Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3 Tips for Beautiful Presentations in PowerPoint 2013

In the past, we’ve written about general rules for making your PowerPoint presentations more readable and engaging. We’ve also covered tips for making beautiful, interesting-looking presentations. All of this advice is pretty general, and should work whether you’re using PowerPoint 2007, 2010, or 2013. After all, if you follow good design practices, you can make... Read More ›

Amazon Publishing Grows to Include German Language Titles

Amazon’s traditional publishing arm Amazon Publishing announced an exciting new feature today, stating that it will begin publishing German-language books under its label. This move will release titles acquired by the European Amazon Publishing division, releasing the books in all of Amazon’s markets.

Translation is one of the last great hurdles that many authors–especially self-published authors–face, due to the sometimes prohibitive price tag that comes with it. Authors like Judith Glynn, whose title A Collector of Affections is available in Spanish, invest in even a single-language translation of their works in order to sell them in key markets but often find the return on their investment to be even slower than with the original language.

"We've been delighted with the reader response to the German translations released by Amazon Publishing, and are excited to have Publisher Sarah Tomashek and her team in Munich supporting our efforts to bring great works written in German to a wider audience," said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President of Kindle, EU.

The company’s Amazon Crossing imprint is dedicated to bringing great works from around the world to appreciative audiences, regardless of geographic location. The move to bring German-language titles to broader audiences is no exception.

"Over the past five years, Amazon Publishing has worked hard to create an author-centric publishing experience that connects readers with outstanding fiction and non-fiction from around the world," said Sarah Jane Gunter, Director of International Publishing. "We're excited to expand the opportunities we can provide to German authors by acquiring and publishing works in German, building on the success we have had bringing top German authors to English-language readers through our AmazonCrossing translation imprint."

Amazon Publishing Grows to Include German Language Titles is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Request Audiobooks and Videos from your Library


As readers of eBooks continue to expand their reading preferences, they may find that their library or school doesn't offer digital audiobooks or videos. On the other side, a library or school may not know that their users are interested in these formats. How can people let their library or school know if they want titles in formats not offered?

The best way to request audiobooks or video is simply to ask. Readers can ask library staff members in person, over the phone, or via email. Many library websites offer a feedback or contact form to communicate with library staff.

Users of the OverDrive platform can easily make recommendations to their library or school for titles to add to the collection through a feature called "Recommend to Library." Recommend to Library allows users to expand search results or browse titles not yet in the library's collection but available for the library to purchase. For example, if a user searches for a favorite author and the library only offers a few of that author's titles, the user can click to view all the titles by that author that the library could purchase for the collection. As well with this feature, users can search for a specific title, and if it is not offered, click "Additional Titles to Recommend" on the search results page to see if the library has access to purchase it. This action will search the entire OverDrive catalog of hundreds of thousands titles available to that library or school. The user can then click "Recommend" and submit their recommendation to the library for consideration. The user can also request to be added to the waiting list if the library purchases it. If the title is purchased, the user will receive an email alert notifying them of the purchase, as well as a link to borrow the title if requested.

User recommendations are managed in the OverDrive admin system, allowing libraries to manually review and consider, or automatically purchase titles that meet certain criteria and/or fit within their budget. Many libraries have set aside a percentage of their digital collection budget solely to fill recommendations from users. It's an easy and effective way for libraries to continue building a collection that serves their community's interests.

Libraries have access to OverDrive's catalog of nearly 2 million titles in audiobook, eBook, music and video formats from more than 2,000 suppliers, spanning nearly every genre. Libraries build a custom collection to suit their needs and interests, and can purchase additional formats and copies at any time. Circulation reports are available for library staff to evaluate usage, borrowing habits, and demand for certain subjects and formats. This real-time data helps libraries determine how best to utilize their digital collection budget to ensure a high return on investment.

Libraries are always looking for opportunities to keep readers engaged. Stocking their virtual shelves with the formats and titles that their users want is possible through personal communication as well as automated tools available to facilitate the process for both the user and library or school.

How to Request Audiobooks and Videos from your Library is a post from: Good e-Reader

Trending Vending: Pi-powered custom Oreos

So you’re at SXSW. And you want an up-to-the-minute cookie. What could be nicer than a customised Oreo, filled, flavoured and printed with the aid of a Raspberry Pi (in such a way that you can watch what’s happening yourself) all depending on what’s trending on Twitter at the moment? Our good friend Matt Richardson from Make (check out his book, Getting Started with Raspberry Pi – it’s great) is here to tell you what it’s all about.

There are lots of Pis in evidence at SXSW this year. I’d like to draw your especial attention to Slashathon, a music hacking event headed up by this man:

Picture thieved from Wikipedia.

We’ve donated some Raspberry Pis for the event, and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens to them. If you’re at SXSW, let us know if you see any more Pis at work in the comments.


It’s a Marketplace makeover!

OverDrive is excited to announce the newest Marketplace release. This release includes a variety of new navigation options and features to reduce staff time and effort in managing your digital collection. We invite you to review the summary of changes below, and explore them for yourself.

