Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cybook Ocean e-Reader Clears the FCC


The Cybook Ocean is the first eight inch e-reader that Bookeen has ever released. It is expected to be available in Europe and North America sometime this month. In order to legitimately be sold in Canada and the US it has to have official FCC certification. Today the Ocean has passed the testing process and is much closer to becoming available.

The Cybook Ocean features an 8 inch touchscreen and has a resolution of 1024×758. This model adheres to the current trend of packing a front-lit display on the e-reader and I was told that it is on par with the Kindle Paperwhite 2, in terms of overall screen clarity. Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory. If this is not enough to store the books you have purchased from the on-board bookstore, you can simply insert an SD Card. There is also physical page turn buttons, which should appeal to people who dig the tactile approach.

When it hits the market sometime in the next month it will cost around 179 euros. This is more expensive than most other mainstream readers such as Kindle or Kobo. The competitive advantage of this device is that you are not locked into a specific ecosystem, making it viable for schools and libraries.

Cybook Ocean e-Reader Clears the FCC is a post from: Good e-Reader

Baker & Taylor Axis 360 Library Platform Comes to Canada


The Baker & Taylor Axis 360 library platform has transcended from being a US exclusive and has now come to Canada. Starting today the platform will be available for schools and libraries via a new relationship with an established partner Whitehots.

Michael Bills, Director for Sales, Digital Products told Good e-Reader exclusively “Whitehots will be reselling the Axis 360 platform and services to Canadian customers, and is incorporating the Axis 360 content metadata into the Whitehots ordering tools so that customers will be able to order both print and digital together from a single supplier. This mirrors for Canadian customers the streamlined acquisitions process that B&T creates for its customers using Title Source for physical and digital collection development.”

He went on to elaborate “The current content available for Canadian libraries is well over 500,000 titles, including more than 30,000 digital audiobooks. We expect this will grow significantly as B&T and Whitehots work together to involve more digital suppliers.”

WhiteHots has been on the Canadian scene for the past 25 years. The company assists new and existing libraries set up the entire backend from the acquisition of titles to choosing a proper ILS system. One of the companies new focuses is assisting libraries in selecting a proper launch collection for digital books with their Intelligent Library Solutions program.

There is not many companies offering end to end eBook solutions in Canada. Overdrive has been in the market for a number of years and the 3M Cloud has entered the market in the last six months. The competitive advantage Axis 360 has is the ability to order print titles in addition to eBooks and audiobooks.

Baker & Taylor Axis 360 Library Platform Comes to Canada is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Sony Reader Store is a New Priority in Japan


Sony has been heavily invested in e-readers and eBooks since 2007 and was one of the first companies actively developing products in this space. During the last few years Amazon, Apple,  Barnes and Noble, and Kobo have all been out pricing Sony on eBooks and e-reader prices have fallen dramatically, due to cutthroat competition. This has resulted in Sony abandoning their Reader Store in North America, Europe and Australia and sourcing all digital sales to Kobo. Japan is the last country where the Reader Store is still going strong and Sony is doubling down, to focus all of their energies in being the top player.

In an exclusive statement to Good e-Reader, Vice President of Marketing for Sony Tony Smith said “We are increasing sales in Japan by concentrating our focus on offering a wide range of reading opportunities across various compatible devices, and on enhancing the store services and the selection of digital content. We aim to develop the Japanese business further by increasing the range of digital content working with publishers or partners, expanding the lineup of compatible devices, such as Xperia or PS Vita, cooperating with CRM platforms such as My Sony Club, and enhancing the accessibility of the store service such as offering extending it to PCs, and enriching IPhone/iPad experience.”

The digital gambit for Sony in Japan is not without massive resistance by some very important sectors. Newspapers still remain  immune to going digital, although they enjoy a more loyal subscriber base than those in North America do.  Professor Hayashi Kaori of the University of Tokyo said that "Newspaper circulation figures remain remarkably high in Japan. Among the major national papers, the Yomiuri Shimbun — Japan's largest — puts its circulation at slightly less than 10 million. The number two, Asahi Shimbun, has an official circulation just shy of 8 million. Japan's regional newspapers typically reach 50 percent of households in their market, and a fair number boast a penetration rate of 60 percent or higher.”  Many of these nws companies employ elderly people to distribute the papers to stores and customers. It is thought that if digital is given a priority that they would have to lay some of these people off, and this is something they are not willing to do.

Sony does not have the best track record when it comes to developing new mobile reading platforms and executing them. In 2012 they were actively developing a Storyteller app  for the Playstation Vita, which never saw a commercial release. Nintendo also beat them to the punch with launching a kids bookstore on the DS.

Exclusively focusing all of their energies on a singular market, with one major language does have obvious benefits.  Sony was born  in Japan, and that puts them in a better position to leverage their overall brand to duke it out with Amazon or Kobo. The chief concern is if Sony can execute any of their planned enhancements for their mobile apps or the PS Vita?

