Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yota is Creating a New App Store for the YotaPhone


The Yotaphone is one of the most unique smartphones on the market due to its secondary e Ink display screen. There is only a one single reading app that is compatible with it and Yota is hoping to remedy the situation. The company has announced that they are working on a new app store and it will be ready in Q3 2014, about the same time as their second generation Yotaphone will be released.

One of the drawbacks of the Yotaphone is that there are not many apps that have been made to take advantage of the secondary screen. There are a few on Google Play that uses the e Ink screen as a virtual controller for the main color LCD touchscreen. CEO Vladislav Martynov notes that YotaDevices has already discussed concepts for a wide variety of specialized software for the second screen with app developers. By way of example he notes a program that displays recipes on the smartphone’s second screen and a program that controls the front-facing color screen using the back touchscreen.

The Yota App Store is not meant to be revenue driver for the company. The main intention is not to sell apps or to charge developers to list apps in their store. Rather, it hopes the store will attract additional attention to YotaPhone from users and shore up interest in the device, which is new to the market.

App Stores are big business and encourage developers to utilize the ecosystems to make some serious money. Apple noted that in 2013 over three billion apps were downloaded and generating over $10 billion in revenue. The Samsung App Store is installed on 100 million Android devices, SlideMe is installed on 20 million devices, and the Amazon App Store runs on 33% of tablets in the U.S. Good e-Reader is also the largest app store in Canada with over 80 million visitors in 2013.

Yota is Creating a New App Store for the YotaPhone is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Touch Available for Free in the Philippines


Customers in the Philippines will now have access to the Kobo Touch via Smart Communications. Starting today the Kobo Touch is available will be given away for free to subscribers of their new data plans.

Available under Plan 499, the Kobo Touch e-Reader will come bundled with 30 Internet hours every month via the Smart Bro Pocket WiFi, delivering up to 7.2 Mbps of download speeds powered by the country's largest broadband network. A free e-Reader just for signing up for internet access, not too shabby.

The Kobo Touch e-Reader is a great new addition to our quickly expanding lineup of premium mobile devices available through Gadget Plus Plans, which makes it easier for Filipinos without a credit card to get the latest gadgets that they want," Michele Curran said in a statement.

Kobo has been running an online bookstore in the Philippines since mid 2013. Customers can purchase the devices in major bookstores across the country and buy millions of books.

Kobo Touch Available for Free in the Philippines is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Enhances their Content Delivery Network


Kobo has just signed a new deal with Hibernia CDN to boister the performance of their global eBook network. This will basically speed up browsing the companies online bookstore and syncing data from the Kobo servers to your ereader or tablet.

HiberniaCDN is now available in Kobo’s over 190 points of presence spanning North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. The CDN leverages deployed infrastructure that is integrated with Hibernia’s IP network. The HiberniaCDN platform enables users to access anytime, anywhere media and applications, including VOD and Live streaming video, website acceleration, video downloads, software updates and releases, music downloads, online game releases and updates.

"The emergence of HiberniaCDN as a global platform for secure, cost-effective delivery of content services satisfies the needs of media providers whose end users increasingly demand content on an anytime, anywhere and any device basis," states Bjarni Thorvardarson, the CEO of Hibernia Networks. "Our agreement with Kobo not only reflects an evolution in how digital content services are delivered, but also confidence in Hibernia's IP network to establish, deliver and sustain an exceptional user experience to Kobo's readers worldwide."

Ok what does this all mean for your average Kobo user? Likely if you just use their standard e-reader you might notice a slight increase in speed when you purchase and download an ebook. This is because there is now a proxy between the main Kobo servers and your own WIFI network. Since there will be less network congestion the overall speed will increase on delivered media.

Kobo Enhances their Content Delivery Network is a post from: Good e-Reader

Prime and Kindle Owners Spend the Most Money on Amazon


There is a big reason why Amazon issues a number of press releases every single month on the things they are doing with Prime or the Kindle. Today for example, Amazon signed a deal with HBO to bring a number of its most popular television programs, sans Game of Thrones to Amazon Instant Video.  Prime and Kindle owners statistically spend the most money on Amazon, which is why these are the top priorities for media coverage and customer adoption.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners  The two programs "have become significant drivers of Amazon sales, even in light of the recent Amazon Prime price increase and significant competition in the tablet computing market," the company said.

