Friday, February 21, 2014

Diamond Comics Abandons Digital Distribution

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Diamond Comics has been maintaining a digital distribution system in partnership with iVerse since 2012. This gave comic stores a competitive advantage of being able to monetize their customers going digital. Sadly, Diamond had too many factors going against it and will be suspending the service at the end of February.

The essence of the Diamond Digital system was to allow comic shop owners who opted into the program could generate redemption codes. The codes can be used in their stores by fans on Wednesdays to purchase digital comics, either as a digital editions priced the same as the print edition, or as a special digital "Plus" edition, which will sell for 99 cents with the purchase of a physical copy of the comic. Users have a choice of redeeming the codes on their retailer's website, or the various apps that iVerse runs.

The suspension of the digital program was confirmed in an email to comic book stores that said “The closure was announced to retailers via email last week, with the reason given being that “18 months after its launch, results indicate that Diamond Digital has not gained enough traction in the marketplace to continue.”

The one thing Diamond had going against it, was the unavailability of titles from Marvel or DC. This is the bread and butter of Comixology, which has a stranglehold on the digital comic market. Instead, Diamond tried to hustle comics by Image, Boom! and IDW.

Any comics that have been purchased by the customer will be permanently available via the iVerse comic apps. So at least, as long as iVerse stays in business, your comics are safe.

Diamond Comics Abandons Digital Distribution is a post from: Good e-Reader

Is Barnes and Noble for Sale?

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Barnes and Noble has received a viable offer to buy their entire bookstore business from G Asset Management. They have proposed a complete buyout at a deal valued at $672 million. If they are unable to go through on this deal, their secondary offer is to buy a 51% stake in Nook Media.

There are plenty of barriers in place to prevent the sale of the last major bookstore in the USA. Len Riggio, chairman of B&N wanted to take the company private and was willing to pay big money to do it. The threat of shareholder lawsuits put the kibosh on his plans.

G Asset Management has had their sights on Barnes and Noble for quite awhile. They originally wanted to buy the College Bookstore division in 2012, and has been vocal at splitting Nook away from Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble is a bookstore on the decline. The stores are profitable but Nook Media has been bleeding month for over a year. This prompted the exodus of all senior executives in charge of Nook. The head of eBooks, the head of hardware and head of accessories have all left the company and a new CEO has taken the helm. Interesting enough, the current CEO comes from a financial background, which makes the likelihood of a sale more realistic now, than under the previous regime.

What are the current barriers to sell the company? It is thought that Len Riggio controls 45% of the company and he would have to OK the deal in order for it go though. The Asset Management company also does not actually have the money to buy Barnes and Noble, instead they would have to raise it themselves.

Is Barnes and Noble for Sale? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Collection Team Column – Kate Seivertson: Spring Cleaning

KateWhile many use the New Year holiday to set resolutions for the year to come, I personally welcome the onset of spring for getting a fresh start and making good on the promises I made to myself in January. A mental stock-taking, if you will. I can remember spring cleaning with my family and absolutely DREADING it! Now I absolutely love to clear the decks, in my wardrobe, my inbox, my personal life – you name it. While I'm perfectly aware that it's not yet spring, the fact that the mercury is above freezing at all makes me anticipate mint-colored manicures, the taste of orange creamcicles or toasted (not quite but almost burnt) marshmallows, and the lovely smell of hyacinth and lilac. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore winter, but this year's endless snow has tested even my love affair with the season!

To get myself really in the mood, though some could probably argue that such preparations are more like torture, I've been pouring over nonfiction titles about style, home d├ęcor, cooking and crafts. Two of my personal favorites is Tim Gunn's Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style, and Giada DeLaurentis's Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets. I highly recommend both. If neither is quite to your liking, log on to Marketplace and let your imagination run with great advice from one of the many, many titles we have to inspire you! This could translate incredibly well with your patrons also. Plan some great spring cleaning, style forming, and taste-making events at your library or contact your Collection Development representative to curate some lists for you. We're always here to help!

As for me, I'm off to continue my closet overhaul – wish me luck.

 

Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Specialist at OverDrive.

 

Libboo Introduces New Tools for Authors, Publishers

Libboo
Authors and publishers alike–regardless of the route to book release–are constantly looking for new methods of helping readers discover books. Many tools at these creators’ disposal come with high price tags, often out of the reach of self-published authors and indie publishing houses. Companies like Libboo have emerged to give authors the ability to engage with readers and help those readers become part of the discovery process.

Now, Libboo has launched two new book tools to continue the discovery process while still making it a reader-centric opportunity. Jason Freeman spoke with Good e-Reader this week about the ability to “delight readers while empowering authors.”

