13.82). Kyobo also offers a bundled package of e-book rentals and its own e-book reader, luring potential bookworms with a discount.

"The reason why we offer this book service at such a low price is because Sam aims to increase the reading population in Korea. Instead of possessing books permanently, readers can have downloaded books saved in the device for six months and download more afterwards. The core concept of our service views books as part of consuming," said Jin Young-gyun of the Kyobo Book Center PR department.

One of the barriers that prevents the digital market from truly exploding, is primarily due to pricing regulations. Brick and Motor stores can only give a 15% discount on print or e-Books. This has given rise to the gifting culture, where you are normally given a mug, coupon or gift voucher.

This plays nicely into the hands of Ridibooks, who are trying to position themselves into one of the big boys. The startup was founded in 2009 and recently raised 8 million in series B funding. They boast two million users, while more than 32 million e-books have been downloaded using its platform. One of the edges that Ridibooks has is that they don’t offer any print books, so e-Books doesn’t cannibalize their own sales like the brick and motor stores do.

South Korean e-Book Market to Make Huge Gains in 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Friday, December 26, 2014

Millions of People Try Amazon Prime Shipping for the First Time


Amazon Prime currently has 35 million members in the US and 50 million worldwide. There are many benefits to the $99 per year subscription, each as a free eBook every month, access to Amazon Instant Video and Prime music. Lots of people buy Prime for this very reason, you can simply get a lot more value for your Kindle Fire.

Loyal Amazon shoppers are quite aware that you get free two day shipping if you are a Prime member, but many Kindle owners just buy e-Books. This year though, the number of Prime members who took advantage of the free shipping for the first time were staggering.  More than 10 million new members worldwide tried Prime for the first time. Amazon customers also benefited from low prices this season, including more than 25,000 Lightning Deals.

"We are excited to welcome more than ten million new members to Amazon Prime this holiday season, who benefited from unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on their holiday gifts. Prime members can also borrow more than 700,000 books, listen to one million songs and hundreds of playlists, save unlimited photos and watch tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes including the Golden Globe nominated show from Amazon Studios, Transparent," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "We are working hard to make Prime even better and expanding the recently launched Prime Now to additional cities in 2015."

Millions of People Try Amazon Prime Shipping for the First Time is a post from: Good e-Reader

Digital Newspapers Grows 15% in Australia during 2014


Australians have begun to adopt digital newspapers in record numbers as advertising campaigns from the leading national publications appear to be paying off. In 2014 digital has grown over 15% with eight million people on average consuming the news on a monthly basis.

The Sydney Morning Herald was Australia's most-read newspaper across print and digital with 5.6 million readers, followed by The Daily Telegraph's 4.4 million, The Herald Sun (4.3 million), The Age and The Courier-Mail (both with about 3.3 million).

Many of the top papers offer digital only subscriptions to their content, which has a price of about $3.00 a week on average. They also have various tiers where you can combine digital with the print weekend edition and also the most common level that gives you the paper every single day + full access to digital.

The average person tends to read the news on their computer, but traction is starting to mount for dedicated apps for Android and iOS. In a recent report, 221,000 Australians aged reported using the Sydney Morning Herald's app, while 199,000 used The Age's app. Apps produced by The Australian, the Herald Sun and the Daily/Sunday Telegraph were also popular with 95,000 people using it daily.

Australian publishers are also turning to dedicated newspaper ecosystems like PressReader, which has all of the daily editions and national papers. One of the big advantages is being able to get their content distributed properly to folks living or traveling abroad.

Digital Newspapers Grows 15% in Australia during 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Adafruit capacitive Christmas shenanigans

I got up late today; it’s Boxing day. And there in my inbox was a festive message from our friends in New York, PT and LadyAda, who found themselves at a loose end in the Adafruit factory on Christmas Day and took some video of a beta test they did for a new Raspberry Pi HAT (coming soon to a store near you!)

Merry Christmas from all of us at Pi Towers to everybody reading – we hope your Christmas holiday is as much fun as ours is this year!

