Monday, February 24, 2014

Angry Customers Raise Valid Points about Sony Closing Reader Store and Switching to Kobo


Sony can be considered the first mainstream company to get involved in the e-reader space. They had models on the market at least a full year before Amazon even announced the first Kindle. A few weeks ago a bombshell announcement was made that Sony was closing their online Reader Store and transitioning all of their North American customers to Kobo. Users, are starting to express tremendous disdain about this move.

Jeff P recently wrote “HORRID! HORRID! HORRID! I've been a member since November 2007. The only readers or tablets I've ever were Sony so that I could use the reader software. I once told a sales clerk that I didn't need the extended warranty because I was buying a Sony. Almost every piece of electronic equipment I have is Sony. I won't buy another Sony ANYTHING. Yes, you say customers are first, well, I'm the first customer to tell you that you've made a HORRID mistake and I'm never going to buy another Sony product EVER.”

Ray Laurence actually made a very good point. “Shocking news. I am surprised that I received this news via my son who received an email from you. I never received an email. Considering the volume of purchases and the activity in my account, I would have thought I would have been notified. I would like to know what Sony intends to do with our financial data, and if I can remove it at this point.” Sony let him know that they will only remove financial data on a per request basis.

Danise said “I am struggling to not cry. I worked for Borders books for 10 years and liquidated 3 stores. For any book lover, for anyone who wants options in the marketplace (Amazon being the last place I buy books), this is a shame.”

Elle Couto weighed in by saying “I am very unhappy about this and it is unlikely I will ever purchase a Sony product again. Your company does not realize that any time a U.S. customer purchases anything from Kobo, we pay a foreign transaction fee. This is why I stopped purchasing from them. Bad form, Sony and I will certainly keep that in mind when I purchasing other products that Sony makes.”

Joeanne Vallat commented “To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I love my Sony e-reader and the Sony site. I have 300+ books on my e-reader and am holding my breath that they transfer over. From the other comments about Kobo, the quality, pricing and customer service I am really not looking forward to this experience. I signed with Kobo with my BB Playbook and only got one book as there was just no comparison between Kobo and Sony. I do not believe your statement that you care about your customers or you would have done more research on this before you made the move.”

Della said “I hate kobo when borders went out of business kobo took over and we never could recover our purchased books. This stinks.”

Ron is another user regretting to ever do business with Sony “When Borders closed their ebook store they moved content to Kobo as well. What a disappointment that was. Funny thing, Sony closes a well run site and transfers customers to Kobo, a company that somehow manages to stay in business despite a lack of customer service, poor interface, poor selection, high prices and just an overall bad experience.
For what it's worth, I went to Kindle recently and I wish I had gone with Kindle in the first place. And, it's relatively simple to load epub books onto the Kindle, just google for instructions. Amazon customer service is great, prices are good, it's easy to use and the battery life is much better than Sony (I have 3, all have short battery life). And the new Paperwhite has built in side lighting as an option. It will be a long, long time before I buy another Sony product.”

Tony weighed in with “I have just been SHOCKED by the news of Sony abandoning yet another one of its greatest creations! I am a loyal SONY consumer, but it is starting to become hard to stay in love with them. From the Mini-Disc to its music store and now its ebook store…all GONE. Extremely saddened!”

Elizabeth Ruyle lamented “I am really beginning to feel like I have been scammed. I have had my Ereader for a little over 3 years and have been very happy with it and the library/store. Therefore, for Christmas I bought two readers for my children – supposedly on sale. Now I find out my reader won't work on transfer.

My reader needed a repair and in the process the tech lost about 8-10 books I really want. Now they say over $100 to repair, even though the model won't work. I thought Sony was a well established and reliable company – so much for "reliable name brand" companies. I really feel like we are getting a raw deal. I have bragged about Sony readers to everyone who has asked what brand I have. Not any more, I will complain and bad talk Sony now. This 78 yr old lady feels like I have been taken advantage of.”

