Monday, February 17, 2014

Shop e-Readers Now Selling SmartWatches

ship all over

Shop e-Readers has been selling e-reader and tablets geared towards digital reading since 2009. They are the largest independent online store with over 67,000 units sold. Shop e-Readers announced today that they will now start carrying smart watches.

Shop e-Readers shops all watches internationally and most of the most popular brands are only available in the US and Canada. The rest of the world is unable to buy the Pebble Steel or the Mirasol TOQ. Right now there appears to be eight watches available with more to come soon. Brands like Samsung, Sony, Cookoo, SPA and more are in stock.

During the year, Shop e-Readers will start also carrying smart jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces and other cool gadgets.

Shop e-Readers Now Selling SmartWatches is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for February 18 2014


We’re a day late with the digital comics best-sellers due to some technical difficulties, but here’s what’s topping the digital charts on Monday evening.


1. The Walking Dead #121
2. Injustice: Year Two #3
3. Batman #28
4. All-New X-Men #23
5. Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW
6. Justice League of America #12
7. Avengers, vol. 5 #26
8. Superman/Wonder Woman #5
9. She-Hulk #1
10. Wolverine and the X-Men #41

It’s business as usual at comiXology, with this week’s new comics from Marvel and DC dominating the top ten. The one non-Big Two comic is the latest issue of The Walking Dead, from Image, which tops the chart, as usual. The third issue of Tom Taylor’s digital-first Injustice: Year Two takes the second slot; this is consistently one of the best-selling digital comics across all platforms. For those who keep score, DC has four comics on the chart and Marvel has five.


1. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
2. Hyperbole and a Half
3. Injustice: Year Two #3
4. The Walking Dead #121
5. Stephen King’s N
6. The Walking Dead, vol. 2
7. Big Nate: I Smell a Pop Quiz
8. The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel
9. The Sworn Sword: The Graphic Novel
10. Injustice: Year Two #2

The Kindle list echoes the comiXology list a bit but leans heavily toward mass-market properties: The Walking Dead, in graphic novel and single-issue form (graphic novel readers are starting at the beginning, while single-issue readers grab the latest one) and two Game of Thrones tie-ins.


1. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
2. Injustice: Year Two #3
3. Smallville, Season 11 #1
4. Superman: The Man of Steel #1
5. Green Lantern #1
6. MAD Magazine #1
7. Superman #1
8. Batman Beyond #1
9. Animal Man #1
10. Legends of the Dark Knight #1

This week’s Nook chart is very similar to last week’s, with DC’s 99-cent first issues filling out the ranks after the obligatory volume of The Walking Dead and this week’s issue of Injustice: Year Two.


1. The Walking Dead #121
2. The Walking Dead: Compendium One
3. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 2
5. The Walking Dead: Compendium Two
6. The Walking Dead #120
7. The Walking Dead, vol. 9
8. The Walking Dead, vol. 19
9. The Walking Dead, vol. 3
10. The Walking Dead #119

The Walking Dead sweeps the iBooks chart; in fact, the first non-Walking Dead book doesn’t appear until the number 13 slot (and it’s—surprise!—Injustice: Year Two #3). OK, this is not terribly surprising, given that the new season just started, but it’s interesting how iBooks users deviate from readers on other platforms: Not only are all three of the different formats (single issues, trade collections, and compendiums) represented, but the readers of the trade collections are buying both old and newer volumes.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for February 18 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

The Beauty in Digital Publishing

What is a story? More importantly, what is publishing? Is it only books, and if so, are ebooks books?

Even better, can a series of 200 Instagram pictures be considered an ebook, if read altogether? According to author and creator Shelley Jackson, yes, they can. Jackson’s project, which portrays a different word exquisitely written in nature as a stand alone image in her Instagram account, @snowshelleyjackson, gives readers a full sense of the story, one agonizingly slow image at a time. Fortunately, Jackson is able to create and capture several separate images each day, a task she will continue as long as the oft-maligned weather cooperates.

Published in reverse in gorgeous but snow dependent font, Jackson is creating a story one picture at a time, as long as the snow lasts. In order to read the full story, users have to access the farthest photograph and work their ways forward. While certainly not a traditional digital book by any means, it is, however, another example of the creative control an author can exert of her work thanks to non-traditional forms of publishing platforms.

To read the full account, follow Jackson HERE and work in backwards order from the oldest to most current image.

