Saturday, June 7, 2014

Video Tour of E Ink’s Booth at Computex 2014

Every year Charbax posts a video tour of E Ink’s latest products and prototypes. This time the venue was at the Computex event in Taiwan, and is the first time E Ink has had a booth there. Like usual, E Ink had all kinds of products on display. Everything from ereaders to watches to signage […]

Indie Romance Authors Should Encourage Readers to Pay to be in their Next Book


Self-publishing is a growing industry and many researchers agree that by 2020, 50% of all books will be penned by indie authors. One of the downsides of electing to take the path of writing and marketing the book yourself is the financial situation. Often authors only generate money once the book is actively sold and do not get any type of advance to offset the cost of developing a new title. This is why many romance writers lean on their husbands to sustain their financial situation, while they generate a devout following of readers and try make a living from it. Sure some authors take advantage of Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds, but often they fail to meet their financial targets. This is why many self-published authors are paying attention to what George R.R. Martin is doing with his new charity campaign.

The Game of Thrones writer is taking a novel approach in order to raise funds for The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe. Two readers who donate $20,000 will be able to be slain in a grisly fashion in the next book he writes. There is one male character and one female character available. You can choose your character's station in the world (lordling, knight, peasant, whore, lady, maester, septon, anything) and be killed in a horrendous fashion.

Paying to be inside of a book is a relatively new approach and although self-published authors are unlikely to get away with charging exorbitant amounts of money, there likely is a market. Erotica and Romance are two literary genres that are dominated by female indie authors and 59% of all titles on the market are written by them. According to Bowker, the official ISBN agency for the US and Australia, 71% of self-published books were bought by women, with romance titles the most popular category, followed by literary fiction. Likely many women readers would love to have the main character named after them and would be willing to pay for the privilege.

Indie Romance Authors Should Encourage Readers to Pay to be in their Next Book is a post from: Good e-Reader

Florida Principal Pulls the Plug on Doctorow

It’s either yet another example of stupidity in public school administrations, or it’s the most brilliantly subversive plot on the part of an adult in a long time.

At Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, an English teacher and the school librarian collaborated on a fun summer reading event. In addition to the typical summer reading lists high schoolers have, this school decided to participate in One School/One Book, in which all of the students were invited to read the same book over the summer so they could participate in a number of activities en masse in the fall. The faculty worked together on discussion materials and the activities, all centered around their pick for the project, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother.

And then the principle pulled the plug on the program, citing the book’s message of questioning authority as grounds for its inappropriateness. In an interesting twist of fate, the principle also reportedly cited a parent’s concerns about profanity in the book, despite the fact that there isn’t any. After organizing all of the work, promotion, and supplemental materials, the faculty members were told to choose a different book or cancel it.

But here’s where the internet took over and made it even more fun. First, word got out about the program’s cancellation, so Doctorow and his publisher Tor donated 200 copies of the book to the student body. But more important is the very, very hopeful possibility that this was all a ploy to teach kids to actually question authority.

A look at the school’s website links to their required summer reading list. Not only is Little Brother required reading for incoming eleventh graders, but other notably challenged or banned books are on there, including 1984, Fahrenheint 451 and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The second title, by Sherman Alexie, has been banned not only for profanity but for its references to masturbation, among other topics; if that is part of the required reading list, we can only hope that Doctorow’s book is being challenged/banned to actually encourage participation in the summer event.

The principle is either just another sadly typical example of what’s wrong with public education, or is quite possibly the most brilliant strategist ever to work with teenagers. Hopefully this educator is taking this stance and willingly risking ridicule and derision in order to serve as an example of the very type of authority young people should question. Unfortunately, this blog post from Cory Doctorow tells a very different story.