"Both serve as superb affinity programs for Amazon, as Kindle owners spend 30% more, and Prime members spend twice as much, as the rest of Amazon's customers," said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin.

The Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle e-Readers drive the bulk of digital book sales.  Of the 500 people surveyed 23% owned a Kindle Fire tablet, 13% owned a Kindle e-reader, and 12% owned both for an overall 48% ownership rate. Overall, in the US there are currently 31.3 million Kindles in circulation.

Amazon Prime drives sales to the Kindle so customers can take advantage of the free eBook given out every month and encourages tablet adoption so people purchase them to watch Instant Videos. When you buy a new piece of hardware you get a month of Prime membership for free, which Amazon normally includes in their overall registered user figures. Currently there are currently 27.8 million Prime members in the U.S.

“These newer Amazon Prime customers have not yet made their first renewal decision, so they may not have completely considered whether Amazon Prime shipping and video benefits are worth it to them them, and thus are susceptible to churn,” CIRP Partner Josh Lowitz said in a statement. “However, our analysis suggests that 85% of current customers were already aware of the increase in price to $99 per year. And, even with the price increase, almost 90% of current Amazon Prime members say they will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ renew their membership, just 5% less than the responses we saw prior to any discussion of a price increase.”

Prime and Kindle Owners Spend the Most Money on Amazon is a post from: Good e-Reader

Mark Coker’s Indie Author Manifesto

To say that self-publishing has unleashed something profound around the world is an understatement. Whether it’s through the launch of ebooks and print-on-demand books or just a blogging or social media platform, digital publishing has made it possible for individuals to put their ideas in front of a broader audience. It cannot be a coincidence that the global spread of ideas and the actions of individuals such as the recent Arab Spring have taken place in a climate of mass content sharing.

To that end, one of the individuals who has probably done more towards furthering the ability of individuals to reach a larger plane with their ideas is Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords. His vision for giving authors a place from which to release their works is only six years old, but in that time his work has made hundreds of thousands of titles available for readers around the globe.

Today, Coker posted on the Smashwords blog not only his deeply held beliefs about writing and publishing, but also this document:


We indie authors believe all writers are created equal, that all writers are endowed with natural creative potential, and that writers have an unalienable right to exercise, explore, and realize their potential through the freedom of publication.

I hold these truths to be self-evident:

I am an indie author.
I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing.
I have a right to publish.
My creative control is important to me. I decide when, where and how my writing graduates to become a published book.
Indie does not mean "alone." I choose my partners.
I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I seek partnership, fairness, equity and mutually aligned interests.
We indie author comprise diverse writers unified by a common purpose to advance, empower and celebrate writers everywhere.
I am a professional. I take pride in my work, and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors and the culture of books
My writing is valuable and important. This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.
I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine, and mine theirs. Together we are pioneering a better future for books marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability and accessibility.

According to Coker, who so humbly describes self-publishing as a “global movement,” in his post said, “Critics say self publishing is causing a tsunami of drek that will destroy book culture and render the best books undiscoverable.  Not true.  Yes, self publishing will enable more horrible books to be published than ever before, but it will also enable more better books to be published, discoverable and enjoyable than ever before.  There’s a yin and yang to this.”

Mark Coker’s Indie Author Manifesto is a post from: Good e-Reader

Smashwords Authors Get a One Year Free Subscription to Scribd


Smashwords signed a distribution agreement with eBook subscription service Scribd last December. Indie authors who elect to include their titles in the Scribd catalog are now getting extra benefits, a free one year subscription to Scribd.

The one year free subscription to Scribd is only available to authors who have included their books in that distribution platform. Your complimentary subscription will activate when you claim your new Scribd author profile. The subscription will be valid for 1 year. If you’d like to renew your subscription after that, Scribd will remind you to enter your payment information. No payment information is necessary now to redeem your complimentary subscription.

