Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kobo Successfully Combats Canadian Government Mandate for eBook Settlement


Three weeks ago, the Commissioner of Competition in Canada mandated to Kobo that it had 40 days to re-negotiate contracts with Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Hachette. The Government is basically forcing Kobo to abandon the agency model of eBook pricing. Kobo is currently engaged in a legal battle and has been granted a Stay while their case is being made.

Michael Osborne is a lawyer in Toronto, Canada and has been analyzing the case. He mentioned that “Kobo is arguing that its contracts with the four publishers, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster, will be fundamentally altered or terminated because of the settlement, and that it will lose money. Kobo claims that a similar settlement in the US led it to close a US office and refocus on other markets. Kobo claims that it also led another eBook company, Sony, to exit the market, and caused Barnes & Nobles’ “NOOK” eBook division to become unprofitable.”

Many people do not know that Kobo originated from an Indigo pet project called Shortcovers. When Kobo first launched its eBook store and start to manufacture e-readers, Indigo was a principle investor, kicking in almost 100 million dollars. When Kobo was sold to Japenese e-commence giant Rakuten, Indigo pocked 300 million from their stake in the company. The two companies have been close ever since and the largest Canadian bookstore has just filed a leave to intervene in the case. CEO Heather Reisman says, in an affidavit, that the settlement threatens to give Amazon a monopoly or near monopoly over the sale of eBooks in Canada.

The Competition Bureau, in its response, contends that Kobo is simply trying to protect the guaranteed 30% margin it has under its existing contracts, and keep prices from falling.

So what exactly is the deal with this entire court room saga? The Canadian government wants to force Kobo to iron out new contracts with Hachette, Macmillan, Harper Collins and others. If they can't do it in 40 days the existing ones will be void and Kobo will be forced to remove thousands of books from their bookstore. Without a full catalog of eBooks from all of the Canadian publishers "Kobo would be an ineffective competitor. Customers choose eBooks and e-Readers based on the breadth of their catalogs". If Kobo lost any of these "they would cease to be a credible player in the market place." Conversely, if Kobo accepts the amendments and shifts it operations to Agency-Lite, it will suffer unrecoverable losses.

It will be interesting to see the way this all plays out. We might be in for a drawn out legal battle that could decide the fate of the Canadian eBook market.

Kobo Successfully Combats Canadian Government Mandate for eBook Settlement is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Publishing Outlines Growth Strategy for 2014


Jeff Belle, VP of Amazon Publishing recently sent a memo to literary agents outlining the companies  intentions for 2014.  Hiring more people is a key element with 70 people earmarked for positions in Seattle, New York, Luxembourg, London, and Munich.

Expansion out of North America is one of the primary vehicles Amazon is employing to publish more books and rope in more authors.  Recently they signed a publishing deal in Germany to put out over 200 titles this year . "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 United Kingdom is another strong growth sector for Amazon. The company plans to roll out 500 titles this year from local authors and simultaneous releases from US based books.  Amazon has playing an active role in bidding on upcoming titles and making acquisitions.  They recently made a  five-figure deal at auction for Cath Quinn's thriller The Thief Taker, through Sheil Land Associates agent Piers Blofeld, and a deal for Mark Edwards and Louise Voss' From the Cradle, through Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge & White.

Amazon Publishing currently has 15 different imprints that span every single genre.  In order to build demand for their upcoming titles the company launched the Kindle First program late last year. It allows Prime members to download pre-publication eBooks for the paltry price of $1.99.  This not only appeals to bookworms, but also people who want to beat the competition for comprehensive book reviews.

Getting books published by Amazon into readers hands has been a tricky proposition. Barnes and Noble outright refused to stock any of their print books in their bookstores and Indigo in Canada followed suit. Many agents and industry veterans see big problems with the largest online bookseller disrupting the traditional publishing industry. Still, some of the books published under the Amazon imprints sell really well. Helen Bryan, author of historical novels War Brides (2012) and The Sisterhood (2013), has become the second Amazon Publishing author to sell one million copies in combined print, audio, and Kindle editions worldwide. In July 2013, Amazon Publishing author Oliver Pötzsch crossed the one million copy threshold with his critically acclaimed Hangman's Daughter series.

