Monday, April 14, 2014

Kindle Direct Publishing Now Offers up-to-date Sales Data

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Kindle Direct Publishing is a self-publishing platform that individuals and small presses use to add their eBooks for sale on the Amazon bookstore. When customers purchase an authors books, normally they did not know about it until 24 hours later. Today in a bold move, Amazon has introduced live sales data that will inform authors in real time when their book is purchased.

Self-published authors can celebrate as Amazon introduced a brand new Sales Dashboard on the KDP Reports page to give you up-to-date reporting of paid, borrowed and free orders as they are placed in Kindle stores worldwide. The new dashboard also helps you track royalties earned as payments are processed for these orders.

You can filter the Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report by title, marketplace, and timeframe. The information you currently receive in the Prior Six Weeks' Royalties reports is now available in the new Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report.

One of the great elements about the new dashboard is the immediate feedback for authors engaged in a marketing campaign. You will be able to track sales for just that book for a set number of days while you're running the campaign, and decide if it was worth the effort or not.

Kindle Direct Publishing Now Offers up-to-date Sales Data is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble Shooting themselves in the Foot with Windows 8 Reading App


Barnes and Noble is heavily invested in the Microsoft Windows 8 ecosystem with their Nook Reading app. It allows customers to purchase eBooks and magazines and read them on their computer or tablet, such as the Microsoft Surface. Recently, B&N expanded their Nook Press self-publishing program into a few different companies in Europe. It allows indie authors to distribute their eBooks all over the world. One of the downsides, is that if you live outside of the US and UK, you can’t read indie books on your Nook e-Reader or tablet, the only way you can is via the Windows 8 app. Microsoft has publicly announced the Nook App will be removed in the near future and a new reading app will be developed called Microsoft Reader.

Microsoft Reader will be powered by Barnes and Noble and will allow customers to read and purchase books. There will also be solid PDF functionality so readers can load in their own titles. This entire situation is going to haunt Barnes and Noble because their own customers will have to use a competitors app and implore their base to buy Windows 8 tablets to read the books on the go.

Barnes and Noble has always ran Android in their e-readers and tablets. This worked out well when the only market they focused on was the US. B&N ran software to geographically restrict the ability to buy books from outside the States and UK. This means the actual Nook hardware is tremendously limiting and can only be used in two countries. When Microsoft scuttles the Nook Windows 8 app, where does that leave readers who want to buy and read Nook books? Apparently the situation is more complex.

The only way Barnes and Noble can avoid an unpleasant situation on behest of their Microsoft overlords is if the new Nook Tablets run Windows 8. I seriously doubt this will happen, but it would be the only way Barnes and Noble can sell its hardware outside of their two core markets and allow people to buy and read books on their device. Currently the Nook Windows 8 Reading app is the ONLY way readers in Canada, France, Germany, Spain can buy and read books. Why do you think B&N continues to lose over a billion dollars on Nook hardware sales? They are not appealing to a global audience and actually prevent people from doing business with them. Going the Windows 8 route on their new devices will solve this issue and make them more accessible. If they can develop the first Windows 8 Reading Tablet, it will be a great marketing ploy. Amazon and Kobo both bill their line of Android tablets as reading tablet, running Android. Nook can say, we have the worlds first Windows 8 reading tablet.

Barnes and Noble Shooting themselves in the Foot with Windows 8 Reading App is a post from: Good e-Reader

First 24 Hour Bookstore Opens in China


Most bookstores in North America and Europe have set business hours. They tend to open at 9 AM and go until 10 PM. Indie bookstores often have the standard 9-5 mentality and this sometimes prevent people who work late from buying books. A bookstore in Beijing China is bucking the standard operating hour trend and has just adopted a new 24 hour schedule.

Sanlian Taofen Bookstore in Dongcheng District has pleased local citizens by keeping their store opened 24 hours a day. The bookstore first opened their doors in 1996 and currently displays 80,000 titles across 1,500 square meters, and is one of Beijing’s cultural landmarks.

According to the Peoples Daily Fan Xi’an, president of SJPC, borrowed the 24-hour concept from Taiwanese retail chain Eslite Bookstore. “I was thrilled by the large number of readers found at night in Eslite Bookstore when I visited Taiwan in 2010,” he said.

