Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dutch eBook Pirate Gets Away with Uploading 5,000 Titles to Pirate Bay

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European Anti-Piracy organization BREIN, as not had a very good week. They just lost a major case in Dutch court which saw Internet Providers lift restrictions to the Pirate Bay. The court basically saw the ISP safeguards as being obsolete due to proxy servers and DNS workarounds. The court woes continue for BREIN as the same Dutch court dismissed a case against a 23 year old man who admitted to uploading a whopping 5,000 eBooks to the Pirate Bay.

Normally, when someone admits to a crime, it is quite easy to establish guilt and levy a sentence. Apparently BREIN tried the case in a criminal court, trying to make the case that he was apart of a criminal conspiracy with the Pirate Bay. It ended up, he was just a voracious reader who wanted to share his love of books with the world. The Criminal Court stated that this was a Civil matter and washed their hands of the entire situation.

Tim Kuik, BREIN's director, commented on the case, saying "Even if each book cost just one sale, there would already be 50,000 euros in lost revenue. The real damage is a multiple of that because the books have been downloaded countless times."

Likely BREIN will pursue the case in a civil court, as guilt has already been established and the organization hates to lose.

Dutch eBook Pirate Gets Away with Uploading 5,000 Titles to Pirate Bay is a post from: E-Reader News

National Virtual Library of India Planned

National Library Kolkata

The Indian government has taken up an ambitious project of digitizing public libraries to ensure ease of access of books to the people. The National Mission on Libraries – as the scheme has been termed – also entails the creation of the National Virtual Library of India which will act as a comprehensive collection of information generated within the country. The rich repository of information, it is believed will act to spur reading habit among the masses besides of course facilitating research and information sharing. Emphasis will also be paid to ensure all including those from rural or under developed regions to have equal priority over information.

The scheme involves six libraries that function under the central government's ministry of culture, 35 central libraries in the various states and 35 district libraries to be developed and interlinked as part of the NML project. This apart, 629 district libraries will also be provided with internet connectivity. The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) based in Kolkata will act as the nodal agency overseeing the implementation of NML project which is expected to cost 400 crores.

“Making information more accessible is now paramount in the library sector. Our libraries may be filled with books, but in the digital age, they need to provide access to information that is available online. Digital libraries provide speedy access to information and they also bridge barriers of time and space,” said Ravindra Singh, secretary, ministry of culture outlining the mission of the project.

As part of the NML efforts, enhancing the infrastructure as well as the services offered by the libraries will be accorded importance. Reading habits of members will also be surveyed all across the country as well as among those from the rural and urban regions to determine ways to improve services.

“The content should be available to anyone who has access to the Internet. In new content generation, children’s needs should be given priority. Content will also be generated on skill development and matters concerning regional and local interest,” said Dr Banerjee, director general, RRRLF. “There is also need to create a ‘youth space’ in libraries – informal and comfortable with ICT facility,” he added.

National Virtual Library of India Planned is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Prime Membership to Increase by $40

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Amazon Prime membership gives a plethora of benefits to people heavily invested in shopping and has a tablet or e-reader. Since the program launched it cost $79 to get free two day shipping, one free eBook a month, access to Amazon Instant Video and a ton more. The Seattle based company stated during a recent investors call that it was considering increasing the cost of the Prime subscription by $20 to $40.

Customers are ordering more things than ever before and Amazon’s costs to do this are increasing. The Video service is also being used at an accelerated rate, primarily due to the success of the Kindle Fire HDX.

Many customers are irate due to the prospective price increase. The vast majority are willing to opt out of the video program, if that means the old cost will remain the same. Hundreds of Prime members have stated that if the price increases over $100, they will be cancelling.

Amazon Prime Membership to Increase by $40 is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Slashes the Price of the Kindle in the UK

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Amazon has just initiated a price drop on their entry level Kindle e-Reader in the UK today. In order to better compete with the Kobo Touch, that is available at WH Smith for £29, Amazon has slashed their price from £69 to £59.

