Monday, February 3, 2014

Adobe has Killed e-Readers


Adobe has issued a proclamation that starting in July, the vast majority of e-reader apps and hardware devices will not be able to read purchased eBooks anymore.

This announcement stems from a massive upgrade to the encryption system Adobe has implemented in their new Digital Editions 3.0 and will have reverberating effects on ePub books all over the world. Unless thousands of app developers and e-reader companies update their firmware and programming, customers will basically be unable to read books they have legitimately purchased. In effect, Adobe is killing eBooks and e-readers.

Adobe will be lobbying e-reader companies and app developers starting this March. The main intention is to get them to add in the support for the next generation of ePub and PDF format. When July rolls around, if companies have not made the adjustments, their device/app will be unusable to read digital books.

The big drawback to the mandatory Adobe upgrade is all of the old e-readers, reading apps, and older bookstores that will never make this change. An e-reader issued by a company three years ago, is likely never going to receive the firmware update to read protected ePub or PDF Files. This will result in thousands of devices sitting on store shelves, that will not be able to read books right out of the box. Not to mention, all the companies with perfectly good devices, like the Entourage Edge, Cool-ER Reader and others, whose companies have gone bankrupt. Finally, the bulk of non-brand name e-readers on the market do not even have the ability to download firmware updates over WIFI. Customers will one day turn on their device and not be able to read books they purchased.

Thankfully many big eBook stores and e-reader companies did not lie in bed with Adobe, like Sony has. Apple, Amazon, B&N and Kobo all use their own book encryption and are not reliant on Adobe. Amazon uses their own book format, and the other players have all developed their own off-shoots of ePub and PDF. This is normally why if you buy a Kobo book, it is incompatible with Nook e-readers and vice versa.

Adobe is betting that their new book encryption will not be broken, due to them not sharing the source code of the new book format. They also hope to unveil a new “always online” form of DRM within the next two years. This will function the same way most games work, that require you to always maintain an internet connection to verify the authenticity of the book.

Adobe has Killed e-Readers is a post from: E-Reader News

PressReader Unveils Free Curated News Service


PressReader has unveiled a new service on their main website that gives readers news from around the world. Basically, what it does is pull content from every major newspaper and gives readers the ability to read headlines and then pull up a feature story.  It is a new way for people on the go to read bite sized news snippets and the responsive design can be viewed on tablets, phones and computers.

The News section on allows readers to select the country they want to pull major news stories from and customize their own  experience. By default, it is automatically set to USA and contributing newspapers include; New York Times, Daily Mail, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, The Telegraph and many more. One of the things I like about it, is the international flavor in the featured news items.

By default, the news service pulls all sorts of stories from the thousands of newspapers in which the articles derive. You can refine your tastes and just look at Business, Entertainment, Sports, Editorial, and Readers Choice.

One of the more compelling aspects of the free news service is the responsive design. It looks good on smartphones and tablets, mainly because it optimizes itself to whatever screen you are using. If you are finding the text is too small, there are options to increase it and also change the font-type. If you speak a different language the papers can be auto translated on the fly, which is quite handy.

PressReader is going to be implementing this web-only service into their main PressReader Newspaper app in March. The company is betting big on curated content, which is free, in a bid to get more people using their subscription based service.

PressReader Unveils Free Curated News Service is a post from: E-Reader News

HarperCollins Titles Available in the UK via Overdrive


Libraries in the United Kingdom now have access to HarperCollins titles via Overdrive. Starting today, eBooks and audiobooks will both be available for libraries to purchase and loan out to people who have e-readers, tablets or smartphones.

The terms for the titles are the same as they are for their US titles: each copy purchased may check out 26 times before its license expires and it has to be ordered again.

Readers in the UK will finally be able to checkout some great titles, for free, from their local library. Some of the most notable ones include; the Body Book by Cameron Diaz, Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford, 5 Lbs in 5 Days: The Juice Detox Diet by Jason Vale, A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride, How Did All This Happen by John Bishop, Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley & Gareth Neame, How to, Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern, Innocence by Dean Koontz, The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, We Are Water by Wally Lamb, The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell and Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup.

HarperCollins Titles Available in the UK via Overdrive is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Install Facebook Paper Internationally


Facebook Paper was just released today and the iPhone app ushers in a new way of browsing stories and your Facebook Status Updates. I had a bit of trepidation when using this app, but it is in essence a new simplified version of Facebook that brings it back to the spirit of what the social network was all about. One of the big problems about this new app, is that it is only available in the USA.

