Thursday, February 20, 2014

Baker & Taylor Integrates its Axis 360 Services With Blackboard Learn, Good Times For Students and Teachers


Baker & Taylor has announced that it is streamlining its Axis 360 services with Blackboard Learn in a bid to offer a more integrated learning and teaching solution to both students and teachers. Axis 360 is the media library arm of Baker & Taylor which has emerged as one of the most favored distributor of both print and digital media the world over. Blackboard Learn in turn is a Learning Management System and the above arrangement will make it convenient for both students and teachers of the K-12 grade to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from Axis 360 from within Blackboard Learn itself.

Speaking of the development, George Coe, President and CEO of Baker & Taylor said; “Integrating the Axis 360 digital media platform into Blackboard Learn will help smooth the delivery of digital materials into classrooms across the country.

“This is an important and fast-growing area. Baker & Taylor and Blackboard recognize the need to stay ahead of technological changes and to offer schools a broad array of materials in formats that students and teachers are demanding.”

One of the inherent advantages of Axis 360 is that it allows for the ebooks or audiobooks to be downloaded and read (or heard) on a PC or Mac. Further, the books are also compatible with iOS or Android devices and hence can also be comprehended via smartphones or tablets as well running either of the OS. Axis 360 is also compatible with Blio reader that offer several convenient tools to aid in learning for those with visual or other forms of disability.

“We believe that accessible, interactive digital content is a core component of online instruction for K-12 and that it can help create a more immersive, engaging learning experience for young people,” said Mark Belles, senior vice president, K-12, Blackboard. “We are excited to partner with Baker & Taylor to make it easy for teachers to find and integrate ebooks and audiobooks into their classrooms, and for students to check out and consume them within their learning environment.”

Baker & Taylor Integrates its Axis 360 Services With Blackboard Learn, Good Times For Students and Teachers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Pocketbook New e-Reading App for the Apple iPhone


Pocketbook has just released a new e-reading app for the Apple iPhone. This app is certified with Adobe, so you can enter your Digital Editions ID to import books with DRM. It is a solid first effort and the functionality of the app mirrors the one they released on Google Play last year.

Pocketbook has been making e-readers since 2009 and normally released three new devices a year. They have been focusing on app development for the last year, with a number of reading apps. The iPhone app does not have a ton of functionality but will allow you to change the sizes of the fonts, adjust the font type or make highlights.

The app has some limitations, such as the inability to buy books directly from Pocketbook. Instead, you have to import them onto your phone, which puts up barriers for ease of use. One of the benefits is that you can import in eBooks that are in the standard EPUB format, that you might have downloaded from the internet.

Pocketbook New e-Reading App for the Apple iPhone is a post from: Good e-Reader

Contest: Win 3 Kobo Mini e-Readers


Welcome to another Good e-Reader Exclusive Contest! Today Good e-Reader and Kobo are partnering to give away three brand new Kobo Mini e-Readers!  This is one of our biggest contests yet and is open to everyone.

The Kobo Mini has a pint size five inch touchscreen display running an older version of e-ink Vizplex. It has a resolution of 800×600 pixels and gives you the traditional 16 levels of grayscale. This is very small device that fits in any of your pockets and was designed to be extremely lightweight and portable. Underneath the hood dwells a 800 MHZ processor, which is the same one the original Kobo Touch had employed. There are 2 GB of internal storage for your ebooks, newspapers, and PDF files.

To enter the contest you need to LIKE the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We will be picking three winners at random in two weeks and announce them in the description  of the video. Good Luck to everyone.

Contest: Win 3 Kobo Mini e-Readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Weekly eHighlights: Your guide to what’s new at OverDrive – adult edition

Welcome to the new, improved Big Books Blast! OverDrive's Collection Development team presents, Weekly eHighlights: Your Guide to What's New at OverDrive. Stop by every Thursday to get your fix of the best new content and recommendations from us. This week's eHighlights include major new releases from heavyweights such as James Patterson, E. L. Doctorow, and Jo Nesbo. Also, don't miss our selections from the backlist, and stay tuned for next week's edition.

