One of the scariest things that can happen to us in these modern times is to find ourselves suddenly without our smartphone. It was there a minute ago and now it is gone, and the first thoughts through our head include: what did I have stored on there? We can replace a piece of hardware, but the information stored inside it can be revealing and damaging: access to your email? private SMS conversations? your social media profiles? saved passwords inside financial applications? photographs we’d rather others didn’t see? Anything is possible.
Security company, Lookout, now offers a type of digital insurance with Theft Alerts. Using Theft Alerts you will be sent an email as soon as the thief attempts to “turn off the phone, remove the SIM, turn on airplane mode or remove a device administrator, including a picture from the phone’s front-facing camera and the GPS coordinates of where it was last seen.” Following this notification, you will have the option of remotely locking and wiping your device the next time it is powered on in an effort to keep all of your information safely away from prying eyes. Lookout Premium users will receive Theft Alerts included, but those trying out the free version can use it without charge until September 30, 2014.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Console Wars is a new book written by Blake J. Harris and tells the tale of the the battle between Nintendo and Sega in 1980 and 1990. The premise of the book is how Nintendo employed heavy handed tactics, roping in developers into exclusive agreements to publish on their platform and paid a pittance of royalties. Most jumped ship to the young upstart Sega, where they embraced developers, knowing they were the key to the success of any hardware platform.
Ever since Console Wars was released, it has garnered tremendous fanfare from people who grew up in the 1980′s and playing console games became a way of life. The book has been adapted into a feature film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who provide the book's foreword.
When Nintendo burst on the scene they controlled 90% of the entire American console market. They had a mascot in the form of Mario and an extensive library of games, such as Zelda. Sega on the other hand was spending a copious amount of money on celebrity endorsements and had no identity. This all changed when Tom Kalinske took over as President of Sega. He generated Sonic as their Mario killer and beat Nintendo to the punch with a the Sega Genesis. We get excellent introspectives on how the Sega Game Gear was developed and RND projects such as 3D Glasses.
Many people don’t’ realize but when the Playstation technology was originally being developed it was based on the Sega CD platform. Sega and Sony were jointly working on the next generation of gaming until Sony bowed out and released their Playstation. The book discusses all of the semantics of the deal and is fairly eye opening to people who weren’t aware of a lost piece of history.
Sega of America prospered under the watch of Tom, selling 350,000 units in the first year. It is especially interesting to see the decline of Sega in the ensuing decade from hardware developer to being relegated to developing software. Harris tells us that every bad decision Sega made that resulted in a loss of market share — the ill-advised 32X add-on and the premature launch of the doomed Saturn console among them — was entirely within the purview of Sega's stubborn parent company.
Console Wars does not go into the development of the biggest gaming properties Sega developed. The conceptualizing of the games from ideas to the finished product would have been especially compelling.
This book is one of my favorites to be released all year. Anyone who has ever had a subscription to Nintendo Power, Sega Magazine, or spent hours watching the Saturday morning Nintendo cartoon should read this book. It gives a clear perspective of the video game crash of Atari and the Colecovision and the rise of modern gaming.
Target is one of the largest retail chains in the US and they are not sitting idly by as the eBook revolution sweeps over the world. In order to boister their e-commerce experience the company has partnered with Librify to sell digital books and also form an online book club.
The official launch of the new eBook selling platform is several months away but has been announced in time for Book Expo America. This is the largest publishing event in the US and many companies are announcing their new initiatives a few days early to garner hype.
Librify, which started beta testing with select users in March, offers a social-subscription service for eBooks. Instead of offering unlimited books like they charge $8.99 a month, and you will get one recommended book each month, and a 10%-20% discount on all other eBooks. Target employees will select the title each month. Librify has more than 500,000 titles available for purchase so far, which is staggering considering they are a new company.
