Monday, May 19, 2014

Smashwords Authors can Now Distribute via Txtr


Indie Authors who self-publish through Smashwords are in for a treat. The company has just signed a new distribution agreement with Txtr. This move will benefit authors to give them the ability internationally distribute all over Europe and the UK.

Txtr started their digital bookstore back in 2009 and quickly became one of the largest companies outside North America packing their bookstore from publishers all over the world.

Currently Txtr is based in Berlin and due to the European Union has a very strong presence in 18 different countries. The current corporate strategy is to develop online ecosystems to not only sell products, but also manage the hosting and localization environments. Many European countries have a wide array of languages and being able to deliver content in a localized manner is very important. Not only does the company develop commerce solutions, but they also develop applications for Android and iOS. The company's portfolio includes clients such as Vol Retail and Weltbilde, who is the largest EU book retailer.

Txtr will retail Smashwords books at the price set by Smashwords authors and publishers, or at the local currency equivalent. Smashwords will pay authors 60% list after the deduction of VAT taxes, similar to how they pay for iBooks sales. In the months ahead, Smashwords will also supply preorders to txtr because their platform supports preorders. This Friday authors will start to see their books listed on Txtr.

Smashwords Authors can Now Distribute via Txtr is a post from: Good e-Reader

Comparison Review: Nexus 7 2nd Gen vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

Last week I posted a review of the new 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. One of its main competitors is the 2nd gen Nexus 7, so I wanted to put together this comparison review outlining the similarities and advantages for each. Both are very similar yet very different Android tablets. The Nexus 7 has some […]

Comic News – New Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer, Marvel Announces Star Wars Comic Plans


The Diamond Retailer Summit has just occurred in Las Vegas and it was a tremendously newsworthy event. Marvel quietly announced that they were going to talk about what they are doing with the new Star Wars comic license in July and the next big event that will last until the rest of the year.

Marvel is unleashing two big events this year that will crossover into other serieses, much like Infinity and AVX. The first one is AXIS, which stars the Avengers and the X-Men teaming up to fight a modern day Axis of Evil. The villains will feature a team led by the Red Skull and includes Sabretooth, Doctor Doom, Loki, Green Goblin, and Carnage.

The second big Marvel event will start in early 2015 and is titled Time Runs Out. It is based on a big storyline right now about parallel dimensions being destroyed in order to preserve the current version of earth.

Earlier in the year Marvel announced that DC will not be renewing their Star Wars license and it will be transferring to Marvel early next year. This July Marvel will officially announce the first few titles it intends to publish, leading up to Episode 7 dropping at the movie theatres next year.

Speaking of movies, there is a brand new Guardians of the Galaxies trailer that was released today. It is filled with a ton of new footage and we finally hear the voices of Rocket Racoon and his houseplant Groot. I give it 9 out of 10 ooga-chakas!

Comic News – New Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer, Marvel Announces Star Wars Comic Plans is a post from: Good e-Reader

Podcast: Hachette/Amazon Battle, Kobo Book Club, Hugh Howey and RT BookLovers Debacle


Welcome back to the Monday edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World. Today on the show they talk about how the Hachette/Amazon contract negotiations will likely play out and how authors have seen a dramatic decrease in book sales The RT Booklovers conference just occurred in New Orleans and Indie Authors have busted out the flaming torches and pitchforks due to segregation from the traditionally published, Michael and Jeremy break it down on what exactly happened.

This is a jam packed show with a riveting discussion on who exactly is the spokesman for indie authors. The two most notable is Mark Coker and Hugh Howey, Michael has some interesting thoughts on the matter. Finally, Jeremey interviewed Trip Adler of Scribd to get an indication on how their eBook subscription site is doing and much more!

Podcast: Hachette/Amazon Battle, Kobo Book Club, Hugh Howey and RT BookLovers Debacle is a post from: Good e-Reader

UK Rules eBooks Aren’t Books as Far as Taxation Is Concerned

There’s no relief in sight for UK readers, as Parliament declared that there was no good reason or means to reduce the outrageous 20% VAT on ebooks. While their print counterparts enjoy a zero-percent tax–like many state and local governments in the US who feel that book purchasing should be supported–ebooks are still treated in much the same way as a software download and are taxed as such.

To make matters worse, the EU is planning to implement tax legislation that will make ebooks even more expensive. As it stands, companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have based their operations in Luxembourg to take advantage of its 3% VAT on ebooks, but that benefit to consumers is about to disappear. Beginning in January 2015, retailers will be charged the tax rate of the consumer’s location, meaning UK’s artificial tax hike on its citizens will have an even bigger impact on their wallets.

According to government sources, “As announced at Budget 2013, the government will legislate to change the rules for the taxation of intra-EU business to consumer supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services. From 1 January 2015 these services will be taxed in the Member State in which the consumer is located, ensuring these are taxed fairly and helping to protect revenue.”

But when Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South, asked about changing the status of ebooks to avoid this outrageous amount, he was essentially told that it wasn’t government domain to change the tax on ebooks.

According to an article in The Bookseller, the response from the Treasury's Exchequer Secretary David Gauke was: "The sale of a digital book is classified as an electronic service and attracts the standard rate of VAT under EU law. Legal advice obtained by the government indicates there is no scope to change the VAT treatment of the sale of digital book and similar products under EU law. As such, no assessments have been made of the type referred to by the honourable member."

While the clock ticks down to force online retailers’ hands in taxation, hopefully the various governments will move to take the burden off of consumers. A couple of countries, including France, have lowered the VAT on ebooks against the guidelines of the EU. resulting in stiff penalties against the governments in an effort to help their citizens purchase books, regardless of format.

