Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Amazon Offering an EMI Scheme on Kindle Devices in India


Amazon has just made owning a Kindle device that much easier in India by introducing an EMI scheme. Buyers will now have to endure far less pinch in their pockets as they have the option to pay in equal monthly installments spread over three, six, nine and 12 months. The scheme can be availed of for a minimum purchase amount of Rs. 3,000 with the rest to be fulfilled from Citibank, HDFC and ICICI banks when purchased from Amazon's online store. The number of banks financing your purchase goes up to nine (including the banks mentioned above) when purchased from any of the 250 on-site locations spread across the country that offers the Kindle range.

The EMI scheme is applicable to all of Amazon Kindle devices which include the Kindle Fire range of tablet devices and the dedicated ebook readers. This will be on top of the special promotional offers that the retail giant has been doling out to promote its hardware range. The Kindle PaperWhite adjudged one of the best ebook reading devices money can buy is now retailing for Rs 10,080 which is almost a thousand down from its original price of Rs 10,999. Similarly, the basic Kindle ereader model also benefits from a price cut, now retailing for Rs 5,600 as against its original price tag of Rs 5,999. The discount though will be available till April 15th. As for the Kindle Fire range of tablet devices, the 7 inch version is now being offered for Rs. 11,999 while its bigger 8.9 inch sibling can be picked up for a cool Rs. 17,999.

For a company like Amazon that counts on sales of books and other services such as apps, videos, and music, its extremely important that its devices continue to sell in sizeable number as each of these can be seen as a potential revenue stream to the services and merchandise Amazon has on offer. The company though is yet to launch its latest Kindle Fire HDX range of Android tablets in the country that otherwise is not known to be particularly fond of the Kindle Fire tablets owing to their close bonding to the Amazon ecosystem that keeps the Google Play Sore off bounds.

Amazon Offering an EMI Scheme on Kindle Devices in India is a post from: Good e-Reader

Is Icarus Developing a 3D e-Reader?

ICARUS3D e-reader

The tech industry was rife with Aprils Fools Jokes, and it is hard to take seriously any major announcement that transpires on April 1st. Icarus, a Netherlands e-Reader company quietly announced a 3D e-Reader on their website and the entry is still available right on their homepage. Apparently, they have developed a 3D e-Reader with passive eyewear that will give you a more immersive experience.

The Icarus 3D boasts a OE3D screen with HD resolution display with 1024×768 pixels and integrated front light. The 3D effect of the screen can be adjusted by a slider button, and can also be completely turned off. The 3D screen means you are literally pulled into the book, for an unmatched reading experience.

The Reader is apparently Adobe certified, so you can buy eBooks from major retailers and load them on the device. You can also turn pages with the touchscreen or the physical buttons. Basically, the Icarus 3D is a repackaged Illumina HD, with a 3D interface.

How exactly is the overall e-reading experience enhanced with 3D glasses? Apparently we won’t have long to wait with the company shipping it off April 8th and the cost is € 149.95

Is Icarus Developing a 3D e-Reader? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Blackberry Pulls all Phones from T-Mobile


Blackberry has elected not to renew their contract with T-Mobile on April 25th. This will prevent anyone from buying a Blackberry 10 device from one of the largest telecarrier companies in the US.

The Blackberry and T-Mobile relationship has soured in the six four months. T-Mobile ran a series of adverts that encouraged Blackberry users to switch to an iPhone and provided incentives to do it. Both companies CEOS took to Twitter to do battle with each other. One of the most interesting statements was T-Mobile CEO John Legere comparing Blackberry with Myspace, calling them an antiquated dinosaur.

Blackberry issued a formal statement today, that in classic PR speak, said "BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned," said BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen. "We are deeply grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers and will do everything in our power to provide continued support with your existing carrier or ensure a smooth transition to our other carrier partners.”

Blackberry Pulls all Phones from T-Mobile is a post from: Good e-Reader

Apple Abandons Higher Education Reseller Program in Canada


Apple has been running their Higher Education Reseller program in Canada for the  last few  years. The essence of the reseller program is to give discounts to University and College bookstores to stock iPads, Mac Computers, Apple TV’s and accessories.  Apple has confirmed to Good e-Reader that bookstores will no longer be able to order products effective April 27th 2014.