GoodReads pioneered the social book experience and Librify is putting their own unique spin on social reading. They have developed a virtual book club experience where users can create bookshelves based on their favorite categories, such as beach reads or classics. Other readers can follow your shelf and be notified via Facebook when you add a new title.
“It is a great solution for bringing a digital book experience to the Target guests who have long enjoyed our “Club Picks” selections,” Target spokeswoman Erica Julkowski says. “We are proud to partner with Librify to offer a differentiated experience, which focuses on social connectivity and book clubs.”
Librify stands to gain a tremendous amount of marketing hype and national attention by partnering with an established chain such as Target. Joanna Stone Herman, CEO of Librify said “We’re taking advantage of all the breadth and reach that Target has”
A shiny new app is always exciting to discover, even more exciting is learning that an old favourite has received an update or enhancement that makes it even more valuable. Today we take a closer look at 10 of the best Android app updates to be released this week.
Google+ – Updates to the popular social networking app include a new navigation menu that makes it much easier to work within the app, the ability to create animated GIFs and photobooth style images on the fly as well as adding a new and easier way to add posts.
Kik Messenger – With over 29 million users, Kik Messenger is one of the most popular ways to stay in touch with your friends! Recent updates to the app were significant, including the ability to block and report annoyances from within the app, an improved user interface and a better way to manage multiple conversations. Unfortunately it also left us with an app that crashed a lot –this week, Kik has provided an update that brings back all of the stability we had grown used to.
Twitter – While it may not seem like a significant update, for those of us that have been frustrated by the instability of the Twitter app for Android this week’s changes are great –give it another try!
Shazam Encore – If you haven’t tried Shazam’ing your favourite TV show, you really should. The update this week improved the results page so you not only have easier access to music from the show but you can also see a full cast list, read about the show and catch up on all the latest celebrity gossip.
Snapchat – Taking the world by storm, Snapchat is one of the most dynamic ways to chat with your friends while also sharing multimedia. The latest updates to the app make it easier and faster to swipe your way into and out of chats, clearing conversations and taking screenshots.
AntiVirus Security – With our entire lives being managed through our mobile devices, protecting them from virus attacks and malware is more important than ever. This week the update to my favourite free AntiVirus Security from AVG mobile includes enhancements to their malware detection.
Groupon – Who doesn’t love a deal? The enhancements this week include a “completely redesigned with a refreshing visual experience” (plus, it loads a lot faster too!).
Vevo – Watching music videos is one of my favourite ways to enjoy music, and Vevo makes it so easy to do that! Receiving my nomination for best single change making the biggest difference in my life is the ability to now turn off notifications in the settings screen!
Zynga Poker - You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them… and with the updates to this app you can now keep your account safe from bad guys as well as buy chips more easily.
The Oregon Trail: Settler – I hold a strong affection for this game, probably because I first played it on an Apple IIc more years ago than I care to admit. The Android version is just as fun and updates to the app have made it more competitive and added daily and weekly events that you can participate in!
Top 10 Updated Android Apps of the Week – May 28 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader
A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to a child. Not only will it stick with them for the rest of their lives, it will open their imaginations and open their world to countless possibilities. Many of us remember Reading Rainbow from our childhoods, watching “by picking up a book, [you] could go anywhere and be anything.” An iOS app released earlier this year brings Reading Rainbow back for the next generation of children with hundreds of books and videos (featuring read-yourself as well as read-to-me modes), with an Android app expected later this year. As if that news weren’t exciting enough, a Kickstarter campaign has just begun that takes things a step further.
Believing that all people have both a right and a need to be able to read, this project is seeking to raise one million dollars to bring Reading Rainbow and their exceptional reading curriculum to the Internet in a way that reaches: every child, in every home, in every classroom, everywhere.
With 34 days left to go on the Kickstarter countdown clock, Reading Rainbow has reached nearly half of their goal. With incentives (for a Star Trek geek like me) that include things like a signed head-shot of LeVar Burton or a live chat with the star himself, contributing seems like a win-win!
