Libraries in the United States have faced monumental challenges to get publishers to buy into the idea of allowing their digital books to be distributed. The American Library Association has been a tireless vanguard in convincing the big five publishers to opt into pilot projects and then unilateral adoption. Things are very different in Europe, but a new initiative called “Right to E-Read” seeks to build awareness.
The The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations has launched the “Right to E-Read” campaign all over Europe. The premise the new program is a hardcore marketing campaign with posters, videos, postcards and promotional materials to build awareness to the public on the fact they can borrow eBooks from the library and the limitations facing them.
The situation facing Europe is the same one that transpired in the US a few years ago. There are no consistent licensing terms for libraries to purchase eBooks and many publishers have yet to opt into the idea that distributing their digital content does not devalue the product. Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association weighed in on Right to E-Read “The "ebook" problem is all too familiar to ALA and U.S. libraries, so we empathize with our European colleagues. Our approach to getting more ebooks in U.S. libraries involved engaging in direct discussions with publishers, in addition to demonstrating that library eBook lending enhances overall eBook sales. Through many means of connecting authors and readers, libraries help the public discover and enjoy books from the broad range of authors.
EBLIDA President, Klaus-Peter Böttger, declared that “Libraries (and public libraries in particular) have a major public interest mission in developing a strong and vibrant reading culture that forms nations of readers and a Europe of readers”. He added that “this library mission is entirely in the interest of the public and the market. It is time for other stakeholders in the e-book market to clearly acknowledge the important role of libraries in developing a reading culture which actively fosters the sale of books and eBooks”.
I remain apprehensive that this program will have any immediate effects in the European library scene. Europe has many more publishers then the US does and there are cultural and language barriers preventing extensive dialog. EBLIDA also does not have the clout that ALA has in the US in dealing with publishers and fostering relationships. The big players in eBook distribution to libraries in the US, is non-extinct in Europe. Overdrive, 3M, Axis 360, Ingram, Smashwords and many other companies have no presence in Europe, other than Overdrives meager offerings in Ireland and the UK. You simply don’t have any big for-profit companies investing big bucks in lobbying the publishers and government for changes.
The right to E-Read if anything might build slight awareness to the public. This is a good PR campaign for the library body promoting it and will net them a ton of headlines in the media. Sadly, this will not have any cohesive effect. The UK has been running study after study for years and even the government is trying to mandate eBooks in libraries, but so far nothing of real substance has been done.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Facebook just launched a news service called FB Newswire. It is designed to give writers, journalists and news companies a way to stay in touch with trending and developing stories. The company hopes to mirror how Twitter has become a global news service, that breaks stories before anyone else.
FB Newswire content will come from two sources. The main one is Storyful, a social-news service that News Corp. acquired in December for $25 million. As a Facebook post by Andy Mitchell describes it, the service will highlight content that has been posted by users and media entities who are reporting on breaking news events around the world, and comes complete with an easy-to-use "embed" function.
The second source of news stories will be sourced by users status updates that link to a 3rd party news website. The Facebook algorithms will incorporate video, pictures and headlines. Users will be able to embed the stories, with special code, similar to how Twitter handles embedded Tweets.
The sole premise of this initiative is to give journalists and news companies the ability to trust the sources. This is why the vast majority of it will come from confirmed companies like Storyful.
Kobo is based in Toronto Canada and the company today axed over 60 jobs. They also reshuffled existing employees into different departments in a bid to refocus on e-readers and their line of apps. Currently Kobo employees over 500 people worldwide, from executives to agents.
In a statement today to Good e-Reader, Kobo said “To focus resources on innovation, partners, and readers, the leadership team has realigned the organization's structure, which has also meant some staff reductions. As part of this change, teams have been restructured and optimized; redeploying employees to best use their skills to support the company's core goal of providing the best global eReading experience. All our offices will continue to operate as usual, with a mandate to grow the business in each of our territories.
While these decisions are never easy, we believe that we have the structure that puts us in the best position possible to aggressively compete in an ever-challenging global marketplace. By ensuring the Kobo team is lean and agile, we will be able to strengthen our business position and continue our trajectory of global growth.
Kobo's mission remains to lead the global transformation in reading by inspiring people to read more and more often – anytime, on any device, anywhere around the world.”
The Canadian based e-Reader company did not mention whether these dismissals were on the executive level, junior or both. Many industry experts are surmising that this is partly due to the new President Michael Tamblyn and new CEO Takahito Aiki. Likely some of the old guard has been let go and the two executives are trying to surround themselves with people who have the same vision as they do.
Breaking: Kobo Makes Organizational Changes in Toronto is a post from: Good e-Reader
Liz: Gordon Hollingworth, our Director of Software, has been pointing the camera board at things, looking at dots on a screen, and cackling a lot over the last couple of weeks. We asked him what he was doing, so he wrote this for me. Thanks Gordon!
The Raspberry Pi is based on a BCM2835 System on a Chip (SoC), which was originally developed to do lots of media acceleration for mobile phones. Mobile phone media systems tend to follow behind desktop systems, but are far more energy efficient. You can see this efficiency at work in your Raspberry Pi: to decode H264 video on a standard Intel desktop processor requires GHz of processing capability, and many (30-40) Watts of power; whereas the BCM2835 on your Raspberry Pi can decode full 1080p30 video at a clock rate of 250MHz, and only burn 200mW.