This Kindle does not have a touchscreen, front light or any of the hardware enhancements that the Paperwhite models have. Instead, this is a fairly barebones e-reader that likely appeals to people who have never had one before or hunting around for a bargain.

The Kindle features a six ink e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 600×800 pixels. It has 167 PPI and 16 levels of greyscale which is on par with prior offerings of the Kindle device. It has 2 GB of internal memory, but only has 1.25 GB that you can load your own content onto it. There is no expandable memory via SD or MicroSD. Books are purchased from Amazon, which you can connect to via WIFI.

Amazon Slashes the Price of the Kindle in the UK is a post from: E-Reader News

Libraries upload Local Content to raise awareness of local history and authors

In the fall, libraries and schools regained the ability to upload locally created content through OverDrive Marketplace and since that time, more than 1,000 titles have been uploaded and are available to be added to digital collections around the world. Unique titles have been uploaded ranging from family backgrounds, local histories, self-help and even videos about basic IT and coding.

OralHistory_MidContinentOne particularly interesting idea came from Mid-Continent Public Library, which is uploading oral history interviews as audiobooks. These titles are giving patrons and community members a chance to hear a living history of their surroundings. Andrew McKinley, Mid-Continent's Web Content Creator, was kind enough to give us some insight into this project.

 

OD: Can you share a few details about Mid-Continent Public Library's Oral Interview audiobook series?

MC: Mid-Continent Public Library is fortunate to have the Midwest Genealogy Center as one of its branches. The Midwest Genealogy Center is one of the nation’s preeminent resources for family history, and oral history is an important part of family research. It is connecting with family still living to discover stories and to flesh out the character of those who have gone before us. MCPL's oral history program, Tell Me a Story, gives our customers the opportunity to record and preserve the memories, stories and living history of residents in the metro area.

OD: Local content can give your digital collection a more personal feel. How do you anticipate these local histories will make your digital collection unique and possibly engage a new user base in your community with digital content?

MC: Oral histories are stories, like much of the content already on OverDrive. Placing these local histories on OverDrive is a way to make them available to our customers who are already accessing other digital content, but may not be aware of this local history project, and hopefully, encouraging new customers to create their own oral histories through our program.

OD: Is there anything else you'd like to share with other libraries on your success with adding local content to your digital collection?

MC: Utilizing OverDrive to share oral histories recorded through our Tell Me a Story program allows us to support one of our library's main goals: to help customers express themselves through original content creation. This partnership with OverDrive paves the way for future work that will be created through our Story Center, which is currently in development. Our Story Center will serve as a national resource for the storytelling arts. We hope to further our partnership with OverDrive by continuing to share our community's oral histories and branching out to support the creation and publication of written and digital stories.

 

Other libraries and schools who have uploaded content include North Lakes State College, A.B. Patterson College and the Diocese of Wollongong in Australia, Derby City Library in the U.K. and Frontier School Division. Have you uploaded any local content yet? If so, tell us your story! To learn more about how to upload Local Content to your library's digital collection, view the Local Content training module from OverDrive's Learning Center.

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive.

 

“Wattpad Is for Writers and Readers”

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As indie authors have struggled for discovery in a sea of openly published titles, more and more tools have cropped up to help authors put their content in front of relevant readers. At the same time, various platforms are offering something for readers as well, helping them uncover content with which to engage.

Wattpad has made a name for itself through its mobile reading application, its connection between authors, readers, and publishers, and its record 24 million registered users. But many authors are still unsure of what it is that Wattpad is supposed to do for them.

“Wattpad is really great at helping authors build an audience and create fans. Obscurity is the biggest probelm that indie authors face,” explained Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content, Publishing at Wattpad, in an interview with Good e-Reader.

But for many authors, that equates to simply placing a story or novel excerpt on Wattpad and sitting back to wait for the readers to come. Gardner explained why that will prove ineffective for the majority of authors, comparing that tactic to sending out hundreds of tweets per day on Twitter but not having any followers to read them.