“Our new products are designed to help talent stand out in a crowded space. We’ve learned from discussion and data, and we invest that in our products,” explained Freeman.

The first tool, InstaFreebie, is not in public beta and lets authors or publishers generate digital copies of their titles under complete control in order to send them out to reviewers, readers, street teams, and more. Unlike typical coupon codes, rights holders can track where the copies of the book were actually accessed in order to engage with those readers in a more intentional way; additionally, if an author were to share the link to the book and give permission to all of his audience to share it as well, he can then retrieve information on where the book was accessed after it left his audience.

The second tool is a daily update feature called The Midlist, which sends information to Libboo and InstaFreebie users on which books are generating the most discussion and traffic. Even without already having an established connection to the author, readers can see which books are being shared the most. This tool is not available for cost, meaning authors or publishers cannot simply pay to be featured on these daily emails, and it is instead based on genuine traction around a book.

“The two biggest lessons we’ve learned at Libboo are that authors don’t have access to the most basic data–and there’s a really good conversation that needs to be had about that–and that most authors don’t have the tools to engage on a large scale. That led us to the idea that it doesn’t have to be an either-or, delighting readers and supporting authors can be done at the same time.”

Freeman pointed out that most authors are relying on Facebook and email for reader engagement, and that these tools will help them use those platforms more effectively. But more importantly, he indicated that, while data is the “lifeblood” of some companies in terms of using it to control revenue, other industries embrace the sharing of important information, such as the music and movie industries.

“There are walled castles that prevent authors from having tools. We intend to tell as much as we can. It’s about empowerment.”

Libboo Introduces New Tools for Authors, Publishers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Does your Raspberry Pi belong in a gallery?

It is a beautiful piece of hardware and I’m sure takes pride of place in many a building, with scores of people gazing upon it in wonder, especially if you’ve hacked it to do something cool. But is it art? Google Developers certainly think so, and have launched Dev Art: Art Made with Code mid-February, as an open platform that allows artists to share their digital art with the world and also detail the process they took to create their work in a unique way. If you have not already checked out the site, then I would highly recommend doing so. Raspberry Pi is listed as a platform, and there are some examples of its use in this project such as the Wireless Poetry Installation.

As well as the Dev Art website, Google have teamed up with the Barbican in London to host an exhibition of digital interactive art this summer and they are offering anyone the chance to exhibit alongside some of the worlds most well known digital artists in this exhibition through their Dev Art competition.

The winning creative coder will receive a budget of £25K, Google Developer support as well as curational and production support from the Barbican to help realise their concept into a digital art installation.

 

The Top 10 Finalists will have the opportunity to meet the DevArt judging panel during a Google+ Hangout, along with a 'DevArt Finalist' award for their site.

We know how powerful art can be in teaching computing skills since working with Dr Sam Aaron on Sonic Pi, and watching our own Artist in Residence Rachel Rayns lead workshops. Now it is over to you! We hope that the wider Raspberry Pi community will feel motivated to submit their projects to the Dev Art competition. Who knows, maybe you could be exhibiting at the Barbican!

 

 

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 21

Kindle Daily Deals Two books in the PRIMAL series by Jack Silkstone The native Dinka tribe of South Sudan is waging a war of wills for a better future—against a ruthless Chinese magnate determined to possess the impoverished nation's only asset: its oil-rich land. It's a David-and-Goliath struggle in danger of ending brutally in the […]

Primary Education in Zambia Takes a Technology Leap Thanks to ZEduPad

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The student community in Zambia can now look forward to the use of the ZEduPad to further their educational prospects. The tablet project which has been spearheaded by British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett aims to replace the use of traditional books in the African nation right from the elementary stages and up to grade 7. The 7 inch tablet is also designed to aid teachers in the teaching process as much as it is oriented towards students.

The ZEduPad is designed to understand eight different native Zambian languages and comes pre-loaded with more than 12,000 classes and lesson plans to help even the untrained teachers to get started right away. The tablet is programmed to help students with almost all subjects, be it math, art or music. This apart, the tablet also exposes the children to all that the internet has to offer, be it email to Wikipedia and such. The tablet will help the students to better hone their skills and knowledge with the help of the internet. As for the device itself, the tablet comes with 32 GB of storage and offers a 'long battery life'.

The tablet also couldn't have arrived at a better time in Zambia what with the extensive changes that the country's educational system has been witnessing off late. With renewed focus on education, something exemplified with the over 90 percent enrollment that has been achieved in the primary level, the ZEduPad can help take education to a new high in the African nation. The World Bank has already feted the Zambian education system which it has christened as the most improved among the developing nations.

