Monday, January 20, 2014

Spamming Twitter Rewards Indie Authors Trending Terms

kindle tweets

Indie and self-published authors should spend more time writing and less time spamming Twitter with a million “Buy My Book” posts. One of the new tactics this shabby demographic is employing is making major terms trend in order to generate click-bait for your average Twitter user. Is this ethical and more importantly a good use of time?

Today on Twitter Indie authors managed to make the term #Kindle trend, and instead of discussion about a new model, firmware update or a deal, all Tweets were from authors. Authors are making major terms trend with the sole intention of spamming Twitter with their books and encouraging people to buy them. Most of them, aren’t just doing a single Tweet either, but are employing 3rd party apps like Hootsuite to automate them.

Self-Published authors are again gaming the system by spamming a service with the intention of generating some quick sales. This tactic is deplorable and actually does more harm than good.

Author Molly Greene points out that Twitter was not meant for these tactics “You do realize this is spam, right? Twitter is not a direct-sale platform, and Twitter rules call foul "If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies, hashtag or @mentions in an aggressive attempt to bring attention to a service or link." That means repeatedly tweeting or DMing a high-pressure request to buy your book is not only deeply annoying, it can get your Twitter account suspended.

Author Alexa Bourne mentioned “I too have unfollowed people who only tweet about their own books. I occasionally mention my own- when I sign a contract, get a cover, have a release or a contest- but I'd rather be friendly with people and have them decide to read my book because they like my professional personality, not because I've hounded them with my buy links.”

Spamming Twitter Rewards Indie Authors Trending Terms is a post from: E-Reader News

Video: How PDF Files Look on the Amazon Kindle HDX 7


The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 hit most countries late last year and is the Seattle based company’s latest generation tablet.  Amazon is heavily invested in their own Kindle Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Videos and Audiobooks. There is a large segment of users that depend on PDF files for school, work or play. Today, Peter and Michael evaluate whether or not the Kindle HDX 7 handles PDF files better than the competition.

Video: How PDF Files Look on the Amazon Kindle HDX 7 is a post from: E-Reader News

CreateSpace Removes Minimum Royalty Threshold


In a bold move that makes self-publishing even more lucrative and rewarding for authors, print-on-demand platform CreateSpace announced today that it was removing the minimum threshold for royalty payouts to authors who take advantage of its direct deposit payment option. In addition, the payout date will now be thirty days following the prior month instead of sixty days.

In the past, many platforms have maintained a minimum amount of sales before royalties would be paid out to authors. Now, CreateSpace is removing its own “$10/£10/?10″ minimum, allowing authors to be paid for each month’s sales regardless of the amount.

“As of January 20, 2014, the minimum threshold amount has been removed for accounts selecting Direct Deposit as their payment method. Previously, you were required to wait until royalties met the minimum payment amount (threshold) of $10/£10/?10 before any earnings could be dispersed via direct deposit. You will now be paid approximately thirty (30) days following the end of the calendar month during which applicable sales occurred, no matter the amount.”

Authors can update their payment information in the Member Dashboard of their CreateSpace accounts, as well as opt out of this payment option if they choose.

One of the first major changes that CreateSpace’s parent company Amazon made to disrupt the traditional publishing following the launch of Amazon Publishing was to announce that it would no longer require its authors to wait for quarterly royalty payments, and would no longer be paying three months in arrears. At the time, the leadership of Amazon Publishing pointed to the benefits that self-published authors have long enjoyed, namely the monthly royalty payment structure.

CreateSpace Removes Minimum Royalty Threshold is a post from: E-Reader News

Free Qlovi Platform Helps Teachers Meet Common Core Standards

Teachers in adopting states have struggled to adapt to the rigorous requirements of the Common Core standards, especially for reading and writing. A new free platform for K-12 classroom teachers has provided tools for educators and learners, while still producing measurable reports and aligned instruction.

"Only ¼ of high school graduates in this country achieve the reading and writing skills necessary for success in college and beyond. Qlovi is dedicated to helping teachers meet the literacy instruction needs of all kids," said Qlovi CEO, Harlyn Pacheco. "Qlovi is helping teachers assign students appropriate leveled readings aligned to the Common Core, monitor progress, and use data to target student feedback. Teachers can sign up, select from thousands of eBooks, assign lessons, and observe progress. We love to watch students succeed, and fall in love with books—those are our true moments of achievement."