The Sony Reader Store is a New Priority in Japan is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Sync for GoodReads Now Available in the UK


GoodReads introduced a new feature this past April in North America and Australia that allowed people to sync all of their Amazon book purchased with their GoodReads account. This bulk  import feature certainly makes life easier for those who want to have every book they have ever read or intend to read on their main public shelf. Today, Amazon Sync is now available to residents of the UK.

The ability to import your print and Kindle titles into your GoodReads shelf is officially in early access. The feature is not available to everyone yet, and you can access the import feature HERE.

The UK Amazon Kindle Store is not only used by residents of the United Kingdom, but also countries such as Ireland, Scotland or other commonwealth territories. The GoodReads syncing update is not country specific but works with all titles purchased from the main Amazon.co.uk website.

Amazon acquired the social book discovery website GoodReads last year. This gave Kindle owners the ability to join the 30 million users who use GoodReads to form virtual book clubs, talk about specific authors or even  just showcase what they are currently reading. The Kindle Paperwhite first and second generation models recently got GoodReads integration in the main navigation bar, to make it ridiculously easy to join in on the fun.

Amazon Sync for GoodReads Now Available in the UK is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo, Aquafadas Launch Innovative Digital Magazine Publishing Tools

Digital publishing tool provider Aquafadas has had an ongoing relationship with Kobo‘s digital content consumption platform for quite some time, but news came out today that the partnership just got better. Aquafadas initially released its Cloud Authoring tool as a streamlined process for publishers looking to make their digital magazines and newspapers even better for readers on Kobo’s line of devices and on personal computers. Today, the company announced new features that will make the process even easier to use, virtually eliminating the need for programmers or developers in order to publish their content.

"While there are many barriers to entry in the world of digital publishing – time, money, manpower, the list goes on – Kobo and Aquafadas essentially break them down and offer publishers a way in, without creating more work for either party," says Claudia Zimmer, CEO, Aquafadas. "By using Aquafadas Cloud Authoring to convert magazines into digital-friendly versions, all publishers need to do is provide Kobo with their magazine PDF files, which have already been created. The entire conversion process takes place behind the scenes and in the cloud."

Using the same PDFs that publishers’ teams of designers make for print editions, Kobo can then seamlessly turn those into digital editions without delay or lengthy reworking.

"We're extremely pleased with the power and versatility that Aquafadas Cloud Authoring offers in terms of digitizing content," says Michael Tamblyn, Kobo's president and chief content officer. "Publishers now have easy access to a global market across virtually any device or platform. Their digital offering becomes robust, intuitive and visually engaging – just as they intended. By offering publishers this conversion service, we are able to not only save them time and money, but quickly give them an entirely new revenue stream."

One of the new features is the Guided Reading function, which creates a smoother experience for interacting with a digital edition by eliminating the need for touch-based panning and zooming. This also allows the creation of exciting features like an interactive table of contents and the ability to access a complete library of both books and magazines all from within the one user account.

Kobo, Aquafadas Launch Innovative Digital Magazine Publishing Tools is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Book i63ML Newton has Carta Screen and Android 2.3

Onyx International has announced the release of a new ebook reader for the Russian market called the Onyx Book i63ML Newton. It has a 6-inch 1024 x 758 resolution display and is now the third ebook reader behind the Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Tolino Vision to use the latest screen technology from E Ink, called […]

OverDrive adds bestselling Japanese eBooks for libraries and schools worldwide

We are pleased to announce a strategic alliance with top Japanese publisher aggregator MediaDo. The alliance, called OverDrive Japan, will enable distribution of popular and bestselling Japanese content, including manga and adult fiction, through the OverDrive network of libraries and schools worldwide. In addition, the new venture extends the OverDrive platform and catalog of more than 1 million eBook and audiobook titles to Japanese libraries and schools.

OverDrive Japan is designed to deliver on the following initiatives:

1)     MediaDo's content to be distributed through OverDrive's network. OverDrive will make available to its worldwide network of libraries and schools MediaDo's Japanese eBook titles aggregated from 200 or more publishers. These titles enhance OverDrive's broad catalog of popular and bestselling titles in all subjects and in 52 languages.

2)     Develop and expand digital library business in Japan. MediaDo and OverDrive will provide OverDrive's industry-leading platform system services and deliver Japanese and overseas eBooks to public, school, government, and corporate users inside and outside of Japan.

3)     OverDrive's content offered in Japan. Japanese libraries and schools will have access to OverDrive's digital catalog of more than 1 million titles including eBooks, audiobooks and videos from more than 5,000 publishers, and lend them to authenticated users.

"We are honored to join MediaDo in forming OverDrive Japan," said Steve Potash, OverDrive's CEO. "Japanese content has proven popular throughout the world, and we are delighted to lead the world in making it available to libraries and schools around the world, initially in the Japanese language and ultimately in English and other languages via translation."