The Copyright Clearance Center, one of the leading organizations that provides content solutions surrounding copyright issues, announced today that it has launched the next generation RightsLink for Open Access. This launch will help provide a seamless solution for author compensation where open access is concerned.
"For nearly ten years, many of the world's largest publishers have used RightsLink to manage their author fees," said Bill Neuman, CCC Vice President, Products. "We designed this next generation global solution based on what we've learned in the market, and the information received from customers and partners who deal with Open Access every day."
“RightsLink for Open Access streamlines the entire author fee transaction for OA charges, Article Processing Charges (APCs), page charges, color charges, and more. It integrates with publishers' manuscript management and production systems, providing robust billing and collections services, priority customer service to authors, and detailed reporting to both publishers and authors. At launch, RightsLink for Open Access will have a deep integration with Aries Systems' Editorial Manager, providing for seamless APC management from within the editorial workflow.”
This launch follows the earlier initiative in which CCC, as part of its commitment to educating the market on the latest OA news and trends, launched its Open Access Resource Center in collaboration with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).
To shop for all the titles in this newsletter click here:
New Nonfiction Audiobooks
Karen Alpert, read by the author – I Heart My Little A-Holes: A Bunch of Holy-Crap Moments No One Ever Told You about Parenting
Popular blogger Karen Alpert shares her hysterical take on the many “joys” of parenting. I Heart My Little A-Holes is full of hilarious stories, lists, thoughts and pictures that will make you laugh so hard you’ll wish you were wearing a diaper.
Dan Barber, read by the author – The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food
The Third Plate is chef Dan Barber’s extraordinary vision for a new future of American eating. After more than a decade spent investigating farming communities around the world in pursuit of singular flavor, Barber finally concluded that—for the sake of our food, our health, and the future of the land—America’s cuisine required a radical transformation.
Ann Bausum, read by Pam Ward – Sergeant Stubby: How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation
Told for the first time, here is the story of a stray dog who eventually became affectionately known as Sergeant Stubby, the most famous war dog of World War I. Beloved award-winning children’s author Ann Bausum brings her friendly writing style and in-depth research to her first book for adults.
Kai Bird, read by Rene Ruiz – The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
On April 18, 1983, a bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. The attack was a geopolitical turning point. It marked the beginning of Hezbollah as a political force, but even more important, it eliminated America’s most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East, CIA operative Robert Ames.
Toni Braxton, read by Robin Eller – Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir
While Toni Braxton may appear to be living a charmed life, hers is in fact a tumultuous story: a tale of personal triumph after a public unraveling. In her heartfelt memoir, the six-time Grammy Award-winning singer and star of WE tv’s hit reality series Braxton Family Values is unapologetically honest in revealing the intimate details of her journey.
Krista Bremer, read by Xe Sands – My Accidental Jihad
Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer would not have been able to imagine her life today: married to a Libyan-born Muslim, raising two children with Arabic names in the American South. Nor could she have imagined the prejudice she would encounter or the profound ways her marriage would change her perception of the world.
Adam Carolla, read by the author – President Me: The America That's In My Head
Geoff Dyer, read by Jonathan Cowley – Another Great Day At Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H. W. Bush
At once deft travelogue, unerring social observation, and honed comedy, this book describes life on a three-dimensional maze of walkways, hatches, and stairs…and Geoff Dyer’s own earnest efforts to appreciate the men and women aboard who have chosen a way of life the diametric opposite of the one he has constructed for himself.
Barbara Ehrenreich, read by the author – Living with a Wild God: A Memoir
Part memoir, part philosophical and spiritual inquiry, Living with a Wild God brings an older woman’s wry and erudite perspective to a young girl’s uninhibited musings on the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all.
Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, read by Simon Vance – The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book
In May of 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to the Russian countryside to visit the country’s most beloved poet, Boris Pasternak. He left concealing the original manuscript of Pasternak’s much anticipated first novel, entrusted to him with these words from the author: “This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.”
