Monday, July 7, 2014

SoulCraft 2 Action RPG Available for Android

Hugh Howey on Writers’ Unions: Who Really Speaks for Authors?

There are a few groups out there that claim to be the voice of advocacy and support for authors. Chief among them is the Author’s Guild, an organization that actively works to block self-published authors from its inner sanctum by imposing hefty sales requirements before indie authors can join, thus making them a retailer’s guild, rather than an author’s guild. There’s also the newly formed Author’s Alliance, although their noble cause of furthering open access is more appropriate for non-fiction authors of academic publishing. In an interesting aside, I do wish to point out that I cannot get behind any group that doesn’t move the apostrophe to reflect that they represent the plural of “author.”

Before this rant goes any further, I would like to point out that the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Writer’s Guild (again with the singular possessive, but I digress) do great work for their members, but both have their limitations and their highly specific mission goals. This is the very reason that self-publishing success story and vocal champion for indie authors Hugh Howey has suggested the formation of an actual union for indie authors.

Well, that and the fact that a lot of people seem to have a lot to say about the battle between Amazon and Hachette, and that those who support the publisher don’t actually know what they’re talking about.

Howey published this POST on his website that explained some of the disillusionment behind these so-called advocacy groups that speak for authors without ever actually consulting authors. Howey summed it up best when he said this:

“Groups like the aforementioned SFWA have minimum requirements for membership. I think there should be maximum requirements for representation. That is, once your earnings hit a certain level, your rights are no longer the focus of the group. Those rights might align at times with the focus of the group, but it won't be an active concern.

“Why? Because labor unions shouldn't exist to win raises for the managers and the foremen. They sometimes devolve into this, and that's the beginning of the end of their usefulness. Our guild long ago subscribed to that philosophy. I like to think it happened unintentionally and innocently, bias building upon bias, closed rooms echoing, monocultures spreading. I think some of the people who have it all and are fighting for more aren't bad people; they just aren't exposed to enough dissenting opinions. Many of those fighting for Hachette have no clue what is happening in the publishing trenches right now. They've been in tents with generals for far too long.”

Truer words in publishing haven’t been spoken in a long time. The traditional industry is fighting with all its might and enlisting the help of entities that once had authors’ interests at heart (note the placement of the apostrophe on the plural form of “author”), but who now cater to the powers that are still trying to hold court over the industry.

What does Howey want, and what do authors want?

They want to know that their voices will be heard, not just from the mouthpieces who have stepped in and claimed to speak on their behalf, and not just from the people whose job it is to ensure that the pockets are lined. There should not be requirements for membership in an authors’ organization other than having written something. Writing and selling are two very different aspects of publishing, yet no one has stepped up and admitted owning the Author-Retailer’s Guild. In order to know which entities are actively working on behalf of authors and readers alike, the powers that be must be replaced with organizations that actually work to further literature of every kind.

Hugh Howey on Writers’ Unions: Who Really Speaks for Authors? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Good e-Reader Radio – Libraries as Retail and Authors Unions


Welcome back to another installment of the Good e-Reader Radio Show with Mercy Pilkington and Michael Kozlowksi. Today on the show we talk about Libraries as Retail with the Simon & Schuster mandating that libraries sell eBooks in order to carry digital titles. Hugh Howey is calling on indie authors to start a dedicated union in order to have a more cohesive voice in the publishing industry. Are children really reading? Mercy was an English teacher for over a decade and a massive discussion ensues on modern literature in the classroom and barriers preventing more contemporary books being offered.

Finally, on the show Mercy and Michael debate Textbook piracy in Europe and Africa. The landscape is not as cut and dry as people wanting to save money, but comes down to availability and the lack of publisher support. A really fun show with book reviews and lots more, join in on the fun.

Good e-Reader Radio – Libraries as Retail and Authors Unions is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura HD vs Onyx Boox T68 Lynx Comparison Review (Video)

The Kobo Aura HD and Onyx Boox T68 are the only two ebook readers currently available that feature E Ink’s 6.8-inch display, so a comparison review between them is needed to determine which device is better. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen. I can’t definitively say that one is better than the other. Each device […]

The CamJam EduKit – basic electronics for £5!

