Friday, January 10, 2014

Marvel Ultimates Getting a Reboot


A couple of days ago we speculated that Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man might be coming to an end, and with it the career of the current wearer of the Spidey suit, Miles Morales.

Well, yes and no. It turns out that Marvel is rebooting the whole Ultimate Comics line, but Miles Morales stays—in fact, he gets his own title, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man.

There’s a lot more to the Ultimate Comics reboot than that, though.

Marvel created the Ultimates line back in 2000 as a way to push the limits of superhero stories and experiment with new storylines. It’s a newer universe with less tangled continuity so it’s friendly to new readers, and when someone dies in the Ultimates comics, they stay dead. They have already had a couple of relaunches, in 2009 and 2011.

The current event in the Ultimates universe is Cataclysm, a crossover event in which the villain Galactus comes over from the standard Marvel universe, and Miles Morales and the Ultimate Reed Richards cross over to the other side to try to stop him. Marvel editors have indicated that the Cataclysm story will leave the Ultimate universe changed forever.

This week, Marvel announced that once Cataclysm ends, there will be three new Ultimate titles. All-New Ultimates, by Michel Fiffe and Amilcar Pinna, will debut in April with a new crime-fighting team composed of Spider-Man, Black Widow (the former Spider-Woman), Kitty Pryde, Bombshell, and Cloak & Dagger. Next up is Ultimate FF, where the FF stands for Future Foundation, not the Fantastic Four; the lead characters will be Sue Storm, Tony Stark, Machine Man and Sam Wilson, and the series will be written by Fialkov and illustrated by Mario Guevara. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man completes the set, and while we are assured that the Cataclysm events have left Miles a changed man, the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Dave Marquez remains intact.

“We look at the opportunity ‘Cataclysm’ gave us to reset the board,” writer Joshua Hale Fialkov told ABC News, “and do some really cool stuff with the characters.” Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso was blunter: “The Ultimate (universe) benefits from a good, old kick in the butt.”

Marvel Ultimates Getting a Reboot is a post from: E-Reader News

Developers Confirm Blackberry World will Soon be Accepting Android Apps


Major game and app development companies are being approached by Blackberry to submit their apps to a new section on Blackberry World. In the past, Blackberry only accepted apps done using their own proprietary format. In the near future Blackberry will be releasing a new firmware update that will allow users to install Android apps (apk) files directly on their phone. To gear up for this transition, Blackberry will be offering Android apps for direct download in their online app store.

At least four different game development companies at Pepcom and CES confirmed to Good e-Reader that they have been approached by Blackberry to include their productivity and gaming apps into Blackberry World. This basically requires no work on the developers part who have an existing Android app that is compatible on 4-6 inch smartphones. All the studios/developers have to do is make a new profile and submit icons/screenshots and app descriptions. Blackberry owners will be able to download and install them the same way they have been downloading apps since Blackberry 10 was released.

Blackberry is betting big on the 10.3 firmware update that will allow native android apps to work on the Q5, Q10, Z10 and Z30. This will allow your average user to install whatever they want and not be limited. The Good e-Reader labs tested an early build of this update on the Z10 and installed our own Good e-Reader App Store. I was able to install and run every app we had. This is going to be a serious boon for people who have been let down by the dirge of apps until this point on Blackberry World.

There is no estimated date when the new firmware update will be pushed out. Some companies have confirmed that its basically all done, but Blackberry is waiting to have at least 10,000 Android apps in their library before they start a marketing campaign.

Developers Confirm Blackberry World will Soon be Accepting Android Apps is a post from: E-Reader News

Podcast: CES Wrapup & Barnes and Noble Holiday Sales and Executive Shakeup


Welcome back to another installment of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today, Editor in Chief Michael Kozlowski talks to Digital Book Worlds Jeremy Greenfield.  Today the two lads talk about the Barnes and Noble holiday sales news on how eBooks and devices did, they weren’t great. There is also new executives in charge of the Nook division, Michael and Jeremy discuss on what it all means. CES has come and gone, curved 4k tv’s and smart watches were the two big trends, did anything impress?