Angry Customers Raise Valid Points about Sony Closing Reader Store and Switching to Kobo is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 is the Thinnest And Lightest 10 Inch Tablet


Sony has a lot going on its smartphone and tablet business now that it has let gone of its PC division. In such a backdrop, the company has launched the Xperia Z2 tablet at the MWC, which is its first after having sold its VAIO PC business. Also as if the Xperia Tablet Z wasn't already thin and light enough, the latest Xperia Z2 has been made even slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. This is on top of the usual Sony preference to make their device water and dust proof and what you have is a premium tablet that can also survive some harsh treatment.

Also of course being the lightest tablet isn't the only positive aspect of the new Xperia Tablet Z2 as it also comes with some serous horsepower to take on even severe processing duties. That is aided in part by the use of the Snapdragon 801 quad core chip rated at 2.3 Ghz and the Adreno 330 GPU paired to a 3 GB RAM that allows for multitasking operations. Internal storage options is limited to 16 and 32 GB though there is a micro SD card slot as well to add some more memory. Running the show will be Android 4.4 Kitkat which has been tweaked only slightly to integrate Sony's own ecosystem into the offering. Upfront, it is a 10.1 inch full HD Triluminous display to feast your eyes on.

For those who feast on numbers, the Xperia Tablet Z2 is only 6.4 mm thick, which is 0.5 mm less than the Xperia tablet Z. Further, the Tablet Z2 tips the scales at just 426 grams, which again is 69 gram less than the Tablet Z. For comparison's sake, the new iPad Air measures 7.5 mm and weighs 469 grams. However, a fallout of the super thin frame is the use of rather thick bezels all round, a trend that is fast becoming obsolete. This also makes the overall dimensions of the tablet that wee bit bigger though with the Xperia Tablet Z2, this does not translate to carrying more bulk. Most new tablets launched at the MWC sports super thin bezels, which definitely is the latest style trend to invade the tablet segment. Case in point is the new Huawei MediaPad X1 which offers a 7 inch display.

Also what seems evident is that Sony is bucking the trend of launching affordable devices to build up volume. Instead, it is the premium segment that Sony is glued to, at least for the moment. Availability of the Xperia Tablet Z2 is pegged at March 2014 and we hope to come across the exact pricing details closer to that date. Don't expect to be too pocket friendly though.

New Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 is the Thinnest And Lightest 10 Inch Tablet is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble has Lost Over 1 Billion Dollars on Nook


Barnes and Noble is a company in transition, when it comes to their floundering Nook Media division. In the last two months they have announced the departures of Jim Hilt – Vice President of eBooks, digital products director Jamie Iannone and VP of digital products Bill Saperstein. A myriad of other people have left, including the head of accessories and most of the hardware developers. The big reason these executives have left is primarily due to the fact that Nook Media has lost over a billion dollars since 2010.

Barnes and Noble is quite transparent when it comes to their financial earnings and hold nothing back from investor calls and their reporting. Normally, their end of the year reports come out every April and there is some bleak news. In 2011 the company lost 209 million, in 2012 they lost 261 million and in 2013 they increased the losses to 475 million. If we look at the quarter ending on July 27, 2013 they reported loses of 55 million and October 26, 2013 NOOK lost 45 million. If you add all of these figures together it comes to over 1 billion dollars.

It is painfully obvious that Barnes and Noble was making too many units and not selling enough. This resulted in dramatic price drops just to move the inventory. The executives are firmly to blame with none of their e-readers sold nearly as much as the Nook Color, their first tablet and their first/second generation e-ink display with a color LCD on the bottom.

Amazon, Apple and Kobo all got involved in the e-reader and tablet space roughly around the same time Barnes and Noble first started making devices. All of these companies are extreamly profitable and rarely have a quarter in which they are in the red. Why? They poach executives away from rivals, and have great leadership. This is evident in the products they release and the marketing they put into it. Can you ever say you saw a sexy Barnes and Noble television commercial?

I have no idea how a company can lose over a billion dollars and still be in business. It makes 0 sense with the largest bookstore in the USA to serve as a retail showcase can be in this much trouble. Obviously, there are plenty of ideas on how to turn things around, instead Barnes and Noble appoints the VP of Marketing Doug Carlson to lead the eBook crew. Here is an idea, hire from the outside, to bring fresh new ideas. A herd of spiting camels, is still a herd of spiting camels, no matter who the alpha is.