A quick housekeeping note: we are not committing to the usual blog post per day this week because we’re supposed to be taking a break, but if we get bored with hanging out with our families, you’ll find something here, so keep checking. I’m off to make a sandwich out of leftovers.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Global Audiobook Trends for 2015


In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible.

The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. In a recent  New York Times piece, they said “In the first eight months of 2014, sales were up 28% over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6%"

One of the biggest markets for audiobooks in the world, is not the US or UK but Germany. In a recent annual survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute said that Germans consume more audiobooks than e-books. In the last twelve months, close to five million Germans have purchased an audiobook, which accounts for 7% of the overall population. This is one of the hottest segments currently operating and ironically gets the least amount of attention.

Digital audiobooks are finally starting to find their stride thanks to libraries embracing them in a big way. There are a number of major players providing audio services to libraries, 3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive. For the most part, these are the exact same companies that provide the libraries e-Book portfolio. In the US, 95% of all libraries have a digital collection and audio content is starting to play a more central role.

Audiobooks actually works fairly differently than e-Books do, on a business level. Many of the top distributors lean on 3rd parties for a full catalog of content. 3M and Baker and Taylor both get their audio editions from Findaway World, which is current market leader in production. Findaway has a catalog of over 50,000 titles and maintains production studios, narrators and crew in New York. Overdrive has their own internal solution, where they approach publishers directly and don't do business with companies such as Audible or Findaway World.

Tom Mercer, Marketing Manager of 3M Cloud Library said "we see a tremendous opportunity to grow in the Audio space in 2015. Right now we're two weeks into the "real world" of Audio, but customers really seem to like our solution. Our initial Beta feedback from very positive."

Hoopla is an audiobook solution for libraries that floats under the radar, but are quickly making a name for themselves. The company has a catalog of 13,000 titles with 1,000 added each month. Hoopla deals with over 100 libraries in the US and charges no licensing fees with setting up the system, which is quite appealing to the average library. How does Hoopla make money? The company has employed the Pay Per Use model, which only charges the library when a specific title is checked out by a patron. The San Francisco Public Library said they are are predicting that in 2015 more companies will embrace the Hoopla model, which will lower costs for libraries and get more content in-front of the patrons.

How well are the publishers doing in the audiobook sector? Cheryl Herman, marketing director for Penguin Random House's Books on Tape & Listening Library said. "Our library sales for digital audio are up nearly 35% over 2014, we're offering more and more titles on audio, and we're not alone in that. There are also more players entering the market, and more titles overall being published than ever before."


Audible is the undisputed market leader in audiobook production and distribution. Matthew Thornton the Director of Communications at Audible said “Audible content includes over 180,000 audiobooks and other spoken-word programming from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Non-audiobook content includes lectures, meditations, language lessons, comedy and periodicals.” Audible has added 40,000 titles their store in 2014, a very slight increase versus 2013. In both 2013 and 2014, Audible Studios and ACX productions account for just about half of all titles added to the Audible storefront.

Audible has seen a massive amount of success by branching out in international markets, where their is more synergy between Kindle e-readers and tablets. Matthew proudly exclaimed “Audible now operates thirteen global outlets including in London, in Berlin, in Paris and in Sydney.”

One of the big reasons why Audible adds so much content to their portfolio on a yearly basis is due to the Amazon Creation Exchange. Publishers and authors who own unused audiobook rights can post them on ACX, along with narration preferences (e.g., narrator's gender, accents, voice types). Audio publishers and audio studios—as well as individual narrators with home studios—can search for titles that interest them and then audition to turn those rights into audiobooks. Rights holders can hire a narrator or producer, or create entrepreneurial partnerships with shared royalty structures that allow audiobooks to be produced without upfront costs. Alternatively, existing audio publishers can simply use ACX to discover audio rights to produce on their own.

Production Costs and Star Power


Audiobook prices are often drastically inflated and is a financial barrier for mainstream adoption. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green costs $4.99 for the Kindle edition, but the audiobook costs $17.99. Max Brooks seminal World War Z – The Oral History of the Zombie Wars costs $9.99 for the Kindle edition, but the audiobook will set you back $28.00.

