Wednesday, February 26, 2014

OverDrive Launches Free Roku Channel


Soon users will be able to watch or listen to audiobooks via their TV thanks to the recent tie-up between OverDrive and Roku. This will open up another medium to access audiobooks, and a popular one at that considering Roku's reach among the masses (the company recently revealed it has shipped more than 8 million devices in the US). Such a move will also act to boost OverDrive's newly launched Streaming Video service that now offers 4,000 titles. These deal with topics such as children's content, educational, spiritual, self-help and so on. Not to mention OverDrive's vast collection of audiobooks that now can be tapped into via Roku. What's more, OverDrive's Roku channel will also be free.

“Today’s public libraries already offer tens of thousands of best-selling digital audiobooks and videos in every category,” said Karen Estrovich, OverDrive’s Director of Collection Development. “Roku extends the value of the OverDrive libraries’ digital media collections to TVs in millions of living rooms, kitchens, dens — anywhere the WiFi reaches.”

Roku provides a device that can be used to watch internet streaming videos on televisions making it quite an inexpensive medium to watch online videos on TVs. Now with OverDrive launching a Roku channels, users will be able to access the digital audiobooks and video content from their local libraries and listen or watch them on their TVs. This will make for a convenient and easy method of downloading digital content from libraries to be savored on TVs in our homes. OverDrive's Roku channel will have all the audiobooks and Streaming Video catalog that the libraries have been fed by OverDrive. Users will have to register their library card numbers, select the OverDrive channel from Roku menu and select their library. Post that, users will be able to borrow titles from the library to be viewed on TVs.

Meanwhile, OverDrive has announced their new Roku channel will be demoed at the upcoming Public Library Association (PLA) Conference to be held in in Indianapolis between March 11 and 15. Visit booth #721 to for a live experience of the new Roku channel.

OverDrive Launches Free Roku Channel is a post from: Good e-Reader

Comixology to Give Away $150,000 Worth of Free Comics


ComiXology has had close to 220 million downloads since the French company burst onto the scene in 2009. Every year at the South by Southwest festival in Texas they tend to announce massive promotions. Last year, they gave 700 first issues away for free, which promptly killed their servers and no one could connect for days. Now, they have another promotion which will give $150,000 in free comics away.

This March, ComiXology dominates SXSW Interactive with a whole host of activities including: sponsoring the SXSW Geek Stage; a special panel; happy hour; free comics offered throughout the event; and handing out $150,000 worth of $5 Amazon Appstore credits toward comiXology content at comiXology’s SXSW Gaming Expo booth #125 & 127.

Comixology to Give Away $150,000 Worth of Free Comics is a post from: Good e-Reader

Macmillan Makes Complete Catalog Available for Digital Lending through OverDrive


From the very beginning of digital lending through libraries and personal consumer shares, publishers have been wary of the implications of ebook lending. Once libraries became convinced to at least experiment in the library realm with their digital titles, artificial barriers were often put in place, such as limits on numbers of checkouts and 300% increases in price over an identical title in print. Libraries have suffered under the weight of trying to offer digital lending to their patrons while still ensuring that bestselling and front list titles make it to their virtual shelves.

Digital content provider OverDrive made a monumental announcement today in saying that Macmillan has made its entire ebook catalog available for the first time for lending through OverDrive’s school library partners. From the initial six hundred-plus titles that the publisher originally offered, Macmillan has now made more than 12,000 ebooks available to school libraries for student lending.

"Macmillan offers a wide collection of children's and young-adult eBooks perfect for the K-12 audience," said Karen Estrovich, Director of Collection Development at OverDrive. "We are thrilled that our U.S. and Canadian school partners will now have access to these titles, which are highly popular and often requested."

Unlike some of the restrictions put on ebook lending, Macmillan has made all of its ebooks available without circulation limits, but still under a very standard one-book-one-user model, meaning schools who wish to stock more than one copy–just as they must do with print editions–must purchase additional licenses. The books are, however, only licensed for a 12-month period.

