Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Best New e-Readers of 2014 – So Far


There have been a ton of e-readers coming out in Europe and Russia in the first half of 2014. Some others are right around the corner to see a global release before summer. Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Sony normally come out with new devices in September. Many families are going on vacation soon or rewarding someone with a graduation gift. Today, we are going to look at the best new e-readers of 2014.

Pocketbook Aqua – This latest generation e-reader from Pocketbook is the only one in the world with IP57 certification, which means that the device is protected against dust and for 30 minutes underwater. The overall resolution is poorer than the higher end devices on the market, but this is a good vacation one.

Tolino Vision – One of the best devices released this year. It is geared towards Europeans, with eight different languages loaded on it. It is relevant mostly in Germany with a dedicated eBook store. It has e Ink Carta screen technology, which gives you a bright and vibrant screen like the latest generation Kindle Paperwhite. It has a touchscreen to easily interact with flipping pages and accessing your books. You can read in the dark with the built in front-lite technology. The shine is about as premium as you can get in an modern e-reader.

Onyx Boox i63ml Newton – This is the first commercially released e-reader that has an open version of Android, not locked into any specific ecosystem. Users will be able to utilize Google Play to install any reading app they want, or even speciality PDF or comic reading apps. It has e Ink Carta technology, the only other one on the market besides the Tolino Vision and Kindle Paperwhite 2. It has great resolution and physical page turn keys, incase you don’t want to rely on the touchscreen to swipe forward or backwards.

Cybook Ocean – The Kobo Aura HD broke the mold with a 6.7 inch ereader and it quickly accounted for 25% of all device sales. The Cybook Ocean is going the route of an 8 inch e Ink display screen with 1024×768 resolution. The bigger screen is the same resolution as most other six inch editions on the market, so don’t expect amazing screen clarity. Still, this device is going to be perfect for PDF documents, newspapers, magazines and comics.

Onyx Zeus - This is the only new 9.7 inch e-Reader to hit the market in 2014. It has the standard e Ink Pearl display screen and a very non-conventional resolution of 1200 x 825. This model is much akin to the Onyx Newton, but has Android 4.0.4, which will run all of your modern e-reading, magazine, newspaper, comic apps and things like Scribd or Entitle apps. It is fairly expensive at $400 and doesn’t have a wide availability yet.

Sony Digital Paper - The best pure PDF e-Reader I have ever reviewed. This delectable delight has a pen you interact with the screen with, to make notes, highlights and annotations. It has a 13.3 inch screen and uses the new super lightweight Mobius e Ink screen technology. Forget about reading your standard eBooks on this, as it only reads PDF files and has no store to buy content. Still, this is the best e-reader in the world and it reflects this in the cost. You can buy one on Amazon right now for $1100 US, but normally has 0 ability because its normally sold via Sony Business Unit in Japan and a law firm in the US.

The Best New e-Readers of 2014 – So Far is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Distractions of Writing in the Modern World


Writers have a very hard time focusing on pumping out enough content to get their books done and start marketing them. The internet is rife for distractions with instant messaging, popups, emails and our favorite news websites. How can we start to eliminate some of these distractions and make better use of our time?

George RR Martin, the author behind the bestselling books Game of Thrones has a very unique way of writing. He does not work on a modern PC with internet access and a slew of programs. Instead, he uses a very old MS-DOS PC with no connection to the internet and no spell checking software because it fails to recognize fantasy terminology.

The author was a guest on Conan a few days ago and mentioned “I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lowercase letter and it becomes a capital. I don’t want a capital. If I’d wanted a capital, I’d have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key. Stop fixing it.” He elaborated on his home set up further by saying “I actually have two computers. I have the computer that I browse the internet with, that I get my email on and I do my taxes on. Then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine not connected to the internet. Remember DOS? I use WordStar 4.0 as my word-processing system.”George might be onto something with using an old PC with no capabilities to run modern programs. When he devotes time to writing, that is all he does, pure and simple. So many authors I know cannot allocate the proper time to either self-publish or meet deadlines. Emails come in, Facebook status updates beckon for our attention and other aspects of the connected life break immersion.

The Distractions of Writing in the Modern World is a post from: Good e-Reader

Over 2, 100 new public, academic, and school libraries join OverDrive during first four months of 2014

Today we announced that OverDrive has added 2,173 public, school, academic, and corporate libraries to its global network this year alone. As libraries and institutions seek lending services for eBooks, OverDrive is overwhelmingly selected as a vendor with more than 90 percent of U.S. libraries and a growing number of schools partnering with OverDrive.

