Wednesday, January 15, 2014

HP Announces New Slate 6 & Slate 7 ‘Voice Tablets’


HP has taken the plunge in the rapidly evolving phablet segment with two new Android devices – Slate 6 and Slate 7. Both the devices will offer calling facility which means these can be used as a regular smartphone though HP has chosen to designate both the devices as Voice Tablets. This no doubt keeps things simple, instead of calling the 6 incher a phablet and its bigger cousin a tablet. What makes the latest launch all the more significant is the fact that this marks the return of the company to the smartphone segment which it had deserted back in 2011. That was an unceremonious exit though whether the new Slate range will mark a glorious re-entry remains to be seen.

Coming to its specs, HP has been a bit choosy when revealing all the details. For instance, while its known both the Slate 6 and 7 devices will sport quad core processors, it has held back on the clock speed or the make of the chipset used. No word on how much of RAM that the Voice Tablets will feature though there will be 16 GB of storage on-board, which can be complemented further with a micro SD card. Both the devices run Android 4.2 (strangely not the latest Android KitKat) and will come with 5 megapixel camera along the rear. As for the display, the Slate 6 comes with a 720p resolution while the bigger Slate 7 will offer 1280 X 800 pixel display.

HP has been having a tough time in making the transition to a maker of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Most of its past efforts in the tablet and smartphone segment had bombed though things do look different with the latest Slate incarnations. The new Voice Tablets look sleek and stylish what with their slim profile, and does look to be built for the course. However, pricing which is yet to be revealed will no doubt be the most crucial aspect that will determine the prospect of the device after it proves to be viable enough in the real world scenario. Both the Slate 6 and Slate 7 devices is slated to go on sale in India towards end January.

HP didn't explain why it chose to launch the new Slate 6 and 7 version in India before anywhere else though the smartphone market in the country being among the fastest growing in the world could be one good reason. Samsung smartphone have a significant presence here but so has HP in the PC segment and commands a considerable brand loyalty. Maybe these could provide it with the headstart it needs to start a whole new innings in the tablet space.

HP Announces New Slate 6 & Slate 7 ‘Voice Tablets’ is a post from: E-Reader News

ComiXology Tops the iPad Charts, Brings In New Readers

comiXology new logo

For the third time in three years, the digital-comics app Comics by comiXology was the top grossing non-game app for the iPad. This comes as no surprise, as it is often at the top of the charts on Wednesdays, when new comics are out. Rachel Edidin has a great piece about it on Wired’s Underwire blog, in which she interviews comiXology CEO David Steinberger.

ComiXology has truly been a game-changer: Not only is it the dominant digital comics app, it has actually been bringing new readers to comics, not just to digital but to print as well:

Of the 20 percent of ComiXology customers who bought their first comics online in the last quarter 2013, 64 percent have begun buying print comics as well.

That’s pretty impressive. ComiXology was founded in 2007 and launched the Comics app as an iPhone app in 2009. I spoke to Steinberger shortly after the launch, and he was pretty excited that comiXology could offer 100 comics, with 40 more in the queue, and that readers could buy them in-app rather than having each comic be a separate app, which had been the paradigm up till then. And from the very beginning, comiXology was promoting brick-and-mortar stores, with a built-in comic shop locator and an affiliate program. Also, at the time of the interview, the app cost 99 cents to download (being an early adopter, I paid for it) and it was the top selling book app in the iTunes Store.

Not even five years later, comiXology has a library of over 45,000 comics from 75 different publishers, and they announced this week that they have downloaded over 6 billion pages of comics—4 billion pages in the past year alone. That looks like exponential growth, but it’s interesting that they have switched from the number of comics, which is what they usually talk about, to pages: In September they announced that they had reached 200 million downloads. But maybe they just thought 6 billion was a more impressive number.

Whatever. The fact is that just a couple of years ago the single-issue comics market was looking dire. ComiXology has managed to not only sell a lot of comics but also bring more readers into (or back to) comics, thus growing the overall market, print as well as digital, and they have also promoted independent and emerging creators via their ComiXology Submit program. That’s not a bad set of accomplishments to rack up in less than five years.

