Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Google Play Newsstand Magazines Available to Readers in France and Germany


The Google Play Newsstand is a standalone app that is part Google Currents and part Google Magazines. The company combined the two services last year to have an all in one offering for people who want to buy subscriptions to magazines and also read content from their favorite websites. The Newsstand app is free to download almost anywhere, but to purchase paid content is only available in select countries. Google now offers the ability to subscribe to digital magazines now in France and Germany.

Google Play Newsstand Magazines Available to Readers in France and Germany is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook Review: Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

Verdict: 5 Stars

With just the right mix of paranormal oddities, romance, and a smidge of explicit fun, Bennett’s series seems to wrap up with this installment, Banishing the Dark. With Arcadia on a hunt for her evil parents and planning for an epic showdown with the momster who created her, the spells are flying and her relationships with those around her are courting danger.

One of the really fun aspects of this entire series has been the fact that–okay, if the witchcraft and all of that were removed–this could be any family with too many skeletons to keep contained in one closet. Cady gets to the bottom of one secret, only to find three more waiting to take its place. The dynamics could be any extended family’s, this one just happens to have the ability to summon energy from the moon to create devilish beings.

It was refreshing to see a romance title that doesn’t have to rely on the pure smut to sell copies. Sure, it’s in there, but it’s a very natural side plot to the story rather than an all out 50 Shades romp a minute. Bennett relies instead on her powers of storytelling and her own writing ability to lure readers in with a roller coaster ride of suspense and intrigue. Couple that with a supernatural cast of characters who shocks and surprises at every turn, and it’s easy to forget that this one’s a romance.

Banishing the Dark will be available on May 27. Four previous titles in the Arcadia Bell series are available now.

eBook Review: Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon’s One-Sitting Short Reads Meets Need for Fast Fiction

A number of platforms have offered great content in a short essay, long-form journalism environment, but it has typically been informative, expository non-fiction pieces. But news came out this week about a quiet launch from Amazon that will offer short works of fiction to be consumed in one-sitting, as the site is referring to it. Amazon’s Short Reads, which features short stories by prominent authors, will sell content in the $1.99 price range that is intended to satisfy a quick story urge without the commitment of a full-length work.

“I think short form helped make it culturally acceptable that your work doesn’t have to be 70,000 words before you can charge for it,” sated Matthew Cavnar of a Vook, a site that pioneered immediate-to-market yet high-quality consumable content. “That’s been one of the biggest impacts I’ve seen it have — it’s freed people to charge for what they’ve written and helped them realize that 10,000 words can make them as much money as 100,000 — provided they’re the right 10,000 words.”

Interestingly, Amazon has essentially freed readers up to judge a book by how long it will take them to read it, as the site includes a section where titles are designated by reading time. Of course, Amazon’s other contributions to innovative reading–like its Kindle Worlds licensed fan fiction titles–can also be found in a separate section. Amazon’s own dedicated site for short non-fiction pieces are also represented.

Short Reads launched with some impressive content, including titles by HP Mallory, John Grisham, and Veronica Roth, giving home to content that was already available but that didn’t have its own dedicated consumer space to highlight its benefits. Also included on the front page are self-published titles and how-to works, two areas where authors have felt the pinch of lack of promotion.

This isn’t the first wave of short fiction titles in recent months, as subscription-reading platform Rooster launched this spring as the answer to Scribd and Oyster’s all-you-can-eat models. While those sites offer members full-length works in an unlimited model, Rooster speaks to the needs of readers who just want something quick to fill the time and therefore opt for a lesser expensive serialized concept.

Amazon’s One-Sitting Short Reads Meets Need for Fast Fiction is a post from: Good e-Reader

Ingram Adds New Publisher Content to MyiLibrary

A number of pertinent announcements were made this week, many of which concerned reader access to lending or subscription-based reading. Smashwords joined up with OverDrive to make indie authors’ titles available in libraries around the world, and Simon&Schuster provided access to a massive backlist of ebooks to two of the top subscription-based reading platforms. Now, Ingram announced it has new content to offer as well.