The Digital Book World conference is happening Monday/Tues/Wed of next week, you will want to check this out if you have a vested interest in digital publishing, eBooks, and lots more. You can register by visiting the link HERE.

Podcast: CES Wrapup & Barnes and Noble Holiday Sales and Executive Shakeup is a post from: E-Reader News

GI Joe Comic App Pulled from Apple App Store


Comixology has suspended development and has pulled the dedicated GI JOE, True Blood and Doctor Who apps from the Apple App Store. Anyone with an iOS device, such as the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch will have to download the official Comixology app in order to purchase new issues and sync existing content.

If you have purchased single issue or graphic novels from the dedicated GI JOE app, you will have to now download Comixology. If you don’t have an existing account, you can register a new one and then import the comics into your main account via sync. This will storage your comics in the main Comixology Cloud and allow you access them on more devices.

Comixology has not elaborated on why they pulled these dedicated apps from the main iOS App Store. Likely, they are trying to encourage people to use their flagship app, where more content is available and customers would be more prone to make impulse buys.

GI Joe Comic App Pulled from Apple App Store is a post from: E-Reader News

Test Drive your way to new technology

Since the iPad's introduction, and the rise of Android's star, tablets have become ubiquitous. In the early days, the technology was a little intimidating for first-timers, but with the spread of tablets, smartphones, and even hybrid laptops, tablets are a little more David, and a lot less Goliath. The library sphere, as it expands further into the digital age, finds itself becoming just as familiar with this new-fangled Star Trek technology as their patrons. In an effort to help demystify digital reading and its accompanying apparatuses, OverDrive offers the Test Drive program.

Our prime directive with the program is to evolve with the market as we accumulate experience, provide real world guidance and practical resources to increase efficiency, and to maintain consideration for the publishers' lending policies. The benefits from this program are two-fold: users get to borrow a device that is already set up with quick access to enjoying a digital title from your OverDrive collection, and your staff can share the device within your location to use for demonstrating the digital side of the library.

With Test Drive, we research devices, test them and make informed decisions about which devices to add to the program and recommend for purchase. In addition to selecting devices, we also document the set-up and clean-up processes so that you can provide the devices to your users in much the same way as a physical book. We even offer promotional tools to help you let your users know about the program. The end result is an increase in familiarity with the current wave of digital devices for you, your staff and your users.

Let's take a look at a qualifying device, and dive into how the Test Drive program integrates that device into the library lending experience.

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet was added to the Test Drive program recently. If your library were to purchase one for Test Drive, you would be able to go to the Test Drive website and download the setup and quick-start. Our setup guide walks you through the process required to get the tablet from the box to installing OverDrive to circulating the device. The quick-start guide is a nice reference for a first-time tablet user to consult for a brief review of how to navigate the device. When the user brings the device back, our setup guide includes instructions for how to clean up the device for the next borrower – providing the exact same experience as the last user.

We consider many factors when selecting a Test Drive certified gadget:

  • Can users checkout titles on the device using their own library card?
  • Are direct downloads via mobile site and app supported?
  • Will the device honor copy protection for the digital titles?
  • Is the library lending model respected?
  • Is the device high quality and cost-effective?
  • Is it compatible with OverDrive titles?
  • Is the device easy to use?
  • Does the device allow use without the need for credit card information?
  • Is the device readily available from retailers?

Mobile devices like the iPad, Google Nexus 7 and 10, and the Yoga Tablet meet these requirements and allow a great user experience. For a look at which devices are currently featured, visit the Test Drive site and click the Test Drive Devices button. For more information, checkout Program Details, and if you're interested in signing up, click the Enroll Now button.


Justin Noszek is a Support Services Specialist with OverDrive.


IndieReader, Edelweiss Break Down Last Obstacle for Self-Published Authors

Even as the respect, the recognition, and the royalties are in place for self-published authors to enjoy a rewarding career, there are still barriers in place that prevent them from enjoying all of the opportunities that are open to traditionally published authors. Newspapers–from major name nationally available titles to hometown rags–often still refuse to review a self-published book, regardless of the fame or publishing history of its author. Some local public libraries throughout the country have rules barring self-published authors from having speaking or signing engagements inside for fear of having to open that opportunity to everyone with an ebook. Even more detrimental, the ridiculous amount of hoop-jumping indie authors face to get their books into physical bookstores–whether major chain retailers or independent stores–makes it often not worth the effort.