OverDrive has made major strides in the lending sector by helping publishers not only see the security behind opening up their catalogs to lending, but also to see the actual benefits in terms of consumer engagement and increased sales revenue once a book has been borrowed.

Macmillan Makes Complete Catalog Available for Digital Lending through OverDrive is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sony eBooks Will Still be Able to be Read on Sony e-Readers When Reader Store Closes


Sony announced a few weeks ago that they were closing the Reader Store and customers books were being transferred to Kobo. With a bombshell announcement like this, it was inevitable that many questions and concerns would arise. Sony has addressed a few of this issues to Good e-Reader, that should put people at ease.

Within the next few weeks there will be an automated email sent out to customers who have purchased books from the Reader Store. This email will provide users with a step by step tutorial on how to transfer your library from Sony to Kobo. Obviously not all titles you bought from Sony will be available on Kobo, and you can still read them on your Sony e-Reader regardless.

Many customers have voiced their trepidation about switching their library to Kobo. Sony has confirmed to Good e-Reader that nothing will happen to the books that are on your device. You can continue to read all of the books you bought from Sony, doing the same things you have always done. You just cannot buy new titles from the Sony Store. Whether you have bought 1 book or have thousands, you are not forced to transfer your library to Kobo to keep on reading.

Sony e-Readers often have a ton of space to house thousands of books. Some readers like to keep their devices lightweight and delete past purchases once they have read them. This is no big deal, because all purchases are stored in the Sony Cloud, able to be downloaded again, at any time. Sony has verified that you have until April 30th to redownload any of your past purchases, that were deleted from the e-Reader.

Finally, the Sony Daily Edition, was one of the more popular e-readers and had a 3G connection. Sadly, Sony confirmed “ The 3G connection to Reader Store on the PRS-900 or PRS-950 will be discontinued. We encourage customers to download our Reader for PC/Mac software (available here) . Starting in late March, our Reader for PC/Mac software will enable customers to directly connect to the Kobo Store for future purchases. They can use the software then to also transfer new titles via USB to their Reader from Sony.”

So in the end, customers are not forced to switch their libraries to Kobo. If you are happy with your current collection, nothing will happen to it. You can continue to read books forever on the Sony Reader, you just can’t buy new ones. Many people don’t want to switch to Kobo, for various reasons. Going forward, you can just download books from the internet and manually load them on your device, no big deal.

Sony eBooks Will Still be Able to be Read on Sony e-Readers When Reader Store Closes is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sony Begins to Abandon Retail Stores in the US


Over the last few weeks Sony has announced the closure of their digital bookstore in the US and Canada.  This apparently was a foreshadowing of what is to come, as the Japanese company has announced 20 of their 31 retail stores in the US will be closing down immediately. Close to 1,000 people will be losing their jobs and the only stores to remain will be in California, New York, Florida, and Texas.

Sony has been floundering for a number of years with their dedicated Sony Style and Sony retail stores. The companies 4K television technology and Sony Playstation 4 are doing very well. Basically, the company is restructuring their retail presence by selling their tablets and smartphones in electronic and cell phone stores. Instead of being burdened by a costly overhead, they are going to just have big box and boutique stores sell their devices for them. This obviously is the ideal strategy going forward, as the bulk of their customers are starting to buy more things online.

Sony Begins to Abandon Retail Stores in the US is a post from: Good e-Reader

Disney Movies Anywhere APP Brings Hundreds of Videos to iOS


Disney Studios has just launched a new iOS app that is compatible with the iPhone and iPad. It is bringing over 400 movies from Disney, Pixar and Marvel right to your device. One of the more compelling features is the service linking to your iTunes account, so you can purchase content and watch it on your Apple TV.

Setting up an account in the Disney Movies Anywhere app is free. The only time when you’ll have to pay is when you find a movie that you like, and those cost around $19.99 each. There is also a number of totally free exclusive content available and Disney will throw in a free copy of the The Incredibles for signing up.