Happy Reading!




Jennifer Chiaverini – Mrs. Lincoln's Rival
Penguin eBook
Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase stepped into the role of establishing her thrice-widowed father in Washington society and as a future presidential candidate. Her efforts were successful enough that The Washington Star declared her “the most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her.” None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common—political acumen, love of country, and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness—they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other. Follow up to the popular Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

E. L. Doctorow – Andrew's Brain
Random House and Books on Tape
This brilliant new novel by an American master, the author of Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, Billy Bathgate, and The March, takes us on a radical trip into the mind of a man who, more than once in his life, has been an inadvertent agent of disaster.

Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves
LJ Prepub Alert. LJ Starred Review. CNN: 18 Books to Read in 2014. New York Magazine: A No-Frills Buyers' Guide to January Books. The Millions’ Great 2014 Preview.  The Atlantic: Books to Read in 2014.

Kim Harrison – The Undead Pool
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the supernatural adventures of Rachel Morgan in the penultimate book of the Hollows series. Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan knows magic—earth, ley line, even the forbidden demon magic—and that knowledge has saved her life more than once. But now something—or someone—is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong while living vampires attack humans and Inderlanders alike. The pressures build when the city is quarantined to contain the unreliable magic, and Rachel must stop the attacks before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war.
Goodreads Can’t Wait Books of 2014 #6.

Nancy Horan – Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Random House and Books on Tape
At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium–with her three children and nanny in tow–to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.”
By the author of the bestselling Loving Frank.

Laura Lippman – After I'm Gone
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Day dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative–if not all legal–businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July in 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, facing prison, vanishes. Though Bambi has no idea where her husband–or his money–might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day after Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover–until her remains are discovered in a secluded park.
150,000 copy print run. LJ PrePub. CNN: 18 Books to Read in 2014.

Phillip Margolin – Worthy Brown's Daughter
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
Like thousands of other Americans in the nineteenth century, Matthew Penny, a young lawyer, believes that he and his wife, Rachel, can forge a better future out West. But after she drowns on the Oregon Trail, Matthew arrives on the frontier with nothing but shattered dreams. Worthy Brown, a slave from Georgia, journeys west with his master, Caleb Barbour, who promises to reward Worthy and his daughter, Roxanne, with their freedom if they help him establish a homestead in Oregon. When Barbour reneges on his pledge, Worthy’s hope for a fresh start with his child is destroyed. Over two decades in the writing, Worthy Brown’s Daughter is a compelling white-knuckle drama about two broken men risking everything for what they believe in.
LJ PrePub Alert.

Deborah McKinlay – That Part Was True
Hachette and Blackstone Audio
When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. Their friendship blossoms against the backdrop of Jackson’s colorful, but ultimately unsatisfying, love-life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be married daughter. As each of them offers, from behind the veils of semi-anonymity and distance, wise and increasingly affectionate counsel to the other, they both begin to confront their problems and plan a celebratory meeting in Paris–a meeting that Eve fears can never happen.
250,000 print run. Big galley giveaway at BookExpo. LJ PrePub Alert.

Jo NesbØ – The Cockroaches
Random House
When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case. But once he arrives Harry discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder. There is something else, something more pervasive, scrabbling around behind the scenes. Surrounded by round-the-clock traffic noise, Harry wanders the streets of Bangkok lined with go-go bars, temples, opium dens, and tourist traps, trying to piece together the story of the ambassador’s death even though no one asked him to, and no one wants him to–not even Harry himself. Book 2 in the bestselling Inspector Harry Hole series.

James Patterson & Mark Sullivan – Private L.A.
Hachette and Blackstone Audio
The police can’t help you. The press will destroy you. Only one place to turn: Private. Former CIA agent Jack Morgan inherits his father’s renowned L.A. detective business, along with a caseload that tests him beyond endurance. An NFL gambling scandal and eighteen unsolved schoolgirl slayings is enough; then he learns of the horrific murder of his best friend’s wife – and now he has to decide between getting justice or revenge. As he closes in on the killer, a workplace imbroglio threatens to blow the roof off his elite agency.
750,000 print run.