The bookstore had actually been planning a 24 hour schedule since 2011, but lack of funds scuttled the plans. However, the extra cost has now been covered by sponsorship from the central government and Beijing Municipality — part of authorities’ broader scheme to subsidize a total of 56 bookstores around China. “We no longer have to pay value-added tax, and the government has announced 90 million yuan (14.6 million U.S. dollars) to support 55 operations like us,” said Fan.

Expanded operating hours are serving a dual purpose. One allows people who work long business hours the oportonity to shop in a bookstore during the weekday. Secondly it gives youth something else to do other than bars and nightclubs. A neighboring cafe has signed on to allow books to be taken into the cafe and refreshments into the bookstore.

First 24 Hour Bookstore Opens in China is a post from: Good e-Reader

Comic Publishers Worried About Amazon Strong-Arm Tactics


Last week Amazon acquired the largest purveyor in digital comics, Comixology. The company has been going strong since 2007 and functions as the primary distribution method for Archie, DC, GI JOE, Marvel and over 70 different publishers. These publishers are now very worried that Amazon will employ the same strong-arm tactics they did with publishers to get eBooks at rock bottom prices.

During the last few years Amazon categorically informed a large number of small and medium sized publishers that Amazon would not negotiate agency selling terms with any other publishers outside of the five initial Apple partners. The publishers were told that if they switched to an agency model for ebooks, Amazon would stop selling their entire list, in print and digital form. Amazon also played hardball with companies like S&S, HarperCollins, Hachette and Random-Penguin when the agency model was disbanded to get the best deals possible.

Amazon is a company that functions on margins and firmly embraces the wholesale methodology to their entire ecosystem. The big problem is comic publishers have no experience with outside companies mandating lower prices. A number of comic book publishers have told me off the record that they are really worried that they are going to receive a call from Amazon and inform them they have to reduce their prices. The vast majority will have no choice but to aquis to whatever new terms Amazon mandates, because they have no other resource to sell their comics.

Comixology is not the only player in town that sells digital comics, but is the definitive force when it comes to single issue comics. Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google and Kobo all sell graphic novels. Comic book lovers often are enamoured with single issues because they can stay current with the major storylines, instead of waiting a number of months for them to be packaged into a graphic novel. A few times a year Marvel and DC have big events that crossover into popular franchises. Fear Itself, AVX, Age of Ultron tend to have four or five comics coming out every single week. People want the single issues in order to really get into the story. Sadly, Comixology is really the only company to actively market them.

DC Comics is one company that has been branching out on their own lately, instead of exclusively relying on Comixology. The company made their first single comic distribution agreement with Google Books. Starting last week, readers will be able to buy all new issues every Wednesday. The company also pulled out all of their comics out of the Comixology app for the Kindle Fire, citing better sales on other platforms.

Marvel has been actively developing their own end-to-end solution where they want to get into the business of selling their own comics and not relying on 3rd parties. The first step to this was incorporating Marvel AR into the main Marvel app. This gives users the ability to use their tablets camera on a physical book to get commentary from the writers/artists or to check out animations. A few weeks ago Marvel unveiled the ability to have comics read aloud to you at South by Southwest. The big rumor is that Marvel plans on incorporating their Netflix for Comics Marvel Unlimited into their main app and also start selling comics themselves.

It is currently unknown what Amazon will do with Comixology. They might pull a Zappos or GoodReads and let them run autonomously, while incorporating some key technology into their own ecosystem. Alternatively they might elect to shutter it completely and if you want comics, Amazon will be the only game in town. I don’t know how DC or Marvel will enjoy the talks with Amazon to lower their prices or if they will physically resist it.

Comic Publishers Worried About Amazon Strong-Arm Tactics is a post from: Good e-Reader

Did Apple, B&N and Kobo Miss the Boat on Comixology?


Comixology is the largest digital comics distribution platform on iOS, Android and Windows 8. The company has been going strong since 2007 and their technology powers the reading apps from Marvel, DC, Archie, and has every single comic and graphic novel of the Walking Dead. Last week, Amazon announced they acquired Comixology. This did not really surprise anyone who keeps tabs on the digital comic industry, but did Apple, B&N and Kobo miss the boat?

When it comes to selling comic books online, Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, Google and many other players all sell them. Surprisingly most only sell graphic novels, instead of single issue comics. Graphic novels usually comprise of 6 issues of a series and make it easier than purchasing each one separately. This appeals to more casual readers, but hardcore readers often choose Comixology to stay on top of all of the new releases every Wednesday. The only notable exception is DC making a new agreement with Google to carry new single issue comics on the Google Books Store.