As for its cost, Bennett said it costs about $100 after it is put together and lands in Zambia. Thereafter, his team installs the software that makes the tablet all the more special. Thereafter, the ZEduPad is sold for $200 apiece to the schools though efforts are already on to bring down the price even more. Bennett has also said he hopes to replicate the success he has achieved with the ZEduPad in other African nations as well.

Primary Education in Zambia Takes a Technology Leap Thanks to ZEduPad is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Legislation in South Africa Mandates eBook Retailers to Register as VAT Vendors

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The recent announcement by the South African finance ministry that has made it mandatory for all foreign vendors selling ebooks in the country to register as VAT vendors has been applauded by the local industry. The Publishers’ Association of South Africa as well as the South African Booksellers’ Association has been pushing for just a clause which them claim will make it a level playing field for all operators. Earlier,

South Africa has now created a legislative framework which will require foreign retailers selling into South Africa to register as VAT vendors. Simply put it means that companies that have distribution rights in South Africa can compete fairly with foreign retailers selling directly. In the long-term it will do much to promote a healthy retail book trade, making it more likely that we retain a functioning publishing industry,” explained Eugene Ashton, sales director of Jonathan Ball Publishers.

Ashton further stated the new legislation will prove crucial in the long run once proceeds from digital sales in South Africa picks up. Currently, revenue from digital sales amount to about 20 percent in SA while the same in other more established markets stands at over 50 percent.

“While PASA’s long term stated objective is that VAT should not be levied on books, it is better to have a system where everyone is charged, than the one that has existed until now. We are very much in favour of the legislation and support it fully,” said Ashton.

Digital technologies has been making new inroads in the field of books and publishing in SA, something that has not gone unnoticed with those who matter. While the general public has become increasingly aware of ebooks and all the benefits that the digital books can have for them, digital publishing technologies too has come to the forefront in recent times.

No wonder, ebooks and digital publishing is being accorded special status during the South African book fair, something brought out in the words of Louise Barry-Taylor, executive of sales and sponsorship of the fair: "With the rapid growth of e-publishing, the Fair allows educators, the public and the publishing world access to the latest technological developments in e-reading. Technology now not only allows access to books at the touch of a button, but access to a wide array of both learning and recreational materials that are now easily available on your mobile phone. The Fair is the ideal place for even the most technologically challenged to familiarise themselves with the latest technological and e-publishing offerings".

The South African book fair will run from 13 -15 June 2014 in Cape Town

New Legislation in South Africa Mandates eBook Retailers to Register as VAT Vendors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Prime Instant Video Will Make UK Debut on Feb 26

Amazon Prime

Amazon is all set to unleash its Prime services in the UK which will enable Britishers to avail of unlimited access to Amazon's video library, next-day deliveries and ebooks downloads all as part of a single package that cost £79 a year. The online retail giant said the above mentioned cost is 35 percent cheaper if users subscribe to LoveFilms and one day delivery schemes separately. In any case, the above move will bring curtains down to LoveFilms which will cease to exist post Feb 26 which is when Prime Instant Video takes over. However, existing LoveFilm subscribers can still continue to pay £5.99 to rent or buy TV shows or movies as they have been doing, while allowing them the option to walk out of the contract or re-join anytime they want. However, when the term expires, new renewal will cost £79 instead of £49. Also in doing so, they won't have additional Prime benefits such a quick deliveries and access to ebooks.

The above move is aimed at bettering similar schemes offers by Apple while also posing a direct challenge to the likes of Netflix, Sky and BT. Amazon has stated they also plan to produce their own programs for which the retails giant has already earmarked millions. Netlix already boasts of the hugely successful series House of Cards.

“We've worked hard to offer the best selection of TV shows and movies for Prime Instant Video.

“We also added high definition video and introduced apps for popular devices like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung and Sony TVs and iPads and iPhones,” said Tim Leslie, Vice President of Amazon Instant Video for the UK and German.

Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said: “Millions of customers in the US have streaming video included as part of their Prime membership and they tell us they love the combination of unlimited delivery, the ability to borrow Kindle books, and access to thousands of movies, TV shows and exclusive videos.

“We are delighted to be bringing that same combination of services to the UK, providing members truly unique benefits they can enjoy every day of the year.”

Meanwhile, Amazon by post services remains unchanged though it remains to be seen how long before users will be asked to make the digital switchover.

Amazon Prime Instant Video Will Make UK Debut on Feb 26 is a post from: Good e-Reader