Matthew Quick – The Good Luck of Right Now
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
For almost four decades, Bartholomew Neil has done nothing but live with his mom. When she begins calling him Richard–for reasons unknown–and then dies, Bartholomew is woefully unprepared. A clue comes in the form of a “Free Tibet” letter he finds in his mother’s underwear drawer, and so Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate fan letters. Jung’s theory of synchronicity, the mystery of women, the Dalai Lama’s teachings, alien abduction, cat telepathy and the Catholic Church are all explored in depth by Bartholomew’s epistles–but mostly the letters outline one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own. By the author of The Silver Linings Playbook.
150,000 copy print run, extensive book club outreach. LJ PrePub.

Anna Quindlen – Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Random House
A superb love story from Anna Quindlen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rise and Shine, Blessings, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
LJ Prepub Alert

Ian Rankin – Saints of the Shadow Bible
Hachette and Blackstone Audio
Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus’s team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends. Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion.





Helen Azar – The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution
Westholme Publishing
The First English Translation of the Wartime Diaries of the Eldest Daughter of Nicholas II, the Last Tsar of Russia, with Additional Documents of the Period. In August 1914, Russia entered World War I, and with it, the imperial family of Tsar Nicholas II was thrust into a conflict they would not survive. His eldest child, Olga Nikolaevna, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, had begun a diary in 1905 when she was ten years old and kept writing her thoughts and impressions of day-to-day life as a grand duchess until abruptly ending her entries when her father abdicated his throne in March 1917. The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution, translated and introduced by scientist and librarian Helen Azar, and supplemented with additional primary source material, is a remarkable document of a young woman who did not choose to be part of a royal family and never exploited her own position, but lost her life simply because of what her family represented.

Nicholas Epley – Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want
Random House
In this illuminating exploration of one of the great mysteries of the human mind, University of Chicago psychologist Nicholas Epley introduces what scientists have learned about our abilities to understand the most complicated puzzle on the planet–other people–and the surprising mistakes we so routinely make. Mindwise will not turn others into open books, but it will give you the wisdom to revolutionize how you think about them–and yourself. LJ Prepub.

Brandie Glanville – Drinking and Dating
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
Feisty, funny, and almost fabulous: A relationship guide and collection of outrageous dating mishaps from the unfiltered and often inappropriate Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star. Despite Brandi’s life in the public spotlight, she has the same difficulty meeting, trusting, and even dating new people as the rest of us–perhaps even more. She hopes to develop a lasting, loving relationship, but it’s been a struggle. With her signature tell-it-like-it-is voice, the single mother of two brings you along on her journey as the controversial but charming former fashion model shows her all-too-human side, candidly sharing the humorous and unforeseen ups and downs–literally and figuratively–in her search for love.
100,000 print run.

Annie Jacobsen – Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America
Hachette and Blackstone Audio
In the chaos following World War II, the U.S. government faced many difficult decisions, including what to do with the Third Reich’s scientific minds. These were the brains behind the Nazis’ once-indomitable war machine. So began Operation Paperclip, a decades-long, covert project to bring Hitler’s scientists and their families to the United States. Many of these men were accused of war crimes, and others had stood trial at Nuremberg; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery. They were also directly responsible for major advances in rocketry, medical treatments, and the U.S. space program. Was Operation Paperclip a moral outrage, or did it help America win the Cold War? LJ PrePub.

Daniel Jones – Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers)
HarperCollins eBook
As the editor of a column about love in the New York Times, Daniel Jones has been privy to the deepest personal revelations of tens of thousands of strangers. Deluged with stories of scheming cheaters, hopeless romantics, racy texts, and fierce devotion, he has spent much of the past decade wading through love’s muck and majesty–and has taken plenty of notes along the way. In Love Illuminated, he uses his unique perspective to tease apart life’s most mystifying subject.
75,000 print run.