As one of the leading aggregators of premium published materials in Japan, MediaDo supplies and delivers eBooks from many publishers including majors such as Kodansha and Shogakukan. MediaDo has played an important role in the rapid growth of the domestic eBook market in Japan. MediaDo has already secured nearly 9,000 Japanese eBooks for distribution through OverDrive's network of libraries and schools around the world, including classic literary works and prominent manga titles.

Yasushi Fujita, MediaDo's CEO, said "We are extremely pleased to form a strategic alliance with the world's No. 1 digital lending system platform company, OverDrive, and are excited to work with them to making the best lending system available in Japan. In addition to strive for making eBook reading most convenient to users in Japan, we are looking forward very much to provide 'cool Japan content' together with OverDrive to all the readers in the world."

OverDrive Japan aims to develop digital library services in Japan by integrating both MediaDo's and OverDrive's system infrastructures. This continues the accelerating global trend of eBook usage worldwide, and builds on OverDrive's industry-leading knowledge and experience serving 28,000 libraries and schools in 36 countries with digital content in 52 languages.

Tough topics revisited


Last year, I wrote a blog post that talked about a special collection of titles that dealt with difficult issues children and teens face. The tough topics – ones like substance abuse, suicide, divorce, pregnancy, eating disorders, depression, self-harm and many others. In honor of May being National Mental Health Awareness month here in the U.S., I decided to take the time and add some of the new content we added over the last year to the list, like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and many others.

What was true almost a year ago about a list like this one is just as true now – teens and children need titles like the ones on this list. Often they are reluctant to reach out to parents, mentors, and friends. However, in the information age, they are much more likely to look elsewhere when they want a sense of companionship. Novels that do not shy away from discussing the tough topics are so important because they give voice to experiences that most hope they never go through, but touch, in one way or another, everyone's lives. Take a look at the list below and help make a difference.

Tough Topics Revisited


Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

PebblyPi smart doorbell

A quick poll of the office reveals that none of us knows anybody with a smart watch. But we know you’re out there, smart watch owners: this one’s for you. (Let us know in the comments if you really exist: Gordon says he thinks there are only about five of you. I am prepared for Gordon to be very wrong on this.)

The first we heard of this project was this tweet…

…and this video.

Daniel Garden has used a Pi in a very simple but effective (as long as you remember to wear your watch) project that spots a switch being flipped (in this case a doorbell push-button), then sends an alert to your device – in this case a Pebble watch – and plays a notification sound. The vibrating alert means that this is a great option for people with hearing difficulties: and it’s always nice to see an honest-to-god use case for a smart watch that doesn’t involve doing the Dick Tracy thing where you have to chat to your own wrist like a not-very-good spy.



I hate to contemplate what Douglas Adams might have thought of smart watches.

There’s a nice writeup of the project at Daniel’s blog, and if you’re in Cambridge you can head down to the Makespace (where several of the folk who work at Pi Towers hang out on occasion) to ask him more about the build. Thanks Daniel!


Debate Continues over Books in Prisons

In light of two pieces of polar opposite legislation concerning books in prisons, it would seem like ebooks have found a whole new purpose. One UK ruling has banned books from being sent to inmates, while legislation was just approved in one region of Italy that would allow inmates to earn days off their sentences for reading books.

The UK ban came about following the growing problem of smuggling. Items like drugs, cell phones, weapons, and other contraband have made their way into prisons through books sent to inmates. A recent incident in the southeastern United States, while not currently sparking legislation, led to the arrest of more than thirty individuals who were smuggling drugs into one county jail inside the tabs that denote the different books of Bibles.

This ban resulted in outrage and protests, but so far the government has refused to even meet with authors or members of advocacy organizations.

In Italy, which has the second highest rate of prison overcrowding in the EU, a new bill approved in Calabria and headed to Parliament would allow inmates to reduce their sentences by three days for every book they read, with a limitation placed on how many days they can earn each year. This initiative follows Brazil’s 2012 law that allows prisoners to earn four days per book, but still has its critics as those opposed to the bill question the legitimacy of simply turning pages in a book in order to get out of jail.

But in both the UK and Italy, the problem isn’t books or reading, it’s format. In both cases, ebooks stand to have a tremendous impact while still maintaining safety and security.

Depending on device security (such as the option to disable internet access, or limiting devices to only those that require a cord connection to update books), inmates in the UK could still enjoy books, even those that are gifted to their accounts by friends or family members, without the very real security concerns of contraband. At the same time, officials in Italy could not only track how much time an inmate spends interacting with an ebook using the same technology that parents and educators use for young readers, but they can also verify the user’s annotations, highlights, or comments before assigning credit for having read the book.

While ebooks have been applauded for their features and convenience since the most recent rise in digital reading, new adaptations for the technology present themselves all the time. Officials who are willing to think beyond their own parameters for a book may be pleasantly surprised by ebooks’ ability to solve problems.

Debate Continues over Books in Prisons is a post from: Good e-Reader