Pope Francis, read by Paul Michael – The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church
In the year since he was elected, Pope Francis’ simple message of mercy, service, and renewal has spread to every corner of the world. Through his gentle demeanor, selfless actions, and welcoming call for service to others, he has captured the attention of a world longing for an authentic message of hope—we want to hear what he has to say.
Bill Geist and Willie Geist, read by the authors – Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees. . . and Other Conversations We Forgot to Have
In Good Talk Dad, this talented father-son team shares stories of their funny and heartwarming relationship. Told in a unique back-and-forth banter style, this extended conversation riffs on everything from music and sports to summer camp, driving lessons, and family life.
Timothy F. Geithner, read by the author – Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
Swift, decisive, and creative action was required to avert a second Great Depression, but policy makers faced a fog of uncertainty, with no good options and the risk of catastrophic outcomes.
Judy Greer, read by the author – I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star
In her first book of essays, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, Greer writes about everything you would hope to hear from your best friend: how a midnight shopping trip to Walgreens can cure all; what it’s like to wake up one day with stepchildren; and how she really feels about fans telling her that she’s prettier in person.
Diane Keaton, read by the author – Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty
From Academy Award winner and bestselling author Diane Keaton comes a candid, hilarious, and deeply affecting look at beauty, aging, that old frenemy the mirror, and how in the end you just have to do it your own way.
Michael Korda, read by Jack Garrett – Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
Korda paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee as a general and a devoted family man who, though he disliked slavery and was not in favor of secession, turned down command of the Union army in 1861 because he could not “draw his sword” against his own children, his neighbors, and his beloved Virginia.
Roland Lazenby, read by Bob Souer – Michael Jordan: The Life
He is responsible for incredible moments so ingrained in basketball history that they have their own names: The Shrug, The Shot, The Flu Game. But for all his greatness, there’s also a dark side to Jordan: a ruthless competitor, a gambler. There’s never been a biography that balanced these personas-until now.
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, read by Stephen J. Dubner – Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems.
Jenny McCarthy, read by the author – Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life
Jenny McCarthy shares candid personal stories of her own successes and failures, hilarious to-do and wish lists, instructions for easy ways to stay slim and healthy (including recipes for her favorite comfort soups), and how she has taken care of herself.
Bill McGowan, read by the author – Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time
In Pitch Perfect, the renowned media coach Bill McGowan shows you how to craft just the right message. Along the way, McGowan lays out his Seven Principles of Persuasion.
Lea Michele, read by the author – Brunette Ambition
The star of the hit show Glee shares her experiences and insider tips on beauty, fashion, inner strength, and more in an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide.
Mariano Rivera, read by Michael Kay – The Closer: My Story
Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman.
Tom Robbins, read by Keith Szarabajka – Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, weaving together stories of his unconventional life–from his Appalachian childhood to his globe-trotting adventures–told in his unique voice, which combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy.
Robin Roberts, read by the author – Everybody's Got Something
Following her mother’s advice to “make your mess your message,” Robin taught a nation of viewers that while it is true that we’ve all got something, a medical crisis to face, aging parents to care for, heartbreak in all its many forms, we’ve also all got something to give: hope, encouragement, a life-saving transplant or a spirit-saving embrace.
Bob Saget, read by the author – Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian
In his bold and wildly entertaining publishing debut, Bob continues to embrace his dark side and gives listeners the audiobook they have long been waiting for—hilarious and often dirty yet warm and disarmingly sincere.
Sheryl Sandberg, read by Elisa Donovan – Lean In for Graduates
This enhanced edition provides the entire text of the original book updated with more recent statistics and features a passionate letter from Sandberg encouraging graduates to find and commit to work they love.
George Saunders, read by the author – Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness
Three months after George Saunders gave a convocation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord.
Daniel Schulman, read by Allen O'Reilly – Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world-bigger than Boeing and Disney-and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet.
