Friday, February 14, 2014

Microsoft Office to be Released on iPad Soon


Of Microsoft's Office productivity suite and its integration with the iOS platform, this perhaps has been a topic of discussion ever since the iPad had burst into the scene. However, we seem to be heading to something concrete on this finally, what with the latest on this coming from ZDNet claiming such a thing is being actively deliberated and it could be expected very soon.

The issue though is tricky for Microsoft considering the cash cow that the Office software suite has been for the Redmond based company over the years. Unleashing the same on competing platforms carries the risk of undermining Microsoft's own Windows platform; that too at a time when the latter is having to re-position itself in a fast changing computing scenario. But then, having Microsoft Office suite on the iPad tablet range will also open up a huge market segment, which can also translate to another steady source of income.

“You’ll see us be thoughtful about how and when we bring what applications to what platforms,” said Tami Reller, vice president of marketing at Microsoft while speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. “We come at it from that angle, which is, ‘What businesses do we need to drive forward?’ That’s how we will make the decision.”

However, what is not known is how Microsoft is going to charge for using the Office suite though the Office 365 subscription model that Microsoft has introduced off late seems to be the best bet. Right now there is a free MS Office app that is available for the iPhone which allows for limited editing opportunity but none for the iPad. Also, what cannot be denied is that using MS Excel can be chore on the smaller display of the iPhone but can be much better when viewed on the larger displays of the iPad or even the proposed iPad Pro or the new crop of Samsung Pro series of tablets.

Microsoft Office to be Released on iPad Soon is a post from: E-Reader News

Video: Sony Smartwatch 2 Review


The Sony Smartwatch 2 is the second attempt of the Japanese company to try and cornerstone the industry. Conservative research states that the entire smartwatch industry will be worth $62 billion by 2018. This is prompting an entire cadre of startups to get into this space. Sony is one of the few with a second generation device, next to Pebble. How does this stack up against the competition?

The Sony SmartWatch 2 has a new 1.6-inch transflective LCD touchscreen and soft keys that mimic Android's back, home, and menu functions. The resolution is only 220 x 176, this is fairly poor, as pixels tend to be jagged. You can tell there is not much memory in this device, because they are not really using anti-aliasing. Most of the core functionality is built around interacting with the touchscreen and pairing it with your phone.

The Smartwatch 2 is not very smart, sadly. The built in functionality on it can tell the time, be used as a stopwatch, and be used as an alarm. But that's about it. You can reject incoming calls from the SmartWatch and automatically send a SMS text.

You really need to have an Android Smartphone to take advantage of this watch. In order to even set it up, you need to download the Sony Android software to control it and load in firmware. There also is not a dedicated Sony Android App Market. This is something Pebble did right in their iOS app, you can install faces, gps, productivity and fitness apps. Heck, there is even games like Asteroids! The Sony App, is basically a portal to other apps listed on Google Play. So, if you have a phone that is not compatible with Google Play, or does not have the G Services, you are doomed.

Wrap Up

In the end, the Sony Smartwatch 2 is not very smart. You can think of it as a dumb terminal that is reliant on your phone for most of the apps. Really, this is meant to pair to your phone via bluetooth and give you notifications. It is meant to ping you when you get text messages, Whatsapp messages and let you know when someone is calling. It might save time to glance at your wrist, rather than take your phone out, get it out of standby and open the notification. Check out our unboxing and review to get a sense on our thoughts.

Video: Sony Smartwatch 2 Review is a post from: E-Reader News

ePaperWorld 2014 Conference to Be Held in Montreal


Tab ePaperWorld has been holding events in Montreal since 2009, where the emphasis used to be on e-readers. The company is branching out for the first time and putting a priority on tablets and education. They still have not lost their e-reader roots, as many luminaries of the display world will be attending February 20th & 21th at the Palais Des Congrès of Montreal.

There will be various speakers at the event, including; Benjamin H Paletsky, Product Manager – Global Marketing, E ink Holding, Samuel Parent, Vice President, IAB Canada, and Ric Wright, Director of Engineering, Readium Foundation.

This conference should have a few high level discussions on what Canadian companies are doing to embrace eBook formats, such as EPUB 2 and EPUB 3. For the most part, there is basic level talks that discuss digital content in the entertainment, finance, real estate and video game industry. Looking at the floor plan, there only seems to be roughly 40 exhibitors, nothing especially compelling.

