Monday, June 9, 2014

Top 10 Blackberry Apps of the Week – June 9 2014


The Blackberry Playbook is woefully underserved and little to no new apps come out on a weekly basis. Blackberry 10 on the other hand does get a ton of support, but few popular apps actually get released. Good e-Reader spends a great deal of time converting apps, testing and posting the ones that work the best. Today, we look at the top new apps to be released via Good e-Reader.

Ace of Tennis - A really great tennis game with cartoony graphics and dynamic gameplay. It feels like something that would have done really well on the Nintendo 64.

Wikipedia Beta – You can install Wikipedia Beta alongside your current version of Wikipedia for Android, so you can test our new features before they go live for all Wikipedia for Android users. Your feedback will help us fix bugs and decide what features to focus on next.

Pinball Deluxe - Each of the tables have unique features and play very differently. Will you be able to unlock the 4-bit matrix classic minigame for each table? You will be rewarded for your quick reflexes with plenty of action. Make sure to try our Brix table where you smash destructible bricks in an ever increasing challenge – or be the sheriff in Wild West. Now with Multiplayer & Tournaments by Grantoo!

E3 2014 - The Official Show App of E3 2014, which takes place June 10-12 in Los Angeles. Explore the E3 exhibitor list, navigate the show floor with our interactive floor plan, share with your social networks, and stay up-to-date with all things E3 – all from the palm of your hand.

Aircraft Combat 1942 - Have you ever imagined that you could use clever strategy in air combat game to get much much more fun?

FTBpro – The Soccer News App - Do you eat, drink and sleep soccer? The FTBpro news app is a must have for every soccer fan and sport lover.

Mini Toss – Ka-boom, the explosive world of Mini Toss is here! With dozens of maps to master, unlimited costumes, super-charged weapons, and powerful attacks – Mini Toss will literally blow you away! What are you waiting for? Join the adventure today!

Step In The Line - A very exciting and creative game, you can play it a finger. Drag to move the dots, you must drag dots to stay in the line.

Angry Birds Seasons – Angry Birds Seasons takes the captivating gameplay of the original to a whole new level! From Halloween to Chinese New Year, the birds are celebrating different festive seasons around the world! With more than 300 levels and regular free updates, these special episodes offer more challenging levels of pig-popping action and golden eggs to discover.

Instagram – This app ONLY works on the Z10 or other BB10 devices and not the Playbook. You cannot make NEW accounts with this version, you can only log into existing accounts.

Top 10 Blackberry Apps of the Week – June 9 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

miBuk ILUSION Available Soon in Spain


The e-Reader market is certainly stabilizing in North America and the UK, with only a handful of established players in the market and little to no alternatives available. Spain is one country where the e-reading revolution is starting to just take off and this year a number of new devices have become available. The Papyre 630, Szenio DC 1600 and miBuk ILUSION are all vying for readers attention.

The miBuk ILUSION features a six inch e-Ink Pearl display screen with a resolution of 800×600. It will do a fine job in reading your standard eBooks, but might struggle with more high-definition content, such as PDF magazines and newspapers. Underneath the hood is a Allwinner Processor E200 processor, 4 GB of storage and an SD card to 32GB of additional memory.

When it comes to modern e-readers, they often forgo built in audio or speakers because they need to be able to offer their devices as cheap as possible. The ILUSION actually has an external speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack to listen to tunes in MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, WAV, OGG, DTS, AMR formats.

This reader is going to be available in the next few weeks via the Wonderelectronics website and is retailing for €89.00. The good thing is, this is not just relevant in Spain, but does have compatibility with English, and Portuguese, French.

miBuk ILUSION Available Soon in Spain is a post from: Good e-Reader

Indigo Flounders as Tech and Lifestyle Gambit Fails


Indigo bet big in 2013 with their gravitational shift from selling books to peddling pillows, wine glasses and gourmet chocolate. They also devoted significant square footage in each store to Indigo Tech and made agreements with Apple, Beats and companies involved in wearables. The gambit has failed, as the largest bookseller in Canada posted a loss of over 31 million dollars last year.

Indigo's annual loss was $31-million compared to net earnings of $4.3-million last year. Annual revenue slid 1.3% to $868-million for the fiscal year compared with revenue of $879-million in the prior year, when the company had five more stores.

Bookselling in Canada is best seller dependant, and little books of note matched the scope of Fifty Shades and Hunger Games in fiscal 2013. e-Reader sales have also declined with perennial favorite Kobo seeing lackluster demand.