The Beauty in Digital Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

Video: Pebble, Sony and Seiko Screen Technology


E-Paper has transcended e-readers into other practical uses, such as digital signage and smartwatches. Wearable tech is something most companies are getting into because the industry is going to hit 62 billion by 2018. Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm are bluechip companies heavily invested in the wearable tech space, and many startups are getting into it for the first time. Today, we look at three different screen technologies currently being employed in smartwatches.

Pebble uses a e-Paper display, Sony uses an LCD and Seiko is using an e-Ink screen. The Seiko watch is not a true smartwatch, but we are hearing rumors of E Ink developing screen technology for companies to develop commercially viable products. The Seiko is basically a proof of concept that e Ink can be used quite well in the wearable tech space and just needs refinement before it is ready for the prime time.

In the video below, Michael and Peter of Good e-Reader give you a sense on how all of these watches perform in real world conditions. You can get a sense of their limitations and the things they pull off really well.

Video: Pebble, Sony and Seiko Screen Technology is a post from: E-Reader News

Alcatel One Touch Idol X Review


Alcatel is moving into Canada and has secured a relationship with Bell and a number of other carriers. This gives an alternative to the majority of new phones being sold here, such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony. The Alcatel One Touch Idol X is a premier phone, that borrows classical elementals from many of their competitors, giving you a solid phone, at a good price.

The Alcatel One Touch Idol X features a five inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Underneath the hood is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2BG RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It has a 13.1 MP rear facing camera and a 2 MP front facing one. The speakers are actually very solid, even though its on the rear of the phone. Rarely do speakers actually sound good, when a phone is laying on its back, but this does well.

This phone is much slimmer than the competition and is lighter. It is a joy to hold in your hand or to play games. The resolution is super crisp, whether you are watching movies or using apps. Alcatel has struck a winning blow with the Idol X. It may have its faults, but between the gorgeous screen, satisfactory camera and effective multimedia functions, it has enough on its side to please buyers who want something close to a high-end phone without the high price tag.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X Review is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo’s Global Content Revenue Increasing Rapidly

kobo growth

Kobo is seeing tremendous growth on the international stage with its e-reader and eBook ecosystem. The Rakuten owned company has increased their 4th quarter 2013 revenue by over 44% year on year. The online customer base has also dramatically increased from 12 million in 2012 to 18 million in 2013.

The international strategy Kobo is employing is paying off with more users in more countries signing up and purchasing eBooks. The Canadian based company is accessible in over 190 different countries and has close to five million titles in their library.

When Rakuten purchased Kobo in 2011, the writing was on the wall that there would be a management change. This is primarily due to the Japanese culture of not having western people as the CEO or in key leadership roles. A few weeks ago Michael Serbinis stepped down as the CEO of Kobo and has been supplanted by Takahito "Taka" Aiki.

Taka is basically a turnaround specialist, who is put in charge of companies to increase their revenue stream. According to the most recent Kobo shareholder report Aiki was running Fusion Inc. He took it from being a black hole to earning 12 million dollars a few years later. Kobo is a profitable company, but missed opportunities in key markets, such as China, Russia and the US.

Kobo's Global Content Revenue Increasing Rapidly is a post from: E-Reader News

New Rowling Title “The Silkworm” Continues Gilbraith Series

Since the cat’s out of the bag, JK Rowling can freely let the details of her newest book be open for discussion. Rowling, who penned an adult title to disappointing critical acclaim, went on to release an entirely new crime novel under a pseudonym last year. When a legal firm “accidentally” leaked the news on social media, Rowling sued, donating the resulting damages to charity.

But now that the author is openly writing as Robert Gilbraith, published by Little, Brown, and Co., she’s free to share details of the new title, The Silkworm, which will be the second book that features her character, Private Investigator Cormoran Strike.

According to a release from the publisher, “When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days (as he has done before) and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives: meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.”

Rowling has remained in the headlines for a variety of publishing projects, notable this series under her pen name and her recent statement concerning the ending of her much acclaimed book series. She is yet another author who has released details of a pending and long-awaited title, as Stephen King has also announced the upcoming publication of two books this year.