I do not think any of the titans of the eBook or e-reader industry will be at this conference. For the most part, it seems more of a primer for companies wanting to adopt tablets into their business and are unsure of the merits involved. There is going to be talks about warehouses and supply chains, ergo some businesses might find this conference useful.

ePaperWorld 2014 Conference to Be Held in Montreal is a post from: E-Reader News

US Bookstores Decline by 1.5% in 2013


The bookselling industry in the United States declined by 1.5% in 2013 and fell 0.5% in December alone. This is primarily due to the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey trilogy breaking sales records in 2012. 2013 did not have any breakout success stories.

Over the entire course of 2013 bookstore sales fell 1.6% and this equates bookstores earning $13.2 billion. The bright spots were January, March and September over 2012, but were down every other month.

via Shelf Awareness

US Bookstores Decline by 1.5% in 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Bookmobile is back on the road!

The Digital Bookmobile, the high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades, has started its 2014 national tour. The tour started on February 4 at Paso Robles Public Library in Paso Robles, Calif. Following more stops in Southern California, the Digital Bookmobile will visit libraries and schools in Arizona and Nevada next as it tours across the country.

Aboard the 74-foot, 18-wheel tractor-trailer, readers of all ages can learn how to borrow eBooks and audiobooks from their local library or school on a variety of devices. Our OverDrive team works with representatives from the host library or school to show community members how to search, sample, borrow and return titles either on their own devices or on a number of tablets, computers and smartphones available to demo on the Digital Bookmobile.

DBMcollageThis is a highly engaging, hands-on experience, allowing readers to ask questions and interact one-on-one with both OverDrive and library staff members, and is a great way to introduce the digital collection. Local media often cover these events, further raising awareness of the library’s or school’s eBook program. Many libraries report increased registration rates and circulation spikes following these events.

The full Digital Bookmobile schedule can be found here. For more information about how you can host the Digital Bookmobile at your library or school, contact


Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Encouraging teachers to use OverDrive

You may have seen our recent marketing post about simple and easy ideas for marketing your school's digital collection. Another idea is to get your teachers on board. This, without a doubt, will be one of the most beneficial things you can do to promote your digital collection.

Our own Sarah Halko, Collection Development Specialist, used to be a high school teacher and gives the following advice for encouraging teachers to incorporate the digital collection into their curriculum:

"Using the digital collection in the classroom is simple; better yet, it does not require all students in a classroom to have a device. Remind teachers that they can display a title on their interactive white boards, play an audiobook aloud while students follow along in their print texts, and encourage students to download a title for independent reading."

With that in mind, here's a sample three step process for introducing your digital collection to teachers and their busy schedules:

  1. What is it? Explain that your school library has a digital collection of eBooks (and audiobooks, if applicable) that are available for students and staff 24/7 and can be used at school or at home. You may want to note some collection highlights, or any simultaneous use titles you have in your collection.
  2. How does it work? This is where you can give a brief explanation, emphasizing how easy it is, especially when using OverDrive Read. You may also want to hand out getting started guides and show them how to get to the help videos. Here's the thing you'll want to emphasize: kids get it. They just do. Almost one-third of students in grades 4-12 already own a tablet and over 40% own a smartphone. Most students (69%) would like to use mobile devices more often in class (courtesy of
  3. Why should I care? Show teachers how using eBooks in the classroom can make their lives easier and their curriculum more engaging for students – they can project titles on an Interactive White Board,  flip the classroom with the help of eBooks, listen to an audiobook in a group setting, assign independent reading from the digital collection, and more! With technology becoming a part of everyday life, it only makes sense to incorporate technology into daily lessons. It's a tool that should be used to enhance and add value to a child's education.

By just introducing your teachers to these help resources and giving them ideas for how to use in the classroom, you will see your circulation rise!


Cassie is a Marketing Specialist with OverDrive.


Remembering your single patrons on Valentine’s Day

With February 14th upon us, I wanted to take the time to reach out to the librarians spending time building special Valentine's Day collections in their libraries. Valentine's Day is celebrated by many countries around the world; but most popularly celebrated by couples as a day to be romantic and publicly display their affection…  in front of the whole world, including single people.

As I entered into my early twenties, it became more apparent each year that there is a large demographic of people who hate Valentine's Day, and would rather celebrate S.A.D. or Singles Awareness Day (which, incidentally, sounds a whole lot more FUN than SAD). So while you’re decorating your whole library with pink and red hearts, take a second to remember your single patrons by browsing a list of titles geared towards the single demographic.

Whatever your February holiday of preference, have a happy one!




*Please note: geographic and other restrictions may apply to some titles.


Laura Guldeman is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.