“At Ingram, we continue to develop our platforms and collaborate with publishers to make the broadest selection of content available to readers worldwide,” said Dan Sheehan, Vice President and General Manager, Ingram Content Group library services. “We are pleased to add tens of thousands of new e-book titles to our MyiLibrary platform for more public and academic libraries, and their patrons to enjoy.”

According to information on the platform, “Ingram’s MyiLibrary platform is an easy-to-use, comprehensive online e-content solution for libraries that provides a single source for content hosting, archiving, discovery, access and purchasing. Thousands of academic, professional and public libraries around the world have integrated the platform into daily lending activities, and have access to hundreds of thousands of titles that cover all major disciplines. Through the platform, library patrons can read content online, or download to a smartphone, tablet or computer.”The most recent publishers to make their content available are Hachette Book Group, O’Reilly Media, Kensington Publishing, Royal Society of Chemistry, CN Times Books, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, and several other entities.

Ingram Adds New Publisher Content to MyiLibrary is a post from: Good e-Reader

Retro Review – Amazon Kindle DX

Kindle DX Review

The Kindle DX Graphite edition was the last 9.7 inch e-reader that Amazon
ever produced. The device was geared towards reading PDF Files with the large screen, but was no slouch either when it came to purchasing and reading eBooks. The big draws on the DX was the free 3G internet access that works in over 300 countries and the speakers to listen to audiobooks or take advantage of text to speech. Today, we look at the Kindle DX with a fresh perspective and let you know if this $199 reader is worth it.


The Amazon Kindle DX has a 9.7 inch display screen with 1200 x 824 pixel resolution at 150 ppi, 16-level gray scale, 10:1 contrast ratio. There is a built in gyroscope and accelerometer and switches between landscape and portrait mode automatically.

Unlike most modern e-readers this does not have a touchscreen and instead is reliant on physical keys. There are left and right page turn buttons, home and settings menu. The D-Pad functions as your scrolling and navigation utility and clicking it is basically the OK button. One thing that Blackberry and old school users will like is the full QWERTY keyboard. It is much easier to write notes using this, then a software driven solution. The keyboard also has a number of quick launch keys. For example, if you click alt and the spacebar you will automatically play whatever audiobook or music file you were listening to last.

One of the great things about the DX is the inclusion of text to speech and the two speakers. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Sony have all abandoned audio in their last few generations of e-readers in order to cut down on manufacturing expenses and compete against each other on price alone. The DX was last e-reader from Amazon that had built in audio, and many people who have vision problems flock to this model.

There is only 4 GB of internal memory and no ability to increase it via the SD card. You want to make sure you always have room enough to buy the next great read from the Kindle bookstore.

Overall, the DX is one of the few e-readers available to Western Europeans and North American customers that is easy to buy and accessible. Currently this model just got discontinued for the second time ever a few weeks ago, but you can buy them used or scoop up deals on Ebay. Over the course of the last year the prices on the DX dramatically decreased to a paltry $199.99.



One of the big reasons why the DX fell out of favour with the majority of customers was the lack of firmware updates. It never received GoodReads integration to discuss the books you are reading with the largest community in the world. It also never got X-Ray or Whispersync for Voice or translation dictionaries as found on the current generation of Paperwhite e-readers. It has been said that the DX has an older processor, less RAM and all of this combined would be a sub-par experience, which is why Amazon likely never patched this unit.

The DX is fairly barebones when it comes to the home screen. It basically just lists the books on your device, in text format. There is no cover art or progressions to let you know how far you are in a book. This was the standard way Amazon presented the menu system until they gave it a dramatic overhaul with the original Paperwhite e-reader.