Jamie Voris, the Walt Disney Studios' chief technology officer, said in a statement “Disney Movies Anywhere is an adaptable digital ecosystem designed to help consumers consolidate their Disney movie collections and enjoy them for years to come. The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device the are on.”

This is actually a fairly solid deal, true you might be able to find the Disney Studios moves on Amazon Instant Video for cheaper. This deal makes sense from a retail point of view. Disney is notorious for never having their complete library in a store like Best Buy. Often, they put out old movies once or twice a year as reissues and thats it. This dedicated app may be the only way on iOS that you can own the complete library and relive your childhood.

Disney Movies Anywhere APP Brings Hundreds of Videos to iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Graphic equaliser

Our good friends at Adafruit put this project on their Learning System earlier this month. It’s a beaut: you’ll learn something making it, and it looks fantastic when set up. Before we get into the nitty gritty, here’s some video:

This graphic equaliser (a spectrum analys/zer if you’re from the USA) is made from a RGB led strip, with everything down to the audio processing run on the Pi. Everything you see in the video is happening in real time. The setup runs Python, and is based on LightShowPi (which was originally designed to orchestrate Christmas lights), so you’ll be able add LightShowPi features like SMS control from your phone if you’re an advanced user.

Some soldering is required – but soldering is easy, and this is a good project to earn your soldering wings on if you haven’t already. There’s the usual full and helpful tutorial over at Adafruit, along with tips, a parts list, code and all that good stuff. I wish I’d had one of these for my student bedroom. Imagine the parties!

B&N Confirms New Nook Tablet In The Making

nook tablet

The last time Barnes & Noble had refreshed its tablet line up was in 2012. That seems like ages ago in the tech world, but the good news is that replacements are incoming. The bookseller has confirmed they intend to launch the new Nook range in financial year 2015. This should not be confused with the corresponding calendar year given B&N's financial year comes to an end on April 27, 2014. As such, the new Nook should be launched by the end of 2014.

However, the one aspect that most will be keenly watching is whether the Nook will be enough to pull out of the mess that the company has landed itself in off late. To make matters worse, B&N had no new tablet to offer last year, leaving it to the 2012 model Nook devices to take the company's fortunes forward. Current B&N boss Mike Huseby has blamed incompetence of the previous management team for the company's current woes. Demand was misinterpreted so that the company ended up making more Nook devices. Apart from making all effort to offload these (prices were cut to appeal to more buyers), B&N produced enough of Nook devices to utilize all the excess components they had procured.

Further, with no new devices in 2013 and with the old Nooks already starting to show its age in the face of more powerful new age devices, B&N has its task cut out with the new Nooks. It has also lost the cost advantage that it once had now that tablet prices have gone through the floor in recent times. The new range of Kindle or Nexus tablet devices offer the best combination of performance and price. Under the circumstances, it would be like starting from scratch for B&N.

What should be even more hurting for the bookseller is that it can't have much solace from its sales report which is all bleeding red. While sales of hardware (including accessories) has dropped by 58.2 percent year-on-year, its content sales dropped by 26.5 percent. The only silver lining so far is the growth in demand for printed books which has come as a surprise to many.

“We have taken steps to reduce costs and device exposure, while focusing our efforts to reverse the content sales decline,” said Michael P. Huseby in the company's Q3 financial year 2014 results. “We remain committed to delivering world-class reading experiences to our customers through our reading centric e-Ink and color reading devices. The Company is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution. As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015.”

B&N Confirms New Nook Tablet In The Making is a post from: Good e-Reader

It’s only Rock and Roll, but I like it…



Reading is my first love in life, but rock and roll is a very close second. Both books and music have the ability to transport us to different worlds, so what could be better than reading books ABOUT music? In my mind, not much.

