Thursday, February 6, 2014

There is a Price War Happening in the Global Tablet Market


The global tablet market is starting to mature and the momentum of manufacturing has begun to slow down. Industry insiders claim that in 2014 only 51.81 million tablets will be produced. The industry is entering a period of dramatic price wars in a bid for your consumer dollars.

The battle of price is being instigated by Google, Amazon, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asus. They have all offered or will soon be marking down their 7-inch models, ranging in price from US$159-199 to promote tablet sales.

While Samsung has not yet announced prices for its recently unveiled Galaxy Tab 3 Lite family products, some market watchers expect the lowest-priced Galaxy Tab 3 Lite version to be available for US$129. The South Korea company is putting added pressure on the other top companies to lower their prices on devices too.

We are entering a period of consolidation in the tablet production industry. Most new models coming out, are so dramatically low in price that other players on the market, such as Barnes and Noble and Kobo are finding it hard to compete. In order to have a premium price, the ecosystem is everything. Google, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asus all have stock Android experiences, with nothing of note to distinguish them from the competition. Amazon, Kobo and B&N at least have a giant ecosystem of books, magazines, newspapers, comics and other content to sway customers over.

There is a Price War Happening in the Global Tablet Market is a post from: E-Reader News

Podcast: What Indie Authors Need to Know about Kobo and Sony


Mercy Pilkington and Michael Kozlowski are live with a breaking news audio edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show. Today, they talk about all of the news surrounding Sony and Kobo joining forces on eBooks and how it affects indie authors and self-publishing distribution platforms, such as Smashwords.

This is a jam packed show with tons of news and exclusives. Many companies spoke to Good e-Reader today about the merger between Sony and Kobo’s ecosystems and we lay it out, on what it all really means for readers all over the world. Mercy discusses some of the pitfalls surrounding on a USA wide digital library and why it is failing and how Norway gets it right with their government funded approach. Finally, Bro-mies? Bro-Bras? We lay out how Fan-Fiction is taking over the world and some of the more interesting moves coming out of Amazon.

This is one of the funnest shows in Good e-Reader History! If you have always wanted to see Cobra Commander win the day, listen to this show, immediately!

Podcast: What Indie Authors Need to Know about Kobo and Sony is a post from: E-Reader News

What the Sony and Kobo eBook Deal Means for Readers


Sony and Kobo signed a landmark agreement today that affects readers in the USA and Canada. Sony has announced that starting this March, any eBooks customers have purchased from the Reader Store, will be transferred to Kobo. Also under the terms of the deal, select smartphones and their entire line of tablets will also see the elimination of the Sony branded store and instead will have the Kobo app loaded on it by default. There are lots of concerns about what this means to self-published authors that opted into Sony via Smashwords and readers wondering what will happen to all of their books.

The Sony Reader store has been operating since 2009 in the USA and Canada. During that time it has expanded into the UK, Germany, Australia and other European markets. The company has continued to lose market share in their key markets from double digit figures to single digit. Late last year, Sony announced that it was abandoning the US market with the commercial release of Sony PRS-T3 e-reader, as they continued to focus on Canada and Europe.
The Kobo and Sony agreement was for an indeterminate amount of money, and neither company were forthcoming about the financial proclivities.

What does this deal between the two companies mean for readers? Sony told Good e-Reader exclusively that “With few exceptions, eBooks customers have purchased from Reader Store will transfer to Kobo. Their magazines and newspapers will not; however, they will have access to the most popular fashion, pop culture, health, and sports magazines at Most of Reader Store's eBook catalog is currently available in the Kobo Store, so the good news is that the majority of customers' eBooks will transfer over. They can re-download all their previously purchased Reader Store eBooks from the Reader Store and store on their Reader or other registered devices. If customers transfer their library to Kobo, they will receive detailed information on which titles did or did not transfer, so they can take the appropriate action.”

Last year, Sony released a new kids section on their Reader Store. It had enhanced books done in ePub3. Obviously these and other titles don’t exist in the Kobo ecosystem. So what does this mean for exclusive titles that Sony has, that can’t be transferred over? Sony has stated “In a few rare cases, eBooks purchased at Reader Store may not be available at Kobo. In this case it is recommended that customers download a copy of these titles from Reader Store before April 30, 2014.”

It is important to note, that this business arrangement between Sony and Kobo is only applicable to North America. Sony wanted to make clear that their European Reader Store and other markets will continue to operate as normal for the near future.

Self-published authors using the Smashwords distribution platform have regularly opted into having their eBooks put up for sale via the Sony Reader Store. What does the transition mean for authors now that the books have moved to Kobo? Smashwords CEO Mark Coker told Good e-Reader exclusively that “The actual epub files Smashwords delivered to Sony will not transfer, but the digital identifiers will, and these identifiers (ISBNs and possibly other metadata) will allow Kobo to provide access for Sony customers in their Kobo libraries. If Kobo doesn’t have the book, then the book will not transfer. I’d encourage all authors to download all their books from Sony to their Sony Reader in addition to migrating their library to Kobo.”