Tom Standage, read by Sean Runnette – A History of the World in 6 Glasses
Author Tom Standage details the history of the world, from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century, through the lens of six defining beverages: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.
Gary L. Stewart, read by – The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father…And Finding the Zodiac Killer
Soon after his birth mother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. His quest would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world.
J. Randy Taraborrelli, read by Robert Petkoff – The Hiltons: A Family Dynasty
The Hiltons is a sweeping saga of the success-and excess-of an iconic American family. Demanding and enigmatic, patriarch Conrad Hilton’s visionary ideas and unyielding will established the model for the modern luxury hotel industry.
Barbara Brown Taylor, read by the author – Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night
Follow Barbara Brown Taylor on her journey to understand darkness, which takes her spelunking in unlit caves, learning to eat and cross the street as a blind person, discovering how “dark emotions” are prevented from seeing light from a psychiatrist, and rereading scripture to see all the times God shows up at night.
Ann Scott Tyson, read by Cassandra Campbell – American Spartan: The Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant
A war story like no other, an unprecedented account of a warrior who took up the cause of villagers as if it were his own, and of a woman on the front lines of a distant war, American Spartan is an unforgettable tale—and one of the most remarkable and emotionally resonant narratives of war ever published.
Elizabeth Warren, read by the author – A Fighting Chance
In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.
John Waters, read by – Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes across America
Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion—and a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.
Colson Whitehead, read by the author – The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death
In a world full of long shots and short odds, The Noble Hustle is a sure bet, a raucously funny social satire whose main target is the author himself. Whether you’ve been playing cards your whole life or have never picked up a hand, you’re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.
*Geographical rights may vary by title.
In institutions all across America, the end of May means something very specific: finals. Whether students are cramming for their first end of year exams or they are embracing all-nighters for the very last time before "growing up," one thing is for certain: the library will be a busy place. Students will pack every meeting room to share study guides and there will be lines of tired teenagers waiting for computers and printers to free up. If I could offer one piece of advice to all the graduates who may be finishing up their last finals ever, it'd be this: Don't let this be the end of your relationship with libraries. Let it be the beginning.
As I've mentioned prior the library has always been a place I've treasured, but during college it can become a place that is used more out of necessity as opposed to enjoyment. Yes, you're furthering your education and gaining knowledge there, but it can leave a sour taste in students' mouths knowing that it's being done because someone else is telling you to do so. Graduates, don't let this be your last memory of the library! Once finals have ended go back and you'll discover that it is so much more than just a quiet place to contemplate what Jean-Paul Sartre was talking about. (Googles phenomenology…)
For starters, the library offers you the opportunity to actually READ FOR FUN! You'll also discover wonderful free events like farmer’s markets, music and author readings as well as community gatherings. Librarians can help you prep for job interviews by assisting in cleaning up and formatting your resume. When you do land that great new job and you're looking for entertainment on your commute that's where we come in! Also, just because you've graduated doesn't mean you need to stop learning! The library provides the tools and opportunities to learn new languages, discover foreign cultures and experience subjects that may never have even crossed your mind during your time in those hallowed halls and classrooms. The library provides you all these options completely free of charge and, thanks to eBooks, you can experience them from anywhere in the world if you can't make it to the actual building.
Graduation is an exciting time. It's a pivotal moment in life where you truly get to decide the path your life will take. After you're handed that diploma the world will be waiting for you. You'll have opportunities to discover the world, meet new people and learn new things. I just hope that you take this time to also rediscover that the library is more than just a place to silently cram for an exam. It's a doorway to anywhere you want to go and anything you want to do.
Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive. He did not excel in his French philosophy courses.
Goodreads has done a tremendous amount of innovation in the last few years. From building a site to over 10 million users, to building an infrastructure around book recommendations, to being bought by Amazon and integrated exciting new features around it.
