Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Notion Ink Adam II Now on Sale in Europe


The Notion Ink Adam II has now reached Europe where it will fetch for 219 euros. This applies to the Wi-Fi only version while the more advanced 3G version will come for 349 euros. This makes the Adam II even cheaper than the latest Nexus 7 even though it comes with a bigger 10 inch display. However, there are compromises to be made elsewhere.  For instance, the display with 1280 X 800 pixel can be considered adequate but loses out in the high stakes pixel war currently being played out. If that is not all, the device is powered by a dual core 1.5 Ghz Cortex A9 chip mated to a 1 GB RAM. On board storage is an even paltry 8 GB though there is a micros SD card slot that can bring some respite here. Running the entire show would be Android 4.2.2 which again is stripped of any manufacturer induced enhancements or other modifications.

However, the one aspect that makes the Adam II unique in the crowd of tablet devices currently doing the rounds is its incorporation of a monochrome display along the side. This is designed to display information like any pending notifications and so on and will save the user from firing up the device each time such becomes available. This aspect also makes the Adam II much like a book with the side edge displaying the name and author of the book along with other information. The device on a whole is perhaps better suited to be held in portrait mode and used either for reading a book or other tasks.

Overall, the Adam II is a lot unlike any other tablet in the market and can make a decent choice for a device that offers 10 inch display. It may not be designed to impress with outright performance but can get the job done in most of the cases.

Notion Ink Adam II Now on Sale in Europe is a post from: E-Reader News

Audio Books First – A New Publishing Movement


We have heard about a number of authors, comic book companies and publishers do digital first productions. Often, they will release the electronic format, such as eBook first. If you are a comic fan, you can purchase them digitally at midnight on Thursday’s, instead of waiting until your local shop opens. The digital first mentality is now switching from the written form into the auditory.

Recently, Audible.com brokered a deal with the author David Hewson to publish his latest book, Flood, well ahead of its print or eBook release. This is part of a growing movement to put the emphasis on the audio format. Tim Ferriss, author of self-help bestsellers The 4 Hour Workweek and The 4 Hour Body also sees the value. His new venture, Tim Ferriss Publishing, Tim is looking to acquire the audio rights to existing books, produce new audio versions.

Audio Book first is not a term that is bantered around the industry right now, but its a term that will become more prevalent within the next two years. Indie authors will begin taking advantage of self-publishing options offered by ACX, which is owned by Audible. The Fogland Project is also trying to present prose that works firstly as audio form, bypassing print.

The entire audio book industry is currently worth around 1.6 billion dollars and that figure should climb further. The main reason? Audio book producers have been increasing their output. 19,312 titles came out in 2013, 13,255 titles came out in 2012, up from 4,602 in 2009.

The most dominant content distribution platform for audio books currently is Amazon owned Audible. This company has the highest market penetration and has seen a 33% increase in sales in 2012. They have created over 26,000 audio books and adding close to 1,000 titles a month. Most of their success derives from their new technologies that allow readers a myriad of options.

Audio Books First – A New Publishing Movement is a post from: E-Reader News

Marvel “Stealth Releases” Captain America: Winter Soldier Prequel


Marvel Comics bills this as a “stealth release,” but since they sent out a press release about it, it’s hardly on the down low. Anyway, this looks like a worthy comic: Available on the Marvel and comiXology platforms, it’s a digital prequel to the film Captain America: Winter Soldier, which is due out this summer. The comic is scripted by veteran writer Peter David and drawn by Rock-He Kim, and it uses Marvel’s Infinite Comics bag of tricks to fully exploit the possibilities of digital comics storytelling.

Here’s the setup:

In downtown Chicago, a dangerous weapon called The Zodiac has fallen into enemy hands. Now, it's up to Captain America, along with guest stars Black Widow and Brock Rumlow, to race against time to stop a mysterious terrorist group before it's too late. All leading up to an action packed confrontation atop Chicago's tallest skyscraper! But is there more here than meets the eye? What secrets is S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping? Are there enemies on both sides?

The comic will feature Captain America’s new stealth suit (aha!) and his team will include Black Widow and Brock Rumlow. Sounds like fun!