Barnes and Noble has Lost Over 1 Billion Dollars on Nook is a post from: Good e-Reader

McGraw-Hill Professional Offers eBooks to Libraries through Axis 360

School and public libraries may have gotten a boost today through a new agreement between McGraw-Hill Professional and Baker & Taylor. This agreement will make more than 5,000 technical, medical, and professional titles available for ebook lending; more than 700 of these titles are recently published works.

"We are at the forefront of the digital transformation in publishing and are committed to expanding our digital offerings to public and school library customers throughout the world,” says Philip Ruppel, president of McGraw-Hill Professional. “We are pleased to team with Baker & Taylor on new ways to make our world-renowned content instantly accessible to library patrons.”

"We are delighted our library customers and their patrons will have access to McGraw-Hill Professional's wide variety of titles to borrow and enjoy," said George Coe, President and CEO of Baker & Taylor. "Baker & Taylor is dedicated to working with our publishing partners to offer libraries a robust selection of digital and printed materials for their patrons."

Libraries have become more of a focal point for distance and digital education, especially in vocational and technical training, thanks to the growing presence of MOOCs and online accredited educational opportunities. Pilot programs are already in place to beta test distance education in public libraries, even at the secondary school level. Access like this to these titles through the Axis 360 e-reading platform can enhance the options and learning opportunities for a variety of underserved individuals.

Axis 360 makes digital reading possible in nearly any way that readers consume content, such as browser-based PCs, tablets and smartphones, or dedicated e-readers.

McGraw-Hill Professional Offers eBooks to Libraries through Axis 360 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Yahoo to Borrow a Page out of Magazine Style Advertisements with New Initiatives

yahoo advert

Yahoo is growing tired of the standard way advertisements are presented in their extended network. The company wants to go beyond text and simple images and hearken back to an era where Vogue or Wired Ads are a work of art.

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo wants to re-energize her advertising network and one of the latest examples of her vision is via Yahoo Food. This is the new magazine the company started around six weeks ago and blends advertisements into the standard template. It is hard to know where the adverts actually are, when you casually look at it, which is Yahoos new mandate.

Yahoo signed a deal with Microsoft that blended their two advertising networks together. This gives advertisers and websites a better alternative to Google Adsense. Although, the system to display ads, is fairly woeful. Better, more useful ads would certainly make Yahoo's 800 million monthly users and its legions of advertisers happier all around.

According to the New York Times “Rebuilding Yahoo's advertising business is an immense challenge that has toppled several previous chief executives.”

"They’ve just hemmed and hawed over the last couple of years, and it doesn’t help that they have had executive turnover," said David Cohen, chief investment officer of Universal McCann, an advertising agency that is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

"We have had really great success over the course of 2013 in getting in place a tremendous team as well as building and launching new products. And we've got traffic up," she said. Yahoo released popular apps like Yahoo Weather and Yahoo News Digest and new versions of Flickr and Yahoo Mail — though some users were critical of changes to the email service.

"We're very focused on revenue now," she continued. "The path to revenue is really about delivering for advertisers ads that perform in whatever format or setting our users are working in and making those ads really enhancing for the user experience."

Mobile revenue for phones and tablets is Yahoos next primary focus. In the last few months they have laid down the groundwork for stream ads, in which marketing messages are mixed in with the feed of news headlines and other information and sponsored articles or photos that resemble regular editorial content.

Yahoo to Borrow a Page out of Magazine Style Advertisements with New Initiatives is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Get the WWE Network on Apple TV Outside of the US


The WWE Network has launched today, that gives thousands of hours of PPV and original content. The service is flagged as US only, and if you want to watch it on your Apple TV there are a few things you have to do, other than subscribe to the service. Today, we are going to look at what you need to do to get it up and running.

The first thing you need to do is open up the Apple TV and go to the Settings > General > Network. Next, you need to select your internet connection, whether its wireless or ethernet. Once the connection is clicked on select Select Configure DNS and select Manual. Enter following number and click Done: Once this step is done, the last thing you need to do is change your country to the USA. This is accomplished via setting the iTunes store to the United States. Once this is all done, you want to unplug your Apple TV and reboot it.