Indigo has a veritable monopoly in Canada with their chain of Chapters bookstores. You would figure they would be swimming in cash with little to no competition, but sadly this is not the case. Booknet Canada recently reported that sales across the total market in 2013 were down by 3.41% compared to 2012. However, some categories were stronger in 2013 than the previous year: unit sales increased by 5.57% for juvenile nonfiction and 21.91% for biography and autobiography. In addition, sales figures in The Canadian Book Market do not include ebook sales, nor online sales of  print books, so the overall book market may be healthier than reflected.Although Indigo suffered some big loses, the company is still bullish on their future. "In an industry which is world-wide experiencing meaningful sales declines, we are pleased with the customer response to all our transformation efforts, with the sales performance, and with the potential for further growth and profitability moving forward," said chief executive officer Heather Reisman in a statement released by the company.

Indigo Flounders as Tech and Lifestyle Gambit Fails is a post from: Good e-Reader

Facebook Briefly Launches Snapchat Competitor: Slingshot

Facebook-Slingshot-640x386Once upon a time, Facebook tried to acquire Snapchat (for the bargain price of $3 billion). That bid failed, and Facebook decided to create a competitive product of their own. That product arrived to marked prematurely today when Slingshot was seen briefly in the Apple App Store. Luckily for those curious about the next generation of social media, a few things were seen before the app was removed from the store.

Slingshot behaves very much like the already popular Snapchat: the modern day digital equivalent of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” You take a photo or video and broadcast it out to your friends –if they want to see it, they need to send you something first (in return, but ahead of time… if that makes sense). Once they unlock your transmission, a button in the app lets them react to what you’ve sent.

Social media addicts love this spontaneous approach to sharing life’s little moments, others of us wonder just how many more ‘spur of the moment’ shots of their latest meal we can take.

Because this slip-up happened prior to the actual launch of the app, it isn’t known for certain whether we will also see Slingshot for Android.

Facebook Briefly Launches Snapchat Competitor: Slingshot is a post from: Good e-Reader

Next Big Book Innovates with Big Data

One of the ways that the seemingly stodgy, old-fashioned publishing industry is learning to innovate is with the concept of “big data.” Projects like Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings are already maximizing on the available information to help authors make sound decisions concerning publishing route, ebook pricing, and more, but traditional publishers are also slowly coming along in terms of looking at all the possible pieces of information surrounding a book or author, and using that information to drive consumer engagement.

Next Big Book, the winner of this year’s Startup Challenge at BookExpo America, has been taking an in-depth look at artists and public engagement for years. Beginning with its roots in the music industry under its sister entity Next Big Sound, the company essentially tracks multiple sources of data based on current trends and actions that correlate to a specific author and his work.

Next Big Book’s Alex White spoke to Good e-Reader about what publishers can learn from tracking this kind of online reference, specifically as it relates to their first major customer, Macmillan, who signed a three-year deal with the company.

“What we’re doing is combining all the public social data for every author and title, with our customers’ private sales numbers–paper and digital–to help them understand which social signal are leading indicators of their sales numbers and which marketing events were able to reliably drive social and sales numbers.”

In other words, Next Big Book helps publishers know which of their efforts are paying off both in terms of actual book sales and in reader buzz through social media.

“We started five years ago in the music industry, and we supported tens of thousands of artists and managers and labels. We believe very strongly in the power of data to transform industry. We’re trying to figure out the timing and technical challenges behind releasing the marketing dashboard we built with Macmillan to any author or book publisher. The issue is really around the sales data, and since we are not working with the retailers directly, the only way to get this data is with the publisher.”

Macmillan is considering using their dashboard directly with the agents and authors, so new features and functionalities are expected as authors give their feedback, which Next Big Book can incorporate in a scaled roll out. At this time, there’s no simple solution to providing this kind advanced metrics to indie authors due to the difficulty of building a dashboard for every single individual.

“It would take as much work to integrate a single author as it does a major publishing house, so the economics don’t quite make sense. We’re still trying to figure that out.”

Next Big Book Innovates with Big Data is a post from: Good e-Reader

Podcast: New Nook Tablets, Audiobook Industry, InkedIN and Amazon Hachette Updates


Welcome back to a jampacked edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Michael Kozlowski and Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World. Today on the show we talk about the new Samsung and Barnes and Noble tablet partnership, and what it means for the bookseller going forward. Also on the show is a riveting discussion on YA Books and why Adults are reading them in record droves.