Amazon Publishing Outlines Growth Strategy for 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble Explains Nook Press Expansion


Barnes and Noble launched the Nook Press self-publishing system back in April of 2013. The intention behind the second generation platform was to allow for eventual expansion and have the hooks in place for localized content. All of the hard work has paid off, as the company has expanded into UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Launching in many different countries simultaneously is no easy task. Nook Press needed to be augmented for localized content, so a self-publisher in France as an entirely French interface. Currently, only EPUB 2 titles can be uploaded, with no timeline on rich media content for kids books, or eTextbooks.

Nook Press has now truly gone global with the ability for any writer to distribute their work either in one particular market or have it available to be purchased in all markets. Authors will receive royalties in local currency, whether sterling or euros, at rates "competitive" with Amazon and Kobo programs. Authors who choose to price books in the sweet spot between £1.50-£7.99 will receive 65% of the list price for sold content. For books priced below or above (as low as 75p, as high as £120.00), the royalty drops to 40%. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing authors receive 70% royalty if their books are priced between £1.49 and £7.81 but e-books priced outside this range will only yield 35% royalty rate. Kobo pays a 70% royalty on e-books priced between $1.99 and $12.99, and a 45% royalty on e-books below $1.99 or above $12.99." There will be a 60 day payment cycle for authors who earn money with the platform.

Nook Press is not exclusively reserved for self-published authors. Small, medium or boutique publishers are more than welcome to use the platform to upload their catalog. The platform is not really designed for bulk submissions, so adding a hundred books can be tedious.

In order to fuel expansion the self-publishing unit at Barnes and Noble had to increase. The company has been making strategic hires at the New York office to deal with publishers and authors. Although it is not publicized, the bulk of European operations will occur at the Luxemburg office. This is where the majority of new hires are taking place and the staff will be traveling to the new markets to promote it.

How exactly does Nook intend on promoting their self-publishing system in all of the new European markets? Theresa Horner, VP, Digital Content at Barnes & Noble told Good e-Reader that “We want to start working more closely with authors groups, self-published organizations and writers groups in those European countries. Our focus is to market directly to writers and see what our level of success is.”

One example of Nook Press promotion is happening in the UK this weekend at the Oxford Literary Festival.  They are making Nook a marquee event with a special emphasis on running a series of workshops for writers.  One can’t miss session is the "introduction to self-publishing with Nook," which is billed as "a free, fun and informative interactive session for authors" which will take place on Sunday 23rd March, at noon and Wednesday 25th March at 3:00pm and 6:30 pm.  Barnes & Noble will also have a booth in the Digital Zone at the upcoming London Book Fair, which takes place April 8-10. Attendees can learn about NOOK and view demos of NOOK Press.

One burning question people have been asking is how do customers buy and read Nook Press titles? If you live in the USA or UK, you can buy a Nook e-reader or tablet. There is also an Android, iOS and Windows app to procure new content. If you live in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, the Windows 8 app is the only way to purchase and read books. Currently, Barnes and Noble does not have an official online presence, such as The companies official apps, such as Android or iOS, are geo-restricted to only readers living in the US.

The reliance on Windows 8 is a double edged sword right now. Microsoft and Nook updated their agreement to allow Nook to kill its Windows 8 app, according to an SEC filing first reported by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. Microsoft is developing their own own e-reading app, based on Nook technology, called the Microsoft Consumer Reader. In effect, Nook might be going down the path of Bluefire in outsourcing their tech for other companies to license.

Barnes and Noble Explains Nook Press Expansion is a post from: Good e-Reader

Lots of People Unhappy with Sony Sending Accounts to Kobo

Today Sony sent out another email about the Sony Reader ebook store closing tomorrow on March 20th. The email doesn’t contain any new information or give a specific date when the transition to Kobo will commence. It just basically says to expect an email with a link to transfer your account over to Kobo in […]

All-new OverDrive Help is live

We are pleased to announce that the all-new OverDrive Help site is now live! Head over the to check it out—we hope you like the modern design, streamlined navigation options, and quick links to help resources for getting started, troubleshooting, and more. You can now also search through our database of help articles, videos, and compatible device profiles, all in one place. To learn more about the new OverDrive Help site, watch our 10-minute demo of how the site works–and then make sure to visit OverDrive Help and experience it for yourself.