The Qlovi platform has already been recognized through a number of awards, such as SxSwedu LAUNCHedu 2014 Finalists, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge Winners, Echoing Green BMA Fellows, and the HarperCollins BookSmash Challenge winner. Along with funding from various backing organizations, Qlovi has reached thousands of school-aged students and provided engaging author events to participating schools.

Free Qlovi Platform Helps Teachers Meet Common Core Standards is a post from: E-Reader News Goes Live with Its First Crowdfunded eBook

A revolutionary concept in fostering free use of books launched only a few years ago with GlueJar’s model. This model relied on crowdfunding to propel a book into Creative Commons status, essentially paying the rights holder an agreed upon amount in order to “unglue” the book.

Now, has announced the first ebook created under its new funding mechanism. Under the new model, the first title, Lagos_2060, was sold with its Creative Commons license in tact. As the book continues to sell, the date of the final release of the copyright will draw even closer.

“‘Buy-to-Unglue’ uses ebook purchases as a crowdfunding mechanism. Every ebook downloaded comes with a future dated Creative Commons license. Each purchase brings that Creative Commons effective date, the date the ebook becomes free to everyone, closer to the present.”

The authors–Afolabi Muheez Ashiru, Okey Egboluche, Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu, Kofo Akib, Ayodele Arigbabu, Adebola Rayo, Terh Agbedeh, Temitayo Olofinlua–created the anthologized book published by DADA books to commemorate Nigeria’s golden jubilee.

In addition to the ability of readers to be a part of the ungluing of the book, libraries stand to benefit from the Buy to Unglue program. Their participation helps towards the stripping of copyrighted status, but also allows the library to loan the ebook to their patrons through’s lending platform. Goes Live with Its First Crowdfunded eBook is a post from: E-Reader News

51% of Comixology Users are Outside the US

where in the world are comixoligy users

Comixology is one of the most dominant forces in digital comic distribution on Android, iOS and a myriad of other platforms. The company released a new infographic today that outlines its core markets and it is quite clear that 51% of their users live outside the US.

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.

51% of Comixology Users are Outside the US is a post from: E-Reader News

Librarian’s Share: Hennepin County Library

It's time to check in with another winner of this year's Digital Library Champions contest! Since last August, we've been highlighting winners and their success stories through a series of Librarian's Share blog posts. This week, we feature the winner of the “Inside the Library” category, Hennepin County Library, as written by Senior Librarian Shannon Crary.


"eBooks & More" at Hennepin County Library

In a large library system, many departments must be involved to make a system-wide initiative successful.

To support the Hennepin County Library eBook collection and services, and to encourage staff collaboration, a cross-departmental "eBooks & More" staff team was created. The team focuses on managing our system's downloadable collections and facilitating staff understanding and patron access. Members of the "eBooks & More" team include frontline staff and IT help desk staff, circulation managers, collection managers and information service managers.

eReader Kits

To provide consistent staff development and patron training in eBooks Basics classes throughout Hennepin County Library's 41 locations, the team developed eight eReader Kits containing a variety of devices, software and library card information, and a practice guide. Our eReader Kits include iPads, Kindles, Kindle Fires, Sony Readers, Nooks, and Kobos. Each kit has a laptop with appropriate software and library card information authorized with the devices in the kit. The practice guide in the kit helps staff who need additional direction with the devices. Activities in the practice guide take staff through all of the basics of using the devices with the Library's eBook collection. The kits also have adapters that allow the iPads to be used with a projector. This allows staff to demonstrate how the OverDrive iPad app is used for accessing the Library's collections.


eBook Basics Curriculum

The "eBooks & More" team also developed an eBook Basics curriculum available to all staff for self- or group training, or for use with patrons. When a library chooses to offer an eBook Basics class for patrons, staff can reserve an eReader Kit for the class and it comes with everything they need. To kick off the development of the eBook Basics curriculum as well as the configuring of the eReader Kits to support public classes, we held staff eBook Basics sessions. We invited our libraries to send representatives to several scheduled classes. The representatives then took the training back to their location to share with their peers.

Hennepin_posterIn our libraries, posters promote eBook classes and business cards at service points promote the digital collection. See the Hennepin County Library poster promoting eBook classes (at right).

To maintain communication with staff about eBooks, at our system-wide ERUG (Electronic Resources Users' Group) staff meetings once every two months, we often cover eBook topics to respond to questions and keep staff up-to-date on changes in technology and services. In addition, we maintain an information services portal on our internal staff web, where we keep eBook Basics information and training materials for all staff to access at any time. Our public eBooks blog and staff blog also help to keep staff informed, and staff can approach their colleagues on the "eBooks & More" team to ask questions or to make suggestions for improvements in training or patron service.

