Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week – March 11 2014


This week a number of new apps and games have come out. One of the more interesting aspects of this week, is the varied kinds of apps and games. Mobage has a new one and a number of mainstream games have been released, lets look at the best new apps.

Agro – Agro provides a riveting mix of luck and light strategy by combining uniquely-skilled heroes with pinball-inspired gameplay.

FashiolistaFashiolista helps you save & share your greatest fashion finds from all over the web. Browsing other people's fashion finds is a great way to get fresh inspiration. Discover the style of top fashion bloggers and influencers from all over the world.

Blue Jeans – Blue Jeans makes business quality video conferencing easy, accessible and affordable. The Blue Jeans app works with the Blue Jeans service to provide true universal, multi-party video calls on the go with a variety of video conference systems such as Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, Tely, Microsoft Lync, and more. With the Blue Jeans app, users can host or join video conferences from anywhere. Blue Jeans helps businesses of all sizes have collaborative, productive and engaging meetings without the hassle or expense of dedicated hardware.

Spermy’s Journey – Help Average Joe and his friends (The Mailman, The Cable Guy, The Athlete and the IronPants Tech Geek) in their race for reproduction. Use your speed and stamina to reach the egg before dying and killing off mankind. Ok, so maybe that is a little dramatic, but this is one fast paced sperm racing game that you don't want to miss.

Top Gear : Race the Stig – Dodge traffic, jump caravans and speed through famous Top Gear locations in an epic race that will push you to your limits as you go head-to-head with The Stig.

iM5 – M5 is a social application to inspire real-life action through the sharing of ideas. It can be anything from discovering cool things happening in your area, achieving personal goals, or collaborating to create social change. This is your daily go-to app for anything you want to do.

Roll Up The Rim To Win 2014 – No purchase necessary. Game ends on 4/25/14 or while contest cup supplies last, whichever occurs first. All prize claims must be redeemed by 5/18/14. PRIZES are regionally distributed across North America. Cups will have either a Standard Roll Prize or a Bonus Roll Prize or no prize at all. Cups will not have both a Standard Roll Prize and a Bonus Roll Prize.

Cristiano Ronaldo Footy – Cristiano Ronaldo Footy! – The official football game from team Ronaldo. Show off your Football skills in a spectacular 3D action football (soccer) game. There are new Leagues to climb, powerful special moves, customizable teams, and much more!

Talking Larry the Bird Free – Unleash your inner musician by making Larry whistle along to everything you play – and share your amazing songs on Facebook or YouTube!

Car Fiend – Car Fiend is a free, fun way to share your automotive passion. Browse and post photos, link to videos, and fill your virtual garage with the ultimate car collection. From American muscle to vintage Concours Italian – and everything in between – Car Fiend is the home for all car enthusiasts.

Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week – March 11 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

China’s eBook Space Comes into its Own

digi pub china
As more ebook retailers continue to work towards abandoning ship in the US, a global marketplace will become even more important than ever for authors and retailers. With successful and high-volume markets for digital reading already established in countries around the world, an even greater focus on digital publishing is still important.

One of the most difficult but content-starved countries where retailers can maximize their promotional efforts is China. While the ebook space is still rather small compared to both population size and device penetration, consumers within the country are quickly playing catch up to countries who were early adopters of the format.

Unfortunately, China is still a landscape that confounds publishers, despite the abundance of English-language consumers who could presumably purchase ebooks. Publishers have been asking for far too long how to go about bringing content within the borders, and are still just as far from setting up shop as they have been all along.

In an article on the Chinese ebook space for Futurebook, Patrick Crowley sums it up: “What became clear to us very quickly is that the market in China is quite fragmented. There are a number of industries in the hunt for e-book revenues: online retailers, hardware manufacturers, social networks, telecom operators, search engines and even traditional brick-and-mortar stores…China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation or CNPIEC regulates over 90% of the publishing content available in the marketplace. CNPIEC is a vital cog in the Chinese publishing market. They have been the leader in importing and exporting printed books to China for some time. CNPIEC recently made a major commitment to build and market an e-book publishing platform for both Chinese and other than Chinese language titles to the institutional market in China. That platform is now active.”

With opportunities going by the wayside in the US under Amazon’s dominance of the market, smart digital retailers, publishers, and authors will have to learn to adapt to a brand-new marketplace in order to reach an audience hungry for content.

China’s eBook Space Comes into its Own is a post from: Good e-Reader

Indie eBooks Need to be Segregated


Industry analysts are claiming that by 2020 50% of all digital books will be written by indie authors. This is going to create massive problems for online bookstores who constantly wrestle with eBook discovery. Simply put, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo did not design their systems to take into account 25,000 new indie titles submitted to their services every month. They were designed for traditional publishers. Without spending hundreds of millions of dollars in redesigning their entire infrastructure, there is a simpler, more elegant solution. Indie authors need to have their books segregated from traditionally published books.