ComiXology Tops the iPad Charts, Brings In New Readers is a post from: E-Reader News

German Bookstore Chain Weltbild Goes Bankrupt

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Weltbild is the second largest bookstore in Germany and the company has a very complex ownership group that was not willing to put anymore money into it. On January 10th 2014 the company officially filed for insolvency and the future of the German book selling landscape looks bleak.

Weltbild's owners is a very complex consortium of over a dozen dioceses of the Catholic Church. The ownership group was not happy that the bookseller put a huge priority on erotica titles both in tangible and electronic format. When holiday sales stayed much below expectations, and the required investment skyrocketed from €60 million to an estimated €160 million, the owners decided to pull the plug.

The bookstore chain eked out a modest annual income of over €1.6 billion dollars and has a dedicated workforce of 6,800. Weltbild is considered one of the largest media and book trading houses in Europe, with operations primarily in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It boggles most industry annalists minds that a company of this magnitude can collapse in a short period of time.

Adjusting to the new digital landscape was something the Weltbild group did very early on. They started selling eBooks a few years ago, before Amazon officially entered Germany. The Tolino Shine was a product of Weltbild, Thalia, and various Telecom companies to offer a low-cost e-reader and market it to German citizens. Sadly, the unit sales did not meet expectations and in conjunction with poor holiday sales and rising costs, the curtain was closed.

The imminent closure of Weltbild will have reverberating effects on the entire German and European publishing industry. There is one less sales channel to distribute and sell tangible books. London Book Fair will be especially interesting this year to see how the industry is reacting and what adjustments will be made to sell books.

German Bookstore Chain Weltbild Goes Bankrupt is a post from: E-Reader News

Top 10 Android Apps of the Week – Jan 15 2014


This week many new and exciting apps have been released and of course we are seeing new updates to existing ones like Snapchat, Simpsons Tapped Out and many more! Today, we look at the most compelling new apps from the last week and give you a sense on what the essential ones are to check out.

Of course, all of these apps are available to download for free from the Good e-Reader App Store. There is no registration required and all of these great apps and games can be downloaded with one click. We also have an Android App you can install on your Blackberry or Android phone/tablet, you can download it HERE.

Full Tilt Rush Poker.NET - Feel the Rush. The fastest poker experience. Tailored for mobile. Download and play Full Tilt Rush Poker on your Android device for free. Full Tilt is only for play-money players 18 years old and up.

City Island 2 – Building Story – In City Island 2 you will build houses for your citizens, decorations and community buildings to make them happy, and create jobs so you can earn money and gold from your happy citizens. People in your own city will provide quests and feedback on how well you are doing! Furthermore, you can decorate your city by placing walking paths, rivers, railroads with trains, parks and hundreds more fun and beautifully designed items. If you like playing free-to-play citygames, building a virtual city on City Island 2 is your best choice!

Shiva: The Time Bender – The ultimate hero is finally here – saving the universe, one era at a time!
Bend time to your will, unlock incredible weapons, unleash new power-ups and customize your hero with awesome new gear. Compete against other players to reach the top of the leader-boards and become a legend!

SoundTracking – With a few taps of your phone, identify a song instantly and then share the song snippet, a photo and your geo-location all in one special music moment that you can share into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. You and your friends can follow, like and comment on each other's daily music tastes and even play songs in Rdio or Spotify!

Rithm – Rithm is an awesome new way to message your friends with music. When you want to rock out, share an experience, enjoy cool new music or make someone laugh, use Rithm to send music messages, express yourself and have fun.

Loopr – Task Switcher – Do you want to speed up your multitasking? Being able to customize your device with a new look? Then this app might be the right one for you. Loopr is a task switcher, pretty much like the recent apps menu on your android system, but with much quicker access and a few more options.

Crazy Heroes : The Ninja Ropes – Crazy Heroes : The Ninja Ropes is an adventure game with the ropes climbing involved.

Mechs Warfare – Become the greatest mercenary! Mechs Warfare is the world of merciless mech-warriors.
Upgrade your machine, equip it with powerful weaponry, take part in real-time fights with thousands of other players struggling to become the greatest pilots of all time.