New users to e-readers might feel a bit discombobulated with the DX. There is no menu system, UI or navigation bar for you to easily access the store, settings or the experimental internet browser. Instead, the Menu key is your catch all solution to access the Kindle Store, Bookmarks or options. The settings button changes its internal options depending if you are on the home screen, reading an eBook or surfing the internet.

The entire UI of the DX feels woefully out of date. It takes at least a few weeks to orientate yourself on what keys do what, depending on where you are. The internet browser engine is fairly old, it automatically tries to load the mobile version of a site, even if the site you’re visiting doesn’t have one. It struggles loading websites like Good e-Reader that has lots of CSS and Javascripts.

Reading Experience


When it comes to reading and buying eBooks the Kindle Store is fairly well the same on the DX, as it is on any modern reader. You have access to all of the core categories, such as Kindle Singles, Kindle Worlds, Kindle Books and even a small Audible category for audiobooks. When I say a small category, there is only a single title available to download.

When you read a purchased eBook from Amazon or one you loaded in yourself there are few options available to augment your reading experience. There is no way to change the font-type, only the font size. There are seven different options to change the text from smaller to larger. When you resize the font, it all happens dynamically, so you get a sense on that your own personal sweet spot.

The DX makes a very good eBook reader in the respect that older people or folks with vision problems can get a lot out of it. Large font print books often cost double or triple the cost, compared to your average book. Bookstores only have a dedicated shelf when it comes to these texts, so finding something you want to read can be painful. The DX has basically 10 inches of screen real estate that you can easily read, by pumping up the font size. If you have really crappy eyesight you can take advantage of the text to speech function and have it read aloud to you via the speakers or the 3.55 mm headphone jack.

The Kindle DX does a fair job when it comes to reading PDF files, but pales in comparison to modern rendering engines made by Kobo or Sony. About the extent of your options is five different levels of zoom. You get a small preview box that shows you how much text will appear on your full screen. I found you can never really truly find that sweet spot, in which a split column PDF book looks good. This makes newspapers and magazines unfeasible to read, but technical documents, Maps or DND materials look fairly solid.

Wrap Up

our thouhts

When an e-reader has been on the market for over three years and people are continuing to buy it, sometimes it pays to take a second look at an old reader. The DX in the modern era will appeal to someone who wants a 9.7 inch display, but doesn’t want to spend the $300 to $500 that Pocketbook, Ectaco, Icarus or Onyx charge for their premium models. It tends to stress out when reading PDF files and with large files often load fairly slow. If you are buying it for a dedicated eBook reader, it does a tremendous job.


Free 3G internet Access
Buy Kindle Books in over 300 countrie
Listen to Audiobooks and Music
Low Price
High Build Quality


Short keys are not clearly defined
Audiobook Selection in the Amazon Store is non-existent
Large PDF files take 10-20 seconds to load and hard to Zoom properly

Rating: 7/10

Retro Review – Amazon Kindle DX is a post from: Good e-Reader

Simon&Schuster Signs eBook Backlist Deals with Scribd, Oyster

All-you-can-eat unlimited ebook subscription reading has finally come into its own with the launch of a couple of different platforms, namely Oyster and Scribd. Billed as a Netflix-style approach to reading, these platforms charge users one flat-rate monthly fee for unlimited access to their full catalogs of ebook titles.

When subscription-based ebook reading was first introduced, publishers and consumers alike were slow to get excited about it. The publishers maintained legitimate fears about author compensation and less-grounded concerns about piracy; since the publishers weren’t quick to put their content in the providers’ catalogs, consumers–even those who initially jumped on the idea–quickly dismissed it as being a monthly surcharge to read a less-than-enthralling catalog of titles.

But with the recent launch of these platforms and the current climate of stronger digital focus, publishers are more willing to venture into subscription reading. Today, Simon & Schuster announced its deal that will put its ebook backlist into both Oyster’s and Scribd’s catalogs, both from its US imprints and from worldwide imprints for which it holds the rights.