You can also learn more about this transition by revisiting Quinton’s detailed preview of the new OverDrive Help site.

Just as a reminder, if you previously linked directly to any of our help articles from your own help materials, you'll want to update those links, since all our help articles have new URLs.

We hope you and your users enjoy the all-new OverDrive Help site, and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.

New PlayBook Update in the Works, BlackBerry Bridge Update Available


BlackBerry is reported to have come up with an update to its Bridge app but, it's not expected to be an extensive update. The last news of an update to the BlackBerry Bridge was late February when a minor update to fix a notification issue was released. It's not yet known what this latest update is about.

However, in what should be even more exciting news for current PlayBook owners, the company is said to be in the advanced stages of launching an update for the tablet. BlackBerry has practically disowned the PlayBook, so any new updates were unexpected. There have been some recent rumors about BlackBerry contemplating a sequel to the PlayBook in 2015, though. The update for PlayBook won't bring the OS to BB10, however, something that has been ruled out categorically by the ex-CEO Thorsten Heins.

More details about the update are expected.

via crackberry, berryreview

New PlayBook Update in the Works, BlackBerry Bridge Update Available is a post from: Good e-Reader

PODG eBooks Now Available on Flipkart in India


Publish On Demand Global (PODG) today announced a partnership with to offer all digital content from PODG networks for sale in India. The deal allows PODG to tap into the vast market of English speakers in India. The deal was finalized during the Word Book Fair held in New Delhi a few weeks ago.

"It has been three weeks since we left Delhi and our books are already live on which is stellar. Deals never happened this fast in China. With a market size of 1.2 billion and a literacy rate of 74% and growing India could very well be the next China for the US publishing industry," stated Managing Director of PODG, Kait Neese.

Flipkart has emerged as the biggest online retailer in India and controls a commanding 75 percent of the ebook market in the country. eBooks sourced from the online retailer can be read on iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices using the company's app. The deal will also help PODG establish itself as one of the largest content distributor networks of books, both digital and print, already providing services to about 10,000 authors and publishers from around the world.

PODG eBooks Now Available on Flipkart in India is a post from: Good e-Reader

Spring and summer marketing preview

Spring is coming for the northern hemisphere! Hard to believe if you're in one of the many areas still covered in snow, but the calendar tells me it's true. With spring, we have many things to celebrate and many ways to help promote your digital collection at the same time. Last month, I wrote about our seasonal promotional materials for Winter. This month, I'd like to share a preview of what you can find in our seasonal promotional kits for Spring (March – May) and Summer (June – August).

Spring (March – May)

Women's History Month

  • Social media graphic (403×403)
  • 8.5×11 flyer with editable URL to add a link to your OverDrive collection

Spring into eBooks

  • Facebook cover photo graphic (851×315)
  • Social media graphic (2 designs; both 404×404)
  • Four bookmark styles, which include multiple per page bookmark sheets with editable URLs


  • Social media graphic (403×403)
  • 8.5×11 flyer with editable URL

Mother's Day

  • Social media graphic (403×403)

Summer (June – August)

Summer Reading

  • Library and K-12 Summer Reading Kits
    • Social media graphics (2 designs; both 404×404)
    • Web graphics (2 designs; both 300×250)
    • Facebook cover photo graphic (851×315)
    • Two 8.5×11 flyers with editable URLs

The K-12 flyers feature stock images of children and the library flyers feature adults.

Graduation season

  • Social media graphic (403×403)
  • 8.5×11 flyer with editable URL

Father's Day

  • Social media graphic (403×403)

Expect more materials to be added to the Spring and Summer  "promo packs" over the next few weeks and months! Remember, there are always opportunities to promote your digital collection and help increase your circulation. Need more ideas? Make sure you browse the many offerings in the Partner Portal and keep up with our blogs. Contact your Account Specialist with any questions!