Marvel “Stealth Releases” Captain America: Winter Soldier Prequel is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Fix a Frozen or Unresponsive Kindle

It’s not that unusual for tablets and ebook readers to occasionally freeze up or stop responding. Even Amazon’s devices are susceptible to it sometimes. If your Kindle Fire tablet—including HD and HDX models—or Kindle Paperwhite or Basic Kindle is frozen or unresponsive, there are a few things you can try to get things back up […]

HarperCollins Accuses Apple of eBook Piracy


HarperCollins is one of the largest trade publishers in the world and they are not happy with the amount of people pirating their eBooks. This has resulted in them hiring anti-piracy specialises Digimarc to petition google to remove over 1,000 file sharing and websites hosting the files. One of the consequences of this event was hitting Apple with a slew of takedown requests.

In 2010 and 34 years after her death, HarperCollins secured a deal to become Agatha Christie's global publisher. The deal, a lucrative seven-digit amount covering 80 books, was signed on what would have been Christie's 120th birthday. HarperCollins now generates over a million dollars each year on all of the books.

HarperCollins wants to put the axe to file sharing, websites, torrent sites and seemingly legitimate sales channels to put the kibosh on the authors works. Digimarc submitted a claim to Google to remove over 1,000 links from their search engine to Christie's books. Over 9 of these books were directed to Apple iBooks, where Harpercollins is the publisher.

Due to so many news outlets reporting on this story, Digimarc Guardian released the following statement “recently issued requests to Google to remove a number of URLs from their search index related to Agatha Christie titles being sold without license on iTunes in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, due to a technical error, these 123 total URLs included some links related to valid iTunes content. We regret the error and have addressed the issue.”

This story is fairly amusing because it shows you the zealous nature of publishers and the eBook piracy outfits they sub-contract all of the grunt work to. In many cases, as we see here, there are unintentional consequences.

HarperCollins Accuses Apple of eBook Piracy is a post from: E-Reader News

Top 10 Paid and Free Games for Kindle Fire HDX

I’m trying to use my Kindle Fire HDX more so that I can write more articles about it. I thought I would check out the games section specifically for the HDX at the Amazon appstore to see what’s popular. I find it interesting that Amazon advertises the Kindle Fire HDX as being “built for the […]

Lenovo 10 Inch Miix 2 Now on Sale in the US


The Miix 2 tablet range comprising of new 10 inch models has been one of the star attractions of the Lenovo camp at the just concluded CES event; and the good news here is that the netbook/tablet hybrid device has already gone on sale in the US. However, the above goes for the higher end model with price starting at $699. This is against the $499 price tag that the range starts with. Maybe the entry level model will be launched during the March – April period that Lenovo had originally announced to launch the Miix 2 tablet range in the US. As of now, the 10 inch Miix 2 is on sale only via Lenovo online store.

As for the device itself, the Miix 2 is among the first device to come powered by the 64 bit Intel Atom Bay Trail chip that promises superior performance. This combined with the latest Windows 8.1 makes for a device that is suited just fine for work as much as it is for entertainment. Another highlight of the 10 inch Miix 2 tablet range is the way it gets attached to the keyboard base via strong magnetic action while allowing varying configurations to suit its intended operation, that of work and play.

Overall an excellent device that offers best-in-class performance and delivers optimum results in both standalone tablet or hybrid notebook mode.

Lenovo 10 Inch Miix 2 Now on Sale in the US is a post from: E-Reader News

Librarians Share: Engaging student readers at Somerset College

Editor's Note: This blog post was written by Dianne de Villiers, school librarian at Somerset College in South Africa, to share their marketing plan for this school year. Do you have a story you'd like to share on the OverDrive blog about how to engage readers with your digital collection? Email blogs@overdrive.com with your story.


somersetWith the new academic year beginning, we are using this chance to remind our students about OverDrive. We've had t-shirts made with the message "You have devices, we have eBooks.” We will be wearing them for at least a week to help promote our digital collection. Posters are also being put up all over the school.

I have been asked to write the headline article for the first school newsletter that will tell our school community all about our eBooks, and I plan to promote OverDrive in our weekly newsletters by highlighting new books we've purchased. Once I've gathered more statistics, I plan to submit an article to the Independent schools magazine. I will also be presenting about OverDrive and our digital titles at one of our regional teach meets.