Harold Lancer – Younger: the Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin
Renowned Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer is the expert on whom Hollywood’s top celebrities rely to maintain their radiant complexions and to reverse the effects of aging. Now, he offers readers his groundbreaking, 3-Step Method to rejuvenate their skin at home. Based on years of clinical research, Dr. Lancer’s regimen stimulates the skin’s own transformative healing power for lasting results. He provides a road map to help readers navigate the mixed messages of today’s dermatological advice, avoid expensive invasive treatments, and see through the empty promises of so many beauty products. Lancer is dermatologist to the stars, among them Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansen, and Hugh Jackman.
75,000 print run. LJ PrePub Alert.

Doug Most – The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway
Books on Tape
In the late nineteenth century, as cities like Boston and New York grew larger, the streets became increasingly clogged with horse-drawn carts. When the great blizzard of 1888 brought New York City to a halt, a solution had to be found. Two brothers–Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York City–pursued the dream of his city being the first American metropolis to have a subway and the great race was on. The competition between Boston and New York was played out in an era not unlike our own, one of economic upheaval, job losses, bitter political tensions, and the question of America’s place in the world.
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers. LJ PrePub.


Kevin Roose – Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits
Kevin Roose, New York magazine business writer and author of the critically acclaimed The Unlikely Disciple, spent more than three years shadowing eight entry-level workers at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and other leading investment firms. Roose chronicled their triumphs and disappointments, their million-dollar trades and runaway Excel spreadsheets, and got an unprecedented (and unauthorized) glimpse of the financial world’s initiation process. Roose’s young bankers are exposed to the exhausting workloads, huge bonuses, and recreational drugs that have always characterized Wall Street life. But they experience something new too – an industry forever changed by the massive financial collapse of 2008. And as they get their Wall Street educations, they face hard questions about morality, prestige, and the value of their work.
LJ PrePub Alert.

Scott Stossel – My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
Random House and Books on Tape
As recently as thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category. Today, it is the most common form of officially classified mental illness. Scott Stossel gracefully guides us across the terrain of an affliction that is pervasive yet too often misunderstood. Drawing on his own long-standing battle with anxiety, Stossel presents an astonishing history, at once intimate and authoritative, of the efforts to understand the condition from medical, cultural, philosophical, and experiential perspectives. My Age of Anxiety is learned and empathetic, humorous and inspirational, offering the reader great insight into the biological, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to the affliction.
Kirkus Starred Review and Winter Best Bets.

Robert I. Sutton – Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less
Random House and Books on Tape
Sutton and Rao have devoted much of the last decade to uncovering what it takes to build and uncover pockets of exemplary performance, to help spread them, and to keep recharging organizations with ever better work practices. Drawing on inside accounts and case studies and academic research from a wealth of industries — including start-ups, pharmaceuticals, airlines, retail, financial services, high-tech, education, non-profits, government, and healthcare — Sutton and Rao identify the key scaling challenges that confront every organization.
LJ PrePub. Quartz: 12 Business Books You Will Need to Read in 2014.

"Johnny Walker" and Jim DeFelice – Code Name: Johnny Walker
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
Ryadh Khalaf Alahmady, code named "Johnny Walker" was a translator who guided the US Navy Seals though Iraq's most dangerous regions. He tells his story with the help of Jim DeFelice, who co-wrote American Sniper. Night after night, while his homeland was being destroyed around him, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq’s most dangerous regions. Operating under the code name “Johnny Walker,” he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community, many of whose members credit him with saving their lives. But in the eyes of Iraq’s terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Then the SEALs stood up to protect the man who had watched their backs through the entire war.


To easily order any of the titles listed here, please go to:

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Newly Available Great Backlist Titles Metered Access

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Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.