Why are audiobooks so overpriced compared to e-Books and print? It comes down to billable hours. It comes down to the studio costs, which the publishers call cost per finished hour. Each audiobook is on average around 12 hours, which costs on average $300 and $400 an hour. They also have to account for multiple takes and editing. The finished product after its all said and done is normally $5,000 to $6,000 to make the audiobbook.

Some companies ride on the back of star power to draw attention to the digital edition and use them for marketing purposes. The aforementioned World War Z hired 21 different voice actors, such as Simon Pegg, Common and Martin Scorsese. Even hiring just one famous person to narrate the book, drives the production costs up exponentially. The average cost is now $1000 to $1500 per book hour and the final product would cost over $17,000.

Matthew Thornton explained a bit on how Audible embraces star power. “One of the ways we’ve worked to improve the overall customer experience of listening to audiobooks is in elevating the quality of audiobook performance—embracing A-List celebrities (among those who've recorded for Audible are Colin Firth, Dustin Hoffman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon) as well as up-and-coming young actors at Juilliard, Yale, Stella Adler and other acting schools where Audible offers narration workshops. We’ve had great success with celebrity-narrated projects like the Gyllenhaal-narrated The Great Gatsby, Ben Stiller performing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  As importantly, high-profile narrators raise the visibility of these terrific listening experiences—something we liken to "theater in your ear"—and raise the visibility of this burgeoning art form.”

Major Publishes and companies that are heavily invested in audiobooks really have to look at what titles are best suited to make the transition. Any of the perennial bestsellers and books slatted to be made into a major motion picture are often the first ones slatted for production.  They basically have to insure with the other titles can be money earners and not loss leaders.

Newspapers Embrace Audio

guardian audio

Audio these days is not only reserved for fiction and non-fiction books, but newspaper companies have been embracing this model as well.

The Guardian newspaper forged a relationship with Audible. Every week the Guardian Audio Edition will hit Audible, and give you a feel for the UK's book scene and new book releases. Audible will also sponsor the Guardian Books homepage, its weekly books podcast, and its books review pages, with co-branded advertising across the newspaper's website and print edition.

One of the big trends in journalism these days has been audio editions of their top stories. The Guardian started do this early and regularly garners 17 to 30 thousand listens for each audio edition they post. The New York Times and New Yorker also do select audio and make it available on their websites, but also Audible. Good e-Reader has also experimented with this new way to tell stories, and goes deeper into the issues. In one of our recent stories, we had over 5,000 listens within two days.

Vancouver based PressReader is also heavily involved with the audio capabilities of newspapers. Every single one of their 3,000 newspapers have text to speech functionality, they will read any story you want aloud. This makes sense for people who can no longer read the tangible paper, without a magnifying glass or have other vision problems.

Whats Next?


Listening to audiobooks has never been easier. Libraries all over the world now offer the service and Audible distributes their entire catalog of titles not only through their own app and Kindle devices, but also sources everything to iTunes. How can the industry get customers to listen to more digital editions?

The largest bookseller in the US, Barnes and Noble got into audiobooks in late November 2014 is  hoping to capitalize on the trend and advertise them in their entire chain of retail stores. Kashif Zafar, Vice President of US Digital Content at NOOK Media told Good e-Reader exclusively that his company is putting a company wide focus on audio titles and this is a huge priority for them.

In order to get customers invested in the Nook ecosystem they are promoting the fact they have 50,000 audiobooks from major publishers and every week there will be listing five free audiobooks that new users can browse and download two for free. There is no signup required or credit card needed for the account in order to take advantage of this promotion. The titles were exclusively vetted to span multiple genres and picked especially for the overall quality of the narration. During the first week the following titles will be available; Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Ender's Game (Ender Quintet #1) by Orson Scott Card, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Heist (Fox and O'Hare Series #1) by Janet Evanovich and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand.

Will the serious e-Book reader embrace audiobooks the same way they switched from print to digital? It doesn’t look too likely, recently we ran a poll that asked 384 people if they listed to them. 33% have never listened to an audiobook before and 23% said they at least tried, but gave up. A paltry 14% said they listen to audiobooks all the time, which is the main challenge the publishing industry is facing.

