Tuesday, February 4, 2014

eBook Piracy a Big Deal in the Netherlands


When people think of countries that have the biggest eBook piracy problem, we often think of China, Russia and Vietnam. According to a new report, one of the most guilty countries of rampant piracy in Europe, is the Netherlands.

Dutch research firm GfK. has stated that 10% of digital books in the Netherlands are actually paid for. The bulk of the content out there is pirated from file sharing websites or Bit-torrent. “On average, a Dutch e-reader contains 117 e-books, 11 of which are paid for,” says Algemeen Dagblad.

In the Netherlands electronic books only account for 4.5% of the total revenue publishers rake in. These are fairly respectable figures, seeing as though in 2012 over 600,000 eBooks were sold from a paltry pool of only 16,000 titles.

Dutch speaking citizens want to purchase more books, the sad truth is that publishers are not fully enamored about the market climate. This is prompting Amazon to open a Kindle store in the Netherlands this Spring. If anyone can convince publishers and lend assistance and technical know how, it’s Amazon.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Netherlands culture is that it is technically legal for people to download books from file sharing websites, it is only illegal to upload them. This is prompting local publishing companies to launch a campaign about “Reading Legally” on social media. Whether this makes a difference or not, remains to be seen.

eBook Piracy a Big Deal in the Netherlands is a post from: E-Reader News

Galaxy Note Pro Appears on Office Depot – Available Feb 13

Note Pro 12.2

Rumors of Samsung launching its Pro line of tablets during the Valentine's weekend seem to be true after all. At least, an Office Depot listing where the tablet had made a brief appearance points to such a possibility. However, if that is a smile inducing piece of news for you, there is a nasty surprise in the waiting. For the tablet has been priced a cool $849.99 for the 64 GB version. This makes it the highest priced Android tablet so far, irrespective of the fact that no tablet from the Android realm priced so high has ever succeeded. Official availability of the device is pegged at Feb 13.

The tablet though boasts of some high end specifications as well as a stylus to justify its price tag. Powering the device will be a quad core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor mated to a 3 GB RAM and either 32 or 64 GB of internal memory. Providing the juice will be a 9500mAh battery though it will be interesting to know what the actual run times are like. Also, the tablet will be running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat with enough tweaks incorporated to allow for seamless integration of S Pen stylus functionality. These apart, the other aspect that endears the tablet is its light construction, which makes it fairly easy to hold it in one hand while using the other to operate the device. The expansive 12.2 inch of LCD lit up by 2560 X 1600 pixels also offers a rich and vibrant display.

Overall, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 may make for an excellent device for use by artists, academicians or in the enterprise scene though what remains to be seen is whether they are willing to splurge that much to actually own the device.

Galaxy Note Pro Appears on Office Depot – Available Feb 13 is a post from: E-Reader News

Finding Canadian content in Marketplace

Today, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight our neighbors up north and the exceptional literature they produce. OverDrive is delighted to work with many Canadian Publishers and we are always striving to add more. We understand how important Canadian content is to you and your patrons. Here are a few quick and easy ways to search for CanLit in Marketplace…

On a monthly basis, we update a link that features all content from Canadian publishers that has been added for purchase in Marketplace.

New from Canadian Publishers

Below is a list of popular Canadian publishers included:

  • EBOUND Canada
  • Doubleday Canada
  • Orca Book Publishers
  • House of Anansi Press Inc.
  • Dundurn Press Limited
  • Groundwood Books Ltd
  • MQUP
  • Playwrights Canada Press
  • Demeter Press
  • Rocky Mountain Books
  • University of Manitoba Press
  • David Berner
  • Heritage House
  • Iguana Books
  • Linda Morin
  • Oolichan Books
  • Touchwood Editions
  • Knopf Canada
  • Random House of Canada


If you would like to run more granular searches for specific content, you can save basic or advanced searches that you'd like to run more than once. To save a search, fill in your search criteria in the basic or advanced search form, then select Save instead of Search.

CanLit2 CanLit3


Hopefully you find this helpful! If you would like any further collection tips, please contact collectionteam@overdrive.com.


Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive. 


Big Library Read cooks up something new


Big Library Read, OverDrive's "global book club," is back once again for libraries to lend millions of users around the world the same eBook simultaneously for free! The program that in 2013 brought us Michael Malone's Four Corners of the Sky and Jane O'Connor's Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth is now bringing the secrets of the kitchen to your eReaders, tablets and computers.

Food Network and Cooking Channel star Aida Mollenkamp has provided her culinary guide Keys to the Kitchen to all participating libraries for their users to enjoy from February 17 through March 5, free for the program duration with simultaneous worldwide usage rights, without wait lists or holds. After the program, your library may purchase the title for one copy/one user lending. To participate, simply call your OverDrive Account Specialist before February 11.