When you have followed all of the above steps you will be able to access the entire USA Catalog of Apple TV. This will give you Apple Radio, Netflix, ABC, Hulu+, WWE Network and a slew of other content.

How to Get the WWE Network on Apple TV Outside of the US is a post from: Good e-Reader

What can you do with a Raspberry Pi?

Last month we released an animation called What is a Raspberry Pi? which explains why the Pi exists, what it’s all about and touches on some application we’ve seen – and we recently discovered a video which points out some great ideas for what you can do with yours!

Everyone takes different kinds of inspiration before they start a Pi project – whether it’s following a guide in a book or online, seeing somebody else make something at a Jam or maker faire, or solving a real life problem and getting straight to it. Plenty of people like the idea of the Pi before they have a use for it – sometimes it’s nice just to be presented with some example applications and let one pique your interest. We hope that’s what this great video will do for some of you.

We’d love to hear about your sources of inspiration – as usual – in the comments below.

Our education team (Clive, Carrie Anne, Dave and I) will be at the Jamboree in Manchester this week. There’s an excellent line-up including talks, workshops, panels, ask an expert – and more! The conference part, focusing on Pi in education, on Thursday and Friday, will be held at the Manchester Central Conference Centre, followed by a Jam Hack Day at Edge Hill in Ormskirk. There are still tickets available, including evening sessions for those unavailable during the day – and the party on Friday night – organised by the wonderful Lisa Mather, where there are to be special badges (below) and plenty of swag up for grabs. The conference takes place adjacent to the Education Innovation Conference & Exhibition. We hope to see plenty of you at the event!

The Raspberry Pi Guy’s own name badge

Snooki Sells More Books than You, and That Makes Me Happy

Critics and industry watchers can hypothesize all they want to about what’s wrong with publishing. Is it these upstart authors coming along and thinking they deserve to publish their garbage? Is it the publishers who wield their iron-leashed authority while practically stealing from authors with their abusive contracts?

No. It’s articles like this one by author Lynn Shepherd, which basically tells JK Rowling, “You had your shot, go back to writing kiddie books and leave adult fiction to us.” Shepherd goes so far as to say that Rowling’s continued publishing efforts are actually bad for the industry as whole, as evidenced by her headline. She suggests that Rowling continue writing for her own pleasure, but that she give up publishing.

This is what’s wrong with the industry. Through troll-like behavior, even “real” authors have taken public stabs at each other while the reading consumers sit back watching the tennis match-style back and forth exchanges. Happily, I am not expecting Rowling to respond to this garbage, as Shepherd’s most recent title is sitting firmly in the 700,000 range on Amazon’s bestseller list. If anyone cares, that’s about 696,000 spots below Snooki’s from Jersey Shore‘s book on motherhood.

And that makes me smile.

According to Shepherd, “So this is my plea to JK Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo’s Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there, because we can’t wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word. By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure – I would never deny anyone that – but when it comes to the adult market you’ve had your turn.”

Luckily, news came today that there may be as many as seven planned titles in Rowling’s series, written as Robert Gilbraith, so Shepherd’s misguided nastiness is hopefully equally pointless. There is no room for public author bashing, certainly not from a disgruntled-yet-traditionally published author whose works just aren’t selling. Her sad attempts at marketing herself with a sensationalist headline and subsequent spoiled-little-girl rant will hopefully not pay off, while someone with the poise and talent of Rowling will ideally not even bother to read the post.

Snooki Sells More Books than You, and That Makes Me Happy is a post from: Good e-Reader

Vook Acquires BookIR, Means Realistic Book Sales Data

The publishing industry has spent the past few weeks reeling from the insights provided by DBW and AuthorEarnings into what book sales data actually feels like for the rights holders involved, if not actually providing meaning discussion and furthering conversations about how accurate comparative sales data can help authors and publishers. But a new acquisition, announced today from Vook, can open the door to better real-time data to help furthering marketing strategies.

With the acquisition of BookIr, a leading analytics platform that tracks the sales of nearly four million books to provide information to professionals in every aspect of the publishing industry, Vook is poised to offer unheard of tools to authors who use its ebook creation and distribution service.