Florida Principal Pulls the Plug on Doctorow is a post from: Good e-Reader

Hoopla Digital Redesigns the Digital Library Model

Library lending of ebooks and other digital content is finally gaining a foothold in the industry as publishers and lending institutions come to some measure of agreement on how to make it work. While libraries need access to up-to-date but affordable content, and publishers need some guarantee they they will be compensated for allowing their titles into lending catalogs, the model is slowly taking off in greater numbers of libraries.
Besides the drawback that publishers are still imposing checkout limits and raising the price of an ebook by as much as 300% for libraries, the biggest obstacle may be instituting the lending program itself. While companies like OverDrive and 3M Library System are to be commended and have certainly pioneered the current lending model by striking agreements with major publishers, the subscription fee to participate in those models is still an overwhelming budget item for most smaller libraries.

hoopla digital, the recently launched digital division of library content supplier Midwest Tape, has launched a lending model for libraries that stands to change that. This model, which relies solely on pay-per-transaction, is a great alternative for libraries who balk at the cost of joining one of the major digital supplier’s subscriptions.

“We wanted to give libraries a way to be relevant in the digital age,” explained hoopla’s Jeff Jankowski in an interview with Good e-Reader. “Why take the limitations of the physical world and apply them to start of the art digital?”

These limitations that Jankowski referred to include things like wait periods and simultaneous checkouts, along with the subscription required to offer content to library patrons. This pay per use model means there are no longer any holds or unavailable books, as libraries only pay when patrons consume content.

“You can’t retain customers if you have dissatisfied customers. Publishers like [hoopla] because no holds or waits means no dissatisfied customers. This helps libraries stay relevant.”

That relevance is really the key to what makes hoopla an ideal model. As libraries joyfully spread the news that they now offer ebook lending, the reality is that patrons often go to the media console for their specific libraries only to find a limited catalog filled with older backlist titles, many of which are checked out because that’s all there is to read. This frustration has led many patrons to think their libraries can’t even do a good job when they do offer 21st century content capabilities.

hoopla works as a single app for patrons to use in order to download ebooks, stream movies, or stream music, all of which libraries only pay for as the content is borrowed. Of course, there are parameters libraries can set up individually, such as patron checkout caps or loan periods so they don’t find themselves with an unexpected bill due to a high volume of patron traffic. Libraries can also see an up-to-date dashboard of traffic and fees, and also receive alerts when they are nearing their monthly budget limit.

Hoopla Digital Redesigns the Digital Library Model is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Startup Blookist Streamlines the Blog-to-Book Concept

Blogging is an interesting concept, one that draws millions of writers around the globe. From the generic “things I’m thinking right now” style of simply writing for the joy of it, to the very profitable and thematic blogs that reach a vast audience, the tool itself is as straightforward as it is genius. One company, Blookist, is looking for an easier way to let blog authors generate revenue from their blogs in a nearly crowdfunded way.

Based on the increasingly popular idea that the majority of the reading public will not only recognize good content but also feel compelled to compensate writers for it in a voluntary way, Blookist lets authors start a “blook” (blog+book) and add to it, chapter by chapter, while selling those chapters to donors who come to the site for content.

Adrijan Zuzic, founder and director of, spoke to Good e-Reader about the platform and its original launch, as well as the biggest benefit for users.

“They can create a selection of their related works, so it makes it easier writers and bloggers to generate revenue. They start writing, they publish, and monetize through donations and through subscribers to their blooks. Through these subscriptions, authors can write and sell a chapter at a time, or they can keep their drafts private and then publish the blook as a whole.”

Recent models to the way books and ebooks are conceived of and sold have offered some truly unique forms of paying for content. Pubslush allows authors to take pre-orders for their books in order to generate the revenue they need for professional publishing services, while Pentian lets donors share in the royalties of the book for the first three years, giving authors the funds they need to generate titles. Blookist, which seems to function much like Wattpad-for-pay, makes that type of structure possible as well.

“We want to challenge ePubs, and that’s a significant mountain to climb. We really want to make writing a book as easy as writing a blog.”

While still in its most recent launch stage, Blookist is offering 50% off its pro membership for readers of this article by using code “blookistcmp” on the registration page. An example of a Proust work reimagined as a blook is available HERE.

New Startup Blookist Streamlines the Blog-to-Book Concept is a post from: Good e-Reader