"Consumers have clearly taken to subscription models for other media, and we expect that our participation in these services will encourage discovery of our books, grow the audience and expand our retail reach for our authors, and create new revenue streams under an author-friendly, advantageous business model for both author and publisher," said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, in a statement. "We are delighted to work with Scribd and Oyster to offer this exciting new model for readers to find and read eBooks, and to do so in a manner that respects the value of our authors' creative endeavors and supports our mutual goals of selling the most possible copies of their books."

Oyster and Scribd already offered a catalog of over 400,000 titles each to their tens of millions of combined users, and Scribd also offers an additional million-plus titles of user-generated content.

Simon&Schuster Signs eBook Backlist Deals with Scribd, Oyster is a post from: Good e-Reader

HBO Television Shows Now Available on Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime has just inked a deal with HBO to bring all of their television shows, limited series and movies over. The first installment of content is now available for residents of the US who want to watch The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, and Rome. There is also shows available via Prime that are currently on television such as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and Treme.

These shows reflect the first wave of HBO content that is crossing over to Amazon. Sadly, the super popular current shows such as Game of Thrones, Veep, the Newsroom and Girls will not be available for at least a year or two. Customers will have to rely on the HBO GO app that will be available in the Amazon App Store soon.

“We’re thrilled to deliver this collection of groundbreaking, beloved content from HBO to Amazon Prime members for unlimited streaming at no additional cost,” Brad Beale, Amazon’s director of Digital Video Content Acquisition, said in a statement. “Given the number of customers who purchase these titles from Amazon, we know how much customers love these shows.”

HBO Television Shows Now Available on Amazon Prime is a post from: Good e-Reader

Back to the Future theme tune, played by disk drives

YouTuber Arganalth has an interesting hobby: music production using disk drives. His channel contains a whole host of musical masterpieces conducted using an array of various disk drives, programmed to make the arms in the drives retract in very specific ways to generate the right sound. Until now he’s been using a PC which sends the data to an Arduino Uno.

For some time he’s wanted to use a Raspberry Pi to replace the need for the PC and power supply unit – and now he’s back with a new setup. He’s put together a musical octet of disk drives, and chosen the theme tune from the 1985 SciFi comedy classic Back To The Future for his opening Pi performance:

Arganalth has adapted the setup shown in Sammy1Am’s YouTube tutorial; he’s used a mixture of floppy drives and and hard disk drives, it’s battery-powered and the latest iteration of the ensemble is housed in a suitcase, so he can always carry the party with him wherever he goes! Some other songs performed, in the pre-Pi days include Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, the Portal song Still Alive and the Zelda theme. We look forward to more Pi powered musical treats.

This is a really nicely realised project: it just goes to show that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. The project also highlights how a Raspberry Pi can take the place of a desktop PC, providing as much flexibility but with the portability and low power of a microprocessor.

Amazon Compiles Bestsellers, Most Well-Read Cities Lists

As big data works its way into the publishing industry mindset, information gathered from online retailers can provide an insightful peek at what’s happening in the world of bookselling. Amazon’s editors have once again compiled comprehensive lists based on sales data, figures which have helped translate that information into rankings by not only bestselling titles but also where the top book purchasing consumers are located.

According to news from Amazon, the bestselling title activity for the current period by city is:

Inferno by Dan Brown was the best-selling book overall in Alexandria, Va., followed by Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Divergent was the most-read book by Goodreads users in Alexandria. While Alexandria, Va. bought the most books overall, Cambridge, Mass. bought the most print books, and Knoxville, Tenn. purchased the most Kindle books. Seattle, Wash. made the biggest gain this year, jumping from the #13 spot in 2013 to #4 this year. Cambridge, Mass. continues to grow more budding entrepreneurs than any other city, ordering the most books in the Business & Investing category. Top titles include Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and perennial best seller StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Looking only at cities with more than one million residents, San Diego, Calif. is the most well-read.”

