Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good e-Reader Roundtable – What is Better, iOS or Android?


Welcome to another Good e-Reader Roundtable discussion with Michael and Peter. The topic today is what is the better operating system overall, Android or iOS? The two tech stalwarts talk about personal experiences with them both and make some valid points.

One of the real benefits of the Apple ecosystem is the first party developer support. If you want to deliver magazines, newspapers or games, you only have a few screen sizes and resolutions to choose from. You rarely deal with aspect ratio problems and get the content as they intended. Android on the other hand has so many different screen sizes and resolution, that you encounter errors more often.

Android on the other hand allows for more customization options in the form of keyboards, widgets, live wallpapers and launchers. You get more freedom to craft your own experience.

Good e-Reader Roundtable – What is Better, iOS or Android? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Yahoo Making a Play to be Default Search Engine on iOS


Yahoo is making a big play to be the default search engine to iOS 7 and above. The company currently powers the Weather and Stock apps on iPads and iPhones the world over.

A new report states that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is preparing detailed presentations to present to high level Apple executives showing what its new mobile search product could look like. There are a pair of internal projects, code-named “Fast Break” and “Curveball”, that are part of Yahoo’s redesign of its mobile search engine for iOS.

Microsoft Bing currently integrated with Siri to be the search engine of choice when internet results are dispatched to users. Bing is also one of the user selectable options for Safari. The two companies are basically in the middle of a ten year deal and Yahoo wants to replace Microsoft.

Yahoo Making a Play to be Default Search Engine on iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Books can now be added to your GoodReads Shelf


Residents of the US, Canada and Australia have early access to a new feature on eBook discovery website GoodReads. In the largest single act of synergy since Amazon purchased GoodReads last year, customers can now have all of their Kindle Books synced automatically to their bookshelf.

How do you know if you have this new feature? You’ll see the Add Amazon Book Purchases link in the Tools list on the left hand side of the My Books page (and a small announcement at the top of the page). Click on either link and you will be asked to sign in to your Amazon account. You’ll then see your Amazon book purchases. You can go through and rate each book and select the appropriate shelf for it. GoodReads gives you full control over which books to add, so you can avoid adding any books bought as gifts or anything else. Any book not rated or added to a shelf will not be added to Goodreads.

Members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia can also use the Add Your Amazon Books option on Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite (first and second generation devices) and the new Kindle Fires. This is great for people who have installed the latest firmware updates to give you access to GoodReads right on your tablet or e-reader.

Amazon Books can now be added to your GoodReads Shelf is a post from: Good e-Reader

Hisense Sero 8 Android Tablet Incoming, But is There a Sero 8 Pro?

My favorite budget tablet last year was undoubtedly the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, which is pretty surprising given all the competition in the budget Android tablet market and the fact that Hisense had never even made any tablets before. Now Hisense is moving forward with at least one new tablet this year, called the Hisense […]

Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. During this month, health care professionals and experts across the U.S. will conspire to increase awareness about both the causes and cures for today's stress epidemic.

I happen to be getting married in two weeks so I am definitely "aware" of stress this month. Thankfully, I have my local library and eBooks to read that help calm my nerves and help me stay organized. I have created a list of my favorite stress-related titles that are certain to provide guidance and comfort to your patrons.

Stress Awareness Month


These titles and other Self Help titles are very important to your digital collections, as some of your patrons might be uncomfortable checking out the physical books. Providing the ability to check them out from the privacy of their own homes is a tremendous service to your community.

If you would like more suggestions, your Collection Development Specialist is always available to help create custom lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.

Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Kindle Cloud Storage Moves to Amazon Cloud Drive

One of the added benefits that Amazon offers customers who use Kindle devices or apps is the option to add personal documents and non-Amazon ebooks to their Kindle libraries using email or one of the Send to Kindle apps. Amazon is sending out emails to Kindle customers this morning detailing a change to the way […]

JK Rowling Commentates Quidditch World Cup

Fictitious Harry Potter Sport Quidditch Comes To Real Life
The world of Harry Potter is very real to some people, so real in fact that there are live Quidditch matches and yes, college teams. Even better, these college and fan teams actually have a Quidditch World Cup competition, taking place in Florida. the fact that none of the players has a flying broom is not a deterrent.

This year, for the seventh World Cup, author and inventor of flying Quidditch JK Rowling reported on the match, commentating as Ginny Weasley, long time fan of the sport. Her reports can be found posted on the Pottermore website. Of course, these would be news reports, under the sports section, so fans must go to the Daily Prophet office on Diagon Alley in order to find the updates.

According to a press release from the team at Pottermore, “To deliver the reports, Pottermore has opened a brand new location on – the offices in Diagon Alley of the fictional wizarding newspaper the Daily Prophet, which fans can visit for the first time and discover this exclusive new writing from J.K. Rowling.

“The posts begin with a report on the opening ceremony of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. With characteristic humour, Rowling describes how the international teams' mascots, magical creatures from the world of Harry Potter, took part in the ceremony and caused havoc for their handlers.
We find out why more than 300 crowd members are suffering from shock, broken bones and bites following the ceremony, and why failure to bring their usual mascots, a troupe of performing trolls, caused a great deal of trouble for the Norwegian delegation. A 'live' match report details the thrilling action between Norway and Ivory Coast in the first match of the tournament.”

This is not the first time Rowling has written more information about the wizard game, as two pieces of writing on the game were posted earlier this year. The live version may be more exciting to fans than the wizard rendition, as it has been featured in popular films like The Internship and the Disney Channel show “Jessie.”