If you want to get Facebook Paper on your iPhone you need to open up the App Store and make sure you are on the Featured Page. At the very bottom you will notice your Apple ID, which is normally your email address. Click on that then select “View Apple ID.” You can click on Country/Region and then Select the United States, which is at the very top. Likely, whatever billing address and credit card information you have on file, will not work. I suggest selecting the No Billing Info and then clicking OK on the new terms of service. Once this is all done, you can go back to the App Store and click on Facebook Paper, which is on the Featured Apps carousel. Alternatively, you can just do a search for it.

When you have Facebook Paper installed on your iPhone, you can change your billing country back to the original one and still use the app. Unfortunately, you will have to reenter your credit card number, expiry date and three digit code again.

How to Install Facebook Paper Internationally is a post from: E-Reader News

Great news for UK: HarperCollins Ltd. now available!

HarperCollinsUKWe are excited to announce the new availability of titles from HarperCollins Ltd. for our UK customers, including public, school, and university libraries.  As you know, HarperCollins is one of the world's best known publishers, and OverDrive has been working hard on making their titles available to all of our customers. The terms for the titles are the same as they are for our US titles: each copy purchased may check out 26 times before its license expires and a new copy must be purchased.

Some of the wonderful current titles available from HarperCollins include:

  • The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
  • Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • 5 Lbs in 5 Days: The Juice Detox Diet by Jason Vale
  • A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride
  • How Did All This Happen by John Bishop
  • Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley & Gareth Neame
  • How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • Innocence by Dean Koontz
  • The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
  • We Are Water by Wally Lamb
  • The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
  • Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup

Other HarperCollins authors include:  Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Maynard, Jodi Picoult, Diane Mott Davidson, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Oliver, Pittacus Lore, Paul Coelho, Meg Cabot, Faye Kellerman, Adriana Trigiani, Ann Patchett, Joe Hill, James Rollins, Lisa Kleypas, Sara Shepard, Lynsay Sands, Sarah MacLean, Isabel Allende, Janet Evanovich, Eloisa James, Elizabeth Lowell, Karin Slaughter, J. A. Jance, Laura Lippman, Debbie Macomber, Stuart Woods, Steven D. Levitt, Tahereh Mafi, Julia Quinn, Lemony Snicket, Jeaniene Frost, Jo Nesbo, Erin Hunter, Jane O'Connor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tessa Dare, Dennis Lehane, Simon Winchester, Richard Dawkins, Anthony Bourdain, Annie Proulx, Conn Iggulden, Robin Hobb, John Grogan, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Enid Blyton, J. G. Ballard, Michael Chabon, Clive Barker, David Walliams, and Pope Francis.

We couldn't be happier to be able to tell you that HarperCollins content is live right now!

You can view a best of collection for the new HarperCollins titles here:

Must Have HarperCollins Adult:

Must Have HarperCollins Children and Young Adult:

Or if you would like a customized collection for your library, contact your Collection Development Specialist at

Meet Sir Cumference

SirCumferenceIt's a well-known fact that very few children's books cover the basics of coordinate geometry. But the U.S. Common Core Standards require fifth-graders to be able to graph points on the coordinate plane to solve problems. Just what can a conscientious librarian do to help solve that problem?

Introducing the Sir Cumference series of adventures for grades 3-5. Sir Cumference and his wife Lady Di of Ameter are the King and Queen. Their son Radius is on a quest to become a knight, and all of his adventures require him to solve fun math puzzles (and involve lots of terrible puns). The titles are available to schools as well as public libraries, and the price is right, at only $6.99 each.

Visit Marketplace today, or contact your Collection Development Specialist for more information.

Simon & Schuster Unveils New Book Industry Site 250 Words

One of the most crucial changes that savvy publishers are making stems from the understanding that readers do not want to be disconnected from authors and books. The days of discovering book simply by walking past the sought after front window display are over; now, authors want early access to new titles, insider information on what’s coming next, and a much more personal approach when it comes to interacting with their favorite authors.

In response to that realization, Simon&Schuster has launched its business book industry website 250 Words, a gathering place of sorts for author interviews, short articles on upcoming launches, and more.

According to the inaugural post for the new S&S project, “The main component of 250 Words is an original daily essay—250 words long. These pieces are not summaries or reviews but intended to excavate useful anecdotes and interesting ideas from books on management, leadership, investing, finance, marketing, psychology, and any other topic that touches on business—no matter how tangentially. The emphasis is on wisdom and practical advice. We want to provide ideas that will help you rethink the world and your work within it.”