“It’s hard to imagine authors and publishers not wanting better tools,” explained Chandler, talking about the iOS app that he states is “truly addictive.” More than the addiction factor is the larger issue of ease of use. Since unveiling the app, an additional one million books have now been marked as to-read on the site through the app.
Goodreads has also launched features that let readers connect with the authors of the books. Chandler highlighted the efforts that author John Green has gone to in order to connect with reader fans, and Goodreads instituted a reader group around him that have over five million users. This led to the launch last week of a new Ask the Author feature, begun with 54 authors who are currently answer questions from readers through the site.
“It’s about creating deeper connections with readers,” Chandler said, posting slides of the excited tweets that readers posted after having a well-known author respond to their questions.
“The great thing about our product is this answer will live on in the author’s profile,” explaied Chandler, unlike tweets or Facebook posts where the conversations get buried by future traffic.
“Social will create the biggest change in publishing in the next five years,” is a prediction that Chandler made a year ago, and of course, it’s already coming true.
“Study after study after study shows that word of mouth is the top way readers discover books. Social can accelerate word of mouth. It can also accelerate mobile book discovery.”
“Book recommendations happen in the moment and they’ve got to be recorded in the moment.” This truth works in reverse, as Chandler points out he’s recommended a book to someone in person by pulling out his phone, accessing the app, and recommending that book through the app to that specific user.
One of the hot topics already on day one of this event has been addressing the glut of content available in the market, but readers are far less likely to view that abundance as glut if they feel a social connection to both other readers and their favorite authors. Wading through the possibilities for the next great read becomes less daunting when readers’ own vetted (ie, social media) sources make those recommendations.
The panel included some of the most innovative names in independent publishing, all with the understanding that there are great books available that the larger publishers won’t take a chance on. One of the uniting factors of the four panelists–who included Thought Company, Diversion Books, Pegasus, and Soho Press–is that willingness to not only look at books as a matter of risk, but also to embrace digital publishing wholeheartedly for its ability to reach a high-level of readers while allowing them to release large numbers of titles each year, which for this panel includes between 90 and 120 titles annually.
“The thing that drives us is finding those voices that other people haven’t discovered yet,” explained Bronwen Hruska, of the family-owned Soho Press. “A lot of times we get midlist authors who have a difficult track to overcome, and that’s something we’ve become good at.”
Anderson posed the important question to the group: “What makes it harder than it should be?”
Jason Allen Ashlock of Thought Catalog Books pointed out, “You learn a lot about what people care about,” when explaining his concern that fiction was a difficult obstacle, given that Thought Catalog has a website with 35 million users; the company can look every month at what those readers are engaged with when they publish non-fiction.
“The disproportionate number of books sold on Amazon, and the need for a wider distribution network,” answered Scott Waxman of Diversion, who spoke at length about one factor that the publishing industry has not done well: direct-to-consumer. Diversion is looking for new ways to reach their readers, but increased distribution is a requirement for the industry to continue to grow.
“Our biggest challenge is that there’s a lot of noise out there, not just a lot of books, but now, there are so many other distractions out there in popular culture,” explained Jessica Case of Pegasus. “We’re finding ways to find that balance and cut through the noise about the Kardashian wedding, and use those typical channels that have the same importance but don’t have the same impact that they used to.”
“Things are changing so fast, and you think, ‘Oh my god, I get it, I know how to do this,’ and that’s not true anymore,” continued Hruska. “A few years ago, there was a huge growth in ebooks and the sky was the limit, but everyone is seeing a real plateau or a downturn, but it’s not that same feeling. The idea that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket means it’s important to remain all of the relationships with the retailers. You need the people in the bookstores loving the books and talking about them.”
The panel continued with a word of support for libraries for the work they’re doing to keep books–whether print, digital, or audio–relevant in the lives of readers.
Doing the social media stuff that I do, I see a lot of cat-related stuff; your cute cat thing has to be pretty darn good to impress me. MouseAir cuts it.