New Rowling Title “The Silkworm” Continues Gilbraith Series is a post from: E-Reader News

Sony Rumored to Launch Xperia Tablet Z2 During MWC 2014


Sony has announced they are quitting the PC business to focus more on tablet and smartphone devices, and we could see the first example of such an endeavor during the upcoming MWC event. For the event, Sony is rumored to be readying the launch of the Zperia Z2 device, a successor to the highly acclaimed Xperia Z1 that Sony launched in May 2013. The Japanese conglomerate has also been rumored to be developing a next gen tablet code named Castor. The Castor was further associated with specs such as a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC and so on.

Interestingly, the latest leak by evleaks says the Xperia Z2 is likely to be powered by a quad core Snapdragon 800 SoC rated at 2.3 GHz. The chip will have at its disposal an impressive 3 GB RAM, along with 16 GB of internal storage. The latter will be boosted further by a SD card slot. Upfront, it will have the same 10.1 inch Triluminos screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, already available with the current gen Xperia Tablet Z. This translates to a pixel density of 224 ppi. (Just for comparison's sake, the iPad Air boasts of a pixel density of 264 ppi.)

However, the biggest improvement with the upcoming Xperia Tablet Z2 – if rumors are indeed true – is that it will sport an even slimmer profile at 6.4 mm. The current Tablet Z already boasts of being the slimmest at 6.9 mm. The qualities of the upcoming Tablet Z2 include water and dust proof features, along with an 8- and 2-megapixel camera along the rear and front respectively, as well as a 600 mAh battery. Finally, it’s expected to have the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.

Industry watches can expect more during the MWC that will kick off in Barcelona next week.

Sony Rumored to Launch Xperia Tablet Z2 During MWC 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Verdict: 3 Stars

Donna Tartt’s book The Goldfinch, has over 4K reviews on Amazon, and the ratings are fairly well divided among each of the different ratings. Sadly, comments among the three-, two-, and one-star reviews tend to run along a common vein: the book just didn’t live up to the hype from the industry.

And truthfully, it takes a really special work of literature to maintain the drama and lure throughout well over 700 pages. The word I would actually use is “exhausting.” While Tartt crafted very compelling characters and a story line that gripped readers, the pivotal painting on which so much of the story relies actually disappears for hundreds of pages at a time, only to be casually mentioned later.

The real problem for me was the style of editing. To go so far (as some reviewers did) and say that the book was wholly unedited would be horrifically unfair, but there may have been too much liberty taken with the writing style, allowing a fragmented and disjointed style to run roughshod over what is a compelling story. The very eloquent passages, unfortunately, only serve to make it seem like the editing wasn’t completed by the same person throughout the manuscript.

Possibly the worst flaw was the utter lack of redemption, the void of any quality that makes up for the suffering. While not every book requires its happily ever after, some sort of light at the end of the tunnel would have been helpful.

The Goldfinch is available from major book retailers.

eBook Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a post from: E-Reader News

Windows 8 Articles in OverDrive Help

Windows 8 and 8.1 are gaining popularity. Currently, around 10% of internet users have one or the other, and as new computers are released with that operating system that percentage is climbing.

We've covered Windows 8 here on the blogs before, including tech tips and reviews of devices that run Windows 8. However, not everyone has access to a device running Windows 8 in order to try it out. Fortunately, there are plenty of articles on OverDrive Help to assist Windows 8 users. Here, we spotlight some of the most useful ones.

What is Windows 8?

To start with, Windows 8 has two different user interfaces (UIs) in one operating system. In desktop mode, it works mostly like its familiar predecessor, Windows 7.

Windows 8 also has another UI up its sleeve: Metro.  This colorful tiled interface is meant for touchscreen computers, tablets, and phones. Much like Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store, apps come from the Windows Store for use with this new UI. If you need to go from one UI to the other, there are a few ways to switch between Desktop Mode and Metro UI.

To read more, OverDrive Help has several great articles to get you familiar with Windows 8:

  • How OverDrive Media Console works in Windows 8 explains, "The first thing you need to know is that Windows 8 comes in two basic flavors. There’s Windows 8, which can run legacy desktop apps, and Windows RT, which cannot. Why is this important? If you’re running Windows 8, then you can install the OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8 as well as the classic desktop version of OMC.”

The article also explains how to tell which version of Windows 8 you're running. In addition, it clarifies the difference between the classic desktop version of OverDrive Media Console for Windows (which can open WMA, WMV, and MP3 titles) vs. OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8 (the app for Metro that can open MP3 and EPUB titles).