  • The Marketplace tab structure has been refreshed to simplify the display of user options and tools:

The "Select Express" tools can now be found under the "SHOPPING" tab.

The "Invoicing" contact form can now be found under the "Support" tab.

A new tab, "ADMIN," has been added, which includes two subpages: 1) Library Site Admin where users with proper permissions can control settings specific to your public-facing website, and 2) Marketplace settings where users can adjust collection development and report-specific settings, as well as manage Marketplace users.

A new permission called "Library site admin" has been added to control access to this feature. Current users with the Preferences permission will automatically have this permission unless changed by the admin for your library or consortium.

From the new "ADMIN" tab, users with appropriate permissions can also access the Local Content tool as well as the information formerly on the "MARC" tab.

  • The ability to weed (and unweed) your collection is now available. This allows selectors to "hide" and "unhide" titles from your digital collection as needed. A new permission called "Weeding" has been added to control access to this feature. Current users with high-level permissions will automatically have this permission unless changed by the admin for your library or consortium.
  • In addition to weeding tools, we've introduced a new setting to help keep your collection current.  At the Library site admin page, you can manage a setting to automatically remove Metered Access content from your public-facing website upon expiration.
  • A new reporting option has been added to the Circulation activity report to help your library track where checkouts originate. If your library offers a Kids' or Teens' eReading Room or is using OverDrive's Circulation APIs, you can now track checkouts from these sources. In the report search criteria, these new options are found under "Borrowed from." Note: This data is available beginning February 1, 2014 forward.


  • Selectors can now move titles from one cart to a new or existing cart—a highly requested feature.
  • The Collection statistics and Current waiting list reports have been enhanced with new data and display options.

If you have any questions or need assistance with any of these new features, please contact your Account Specialist. To view a brief demonstration of the new navigation and features, click here.

Earn new Apple iPod Nano or Roku units

Who doesn't love free stuff? Now through March 31, for every $5,000 USD of MP3 Audiobooks your school or library orders through Marketplace, you will receive one of our OverDrive March MP3 Audiobook Prize Packs. The prize pack includes your choice of either an iPod Nano (16GB) or three Roku 1 units (for use with our upcoming OverDrive Library Roku channel!).


To qualify for the giveaway, all you have to do is log into Marketplace and select out of our 50,000+ MP3 audiobook selections, including the March Audiobook Sales with reduced pricing on over 250+ titles from 8 different suppliers. Or, you can check your Marketplace cart section for the "Top MP3 Audio" list of titles you do not have. Make sure to review the annual Audie Award finalists for this year's hottest audiobook titles. You can add titles to fill your MP3 Audiobook holds, or if you need some ideas, contact your Collection Development Specialist for a customized collection list.

new ipod nano


Contact us with any questions on how to qualify for this limited time offer for your OverDrive Audio Prize Pack!



*Prizes may vary depending on geographical location. Prizes will be calculated by April 4. Devices will be delivered by the end of April.  

Italy’s Mondadori Buys Social Reading Service Anobii

One concept in digital publishing that has tons of potential for greatness but that has yet to deliver on the capabilities is social reading. A number of different platforms are available that all seem to offer the same features: in text highlighting, quote sharing via social media, the ability to interact within the text with other readers, and more.

So with these capabilities, why aren’t more people delving into sharing thoughts and dialogue within the virtual pages of their ebooks? And what will breathe new life into a really interesting digital enhancement in order to encourage more consumers to see books on a global participation scale?

Italian publisher Mondadori announced this week that it has bought Hong Kong-based social reading service Anobii from Sainsbury’s in an effort to “put the readers at the center” of its publishing focus. This reader-centric attitude is something that many publishers around the world have been accused of losing sight of, and with the incorporation of social reading capabilities into its business model, hopefully this is a sign that publishers are going back to thinking of their clients first.

"The acquisition of Anobii," said Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori Group, in a press release on the acquisition, "reinforces our development strategy for books that perfectly represents its main focus of putting the reader at the centre. A platform that will enable us to listen to people is fundamental for digital development in book publishing and for the creation of the publishing house of the future."

With its user base of around one million users worldwide–about 300,000 of which are in Italy–Anobii was a great choice for Mondadori to work with, given the high percentage of users who are already likely Mondadori customers.

Italy’s Mondadori Buys Social Reading Service Anobii is a post from: Good e-Reader

PlayBook 2 Concept has Impressive Design Elements and Specs


Blackberry’s only attempt at a tablet device, the first gen PlayBook, has already lived its life though no replacement was ever made available. Now, almost three years later and with new management in place, we could finally see some movement taking placing here. Former CEO Thorsten Heins had virtually ruled out a PlayBook successor, at least for the near future. However, the earliest for such a tablet to become a reality will be not before 2015.

