Monday, March 3, 2014

DRM Transcending eBooks and Audiobooks to Tackle Coffee!


A few years ago I purchased a Keurig coffee maker, mainly to see how the whole process played out in my daily life. Needless to say I am hopelessly hooked and regularly buy specialty coffee or use my custom refill pod to grind my own beans. Apparently DRM is not limited to audiobooks, ebooks, music or videos, but is rearing its ugly head at Keurig.

Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso have been locked in a battle over your primarily coffee maker. The companies see the device being a gateway to buying refills from your local supermarket or buying them direct from a website. Recently, we have been seeing third party re-sellers start to make their own refills and undercutting the brands by offering them for 25% of less for their coffee.

Why are we suddenly seeing an influx of K-Cup competition? This is because the patent on the technology recently expired. This allows anyone to basically approach established coffee companies and get their beans in their brand of cup, and then market it to people that already have a Keurig.

Keurig is borrowing a page out of eBook, music and video DRM and employing it in a model coming out this year. Dubbed the Keurig 2.0, it  will have technology that will lockout  unauthorized K-Cups. The company will be using this encryption system on all models going forward. Surprisingly it is estimated that 13% of US homes currently have a Keurig and its turning into a billion dollar business.

I honestly feel like DRM is permeating every aspect of my life now. I read on my tablet and e-reader books i don’t really own. I watch streaming internet television where my DRM is disabled with certain content. Why not my coffee too?

DRM Transcending eBooks and Audiobooks to Tackle Coffee! is a post from: Good e-Reader

StudySync, McGraw Hill Team Up on Digital ELA Materials

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Academic publishers are finding that there’s strength in numbers when it comes to launching digital content for classroom settings. At a SXSWEdu event today, McGraw-Hill Education and StudySync announced a partnership aimed at bringing language arts materials that are aligned with the Common Core Standards to digital environments for teaching.

"With information available at the swipe of a finger, education in the 21st century must engage students to inspire academic excellence and foster creativity. To be successful, students must aspire to higher levels of reading and writing, learn how to build knowledge to support their opinions and think critically as they parse the plethora of material so simply at their disposal," said Robert Romano, CEO of StudySync. "Our partnership with McGraw-Hill Education serves to address those essential changes in education by bringing together substance and form to produce the best teaching resources possible to help students achieve success in college and career."

Under the terms of this new collaboration, McGraw-Hill will not only distribute the StudySync platform to its secondary school members, but will also work with the company to generate even more engaging digital learning content. But one of the features that does cause StudySync to stand out in an already crowded marketplace of companies who believe they can do it better is their Blast content, which sends out a weekly writing assignment based around current world events; students around the world can then connect to discuss the writing assignments.

According to Peter Cohen, president of McGraw-Hill School Education Group, "StudySync is a standout product that successfully integrates the latest innovations in technology with effective curriculum and pedagogy for an era of more rigorous educational standards. Combining it with our products and services will help educators not only boost engagement but drive results."

StudySync, McGraw Hill Team Up on Digital ELA Materials is a post from: Good e-Reader

Simon & Schuster Launches Off The Shelf Book Site

A number of companies have tried to combat the growing problem of ebook discovery by building daily email lists and book websites, landing pages that are supposed to draw readers in order to discover the latest in publishing. Companies like Libboo have recently launched a daily feature based on traffic generated called The Midlist, designed specifically to highlight worthy books that are getting some traction, while not necessarily being top of the list bestsellers.

Today, Simon&Schuster announced its own version of a discovery mailer called Off The Shelf, but one thing that makes S&S’s site standout is its publisher-agnostic focus. By highlighting a variety of books instead of just their own catalog of titles, the publisher is taking a rather selfless move in the direction of connecting authors and readers.

“While it is very easy to learn about the latest, hot new must-have books, we know from experience that many readers are more interested in what’s relevant to them regardless of its moment in the publishing cycle,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, in a press release. “With Off the Shelf, we aim to bring attention to books that were bestsellers you might have read or wanted to, books that you may have missed in the often overwhelming number of titles that get published every year, or simply books that have touched us as readers, left an indelible mark on us, and become friends that we revisit often. These are books that are often spine out in stores, buried on a home bookshelf, or deep within library stacks. We hope that shining a new light on them will help others discover a passion for them as well.”