“the problem is they just post content, then sit back and expect people to come and find it. They really need to control this and treat it as a strategy. If you find similiar writers on the site and comment on their work, and make an authentic conncetion, that's a great way to start interacting. The more people comment, the more people will see it.”

While Gardner admitted that there is a high percentage of young adults who read on Wattpad–largely due to the popularity of their mobile reading app–she explained that a significant number of users are actually of a wider variety of ages, and that communities are built around almost every conceivable genre.

“As authors, you need to go native on Wattpad. You need to follow other people and see how they're using the platform.”

“Wattpad Is for Writers and Readers” is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Customize ClipArt

If you're kind of artistically challenged, like me, or even if you're just short on time, you probably find yourself using Clip Art a lot. But sometimes the best image you can find isn't exactly what you want. Find out how to customize Clip Art images in this post!

New App Paper Renders Facebook Obsolete

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Listen up, food porn posters and cat video fanatics…Facebook has a new app, and it just might be the one you replace the old social media app with on your iPhone. Nine months in the making, the team at Facebook has finally released the long-rumored Paper app.

First, it’s only available for your iPhone (sorry Galaxy fans), but it looks and behaves a lot like the Facebook app for Android tablets, so Android users aren’t left entirely out in the cold. Of course, this is a massive step up from the Poke app, which was the last thing Facebook tried to do to get creative.

One final kudos mention for Paper is the way Facebook has rolled it out. Rather than trying to replace Facebook for its billion-or-so users (remember the outrage over Timelines?), Paper’s availability only on iPhone lets them gauge what users do and don’t like about the entirely revamped way to use Facebook without having to interfere with a good-sized country’s population-worth of users.

So what makes Paper so newsworthy? Well, the news. The app makes the entire interface work like a crisp newspaper, lumping news stories, statues updates, and even its compose feature into a more reader-friendly format. By stripping away almost all of the touchable buttons and relying on patterns of screen swipes to navigate, the experience looks and feels a lot more like a magazine-styled app. Even the feature that moves the user through a photograph by tilting the phone rather than swiping is more intuitive, and much more in line with how readers would move an actual photograph to see more.

Paper will be released February 3rd, but early reports from sneak peekers are already claiming that, while Facebook won’t be going anywhere, the app that iOS users have come to rely on may quickly be replaced with Paper.

New App Paper Renders Facebook Obsolete is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Fans Demand Print

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In a turn of events that even the publisher didn’t see coming, fans of author Colleen Hoover’s work–calling themselves the CoHorts–launched a Twitter campaign, petition, and general ruckus to have one of the author’s works made available in print. The free ebook short story “Finding Cinderella” was intended as a bonus for loyal readers, but instead has taken on a life of its own as the fans clamored for the option to buy it in print.

According to the Atria Newsroom site, “If you've been anywhere near our Twitter feed or Atria Indie Authors page, you've seen a movement. #1 Bestseller Colleen Hoover's fans, under the name #CoHorts, started a petition to have Finding Cinderella, a free e-short story, turned into a printed book (because you can't smell an e-reader, and their shelves were lonely). 5,000 tweets, hundreds of posts and memes, and a few Harry Connick Jr. references later, we've finally announced that we are printing the book!

Finding Cinderella printed edition will be released in paperback on March 18th, 2014 and will include an exclusive epilogue not featured in the e-book, a note from the author, and will feature fan tweets from the #FindingCinderella campaign on the back inside cover!”

While the upcoming book itself is rather short, the print edition will feature bonus material, including some of the tweets that got the ball rolling in the first place. Other features will include giveaways, a contest to find online retails’ preorder links, a transcript of the Twitter chat with the author, and more.