KickAss Torrent Tracker – KickAss Torrents Tracker is among the first apps that offers secure browsing as a feature. If your country doesn't allow KickAssTorrents or if your company have a strict IT policy, no worries. KickAssTorrent Tracker handles this by using a secure proxy and relays the traffic over SSL to process the search. This gives much higher search speeds and lower data traffic.

Magic Rampage – From the creators of Magic Portals, Magic Rampage is an addictive platformer that combines the action-RPG genre with hack 'n' slash gameplay! A tribute to the "Metroidvania" style!

Top 10 Android Apps of the Week – Jan 15 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

What’s the Student Requests cart in my Marketplace?

RTS cartHave you noticed a "Student Requests" cart in Marketplace and you're not sure where it came from? Don't worry – that's just your students taking advantage of the new Recommend to School feature on your digital library website.

As a student is browsing your digital collection, a book they want to read may not be available through your school's catalog. When that happens, students are able to search the full OverDrive catalog to find that title, and then at the click of a mouse, they can recommend that title to you for purchase so that they will be able to borrow the eBook from your library. Students are permitted to have a limited view of the Marketplace collection so they won't be viewing inappropriate content for their age and grade level.

The RTL Manager (Student Requests) cart contains those titles selected and recommended by your students. This is an opportunity for your students to engage with books and communicate their interests. The cart is scheduled to appear on the 15th of every month by default, but this can be changed to occur more often. The cart is linked to your shared collection account (where applicable).

The time, number of copies of recommended books (set to one copy by default), formats and other parameters are flexible for your Recommend to Schools cart.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Collection Development Specialist.


Heather Tunstall is Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


DBW, Writers Digest Survey on Author Satisfaction with the Industry

Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest magazine announced some of the results of an in-depth author survey at this morning’s Digital Book World Conference and Expo in New York. The survey asked more than 9,000 authors to respond to some highly specified questions on the industry; those authors were placed in different categories based on their respective roles in the book business: aspiring (unpublished) authors, traditionally published authors, self-published authors, and the increasingly popular hybrid authors, or those who are published by both the traditional industry and have self-published titles.

Phil Sexton presented some of the early findings in a keynote entitled “What Authors Want,” and the findings were very illuminating about the industry as a whole. Some of the key findings include:

  • Authors responding were skewed farther more towards fiction authors, partly due to the involvement of writers’ associations who helped promote the survey.
  • Despite its status as a very new genre, 30% of the respondents reported that they write New Adult, demonstrating its popularity for both readers and writers.
  • Hybrid authors appeared to be more active, both in their hourly writing time (20-24 hours per week, compared to 10-14 hours a week) and the time they spend working on building their author platforms (7-9 hours per week, instead of 3-6 hours a week from other authors).
  • Hybrids are also producing more published titles by almost four to one.
  • The number one reasons authors gave for why they write was to create something that people would buy; not to be confused with wanting to make money, the authors want to write and publish books that readers want to read enough to pay for. Aspiring writers’ reason was to satisfy the long-term goal of being published.
  • Prestige and brand building were the least important reason for writing across all categories.
  • Annual Writing Income:
  • Nearly 80% of self-published authors are making $1000 or less per year, but in a startling find, 54% of traditionally published authors also make $1000 or less annually. 57% of hybrid authors make $1000 or more per year.
  • Amazingly, only 2% of traditionally published authors earn $100,000 or more per year, while 8% of hybrid authors make that income.
  • Most of the traditionally published authors who answered reported that they did not receive an advance, or opted not to answer. The most common advance for a traditionally published author is between $1000 and $3000.
  • Traditionally published authors unsurprisingly receive the lowest royalty percentage, hybrid authors were next, followed by self-published authors who make the highest royalties. Interestingly, hybrid authors reported being able to negotiate for a slightly higher royalty, possibly due to the publishers’ awareness that these authors have the ability and fan base to self-publish their titles instead.
  • Hybrids have a basis for comparison due to their experience with both industries, and therefore were less likely to believe that traditional publishing would offer their books a greater audience and better marketing support.
  • Interestingly, less than 25% of self-published and hybrid authors believe that the quality of a traditionally published book is better than a self-published title.
  • In a final startling revelation, 4.6% of self-published authors state they are “very satisfied” with their sales, but only 8.2% of traditionally published authors can say the same.