Because we have this amazing hardware it enables us to do things like video encode and decode in real time without actually doing much work at all on the processor (all the work is done on the GPU, leaving the ARM free to shuffle bits around!) This also means we have access to very interesting bits of the encode pipeline that you’d otherwise not be able to look at.
One of the most interesting of these parts is the motion estimation block in the H264 encoder. To encode video, one of the things the hardware does is to compare the current frame with the previous (or a fixed) reference frame, and work out where the current macroblock (16×16 pixels) best matches the reference frame. It then outputs a set of vectors which tell you where the block came from – i.e. a measure of the motion in the image.
In general, this is the mechanism used within the application
So over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get the vectors out of the video encoder for you, and the attached animated gif shows you the results of that work. What you are seeing is the magnitude of the vector for each 16×16 macroblock equivalent to the speed at which it is moving! The information comes out of the encoder as side information (it can be enabled in
Since this represents such a small amount of data, it can be processed very easily which should lead to 30fps motion identification and object tracking with very little actual work!
Go forth and track your motion!
|There’s an ongoing tech deal at Woot today for Amazon’s short-lived Kindle Touch ebook reader. Woot’s price is $54.99, plus $5 for shipping. And it’s a certified refurbished Kindle Touch, with Wi-Fi and special offers (advertisements). Refurbs come with the same 1 year Kindle warranty as new models. So for $60 you get 6″ Kindle […]|
|Amazon issued a minor update yesterday for their Kindle for iOS reading app for the iPad and iPhone. The update version 4.2 adds easy access to the table of contents for most ebooks from the left panel menu. Instead of just redirecting users to the book’s table of contents at the beginning on the book […]|
Author Kelly Stone Gamble, whose book Ragtown is still in the running, had this to say about the process:
“Ragtown took several years to research, over two years to write and another two to edit. I’ve had so much interest in the subject area during this time, receiving messages and emails from people all over the world about their interest in the subject, and that kept me going on this project. I hadn’t really thought about the popularity of the Hoover Dam, but it is the number one off-Strip destination for Las Vegas visitors, and that means millions every year from all over the world. So while I of course want to write the best story possible, I’ve felt some kind of responsibility to these people, the ‘Dam fans,’ to make Ragtown a great book. Making it into the quarter finals not only validates the years of hard work I’ve put in to the novel, but also lets me know that I’ve done exactly what I set out to do. Write a good book. A good dam book.”
“Many contestants, myself included, enter the ABNA simply hoping to make it to the quarter finals stage since win or lose, you walk away with a Publisher’s Weekly review of your manuscript. For those who have already self-published or who are planning to self-publish in the future, that can be a very powerful marketing tool. Even if the overall review isn’t stellar, there’s usually something you can pull out as a potential tweet or addition to the back cover. When the PW reviews were posted last year and I saw the words ‘Katniss Everdeen of time travel,’ my first thought was that it was perfect for marketing. Only after that happy thought had settled in did I realize that it also meant Timebound was still in the contest and had a shot at one of the publishing contracts.”
The next level of selection will come on June 13th when the contest organizers announce the semifinalists. The complete list of quarter finalists can be found HERE.
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This Friday is the last chance to get your ballot in to help decide who will be the next ALA President. As an active member of the American Library Association we firmly believe it is essential to let your voice be heard by casting a vote in this election. The ALA plays a vital role in leading the library advocacy in both the United States and the world and this is your chance to decide who is leading the charge.
The ALA issued a press release last week with vital information for casting your vote. In that press release ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels reminded members that "Voting is one of the most important things you can do as a member of the American Library Association. This is because the officers you elect will make a real difference."
The President will act as the voice of you, the librarians, and so it's critical that you take advantage of the ability to select who represents you around the world. If you aren't familiar with the candidates, ALA has created a great "Guide to the 2014 Elections" flipbook to help you become informed. Time is running out so be sure to get your ballot in and rock that vote!
Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive
Amazon Prime members are getting an exclusive benefit in the form of Prime Pantry. This new program is exclusively aimed at Prime members who love to shop at Amazon. You can fill up a box with whatever you want, as long as it weighs 45 pounds for a flat rate price of $5.99.
When you order lots of items and have them shipped it, the costs can sometimes be prohibitive. The essence of Pantry is fill it up with how much or little you want. As items are added to the box the Pantry service tells you exactly how much the box is full on a percentage basis. Pantry boxes are large and can hold up to 45 pounds or four cubic feet of household products.
If you were to order a box of detergent, a 12 pack of Coke and a toaster, the costs would be high. Instead of having everything shipped out individually you can fill up as singular shipping box with Prime Pantry. The service only deals with non-perishable foods and is US only to start.
Amazon is betting big on tapping into the lucrative consumer packaged goods industry. This is dominated by big box retailers such as Sams Club and Costco. The Seattle based company is hoping that they can leverage themselves to giving good deals on small items and not forcing them to buy the Ultra King Size version.