While more than just a mass email featuring a book or two, Off The Shelf will also offer book reviews, guest posts, author interviews, reading lists, videos, and more. For more information or to sign up for the site’s email list, go to

Simon & Schuster Launches Off The Shelf Book Site is a post from: Good e-Reader

Writers Union of Canada Votes to Accept Self-Published Authors


Self-Publishing authors have received another boost to their credibility, with the Writers Union of Canada voted in favor of opening up membership to them.

The Writers Union of Canada was founded in 1973 and describes itself as supporting “the country’s authors by advocating for their rights, freedoms, and economic well-being.” Its members are professional writers who must have published at least one book.

“The membership and volunteer leaders of the Union have taken a long, hard, and responsible look at the state of the writing and publishing industries worldwide," noted current TWUC Chair, Dorris Heffron, "and we have concluded there is a population of highly professional self-published authors who would be well-served by membership in TWUC."

It looks like the Union will be getting together very soon to hash out the details on what it means for self-published authors to enter the union. We do know that self-published books presented by authors applying to join the Union must demonstrate commercial intent, and must be peer reviewed before being forwarded to the membership committee of the Union for approval based on existing criteria.

What is the peer review process for self-published authors? Will existing unions friends and family get the first crack at joining? Looks we will have to wait and see.

Writers Union of Canada Votes to Accept Self-Published Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Hour of Code and all things educational

There’s been a media brouhaha about coding recently**. The Hour of Code puts this into perspective—it’s all about demystifying what coding is, having a play and realising that it isn’t as arcane or difficult as you thought. Of course at one end of the scale, computer science can be as challenging as it gets. But at the other end you can dip your toe in and start to appreciate that Computing as a subject, and programming specifically, can be creative, purposeful and lots of fun.

And if you’d like to try some Raspberry Pi based activities as part of the Hour of Code week here’s a small taster of the teaching and learning materials that we’re writing and collating for our new website (launching end of March). It includes Sonic Pi, Minecraft Pi, Google Coder and, of course, a screaming jelly baby. Enjoy :)

Carrie Anne and Ben from the Raspberry Pi Education Team are telling me to shut up now as they would like to say stuff. So I’ll leave them to it…

Carrie Anne

During the Jamboree at the EICE conference last week, Ben and I spoke about our work at the foundation on the new website and our vision to produce educational Raspberry Pi resources for teachers and learners. Since this talk we have been inundated with offers of support and want to know more. (This is the best community!)

There are many ways in which you can help us:

  • Firstly by taking an active role in the education section of our forum. If you have created a great resource, ran a good workshop session, or created a video tutorial, then post it here. Let’s get this section of the community talking.
  • Submit your resources to be used on the new website. In the not too distant future we would like to create a form for you to submit your resources to be considered for use. We are writing our resources in markdown, so if you already have stuff on GitHub for example it would be easy for us to point to them or fork them for reuse. You may wish to write up your mega cool resources in a similar way.
  • We need testers! Before many of our resources go live, especially those intended for the classroom, we would like them to get feedback from our audience and suggestions. We’d also like to make sure they work!
  • Run a Jam in your area. Why not start a Jam or attend a jam in your area to support young people and invite teachers from local schools to attend.

The Hour of Code resources are a taster of what is to come on the website, and we would be interested in hearing your feedback on them. Please test, proof read, and give us productive pointers.


Introducing Raspberry Pi Learning on GitHub! We set up a new GitHub organisation to host our learning resources and educational material. Each resource will have its own repository here, and we’ll be using git to manage changes in the team and from the community. Within hours of these being live (even before we announced it) we had our first pull request from Alex Eames – who fixed some typos and cleaned up some Python GPIO code with better practices (thanks, Alex!).

Our resources are written in Markdown, which is really easy to use and to manage. The links in the Hour of Code page show the markdown rendered by GitHub, and when we launch our new website they will be rendered nicely in the site template, which work great on screen and we’ll provide printer-friendly alternatives.