Basically, in order to get your free subscription you have to create an author profile on Scribd. Smashwords is sending out emails this week to get users to sign up for the service and opt into the free subscription. Time is of the essence because the offer expires April 30th 2014.

Smashwords has ironed out a fairly solid arrangement for authors who want to include their eBooks into Scribd. The author or publisher earns credit for a full read when the reader reaches a certain trigger point, measured by the percentage of the book that is read. The first 10% of the book is a free sample, similar to a retailer. Excluding the sample, once the reader reads an additional 20% of the book, a full sale is triggered and the Smashwords author earns 60% of the list price, up to a maximum of about $12.50 per read. In practice, what this means for most fiction writers is that after the reader reads more than the first 30% of your book, it triggers a full sale. For some non-fiction writers, where your book's content is more likely to be read non-sequentially, it means if the reader starts their reading deeper in the book at Chapter 10, a sale could be triggered after reading only 20% of the book (As an aside, this underscores the importance of authors building fully functional navigation into their ebooks so that all their book’s content is easily discoverable.

Smashwords Authors Get a One Year Free Subscription to Scribd is a post from: Good e-Reader

HBO and BBC to Produce Miniseries on Casual Vacancy


JK Rowling departed the Harry Potter franchise for a number of years before she penned her first adult themed book. The Casual Vacancy centers around the major themes of class, politics, and social issues such as drugs and prostitution. The book was on the UK and US bestseller lists for over six months and has sold over six million copies. The book is now getting the miniseries treatment from the BBC and HBO.

The three-hour miniseries will be written by Sarah Phelps who worked on EastEnders) and will be directed by Jonny Campbell, who recently directed In the Flesh. Rowling will executive producer via her Bronte Film and Television production company that she runs with Neil Blair, her longtime literary agent and producing partner. The story focuses on a local election in the fictional town of Pagford after a sudden death.

HBO and BBC to Produce Miniseries on Casual Vacancy is a post from: Good e-Reader

Get Cooking with Random House Backed TasteBook Bookshop


Random House has just opened up a new online digital bookstore that caters to the inner cook in all of us. The new service is called TasteBook Bookshop and features 10,000 eBooks from major publishers all over the world.

Tastebook is the cooking blog that Random House has been operating for a number of years. It has developed a cult following of foodies and cooks who all check out the daily updates. The new store allows readers to buy the eBooks from many different retail channels such as Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and more.

Current best sellers featured on The Bookshop include The Chopped Cookbook by Food Network Kitchens from Clarkson Potter; My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz from Ten Speed Press; The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon from Avery; The Hungry Girl Diet by Lisa Lillien from Macmillan; and Eat What You Love Everyday by Marlene Koch from Running Press.

"We know that TasteBook's half-a-million members are avid cookbook collectors who heavily rely on print cookbooks as tools and for inspiration," says Lilly Kim, Associate Director, Digital Channel Development, who has spearheaded TasteBook efforts at Random House. "The Bookshop provides cooking enthusiasts an easy way to discover and purchase new cookbooks. It's a great resource for frequent and occasional cooks who seek out new flavors and inspiration for everyday meals and entertaining."

The newly created Bookshop rounds out the TasteBook offering, to provide home cooks the ability to discover, save, and share recipes, as well as a blog that serves up daily posts with recipes and inspiration. TasteBook members can also create custom recipe books using personal recipes and those from the site for $34.95 with the option to add additional recipes for $.29 each at any time.

Get Cooking with Random House Backed TasteBook Bookshop is a post from: Good e-Reader

Storybird Gives Kids a Safe and Free Place to Read and Publish


The internet is hardly a safe place for kids to safely read content that is truly free. This has prompted numerous companies to release tablets specifically geared towards the kiddos or Amazon charging $10 a month for Kindle Freetime Unlimited. Storybird bucks the trend of charging for content or displaying nefarious advertising. Instead, they give everything away for free and even let the little tyke write their own book.

Storybird lets anyone make free visual stories in seconds. The company curates artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspires writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories. There are over five million stories on the website and lots of interactive features to talk to the writer or just Heart the story.