The site will also feature book recommendations from noted personalities, opinion pieces from important figures, articles, essays, and more. In an interesting and telling example of how serious S&S is about keeping its readers in the loop, 250 Words’ executive editor Sam McNerney’s email address has been made available for readers to provide feedback and make suggestions for the new site. New users to the site can subscribe HERE. While the site is only intended to focus on business books, a rather niche market in publishing, the success of the project will hopefully lead to far more publishers working towards stronger reader engagement.

Simon & Schuster Unveils New Book Industry Site 250 Words is a post from: E-Reader News

German eBook Distributor XinXii Rolls Out New Author Tools

One of Europe’s leading ebook distribution sites, XinXii, has quietly been making indie authors’ works available in markets that very few e-retailers are reaching, quickly growing to be one of the major forces in self-publishing across a variety of languages and borders. In an effort to continue to make the platform available to authors throughout the EU, the platform unveiled some new features that have previously only been available to authors in the US and other markets served by Amazon.

Chief among those new features is the introduction of free ISBN numbers for self-published authors, a huge step in making publishing truly available to everyone. XinXii has also launched daily Amazon sales reports for its authors, along with a community for its authors to communicate and support each other in the publishing process.

One of the biggest improvements will be the release of a helpful publication for authors trying to go it alone, “XinXii Style Guide: Optimal Formatting of eBooks!” Much like the much-touted Smashwords Style Guide, this manual will help authors with step-by-step information on how to correctly format their manuscripts for optimal viewing on various devices.

Despite its position as one of the smaller ebook aggregators, XinXii already hosts a catalog of over 25,000 ebook titles from more than 15,000 authors, with new content being added to the collection daily. Much like the US-based Smashwords, authors can sell their books directly from the XinXii website, as well as distribute them to the major ebook retailers, regardless of location. This “All In One” approach, as the platform calls it, helps authors navigate the various sales channels and keep all of their sales and data in one handy account.

German eBook Distributor XinXii Rolls Out New Author Tools is a post from: E-Reader News

Cengage Learning Reaches Agreement in Bankruptcy Proceedings

Digital publishing for the academic arena has a lot of support, mostly for materials aimed at the higher education market. The much-needed access to up-to-date and relevant content, coupled with the typically lower cost of digital textbooks and learning software, has made companies like Cengage a growing force in publishing.

But as of last summer, Cengage (creators of Cengage Learning) filed for bankruptcy, leading to a restructuring of the company and its agreements with its major investors and shareholders.

Under the agreement, reached today but that still requires court approval, most of the company’s nearly $6 billion debt will be eliminated. Among other opportunities, such as a nearly $2 billion exit financing for the company, most pending litigation against the company will be dismissed, if the parties involved are signers of the plan.

Michael Hansen, Chief Executive Officer of Cengage Learning, said in a statement, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement and gained the support of all of Cengage Learning’s most significant creditors for our Plan of Reorganization, giving us a clear path to the successful completion of our financial restructuring. Under the Plan, Cengage Learning will have a new capital structure with a substantially stronger balance sheet and greater financial flexibility to accelerate our growth. We are excited about the opportunities resulting from the ongoing transformation of our business to digital products and services and the high-quality educational content we are providing to our users and customers.”

If approved by the court, the plan will allow Cengage to start fresh with new financing in order to continue operations. More details about the specifics of this financial restructuring plan can be found at Cengage remains a leading content and solutions provider for academic, professional, and library markets around the world.

Cengage Learning Reaches Agreement in Bankruptcy Proceedings is a post from: E-Reader News

Access to Research Initiative Makes Journal Research Free to Public

A new move towards broader open access has made over one and a half million journal articles free for public use through UK libraries. In a pilot program called Access to Research that is partly being powered free of cost by ProQuest’s search capabilities, the public can now access these articles and conference presentations through their libraries.

According to a press release, “Access to Research will provide licensed online access to over 1.5 million journal articles and conference proceedings through library terminals. With 8,400 journals included in the initiative at the moment, this will make content in the fields of Health and Biological Sciences (20%), Social Sciences (18%) and Engineering (14%) available to the public for the first time. Users will also be able to read a wide variety of articles in the fields of Art & Architecture, Business, Environmental Science, History, Journalism, Languages, Politics, Film, Philosophy and Religion, Mathematics and Physics.”

Over 8,700 different journals will have content included in the initiative, content that is published by ALPSP, Bloomsbury Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Dove Press, Elsevier, Emerald, IOP Publishing, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Portland Press, SAGE Publications, Science Reviews 2000 Ltd., Springer, Taylor & Francis, Versita, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer Health. A number of library and publishers associations are also invested in the project, which will run for two years in pilot stage to gauge the use and interest from the public.