The Audiobook industry is currently worth over two billion dollars globally, which is a far cry from $450 million in 1997. Publishers are wanting to accelerate growth further and we discuss how they intend on making it happen. Amazon has announced a new mobile subscription platform today, S&S has announced a new social network and Entitle has developed a new Christian solution. This is a great show with lots of excellent discussion, check it out!

Podcast: New Nook Tablets, Audiobook Industry, InkedIN and Amazon Hachette Updates is a post from: Good e-Reader

RosettaBooks Goes Mobile with New E-Book App

RosettaBooksMany of you will be familiar with RosettaBooks as an E-Book publisher (producing backlist works of familiar authors ranging from Winston Churchill to Kurt Vonnegut), but now you can use their new e-reading app for mobile phones and tablets. Think of this app like a portal, allowing you to discover new titles, explore various genres (like biography/memoir, science fiction, romance, Books Into Film, bestsellers, nonfiction, literary fiction, mystery/thriller), connect with others using the app, find the ‘freebies’ (free eBooks, giveaways, and discounted titles), read sample chapters, and review all of the new releases and best sellers each week!

Unfortunately, you cannot use the app to make purchases as it does not support direct sales, but you can review excerpts and information about the authors and follow links to the digital publishers’ retail partners if your interest is raised. This ‘lack of feature’ is a bit frustrating, because while the app is quite easy to use with a nicely responsive interface –there is no quick and easy way to purchase a title once you are enticed by the sample chapter (it requires some hunting around, clicking the information button for the book and then knowing to click ‘View More’ from a secondary screen which then takes you to an outside website that will then finally link you to the website you can buy it from).

If you think of this app as a convenient way to electronically ‘browse the aisles’ of your favourite bookstore, you will be in a literary happy-place.

RosettaBooks Goes Mobile with New E-Book App is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Introduces Digitial Subscriptions with Mobile Payment System


Amazon has been offering 3rd parties to login and pay with their Amazon accounts for around a year now. The Seattle based company has quietly introduced a new feature that may play into the new phone they are going to announce in the next few weeks.

Amazon currently has over 240 million active users that have their credit card details stored in the Amazon system. The new program will allow customers to pay for services such as a monthly phone bill or a digital music subscription. Amazon then charges a fee on each transaction.

Amazon getting into the recurring subscription arena will certainly contend with PAYPAL, who dominates this medium. The big downside about Paypal is that they are not crowdfunding friendly and tends to hold and freeze funds indiscriminately, sometimes making people wait six months to see their money restored. One benefit to Kindle Fire and Kindle e-Reader customers is that you can take out a digital newspaper or magazine subscription and pay by the month.  It will also allow you to pay for services such as Pandora, Spotify or Beats on a monthly basis.

In the next few weeks Amazon is poised to reveal their smartphone that has 3D elements and many cameras. Many industry experts are agreeing that you might be able to pay your phone bill using the new Amazon subscription system. Instead of paying the phone company in the traditional sense, you would be throwing down with Amazon to simplify your life and keep all of your purchases in one place.

Amazon Introduces Digitial Subscriptions with Mobile Payment System is a post from: Good e-Reader

Penguin Canada eBooks Now Available for Canadian Public Libraries!

penguincanadaOverDrive is excited to announce the launch of Penguin Canada titles for our Canadian library customers. As of today, over 600 titles under a 12 month lending model are now live in Marketplace just waiting to be discovered and procured for your patrons. There really is something for everyone, including bestsellers from some of the top Canadian authors like Guy Gavriel Kay (Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year for Under Heaven), Stuart McLean (host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Café), Joseph Boyden (winner of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Through Black Spruce), Ruth Ozeki (author of A Tale for the Time Being), and many others. I personally was over the moon because one of my favorite books is now available, Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay, a great transitional young adult to adult fantasy story that merges the everyday and rich history with a supernatural twist.

In addition to the selection of Canadian authors, Penguin Canada also offers well known titles from other countries. Are you a fan of the Millennium series? I definitely am, and now The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels are available as well. Can't keep suspenseful mystery on your (virtual) shelves? Nicci French's tales are right up your alley. Or check out some of the truly great novels from John le Carre including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which was also made into a movie blockbuster. Summer is here and in full swing, and with the addition of Penguin Canada, you can give your patrons something to fill their eReaders with for those long trips to the cottage, the beach, or wherever the road takes them!