Traditional publishers are beginning to feel a financial pinch due to the dirge of self-published eBooks. Recently Harlequin stated, “The proliferation of less expensive, and free, self-published works could negatively impact Harlequin's revenues in the future.” Self-Published books have basically forced the company to shed staff and overhead costs in order to remain competitive.

Forget 2020, right now the onslaught of self-published titles is causing chaos in online bookstores all over the world.  Last October a massive firestorm erupted due to hundreds of adult eBooks with topics ranging from threesomes to incest were being listed in the same category as kids’ books. Major booksellers such as WH Smith shuttered their digital bookstores, resulting in thousands of customers unable to buy books at all. This was basically a Kobo problem, since WH Smith actually has a license with Kobo to sell digital books.  Not only did Kobo get dissected by mainstream media, but they pissed off authors by deleting over one thousand titles from vanity presses and their own Writing Life platform.

Amazon, Barnes  and Noble, and Kobo all have self-publishing platforms that allow writers to submit content right to their websites. Other companies such as Smashwords and LULU have distributing programs that allow their own pool of authors to submit content. There is no quality and control over the books when they are put up for sale, other than abiding by general formatting principles. Since there is no vetting process, there are hundreds of thousands of indie titles listed side by side with traditional publishing.

Not only do we have a massive problem with adult content still creating problems in every  major bookstore, but eBook discovery is also being hampered. Indie writers are using keywords they shouldn’t use. Instead of being realistic they are using keywords from other popular books so they show up when customers do search queries for existing titles.  Amazon is actually cracking down on this process, but there are too many titles being uploaded to manually get them all.

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about self-publishers not being considered real authors. You are only considered a real author if you can make your living solely from the book sales. If you can’t, you are merely a writer, which is still fine. The reason I wrote that post is the industry needs to define the good writers from the bad. The primary way we can do this is by sales figures; if authors make their living from publishing, they are often considered good writers.  Once we can define a good writer from a bad, we can start to segregate them.

All major bookstores have indie titles listed side by side traditionally published books. Normally, traditionally published books have an expectation of quality in editing, cover art, formating, and foreign translations. I am not saying all traditionally published books are good, but there is some expectation of quality in being able to read it. Indie titles have no quality and control, often they are merely submitting a Word document to Amazon and clicking publish. Having indie books listed alongside properly published books is causing massive issues.

My suggestion  is for all major online bookstores that take submitted indie content to create their own sections for self-published writers. These titles should not be listed side by side with the traditional press.  Indie titles should have their own dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore.  This idea has merit as every single sports organization in the world as the minor leagues and the big leagues. The minor leagues hone talent and develop them into good athletes who eventually get the call up.

Once you can separate indie authors from traditional published ones,  it will solve a ton of issues facing the publishing industry. You will solve the problem of eBook discovery and readers will once again find a solid read faster. Searching algorithms do not have to be totally redone, you just need to have one for indie titles and one for real books.  You will not have adult XXX content listed in the kids section or have people stuffing their books with negative keywords. Traditional publishers will seem more appealing and they can tap into the draft pool of indie writers to sign them to long-term book deals. Finally, the issue of Public Domain Books being repackaged as new books will be squashed for good.

If bookstores do not segregate self-published writers their entire ecosystems will be ruined. There will be so many titles listed on their bookstores that you will not be able to casually browse your favorite genre, hoping to find a good read. Take Smashwords for example, what normal human being browses that bookstore to buy and read books? It is a cesspool of poorly edited, poorly written and has no quality or control. These same books are being distributed to every major bookstore, basically creating huge problems. Right now, check out the Amazon bookstore in the Romance section. Even on page 1 is nothing but self-published books, with terrible cover art. These titles need to be culled, ASAP.

Indie eBooks Need to be Segregated is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook Search Site Al Kutub to be Launched Soon


Al Kutub is the latest site for the Middle-east all dealing with ebooks, but what makes Al Kutub different from the rest is that the site acts more as a search engine rather than actually hosting the digital books on its servers. It functions by initiating an online search for the requested title and procures it from multiple sources such as forums, sellers, or even social sites such as Facebook. It’s designed to display the ebooks using iframe technology, where Arabic language titles are shown in PDF format.

Users won't be aware of where the ebook has been sourced from; they won't even be served the link of the ebook source, which is a clever move as this will ensure users remain tied to the Al Kutub site. Nevertheless, the venture has already attracted a lot of attention, having garnered a subscriber base of more than 10,000 in just a span of 12 days. Mohammed Nemat Allah, who has been associated with Al Kutub for the past three years, has stated they plan to build a database of 120,000 or more titles, which will also include audiobooks as well. Nemat Allah is also confident that their business model is perfectly safe, claiming anyone who has issues with the books showing up on his site can go remove the ebook from the source site first.