A sampling of the new libraries joining the OverDrive network include Cheshire Libraries (UK), Princeton Public Library (NJ), Brigham Young University (UT), Duke University (NC), Georgia Tech Library (GA), Napa Valley Unified School District (CA), Douglas County School District (CO), and Hawaii Public Schools (HI).  With a renewal rate of over 99 percent for all libraries using OverDrive during the past five or more years, this brings the total of library, school, and institutional partners to 30,000worldwide.

"Promoting literacy for enjoyment as well as improving reading foundations is now easier, and ultimately, we feel that our students deserve ongoing access wherever they are," said Ernesto Villanueva, Principal of Lilian J. Rice Elementary School, an OverDrive partner in Chula Vista, Calif. "They have that opportunity because of the publishers that OverDrive works with, and we found that other companies are limited in their scope or selection."

OverDrive's commitment to supporting libraries and schools is driven through continuous innovation and improvements based on feedback from library staff members and educators. Working with more than 5,000 publishers, OverDrive's catalog is unmatched, and the OverDrive app is compatible on all major mobile and tablet devices, including Kindle® (U.S. only). Recent enhancements to the OverDrive service include eReading Rooms for kids and teens, multilingual user interfaces, OverDrive APIs for a seamless user experience, and coming soon, fixed-layout EPUB3 and interactive eBooks.

Last year, OverDrive announced their "Million Digital Checkouts Club," consisting of partners who experienced a million or more digital checkouts in a year. This year is shaping up to be even better for libraries, with King County Library System and Toronto Public Library on pace to circulate more than 2 million digital titles, while Hennepin County Library and New York Public Library are moving quickly toward more than 1.5 million.

Twitter Mute is a Savior from Spamming Indie Authors


Twitter is often a vehicle employed by self-published authors to promote their eBooks. Thousands of Tweets are sent out everyday with no value other than the desperate attempts to sell a few copies of their Book on Amazon.  Twitter is seeking to save us from the maelstrom of spam with the advent of a new Mute function.

Twitter Mute is a new software enhancement that will be implemented in the official apps for iOS and Android. Soon after that it will be rolled out to the website under the “more” heading. The essence of Mute is the ability to just plain ignore a specific account, without having to unfollow them. This is useful for accounts such as ours, that have thousands of authors following us.

The mute function could not have come at a better time. Amazon recently announced that they have signed an agreement with Twitter to allow people to add things to their shopping cart by using the hashtag #Amazoncart. Indie authors will be Tweeting out their product links to the Kindle Store and readers just have to reply to the Tweet with the hashtag. The eBook will then be directly added to their shopping cart on Amazon, waiting to be purchased. Not many authors are clued into this feature yet, but in a matter of weeks the #bymybook spam will be out of control, as authors will finally be able to directly monetize their Tweets.

Publishers, Bloggers, Writers and websites that focus on book reviews will find the mute functionality a savior from the onslaught of indie author spam. These type of Twitter accounts often try and follow as people people as people, in the hopes they will boister up their own follower account. In social media circles, followers are everything. Mute will make the social media experience more manageable and filter out the rabble of self-publishing dimwits.

Twitter Mute is a Savior from Spamming Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Espresso Book Machine Streamlining a Subset of Self-Publishing

The Espresso Book Machine is a kiosk-style printing press that stood to revolutionize both book printing and book selling, at least at the beginning. These stand-alone machines were envisioned to virtually replace bookshops, meaning the customer of the future would enter a significantly smaller retail space that was completely void of any printed material, select the book from the machine’s screen, and wait only minutes as the machine spit out a fully bound and covered edition. The EBM was supposed to not only make almost any book available instantly to a reading consumer, but also would have served as an equalizer among bookstores, as stores of various sizes would no longer have to worry about stocking expensive inventory, insuring their products against damage or theft, and would never have to turn away a customer for not having a specific title.

Unfortunately, the reality of the EBM proved far too costly for most stores to even consider. The licensing fee alone was beyond the reach of many independent booksellers, and fears over keeping the machine up and running may have made many proprietors shy away.