In a session immediately following this panel, hybrid author Dana Beth Weinberg, who helped author the resulting report, said one thing publishers need to take away from this data is the need to rethink and restructure their contracts with authors, not just their tangible book contracts, but in a more social realm in terms of how they perceive of and treat their authors.

The full data set is available for sale from Digital Book World.

DBW, Writers Digest Survey on Author Satisfaction with the Industry is a post from: E-Reader News

Dissecting Amazon’s Predatory “Everything” Strategy

At the Digital Book World Conference and Expo, publishing industry professionals come together to analyze the state of the industry and its near and far future projections. This morning, Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, spoke about the horizontal and vertical shifts of Amazon, beginning with the initial bookselling in 1995 and moving into other offerings beginning in 2007, including ebooks and e-readers, grocery, fashion, and more.

“It’s breathtaking how confident these moves are. Amazon believes that technology, its strategic use of data, its long-term orientation, can change the economics in all these industries. They can remove intermediaries and tilt the playing field in its favor.”

Stone continued to explain that Amazon uses its vast and successful knowledge of bookselling to translate that experience into experimenting with other retail fields. Every day, new products and services are introduced, and as Stone says, “Amazon is clearly firing on all cylinders.”

According to Stone, Bezos and anyone associated with Amazon do not believe that the pace of change is stagnating. He states that Amazon has a twenty year history of not giving up and constantly trying new things while still having what Bezos referred to as the mentality of the cheetah-and-gazelle, actively announcing that they needed to go after the industry like a cheetah stalks a “sickly gazelle.”

Good e-Reader sat down with Stone for clarification of how this concept has benefited Amazon so far as becoming the powerhouse it is today. “There was a period in Amazon’s history when they were trying to negotiate some very basic industry terms, and their biggest business at the time was books. And they thought, ‘Why are we doing industry standard terms when we should be able to get a better deal since a lot of these publishers’, the majority of their sales are on Amazon.”

In Stone’s investigation into Amazon’s background for this book, he recounts that a former Amazon business executive told him to find out what the “cheetah and the gazelle” means, leading him to discover that it was a statement from Bezos about how Amazon should approach the publishers. At one point, the negotiations were even referred to as The Gazelle Project, something that did not sit well with Amazon’s lawyers.

But with this single-minded focus on being at the top of the food chain, where can Amazon go from here? The site that became a force with bookselling now has arms in every direction, giving them the opportunity to take out gazelles in almost every aspect of retailing.

Dissecting Amazon’s Predatory “Everything” Strategy is a post from: E-Reader News

Monthly Marketing Idea: Spread the word with a press release

When launching your digital collection, it's important to get the word out and start marketing. We've shared many promotional ideas in the past about using print materials, events and social media to help raise awareness about your eBooks. But one of the simplest and most cost effective marketing tools is a press release.

For public libraries, a press release sent to local blogs, newspapers, radio and TV stations can alert your community that the library card in their wallet is a pass to a large collection of free digital titles. It may also bring in new users who don't currently have an active library card. They might live within your district but not within a convenient drive to a local branch. Maybe they work long hours and can't get to the library during business hours. Reading your press release in the paper or seeing a story on the news could be the catalyst that encourages people to get a library card and try your digital collection for the first time.

For schools and academic libraries, a press release serves a different function. Issuing a statement to your community that your school now offers eBooks for all students highlights your dedication to technology and your forward-thinking investment in the future. In this case, reaching out to your community isn't about getting the URL to the masses since only your students and faculty will have access. The goal is to focus on this enhancement for your student body and gain positive publicity for your school at the same time.

Remember, a press release is a vital part of any marketing campaign when first starting your digital collection, but it doesn't have to stop there. You can issue press releases for eBook-related library events, new format additions and exciting site enhancements. In the Partner Portal, you'll find sample public relations templates that can be edited and customized to share with local media. We also have communication templates for library and school newsletters and other internal memos and emails.