I know there are many other super fans out there, so I created two lists in Marketplace that feature some of our best nonfiction eBooks about rock and roll music. You and your patrons can travel to a land where The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are still a bunch of kids in England, and when CBGB's was the haven for punk rock music. Revisit your "sad era" with books about The Smiths and The Cure and go underground with books about indie bands like The Replacements and Sonic Youth.

When you click the links below, the lists will show up as a Marketplace search result and you'll be able to easily add them to a cart.

It's Only Rock and Roll, but I Like It… (OC/OU)

It's Only Rock and Roll, but I Like It… (MA)

As always, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create any recommended lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.


Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.


Macmillan expands its eBook catalog to U.S. and Canadian schools

We are very excited to announce that Macmillan's entire eBook catalog is now available for schools in the United States and Canada. Macmillan previously offered 640 eBooks to schools in the U.S. and Canada in a pilot program, and is now opening their 12,000-title catalog.

The catalog includes popular titles such as Night by Elie Wiesel, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly, The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, The American Presidents Series, and many more.

"Macmillan offers a wide collection of children's and young-adult eBooks perfect for the K-12 audience," said Karen Estrovich, Director of Collection Development at OverDrive. "We are thrilled that our U.S. and Canadian school partners will now have access to these titles, which are highly popular and often requested."

Macmillan joins major publishers such as Random House, HarperCollins, and Hachette in the largest catalog of eBooks and digital textbooks for lending to K-12 institutions through OverDrive. Macmillan titles are offered to schools on a 12-month lease, with no circulation limit, at $15 USD and $17 CAD. Titles are offered on a one copy/one user lending model. Visit Marketplace today, or contact your Collection Development Specialist to purchase Macmillan titles.

Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Writing the Rails: Amtrak’s Writers’ Residencies

Authors might find inspiration in some really unique places. Many writers have their favorite writing “spots,” places where they are distraction free and the muse just speaks. Others plan writers’ retreats where they can take their supplies to a new location and write during a planned time frame. Now, a new dimension in the writer’s retreat concept is not only captivating to a number of authors, but also a great PR move in the form of free offerings.

Amtrak, at the request via Twitter of a writer, has established free writers’ retreats that let authors write while riding the rails in a roundtrip journey. The romanticism of train travel coupled with the lure of working in a space that doesn’t have the daily interferences that many working people face is a great chance to accomplish a lot.

What started out as a tongue-in-cheek Twitter exchange between Jessica Gross and Zach Seward morphed into reality when Amtrak saw their tweets and offered them the first writer’s residency aboard one of their trains, offering them free roundtrip travel to Chicago. The success of the concept has led Amtrak to now consider expanding the idea into a more widespread offering, with the goal of still keeping it free or low-cost.

Writing the Rails: Amtrak’s Writers’ Residencies is a post from: Good e-Reader

New AuthorEarnings Report Highlights B&N Sales

Massive change is being sparked in the publishing industry, thanks to the enterprising–and exhausting–work of authors who’ve taken it upon themselves to share sales information with the intention of helping authors make informed decisions where publishing opportunities are involved. Authors like HM Ward and Hugh Howey have been as transparent as they can be about their own sales and publishing opportunities in order to present a clearer picture of what publishing looks like in 2014.

Now, has released its report on Barnes and Noble activity where Nook Press sales are concerned. The data, which can be found HERE, highlights the percentages of bestselling titles that were published via both traditional and self-publishing routes, as well as small press and indie press houses. This report indicates that, of the top 5,000 ebooks in the Nook store, self-published bestselling titles made up more than half of the bestsellers.

The report goes on to breakdown the data for both authors and consumers, with the ultimate goal remaining affording people in the industry to make the informed decisions. Working solely on presumptions and unfounded theories about how self-published titles fare–both for better or for worse–doesn’t help anyone.