As for cities where more book purchases are happening, Alexandria, Virginia, has held onto the top spot for a number of years, and other cities have shown marked leaps in ranking. The top cities for print and digital book, magazine, and newspaper sales are:

Alexandria, Va.
Miami, Fla.
Knoxville, Tenn.
Seattle, Wash.
Orlando, Fla.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Berkeley, Calif.
Cambridge, Mass.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbia, S.C.
St. Louis, Mo.
Pittsburgh, Penn.
Vancouver, Wash.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Atlanta, Ga.
Gainesville, Fla.
Dayton, Ohio
Clearwater, Fla.
Richmond, Va.
Tallahassee, Fla.

Amazon Compiles Bestsellers, Most Well-Read Cities Lists is a post from: Good e-Reader

Summer Reading Programs Kick Off as School Years End

Schools around the country are getting ready to dismiss for the summer months, but parents don’t have to let the gains their children made during the year slip away. The dreaded phenomenon known as “summer slide” can be thwarted with just a few minutes a day of focused reading. To help parents offer the students reading content that won’t seem like a chore, Barnes and Noble has kicked off its annual summer reading program with a host of titles and incentives.

Called Imagination Destination, this year’s program offers parents and teachers the same great tools and tips that they’ve come to rely on. In addition, kids who complete their summer reading logs can bring those in to a local B&N location and receive a free book from a curated list of titles. For parents who want to stay on top of their students’ summer progress, the free NOOKApp is available, which can enable them to be prepared with age-appropriate and grade-level minded titles at a moment’s notice.

"Our Summer Reading Program encourages kids and their parents to engage their imaginations all summer long so the learning never ends," said Sarah DiFrancesco, Vice President, Business Development for Barnes & Noble, in a statement. "It's so much fun for a parent to see a child's face light up when they turn in their completed journal sheet and get to choose a free book from the store display. Parents, educators, and librarians love the program, too, because they also want to encourage children to read during the summer months. Add our reading groups, weekly Storytimes, Hands-On Learning events, special promotions and the best lineup of summer skills workbooks, and Barnes & Noble is the best destination for reading fun, learning and savings, all summer long.”

To access the free summer reading kit and its activities, visit

Summer Reading Programs Kick Off as School Years End is a post from: Good e-Reader

Still time to enter the OverDrive in the Classroom Contest

Do you have an original classroom resource, such as a PowerPoint, class outline, worksheet or activity related to using OverDrive in the classroom?

To better help teachers incorporate digital media in the classroom, we are reaching out to our school partners in hopes that you can share your experiences, lesson plans, ideas and activities. Enter the OverDrive in the Classroom Contest by submitting your original classroom resource(s) for a chance to win some great prizes!


To enter the contest, you need to open a free shop on Don't worry – setup takes only a few minutes:

  1. Go to and click Open a free shop (towards the middle of the page).
  2. Log in or create a Teachers Notebook account.

If creating an account, enter the requested information and click register to create your account (the username you select will be used in the link to your shop). Within five minutes, you will receive an email confirming your account.

  1. After clicking Open a free shop, you will receive an email at the email address used for your Teachers Notebook account.
  2. Click the Activate Free Shop link in the email you received. Your shop will be activated and you will be taken to your Shop Settings page.
  3. Complete each required section of your shop settings.

As part of your shop setup, you need to specify an existing Dwolla or PayPal account to which you would like to receive payment (even if you plan on only offering free products, you still need to go through this process). Setting up the associated Dwolla or PayPal account is something you need to do directly with or, separate from Remember, linking a payment account is to receive payment for selling your products, Teachers Notebook will never charge you for a free account.

  1. Upload your OverDrive in the Classroom Contest product to your shop (go to Shop Management > Manage Products and click Add a product) and don't forget to officially enter the OverDrive in the Classroom Contest.

We hope to see more entries pour in from our school partners. If you have any questions about the contest, please let us know!


Cassie Renner is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.