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.


Touchscreen point-and-shoot, from Adafruit

LadyAda from Adafruit is one of my very favourite people. We have a tradition of spending at least one evening eating Korean barbecue whenever I visit New York. We have told each other many secrets over bowls of fizzy fermented rice beverage, posed for photographs in front of plastic meats, been filmed pointing at electronics for the New York Times, and behaved very badly together in Pinkberry in September. LadyAda is the perfect combination of super-smart hacker, pink hair and business ninja; her cat Mosfet likes to Skype transatlantically with the Raspberry Pi cat, Mooncake (at least I think that their intense ignoring of each other constitutes “liking”); and we are incredibly fortunate that she saw the Pi and instantly understood what we were trying to do back in 2011. Here she is on the cover of the MagPi. (Click the image to visit the MagPi website, where you can download the issue for free.)

Her business, Adafruit, which employs an army of hackers and makers, does wonderful things with the Pi. They’ve been incredibly helpful to us in getting the word about Raspberry Pi and our educational mission out in North America. Adafruit not only stocks the Raspberry Pi and a whole warehouse-full of compatible electronics; the team also creates some amazing Raspberry Pi add-ons, along with projects and tutorials.

This is Adafruit’s latest Pi project, and it blew our minds.

All the parts you’ll need to create your own point-and-shoot camera using the Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi camera board, and a little touch-screen TFT add-on board that Adafruit have made especially for the Pi, are available from Adafruit (they ship worldwide and are super-friendly). You can also find out how to send your photos to another computer over WiFi, or using Dropbox. As the Adafruit team says:

This isn't likely to replace your digital camera (or even phone-cam) anytime soon…it's a simplistic learning exercise and not a polished consumer item…but as the code is open source, you or others might customize it into something your regular camera can't do.

As always, full instructions on making your own are on the learning section of Adafruit’s website, with a parts list, comprehensive setup instructions, and much more.

Adafruit have been especially prolific this week: we’ll have another project from them to show you in a few days. Thanks to LadyAda, PT, and especially to Phillip Burgess, who engineered this camera project.

Goodreads Reaches New Milestone with 100,000 Authors


Goodreads launched its Goodreads Author Program and verified author pages only a half a decade ago, but is looking to its 100,000th author user this week. While the site itself remains firmly a place for readers to share and engage thoughts on books and content, users have enjoyed the ability to interact with authors and content creators.

In a blog post from Goodreads, Patrick Brown stated, “Many authors keep their pages updated with news of upcoming books and, because all writers are also readers, they also share their reading lists—another great opportunity to discover new books on Goodreads! For instance, Rick Riordan includes This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel in his list of 44 “Favorites”, along with Dune by Frank Herbert; L.J. Smith appears to be a huge Agatha Christie fan with over 50 books of hers shelved; and Khaled Hosseini gave Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain 5 stars. Members can browse authors’ bookshelves to find out which titles they have in common, and discover which books inspired their favorite writers.”

Goodreads’ viability for authors has been called into question with the recent news of reviewers and author conflict, typically referred to as “author bullying.” While Goodreads has enacted terms of service that require a modicum of respectfulness when posting reviews of books or categorizing titles on personal shelves, the fact remains that Goodreads is only useful to authors because of this innate ability readers have to openly share and critique books, creating a deeper level of discussion than can just be found on a product review page.

To celebrate its milestone, Goodreads has unrolled a special gift for member authors in the form of a verified badge for author pages. This badge lets readers know that this is the verified author and is therefore the actual user account of someone to interact with and engage with surrounding authors’ content.

Goodreads Reaches New Milestone with 100,000 Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

bluebottlebiz Maintains Subscription eBook Service for Business Publishing

Subscription digital reading is getting a lot of speculation and attention lately, especially with companies like Oyster and Scribd offering what might actually be some of the first viable models for mainstream book borrowing. While both models finally have secured agreements with major publishers under a Netflix-like all-you-can-eat model, those names are certainly not the first companies to try to let readers have unlimited access to books for a flat fee.