I came across MouseAir in Raspberry Pi’s Google+ community, where project author John Shovic of SwitchDoc Labs has been posting regular updates. John’s cat, Panther, enjoys playing with toy mice, but tends to lose them under the fridge; John decided to automate the supply of toy mice to make sure that Panther is never without entertainment, even when no one else is at home. His goal was to detect the cat and fire a furry toy mouse into the hallway. He thought of Raspberry Pi. He began with a block diagram, drawn in a pub.
The launching system was quickly prototyped. It uses a 12V solenoid switch, intended to push up the door lock buttons on a car, to nudge the mouse between two quickly rotating 12V brushless motors, which launch it into the air. A Raspberry Pi handles the sequencing.
“Maybe we could tone down the motors a bit”, muses John.
But MouseAir is much more than just a launcher. As well as RFID detection of Panther’s tag (with a hand-built antenna) and ultrasonic detection, there’s a Raspberry Pi Camera Module on a pan/tilt base for capturing still images at critical moments, examining the launcher for jams, detecting motion and streaming video. Happily there’s a system diagram to help us keep track of all this.
A custom Python program running on the Raspberry Pi ties everything together. A fan of elaborate control panels, John wasn’t about to leave MouseAir without one, so he’s using the RasPiConnect app to allow him to control the system from his iPad via WiFi, using a satisfying number of buttons, graphs and pictures:
More custom code sits between RasPiConnect and the MouseAir main code, and John writes that we can expect an article about how the control system is constructed in the June or July 2014 issue of The MagPi magazine. He has also written up the whole project for Issue 5 of Raspberry Pi Geek magazine.
You can take a look at all the MouseAir posts on the SwitchDoc site. Mind you, I’m starting to feel uncomfortably as though our own cat - snoring behind me as I type, despairing of ever seeing an airborne toy mouse, still less an automated one - is getting something of a raw deal.
|The Kindle Fire HD may be a little outdated, having been replaced by the newer HDX tablets last fall, but when it comes to getting a good deal this current offer is pretty hard to pass up. Amazon local deals is giving out vouchers for $50 off a certified refurbished Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ tablet. […]|
“People associate libraries with print books and other physical media,” explained Brantley. “For libraries, things are good. Libraries are seeing far more activitiy todyya than they have in the last few years. The kinds of activities that people are ding in the branches are much more engaged.”
Of course, Brantley did clarify that statement by saying that we must first take away the death-blows to budgets as a consideration before we can say that things are going well in the public library sphere.
“People can walk into the smallest, most remote locations, and they can have access to conversations that are happening in their communities, their state, their country, and the global communications networks.”
Brantley called libraries an “internet of places,” where people can engage with physical objects while also being a part of a communication fabric. Libraries are front and center for helping to create those on ramps bringing readers and authors together with those who read and care about books.
He also spoke to the services that libraries provide that community members would not be able to access without a library.
“Libraries are quickly becoming city data centers, places to take data, recombine it, and allow people to consume and interact with it. Libraries are also now providing an opportunity for communities to enrich the data and bring it back.”
For example, Brantley spoke about the NY Public Library app Building Inspector that lets citizens walk the streets and supply important data on the city’s infrastructure to city planners.
However, when he brought up ebooks, the outlook was less positive. Ebooks are being presented to libraries in a prohibitively expensive way, causing libraries to be expected to spend outrageous amounts of money to provide ebooks for their patrons. More streaming services would be a natural transition for libraries to be able to meet patron need and demand. Subscription offerings would also allow libraries to present vast catalogs of content. Subscriptions allow libraries to experience more focused personalization in order to meet only content needs that their patrons want.
One final benefit that libraries offer is the opportunity to become community publishers, helping community citizens to publish their works and bring their voices out while providing visibility, “working hand in hand with a larger publishing community.”