In some locations, though, the EBMs that are in use are doing quite well, especially for niche markets like specific textbook or academic titles, out of print titles, and for customers who don’t want to wait for a book to arrive–again, especially if it’s a title that is needed for academic work.

But the EBM at the Brookwood Village Books-A-Million in Birmingham, Alabama, one of only two color-print capable EBMs in operation in a US bookstore, has found an additional client base for its machine: self-published authors who need a small print run.

While print-on-demand companies have revolutionized the self-publishing print industry by no longer requiring authors to purchase high-volume, expensive print runs from a vanity press, there are times when an author still only needs a handful of copies and prefers to work directly with an expert who can help. In this case, BAM’s Trevor Conatser walks authors and consumers through the process of creating or purchasing a book, and says they are always pleasantly surprised with the professional results.

“This is a very large, high volume store, and it’s in a good location, so it makes perfect sense. And self-pub is is entirely the biggest use for it. I’ve got a few niche customers that look for obscure academic texts like some archaeology books, but mostly self-published authors come in and want to produce a few of their titles.”

Conatser explained a lot of the other uses that make the powerhouse of a machine that comes in a fairly small setup so important to bookselling and reading.

“Hardware wise, other than the printer on the end, it’s almost exactly the same and it keeps production a little bit smoother,” he explained, highlighting the professional results that the machine–which is slightly larger than a Chevy Spark–is able to produce despite not being a full-sized printing house model. The quality of the finished product, especially with full color titles like children’s books, photography books, and more, was identical to books sold elsewhere in that same store.

With a comparable cost for a finished book, often what consumers would pay for an off-the-shelf purchase at the register, hopefully the EBM will make greater headway in terms of meeting the needs for both self-published authors and reading consumers. The technology is solid and certainly important in the current publishing climate, now it’s just a matter of placing EBMs in a broader market.

Espresso Book Machine Streamlining a Subset of Self-Publishing is a post from: Good e-Reader

Have you registered for the OverDrive Challenge yet?

You still have time to sign up for this June's OverDrive Challenge. Hundreds of public libraries have already signed up with more coming in every day. We recognize that increasing circulation by 25% or 50% may not be easy – that's why we've called it a challenge!

We've set big goals for big rewards, and we're excited to see the enthusiasm from libraries already strategizing for how they are going to beat their best circulation. Remember that no matter what, just for signing up you are entered to win a Google Nexus tablet!

If you're looking for ideas on how to pump up your circulation in June, here are some suggestions:

Attend the "Top 5 Ways to Boost Digital Circulation" Webinar

The OverDrive Training team is excited to host the upcoming hot topic webinar, “Top 5 Ways to Boost Digital Circulation.” During this live session, OverDrive trainers will share five strategies that will put you on the path to success for boosting your digital circulation. Registration is limited, so sign up today in the Learning Center. For more information about registering for this session, check out the “One simple tip to boost digital circulation” blog post!

Bring in new users

Everyone eligible for a library card is a potential new user, so design your marketing efforts to target different types of users in your community. Reach out to existing patrons visiting your library that may be wary of technology with training courses and hands-on assistance. Connect online with readers who are unaware that they can enjoy free eBooks from your library. Promote around town at local businesses or transit centers (commuters love having an audiobook to listen to when stuck in rush hour traffic!). There's an untapped market of library card holders who can help you reach your circulation goals. Make sure to explore the large selection of free promotional resources from the Marketing & Outreach section of the Partner Portal.

Build your collection

Purchase new content for your digital library website. Instead of aimlessly clicking around OverDrive Marketplace, try these tips:

  • Fulfill holds to cut down on your waiting lists.
  • Browse the custom carts created by our Collection Development team that can help expand your digital collection and “fill the gaps” for missing titles within series and the most popular titles from other libraries that you don't yet have.
  • Purchase patron recommendations through Recommend to Library.
  • Add a new format, like streaming video.
  • Buy extra copies of your most popular eBooks and audiobooks.
  • Find exciting new releases and publishers to reach new audiences. For example, Scholastic has many popular titles for children and young adults.

Be social

If your library isn't already using social networking, this is a great opportunity to start a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account. Make sure to share an idea or picture on social media about how you're promoting your OverDrive collection, using the #OverDriveChallenge hashtag.

Use the #OverDriveChallenge hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram. You are encouraged to post from a library account or if posting from a personal account, please indicate your library name. The hashtag will allow us to track and share some of the best submissions and will also act as a resource for all of our partners to find great new ideas online and see how others are promoting their OverDrive service.