If you’re writing any resources or documentation (or anything, really) I’d recommend you look at using Markdown – you can pick it up quite quickly with this GitHub Flavoured Markdown guide. If you spot a mistake or have an improvement you can open an issue to alert us of it, or even fork the repository, fix it and open a pull request, which we can evaluate and merge if suitable.

[**Short version: 'coding' is actually just a small part of computing, which is a fantastically rich, exciting, creative, challenging, cross-curricular, all-around-us-in-everyday-life, useful and powerful toolkit for thinking, problem solving and making stuff. Phew.]

Radio Show – Nook, Ingram, and Amplify News


Welcome back to the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today, Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World talk about the latest news in publishing!

Today on the Show Michael and Jeremy discuss Barnes and Noble’s latest quarterly results. The company has fired 190 people, with more cuts to come and have announced a new Nook Tablet. What is the full storey? They discuss market positioning and their place in the USA eBook industry.

Finally, there is lots of digital education news today with Ingram purchasing Coursesmart and new initiatives from Amplify. A great show as always, so check it out.

Radio Show – Nook, Ingram, and Amplify News is a post from: Good e-Reader

Android Beats Apple iOS to Emerge as Single Largest Tablet Platform in 2013


Android tablets are out on top, beating Apple for the first time ever and  by a comprehensive margin. Figures revealed by analysts Gartner show that Apple has had a 36 percent share of the tablet market in 2013, almost half that of the 62 percent share that Android has had for the same period. Android accounted for 121 million tablet sales in 2013, compared to 70 million iPads sold. In all, 195 million tablet devices were sold in 2013.

For Apple, the results were in spite of registering a growth over its 2012 sales where 61 million iPads were sold. That number translated to a 53 percent share of the tablet market. For the same period, Android accounted for 46 percent share of the tablet market, or 53 million tablets.

Apple can still take consolation from the fact that the iPad continues to be the single largest tablet brand, outselling others by a comfortable margin. Samsung came in second, having sold 37 million tablets to equal a 19 percent market share, a huge improvement over the 7 percent market it had in 2012. Asus made up the third slot, having sold more than 11 million tablets, which comes to 5.6 percent share. Surprisingly, Amazon, who started the affordable tablet race, managed to sell just about 9 million tablets in 2013. Its market share dropped to 4.8 percent from 6.6 percent in 2012, making it the only manufacturer among the top 5 to record negative growth rate.

As for reasons behind the rise of the Android tablet, it is the emergence of low cost entry level tablet options that appears to have done the trick. For the first time, consumers had a lot of affordable tablet devices to choose from. Fortunately for them, these tablets offered decent specs in spite of the relatively cheap price tag. In contrast, the iPad caters to the premium segment that makes it within the reach of a distinct class of consumers. However, the challenge before Android is to ensure the huge user base who has invested in an Android tablet gets to have an endearing user experience so that they remain within the Android fold.

Further, both Apple and Google will have to watch out for a resurgent Windows platform that has registered growth in 2013. Though still quite insignificant with 2.1 percent market share and 4 million tablet sales, it could make for a much better performance in 2014 on the back of rumors of a thoroughly improved Windows 9. Also, the emergence of improved low power chips have led to better acceptance of Windows tablet which is poised for a take off if Microsoft gets its act together in providing for an enhanced software experience over Windows 8.1.

Android Beats Apple iOS to Emerge as Single Largest Tablet Platform in 2013 is a post from: Good e-Reader

New and popular content for schools

So, apparently it's March already? Huh. Not sure how that happened. While February did fly by, don't let the great new content that was added for purchase in Marketplace fly by as well. We have created lists for the newest and most popular content that was added this past month that your students are sure to enjoy.

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

New Juvenile

New Young Adult

New Adult – High School Appropriate


If you would like more suggestions, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create recommended lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.

Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Marvel Discounts 15,000 Digital Comics to only 99 Cents


Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service, in which customers can get access to over 15,000 digital comics for $9.99 a month. The company has announced today a new promotion, where you can buy into the ecosystem for only .99 and download as many comics as you would like.