OverDrive Media Console for Windows (Desktop Version)


Let's say a Windows 8 user is most comfortable with the classic desktop version of OverDrive Media Console (OMC) for Windows. Provided they're not running Windows RT (as described in How OverDrive Media Console works in Windows 8), they're in luck! They can download WMA, WMV, and MP3 titles, just like users running OverDrive Media Console for Windows on previous operating systems. Here are some useful Help articles:

OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8 (Metro App)


Maybe the Windows 8 user has Windows RT, or maybe they just like using Metro apps. With the OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8 app, they can download EPUB and MP3 titles directly. The following articles will get a user up and running in no time:

These are only a handful of the many comprehensive solutions available in OverDrive Help. As always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact Support Services via the Support tab in Marketplace!


Jenny Norton is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.


Parents’ and grandparents’ best loved children’s books to share with their kids


Our school partners tell us that parents are often as excited at the availability of eBooks for their children as the kids are. So, we thought it might be nice to make a list of some of the children's books that parents have loved, so that when they search your collection while sitting with their child, they'll be able to share the excitement they felt when they first discovered these books as children. Some of these titles may have first been popular with your students' grandparents, who shared them with their children, who may pass them down to the children in your classes.

So here's a list of some of the best loved children's books of the past, now available to schools in the eBook format.


Louisa May Alcott – Little Women series

L. Frank Baum – The Wizard of Oz series

Judy Blume – Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret and Then Again, Maybe I Won't

Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

Beverly Cleary – Ramona series

Norton Juster – The Phantom Tollbooth

Madeline L'Engle – A Wrinkle in Time

C. S. Lewis – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia series

Maud Hart Lovelace – Betsy and Tacy series

Scott O'Dell – Island of the Blue Dolphins

Anna Sewell – Black Beauty

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit

Gertrude Chandler Warner – The Boxcar Children series


To access a handy list of these books all ready to order, please click on the following links:

Parents' Favorite Kids' Books 1 Copy/1 User

Parents' Favorite Kids' Books Metered Access


*Geographic or other restrictions may apply to some titles.


Cindy Orr is a Digital Collection Advisor at OverDrive.


Vernier sensors and the Wolfram Language

Here’s another guest post from Allison at Wolfram Research. Today we’re looking at how to interface external sensors from Vernier Software & Technology to the Pi using the Wolfram Language.

Even though we only released the Wolfram Language on the Raspberry Pi a few months ago, Bob LeSuer is already a power user. He’s an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Chicago State University and is naturally a big proponent of incorporating technology into his teaching. In his lab classes, he uses instruments from Vernier, a company that creates a wide array of sensors for collecting data, from accelerometers and barometers to CO2 and pH sensors. But what particularly piqued our interest was that Bob came up with the idea to connect these sensors to the Raspberry Pi with the Wolfram Language! So of course we had to share.

Equipment you will need:

First, download the Vernier Software Development Kit for Linux and follow the instructions for unpacking the file. A few additional lines of code will need to be added to get it to run on the Pi.

In, add:


And to, add:


The following C code and MathLink template were used to create the functions getLibVersion, getDeviceInfo, and getSimpleMeasurements, which can be used in Mathematica. Download the two files and compile them with the following command:

mcc -o vernier vernier.c -I/usr/include/GoIO -lGoIO

Make sure the GoIO library is linked and that the /usr/include/GoIO directory is included in the search path.

And now, switching to the Wolfram Language, you can dynamically update the readings from your sensor with the following code:

link = Install["/mnt/documents/Pi/vernier/Vernier"]

Dynamic[{Column[{Row@StringSplit[getDeviceInfo[], ","][[{4, 5}]],
getSimpleMeasurement[]}], Clock[{1, 1}, 2]}]

The code will even continuously update with the appropriate readings as you swap sensors!

Similarly, you can make a plot update in real time, as shown below using a light sensor:

info = StringSplit[getDeviceInfo[], ","]

Dynamic@ListPlot[data, PlotLabel -> info[[4]],
Frame -> {True, True, False, False}, FrameLabel -> "Time (s)",
"Light " <> info[[5]]]

And this is just the start! There are an infinite number of ways now for this data to be analyzed and optimized with the Wolfram Language. You tell us—where would you go from here?

Bob's web page also has some more great ideas for using the Wolfram Language and the Raspberry Pi for experiments (like building a spectrometer using Lego!).