Why did Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo not pursue this deal? This could have been game changers for those companies and it could have appealed to the people who have downloaded over 215 million comics from Comixology. Industry experts have speculated that the B&N executive team is not forward thinking enough to actually go through with it and they have their own turmoil in the executive ranks to think about. Kobo is exclusively focused on international expansion and Apple is only concerned with making the 30% royalty on in-app purchases and selling stuff on iTunes.

If there was a single company to benefit the most from Comixology, it was Amazon.  The Seattle based company had developed comic technology called Panel View option for fixed layout illustrated ebooks. This attempt was clearly trying to clone the far superior Guided View from Comixology.  Amazon also does not allow high resolution images in KF8 FXL files, which is their file format to emulate EPUB3, but also appealing to more visual and interactive titles. Considering Amazon is putting a priority on high resolution displays on the Kindle Fire HDX line of tablets, the deal  with Comixology deal solves all of these issues.

I really feel like Barnes and Noble and Kobo really missed a golden oportonity to purchase Comixology.  Both of them would have been better caretakers of the comic company and could have benefited from something no one else had. The deep pockets of Kobo owned Rakuten could have financed the deal and could  have added the last piece of the puzzle to their trifecta of eBooks, Kids titles and magazines. Barnes and Noble could have really had a great content distribution system that is a proven revenue earner to offset the losses on Nook hardware and eBooks.

Did Apple, B&N and Kobo Miss the Boat on Comixology? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Podcast – London Book Fair Review and All Things Amazon


Welcome back to another utterly compelling edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield talk about all of the major news coming out of the London Book Fair. In addition, we talk about Barnes and Nobles expansion plans for Nook Press, what challenges they face with relying on Windows 8 and Amazon purchasing Comixology.

Jeremy Greenfield was live in London last week for the London Book Fair. This is the largest event held in Europe where publishers bid on rights fees, talk shop and network. You will all get a total rundown of the major sessions about self-publishing, Nook Press, Amazon being the villain you love to hate and more!

The biggest story last week was Amazon purchasing Comixology. This was a strategic investment for their Guided View technology to incorporate into their own ecosystem and replace their older version. There is an air of uncertainty in the comic publishing industry right now. Publishers are worried that Amazon may employ strong arm tactics to get lower rates on graphic novels and single issue comics. Will Amazon abandon the Comixology app and incorporate of the content in their own ecosystem? Will publishers start relying less on Comixology and start developing their own end-to-end solutions? Only time will tell. Did Apple, B&N and Kobo miss the boat on buying Comixology? We discuss all of this!

Podcast – London Book Fair Review and All Things Amazon is a post from: Good e-Reader

Experts Fears eBooks Hinder Student Reading Comprehension

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Photo courtesy of

Renewed concerns about students who use tablets for reading have surfaced as experts now fear the “bells and whistles” approach to enhanced ebooks are actually stunting student comprehension. At last week’s American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, researchers Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar presented their findings from a study that pitted middle school students with print and digital books. The results of the subsequent testing showed a higher level of comprehension when the students read print books.

The books, created with iBooks author software, may have contained too many features like hyperlinks, images, and embedded video, leading the students to try to garner enough information about the story from the extras rather than interacting with the actual text. Other features often found in children’s ebooks include games, tactile interactions like the ability to manipulate the background, and even audio sounds that play while the student reads.

Other researchers have already concluded that some students actually comprehend better when multimedia enhancements are offered alongside the text. A study reported on last week from Booktrack demonstrated that adults and older students retain more of what they read when music that fits the story plays in the background. Also, sound effects that coincide with troublesome or unfamiliar vocabulary can help language learners, such as a car horn beeping as the new word “honked” is introduced.

What researchers are now starting to notice is that there is no one-size-fits-all method for reading fluency and comprehension. Students learn in different ways, a fact that has been known among educators for decades. Features that enhance learning for one student can easily hinder it for another, so curricular decisions and opportunities need to be made available in a wide variety of formats.

Experts Fears eBooks Hinder Student Reading Comprehension is a post from: Good e-Reader

Teenreads presents Ultimate Reading List

Reading may not always be a teenager's first choice of activity. I know when I was in high school, I associated reading with required text from English class. I always put off reading homework until the last minute and dragged through it. It wasn't until I discovered reading didn't have to be just the assigned list that I really started enjoying it. Now when I find a good book, I cannot put it down; I read until 3 a.m. and continue as soon as I have a free minute.