UK Rules eBooks Aren’t Books as Far as Taxation Is Concerned is a post from: Good e-Reader

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

In 1992 May officially became Asian-Pacific American Heritage month. As many of you know, we have a great selection of eBooks in Chinese, Korean, and now Malaysian! We are proud to highlight what our extensive OverDrive catalog has to offer in honor of this month.

Many institutions, communities, and even public libraries will be holding events to call attention to the incredible contributions that people of Asian and Pacific American ethnicities have made to the United States. Why not do the same at your library on your digital site? You could even contact your Account Specialist on the Library Partner Services team to make any of your related titles a featured collection for the occasion.

Is your library taking advantage of our OverDrive powered foreign language interfaces? Make the experiences of ALL your patrons' memorable ones by improving their customer experience with a digital site in their native languages. Again, contact your Account Specialist or your Collection Development Specialist to get started.

The Collection Development team has created a list of popular titles in Chinese, Korean, and Malaysian. Check it out via the link below!

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month


Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.


Webinar: Digital Textbooks in the K12 Sector

With schools around the US starting to gather materials and stock their costly print textbooks back in the closet until the fall, it begs the question as to why more schools haven’t adopted digital textbooks, especially in light of Bring Your Own Device initiatives and the popularity that movement has experienced. With students in even the lower elementary grades now authorized to carry and use their own mobile devices for school, textbooks should naturally have followed.

But that still hasn’t been the case, at least not in the widespread way that educators, parents, and stakeholders had hoped. Two years ago, industry watchers were already predicting a wholly digital learning landscape by this time, but the reality has been far slower to crawl in. Part of the issue stems from the still-astronomical cost, leading school systems to back away from the idea given that it isn’t a significant savings. More systems are still tied up in fears that they will not control the content of the digital editions, taking an approach of wariness.

A webinar from Data Conversion Laboratory this week will let stakeholders have a chance to examine the concerns and the benefits to a digital learning scape in hopes of implementing greater adoption in the coming school year. Addressing both the financial and educational implications, this event will offer a discussion opportunity to voice some of the lingering concerns over the issue.

Registration and information for the webinar, entitled “Monetizing and Marketing Digital Textbooks,” can be found here.

Webinar: Digital Textbooks in the K12 Sector is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amy Mather’s week of work experience

Liz: A few weeks ago, over the Easter holidays, we had Amy Mather, 14 years old and surpassing fantastic, come and visit us for a week’s work experience. (Check out this talk she gave at last year’s Jamboree, aged only 13; see another talk she gave at Wired with Clive, our Director of Education, and read about her in The MagPi, where she was the cover star last June.  Amy is the recipient of the European Commission’s Digital Girl award. She is keen to point out that she is a real girl too.)

Amy came to town with mum Lisa and brother Dan in tow, as well as a couple of grandparents, and it gave us a great excuse to have a more burger and pizza-heavy diet than we usually do. I asked her to write a post for us about what she spent the week doing with us when her exams this month were finished: over to Amy!

Over the Easter holidays I did work experience at the Raspberry Pi Foundation and I had an awesome time working on loads of amazing projects! When I wasn't at Pi Towers I hung out with Ben Nuttall, and explored the beautiful town of Cambridge.

Amy and Ben

Amy’s first encounter with GitHub went swimmingly – we’re adapting the work she did into an educational resource

The first project I worked on used the Energenie, a new product that allows you to switch on and off mains plug sockets wirelessly from the Raspberry Pi GPIO. After a trip to Maplin to buy some disco lights, I created a memory game in Python with PyGame. I made it so that when you won it played Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up (as suggested by Dave) and set disco lights blaring using the Energenie.

Initially there was an issue with the disco lights because they didn't turn on straight away when plugged into the mains as you had to press a button for them to start. So to solve the problem we used a piece of cardboard and duct tape to press the button constantly! I would like to apologise to the team at Raspberry Pi for any annoying noises and distracting lighting effects that were created during the process of making that project. :) In the end, the project was used as a demo at Picademy.

Whilst I was there Ben taught me how to edit the Raspberry Pi documentation using markdown, and I added some missing parts of the documentation. I then decided to write up a simple version of my PyGame painting program in the form of a learning resource. I adapted the program so that it was compatible with the Adafruit PiTFT. Adafruit’s PiTFT is a touch-screen that connects to the Pi using the GPIO pins. By combining it with my PyGame painting program you could draw with your fingers on the touch screen!

I also had my first proper play with the PiCamera, I put it to good use with PyGame as you can see:


Adding moustaches to Raspberry Pi employees with Pygame

One of the days Dr Sam Aaron came in and showed me Sonic Pi, (again apologies for some really offputting noises). It was great to experiment with Sonic Pi as I hadn't had a chance to play with it before. I think it's a great tool for teaching the beginnings of programming, with as you get instant results.

Amy and Sam

Learning Sonic Pi with Sam Aaron

On the Thursday I did a photo shoot for Wired, who came to visit Pi Towers, and spent an afternoon draped in Ethernet cables.

Amy, mid-photoshoot

Amy, mid-photoshoot

The photographer complained that my hair was in the way for a lot of the pictures…

Hairy moment

This photo is unlikely to be used by Wired.

…which encouraged Ben and Carrie Anne into having a hair swooshing competition. Look at Ben’s beautiful locks…


On my last day I helped Carrie-Anne, Clive and Craig set up for Picademy. As a thank you present to everyone in the office, for such an enjoyable week, I handed out key rings and presented two Pi Clocks to the office, all of which I made on a laser cutter at MadLab (an awesome Hackspace in Manchester).

2014-04-11 14.19.48

This clock is now hanging on the wall by Liz’s desk, where it reminds her of Amy at going-home time.

The week was a really great experience and I learned a lot. I had so much fun working with all the talented members of the Pi Foundation team and I'm really looking forward to, hopefully, doing it again some time soon!