Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Search tips to find titles for young readers

My good friend got a new tablet for Christmas. It took her three year old son only a few minutes to become an expert! He's not alone. Kids all over the world received tablets this holiday season, which means that they are prepped to start checking out the latest, greatest eBooks and Audiobooks from your digital library.

Over the last few months, we've made some updates to Marketplace to make it easier than ever for you to home in on titles for your young readers.

Search/Filter by Audience

You can now search for titles using the Audience field, which breaks the collection into categories like Young Adult Fiction or Juvenile Nonfiction. When combined with other terms in your Advanced Search, you can get much more targeted results.

For example:  A search for the title "Dragon" will turn up hundreds of results, but filtering by or adding "Juvenile Fiction" to the Audience category reduces your results to a more pertinent selection.


searchtips1     VS.   searchtips2


The Audience search is also a great way to search for school-appropriate titles in nonfiction subject areas. (Subject: "Careers" + Audience: "Young Adult Nonfiction" = great resources for college-bound high school students.)

Top 200 Searches

If you haven't seen them yet, the new preset searches along the left side of the Marketplace homepage is one of my favorite new features. You can quickly see the most circulated Juvenile and Young Adult content across OverDrive's vast network of schools and libraries. The search is filtered so you only see results that you don't own!


Don't forget, you can also use ATOS book levels, Interest levels, and Lexile Measures® to help find what you want. If you still need help finding the best titles for young readers, don't forget you have a Collection Development Specialist. Just email for personalized recommendations.


Bailey Hotujac is a Collection Development Specialist with OverDrive.


Amazon Starts Collecting Sales Tax in Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon is now officially collecting sales tax on all online orders placed and shipped to Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee. Online orders will now cost an extra 7% in sales tax in addition to the cost of the item and shipping.

Currently, Amazon collects sales tax in 19 out of the 50 states. The Seattle based company is trying their very best to fight in the courts and via lobbyists. One of the tactics Amazon uses to get out of taxes is promising local government a distribution center to create hundreds of local jobs. In some states, they retaliated against the sales tax by dropping affiliate commissions, in the hopes a grass roots effort by local merchants might create some noise.

Amazon Starts Collecting Sales Tax in Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee is a post from: E-Reader News

Video Review: Pebble SmartWatch


Pebble had one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time and raised over ten million dollars to finance an e-paper smartwatch. The essence of this device is to pair to your iPhone, or Android device. It will give you notifications from Skype, eBay, Whatsapp, and basically any app that gives you notifications.

The Pebble is basically a watch that has Bluetooth capabilities. You can think of it as a dumb terminal for the functionality that exists on your phone or tablet. The only interactive elements it has is being able to activate your default music app, by playing, pausing or scrolling between tracks.

More apps are starting to build functionality into the Pebble, but they are few and far between. It seems iOS 7 devices have the best end-user experience by upgrading firmware and downloading new watch skins. Android has problems with default notifications and custom software must be downloaded.

The build quality on the Pebble is lacking severely. It is a plastic design and it keeps the costs between $80 and $150, depending on what market you’re in. This is basically designed by Silicon Valley geeks, for Silicon Valley geeks. I wish more devices hit the market that actually had higher build quality and had an emphasis on design. The real benefit on the Pebble is the e-Paper display, that lasts almost a month. It charges via a proprietary cable that ships with it.

Video Review: Pebble SmartWatch is a post from: E-Reader News

New Digital Comics to Kick Off the New Year

Dead Boy Detectives 1

Two dead schoolboys wander out of Sandman and into their own series, Aquaman starts a new story arc among geological disturbances, and giants roam the earth in this week’s selection of new digital comics.

The Dead Boy Detectives #1: This is a new series featuring two characters who have been around for a while: The Dead Boy Detectives first showed up in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and wandered through various other Vertigo comics over the years; now they are returning to their school, St. Hilarion’s, to investigate their own deaths. According to Vertigo, “DEAD BOY DETECTIVES is a fast-paced adventure series that takes us from the bustling streets of contemporary London to Japanese-inspired video games and dangerous worlds perched somewhere between the now and nevermore.” The creative team includes Mark Buckingham, of Fables fame, who gets both writing and art credits on this series, which should clinch the deal.

Aquaman #26: This issue kicks off a new story arc, “Sea of Storms,” by a new writer, Jeff Parker, whose other works include the first issue of the digital-first Adventures of Superman. Here’s DC’s description:

The Earth's crust is grinding to life, releasing deadly volcanoes and bizarre creatures…so humanity's first instinct is to blame Atlantis! And as the plates pull apart, the pressures of ruling a kingdom under siege are weighing on Aquaman and Mera as well!

Reviewer Jesse Scheeden says this issue is a good pick for longtime fans as well as newcomers, who will find it an easy jumping-on point. Here’s a preview.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7: It’s a quiet week for Marvel, but this series is a lot of fun. It’s a lighter take on the superhero genre, featuring the Sinister Six (of whom there are only five at the moment) bungling their way through the underworld of New York City. If you’re new to this series, check out Brian Truitt’s article from last summer in which he interviews the creators and explains how it fits in with the main Superior Spider-Man series.