Bluebottlebiz, a subscription book service geared specifically to business and entrepreneurship publications, was formed in 2012 under an initiative that included publishers from the US, France, and Spanish language markets, with well-known names like Palgrave Macmillan, McGraw- Hill, Wiley, Cengage, Kogan Page, LID, Leduc, and Berrett-Koehler. With content from over seventy publishers and a library that includes more than 50,000 titles, which translates into 80% of the titles published in those categories, bluebottlebiz has created a viable model for targeted, thematic information.

"We have passed the tipping point and are now well on our way to enhancing the reader experience and providing a friendly platform to publishers so they can improve their gross margins and their long term sustainability,” said Marcelino Elosua, Founder & CEO, bluebottlebiz.

One of the things that has kept subscription ebook reading from already securing its place on consumers’ devices has been reluctance on the part of publishers, authors, and rights holders to adopt a model that didn’t offer very clear explanations of how royalties will be determined. Bluebottlebiz launched with that knowledge in place, and therefore offers its publishers a 55% royalty on borrowed titles, the highest in subscription services.

“For publishers, bluebottlebiz tracks relevant usage parameters and shares them in real time so that publishers can learn how readers really engage with their books, which chapters are more frequently read and shared, how readers search, and which titles are most popular in each country.”

Cayetana Pablos, General Manager of bluebottlebiz, said, "Specialized digital libraries are the way of the future because they offer useful content beyond just books, and value-added services that meet the special requirements of those readers."

bluebottlebiz Maintains Subscription eBook Service for Business Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon’s Data and its Move to Take Over Academic Publishing


When you look at academic and professional publishing, Amazon may actually be an even bigger player than with trade publishing due to the lack of retail sales space compared to that for mainstream books. But Joe Esposito, former CEO of Encyclopedia Britannica and blogger at The Scholarly Kitchen, spoke this morning on an even bigger issue, the “black hole” of Amazon’s data. Esposito calls Amazon’s information–or misinformation– can be compared to the concept of the “Hawking Radiation” project, or any information that manages to escape from the black hole.

But Amazon is notoriously intentionally secretive about new offerings, unit sales, and more; at the same time, Esposito also pinpoints intentionally misleading information that the company leaks, for which he blames the media for jumping on this misinformation and spreading. So how are consumers and publishers supposed to make sound decisions on their working relationships with the retail giant without seeking out genuine and accurate information?

Apart from interviewing different professionals in the academic publishing arena, such as university presses, wholesalers, and librarians, Esposito supports blogging openly about findings in order to garner comments and foster communication about Amazon in the hope that accurate information will come to light.

Another source of communication towards this data is international university presses, as these sites are seeing an increase in print sales due to purchases made on Amazon.

According to Esposito, Amazon is quite stealthily taking a larger and larger share of the international market, as well as taking some of the library market away from Baker & Taylor, indicating that the market isn’t necessarily growing, but it’s shifting. Amazon, by ordering books from Baker & Taylor themselves, are seen as being the supplier of the book since the box clearly said Amazon. The perception becomes that Amazon is the supplier; one university librarian even stated that they order 100% of their titles from Amazon, although Amazon may in turn be purchasing the book through the source that libraries originally used to rely on.

One concern Esposito sees as problematic is the ability this gives Amazon to control the print market in academic publishing, then leverage that control into digital, probably through its ability to acquire companies and brands.

Amazon’s Data and its Move to Take Over Academic Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

Howey’s “Peace in Amber” Fan Fiction Remembers 9/11

Only someone who really knows his craft and listens to his inner voices can write a story based on the world of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five that also includes not only a zoo run by aliens, but a touching restrospective of the events of September 11th.

For those unaware, Hugh Howey, bestselling self-published author of The Silo Saga and other titles, has been an ardent supporter of fan fiction, especially works written surrounding his own characters and scenarios in Wool. As a vocal advocate for authors to publish their licensed fan fic on Amazon Kindle Worlds platform, Howey himself has turned to the genre to express the thoughts he carried with him having witness the events of that day from his post as a boat captain in the marina below the towers.

Good e-Reader got the chance to ask Howey specifically about the process of creating a book whose purpose was decidedly different from his other writings, as well as the sense of community surrounding fan fiction.

Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media said this morning at DBW: “John Green (The Fault in our Stars) is doing what all of us need to be doing,” regarding reader/fan engagement, support of fellow authors, community building, etc. I feel like you (Hugh) are another example of an author who doesn’t feel the need to compete with other authors, who happily shares his work with fans and fan fiction writers, who engages his readers on social media, and more. Can you give an explanation of why this is important to you, and what difference it makes to your readers?

I’ll tell you why I love my fellow writers: They have my back. There’s nothing quite like slaving over a manuscript for a few months, getting it polished and ready, hitting that “publish” button, falling asleep and enjoying the thrill of a book completed, and then waking up to reviews of your brand new baby on Amazon and an inbox flooded with “What’s next?”

I can’t write fast enough to sate readers’ thirst for stories. I rely on the rest of the writing community to keep people thrilled with the act of reading. The competition is not each other; the competition is all the myriad things people can do other than read. Like watch TV or surf the web.

Every great book is advertising for every other book written. The more the merrier. When I get those emails asking me “What’s next,” I point to John Green and tell them to read his book.

If Kurt Vonnegut was alive, do you envision his support for your book in much the same way that you have wholeheartedly supported other authors who have identified with The Silo Saga?

No way. Kurt was a curmudgeon, and I say that with ultimate fondness. He would be cynical about this because it wasn’t his idea. He’d be upset he didn’t do it first.

I think fan fiction is in line with Kurt’s philosophy toward writing. The guy was whimsical. One of his major characters, Kilgore Trout, was based on fellow science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon. He has places and people and themes that course through all of his works. It got to the point that he was writing fan fiction based on what he’d written before.

So I think he could be both against my writing in his world and be deliciously hypocritical for doing so. And that’s Kurt Vonnegut. And I love him for it.

Was the writing of Peace In Amber a way of healing from the events of that day, or was it more of a desperate need to get this story out of you? Or do you have other emotional ties to it?

It was both. I don’t think it could be one without the other. That day has been a scab I’ve been picking at for twelve years. Every book I write deals with it, sometimes obviously so. A building falls. A world burns. Characters watch, helpless. In I, ZOMBIE I wrote an homage to New York and to my loss in belief of free will, and I wrote obliquely about 9/11. But it wasn’t enough. As many times as I’ve cried in front of my laptop, writing in a room alone with my dog, I never really had that snot-faced and sobbing breakdown where something inside you pops and is allowed to heal. While writing Peace In Amber, I had that. Scabs are on their way to becoming scars.

Peace in Amber is available from Amazon’s Kindle Worlds platform.

Howey’s “Peace in Amber” Fan Fiction Remembers 9/11 is a post from: E-Reader News

Pubsoft Revamps HTML Web Viewer for eBooks

As more and more publishers look to optimize content for mobile device consumption, one company is quietly expanding the possibilities of its web viewer for digital reading under the belief that browser-based reading is where digital publishing is actually going to find its comfort zone. As consumers’ devices are increasingly able to access wifi–especially as the numbers for ebook reading on 4G smartphones and tablets increased–Pubsoft is ready with a seamless HTML experience for both online and offline reading.

“We’re really improving on the HTML5 web viewer,” explained Pubsoft’s Dougal Cameron in an interview with Good e-Reader at Digital Book World. “Within that experience, our goal is to create a seamless integration from an author tweeting out about their book to a consumption and purchase either directly or through Amazon. The way that that looks for a particular reader is they might be following a particular author and see a link, then click the link, and immediately be delivered into a portion of the book that the author is sharing.”

As opposed to the increasingly negative “book tweets” that take readers to sales pages, this will enable authors to share links directly to a personally branded, secure format where readers can sample their books in their web browsers. Once the reader hits the paywall on the book sample, he is then directed on how to purchase the title to continue reading. Other incorporated features on the author page include the option to pull in the Goodreads API for book reviews, a message from the author, and more, giving the readers more connection to the author.

“As those readers have more direct connection to an author, they tell more people about that book. It stays on top of their mind. The way we accomplish that in our system is by making it very simple for the reader to buy direct and continue to read it through the browser, and syncs with other devices they use to read.”