But IndieReader and Edelweiss are working together to change that. With the launch this week of IndieReader In-Store (IRIS), authors have a greater than ever ability to put their works in front of browsing customers.

"One of the biggest challenges indie authors face is getting their books into brick & mortar stores,” explains Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader. “It took Edelweiss—and the growing interest among book buyers to carry self published titles in their stores (see recent articles in the Christian Science Monitor and Publisher’s Weekly that note increasing interest from indie bookstores in self-pubbed titles)—to help solve the problem."

As independent bookstores look for ways to adapt to a changing publishing and bookselling climate, a number of stores have begun to offer better opportunities for authors and readers to connect through indie titles. The agreement with Edelweiss will help ensure that these titles are available to bookstores for stocking, as well as make digital review copies available for book bloggers and reviewers, along with other outreach opportunities at the author’s discretion.

For more information on IndieReader In-Store, click HERE.

IndieReader, Edelweiss Break Down Last Obstacle for Self-Published Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

Libraries, Gale Partner for Online Accredited High School Diploma Program

According to data gathered by Cengage Learning, one US student drops out of high school every 26 seconds. The end result is is more than one million Americans every year leaving school without a diploma. While sociologists have studied the effects on society of having a significant portion of the population unqualified and incapable of securing employment, companies like Cengage are actively working to do something about it.

While critics could argue the underlying causes of dropping out, the basic issue remains that something needs to be done now. Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading provider of educational content, tools and services to libraries, schools and businesses,has announced its initiative Career Online High School, which will enable public libraries to offer fully accredited high school diploma programs via the internet.

Much like the increase in accredited university degree programs being offered online, COHS would allow students to earn actual high school diplomas instead of the current much-stigmatized GED that is available to dropouts via an exam.

"The population of adults without a high school diploma is as high as 60 percent in some of the geographic areas served by our library system," says John Szabo, the City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, which serves over four million people. "Our mission is to educate and empower every individual in our city's diverse communities. We could not be more excited to offer Career Online High School and make a real impact in helping these adults reach their education and career goals. This is a game-changing program for our library and a life-changing program for our patrons."

This program is accredited by AdvancED/SACS, the same governing body that oversees the accreditation of public schools and universities. Students are able to transfer any pre-existing earned high school credits, so that previous school coursework is not “wasted” by using the COHS program. Confidence is built in vocational areas before moving forward into academic studies, with many test subjects able to complete their high school diplomas in as little as four to six months.

Rolling out first in the Los Angeles Public Library System in California, this program will hopefully reach a citywide population that has one of the highest dropout rates in the country, with the US Census Bureau reporting that nearly 25% of the adult population of Los Angeles does not have a high school diploma.

Libraries, Gale Partner for Online Accredited High School Diploma Program is a post from: E-Reader News

Sales Down for Barnes and Noble, But How Bad Is Bad?

barnes and noble retail
While consumers might be alarmed by headlines that blare dire warnings about corporate downfalls, it’s important to take closer look at what constitutes a “bad” holiday sales season and what the reasons for a decline might be. News has broken of Barnes and Noble’s recent drop in sales compared to the previous year, and–coupled with news of stores closings, including its flagship 5th Avenue store in New York–can cause customers to question the fate of their favorite local bookselling chain.

But looking at the actual numbers shows a slightly different story. First, yes…B&N’s retail segment dropped 6.6% over the previous year. That’s pretty much to be expected when you close a few bookstores. And while the Nook division posted a staggering 60.5% drop during the holiday season over Christmas 2012, consumers need to note that this year’s holiday shopping season was shorter per the calendar and Barnes and Noble didn’t release a new tablet for this year’s holiday season. The retailer introduced two new tablets last year and saw a spike in sales as a result.

Of course, declines are a cause for concern in any industry. But when you’re Barnes and Noble, a 6.6% decline means you only made slightly more than $1 billion USD. Even with an eye-opening majority drop, the Nook division still earned $125 million just in the nine week holiday shopping period.