Keys to the Kitchen is a cookbook by definition, but it's much more than simply directions to get from page to plate. Author Aida Mollenkamp provides helpful how-to information on everything from proper knife skills and finding the right ingredients to throwing a show- stopping cocktail party. It doesn't just provide ideas on what to cook, but also walks the reader through how to cook.


In addition to providing her book for free to Big Library Read libraries, Aida will also be doing a Facebook chat with readers on Wednesday, February 26 at 8 pm EST. Readers will have a chance to ask Aida about everything from her passion for discovering new flavors, her studies at the Cornell Hotel School and Le Cordon Bleu Paris and much more. Be sure to follow Aida's adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and learn great kitchen tips and tricks from her weekly web series In the Pantry on Yahoo! Shine.

Libraries can sign up for Big Library Read until February 11 by contacting their OverDrive Account Specialist. Now let's get cookin!

Adam Sockel is a Marketing & Communications Specialist with OverDrive.


Michael Serbinis Steps Down as the CEO of Kobo


Michael Serbinis has been CEO of Kobo for the last four years and has assembled one of the best executive teams in the eBook and e-reader industry. Under his watch the company expanded their library to have over 4 million eBooks in 190 different countries. Kobo has developed apps for almost every major operating system in the world and has even launched for Blackberry.  When Kobo was sold to Japanese e-Commerce giant Rakuten, the writing was on the wall that there would eventually be a management shakeup. Today, Michael Serbinis has stepped down as the CEO of Kobo and has been supplanted by Takahito "Taka" Aiki.

Taka brings to the role a wealth of experience in building and growing successful projects and companies, and has built his career on achieving ambitious goals and forging strong teams. Most recently, as CEO of Japanese telecom company Fusion Communications, he introduced innovative new services that delivered sustainable growth and profitability. Under Taka's leadership, Fusion became a reliable profit centre for parent company, Rakuten, Inc. He is also an accomplished former Manager at Bain & Company and was responsible for the online business of Japan's top bookstore and video rental company Tsutaya, where he helped grow its online membership by 250% in only two years. Taka and his family will reside in Canada and will lead Kobo from its head office located in Toronto, Ontario.

"I am thrilled to accept the role of CEO at Kobo," said incoming CEO Takahito Aiki. "I am excited to be joining Kobo, one of Canada's most prominent brands and a true innovator in eReading. The Kobo team is extremely talented and, working together, I look forward to driving Kobo’s leadership in eReading."

Michael is not leaving Kobo, but he will remain the Vice Chairman and will still have a seat on the board. He might not be the alpha dog anymore, but will continue to be one of the highest ranking executives with Kobo.

Michael Serbinis Steps Down as the CEO of Kobo is a post from: E-Reader News

McGraw-Hill Education Launches Update to Digital SRA Number Worlds

MHE Logo
If you attended public school in the US, you probably have memories of working your way through the colored rainbow of those SRA reading labs and math labs, big boxes of work-at-your-own-pace laminated tabbed sheets of leveled exercises. And sure, thirty years ago, that was as innovative as the typical classroom got by acknowledging that not every student will learn at the same pace as his peers, and that not all coursework has to be structured for the whole group setting.

Now, McGraw-Hill Education has taken its SRA model and turned it on its digital head, letting students work through tailored content at a comfortable pace–whether it’s to reinforce mastery concepts or to give students a leg up–through adaptive technology and engaging resources. Thanks to an update to this model, SRA Number Worlds is also now in line with the Common Core standards, helping teachers and administrators know that the content is in accordance with the required standards while still using the popular and effective model.

"We know that math can be one of the most challenging subjects to master and how easy it is for students to lose confidence in their abilities and fall behind," said Christine Willig, senior vice president at McGraw-Hill Education, in a press release on the update. "We believe that all students – especially those who struggle – can greatly benefit from the type of personalization that adaptive technologies provide, and we're confident that our SRA Number Worlds program will give them an opportunity to stay engaged and catch up to their peers."

One interesting factor in the update is the ability to incorporate both the basic skill building instruction as well as the more real-world application of project-based learning. This helps ensure that the students who are functioning at or above grade level are not the only ones engaged in dynamic and high-interest instruction while the students who require additional remediation are sequestered at the back of the room, poking buttons on a computer, a common criticism of self-paced invention strategies in public schools.

McGraw-Hill Education Launches Update to Digital SRA Number Worlds is a post from: E-Reader News

O’Reilly Media Donates over $100Million in Content under ConnectED Initiative

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

Through its Safari Books Online division, O’Reilly Media announced today a donation of over $100 million in content and tools for K-12 schools to use free of charge as part of the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative. The donation, which will reach 15,000 US public schools, is part of a larger strategy to ensure technology literacy among today’s primary and secondary education participants.

In a press release on the initiative, Laura Baldwin, President of O’Reilly Media, said, “Technical literacy is essential for today’s students, if they’re to succeed in school and in the work world. We’re pleased to help them gain that knowledge, through this donation to America’s schools.”