Discovery of content is easily laid out so you can choose your favorite genre or by age appropriate ratings. The actual content is mainly created by kids, but some adults cut their teeth here too. There are plenty of genres to appeal to the sensibilities to everyone. You can read a ten page story or a single page image with poetry on it. There are rhyming books, love stories, adventures and everything in-between.

There are systems in place for readers to talk to the authors or comment on a specific image or story they liked. This is a great way to develop a following to that will follow you from story to story. There are extensive writer tools available that are quite simplistic in nature and basically designed for kids. You can choose from cover art and images that show up in the books. The images are often full screen with the text on the far left hand side. Once you read ten stories, there is a consistency factor in the way all of the books are developed.

80% of Storybirds core audience is between the ages of seven and fifteen and in order for the company to grow, they have to look beyond picture books. In the next few months Storybird will be developing a long-form system in the hopes of competing against Wattpad and finding that next Harry Potter novel.

This is a really great service and one of the best sites aimed at kids on the internet. I really implore educators, parents and most of all the lil tykes to check it out.

Storybird Gives Kids a Safe and Free Place to Read and Publish is a post from: Good e-Reader

Customers Resist Samsung Bloatware


We have all purchased a shiny new smartphone and discovered a myriad of apps on it that you cannot delete and would never use. Samsung uses their dominant Android market share position to have the highest concentration of bloatware out of any Android vendor. The question is, how popular is ChatON, the Samsung App Store or even the Readers Hub?

Samsung recently announced that 100 million users are registered on their Chaton instant messaging service. What they don’t disclose is that US users only spend six seconds per month on the app, often mis-clicks trying to open something else. If you look at all of Samsung proprietary apps the average user only spends seven minutes per month total on them.

The lack of consumer interest in Samsung bloatware is quite telling. The average user spends 150 minutes a month on Instagram, 11 hours on Facebook and 150 minutes a month on Google Services.

Customers Resist Samsung Bloatware is a post from: Good e-Reader

10 Free Kindle eBooks – April 23

Here’s a list of free Kindle books as of April 23rd, 2014. Please note that some of these ebooks are free for a limited-time only and could expire at anytime. Make sure to double-check that they are still free before hitting the buy button. Subscribe to The eBook Reader Blog to keep updated on future […]

Onyx Boox Zeus: 9.7″ E Ink eReader with Android

There’s a new large-screen Android-powered ebook reader available in Russia that I sure wish I could get my hands on. The device is called the Onyx Boox M96M Zeus. Ereading must be popular in Russia because they get all the coolest ebook readers. Here is the States we’re stuck with bland Kindles and Nooks and […]

Is the toilet free?

Here at Pi Towers, we are lucky enough to have more toilets than we have people. Some offices don’t. And it’s embarrassing to hear your colleagues micturating (at least for some people – the rest of us chatter through it all and make fun of each other’s shy bladders), so the guys at Made by Many have come up with a Pi-based solution.

It started quite simply. Reed switches on a toilet door would send information to a Pi, which would publish the data to a website, so the folks at Made by Many could check online before going to the loo. They made a LEGO prototype to make sure everything worked.


And after applying the switches to the real toilet doors, they ended up with the real thing serving up a result like this when the website was polled.


Of course, it’s axiomatic that if you can overcomplicate something, you should.

So the Made by Many team started looking at what data they could collect without invading people’s lavatorial privacy (with a privacy document being uploaded to GitHub). No identifying information or information about exactly what was going on in the cubicle was collected at any time.  Over three weeks they ended up with sufficient data points to work some SQL magic and be able to detect:

  • if the toilets are free
  • the total number of visits
  • minimum visit duration
  • maximum visit duration
  • average visit duration
  • total visits by hour
  • total visits by day

From which they could infer:

  • the office’s favourite toilet
  • peak times
  • off-peak times
  • an estimated wait time.

And then they made a command-line-style stats page.


And because a job half-done is no job at all, they also made a little toilet notifier to live in the menu bar in Mac OS.