While students, small businesses, and independent researchers are expected to be the major consumers of these mountains of content, this is a bold first move in helping civic leaders, publishers, and citizens see the value of open access, an often hotly contested topic especially where government funded and published research findings are concerned.

Access to Research Initiative Makes Journal Research Free to Public is a post from: E-Reader News

Ryanteck motor controller now available on Adafruit

Ryan Walmsley is one of our favourite people. Towards the end of last year he had a successful fundraising effort on Tindie for his RTK-000-001 low-cost motor controller kit. As part of his ongoing campaign of world domination (seriously, how many seventeen-year-olds choose a product namespace with a million possible entries?*), the kit is now available for sale on Adafruit’s website. If you’re in the US, want a low-cost way to drive a couple of DC motors from your Pi, and aren’t afraid of a bit of soldering, this could be the board for you.

Ryanteck motor controller board, fully assembled

* Assuming that number is in decimal. What if it’s hex? Yikes!

University Degree in Self-Publishing Is New Sign of Lessened Stigma

For several years, the industry has been watching the growth and acceptance of self-publishing as a viable model for authors. Once relegated to joke and pity status, the days of paying to publish and being shunned seem to be a thing of the past. This shift in acceptance is largely due to the success that many indie authors have enjoyed, mainly thanks to the readers who are willing to look past the stigma and enjoy a great book.

Now, a university in the UK has taken this level of acceptance even farther by offering a degree in self-publishing. The University of Central Lancashire now offers an MA in Self-Publishing, offering insight from industry professionals and successfully self-published authors.

According to the course website, the purpose of such as a degree is broader than just being an individual author who wants to publish his own books, but rather is looking to further the dynamic change already at work in the industry.

“We aim to develop publishing professionals who are independent thinkers and doers and give them the practical skills to be a self-published author.”

The university has already offered an MA in Publishing, with its graduates going on to careers in international publishing and with major publishing houses. At this time, UCLan is interested in reaching out to those professionals who may have been disheartened by the traditional publishing industry, or are interested in fostering even more change in the industry. Programs such as this one will also hopefully make a tremendous impact in the near future on bookselling and libraries, two distinct entities within publishing that are facing increasing challenges to operation.

University Degree in Self-Publishing Is New Sign of Lessened Stigma is a post from: E-Reader News

What Could Rowling Do With Harry and Hermione?

British author JK Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series of
JK Rowling is no stranger to opening herself up and letting her fans see the inner workings of the mind that created the world of Harry Potter. From the publication of her notebook that she kept during the series’ writing process to the ill-timed but important announcement that she’d always envisioned Professor Dumbledore as having been homosexual, Rowling has invited her readers to know her characters and story line almost as well as she knows them herself.

Over the weekend, news broke that Rowling has had second thoughts about the way her series ended. In an interesting aside, it was actress Emma Watson (Hermione) who conducted the interview with Rowling, only to be told the the author now thinks Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, rather than Ron and Hermione. The plot as it was published made room for a secondary character, Ron’s sister Ginny, who may have become unexpectedly loved by the fans to still play a major role in the outcome of the direct seven books in the series. According to the finished published titles (spoiler alert), Ron and Hermione marry, and Harry and Ginny marry.

In what is possibly one of the most interesting yet not-widely-known facts about the entire book series, the author retained her digital rights when the original contracts were signed back in the 1990s. For this reason, Rowling sells and controls all of the ebooks in the Harry Potter series, despite having a traditional publisher for her print titles. That means that Rowling would be free to publish “alternate ending” editions of her ebooks, if she chose to do so.

While Rowling herself has disparaged fan fiction and has taken legal action against titles that use her characters, Rowling herself could write and publish what would essentially amount to fan fiction of her own work. The characters can be who she envisioned throughout the process, and she can right the romantic wrongs of the original series. Rowling would do well to investigate the options that so many self-published authors have already benefited, namely opting for complete literary control over their work.

What Could Rowling Do With Harry and Hermione? is a post from: E-Reader News

Rare Malayalam Books Added to Wikimedia Free Library, Wikigrandasala


Some of the rarest of Malayalam literary works has transcended the physical barrier and have started a new life in the digital era, all thanks to the active participation of more than 200 Wikimedia users from around the globe. This has been part of a digitization contest organized by Malayalam Wikimedia to celebrate a decade of Wikisource.  This has led to the successful completion of creating digital copies of 52 rare and extremely valuable Malayalam books that can now be found online from Wikigrandasala, the free Wikimedia library.