Cross-departmental collaboration, consistent training, effective promotion, and open staff communication have contributed to making the Hennepin County Library eBook collection highly successful.


Shannon Crary is Senior Librarian, Electronic Resources, Periodicals, Reference at Hennepin County Library.


Amazon Launches Sunday Delivery, But Still No Drones


While the days of a remote controlled helicopter dropping off books and groceries might still be far off, Amazon did improve on its delivery offerings with the launch of Sunday delivery in seven key UK cities. Following a test run in London only, Amazon is offering its UK Prime members in London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Nottingham, Manchester, and Leeds the option to have this unheard of weekend delivery.

How is this possible? At this year’s Digital Book World conference, a number of speakers discussed some of Amazon’s recent growth in terms of “verticals” and “horizontals,” or the way in which Amazon grows one department upward, while spreading out horizontally into different services. Amazon’s own shipping division, Amazon Logistics, coordinates all of these deliveries via local and regional shipping companies, ensuring day and time delivery.

Amazon only recently announced that it would be charging shipping on orders of books in the UK, something it had not been doing in the past. With a threshold to receive free delivery, Amazon Prime memberships increased multi-fold, especially during the holiday shopping season. According to one source, Amazon’s total global Prime memberships now top 20 million.

Amazon Launches Sunday Delivery, But Still No Drones is a post from: E-Reader News

Limelight: who needs a Steam Machine when you have a Pi?

I don’t think there’s anyone here at Pi Towers who doesn’t use Steam for PC gaming, and we were all watching the various Steam Machines that got trotted out at this year’s CES with great interest. There was one $500 Steam Machine from iBuyPower which pleased and surprised us by appearing to have a Raspberry Pi jammed into the bottom of the case. (Word of God here is that they’re using it as a temporary measure while in development to control the LEDs around the edges of the box, but we like to imagine that they’re using if for other, super-seekrit stuff.)

The iBuyPower Steam Machine. Note rectilinear green thing.

And then, over the weekend, DaveSpice pointed me at this thread on the Raspberry Pi forums. It made me think of iBuyPower’s Steam Machine, only with all the bits that aren’t a Raspberry Pi removed.

What Dave had found was a discussion about something called Limelight, newly ported by one of irtimmer, one of our forum members. Limelight is an open-source Java client which allows you to stream games from your home PC (as long as you have an Nvidia GTX 600 or 700 Series graphics card and enough bandwidth on your home network) to the Raspberry Pi that’s attached to your television. (You do have a Raspberry Pi attached to your television, right?) And it’s not just Steam games: any content can be streamed. Right now, only mouse and keyboard are supported, but there’s work being done to support other controllers too. So now you can play PC content from the machine upstairs in the study on that great big flatscreen monolith in the corner of your living room, from the comfort of your own sofa.

In the first-impressions video below from leCauchemarXY on YouTube, the screen on the left is displaying content streamed by the Pi. You’ll notice that there is some lag: enough that I wouldn’t be totally happy playing certain FPS games against certain people (or some RTS games like Starcraft, especially if I was playing Pete S, who is terrifying in charge of Zerglings). Your network may vary.

So what you have here is (kinda sorta) a Raspberry Pi that’s acting as a $35 Steam Machine. We’re going to be experimenting with Limelight here at Pi Towers when we’re finished with January’s education conferences and workshops, seeing how it performs in Cambridge, streaming over a fast network from DaveSpice’s gaming PC back home in London. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Limelight is available to download from irtimmer’s GitHub, where you’ll also find complete instructions on installing and using it. Please tell us how you get on in the comments!

Daily Deals, Freebies & Tips – January 20th

Interesting Reads and Forum Posts Android on Kobo: “Tips and Apps” – A forum post that organizes all the info about running Android on a Kobo Glo, Touch, and Aura HD. How to Sync iBooks Across Multiple Apple Devices – A step-by-step guide on how to get all your iBooks to sync across devices and […]

Issuu’s New Android App Launches with 15M Publications

The digital publishing and sharing platform Issuu who made headlines for the ability to create virtual “stacks” of content for reading and sharing, as well as for its 20,000 uploads of new content each day, announced this morning that it has released its Android app on the Google Play store.

"Today for the first time Issuu readers can carry 15 million magazines on their favorite Android device and discover content from hundreds of thousands of global publishers," said Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu. "The new app was designed from the pixels up to offer the world's best mobile reading experience. And, with the massive depth and breadth of content on Issuu there is something for the enthusiast in everyone."