They’ve made LED signs. They’ve irritated their colleagues so much that one of them dismantled and abducted one of the reed switches. They’ve demonstrated elegantly that the Internet of Things is always informative, and not always as useful as we think it is. We think this is one of the most entertaining projects we’ve seen in a while. We salute you, Made by Many. And if you’ll excuse me, I drank rather too much coffee after lunch. I’ll just be a minute.

What’s on sale?

Don’t miss out on these great deals! Talk with your Collection Development Specialist today.


Books on Tape Spring Sale – Select Titles 30% Off (4/1 – 4/30)

Over 100 top audio titles, including Sue Grafton, John Grisham and more are 30% off for the month of April.

Easter Sale – Christian Titles 30-50% Off (4/14 – 4/28)

Shop popular Christian fiction and nonfiction on sale from the following publishers: Zondervan, Barbour Publishing, David C. Cook, Baker Publishing, Nazarene Publishing, Thomas Nelson, and eChristian.

Green Planet Films – Earth Day Sale (4/16 – 4/30)

Shop over 100 nature & environmental films on sale from Green Planet Films through April 30th and refresh your video collection with films relevant to the current environmental issues of today.

Sourcebooks April $2.99 Sale (4/19 – 5/4)

Over 25 romance, mystery and literary titles perfect for book clubs and summer reading are $2.99 till May 5th.

LeYa S.A. – Full Catalog 30% Off (4/21 – 5/5)

LeYa's catalog of over 2,000 titles is 30% off! New to libraries, LeYa is the largest Portuguese trade publisher in Brazil & Portugal, offering content from Portuguese authors and Portuguese-language versions of bestsellers and more.

HarperCollins Far and Away Fiction Sale – Select Titles 50% Off (4/21 – 5/12)

Fantastic savings at 50% off on titles that allow your patrons to travel the world without leaving the comfort of home.

Enslow Publishers – Full Catalog 30% Off (4/22 – 5/6)

The entire catalog of children’s and young adult content from Enslow Publishers is now available in ePub and 30% off through April 30th.

Julie Ann Walker's "Born Wild" $.99 USD (4/22 – 5/6)

To celebrate Julie Ann Walker’s coming new release Hell for Leather, last year’s Top Pick Born Wild is on sale at $.99.

C.C. Humphreys Sale – Jack Absolute Series $2.99 USD (4/22 – 5/6)

Save up on the first titles in the Jack Absolute series just $2.99 in advance of Absolute Honour, available 5/4/2014.


Staff Picks: Streaming Starz Digital Media movies I am excited to watch from my library


You may have recently read our Weekly eHighlights Streaming Video edition. I don't know about you, but it got me really jazzed to get streaming!

Here are a few videos you can find in the Starz Digital Media catalog that I can't wait to watch from my library:

  • Our Idiot Brother: I love Judd Apatow-esque comedies. Also, Paul Rudd is a comedic gem. This will probably be the first one I watch.
  • The Master: Loosely based on Scientology—and starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I'm sold.
  • Battle Royale: Okay, so this movie I have already seen and it totally freaked me out; however, if you liked Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies, then you may enjoy this—although it is much more gruesome and gorier.
  • The Evil Dead: A cult-classic! Scary and hokey at the same time—a ground-breaking film for the genre.
  • Tanner Hall: I must have looked at this title a million times—now is my chance to see it, for free, from my library! Coming of age… New England all girls' school… Mean Girls-like—I'm in!
  • Silver Linings Playbook: I feel like I am the only person on the planet who has not seen this yet, and it has J-Law and she can do no wrong.
  • Happythankyoumoreplease: Directed by and starring Josh Radnor. I did not watch: How I Met Your Mother, but I know it has received many accolades. For those missing the show—check out Josh Radnor's (Ted on HIMYM), directorial debut.

Looking for even more great titles? Check out my picks and more in Marketplace!

Karen Estrovich is the Director of Collection Development at OverDrive.

New and forthcoming movie tie-ins



New & Forthcoming Movie Tie-Ins 1/1

New & Forthcoming Movie Tie-Ins MA

Divergent was a hit on the big screen, with a $56 million debut. Want to be ready for the next big movie hit by making sure the eBook version is available? 2014 promises a good mix of classics like Far from the Madding Crowd and modern classics like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, as well as kids' films that are sure to be big, like The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, The Giver, and Vampire Academy.