Much to the Universities chagrin, students are buying Apple products directly from Apple or other secondary markets. The schools don’t have a super wide selection of different configurations and most students buy their devices before they leave home. Apple-subsidized on-campus stores are basically financially unfeasible in Canada.

Students will benefit in the short-term with many schools having a veritable fire sale of existing stock. Mac Computers, iPads and other big ticket items will be sold at cost. Universities have confirmed to Good e-Reader that they are trying to get rid of everything as soon as possible, before new products are announced.

Apple will continue offering their Higher Education Reseller Program in the United States for the foreseeable future.  Top universities account for a substantial part of Apple’s quarterly iPad and Mac device sales.

Apple Abandons Higher Education Reseller Program in Canada is a post from: Good e-Reader

McGraw-Hill Education Opens Create Platform for K12 Teachers

MHE Logo
Digital textbooks continue to be one of the key frustrations in the public education arena. So far, they’re not more widely available than print, they’re not more cost effective than their paper counterparts, and they’re still a one-size-fits-all tool that teachers are required to use without much prior input into which texts will best meet their students’ needs in any given year. In short, digital textbooks have yet to live up to the hype that surrounded them as K12 teachers still don’t have the advantages that digital can offer.

But McGraw-Hill Education’s announcement today may be a better step in a different direction. By opening up its Create publishing tool to K12 teachers, public education teachers can now enjoy the same content-building tool that higher education professionals have had access to.

"There is no such thing as a 'one size fits all' approach to teaching and learning," said Peter Cohen, president of McGraw-Hill School Education Group. "Create's flexible model enables educators to choose the resources that matters most to them and their students, whether it's resources produced by McGraw-Hill Education, open source resources or resources they've developed themselves. We're excited to meet the demand for tools that make the teaching process more personalized and effective."

Create lets teachers access library of resources to select content from thousands of different texts. They can also add their own original content, and combine it in an order that they need. The resulting project is a digital text that fits their needs and offers the material they want to put in front of their students. Create also allows teachers to share the project with collaborators prior to receiving a finished product.

“Once a Create text has been fully customized, the instructor receives a digital review copy in under an hour. For educators requiring more complex curricula development backed by a product development team for creating classroom texts, digital solutions, and integrated program alternatives, McGraw-Hill Education offers a personal concierge.”

McGraw-Hill Education Opens Create Platform for K12 Teachers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Marketplace updates: Weeding titles

As most library staff members already know, weeding is the removal of titles from a library's collection that are no longer needed or usable; a vital practice to keep a collection attractive, practical, and relevant. Typically, most would think of weeding a print collection in order to remove titles that are worn and tattered, not circulating, or irrelevant or incorrect due to updated information. This prevents shelves from becoming overcrowded and allows materials to remain visible and accessible for patrons that visit the library.

But what about weeding a library's digital collection?

Since shelf space is not an issue in the digital realm, most librarians overlook the necessity of weeding a digital collection. However, as with a print collection, weeding a digital collection has several benefits:

1)      Removing irrelevant titles – Check your nonfiction content that may be outdated. The travel books, legal guides, and medical titles in your collection may have new editions available with accurate, current information. Ask your OverDrive Collection Development Specialist for help identifying these titles in your collection.

2)      Removing unpopular content – Just like your print collection: if it isn't circulating, it probably isn't worth having in your collection. Most libraries will remove print titles that don't circulate for three to five years due to limited shelf space. Due to the archiving abilities of a digital collection, you may want to hang on to your titles unless they don't see a checkout for seven to 10 years or more.

3)      Removing difficult formats – If your patrons have download issues with device-specific formats like WMA, WMV, or PDF, it may just be easier to weed those formats from your collection. Focus on formats like OverDrive READ and Streaming video to offer patrons a browser-based experience that requires no setup or downloading.

4)      Removing expired content – Some titles in the OverDrive catalog expire after a certain time period or number of checkouts. This content, known as metered access content, has limits set by the publisher so that the digital title has a similar life span as a print title. Because of these limits, metered access titles are often inexpensive and offer libraries an easy way to weed titles that become irrelevant or unpopular. If you do not wish to repurchase an expired metered title, weed it from your collection to prevent holds from accumulating.

With the Marketplace v2.5 update, you can now weed your digital collection in a few easy steps.