When you buy into Marvel Unlimited you are mainly getting classic comic books. Marvel basically can’t publish new content until six months after it first hits the comic shops or first party release services, such as Comixology. Still, readers will be able to check out the entire Age of Ultron and Marvel NOW!

Last year around this time Marvel and Comixology teamed up to give 700 first issues away for free and it destroyed Comixology’s servers. This time around Marvel is going to handle the web and app traffic themselves

Marvel Discounts 15,000 Digital Comics to only 99 Cents is a post from: Good e-Reader

Ingram Starts to Cornerstone the eTextbook Market with Acquisition of CourseSmart


The eTextbook industry is undergoing a consolidation period, as many companies are being absorbed. Intel purchased educational software company KNO late last year and today Ingram acquired all assets of CourseSmart.

CourseSmart was founded in 2007 by Macmillan, Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson with a simple goal of providing instructors a better textbook evaluation service. The company has since expanded to become a leader in providing digital learning content to the higher education community. CourseSmart has millions of users around the world and offers access to over 90 percent of core higher education titles as e-textbooks along with the largest catalog of e-resources and digital course materials.

The VitalSource Bookshelf platform is the most used e-textbook delivery platform in higher education with more than 4 million users across 6,000 campuses around the world. The company has deals with most of the major textbook publishers and the acquisition of CourseSmart will give them access to thousands of additional eTextbooks with a global footprint.

"We are pleased to make another investment in higher education and technology with the acquisition of CourseSmart," said John Ingram, Chairman and CEO, Ingram Content Group. "By integrating the strengths of CourseSmart with Vital Source, we are creating an extensive global sales channel for publishers and bringing the best in digital learning technology and accessibility to the higher education community. We are strengthening our services in the higher education market and reinforcing our commitment to helping publishers, institutions, educators and students navigate the evolving landscape of digital learning and succeed by providing them with content in any format."

Ingram Starts to Cornerstone the eTextbook Market with Acquisition of CourseSmart is a post from: Good e-Reader

OverDrive acquires

OverDrive announced today that it has acquired, a leading online marketplace for teacher-created curriculum materials for K-12 education. enables teachers to not only browse free and low-cost instructional resources, but also to create their own "shop" where others may purchase their original materials. The website operates with a "teachers helping teachers" mentality of engaging and educating students of all ages and optimizing the classroom experience. was founded by Debbie and Steve Esemplare as a way to solve a need in the education space for shared classroom resources and an easily-accessible, collaborative environment. Debbie is a former New York City kindergarten teacher and Steve is a software developer. Together, they have grown to be one of the most widely-used online marketplaces for teacher-created educational materials. Debbie and Steve will continue to lead efforts while leveraging OverDrive's reach in the K-12 market.

"This type of exposure for our shops is an absolutely amazing opportunity and something we could not pass up," said Debbie Esemplare. "Giving teacher authors the biggest platform we can to share their resources has always been, and will always be, one of our primary goals."

More than 550,000 teachers use as a collaboration, inspiration and marketplace hub for thousands of free curriculum materials as well as a growing catalog of more than 90,000 affordable educational resources aligned with Common Core state standards, subjects and targeted grade levels. Members of have access to products specific to their needs and classroom objectives. Those who create their own materials have the ability to open their own shop for free on the website for an opportunity to share their creations with the network and make a profit from their work.

Resources may be browsed and filtered by categories, such as art, homeschool, language, games, math or reading; by grade levels PreK through 12th grade; or by price. There are also daily deals, giveaways, teaching tips and a weekly newsletter that provides updates and special offers for members.

The acquisition gives exposure to OverDrive's network of schools and libraries seeking educational materials, and is an important avenue for OverDrive to understand and engage with teachers in the classroom. This agreement will further OverDrive's commitment and success in bringing eBooks and digital content into K-12 classrooms. will remain a stand-alone subsidiary of OverDrive and continue operations on


Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Don’t miss the annual spectacular For Dummies sale

ForDummiesSeriesWith more than 250 million books in print, the For Dummies series by Wiley is probably the most widely recognized reference series in the world. It's been around since 1991, and since that time has helped millions of us learn the basics of all kinds of subjects from knitting your first scarf to how to set up a home network, or better understand the Bible.