Then there are bestsellers-turned-movies like Scott Spencer's Endless Love and Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Of course, there's Mockingjay, the final entry in The Hunger Games trilogy, and some great stories like The Monuments Men, A Winter's Tale, and Unbroken, a Coen brothers film directed by Angelina Jolie.

Get ready by clicking on the links above which will take you to Marketplace carts ready for you to place your orders.

Cindy Orr is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Can Yuzu Save Barnes and Noble?

Despite the reports and rumors that swirl around bookseller Barnes and Noble, the company has managed to keep its head above water in the retail bookselling space, both physically and online. Reports that the chain will close three hundred brick-and-mortar stores over the next several years was one of the first real nails in its coffin as far as critics were concerned, and coupled with lagging sales of devices and ebooks, many were certain that it was an indication of the company’s doom. But with product launches over the last few years that continue to demonstrate B&N’s commitment to its Nook line of devices, there is evidence that the company still stands behind its plan to innovate with the device and to keep moving forward.

One area that B&N continues to hold its own is in the college textbook market. While the company’s off campus stores have suffered, demonstrated by the recent closing of its flagship New York store that had become a college bookstore over the recent years, its growth on college campuses is surpassed only by Follett.

Now, B&N is combining its retail academic strength with its dedication to digital by announcing the pending development of Yuzu for college textbooks. According to an announcement on the Barnes and Noble College site, “Yuzu is a digital education platform by Barnes & Noble that makes the everyday learning experience remarkably gratifying. It's an online ecosystem that enables the collaborative, free flow of information between learners and educators, making it easier than ever to teach, learn, discover and digest. Yuzu combines the passion of the mentor and the curiosity of the student to create something never before seen in our industry.”

By building a single-app interface that works through tablets or web-browsers (meaning students no longer have to choose what type of device they bring to college), B&N hopes to build a platform where students, educators, and virtually any stakeholder in the academic process can seamlessly interact with the text or material, regardless of the content’s publisher. It will integrate access to the online bookstore in order to keep all of the user’s content in one location for accessing, studying, and collaborating.

While this concept isn’t exactly new, what may make the difference is the iconic logo behind the platform. Many other startups have tried to build this wholly integrated learning world, but they didn’t come with the backing of a relatively successful and known academic brand. While this launch could finally be what it takes to bring this type of digital learning nirvana to a broader audience of users, it could also be the platform that puts to rest some of the rumors and speculations about B&N’s ability to stay afloat.

Can Yuzu Save Barnes and Noble? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Szenio DC 1600 e-Reader Now Available in Spain


The Spanish eBook market have increased between 300% and 400% in the past three years. This has prompted a number of e-readers to be announced to take advantage of the digital boom. The latest entrant to the market is Szenio, who is best known for their line of tablets and smartphones. The company has just unveiled their first e-reader, the Szenio DC 1600.

This e-reader uses outdated TFT technology, which is the same screen that the Ectacto Jetbook employed four years ago. The resolution is an abysmal 800 x 600 pixels.

Underneath the hood is a robust ARM9 DualCore 600 MHZ processor and 128 MB of RAM. You have 4GB of internal memory to store your books and it supports a myriad of formats, including; TXT, PDF, HTML, CHM, RTF, FB2, EPUB.  One of the unique aspects of this device is that there is a built in comic book rendering engine. There is no bookstore loaded on it though, but you can use the accompanied internet browser to purchase content via WIFI.

You can see by the design of the reader that it bears a slight resemblance to the Kindle 5th generation. You navigate around via the D-Pad and also turn pages. There are forward, backward and settings to call up various functions.

The Szenio DC 1600 has high availability in Spain at various tech stores and is being sold for 79 Euros. I would give this one a miss if I were you. It is using really outdated screen technology and does not have a touchscreen. There are plenty of Spanish exclusives that are way better than this model, at the same price. I would recommend the Papyre 630 instead.

Szenio DC 1600 e-Reader Now Available in Spain is a post from: Good e-Reader