While the fans who worked so hard to achieve this goal will have to wait an annoyingly long (and confusing) amount of time for the release of the print book, that time will be spent enjoying the many ways that the publisher has demonstrated its willingness to connect and interact with its customers. This is a rather exciting amount of publisher-author-fan interaction, and hopefully more publishers will follow suit with this level of engagement with their readers.

eBook Fans Demand Print is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – January 30

Kindle Daily Deals Poppet by Mo Hayder Mo Hayder has for years been a master of chilling, seamlessly-plotted thrillers that keep the reader glued to the page long after lights out, and fresh off of winning the Edgar Award for Best Novel for Gone, Hayder is at the top of her game. Her latest novel, […]

Accelerating Fourier transforms using the GPU

Andrew Holme is well known to regular blog readers, as the creator of the awesome (and fearsomely clever) homemade GPS receiver. Over the last few months he’s been experimenting with writing general purpose code for the VideoCore IV graphics processing unit (GPU) in the BCM2835, the microchip at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, to create an accelerated fast Fourier transform library. Taking the Fourier transform of a function yields its frequency spectrum (i.e. the pure harmonic functions which can be added together to reconstruct the original function). In the following example, shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia, we have a function which oscillates roughly three times per second, and whose Fourier transform unsurprisingly has a peak around 3Hz.

Being able to perform lots of Fourier transforms quickly is useful for all sorts of audio and radio applications including, unsurprisingly, GPS. Ham radio enthusiasts will also find Andrew’s work very useful. In this guest post, Andrew talks about his Fourier transform library for the Pi.

Last October, Eben attended the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Convention, where radio amateurs told him they wanted a speedy fast Fourier transform (FFT) library to do Software Defined Radio (SDR) projects on the Pi.

GPU_FFT is an FFT library for the Raspberry Pi which exploits the BCM2835 SoC V3D hardware to deliver ten times the performance that is possible on the 700 MHz ARM. Kernels are provided for all power-of-2 FFT lengths from 256 to 131,072 points inclusive.

GPU_FFT uses single-precision floating point for data and twiddle factors, so it does not compete on accuracy with double-precision libraries; however, the relative root-mean-square (rms) error for a 2048-point transform is less than one part per million, which is not bad.

The library runs on dedicated 3D hardware in the BCM2835 SoC, and communication between ARM and GPU adds 100┬Ás of latency which is much longer than the shortest transform takes to compute! To overcome this, batches of transforms can be executed with a single call. Typical per-transform runtimes in microseconds are:

 

Points    batch=1    batch=10    batch=50    FFTW    Speedup
256 112 22 16 92 5.8x
512 125 37 26 217 8.3x
1024 136 54 45 482 10.7x
2048 180 107 93 952 10.2x
4096 298 256 240 3002 12.5x
8192 689 624 608 5082 8.4x
16384 1274 1167 1131 12005 10.6x
32768 3397 3225 3196 31211 9.8x
65536 6978 6703 6674 82769 12.4x
131072 16734 16110 16171 183731 11.4x

To get GPU_FFT enter the following at the command prompt:

sudo rpi-update && sudo reboot

To build and run the example program:

cd /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_fft
make
sudo mknod char_dev c 100 0
sudo ./a.out

API documentation can be found in the hello_fft folder.

Sainsbury’s to give away 2 Million Free eBooks

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Sainsbury's is likely the only big grocery store that also has a very healthy eBook ecosystem. They are one of the most prominent companies in the UK and they have just ironed out a new agreement with Penguin to give away two million eBooks for free.

The offer is mainly applicable to children and they can download a  free copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather and James Patterson's Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and I Funny when they buy any packet of Sainsbury's own-brand cereal starting today.

Sainsbury launched their eBook platform after purchasing a 60% of HMV Group's shareholding in Anobii for a nominal 1 pound. At the time, Anobii had 600,000 users worldwide and a library of 60,000 ebooks.

Books for cereal? Sounds like a square deal, the company better be prepared to give a lot away. Last year, they sold over six million boxes.

Sainsbury’s to give away 2 Million Free eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News