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Hot Topics and Current Affairs – Nuclear Energy

My father has worked in nuclear power plants for over 30 years, so nuclear energy was very common topic of conversation in my home growing up. For decades, the use of nuclear power has been highly debated and has caused a great deal of controversy. The month of March marks both the anniversaries of the Three Mile Island accident and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster so the debate has recently been making headlines and stirring emotions.


Whatever your personal opinion may be, I think we can all agree that this is an important and fascinating subject to study.  We have created a list of popular titles dealing with nuclear power and energy that are available for purchase in Marketplace. These titles would make a great addition to a science class curriculum, a current events library display, and I think the title Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen would make for a very interesting Book Club discussion.


Nuclear Energy


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.


Timelapse tutorial from Carrie Anne’s Geek Gurl Diaries

Even though Carrie Anne Philbin is working here at Pi Towers now, she’s still carrying on with the Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube channel that she set up before she joined us – for which we’re all profoundly grateful, because her videos are some of the best tutorials we’ve seen.

Here’s the latest from Carrie Anne: a tutorial on setting up the camera board, making timelapse video, and creating animations.

Are you a primary or secondary teacher in the UK? Would you like two days of free CPD from Carrie Anne and the rest of our superstar education team? You’ll get to come here to Pi Towers, meet all of us, and learn about the many ways you can use the Raspberry Pi in the classroom. Apply here - we’d love to hear from you.

Apple Re-launches iPad 4 as Replacement For iPad 2, Priced $399

ipad 4

The old iPad 2 has reached the end of the road, three years its March 2011 launch, but its void is going to be filled by the more recent but not the latest iPad 4. Interestingly, this will be akin to a re-launch of the iPad 4, which was launched in November 2012 before being replaced by the latest iPad Air in October 2013. According to Apple, the iPad 4 will serve as the new entry level iPad even though choice will be limited to the 16 GB model. Buyers can still choose from a wifi-only version priced at $399, and the LTE version will cost $529.

This is good news for users who want a cheaper full-sized iPad as it offers much better specs compared to iPad 2. The retina display offers more vivid and sharp images compared to iPad 2. Powering the device is a dual core Apple A6X chip rated at 1.4 Ghz and offers 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, compared to iPad 2′s 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 chip mated to a 512 MB RAM. There is a much better 5 megapixel camera at the rear, capable of 1080p video recording.

Apple has seen demand for its iPad slump below Android recently, even though the Apple tablet continues to be the single largest tablet brand even four years after its launch. However, whether measures like these really help remains to be seen; an even cheaper model–at around say $300–could have helped build demand even more. In a related development, Apple has announced a cheaper 8 GB variant of the iPhone 5c to help spur sales in the low-end segment.

Apple Re-launches iPad 4 as Replacement For iPad 2, Priced $399 is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Rise of the Smartwatch: Google, LG, Moto 360


Google is going in for a no holds barred approach to the smart wearable segment, which the giant has claimed as the next hot zone, high stakes battleground for all the biggest tech companies. To that end, Google has come up with an Android smartwatch. Dubbed Android Wear, it will no doubt spur companies to develop smartwatches based on the Google OS. The manufacturers were forced to customize the standard Android OS for this one, but it’s unlikely to be limited to smartwatches alone. To showcase its capabilities, Google collaborated with LG to develop the G Watch, the smartwatch equivalent of the Nexus 5. The Moto 360 from Motorola is the only other smartwatch released that is based on Android Wear.

The functionality and ease of access to data has been given the highest priority. Users can have all the data that they need and at the right moment. Not surprisingly, personal fitness is one aspect of the new Android version. Users can look forward to Android Wear-equipped smartwatches as the perfect fitness companion, providing them with reminders or other relevant information such as time, distance, and speed information in real time.

Android Wear also incorporates Google Now into the smartwatch. For it to respond, all the user has to say is “Okay Google.” “Say 'Ok Google' to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm," Sunder Pichai revealed in a company blog post.