Court Appointed Babysitter for Apple in DOJ Case

As part of the terms in the ongoing proceedings against Apple in an ebook price fixing anti-trust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, Judge Denise Cote ordered an external monitor to ensure that Apple did not enter into any further collusion that would fall under the scope of the investigation. The appointment of Michael Bromwich as the person charged with overseeing Apple business from the outside didn’t sit too well with the company, who is still in the process of appealing the judge’s decisions.

On January 13th, a hearing was held in which Apple moved to toss out the provision requiring the monitor, and on Monday last week, Cote denied this move as well. After reports that Apple was not playing nicely with Bromwich and stalling on providing documents to the monitor, Cote ruled on February 10 to appoint a magistrate to oversee the working relationship Apple has with Bromwich. Attorneys for the government in this case have even accused Apple of making up allegations of wrongdoing and calling into question the monitor’s behavior, possibly as an excuse to have Bromwich’s role removed.

Problems arose between Apple and Bromwich almost immediately. The company is fighting what it considers to be an outrageously high salary for the outside monitor, while Bromwich has raised complaints that he is typically denied access to executives within the company. Apple has gone so far as to ask Cote specifically to remove Bromwich for what they feel is an unjustified attitude against the company.

The magistrate who will serve as a go-between for Apple and Bromwich is Judge Michael Dolinger, who will largely serve as a mediator who helps ensure that any future concerns from either party actually have merit before making their way back into Cote’s courtroom. He is also charged with holding meeting between the parties on a regular basis to ensure compliance, and helping follow through with Cote’s orders that Apple turn over documents to Bromwich, which it has declined to do.

One positive outcome for Apple has been the clarification of the monitor’s scope of authority. While the appeals court in this instance didn’t strike or overrule Cote’s decision, it did make sure that all parties involved knew exactly what Bromwich’s role is in his duties.

Court Appointed Babysitter for Apple in DOJ Case is a post from: Good e-Reader

Anne Rice Defends Authors from Online Bullying

Once you reach a certain point in your career, regardless of what field your specialty lies in, you’re afforded a level of “I don’t care”-ness that allows you to put up with personal attacks from nameless critics in a way that doesn’t impact your day to day life very much. Even better, you can also afford to reach out on behalf of people who are not quite yet at your level and defend them against similar attacks.

While Good e-Reader has covered the news of alleged author and reviewer bullying on Goodreads, this time it was bestselling and revered author Anne Rice who posted her position on author bullying, as well as warns authors that this behavior is no longer limited to Goodreads but has worked its way over to Goodreads’ parent company, Amazon.

Rice posted on her Facebook page yesterday this warning to authors about the activity she’s witnessed, and even been subjected to herself:

“Anti-Author Bullies are a real problem on, especially in the Amazon Discussion Forums. Authors, especially indie authors, need to be warned about this small but toxic underworld thriving in the shadows of…keep in mind: my post here has nothing to do with authentic customer reviews on Amazon, both positive and negative. I’m talking about a little subculture that specializes in trying to lecture, browbeat and humiliate authors. They are gangster bullies. These people desperately want a place at the table in the world of books and readers, and they have worked their way into the Amazon system like termites in a beautiful wooden structure. Beware.”

Rice also linked to a well-known website that focuses on the bullying issue,, which highlighted through screenshots several comments directed at–and responded to by–Rice herself on forums where she attempted to defend authors’ rights to write and publish their works without being subjected to personal negativity.

Rice has supported authors’ craft through a variety of discussions on Amazon boards on many different topics, but those discussions are now closed. Many reviewers and authors have spoken out on the topic of online aggressive behavior and have called out for Amazon to take action against the practice. While sites like Goodreads have evaluated and adapted their terms of service in an attempt to foster only healthy and constructive book discussion, Rice’s post on the topic opens the door for further discussion on what steps still need to be taken.

Anne Rice Defends Authors from Online Bullying is a post from: Good e-Reader

Half Million MOOC Users Sign Up for Europe’s iversity

One of the increasingly popular forms of personal education is MOOCs, or massively open online courses. These learning opportunities allow registrants to benefit from free educational opportunities, and many more are even incorporating a revenue model that allows students to pay only if they wish to take a final exam for accredited university enrollment.