Brantley spoke to the need for an open internet, stating that it is part of how we live, how we communicate, and how we tell our stories to each other. It is part of our lives and conditions how we see the world. An open internet is vital to social movement, the tool that we had to create as a global utility. Libraries are “critical nodes in that infrastructure, uniting people to present new forms of data and engagement.”
|Target is the second largest retailer in the US behind Walmart, and they are planning on getting into ebooks. There’s an article over at USA Today that says Target has partnered with Librify, an ebook subscription/social network startup. Target’s plan is to basically create an online book club type of service. That’s what Librify specializes […]|
Authors who publish with Zola Books will now be able to give digital autographs with technology provided by Autography. The deal gives authors a proven method for delivering individualized autographs, and it grants readers a new way to collect authenticated autographs and inscriptions inside favorite ebooks.
To launch the partnership, Zola Books and Autography are co-hosting an eBook signing at this year's inaugural BookCon, a public event for readers during BookExpo America. The signing of free ebooks will take place on May 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the BookCon show floor at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.
Participating authors include Barbara Taylor Bradford signing "Cavendon Hall," Linda Fairstein signing "Death Angel," Jonathan Maberry signing "Rot & Ruin," Morgan Matson signing "Since You've Been Gone," M.J. Rose "Lip Service," Emmi Itaranta signing "Memory of Water," Jodi Ellen Malpas signing "This Man," Heather Graham signing "Waking the Dead", Julie Kagawa signing "The Forever Song," and R.L. Stine signing "Creature Teacher: The Final Exam" from the Goosebumps Most Wanted series.
Autography was founded in 2011 by Robert Barrett and Tom Waters. Their patent pending technology has two major components. The first is the ability to grant a digital autograph and have it permanently attached to the readers book. Another option is for the reader and author to pose for a photo using the iPad to shoot it. The author can than autograph the picture and insert it into the eBook.
Amazon has posted a public message on their own forums about their official position on the Hachette eBook dispute. Currently, the two sides are locked in a pitched battle over the future of agency pricing. This is the first statement Amazon has released over the whole affair.
Amazon posted the following message on their forums a few minutes ago “We are currently buying less (print) inventory and “safety stock” on titles from the publisher, Hachette, than we ordinarily do, and are no longer taking pre-orders on titles whose publication dates are in the future. Instead, customers can order new titles when their publication date arrives. For titles with no stock on hand, customers can still place an order at which time we order the inventory from Hachette — availability on those titles is dependent on how long it takes Hachette to fill the orders we place. Once the inventory arrives, we ship it to the customer promptly. These changes are related to the contract and terms between Hachette and Amazon.”
The Seattle based company went on to say “At Amazon, we do business with more than 70,000 suppliers, including thousands of publishers. One of our important suppliers is Hachette, which is part of a $10 billion media conglomerate. Unfortunately, despite much work from both sides, we have been unable to reach mutually-acceptable agreement on terms. Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives. Nevertheless, the two companies have so far failed to find a solution. Even more unfortunate, though we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.”
“Negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller’s, or any retailer’s, most important jobs. Suppliers get to decide the terms under which they are willing to sell to a retailer. It’s reciprocally the right of a retailer to determine whether the terms on offer are acceptable and to stock items accordingly. A retailer can feature a supplier’s items in its advertising and promotional circulars, “stack it high” in the front of the store, keep small quantities on hand in the back aisle, or not carry the item at all, and bookstores and other retailers do these every day. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term.”
They elaborated “A word about proportion: this business interruption affects a small percentage of Amazon’s demand-weighted units. If you order 1,000 items from Amazon, 989 will be unaffected by this interruption. If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors. We also take seriously the impact it has when, however infrequently, such a business interruption affects authors. We’ve offered to Hachette to fund 50% of an author pool – to be allocated by Hachette – to mitigate the impact of this dispute on author royalties, if Hachette funds the other 50%. We did this with the publisher Macmillan some years ago. We hope Hachette takes us up on it.”