This no doubt will provide the newer generation a glimpse of literary works, most of which were written well over a century ago, titles which would have wilted away into oblivion without the digitization efforts.

Among the books that were digitized include Keralabhasha Vyakaranam (1877) by Vaidyan Pachumoothatu, Gangavataranam (1892) by Kodungalloor Kunjikuttan Thampuran, Malayazhmayude Vyakaranam (1863) by Rev George Mathen. Also featuring in the list are books such as Sampshepavedartham (1772), which happen to be one of the oldest known Christian works written in Malayalam language, Hastalakshanadeepika (1892) along with magazines such as Rasikaranjini and Mangalodayam.

Rare Malayalam Books Added to Wikimedia Free Library, Wikigrandasala is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 3

Kindle Daily Deals Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante A stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired orthopedic surgeon with dementia, Turn of Mind has already received worldwide attention. With unmatched patience and a pulsating intensity, Alice LaPlante brings us deep into a brilliant woman's deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing […]

There is a Big Problem with Free eBook Samples

kindle reading on the underground

Book discovery has been a hotbed issue for the last two years as digital books become more prevalent in our society. Unlike real books, you cannot download the entire novel to read samples, instead an algorithm extrapolates the first ten or twenty pages and delivers them to your e-reader. The exact number depends on whether you are shopping with Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.  One of the biggest problems right now with eBook samples is you only get less than a chapter to determine if you like the book, in some cases you only have a single page to read.

When you are shopping in your favorite bookstore, it is quite common to pick up the book, read the jacket and flip through it. It is quite easy to pull up a chair and read the entire chapter if you wanted to and if it was compelling enough, purchase it. Some people go to the store on their break and complete an entire book in a few days, some would say they are bucking the system, others participating in the culture. This is the way bookstores have always functioned.

When you are on the fence about buying an eBook, often the only thing you can do is download a free sample. One of the big problems with this approach is the number of pages included in the sample. If a book has a large table of contents, a forward, likely you won’t even get to read the first chapter.  I took a look at a title "Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box," by the Arbinger Institute. The entire first half of the sample chapter for this book is nothing but promotional testimonials — the kind of blurbs you'd see on the back cover of a paperback. Then follows the cover art and front matter. Finally, at the very end, you get to the actual content: barely what would fit on a single printed page, and just 4% of the total sample chapter file. It's a brief introduction that indicates almost nothing of the substance and style of the book.

Barnes and Noble and Kobo also deliver samples to you and normally comprise of less than 10% of the book and most publishers actually have a say in how many  pages of a book can be available in a chapter. If you self-publish with Nook Press or Kobo Writing Life, there is a difference in how many sample pages are available for the reader, then your average mega title published by Penguin.

I have basically given up on downloading samples of any kind of eBook these days. I have been burned too many times downloading a sample for the purposes of reviewing a new Kindle e-Reader or a new Android tablet. Instead, I am usually forced to buy a book because its nearly impossible to get a few pages into the first chapter, before the sample ends. eBook samples need to eliminate the table of contents and all of the other superficialis data, and start directly at chapter one.

There is a Big Problem with Free eBook Samples is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Experimenting with Different Charging Technologies for iWatch


Apple has long been rumored to be developing a smartwatch device, although all of their efforts seem to have stagnated at one point, battery issue. While the California company strives to offer a superior smartatch experience, there are several options that are being deliberated so far as powering the device is concerned. Induction charging is one such method that is being deliberated upon that won't require the device to be physically connected to a charging unit. Instead, placing them on a charging plate is all that would be required to charge the smartphone, a technology that is already in use with some smartphone devices.

Other options being explored include adding a solar charging layer which can be added either to the glass cover or the watch face which will act to charge the device when used in sunlit conditions. Motion based charging too has been doing the rounds, a technology that is in use in several watch devices. However, what seems evident is that a definite approach to charging the smartwatch seems to have eluded Apple boffins who are keen for an iWatch device that can be used for several days before requiring a recharge.

The above deliberation have also brought to the fore a key aspect that is dogging the tech scene for some time now, that of battery technology that is lagging the development in other key areas, that of processing, storage, display and so on. As such, the way things stand right now can be like this, we may have mobile devices with the most vivid of displays, have considerable amount of processing power at disposal along with enough of storage to boot though almost all of the feats have been nulled to some extent at least by a limited power source. Watching videos, listening to the music or playing games coupled with a few hours of web surfing can drain the battery in no time.

Apple Experimenting with Different Charging Technologies for iWatch is a post from: E-Reader News