Are you up for the #OverDriveChallenge?

Click here to fill out an entry form. The deadline for entry is Saturday May 31.

Read full contest details and rules for more information.

Scribd Updates Android and iOS Reading Apps

Scribd is one of the growing ebook subscription services. They allow readers unlimited access to their catalog of 300,000 ebooks for a monthly fee of $8.99. Scribd offers apps for Android, iPad/iPhone, and Kindle Fire tablets. That’s one of the downsides of using Scribd’s service: you have to use their apps or a web browser […]

IndieReader Launches First of Its Kind App and eBookstore for Self-Published Works

Self-published authors have a new sales and distribution opportunity, thanks to the pioneers in indie book promotion, IndieReader. The company, long known for its awareness-raising efforts for self-published and small press titles, has added a branded app and ebookstore to its list of services for authors.

The IR app has all of the features you would expect in a great e-reader,” explained president Amy Edelman in an announcement about the app, “including the ability to customize display settings, notes, highlights and bookmarks, and the ability to access all of your titles in a cloud-based library for synched reading on as many platforms and devises (including the aforementioned Apple and Android), in addition to all your tablets, smart phones and other mobile devises from a single account. The IR app also contains special content, stories and promos only available to IndieReader’s readers within the app.”

IndieReader’s plan is to include every book they review in the app, but that’s only feasible with titles that the authors choose to make available through platforms that feed directly into the app. Smashwords is one of the most streamlined–andfree–options authors can choose to work with, but IR’s ebookstore app will also pull content from a variety of other sources, including Ingram, Lulu, BookBaby, and more.

But with so many retail distribution opportunities available already, does an app like this one really have the ability to make an impact? According to Edelman, it does, but more importantly, it’s another way readers can find an author’s work, readers who already have a vested interest in promoting indie authors.”If you were a magazine, would you only want to be distributed from one newsstand in one city, even if it's a big one? What about the people that don't walk by that newsstand? What about the people who prefer to read their magazine over brunch at home, or who do their reading at the doctor's office? There is a reason magazines want to be sold everywhere… it's the same for books, even e-books.”

IndieReader Launches First of Its Kind App and eBookstore for Self-Published Works is a post from: Good e-Reader

New RS ad

RS Components, who, along with Farnell/element 14 make up our licensed manufacturers, have a new ad out, and it’s so good we thought we’d share it with you. Enjoy!

Scribd Incorporates Notes and Highlights Features

When the so-called “all you can eat” ebook subscription platforms first began to take shape, there were a lot of hurdles to be overcome. The first, and probably most important, was that there wasn’t a lot of content; publishers weren’t exactly eager to post their bestselling titles without seeing concrete proof of how the compensation would pay out, and letting members pay a low monthly fee for Netflix-style consumption didn’t suit them.

Of course, the readers themselves were a little wary, too. Some early adopters jumped on board immediately to pay a flat rate for unlimited access, but by and large, the early days of subscription reading were disappointing.

With this round of startup success, though, Scribd has made tremendous strides due to being a versatile company that lets users upload their own content, as well as inviting readers to enjoy the unlimited model. Of course, since ebooks and digital reading have finally found their niche, publishers were more likely to support the model with content that people actually wanted to read.

But what may have really helped Scribd establish its foothold in the model is the way the company continues to make the subscription reading experience every bit as enjoyable and seamless when compared to how these same consumers would be using ebooks if they were buying them individually. Readers can still build a library within their account and select new titles just as they would if they were shopping to purchase those books from their go-to retail platform. And yesterday, Scribd announced the image zoom features within its titles, so users can get a clearer picture of maps, images, and illustrations. They also introduced the addition of highlight and annotation capabilities, meaning readers can basically markup the books they borrow and share those notes and quotes through social media channels.

Try that with a borrowed print book.

eBook subscriptions were an exciting idea that unfortunately burst onto the scene too soon. The dust hadn’t settled from the device wars and the ebook price fixing lawsuit hadn’t even happened when the first companies tried to convince readers and publishers that the model would work. Now that the time seems to have come for flat-fee unlimited reading, Scribd was poised and ready to produce a reading experience to match it.

Scribd Incorporates Notes and Highlights Features is a post from: Good e-Reader