Mark went on to elaborate that “The merchandising listings of Smashwords books distributed to Sony (but not distributed to Kobo) will not transfer. This means if a Smashwords author is opted in to Sony, but not opted in to Kobo, they will remain opted out of Kobo for sales and merchandising purposes. We and Kobo have been coordinating behind the scenes in advance of this announcement to identify Smashwords/Sony books that aren’t available at Kobo. We’ll continue to coordinate closely so we can work with authors to mitigate any inconvenience for Sony customers. Authors can assist by making sure all Smashwords.”

Mark from Smashwords wrote a very compelling post on the official company blog today, that mainly outlined his thoughts on how the deal went down and the primary effects on self-published authors. Now that he has had time to reflect on it, I asked him if he had any further thoughts, based on conversations on authors. He wrapped up by saying “My general thought is that it’s sad it came to this. We want all our retailers to succeed. The more bookstores in the world the better. Every ebook reader and author owes Sony a debt of gratitude for the important catalyzing role they played in helping to launch a viable ebook market here in the US. I know there will always be those who are quick to criticize Sony for this or that, but I’d view such criticism as unfair.”

“After working with the folks at Sony for the last five years, I really appreciate all the hard work they put into their store, and all the hard work to support our authors. Behind their company are a group of passionate people who love books. I’m also immensely thankful for the support they showed Smashwords and the indie community early on. They were the second major retailer to start carrying our books in 2009. They were ahead of their time in that regard.”

What the Sony and Kobo eBook Deal Means for Readers is a post from: E-Reader News

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month has been observed in the U.S. and Canada every February since 1976. In honor of Black History Month, we created a suggested titles list that spotlights some great African-American literature.

When you click the link below, it will show up as a Marketplace search result and you'll be able to easily add them to a cart.

Celebrating Black History Month

You Collection Development Specialist is always available to help create any recommended lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.


Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.


Philip Seymour Hoffman’s most honest role

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's death on February 2 shocked and saddened millions of fans, colleagues, friends and family. People around the world are remembering him through his works, reciting their favorite characters he played and movies in which he starred. One film, however, showcases Philip Seymour Hoffman in a different way than others: as himself, a concerned American during the most turbulent presidential election in United States history.

The Party's OverHoffman is the narrator in the 2001 documentary The Party's Over, which chronicles the 2000 Republican and Democratic Conventions. The film follows Hoffman as he interviews activists, politicians, average citizens and celebrities from both parties, including Susan Sarandon, Charlton Heston, Eddie Vedder, Willie Nelson, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Moore. Watching this film gives audiences a deeper look at Hoffman's real character and personality, with uncensored insight into his view on politics and democracy in America. Refreshingly honest, the documentary isn't told from a political perspective, but rather by an earnest citizen who had never voted and was learning as he went, trying to get to the root of dysfunction and corruption in American politics. It's a rare opportunity to see the real Philip Seymour Hoffman.

As we remember Hoffman in part for his acting talent, you can also offer your library members the chance to see him as his true self by adding this Streaming Video to your OverDrive collection. See it in Los Angeles Public Library’s collection, here.



Sony Closing Reader Store in US and Canada, Sending Accounts to Kobo

Sony is getting out of ebooks. Sony has started sending out emails to customers today informing them that they are closing the Sony Reader in the United States and Canada. It’s shocking that Sony would do this, but not really surprising after they decided not to release the PRS-T3 ebook reader in the U.S. last […]

Sony Shuts Down Reader Store Signs Deal with Kobo


Sony has signed a deal with Koboto serve as the official ebook partner for Sony in the US and Canada. This will enable users of Sony ereaders, tablets, and smartphone to tap into the vast collection of ebooks that Kobo offers, which runs well above 4 million titles. along with a rich collection of magazines, newspapers, and kids content.

The development also marks the end of the road for Sony’s own Reader store that, as things stand right now, will remain in operation until end of March. After that, customers will be sent emailed instructions of the process to transfer their Reader Store libraries to Kobo. Also, the Kobo app will come pre-installed on select Xperia smartphone and tablet devices.

Speaking about the move, Ken Orii, Vice President of Digital Reading Business Division at Sony, said: “Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience. Like Sony, they are committed to those most passionate about reading and share our vision to use open formats so people can easily read anytime and anywhere.

“Our customers can be assured that they will have a seamless transition to the Kobo ecosystem and will be able to continue to access and read the titles they love from Sony devices.”

This comes amidst the restructuring process that Sony is in right now and demonstrates its policy of concentrating more on tablet and smartphone business. It has already sold off its PC business along with the VAIO brand to JIB.