"Booklr's leadership role in aggregating and rendering data surrounding books, combined with Vook's total publishing solution provides a powerful market intelligence offer for book authors and publishers," said Vook founder and CEO Brad Inman, in a press release. "Their work with big publishers such as Random House demonstrates the power of data that's invaluable to authors and publishers."

"Authors can now get the best in class analytics, book creation and distribution that exist in the
market," said Booklr co-founder Josh Brody, who will be joining Vook as chief operating officer
as well as become part of Vook's board of directors.

Despite its young age in the industry, Vook has already made impressive contributions to the ebook space, working with mainstays such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company to power their digitization efforts. While working with these partners, Vook does not ignore the needs of authors who are going it alone, offering tools such as this one to enable more effective publishing.

Vook Acquires BookIR, Means Realistic Book Sales Data is a post from: Good e-Reader

Join us for a Big Library Read chat with Aida Mollenkamp!

BLR_KeystoKitchen2Big Library Read kicked off on February 17 and in the past week, Keys to the Kitchen been checked out more than The Book Thief, Inferno and every other title available in OverDrive digital libraries. Keys to the Kitchen has been the most borrowed title thanks to the more than 5,800 libraries who have been participating.

Now you'll have the chance to get to know the author, Aida Mollenkamp, as she'll be joining us for a Facebook chat this Wednesday (Feb. 26) at 8 pm ET. Have you been wondering how she learned about the art of cooking or what her favorite dish is? Now is your time to find out! To join simply click on this link on Wednesday evening at 8 and feel free to ask Aida anything that you're curious about!

Be sure to share this link with your patrons so they can join the chat as well:


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive.


YotaPhone 2 Includes Larger High Res e-Ink Display

YotaPhone 2

YotaPhone is already into developing the second gen version of its dual screen device, merely months after having launched the original. The prototype that was unveiled at the MWC 2014 is a lot thinner and lighter than the original, a far cry from the drab and bulky looking YotaPhone 1. To be available in color options of white and black, the YotaPhone 2 comes with rounded edges and is a lot stylish and svelte than its predecessor.

Coming to the details now available, the YotaPhone carries a bigger and better e-ink panel at the rear. Size has increased to 4.7 inches and benefits from a denser pixel layout, what with 960 x 540 pixels now lighting up the display. For comparison's sake, the original YotaPhone offered a 4.3 inch 640 x 360 pixel display that often made texts look fuzzy. A backlit EPD option for some market is also being considered even though that is expected to add to the cost, besides also making the device more bulky.

Another extremely desirable change with YotaPhone 2 is that the secondary e-ink display will now be fully touch sensitive and will support capacitive inputs. This opens up new dimensions with the device so far as functionality is concerned. Users will now be able to get along with many of the tasks for which they had to resort to using the conventional front LCD display. These include sending emails, browsing, tweeting, and messaging and so on as long as they don't mind doing it on a black and white display.

“The YotaPhone frees people from the fear of missing something important which is behind the dark screen. And also remove bad habits where you wake up the phone 150 times a day just for no reason — just to check what is there, in Twitter and Facebook etc… Snubbing people around yourself in favour of your smartphone becomes quite a bad habit,” said YotaPhone CEO Vladislav Martynov while speaking to TechCrunch.

Coming to apps, while the e-ink panel is now touch sensitive, it still does not seem to be ready to handle all of the Android apps. Fortunately, the company is making available the SDK which no doubt will open up immense opportunity with the secondary display. Apart from reading ebooks, there are a lot of things that can be done with the e-ink panel, which includes playing several slow paced games such as crossword, chess or Sudoku.

As for the front LCD display, it's a 5 inch full HD Amoled LCD panel that has been included which replaces the 4.3 inch 720p LCD panel of YotaPhone 1. On the inside, it's a 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip that does duty, in conjugation with a 2 GB RAM. The device is 4G compatible and includes a rear 8 megapixel and front 2 megapixel shooter as well. The device also runs the latest Android 4.4 KitKat.