Having notifications from social feeds and other sources is almost imperative for the device to vie as a worthy complement, and Android Wear does not disappoint on this front. Suitable apps are all designed to keep the user informed, like the incorporated Google Maps.

The Moto 360–slated for a summer release–is Motorola's answer to offering a smartwatch that is as much about style as functionality. The device incorporates the classic watch design with a circular dial and a knob along the side is reminiscent of a conventional watch, though it's still not clear what function it serves. Overall, it's sleek and stylish, but it will be interesting to see how long it's going to last on a single charge. Users can hope that a smartwatch as cool as the Moto 360 isn't just tied to a Motorola device, and ties up with Android devices from other manufacturers as well.

In contrast, the LG G Phone is a lot more “conventional” in that it incorporates a rectangular watch face as seen with most of its competitors. Not much is known of the G Watch except that it’s likely to be priced quite low, a familiar strategy adopted by the Nexus series of devices. Google stated they are working with several other manufacturers to develop more smartwatch device in future, which includes several fashion brands as well.

Meanwhile, here are some videos showcasing Android Wear.

The Rise of the Smartwatch: Google, LG, Moto 360 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Analog Augmented Reality to Book Covers


We live in a world where digital books are growing at a rapid pace and many brick and mortar bookstores are shutting down. There is a ravenous zeal in which serious readers are embracing the digital form. Still, there are many things that physical book can do, that an eBook cannot.

A new Tumblr pairs people and book covers, in new and interesting ways. The core concept is actually fairly compelling. It is spearheaded by Emily Pullen, who photographs and collects pictures of people posing with books in such a way that designs of book covers match parts of their bodies. It originally launched in 2008 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles “on a boring Thursday night.”

Analog Augmented Reality to Book Covers is a post from: Good e-Reader

ZTE Open Review – FireFox OS Not Ready for Prime Time


There has been lots of buzz surrounding the Firefox OS, as many companies are trying to not exclusively do business with Google. There are 3 current generation phones that run Mozillas mobile operating system. They all suffer from really small screens and abysmal resolution. Is there a future for Firefox OS, or is it a flash in the pan? Today, we look at the ZTE Open, to evaluate the phone and how it performs.


The ZTE Open was the first Firefox phone to become available. There are two more companies entering the fray, LG and Alcatel. The ZTE Open features a 3.5 inch touchscreen display with a woeful 320 x 480 resolution. It is powered by a single core 1 GHZ processor and has 120 MB of memory, when you take it out of the box. You can also elect to snap some selfies with the 3 MP rear facing camera.

The design of the phone has a rectangular shape, but it has very rounded corners and a tapered front which gives you better and easier access to the home button. The home button is the only physical key on the entire phone. Other ports include, headphone jack and Micro USB port. Battery Life is around 7 hours via the 1,200mAh battery.

You will need an SD card to do anything on this phone. You cannot even use the music, videos or photo apps without one. The internal memory is relegated to apps that you can install from the Firefox App Market. Most of this games are super small, due to the HTML5 nature.

The hardware on the ZTE Open is lacking tremendously. This seems to be the theme so far with all of the Firefox phones. Only LG offers a four inch screen, while ZTE and Alcatel offer 3.5 inch ones. I found it is too small to do anything of note, including reading eBooks or PDF. Who knows why they all elected to make really small phones, maybe to keep the price down? Mainly its the emerging market, with the phone and app market now available in nine different countries.

In the videos below, we give you an unboxing, review of the phone and complete OS review. You can get a sense on exactly what this device brings to the table and if its a phone you should consider buying.

My recommendation? The only people who should care about this phone are people who want neat stuff no one else has, or a beggar on the streets. The OS is not ready for prime time, it is lacking with content and crappy specced phones. It is marketed as a cheap and cheerful device, but the OS does not have a ton of developer support. By contrast, Blackberry World is an awesome ecosystem compared to Firefox, and that is saying a lot!

ZTE Open Review – FireFox OS Not Ready for Prime Time is a post from: Good e-Reader