I asked my young “preppies,” who are only 10, to sign on to OverDrive. It was such a simple process and really required no training because the system is so easy to use. After they found the experience so intuitive, I am not concentrating heavily on training, although we are going to go into all the classrooms to demonstrate OverDrive. Our teachers have already logged on and feel comfortable with how everything works. Our English teachers told me they plan to promote eReading in their classrooms.

I see my main focus as getting the senior kids to actually start reading! We are hoping that by easily accessing eBooks, they will be inspired to read.

While we haven't given up on "dead tree books" completely, we're excited to grow with OverDrive and hope to see continued expansion of titles and features here in South Africa.

Dianne de Villers is a school librarian at Somerset College.


Epic! Launches Children’s Unlimited eBook Subscription Service

Photo courtesy of b4tea.com

Photo courtesy of b4tea.com

Epic! launched its 12-and-under service on iPad today, bringing what it claims to be thousands of titles from well-known publishers to children’s devices for just $9.99 a month. This venture was made possible through the $1.4 million in seed funding from Menlo Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Innovation Endeavors, Maven Ventures, Morado Ventures and others.

Epic! is addressing two of the major concerns surrounding kids’ tablet reading right now. The first can be traced back to the recent scandal of inappropriate content being intentionally shelved in the children’s ebook sections of major retail websites. The second, and perhaps a more widespread source of concern, is related to studies that show children are too capable of switching over to a game, movie, or other source of entertainment while using a tablet, rather than reading.

"Kids love books, but they spend most of their time playing games and watching videos on their tablets rather than reading," said Kevin Donahue, Co-Founder of Epic!. "As a dad, I wanted to build a product that would allow children to continue using the devices they love, but engage them with an epic reading experience."

Epic! is only the most recent platform aimed at meeting a need that was discovered by concerned parents. iStoryTime co-founder Graham Farrar has spoken publicly about the need to be able to amuse their kids by handing them a device–say, while waiting in a restaurant–but finding very little viable and easily accessible educational content, leading to the creation of the platform.

In addition to a free trial through the free iPad app and incentive pricing ($79.99 per year, as opposed to the standard monthly rate), Epic! features include:

  • Unlimited access to thousands of curated, high quality children's books from the world's best publishers
  • Personalized book recommendations based on age and interests
  • Instant streaming – no waiting for books to download
  • Badges and rewards for reading achievements
  • Ability for kids to rate books and collect their favorites
  • Offline reading when not connected to Wi-Fi

The Epic! app is available now from the App Store.

Epic! Launches Children’s Unlimited eBook Subscription Service is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – January 28

Kindle Daily Deals The Jericho Deception by Jeffrey Small At the intersection of science and spirituality lies the human mind. The Jericho Deception is a psychological adventure into the interplay of mind and spirit, science and religion, mystery and mysticism. A mysterious death in a Yale lab, a secret facility hidden in the Egyptian desert, […]

Music hack of the decade: Panflute Hero!

Jhonny Göransson was part of the team that made what’s simply the daftest and most wonderful music hack we’ve seen so far. The moment he tweeted about it last night, we knew we had to show it to you as soon as we could.

It’s called Panflute Hero.

Panflute Hero was the result of a weekend at Way Out West Hackathon 2013. It’s a very silly panpipe version of Guitar Hero, which doesn’t use a plastic guitar controller. Instead, it’s controlled by a hand-built, bamboo set of faux panpipes (which are built according to the Golden Mean), all equipped with Arduino sound sensors that detect blowing, and controlled by a Raspberry Pi sending “blow” events to a desktop over TCP. Simulated flute noises are emitted when a “blow” is sensed, and…well, see for yourself.

The game itself is built in Lua, and runs on a PC (no reason you couldn’t run a port on a Pi). There’s some considerable *cough* sophistication in there, with libspotify playing some of Spotify’s horrifyingly large library of panpipe choons, which are delicately gameified for your panpiping pleasure.

Instructions, code (Jhonny says: “In the spirit of hacking and hackathons, our code really blows (get it?). You can look at it in BitBucket and publicly shame us if you want. Please don't.”), and some kick-ass panpipe cover versions of the greats are available on the project webpage. Let us know if you make your own; I can imagine the controllers getting mildly unhygienic after much shared use, but any party involving Panflute Hero is bound to be a blast. A gently tootling blast.