Please click on the links below to see the great selections of titles in Marketplace or contact your Collection Development Specialist. We are always here to help!

Penguin Canada – Canadian Authors

PenguinCA – Big Names, Big Books

PenguinCA Kids&Teens

Penguin Canada – All Titles


*Geographical rights may vary by title.

 Kate Seivertson is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Hachette to Cut 3% of US Staff

Hachette Book Group, who is currently engaged in a tumultuous battle with Amazon, sent out a statement to its employees regarding news that they would begin a round of layoffs that would cut three percent of its US staff, or roughly thirty people. According to the company, this news is unrelated to the drama unfolding over sales contracts with the world’s largest book retail chain, but has actually been in the works for several months.

According to a statement issued by the company: “”Today, we had to make some difficult changes at HBG as part of a cost-savings initiative that will improve our company’s resilience to a changing marketplace and position HBG for future growth. Unfortunately, these changes mean that some of our colleagues will be leaving the company.”

On the one hand, now that the industry has a firm grip on ebook publication, digital rights, and other aspects associated with the digital publishing boom, there may very well be positions that are no longer as necessary as before. The teams of professionals that publishers relied upon to create digital editions and to further their social media strategies may be seen as superfluous in a publishing climate that has its digital legs under it.

However, in spite of the announcement that this move has nothing to do with the ongoing negotiations with Amazon, this has been a trying and expensive time for traditional publishing houses. Apart from the growing sentiment that self-publishing may lead to better returns and longer careers, there’s the recent costly settlement over allegations of price fixing to contend with, as well as the loss of untold amounts due to Amazon’s removal of pre-order buttons on Hachette titles, and their refusal to sell or deliver certain HBG titles under their contract matter is resolved. Despite assurances from the publisher, those obstacles were costly and may continue to have lasting impact on not only HBG, but other major publishing houses who are working to stay relevant…and stay open.

Hachette to Cut 3% of US Staff is a post from: Good e-Reader

Lowther Hall gives window shopping a new twist

Imagine ambling down a street lined with stores, looking at all the window displays. You can do this whether stores are open or closed, but if you want to actually get something, the store has to be open and you have to have money. Now imagine you can get what you want, for free. And right away. Window shopping just got a whole lot more enticing, right?

Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School in Australia has transformed their Library Resource Center windows into “virtual library shelves” by decorating them with book covers. Now that would be enough to grab my attention, but they've taken it one step further and added QR codes on the covers so that students can scan them with their smart phone or tablet. They're then taken directly to the title's details page on their school's OverDrive digital library, where students are able to easily borrow the title.

Lowther Hall has seen an increase in checkouts each month in 2014, and giving their students such visible and quick access to their titles has certainly been a big reason why. You can read more about their concept here and see a picture here.

Do you have any creative ideas that have helped your students get the most out of your digital library? We, along with other schools, would love to hear about them. Now, if there was only a way to bring free window shopping to the dessert industry…

James Bond villain-style alarm clock for the deaf

A quick post today: I’m in a tearing hurry trying to get our display for today’s UK Technology Industry reception at Buckingham Palace ready, in the face a few awkwardnesses. We’ve got an entire education team and half an engineering team that’s off sick with something we’re calling the Raspberry Flu, and an SD card that corrupted when someone who will not be named yanked the power cable at an awkward moment. Frustrated weeping commenced about thirty minutes ago, but I think we’re going to get everything sorted in time.

Here is Kim Wall’s rather magnificent giant deaf alarm. It’s very feature-heavy, with a fire alert, an IRC interface, and the ability to hook up to other things around the house like the doorbell and phone. I’ve spent ages using my Google-fu to try to find out more information about it, but sadly all we’ve been able to come up with is this video, and the explanatory text next to it on YouTube:

Over at YouTube, Kim says:

Control is via the LCD and buttons, and also over the network via an IRC bot interface. Fire alerter and vibrating pad are FireAngel Wi-Safe2, which continues to operate if the clock fails.

The clock is also a GPS-based Stratum 1 network time server, and is able to maintain accurate time without a working network connection.

The clock will connect with other modules over the network for doorbell, telephone alerter, central heating control and various other features.

Power is supplied at 48V in a IEEE 802.3af style, but as the Raspberry Pi lacks POE breakout, the passive POE dongle is required.

We’d love to learn more about your setup, Kim; if you’re reading this, please drop us an email!