Al Kutub has a four tier usage model where users won't be charged anything for reading and downloading scanned copies. Soon users will be charged on a periodic basis for reading and downloading the books. Users will also have the option of placing an order for the paperback version of the ebook via Al Kutub. Lastly, users will be able to place an order for the paper version from Sour Al Uzbakiya, which happens to be a book hub in Egypt that hosts some of the oldest and rarest books from the region.

Al Kutub also has other ambitious plans which include launching a social networking service having its own messaging and notification center. There will be a reading group where members can engage in discussions pertaining to books. The site will also let users read or borrow content online, while making such activity (including comments) visible to everyone or set to private friends. Nemat Allah also revealed a plan to diversify to other languages such English, German, Spanish, and Chinese in future. The site is currently in its beta stages and the final version will be launched soon. An iOS and Android Al Kutub app will be made available.

eBook Search Site Al Kutub to be Launched Soon is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Developing New Customer Service Program – Click 2 Call

kobo customer service

Kobo has consistently been rated one of the worst companies to deal with for customer service issues. The Canadian based company realizes they are doing a poor job and are secretly developing a new program called “Click 2 Call.”

The Leaked document says “In our ongoing effort to improve our Customer Experience, we are pleased to announce the introduction of the next phase of our customer contact strategy: Click 2 Call. Kobo Customer Care will introduce this new approach starting with our customers in English markets, then expanding to include all our supported languages. We will begin with North America on March 20th, 2014.”

What will this new program accomplish? Reducing call times: The agent will have all the customer’s information on hand and will not need to spend valuable time collecting it. There will also be Reduced hold times: The agent will be able to investigate and troubleshoot the issue prior to calling the customer. All of these new features collectively will make it easier on the customer to not always have to give their data out, each time they speak to an agent.

The new customer service portal is in testing HERE . It basically asks you for your Kobo account details and what version of the Kobo e-Reader or app you are using. Since Kobo devices are sold all over the world, it even prompts you to choose from a drop down menu where you purchased it from. There are different support options for you to correspond with agents. You can talk to them on the telephone, chat with them online, or engage in email support.

I think this new Kobo customer service solution is a step in the right direction. There has been a thousand horror stories of getting lost in the existing infrastructure. It is basically a merry-go-round of getting bounced to different tiers of agents, who often never return the calls.

Kobo Developing New Customer Service Program – Click 2 Call is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Signs New Deal with Sesame Workshop


Kobo has just inked a new deal with  Sesame Workshop to make Sesame Street eBook titles available through the Kobo Kids Bookstore. Through the agreement, more than 50 Sesame Street titles including The Monster at the End of This Book, Count to 10, and How To Be A Grouch are available worldwide starting today at the Kids’ Store.

"As it is one of the most popular reading devices around the world, we are excited to launch Sesame Street eBooks on Kobo," said Jennifer A. Perry, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing, Sesame Workshop. "We aim to reach children everywhere and our Sesame Street collection gives children and parents opportunities to read together, engage with favorite Sesame Street friends and learn wherever they may go with their Kobo device."

Kobo’s Kids Store, offering nearly 100,000 titles, makes it easier to find the next great book for children and young adult Readers, with the latest bestselling series, Read Along books, and colourful picture-books.

Kobo offers parents the ability to set up dedicated accounts for their kids so that they can safely explore the amazing books within the Kobo eBookstore. Kobo gives parents the ability to set spending allowances for their kids, pre-select eBooks, and adjust search settings to keep their kids reading safely. Parents can also set reading goals for kids and track their progress with engaging reading stats – all features designed to make eReading an educational, fun, and friendly experience. The dedicated Kids’ Store is currently available in North America.

Kobo Signs New Deal with Sesame Workshop is a post from: Good e-Reader

Bitcoin farming – on a industrial scale

Jetlag’s grim. As you’ll have gathered from Ben’s post on Monday, I found that I was so tired on Monday I couldn’t speak coherently, much less read or write. So I ended up spending the day going through some YouTube videos I’d been pointed at, having decided that this required less energy than typing.

One in particular demanded to be shared.

Here’s a segment from KOMO 4, a Seattle news station. Last week’s news about the collapse of Mt Gox, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, has meant that there’s been lots media interest in Bitcoin, and this video talks about what it is…and, in doing so, visits one of the US’s biggest Bitcoin farms. We were struck dumb (really – jaws resting on chests, drooling slightly) when we saw the footage of how they’re mining: that’s an awful lot of Pis, and even more ASIC miners. We don’t think we’ve seen so many Raspberry Pis in one place outside the factory in Wales where they’re made. Fast forward to 3:08 for a detailed look.