Marketplace users with the “Library site admin” and “Weeding” permissions can now visit the Weeding tool in Marketplace located on the Library site admin page under the “Admin” tab:

Weeding1 Once you open the tool, you will be provided with a search window to easily pull up a title or list of titles based on any creiteria you provide. You can look for titles of a particular subject, language, publisher, add date, sale date, or sreet date. You can also use this search tool to easily find metered access titles that have expired or titles that are no longer available for purchase:


After you have found the title(s) you would like to weed, simply check the box next to the title name and hit the “Weed Title(s)” button:


Weeded titles will be hidden from your library page within 24 hours. You can see a report of the weeded titles in your collection by visiting the Colleciton Statistics report and choosing “Weeded” from the “Status” drop-down menu:

So next time your library decides to do some spring cleaning, take a look through your OverDrive collection to see if there is anything worth getting rid of. Weeding your digital collection can help increase your library's circulations by removing any outdated material, reducing unwanted clutter of unpopular content, and eliminating any titles that have expired or are difficult to download. For additional weeding tips or quesitons on the weeding process, contact your Collection Development Specialist or email collectionteam@overdrive.com.


Rob Mooney is a Collection Development Specialist at OverDrive.


Smart school website updates: The Wish List

One of the reasons that I love working at OverDrive is the opportunity to learn first-hand about new and innovative products that the company is creating for schools. I am lucky in that I get a behind-the-scenes view (totally like a backstage pass) of working projects and brainstormed ideas that sometimes become a reality. I especially enjoy the opportunity to comment from a teacher’s point of view on the applicability of a website feature or if something would be aesthetically pleasing to students. I naturally think, if only I could have had this when I was teaching! But I am happy for teachers and school librarians who have eBooks in their classroom.

Recently, two new updates have arrived on the school digital library website. All current K-12 school customers may notice the smart changes tot he Wish List function. Before the updates, the wish list was a static reference list of titles. I can compare it to the spiral notebook that I keep on my desk here at OverDrive (I write down any book titles I am personally interested in on the inside front cover). While it is a helpful list, I can’t do much with it except browse it to find something I added previously. The new and updated Wish List is much more dynamic.


With the Wish List, you can borrow, place a hold or go to your bookshelf:



On that same page, you can now sort by what is “Available now.” That will filter your full wish list to only the titles that are available immediately for you. Just click the “Borrow” button and enjoy the book.


You also don’t need to constantly go back to your Wish List to see what may have become available. The “My Account” section provides a brief summary/overview of your account, and now includes the number of items from your wish list that are available.


As always, you may contact your Collection Development Specialist with any questions you may have, or for further information.

Renee Lienhard is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Camp NaNoWriMo Kicks Off Today

Most authors and even a good number of readers have at least heard of NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–if not actually participated themselves. Staged each year in November, the high-pressure event has given rise to a number of bestselling books both traditionally and self-published, including titles like Water for Elephants and Hugh Howey’s Wool. At last year’s event, more than 500,000 participants around the world signed on to crank out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days’ time.

The growing popularity of NaNo, the fact that a number of participants had trouble with the timing of the event, and the desire for more opportunities than just once a year have given birth to two different events that follow much the same concept: Camp NaNoWriMo. The camp is a month-long virtual writer’s retreat with an outdoorsy theme, which still challenges participants to write every day and maintain some level of discipline about it.

The first of the two Camps kicks off today, and writers awoke today–yes, April Fools’ Day–to hammer out their word counts. But one of the ways that Camp NaNo offers writers a different sort of motivation than even a typical November NaNo is that it is a lower-pressure sort of event that instead focuses on giving writers the opportunity to broaden their writing experiences. Participants are invited to write any type of project, like poetry, screenplays, short stories, and of course, novels.

In a BiblioCrunch Twitter chat on Camp NaNoWriMo, Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month, said, “You can design your own creative writing retreat in Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s difficult to try to immerse oneself in creativity. Nano puts creative immersion on the calendar.”

NaNo novels have been looked down on in recent years as being rush jobs that authors put to market far too quickly, but the writing itself is meant only to be a tool for authors to hold themselves accountable to a daily word count and to focus on their own writing processes for thirty days. The end result may need a lot of polishing (with a chainsaw, even), but as an exercise in discipline and craft, it’s a vital tool.

Participants can still sign up to take part in this month’s Camp NaNo at http://campnanowrimo.org.

Camp NaNoWriMo Kicks Off Today is a post from: Good e-Reader