While companies like Coursera are seeing a current wave of interest and participation in the US, Europe trailed behind in the availability of MOOC choices for students of all demographics. Now, Berlin-based iversity is working to change that, and has already enjoyed some measure of success by increasing its enrollment to over half a million registered class users in just the first four months of its launch. Even more interesting is the fact that iversity, which began with twenty-four courses to choose from, has only grown to offer twenty-eight classes in that time period.

But one of the common denominators that plagues MOOC companies is the surge of interest in enrollment, but the very pathetic fizzling out of students along the way, leading to less than ideal completion. iversity has now finished its first virtual semester, and only achieved a four percent completion rate.

An article on the company for TechCrunch does offer some hope for MOOC success though. While the article points out one of the inherent obstacles to MOOC participating in Europe, namely that higher education in the EU is typically far less expensive than in the US and therefore does not carry the financial burden that makes MOOCs so popular in America, Natasha Lomas explains that letting users choose to pay for final accreditation for their efforts in the online class can lead more students to see the purpose in completion. As more and more MOOC providers ink deals with major universities to provide learning options to a range of students, initial participation may surge once again but completion can also rise.

Half Million MOOC Users Sign Up for Europe’s iversity is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Use Fractions in Excel

Ever wanted to use fractions like 1/4 or 3/5 in Excel? Check out this post to learn how!

James Patterson Provides $1M to Save Indie Bookstores

Talk of the effects of digital publishing on indie bookstores has been happening in the background of the book industry since the current digital revolution first took off. When stores like the Borders chain collapsed or when B&N’s sales figures plummet, concerns are raised about what ebooks and online retailing is doing to bookstores, but that discussion largely focuses on the major players, and less on the mom-and-pop physical bookstores.

Publisher’s Weekly has been at least trying to keep attention in front of consumers on the ongoing loss of bookstores, often using its social media platforms to remind users of stores that are shuttering. But today, the magazine had some news of hope to share for community bookstores in the form of an article about author James Patterson’s one-man effort to support independent booksellers with his personal grant funding.

Called the $1Million Indie Bookstore Campaign, Patterson stated early last September that he was personally providing one million dollars in funding to eligible bookstores who applied for and received a grant through the campaign. Eligibility only requires that the bookstore be an actual operating bookseller and that it have a children’s section. So far, grants have been applied for through Patterson’s website for everything from educational programs, property taxes and physical repairs to stores, and in one case, a book fair-style retrofitted bus that the shop can take to schools to foster kids’ interest in reading.

According to PW’s article, the first installment of payouts for the grants has now happened, to the tune of over $250,000 dollars. While a complete list of the stores that have already received their grants–in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000–is available in the article, suffice to say that the list is quite long.

Patterson’s publisher, Hachette, is supportive of the author’s decision to support bookstores in this way, but is quick to point out that this is a labor of love that Patterson has taken on all by himself. The publisher’s representatives do encourage their stores to learn more about the grant and apply, but they do not influence the selection or fund Patterson’s project.

But why would an author go to these lengths, especially on his own? The answer he gave in an interview with the magazine is quite remarkable: "The future of books in America is at risk. Bookstore traffic is down. Kids aren't reading as many books. I want to really shine a light and draw attention to the fact that this is a tricky time. The government will protect the automobile industry and the banking industry, but not books."

James Patterson Provides $1M to Save Indie Bookstores is a post from: Good e-Reader

Follett Ties Up With Penguin Group, Launches 17, 000 eBooks For PreK-12 Grade


Follett has launched 17,000 ebook titles for students in preK through 12th grades as a result of its new partnership with Penguin Group USA. This also marks the fifth major partnership that Follett has forged in the past six months, with others being Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan. Follett specializes in the supply of quality educational material to schools, colleges, and public libraries, and this latest agreement will no doubt boost its appeal in the segment.