PubSmartcon: Reenvisioning the Writer’s Conference

Writers’ conferences have long been a source of networking and support for authors looking to hone their crafts and develop their business acumen for life in the publishing industry. One of the biggest lures to attract writers to conferences has always been well-known keynote speakers selected from top literary agents and publishers. Even better, many conferences offer authors the chance to meet an agent face-to-face and submit their manuscripts for critique…for a hefty fee, of course.

But now that authors are reimagining what publishing success looks like, conference organizers are finding that paying hundreds of dollars to have an agent peruse their work simply isn’t the draw it used to be back when several rounds of gatekeepers controlled the puppet strings on a book. Now, drawing companies like Pubslush, authors like Hugh Howey, and industry watchers like Porter Anderson are a bigger incentive to career-minded writers for the information they can share.

PubSmartCon, a writers’ conference held in Charlotte, NC, next month, has shifted the focus away from desperately seeking an agent or publisher and chosen to focus instead of building in time for authors to network, both with big names in the industry and with their fellow in-the-trenches writers to uncover their keys to success.

Miral Sattar, CEO of BiblioCrunch who will be speaking and exhibiting at the event, said, “Authors are looking for conferences that help them get the tools and skills to successfully sekf-publish and market their books. They are forgoing conferences that charge them several hundred dollars.” These authors also have vital resources such as Meetups and free conferences like February’s IndieRecon, which had over 18,000 attendees.

“Publishers are also looking to successful indie authors to learn how to market self-published books,” continued Sattar.

While still offering authors looking for information and critiques from the traditional industry an outlet for discovery, PubSmartCon has encouraged experts and authors from every dimension of publishing to come together at the event. With 50 faculty members and 30 exhibitors from companies within the industry taking part, the event is looking towards being an all-encompassing solution for authors, regardless of their publishing plans.

PubSmartcon: Reenvisioning the Writer’s Conference is a post from: Good e-Reader

Familiarize yourself with your digital collection

An ILS can make the task of staying familiar with your analog collection a cinch for library staff, but what about your digital collection? OverDrive has the tools you need to keep yourself up to date on your growing digital collection. In your Marketplace account you can look at the varying reports available to you.

The library statistic report is a great way to take a quick look at your digital collection. In this report you can view the following: how many titles you own based on format and lending model, what simultaneous use plans you own that are expiring, how many checkouts you've had, how many holds your collection has had, and more.

MP Reports

If you have questions about running your library statistics report contact your Collection Development Specialist or email collectionteam@overdrive.com.


Laura Guldeman is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.



Welcome to the newest member of the Raspberry Pi family!

If you’ve emailed our info@ address in the last year, spoken to us about trademarks or talked to us on Facebook or G+, you’ll have bumped into the indefatigable Lorna. She went on maternity leave a couple of weeks ago, and today she had a little boy. Welcome to the Pi family, Ronan Peter: we’re very pleased to meet you!

Come see our upcoming Roku channel and more at PLA

Heading to Indianapolis? We will be showcasing our 2014 updated offerings at the Public Library Association Conference (PLA), including an ever-growing eBook catalog and effective features and tools to reach even more of the community. Stop by booth #721 to see demonstrations of the upcoming OverDrive Roku channel, the kids' eReading Room for public libraries, enhanced eBooks, Streaming Video, OverDrive Media Station (OMS) and much more.

Every hour on the hour, OverDrive will host presentations in the booth. New this year, publisher representatives from Workman Publishing Co., Oasis Audio, Sourcebooks, Tantor Media and Blackstone Audio will join OverDrive staff in select sessions to update partners on the latest available content and what to expect for 2014. At the conclusion of each presentation, a Roku streaming media receiver will be raffled off for those who attended.

The OverDrive Roku channel – coming later this year – will allow patrons to borrow audio and video titles from their library's catalog on their home television set. A Roku receiver will be set up in the booth for live demonstrations to show library staff members how this will work with their current collection of OverDrive MP3 audiobooks and Streaming Video. PLA attendees can also see a demonstration of "enhanced eBooks," which are expected later in 2014 and will incorporate synchronized audiobooks and text, interactive pages, fixed layout titles, and multimedia based on industry-standard EPUB3 and other formats.

In addition, attendees can participate in hands-on exploration of three other recently added features:

  • OverDrive Media Station, an in-library touchscreen kiosk that facilitates discovery and enables browsing, sampling and sending titles to devices for checkout.
  • The kids' eReading Room, a safe haven for young readers browsing the digital catalog, filters age-appropriate material and is seamlessly integrated into the library's existing website.
  • Multilingual websites and non-English titles are also available.

OverDrive representatives will be on-hand to explain how all of these features can help you to reach and engage more readers in the local community. We're looking forward to seeing you at PLA!


Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Get a sneak peek at our new website

Take a look at our upcoming redesign with a sneak peek of our homepage!