The concept of the series is simple: make difficult material interesting and easy to understand, add some comic relief and a strong dose of personality, and there you have it—a For Dummies book. If you haven't paid much attention to the series for a while, you may be missing some of the really fun titles available now that all the basics have been covered. How about Day Trading for Dummies, or Flipping Houses for Dummies, or Overcoming Binge Eating for Dummies, or even Dating After 50 for Dummies?

We're very excited to announce that for the month of March, 1,500 of these wildly popular For Dummies titles will be on sale to OverDrive customers. You'll buy these anyway, so make sure you do it now while the deal is on. At 30% off, you can save a ton of money, and this sale happens only once a year, so be sure not to miss the deadline.

Click the links below to shop now.

Most Popular For Dummies Titles

Dummies for Techies

Dummies School Collection

Dummies for Business, Finance & Careers

Dummies for Fitness, Food & Health

Dummies for Self-Improvement

Dummies for Language Learning

Dummies for Photography

All Dummies Titles on Sale


Cindy Orr is a Digital Collection Advisor at OverDrive.


Read Across America with Dr. Seuss eBooks and Audiobooks!

Every year over 45 million students around the U.S. celebrate Read Across America at the beginning of March. This holiday coincides with Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2) and is a day where schools host reading events and Seussian parties to inspire children to discover a love for reading. Dr.  Seuss' goal in life was to teach children the importance of creativity and imagination and Read Across America is a culmination of this effort.

seuss clockWhile I haven't been in school for some time, I still make a point of celebrating Read Across America. You see, I have a thing for Dr. Seuss. As I write this blog I'm drinking coffee from an Oh, The Places You'll Go! mug, looking at a One Fish, Two Fish clock and wearing a Green Eggs & Ham t-shirt. I even have a "Kid, you'll move mountains" tattoo! The words of Theodor Geisel were read to me as a child and I firmly believe they've had a lasting impression on my life—providing a love of both reading and whimsy. The stories of the Lorax, the Grinch, Horton, Yertle and the Cat and his hat helped to shape the person I've become and I can't thank my parents enough for introducing me to Dr. Seuss' worlds.

seuss mugYou can help the young readers in your community discover Dr. Seuss as well by adding some of the wonderful eBooks and audiobooks available in OverDrive Marketplace. These titles show the vivid imagery of Whoville and are read aloud by famous actors including Jason Alexander, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Crystal and many more. These titles are sure to excite readers old and young and what better time to add them to your collection than on the day we celebrate the doctor himself!


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive. He loves him some Seuss.


BlackBerry Claims Superiority Over Good Technology’s Security Solutions


BlackBerry is up against stiff competition from mobile security solutions provider Good Technology, besting BlackBerry's perceived lack of ability to deliver in a multi-platform environment, although BlackBerry claims they’ve been providing multi-platform support for almost 2 years now. The Canadian company backed that up with figures that show there have been 30,000 new BES servers installed around the world in the past year, compared to Good’s 5,000 customers.

California-based Good Technology has said their presence in this field can be considered a fallout of the unsatisfactory experience that customers have had with BlackBerry hardware and software. Its CEO, Christy Wyatt, has also expressed satisfaction over the way her company has evolved over the years and claims to be on a steady path of growth. However, Wyatt has stated that she wouldn’t like her company to be branded as a BlackBerry killer, especially since she hails from Canada.

BlackBerry has been more concerned with retaining its enterprise clients,  which may be the company’s comfort zone but entails adapting to a fast changing tech scene than what it was even a few years ago. They also have to adapt to customers bringing in their own devices based on different platforms but need to work seamlessly with the BlackBerry at work.

Good Technology acquired BoxTone, a mobile management firm which Wyatt claims to have cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, which shows they are looking towards the long run.

BlackBerry Claims Superiority Over Good Technology’s Security Solutions is a post from: Good e-Reader