JK Rowling Commentates Quidditch World Cup is a post from: Good e-Reader

Findaway, Audio Engine Providing Audiobooks for Students, Military

One of the often overlooked formats in the focus on digital versus print books is the audiobook, a separate entity that–despite a long standing history–still gets relegated to only certain titles. Through the launch of companies like Audible and the later ACX platform, audiobooks are currently enjoying a resurgence among old and new fans alike.

Findaway, a company that has partnered with publishers around the globe to produce audio renditions of titles, has a catalog of more than 50,000 audiobooks, but offers them in unique and innovative ways through its digital platform and through its Playaway devices.

Playaways, a concept whose technology seems backwards at first glance, is actually a brilliant tool for putting audiobooks in front of as many listeners as possible, specifically in school, library, and even deployed military outposts. The devices are essentially MP3 players that contain only one book, making it possible for a large number of patrons to borrow the preloaded devices. While Playaways come with an inexpensive pair of ear buds tucked nicely in the hardshell case, many schools and libraries encourage users to keep their own headphones handy in order to borrow multiple titles.

Now the creators of the Playaway have launched AudioEngine, a platform that allows seamless access to Findaway’s catalog of titles. Authors, publishers, and rights holders can incorporate their audiobook editions into AudioEngine through submission and agreements with Findaway.

“We have one of the world’s largest collections of digital audiobooks and had been focused on preloaded devices,” said Ralph Lazaro, VP, Digital Products Group, in an interview with Good e-Reader. “We started to build apps for partners who wanted audiobooks, and we would build custom apps for them. Along the way, we started to see the growth potential of the audiobook market–it was a $1.2 billion dollar market in 2012 and $1.6 billion in 2013–and most of that growth has come from downloadable streaming which is picking up a lot of the market share.”

Publishers are responding to that growth by releasing more audio titles than ever before, with audiobook new releases reaching 200% growth over the year before. Of course, ACX has enabled self-published authors and small press publishers to tap into this growing audiobook market as well. Digital downloads have also enabled a new breed of reader to enjoy the titles; in the past, audiobooks came on CD and offered eight to ten hours typically of content. With mobile devices, listeners can enjoy their books whenever they find themselves with time, and then return to the title later.

According to Findaway, several leading companies are currently using AudioEngine to power audiobooks in their platforms, including 3M (Cloud Library), Mackin (MackinVia), Baker & Taylor (Acoustik) and Follet (Catalist Digital), with many other large retailers, content providers, and distributors launching worldwide throughout 2014.

Findaway, Audio Engine Providing Audiobooks for Students, Military is a post from: Good e-Reader

Mudra: a Braille dicta-teacher

Sanskriti Dawle and Aman Srivastav are second-year students at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Goa. After a Raspberry Pi workshop they decided they wanted to do something more meaningful than just flash LEDs on and off, and set this month’s PyCon in Montreal as their deadline.


Aman Srivastav and Sanskriti Dawle

They ended up producing something really special. Mudra means “sign” in Sanskrit: the Raspberry Pi-based device is a learning tool for visually impaired people, which teaches Braille by translating speech to Braille symbols. Braille literacy among blind people is poor even in the developed world: in India, it’s extremely low, and braille teachers are very, very few. So automating the teaching process – especially in an open and inexpensive way like this – is invaluable.

In its learning mode, Mudra uses Google’s speech API to translate single letters and numbers into Braille, so learners can go at their own speed. Exam modes and auto modes are also available. This whole video is well worth your time, but if you’re anxious to see the device in action, fast-forward to 1:30.

Sanskriti and Aman say:

Mudra is an excellent example of what even programming newbies can achieve using Python. It is built on a Raspi to make it as out-of-the-box as possible. We have close to zero coding experience, yet Python has empowered us enough to make a social impact with Mudra, the braille dicta-teacher, which just might be the future of Braille instruction and learning.

We think Mudra’s a real achievement, and a great example of clean and simple ideas which can have exceptional impact. You can see the Mudra repository on GitHub if you’d like a nose around how things work; we’re hoping that Sanskriti and Aman are able to productise their idea and make it widely available to people all over the world.

Papyre 630 e-Reader Released in Spain


There has been a number of Papyre e-readers available in Europe for quite sometime. It has never really been a household name because its normally found in Spain. Their earlier devices suffered from sluggish performance and ugly aesthetics. The new Papyre 630 is breaking this mold and might be a solid device to look at if you are interested in loading in your own books.

The Papyre 630 has a six inch e Ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024 X 758 pixels. One thing readers will dig is the inclusion of a full touchscreen display and physical page turn keys that will appeal to right or left handed readers. This edition will let you read in the dark with the built in front-lit, interesting enough the LED lights are on the bottom of the screen, similar to the Nook design.

Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ single core processor, and 4 GB of internal memory. There is support for an SD Card, so you can expand it if carrying a copious amount of books appeals to you.

When it comes to reading, you have support for DRM ePub or PDF eBooks that are purchased from other retailers. You can also download and load them in yourself, the formats supported are TXT, PDF, EPUB, PDB, FB2, RTF, MOBI. Its nice to see a reader that will read a Kindle friendly format, in MOBI.

There is no store loaded on the device to buy digital books from. Instead, the company that  makes the e-reader, Grammata, has a web-based store.  This forces you to rely on the WIFI and internet browser to download books from the online store or use other websites or even Dropbox. You can buy this e-reader now for 119 euros.

In the end, this device will likely appeal to people who want a simple e-reader with no defined store. If you don’t like the other major e-reader brands, this might work for you. If you buy it for someone who is not tech savvy, I would recommend just load it up with books.

Papyre 630 e-Reader Released in Spain is a post from: Good e-Reader