The Russian startup though has stated they are not likely to come up with production models of the YotaPhone 2 before Q4, 2014. They will also be offering a lucrative trade-in program for owners of the first gen YotaPhone to help build brand loyalty. A for its price, YotaPhone CEO Vladislav Martynov stated it could be 10-15 percent cheaper than the premium smartphone offerings such as those from Apple or Samsung.

YotaPhone 2 Includes Larger High Res e-Ink Display is a post from: Good e-Reader

BookBaby Helps Promote Indie Authors with New GoodReads and NoiseTrade Deal


Bookbaby has come a long way since it cut their teeth doing yet another self-publishing platform. The company has been ironing out their PR and Marketing campaigns for authors who ask the question “How do I get my book reviewed? Who are my local press contacts? Where do I begin with my promotional campaign? Most importantly: How do I let people know about my book?” One of the new components to this deal is book discovery by GoodsReads and NoiseTrade.

Bookbaby is a for profit self-publishing company that has a myriad of options to allow authors to publish and get distributed. They have various tiers of fees, dependant on an authors technical level to generate eBooks from documents or more advanced knowledge. One of the new programs the company has unveiled recently is Book Promo.

Book Promo is a set of tools that an author can employ to assist in marketing and PR. It is available with the FREE tier of publishing and also with any of the paid options, so it is worth checking out. A few of their key selling points are; Guaranteed book reviews with Readers' Favorite and Story Cartel, Promotion through PR Newswire, Author Marketing Club, and WriterCube, and an Exclusive guide: Ultimate Social Media Marketing for Authors.

Bookbaby recognizes the power of GoodReads, the largest eBook social site in the world. “Goodreads is an essential site for all authors to use when promoting their books,” said Steven Spatz, BookBaby CMO. “Over 25 million readers use Goodreads, and all our BookBaby authors will automatically be listed on the site, where readers can link to bookstores to purchase, write reviews, and share with their friends on social media.”

Authors are normally faced with the situation of wanting to build their own marketing list or giveaway free eBook samples. Bookbaby kills two birds, with one stone with NoiseTrade, which allows authors to give away their content for free in exchange for readers’ email addresses.

“Online stores like Amazon and iBookstore are an important part of building your platform and earning an income,” said Spatz, “but they don’t provide you with direct customer connections. NoiseTrade gives authors a spreadsheet of email addresses and postal codes of everyone who downloads your eBook, which is an invaluable resource for independent authors.”

I have followed Bookbaby throughout the years when they were first known as CD Baby, and have tracked their company from when they started publishing, until now. They are a solid bunch of people who honestly love, what they do. Their service is good for first time authors or people that wrestle with the decision of publishing with Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Bookbaby basically is a better version of Smashwords, except they charge.

BookBaby Helps Promote Indie Authors with New GoodReads and NoiseTrade Deal is a post from: Good e-Reader

Spritz Contributes New e-Reading Software for Samsung S5


One of the big drawbacks of reading on phones and specifically smart watches, is the words tend to all jumble together. I have found it tremendously jarring to read on my smaller devices.  A new startup called Spritz is seeking to remedy this situation one word at a time.

Samsung has not even announced their new Samsung S5, but did talk about their new Gear 2. The first public reading app from Spritz is said to be running on the new flagship Samsung phone when its released. The premise of the app is to read one word at a time. "The time consuming part of reading lies mainly in the actual eye movements from word to word and sentence to sentence," Spritz said in a press release. "In addition, traditional reading simply takes up a lot of physical space. Spritz solves both of these problems."

“We’re reinventing the way people read by eliminating the obstacles associated with traditional reading on mobile devices,” said Co-Founder and CEO Frank Waldman. “As smart devices continue to change shape and become increasingly smaller, Spritz enables users to read comfortably and conveniently. Our technology can be used to read emails, text messages, social media streams, maps or web content and can be integrated onto any mobile device – the options are almost limitless. Reading has never been easier, more efficient or more effective.”

The software will launch as part of the new enhanced email system Samsung will pack into the S5. Boston based Spritz says their technology is available to license. It might be interesting to see better e-Reading apps on smart watches or wearable tech in general.

Spritz Contributes New e-Reading Software for Samsung S5 is a post from: Good e-Reader