“We are pleased with our holiday sales results, especially our core comparable bookstore sales, which were essentially flat and an improvement as compared to the first half of the year,” said Michael P. Huseby, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. "During the holiday period we benefitted from a strong line-up of bestselling titles, great execution by our booksellers and merchants, an effective advertising campaign and strong increases in our Juvenile, Gift and Toys & Games categories."

A new initiative aimed at putting indie authors’ works in physical B&N locations is also in the works, making the retailer able to offer something to both consumers and authors that even Amazon can’t provide. Good e-Reader has long stated that the only way bookstores will compete is to stop trying to compete; only by leveraging the locations and the brand, along with a strong customer base who is loyal to the store and device, can B&N stay afloat.

Sales Down for Barnes and Noble, But How Bad Is Bad? is a post from: E-Reader News

BBC iPlayer Watched More on Tablets Than PC For the First Time During Holidays


If anyone needed further proof of tablet devices being more in vogue than the traditional PCs, here it is: theBBC iPlayer app has seen almost a million downloads (941,000 to be precise) on tablet devices from Dec 21 til the end of the year, surpassing the traditional desktops and laptops for the first time ever. This goes to show the popularity that tablet devices enjoyed as a holiday gift item. What is also impressive is that it comes within only eight months of tablets surpassing smartphones so far as viewing iPlayer is concerned.

Citing just how popular its iPlayer has been among tablet users, BBC further stated its popular web service was being viewed by over 3 million tablet users daily post 26 December, ahead of desktop and laptops viewership. BBC also had to deal with far more requests – 11 million – for TV and radio programs on New Year's Day this year than in 2013 (8.1 million). This marked a healthy jump of 35 percent though the actual figure will be even higher when data from Sky and Virgin Media is also taken into account.

“2013 truly proved to be the year of the tablet and after they were all unwrapped, Boxing Day saw tablet viewing overtake computer viewing for the first time in iPlayer history,” revealed Dan Taylor, the head of BBC iPlayer in a blog post.

BBC iPlayer Watched More on Tablets Than PC For the First Time During Holidays is a post from: E-Reader News

Cogito Smartwatch With an Analog Display Revealed


Here is a smartwatch that is a lot like any other conventional watches we have known for years. Enter the Cogito's Cookoo series of elegant smartwatches that conveys a sense of understated style and offers two different devices right now. What makes the Cogito different is that they incorporate an analog watch face, unlike the digital displays that almost all other smartwatches have incorporated.

As for the “smart” attribute, the watch comes with a series of LED icons which acts to keep the user updated of any notifications received on the smartphone. Also, you might have guessed it right; the Cogito is designed to work in tandem with a smartphone and not independent of it. As Cookoo officials have pointed out, their decision to design the Cogito to offer only notifications and not enable them to be viewed on the smartwatch itself stems from their findings that people are more likely to see them on their smartphones rather than pecking on the tiny display that smartwatches have to offer. Battery life claimed is a commendable 1 year before the battery will need to be replaced, which is another aspect akin to conventional watches. The Cogito is designed to be compatible with smartphones running iOS 7 and Android 4.3 and above.

As for the device itself, the range starts with the Cogito Pop for $129 and is expected to hit streets by end Feb. Next in line is the Cogito that costs $179 and comes with added features such as caller ID, ability to mute incoming calls and so on. Expect the Cogito to reach markets by the middle of March.

Cogito Smartwatch With an Analog Display Revealed is a post from: E-Reader News

Buy an 8GB NOOBS SD card for £5

When we announced our $40 Model B plus SD card bundle back in August, a lot of people asked us whether we could sell the card on its own. It’s taken a little while for us to get around to it, but I’m pleased to say that you can now buy an 8GB NOOBS SD card from the swag store for £4 including VAT, plus £1 UK shipping in the unlikely event you’re not buying other awesome swag.

The NOOBS SD card in all its glory.

This is the same high-speed Class 4 Samsung card that we ship in the bundle, and that we use at Pi Towers on a day-to-day basis. By my reckoning, even if you don’t care about NOOBS, this is currently the cheapest way to get a good-quality 8GB SD card in the UK.