The end result of this approach is not so much simply selling a book, but to establish a reader “capturing” tool in order to help authors connect to their readers in order to build ongoing writer-reader relationships.

Pubsoft Revamps HTML Web Viewer for eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

DBW Digital Book Award Winners Announced

At an awards gala at the end of the second full day of the Digital Book World Conference and Expo, actor and Reading Rainbow co-founder and publisher at RRKidz hosted the Digital Book Awards, an honor recognizing innovative titles across a series of categories and all utilizing technology to create a compelling book. The awards were sponsored by Kobo and by the conference headlining sponsor Inkling.

"The Digital Book Awards were created to recognize the best in the burgeoning market for digital reading experiences," said David Blansfield, President, Digital Book World (F+W Media). "The winners we celebrated tonight were certainly that. The range of titles we evaluated, from large technology and media companies to self-published authors, was impressive, but they all had one thing in common – in their own way they're all great stories well told, using the latest digital technology to go beyond print."

The winners of the awards were as follows:

Ebook Flowable – Adult Fiction
Eversea: A Love Story, Natasha Boyd

Ebook Flowable – Adult Non-Fiction
Cooking Light Lighten Up, America!, Oxmoor House Steve Sandonato

Ebook Flowable – Children
Can You Survive the Titanic?: An Interactive Survival Adventure, Capstone Press

Ebook Flowable – Reference/Academic
Scotland's Marine Atlas, On Behalf of the Scottish Government by APS Group Scotland

Ebook Fixed Format/Enhanced – Adult Fiction
Mistress of France, Emma Boling, Beneath the Ink

Ebook Fixed Format/Enhanced – Adult Non-Fiction
Isa Does It, Little, Brown and Company

Ebook Fixed Format/Enhanced – Children
The Man with the Violin, Annick Press Ltd.

Ebook Fixed Format/Enhanced – Reference/Academic
Cracking the GRE: Interactive Prep & Review for the GRE Exam, Random House Children's Books and The Princeton Review

Ebook Fixed Format/Enhanced – Illustrated/Comics/Graphic Novels
The World Atlas of Wine iPad Edition, Octopus Publishing Group

App – Adult Fiction
Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus, Noble Beast

App – Adult Non-Fiction
The Pocket Scavenger, Penguin Group (USA) Katherine McCahill, Executive Producer; Meg Leder, Executive Editor

App – Children
COWZAT!, Colour Me Play

App – Illustrated/Comics Graphic Novels
Go Big or Go Home: Taking Risks in Life, Love and Tattooing, HarperCollins/Harper Design

App – Reference/Academic
Disney Animated, Touch Press/Disney

Digital Cover Design
A Shiver of Sharks, Little Bahalia Publishing

Transmedia (Any Format)
The Niantic Project: Ingress, Niantic Labs at Google

The Digital Book Award for Inkling Habitat
Modernist Cuisine at Home, The Cooking Lab

DBW Digital Book Award Winners Announced is a post from: E-Reader News

Facebook Paper to Battle Pulse and Flipboard


Pulse and Flipboard remain two of the most popular reading apps for iOS and Android. They basically allow you to access your favorites sites RSS Feeds in a very intuitive and touch friendly approach. These two apps are dominating the news segment and Facebook is displeased. The social media giant is going to roll out their own news app called Paper and should be out by the end of the month.

Facebook Paper is part of a multi-year effort from the team behind the News Feed, Facebook's rich stream of never-ending content that flows down the center of users' pages, populated with a mix of status updates, shared news stories and paid advertising from companies. The project is being spearheaded by Chris Cox, Facebook's VP of product.

The technology being employed by Facebook Paper is being cannibalized and repurposed from the acquisition of Push Pop Press in 2011. The company specialized in rich media reading apps and the spirit of their original vision will live on with Facebook Paper.

Not much is known about the news curation aspect of Facebook Paper, whether users will be able to have any control over the content within the app. Paper will reportedly display stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications in a visually appealing layout that also mixes in Facebook status updates.

Facebook Paper to Battle Pulse and Flipboard is a post from: E-Reader News