Global Audiobook Trends for 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Weekly eHighlights – Video edition

December has been an exciting month for streaming video. OverDrive now offers content from Warner Bros. & MGM! These titles are available under a transactional, Cost Per Circ (CPC) access model. This model enables simultaneous use and allows libraries to budget based on checkouts, which is a form of patron-driven acquisition. You can view the full MGM & Warner Bros. catalogs in Marketplace now. We've also added a plethora of excellent children's television shows, star-studded blockbusters, and award-winning documentaries. Check out a sample of the best titles below and click here for the full Marketplace list.

Feature Films

Child of God | Cinedigm – Drama, Thriller
James Franco's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's controversial novel about a desperate man's downward spiral into violence and crime. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion nominee. eBook also available.

Color Me Kubrick | Magnolia Pictures – Comedy
The true story of a man who posed as director Stanley Kubrick despite knowing very little about his work and looking nothing like him. Starring John Malkovich. Nominated for a Golden Hitchcock Award.

Everything is Illuminated | Warner Bros. – Comedy, Drama
A powerful film about a young man's journey to piece together his family story. Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Both the film and book have received critical acclaim. Starring Elijah Wood. eBook also available

Last Tango in Paris | MGM – Drama
A man is torn apart by his wife's suicide and attempts to bury his grief in a sudden, purely carnal relationship with an alluring stranger. Starring Marlon Brando. Nominated for two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe.

The Miracle Worker | MGM – Drama
Based on the play by William Gibson, this film revolves around the story of Anne Sullivan and her remarkable blind and deaf pupil, Helen Keller. ** Winner of Academy Award for Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress.**eBook also available.

Natural Born Killers | Warner Bros. – Thriller
The misadventures of Mickey and Mallory: outcasts, lovers, and serial killers. Starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey, Jr., & Tommy Lee Jones. Nominated for a Golden Globe & winner of three Venice Film Festival awards. OverDrive staff favorite.

Romulus, My Father | Magnolia Pictures – Drama
A story of impossible love that ultimately celebrates the unbreakable bond between father and son. Starring Eric Bana. Winner of Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film, Best Lead Actor, & Best Supporting Actor. eBook also available.

Trust | Millennium Entertainment – Drama
A suburban family is torn apart when 14-year-old Annie is seduced by an online predator. Starring Catherine Keener & Clive Owen. Directed by David Schwimmer.


A Touch of Frost | MPI Media Group – Crime, British Television
Detective Inspector Jack Frost is an unconventional policeman with sympathy for the underdog and an instinct for moral justice. BAFTA & National Television Awards (UK) winner.

Braceface | Nelvana – Cartoon, Children's television
An 8th grader must deal with magical braces on top of all the issues that accompany being a teenager. Starring Alicia Silverstone. Nominated for a Daytime Emmy and won three Genesis Awards. OverDrive staff favorite.

Franklin | Nelvana – Cartoon, Children's television
The popular books series about Franklin the turtle and his pals comes to life in this animated series. eBooks also available.

Max & Ruby | Nelvana – Cartoon, Children's television
An adorable series about the day-to-day life of two tiny bunnies.Nominated for a Writers Guild of Canada Award. eBooks also available.

Rolie Polie Olie | Nelvana – Cartoon, Children's television
Robot Olie discovers the values of friendship, family, and growing up to be a great kid. Annie Award, Daytime Emmy, & Gemini Award Winner.

Documentary & Instructional

Alaska: Spirit of the Wild | Echelon Studios – Documentary, Nature
A look at how animals & humans adapt to the extremes of the Alaskan wilderness. Narrated by Charlton Heston. Nominated for an Academy Award.

Gonzo | Magnolia Pictures – Documentary, Biography
A portrait of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Nominated for Sundance Film Festival & Writers Guild of America awards. eBook also available.

Man on Wire | Magnolia Pictures – Documentary
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century."Academy Award & BAFTA winner. 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. eBook also available.

Click here for the full Marketplace list.

Please note that title availability may vary by geographic location and platform.

Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.