The industry as whole and in all its manifestations needs to adopt an air of openness and transparency that other industries have already made standard. Unfortunately, data like these reports, while vital to informed business practices for both authors and publishers, may eventually result in greater access to accurate sales data, but for now are only drawing ire from the industry’s critics.

New AuthorEarnings Report Highlights B&N Sales is a post from: Good e-Reader

Motorola Tweets Smartwatch Ambitions To Be Launched Later This Year


Motorola has confirmed via a Twitter update that they are already developing a smartwatch which could be launched later in the year. Unfortunately, that’s all that the company has for now, leaving almost everything else up for guess. However, the company did make it clear that they won’t be compromising on style in their quest to launch a fully functional smartwatch.

“It’s our intention to deliver interesting wearable technology – we are developing a watch which will be coming out in the next year,” said Rick Osterloh, SVP Product Management at Motorola, during a press event at Mobile World Congress 2014.

“Our main focus is that we will start to solve a real user problem in that there are no wearable products you want to wear – all because they are all extremely ugly. So we want to solve the problem of making this a style item like jewelry or clothing.”

Another detail about the upcoming smartwatch is that it would be based on Android, which is hardly surprising considering the company's product portfolio has been entirely focused on the Google OS.

“I can say we are 100% focused on Android. [The] market has spoken as to where the OS focus needs to be and we will continue with that strategy. As time possesses we will have conversation but I am very focused on Android,” further added Osterloh.

Motorola is no stranger to smartwatches, having launched a couple of these in the past. They were all Android based but were buggy, which proved to be their undoing. Now with smartwatch devices gaining ground, it was perhaps just a matter of time before Motorola updated their line.

[Shown above is the MotoActv which was initially launched as a fitness tracker but acquired smartwatch attributes via software updates. The device though has been discontinued in 2013.]

Motorola Tweets Smartwatch Ambitions To Be Launched Later This Year is a post from: Good e-Reader

Increased Investment in R&D and Production Sought For Smart Wearables


If 2013 was the year of tablet devices, it’s wearable smart devices that are proving to be big in 2014. There has been a mad rush to offer smart wearables, be it smartwatches, fitness tracking bands, and smart glasses like Google Glass. Now, Digitimes reports that upstream supply chain manufacturers have increased production of components that go into the making of smart devices.

Suppliers also claim to have received requests to increase R&D in technologies pertaining to smart wearables from front line companies such as Google, LG Electronics, Samsung, and Apple. Samsung has already launched a trio of Galaxy Gear smartwatches and fitness trackers while Google has made substantial investments in the field, having acquired several companies with a presence in the smart wearable segment. LG and Apple are yet to delve into the new segment, though the Cupertino-based company is already rumored to be in an advanced stages of developing a smartwatch.

Some of the suppliers confirm their rising interests in bendable components, which no doubt indicates a wave of wearable devices coming out soon; another trend is a growing interest among manufacturers to target the fitness segment with suitable smart devices.

Increased Investment in R&D and Production Sought For Smart Wearables is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Marvel Global App Makes Digital Comics Accessible


Marvel has released a new digital comic app for the iPhone and iPad that is aimed at an international audience. The development of the app was made in conjunction with iVerse and there is over 100 comics available out of the gate.

Digital Comics right now are not very accessible if you are not a native English speaker. If you look at distribution platforms such as Comixology, DC, Dark Horse, or Image, all of the text is baked into the art frames. This is why it is essential that you pinch and zoom to be able to read small text on a large screen.

This very issue is prompting Marvel to look at the way text is done digitally. The app offers comics in Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew. Currently, the Marvel Global Comics App is ranked the number one eBook app for downloads in Russia and South Korea, while peaking at #4 in France and Italy.

Marvel is enjoying tremendous box office revenue overseas and this new deal seeks to capitalize on it. Unfortunately, this app is an afterthought with Marvel and not a priority for the ‘same day digital’ agreements Marvel has with Comixology.

New Marvel Global App Makes Digital Comics Accessible is a post from: Good e-Reader