Every year, puts together an Ultimate Teen Reading List that consists of hundreds of titles that inspire teens to read. I went through our collection and made lists with some of their suggested titles. Check them out and motivate your teens to read today!


Ultimate Teen Reading List
Series from the List

Metered Access:       

Ultimate Teen Reading List
Series from the List


And remember your Collection Development Specialist is always available to help create any recommended lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.


Big Library Read is back …Woof there it is!

BLR_Pedigree-die-forWe’re excited to announce that the next Big Library Read event for your users is Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis Mystery, A Pedigree to Die For. The global reading event will run from June 3-18, just in time to be your first summer title. Kensington Publishing has graciously provided the first book in the Melanie Travis mystery series so that millions of readers from around the globe will have the chance to discover this captivating world Berenson has created.

Big Library Read is an opportunity for users from all over to read the same digital title at the same time without any wait lists or holds. To borrow the title, your users will simply log in to your digital collection. A Pedigree to Die For will be right on the home page ready to check out. In the coming days, we will be providing more information about this summer’s Big Library Read, including links to a discussion board, a marketing kit, and a best practices guide full of great ideas from successful libraries, as well as details for the author chat with Berenson.

To sign up your library, simply email your OverDrive Account Specialist. Your readers are sure to love this fantastic title!


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive.

MagPi issue 22

I’m about two weeks late to the party on this one – massive apologies to all at The MagPi. It’s been a bit busy around here so far this month. Right now, Picademy’s underway in the office space we’ve got set up as a classroom, and 24 teachers are busy making blooping noises with Sonic Pi while Clive booms at them in Teachervoice. It’s distracting but curiously enjoyable.

Alongside the preparation for Picademy, this month we’ve seen the launch of this new website, and the announcement about the new Compute Module. While all this was going on, the April edition of The MagPi came out, and I didn’t notice because I was too busy glueing Raspberry Pi logos on sticks and sending boxes of jam to Johnny Ball (true story).

MagPi April 14

 As usual, The MagPi is full of wonderful things like internet-enabled garage doors, night lights that repel under-bed goblins, reviews, competitions, tutorials and much more. My favourite article this month discusses a solar cell (this month’s cover star) that tracks the sun to provide 140% more energy than a static cell. Go and read it online for free: you can also order a printed copy for your personal library or for your school. Thanks MagPi folks – I promise to be more timely about letting people know about next month’s issue!

Digital Library Lending Has a Long Way to Go

It feels like every new step in the right direction also leads to a host of new problems and closures for public libraries where digital lending is concerned. It’s been years since the first debates over protecting the interests of authors and publishers, with solutions–albeit often pathetic ones–proposed so long ago that the system should have sorted itself out by now. With recent pilot programs to test the waters in the UK that still require patrons to physically enter their libraries in order to check out new releases as ebooks, and the reports that ebook prices for libraries are still inflated by hundreds of percents, it’s easy to feel like libraries are coming under attack. This time, though, it’s not apathetic city councils and budget cuts, it’s the publishers themselves.

Bills in Maryland and Connecticut were first proposed last year that would require publishers to charge a commensurate amount for libraries’ ebook editions of their catalogs of titles. As it stands now, pricing is making it almost impossible for libraries to fully support ebook lending. A recent report on pricing from the Douglas County (CO) Library System demonstrated that an ebook that typically costs a consumer just over $10 can cost a library almost $50. Add to that the fact that the library is merely licensing the right to use the digital file and not actually owning the book, the pricing can make libraries hesitate a little.

Unfortunately, those bills have not gone forward, and by some reports, the American Library Association was against the bill in Maryland.

Part of the struggle that libraries face also comes from their patrons. In the digital mindsets of many consumers, waiting to borrow an ebook seems pointless. The same people who happily put their names on the checkout list to borrow a print book grumble at having to wait to download a book to their devices. Fortunately, studies have shown that this benefits publishers, as ebook borrowing (and the ability to borrow ebooks, even without having finished or read them) has led to an increase in click throughs and purchases of other books. Ideally, this is not behind publishers’ decisions to keep the price of ebooks artificially inflated for libraries.

Digital Library Lending Has a Long Way to Go is a post from: Good e-Reader