“This partnership allows Follett to continue its mission of supporting student learning by providing access to the best content and materials, whether print or digital,” said Tom Schenck, President and COO, Follett School Solutions. “Penguin’s publishing lists include hundreds of the world's most widely read authors, which is why we are pleased to be able to offer this collection to our customers.”

Tim McCall, Vice President of Online Sales and Marketing at Penguin, said, “Penguin is looking forward to making our catalog of ebooks available to Follett and to its school library customers.”

The PR link below contains the complete details:

Follett Ties Up With Penguin Group, Launches 17,000 eBooks For PreK-12 Grade is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Coins Now Opened up on All Android Smartphone and Tablets


Amazon has opened up its Amazon Coins for use outside of the Kindle Fire tablet range. Amazon’s virtual currency will now be compatible with other Android smartphones and tablet devices. However, the coins can only be used to make purchases from the Android App Store. Further, this is valid only for the countries where Amazon has launched the virtual currency, which includes the US, UK, and Germany.

This virtual currency launched last year in the US, and was later expanded to the UK and Germany. The online retail giant encouraged Kindle Fire tablet users to make their purchases using the Amazon coins, throwing in various incentives in the process. For instance, every Kindle Fire purchase came bundled with 500 coins free, which otherwise will cost $5. Further, purchases made using Amazon coins incur a discount of 10 percent. Users also get to earn the coins when downloading some specific apps or after having reached a particular level in some games.

Amazon introduced Amazon coins as alters the buyer's mindset; they are led to believe they are spending virtual currency and not real dollars. Also, with the coins sold in batches of 500 for $5 or 1,000 for $10, users can feel like they are getting a lot of the virtual currency to play with for little actual money. The aim has been to make users to spend more by simplifying the buying process. Unleashing the currency on the entire Android family of smartphone and tablet devices is no doubt a step in the right direction in achieving much higher levels of transactions.

Amazon Coins Now Opened up on All Android Smartphone and Tablets is a post from: Good e-Reader

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 20

Kindle Daily Deals The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen Ten months after dropping out of all-girl Tarble College, Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year, a time marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that caused her to question her sanity. When a mysterious […]

Pi-powered T-shirt cannon

I went to a baseball match in Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago. (Go Diamondbacks!) It’s a remarkable cultural experience if you’re not American: and I am grateful to the man next to me who put up with a stream of questions (“Why has that number just gone up? Why isn’t he MOVING? Why does it stop every ten minutes? What is that giant plush hotdog thing? What sort of country carpets its stadia and serves beer at games? How is his leg doing that?”) not by killing me, as he must have been sorely tempted to do, but by sharing his packet of salted sunflower seeds.

I was reminded just how superficial my understanding of American institutions like baseball (or monster trucks, or roller derby, or that thing they call “football” that isn’t) is, and how much of that understanding has been gained entirely from watching The Simpsons. That baseball match had everything: dancing mascots, footlong hot dogs, an organ playing “Take me out to the Ball Game”, and a t-shirt cannon, just like the one that killed Maude Flanders. (This is not a spoiler. Maude Flanders died nearly fifteen years ago.)

Since that baseball game (where none of the t-shirts made it in my direction) I have had the odd daydream about owning a t-shirt cannon. It’d be great. I could use it to clothe people a long way away. David Bryan and a Raspberry Pi have made it all possible.

You’ll need a lot of PVC tubing, an understanding of both Pi the computer and Pi the irrational number, a compressed air tank…and sprinkler valves. Dave’s cannon’s not just a hobby project: it sees regular use at Minnesota Rollergirls events.

Dave has written a superb how-to, with detailed diagrams, parts lists, some help with the maths you’ll need, an explanation of how he came to the engineering decisions he made, all the necessary code, and much more. I must check up on the legality of letting the work experience kids near compressed air: we could use one of these ourselves for events.

Thank you Dave! (If you like the way Dave does things check out his cat feeder, which we featured here last year) – and RIP Maude Flanders.