Commenting on the development, Takahito Aiki, CEO of Kobo, said: “With a shared philosophy to deliver the best reading experience across platforms and with the best content available, Kobo and Sony will reach more people than ever before. Together, millions of customers across the US and Canada will find their next great read at their fingertips – any time, any place, and on any device.”

Sony Shuts Down Reader Store Signs Deal with Kobo is a post from: E-Reader News

Call for Endowment Seeks to Ease the Suffering of Libraries

It comes as new real surprise to anyone that libraries need all the help they can get. With news of severe financial cutbacks around the country that have resulted in the layoffs of library personnel, the dramatic slashing of hours of operation, and even the outright closings of numerous branches, public libraries are facing a monumental identity and ability crisis.

But‘s David H. Rothman has issued a request for the establishment of a library endowment to fill in the gaps, calling on the US’s wealthiest citizens to answer the fiscal call to save libraries.

“It’s just a dream right now,” Rothman said of the idea for the endowment, “but it rose partly out of my experiences writing about the DPLA at the start.”

The DPLA that Rothman referred to is the Digital Public Library of America, and initiative that was met with widespread accolades and more than a few grant dollars to make it a reality. Unfortunately, this so-called entity is not actually the same as a public library in the way that citizens envision one. Rather, its focus is on the digitization and open access to historical and archival documents, making it a great tool for researchers and academic institutions, but of little day-to-day importance in the lives of typical public library patrons. In fact, according to Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium, the Chief Officers of State Library Associations has passed a resolution requesting that the word “public” be stripped from the name of the DPLA as that is not its function.

The endowment that Rothman has envisioned would not only create a side-by-side entity like the DPLA that actually served the digital content needs of the typical reader, but also still helped libraries keep their doors open as vital parts of their communities. And with a Forbes’ estimate that 400 of the richest people in the US are worth more than $2 trillion, and public library spending on content as of 2010 was only $1.3 million, Rothman quantifies, “What we’re talking about is a crumb of a crumb.”

“Why not come up with a way to bring in money from the super-rich but at the same time make it a government agency that is transparent. It looks as if the composition of Congress is not going to change to a bunch of people open to social expansion and social programs. What we need to do is go outside the usual government funding.”

As for whether or not Rothman can get the needed financial support for this endowment remains to be seen, but as he stated, “What’s the harm in asking?”

Call for Endowment Seeks to Ease the Suffering of Libraries is a post from: E-Reader News

Newegg’s $50 Premier Service May Prompt Amazon to Launch a Discounted Prime Service

newegg premier

Newegg has come up with a solution to the likely scenario of Amazon increasing subscription fees of its Prime membership program. Premier, as the Newegg service is termed, will require members to pay an annual fee of $50, which will qualify them for free 3-day shipping. Other freebies include dedicated customer service, free returns, and no restocking fees. However, what prospective members will miss out on is the instant video streaming service that Amazon Prime members get to enjoy for $30 more at the present rate structure, along with Kindle book borrows.

Other benefits that members of the Premier program include discounted rates for expedited shipping, custom backgrounds with information panel, and early intimation of upcoming sales along with exclusive deals for the members of the Premier program. In any case, the Newegg offer does make a lot of sense to those who can do without the video streaming service or have Netflix.

True, Amazon betters the Newegg offer by offering 2-day deliveries to its Prime members on everything it sells (not just electronics) though Amazon also has other areas that are critical to its business needs. Selling content to feed users of its Kindle range of tablets and ereaders is just as important a part of its overall business objective as its retailing arm. As such, Amazon needs to have a subscription service such as its Prime. Newegg, the second largest online retailer in the US (behind only Amazon) has none of that and can concentrate entirely on its e-tailing business.

What seems most likely is that either Amazon withholds increasing its Prime membership fees, or introduces a two tier approach, a high end service including all the perks that current Prime members get and a slightly discounted service at the base sans video streaming.

Newegg’s $50 Premier Service May Prompt Amazon to Launch a Discounted Prime Service is a post from: E-Reader News

Sony Sells Off PC Business, Will Concentrate More on Tablets, Smartphones


Sony has sold the PC segment to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners who will now be the new owners of the once famed VAIO brand. This line has been expected for some time now, more so after the PC segment witnessed a sharp 10 percent decline in 2013. Instead, the Japanese electronics giant has stated it would be focusing more on tablets and smartphones, the post-PC devices.

The Sony brand name has always been synonymous with quality and durability, which wins the company accolades with its Xperia range of devices. However, the Xperia range, which is dedicated to Android right now and comprises of water and dust proof tablet and smartphones, caters more to the higher end of the market. With the emphasis now almost entirely on mobile devices, what remains to be seen is whether the company will finally change its business strategy and target the mid-range segment as well, if not the entry level budget segment.