Legenderry #1: Bill Willingham does for pulp characters in Legenderry what he did with fairy tale characters in Fables: Mixes and matches them into a new story. The first issue kicks off with a mysterious woman in scarlet dashing into a bar, chased by assassins, and the first two characters to appear are Vampirella and Green Hornet. This seven-issue steampunk comic will ultimately bring together a number of other heroes, including The Phantom and Red Sonja, who have just one thing in common—all are licensed by publisher Dynamite Entertainment. If the idea tickles your fancy, check out this interview with Willingham.

Attack on Titan, vol. 10: This manga series is a monster hit in every sense of the word: It’s about a group of teenagers fighting people-eating giants. Propelled by the popularity of the anime on Crunchyroll, it is one of the top selling print manga, and you can get each volume on Kindle, Nook, and iBooks. You can also read the most recent chapters on Crunchyroll’s manga service—and the newest one is free.

New Digital Comics to Kick Off the New Year is a post from: E-Reader News

New Treaty Could Mandate Publishers to Allow Organisations to Convert Books into Audiobooks for the Blind


There has been a gradual shift among big name ebook publishers to branch out into developing audiobooks, an industry segment that is worth billions already and is expected to climb further. While this can be an exciting new option to comprehend a book, audiobooks can actually come as a boon to the blind, it being a handy option for them to connect to the literary world. Towards this, the Association Valentin-Haüy (AVH) in France has already taken the lead, ensuring those who suffer from varying degrees of visual impairment or are completely blind to still have access to enough reading material in the form of audiobooks. Now with the incorporation of a new technology like Eole that enables visually impaired reader have access to a wide variety of publications almost in real time. This no doubt is a healthy improvement over the audio cassettes of yore that the readers had to depend on as the only source of reading material even a decade ago. To make things all the more worse, readers often had to wait for a year to have the audiobook they desire.

All of that changed with the emergence of CDs which readers could order via phone or email. The CD's then would be burned and dispatched free of cost. Now with the Eole download service that AVH has launched in April, users can actually download the audiobooks and listen on a suitable device, which can be anything like a smartphone, tablet, a PC, or special media players that would read aloud the books. The special software and hardware will require just a few hours to generate an entire audiobook based on a real printed version, something that would have otherwise required the services of volunteers to record the audiobooks.

The service has already started to make waves, making things better for the thousands of those completely blind or partially sighted to have access to audiobooks almost in real time.

“In six months we have registered over 1,600 users, downloading 30,000 files. The challenge now is to make this service known to a larger audience,” said Luc Maumet who heads the media library run by the Association Valentin-Haüy (AVH). The digital library has already shaped into one of the largest in France, with more than 6000 audiobooks in their rolls. Maumet also stated they wish to extend the service to those suffering from other forms of disabilities though rues legal hurdles hampering progress. “We would like to offer the service to people with other disabilities, such as dyslexia, as is the case in Sweden, but it’s not legal in France.”

Meanwhile efforts are already on to make easy availability of audiobooks to the blind or partially sighted a global phenomenon, which will make it mandatory for the publishers to make available their books to certified organisations entrusted to convert them to audiobooks or braille editions. The above is already compulsory in France vide a law passed in 2006 and could soon be extended to other parts of the world thanks to a treaty signed in June 2013 in Marrakech. This no doubt will come as a boon to the more than 285 million partially or completely blind living throughout the world.

New Treaty Could Mandate Publishers to Allow Organisations to Convert Books into Audiobooks for the Blind is a post from: E-Reader News

Happy New Year!

We’re taking the day off today, but if you’re thirsty for more about Raspberry Pi, we recommend a stroll through our 2013 archives. There’s a lot to get your teeth into there.

Thanks for supporting us through 2013. We’ve got lots of exciting stuff in store for 2014, so keep checking back for more!

Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura HD Now Available from Best Buy

This morning I followed a link over to Best Buy’s website and I happened to notice that they are now selling the Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura HD, and they aren’t marketplace items either—they are being sold directly from Best This is important because Best Buy used to be an authorized retailer for Kobo’s […]

Video Review: NEC Medias W N-05e


Dual-Screen smartphones has not really been done very much in North America, but we have seen some Japanese ones over the years. This Android powered smartphone has a 5.6-inch screen when opened completely. When folded each screen is 4.3-inches. You can do things fairly snappy with the Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. There is also a 8 megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of built in storage.

This phone is Peters favorite right now, because you can read a book and have each page on 1 of the two independent screens. It really feels like you are reading a book. Another cool software feature is being able to play a video or a game and have it be displayed on both screens at the same time. You can fold it down at a table and each person can watch a movie! Very cool.

Video Review: NEC Medias W N-05e is a post from: E-Reader News