One area of educational curricula that still suffers from serious discrepancies throughout the country and even at the state or system level is technology education. This breakdown in a unified strategy to help students in the 21st Century Learner ideal is largely due to funding issues. Companies such as O’Reilly are helping schools to overcome that crucial obstacle to prepare students for environments that will require more advanced technological awareness.

“Safari has helped millions of working professionals use content from the world’s leading publishers to learn and develop the skills they need to succeed for more than a decade,” said Andrew Savikas, CEO of Safari Books Online, “so we’re proud to support O’Reilly’s efforts and the White House in doing the same for students across America.”

The content will enable teachers and schools to focus more on individualized instruction in technology, recognizing that US students come from a vast spectrum of device and computer awareness. At the same time, the content will be driven by real-world application to ensure student success, retention, and application.

O’Reilly Media Donates over $100Million in Content under ConnectED Initiative is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Boycott May Have Resulted in Drop in UK Sales

Amazon UK posted a significant reduction year-over-year in its sales figures, demonstrating a clear lag in growth. While still highly profitable and certainly not a cause for concern at the Seattle-based company’s headquarters, there is speculation as to what may be behind the slower than normal increase in customer spending.

Two factors that made global headlines led to a grassroots boycott of the online retail giant, which has left consumers hopeful that their ability to speak with their wallets may have made an impact. Amazon has been called out for its refusal to pay a corporation tax in the UK, and for leaked allegations of the working conditions in their European warehouses. Both instances have driven some consumers to make a conscious effort to only shop locally, and the majority of  UK independent booksellers surveyed by The Bookseller have reported they are feeling the effects of the sentiment.

Amazon based its European headquarters in Luxembourg with the express intent of avoiding most of the tax fees that plague international companies; however, in full disclosure and with the intent of not painting any “bad guys” in the scenario, a large number of companies follow the same real estate principle, including Google and Starbucks. The way to ensure that US-based companies do not get to skirt the taxes that companies within the UK have to pay is to tackle this at the government level, not by expecting citizens to only do business with companies that will charge them higher taxes.

Additionally, the issue of workplace treatment within the Amazon distribution center is something that can also more effectively be addressed at the government level. Amazon UK only growing by 12% in 2013 over the 21% growth posted the year before isn’t enough of a blow to their bottom line for consumers to feel like their awareness efforts are having that much of an effect.

Corporations cannot be expected on a global scale to simply be a better company, although there are inspiring examples of a few companies who choose to conduct their businesses with both their employees and their customers in mind. To expect Amazon to cough up millions in tax dollars each year that other foreign entities don’t have to pay is a little naive. As long as the local governments allow for the refusal to pay taxes that independently owned businesses must pay, and to include working conditions that other smaller companies cannot get by with, then major corporations will continue to follow these same tactics.

Amazon Boycott May Have Resulted in Drop in UK Sales is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 4

Kindle Daily Deals Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn It's Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It's the one-year anniversary of his parents' deaths, he's stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries. But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri gets a […]

8086tiny: a free PC XT-compatible virtual machine/emulator written in C

Last week we discovered an outstanding open source project which worked out of the box on the Raspberry Pi.  8086tiny is a free PC XT-compatible virtual machine/emulator written in C.

DeluxePaint II in two whole colours. (“Graphics card?! You were lucky…” etc.)

It was created by Adrian Cable who won IOCCC last year with 4043.  We caught up with Adrian last week and this is what he had to say:

"The personal computer as we know it today began in the early 80s with the release of the IBM PC – an incredibly complex machine for its time, and the result of hundreds of thousands of man-hours of development time, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thirty years later, I set out to answer the question of how small a highly portable, software PC emulator/virtual machine could be written, complete and accurate enough to simulate not just the Intel 8086 CPU but enough of the peripheral hardware to run software like Windows, AutoCAD, Lotus 1-2-3 and classic PC games. The answer: 4043 bytes of highly condensed C source code, which won the 2013 International Obfuscated C Code Contest.

Following the contest, widespread demand led to the release of 8086tiny, a fully documented and commented distribution of the original code, including full BIOS source code. 8086tiny, when deployed on the $25 Raspberry Pi, produces not only the world's smallest but also the world's cheapest PC.

Uniquely we believe for PC emulators, 8086tiny is released under the most free open source license possible, the MIT License, allowing use or redistribution for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with no restrictions whatsoever. I encourage anyone to use 8086tiny as a starting point for their own emulation projects."

8086tiny is now part of the Raspbian repository and can be installed using apt-get and it comes with a pre-made mountable DOS hard disk.  Further instructions on installation and use can be found on the forums.  We had a lot of fun with it last week trying to remember the keys for Word Perfect 5.1!

WordPerfect 5.1. The king of the word processors.

A project like this has the potential to allow the Raspberry Pi to replace legacy DOS systems in industrial settings.  8086tiny is under active development and in the future we hope to see the addition of new features such as a VGA card and serial/parallel port emulation.  Keep up the good work Adrian!