Death and Destruction: Overused Terms to Describe Publishing

A total of seven self-published ebooks will make the New York Times bestseller list this weekend
Can we all agree that we will stop using terms like “killing” and “death” to describe the state of publishing?

First, it’s disrespectful to all the real cases presented in the news daily of actual killing and death. In case anyone has forgotten, we lost a prominent actor to heroin overdose recently, and news surfaced yesterday of a young girl being stoned to death in Syria for having a Facebook account.

But more importantly, isn’t everyone tired of reading articles that claim one publishing model is killing another, or that the publishing industry as a whole is on the brink of bloody extinction? Critics and supporters alike have promised consumers that print is dead, ebooks are dying, digital publishing is taking over, self-publishing is killing…but what’s really behind it?

Unfortunately, much of the apparent need to dominate comes from insecurities about the state of the industry. Publishers may feel threatened by the upstart nobodies who put out their own content, but indie authors are still furthering the stigma associated with self-publishing by clinging to the need to prove their worth instead of relying on the pride that comes from accomplishment. But as new surveys have revealed, writers are still writing, publishers are still publishing, and consumers are still buying books. The only thing we can say for certain is that the publishing industry in all of its forms is changing, and there’s no evidence at all that that’s a bad thing.

Death and Destruction: Overused Terms to Describe Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: Take a Chance by Abbi Glines

Verdict: 3 Stars

Self-published sensation turned traditionally published romance/erotic romance author Abbi Glines has created a side story in the book Take A Chance that pulls several characters from an existing series of hers and offers up some insight into their relationship.

This new adult title, though, falls into the trap that has plagued a number of other titles in this genre. While the NA category was originally created by authors to give an edgier sense of realism to young adult and to differentiate between titles that are decidedly for preteens and teens and those that are intended for a more mature audience, it’s disturbing that the genre has been hijacked into erotica featuring people who may very well have not been old enough to vote in the last Presidential election. Characters in this book and many others being released recently–even by major publishing houses–feature some entirely too descriptive sex scenes (including unbelievably detailed and awkward “firsts,” usually for the female main character) involving characters who are under twenty-one years of age.

Glines’ latest title is no exception. While finally treating her readers to the love story between two side characters, there were tones and details reminiscent of a famous and often talked about book by EL James.

However, kudos do go to the author for breaking from tradition and not insisting on the pat formula that so many romance titles fall into. She carved out her own story line and arc, as well as her own unique ending.

Take A Chance went on sale yesterday.

eBook Review: Take a Chance by Abbi Glines is a post from: E-Reader News

4% of Readers Read eBooks Exclusively

An ebook being used by an elderly person

eBook reading is on the rise, primarily due to the sheer amount of e-readers and tablets being adopted. The number of adults who have read an eBook in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. As much as digital reading has increased, print remains the foundation of the vast majority of Americans reading habits. Although there is a crossover of being reading both print and eBooks, only 4% of readers read eBooks exclusively.

Borders went bankrupt and Barnes and Noble is closing many locations in the US. Total sales at U.S. bookstores have fallen 22% over the past five years. Things are bleak overseas with Weltbild, the second largest bookstore chain in Germany is going out of business and many in Australia and New Zealand have also disappeared. Amazon is often vilified as being the catalyst of these stores closing and often incurs the most ire.

Reading in general is not declining, with 76% of American adults have read at least one book in the last 12 months. The typical adult normally reads 5 books a year and the average is around 12. All of these statistics lend credence to the fact that most readers are agnostic to digital or print.

Worldwide, digital reading is accelerating, even though 4% of readers actually do it exclusively. Ebooks made up 17% of sales at Harper Collins unit over the holidays, up from 14% last year and nothing five years ago. Ebooks hit 33% of sales at the Hachette Book Group and 23% at Simon and Schuster.

Worldwide, more people are reading eBooks, but they are still buying books at their local bookstore or second hand shop. Bookstores over their lifetime have basically had a monopoly on sales, but the industry has been disrupted by companies like Amazon, Kobo and Sony. This is prompting bookstores to free up bookshelves with lifestyle items, such as pillows, wine glasses and candles. No major bookstore, other than Barnes and Noble has actually made their own digital system. This is actually a bad thing, because bookstores aren’t substituting lost sales with digital ones.

4% of Readers Read eBooks Exclusively is a post from: E-Reader News