Hyrkin sat down with Good e-Reader prior to the launch to talk about why this is an important step for content creators and readers.

“We’re launching this really amazing Android version of Issuu and it’s a huge next step for us. Now anybody who has an Android-powered tablet or phone, anywhere in the world, can dive into this world of content. We have 80 million unique visitors a month, over 15 million publications, and for the first time those publications are available at the click of a button with an Android device.

“What really matters to me and to our readers and publishers is it’s one more step that enables [publishers] to move their content to the platform. It’s shareable, embeddable, and distributable. When we talk about these 15 million publications, there’s going to be content that people are enthusiastic about within this whole spectrum of ideas.”

With the launch of the app, users can also sync their desktop or laptop reading with the device for portable consumption, as well as browse through an immense catalog of content through search features. Issuu made a name for itself early on for providing off-the-beaten path content, much of it created and uploaded by small companies who would have found that digital publishing to tablets to be prohibitively expensive. At the same time, names like Ariana Huffington are partnering with Issuu to make their content available.

"We are excited to partner with ISSUU to extend the reach of Huffington magazine to allow an even wider audience to engage with the best of The Huffington Post." Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief Huffington Post Media Group.

Issuu’s New Android App Launches with 15M Publications is a post from: E-Reader News

Microsoft Issues New Surface Pro 2 Update to Undo Effects of Battery Drain Bugs


Microsoft has come up with a new update that is supposed to take care of all the mess that the last update made. The said update launched on November 10 was intended to enhance the battery performance of Surface Pro 2 though ended up doing just the opposite. It led to all sorts of confusion like showing incorrect battery reading, battery draining fast along with the device itself going in and out of sleep mode on its own.

The update which was released on December 10 and was aimed at enhancing battery performance ended up doing otherwise. Microsoft acted promptly and pulled the update soon enough. The latest update however is targeted at those who have installed the Dec update and is designed to undo all the negative effects induced by it.

The Surface Pro 2 is an impressive piece of hardware that boasts of stupendous performance coupled to more than 8 hours of backup times, not bad for a device that is aimed at the ultrabook segment while being a bit too heavy and bulky for the tablet segment alone. However, what remains to be seen is how things turn out to be post the latest update.

Microsoft Issues New Surface Pro 2 Update to Undo Effects of Battery Drain Bugs is a post from: E-Reader News

Video: Lets Read a Digital Magazine on the Kindle Fire HDX 7

magazine kindle fire hdx 7

Late last year Amazon refreshed their tablet lineup by offering two models with the HDX monkior. The resolution on the 8.9 and 7 are some of the best in the business and you would expect that would translate well to digital magazines. Today, Michael and Peter of Good e-Reader evaluate whether or not the Kindle Fire HDX is ideal for reading digital magazines.

When you purchase magazines through the Amazon Newsstand you will likely immediately notice some black space at the top and bottom of the magazine. This is due to aspect ratio, and you lose almost two inches of a 7 inch tablet in your viewing perspective. This really limits how much of the magazine is displayed and you will constantly find yourself pinching and zooming every single page to read the content. There is an option to make the magazine an eBook though, with a text heavy approach, which is useful.

How does the Kindle really handle magazines? Not that well, this is why Amazon never really hypes their service. Instead, they invest their marketing budget on promoting the Kindle bookstore and Amazon Instant Video.

Video: Lets Read a Digital Magazine on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a post from: E-Reader News

Video: Let’s Read a Digital Magazine on the iPad Air

ipad air magazines

Magazines have undergone a radical transformation in their move to stay relevant in a digital era. Apple Introduced its Newsstand a few years ago and has attracted major publishers to their platform to distribute their entire portfolio. Today, Michael and Peter check out what the magazine experience is like on the Apple iPad Air.

The iPad Air is the 5th generation Apple tablet and is the most current device on the market. The Newsstand is basically a dedicated section of the app store, in which publishers like Conde Nast offer their selection of magazines. Make no mistake, magazines on the iPad are basically apps. There is no consistency on the user interface and they way content is presented. Often publishers will all have their own way to present their product.

In the video review today we look at one of the latest issues of Rolling Stone magazine. One of the most interesting aspects of this app is the ability to play music. We all read music reviews or profiles on a specific artist and wonder what they sound like. You can play a sample of the track right in the App and then if you want to purchase it, it redirects you to iTunes.

Video: Let’s Read a Digital Magazine on the iPad Air is a post from: E-Reader News