Sony's plan to exit the PC business might not be the end of the road for its association with Windows as they may still release a series of high end smartphones and tablets running Windows. Meanwhile, the VAIO Flip 11A, which happened to be the sole new product that the company showcased at CES, could well be the last VAIO branded device to have been conceptualized and built by Sony. It's an impressive piece of hardware offering 11 inches of convertible computing for a reasonable $799.

The company said job cuts of about 5,000 are also possible. Sony also revised its yearly forecast from a profit of 30 billion yen to a loss of 110 billion yen or $1.1 billion.

In another unrelated development, Sony also plans to hive off its TV business into a separate entity by June 2014.

Sony Sells Off PC Business, Will Concentrate More on Tablets, Smartphones is a post from: E-Reader News

MagPi issue 20 – your free Raspberry Pi magazine, out now

Issue 20, February 2014, of the excellent MagPi Magazine was released this week. I’m completely stealing the editorial by Matt from The MagPi team to introduce this issue (as you may have guessed, Liz is away. And I am not as good as Liz at this. There, I said it :) )  Anyway, read The MagPi! It’s jam packed with brilliant stuff as ever:

After a massive response, we are pleased to write that the article series 'Bake your own Pi filling' is back by popular demand! In this article Martin Kalitis throws down the gauntlet by instructing how to create a bootable Linux SD card which can load within 10 seconds.

Cover of Magpi magazine issue 20

We have more from the Caribbean with Project Curacao. This project has been so popular with our readers that John Shovic is extending it further, in a future issue, with a conclusion presenting the project's results. In this issue John reviews the building and installation of the camera and shutter mount into the project, allowing the production of timed photos, before updating us on changes made to the project from past articles.

Deepak Patil introduces his project for panoramic photography using Pi-Pan, a robotic arm controlled by his Raspberry Pi to move his Pi Camera. Deepak looks at some of the code used to control this clever kit and discusses how to take pictures while out in your car.

We have more from Andy Baker's Quadcopter series with this issue reviewing his pre-flight checks. His article looks at controlling the movement of the Quadcopter and provides some handy questions and answers for those of you who have been building this project.

We have a great article detailing John Hobson's and Efrain Olivares' journey into managing the frustrating problem of internet dropout. We then head over to France where Yann Caron presents his development environment and language 'Algoid', before the NanoXion chaps present their Raspberry Pi colocation service.

Clive again: just to add that The MagPi is a magazine produced by the Raspberry Pi community for the Raspberry Pi community. It will always be free to download; but if you prefer a physical magazine you can also buy print copies, thanks to the team’s successful Kickstarter. All the back issues are available for you to download, and they’re full of tutorials, interviews, type-in listings and everything you’ll need to get started with a Raspberry Pi.

5 Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview

Need a refresher on prepping for an interview? Look no further.

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 6

Kindle Daily Deals Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her—at least until he gets drawn […]

Raspberry Jamboree, Manchester 27 Feb – 1 Mar 2014

The 2014 Raspberry Jamboree is coming up at the end of February. Last year was fantastic and this year’s is looking bigger and better. Carrie Anne, Dave, Ben and I will see you there! Organiser Alan O’Donohoe tells us more:

I’m a Computing teacher in and I’m always on the look out for resources and strategies to make the teaching of Computing more engaging and inspiring. That's why I organised the Raspberry Jamboree in March 2013, to help share the educational potential of the Raspberry Pi computer. If you didn't manage to get there, you may have seen the videos we shared afterwards of Carrie Anne, Rob Bishop, and Amy Mather.

Last year, we sold all 400 tickets well before the Jamboree. People attended the event in Manchester took part in talks, hands-on practical sessions and an opportunity to meet others to share ideas and projects.

This short film gives a flavour of last year's event.

Well at the end of this month, we’re holding the 2014 OCR Raspberry Jamboree and this year it’s even bigger than last year, running over three days with a whole range of ways that you can discover the educational potential of the Raspberry Pi computer. At the same time there is also the Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition taking place with many CPD sessions on offer. So it’s not all about the Raspberry Pi, but if you’ve got one and you want to make the most of it, we’ll be able to help you.

On Thursday 27th February during the day we have a variety of talks and hands-on sessions as well as a free twilight session from 4-7pm. On Friday 28th February we have even more talks and activities during the day and in the evening from 5-7pm we celebrate the 2nd birthday of the Raspberry Pi with a family friendly event with fun, games & prizes. I realise that it can be tough to get time out of school, hence the evening & weekend activities too. If you can only be released from school for one day, I would recommend the Friday.

Then on Saturday 1st March at Edge Hill University we are holding our Jam Hack Day for up to 300 children, teachers, parents, enthusiasts etc. to come and learn together and problem solve in teams. Please consider bringing either your family or a group of pupils to this event. You might want to bring a handful of interested pupils, or suggest they make their own way there with their families.