This timeline is understandable considering the mess that the company is in right now. Demand for its once famous BlackBerry line of smartphones has seen a sharp and steady decline and the company's revamped OS, the BB10, hasn’t exactly fared too well. Under the circumstances, investing a whole lot of resource into developing a PlayBook 2 could prove to be suicidal, more so when the tablet market itself is showing signs of slowing down as it settles into a more stable state.

Still, designer TheJelen has come up with a concept design of what the PlayBook 2 could be like when it’s launched. Apart from bearing a striking resemblance to the iPad Air with its narrow bezels along the edges, the device otherwise offers some excellent specifications. This includes a 2.3 Ghz Snapdragon quad core chip that works in conjugation with an Adreno 330 GPU and a 4 GB RAM. The last bit is interesting as this will allow the tablet to run as many as 16 apps simultaneously. As for internal storage, the tablet will offer 34 and 64 GB memory options with a micro sd card slot to allow addition of another 128 GB.

This concept has a 10 inch display, a departure from the 7 inch display that the first gen PlayBook came with. The Super AMOLED will offer a scintillating resolution of 2048 X 1536 pixels. The tablet comes with a front and rear 2 and 8 megapixel camera complete with flash. As for its power, that will be derived from a 10Ah battery with a run time of 10 hours.

Despite the impressive spec sheet, to launch a device with these bells and whistles is one thing, but making it palatable for consumers is a completely different ballgame. Customers who part with the few hundred dollars will no doubt want to put those RAMs to use. In other words, the lack of suitable apps has plagued BlackBerry devices in the past and the problem could be repeated if corrective measures aren't in place. Their recent move to allow BlackBerry World to accept Android apps is definitely a step in the right direction.

PlayBook 2 Concept has Impressive Design Elements and Specs is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBooks India to Help Authors Ride Self Publishing Boom


With e-book consumption hitting high growth in India, a natural fallout has been a sharp rise in authors self-publishing their works. The benefits are all too obvious as the author gets to exert complete control over the entire publishing process, not to mention the often tedious chore of having to court publishers to get their works published otherwise. Authors have a lot to benefit on the financial front as well, what with the nearly 70 percent royalty that they earn against the 5-10 percent that traditional publishers generally offer. Indians authors may have woken up to this trend much later than their western counterparts, but are already making up for that by adopting self-publishing at a feverish pace.

Not surprisingly, sites that aim to help the not so tech savvy authors have also come up to assist authors with self-publishing. eBooks India provides the author with tips and tricks on ways to not only digitally publish their works but to also promote them; the latter is important so as not to end up lying buried underneath the pile of self-published titles. As Hiten Vyas, founder of the site puts it, one of the inherent positive qualities of his site is that it is updated daily with the latest trends witnessed in the field of self-publishing. Hiten being an author himself is also of immense help as well. The site covers fiction, non-fiction. and business writing. The site also covers the changing technological trends in the ebook industry, reviews of ebooks and ebook reading apps, and more.

“Self-publishing e-books is a lot of fun. However, it is hard work, takes persistence and dedication to succeed. When you decide to publish your own work, you take complete responsibility for everything, from writing, to editing, to creating cover designs, to uploading with self-publishing platforms and then marketing and sales. You also have to ensure that each step of the self-publishing process is done well. This means getting your work professionally edited and proofread and ensuring that the quality, look and feel or the e-book is equal to, or exceeds that of a title that has been traditionally published.

“With the right effort and patience, a writer will begin to see sales of his or her e-books. Having more titles to your name can help increase sales, as you leave your blueprint across more online retailers and websites and blogs. This enables more readers to find your work. Writing e-books in a series can also be useful. My own experience with writing a series are that many readers will end up buying all the titles in your series if they liked the first one they read,” said Hiten.

Self-publishing is being brought into the mainstream against the belief that this segment generally caters to those whose works have been rejected by the traditional publishers. A rough estimate pegs the number of manuscripts that print publishers get in a year at anywhere between 2000–3000, but only about 250 books are eventually published in the end. Self-publishing is the natural choice for those who have been left out.

It’s proved to be the other way around for some authors like Amish Tripathi, who chose to self-publish his first book, The Immortals of Meluha, after having being rejected by nearly 20 publishers. The tables turned once the book proved to be a raging success that led the publishers to make a beeline for Tripathi.

eBooks India to Help Authors Ride Self Publishing Boom is a post from: Good e-Reader

What if I wrote a book?

For the last couple years, I’ve been answering your science questions on What If.

Today, I’m excited to announce that the What If? book is coming!

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions will be published September 2nd by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Starting today you can pre-order it from your favorite bookseller (Barnes & NobleAmazonIndie Bound).  There are also foreign editions, including a UK and Commonwealth edition and a German edition.

As I’ve sifted through the letters submitted to What If every week, I’ve occasionally set aside particularly neat questions that I wanted to spend a little more time on. This book features my answers to those questions, along with revised and updated versions of some of my favorite articles from the site. (I’m also including my personal list of the weirdest questions people have submitted.)

Preorder today to get a copy as soon as it comes out!