Liz: I wasn’t at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam this weekend: I was working in Manchester on Friday, and then became an aunt that evening (congrats Katie and Ben!). It meant I missed a special announcement: so I’ve asked Mike Horne, king of the CamJam organisers, to fill everyone in with this guest post. Over to you, Mike!

From little acorns…

We realised after the May Cambridge Raspberry Jam that we now had a good stock of workshop material, and began to think of ways to use the material away from the Jam. After all, educational material isn’t much good if it isn’t in the hands of people who might use it.

Liz Upton

Liz sells Pis at a previous CamJam. If you want to meet people from the Foundation, the CamJams are the place to be.

At the May Jam, we ran a basic electronics workshop – you know the sort of thing: LEDs, switches and buzzers…and we wondered if we could create a kit with the necessary bits and bobs. People could buy the kits, then download the worksheets and teach themselves.

Around that time, Jamie Mann from The Pi Hut came
to us with the exact same idea – use the CamJam material as the basis for kits. And so, a partnership was formed to bring the idea to fruition. Jamie was in charge of procurement and assembling the kits, Tim would write the worksheets and Mike would test them

Eventually, we came up with a name and the “CamJam EduKit” was born.

CamJam EduKit

The CamJam EduKit is priced at £5 and comes with everything you need to have fun with basic electronics projects, including a project tin to keep it all in! We hope that this low price point will allow the kit to appeal to both families and education.

If it is successful, there will be more kits, the first of which is likely to use sensors to detect temperature, light levels and movement.

We hope that the CamJam EduKits will be used to further the Raspberry Pi Foundation's educational aims and to get kids started not only with electronics but with Python programming as well.

Profits from the kits are going to be donated to the Cambridge Raspberry Jam, so we can continue to develop our educational programme.

You can buy the EduKit from The Pi Hut via the CamJam site, and you’ll find the accompanying educational material on the same page. All the material is free to download, so if you want to take a look at it beforehand, go right ahead!

Michael Horne (@recantha), Tim Richardson (@geeky_tim)
& Jamie Mann (@ThePiHut)

Kobo Aura on Sale for $109, Kobo Arc HD Tablets up to $100 off

Kobo is currently running some summer reading promotions. The Kobo Aura is marked down by $30, and the Arc HD tablets are on sale too. Plus Kobo is giving away some free ebooks and magazines with each device purchased. The discounted Kobo Aura and Kobo tablets are available online at and from participating retailers […]

MyPublishingAssistant Lets Authors Streamline Blog-to-Book, eBooks

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

There are a wide variety of tools available on the market that put more power in authors’ hands, letting them do everything from market their work to create new formats for their content. Unfortunately, there are an even wider variety of products that don’t do much at all.

One of the tools that does stand to support indie authors’ by making their ebook development process even easier is a WordPress plug-in called MyPublishingAssistant. These feature streamlines the process of the increasingly popular blog-to-book, which lets authors take their already publishing WordPress content and assemble it into a publishable print or ebook title. Developer Alex Anders spoke to Good e-Reader about this tool and its features.

“I’m a big believer in maximizing every possible sale. As authors, we know that the person who is most likely to buy your newest book is someone who has purchased your older books. They’re return customers. If you can find readers to purchase your back catalog, you’ll sell more books. This software has a page devoted to your previous titles and you can create direct links to where you sell your different ebooks and your paperbacks.”

The plug-in, which is not strictly applicable to blog-based books but is compatible, lets authors enter all of their information once, such as name, backmatter, and more, then apply it to any future titles through an easy to use drag-and-drop process. One added feature of this plug-in is the ability to store a previous version and simply add to or swap out the content, which is especially helpful for authors with more than one title on the market. As it is always a good idea to advertise previous books in a new title, this makes it easy to store reviews, mentions, awards, excerpts, and more.

“You can design exactly what you want your layout to be, but then six months down the road you can change it easily. Or you can use it to create different versions of your book, such as to meet the requirements for Smashwords. You can use the exact same file in your Kindle layout, and then in your Smashwords layout, then choose to put it out in doc, PDF, MOBI, ePUB, or HTML.”

The plug-in and a number of tutorial videos can be found on the website, but this feature is currently only available for self-hosted WordPress sites that accept plug-ins through

“It’s just made the entire process exceptionally easy. Before, you had to go to your Word document and copy and paste the contents into your template. I found a coder and I was just initially going to do this for myself, but then I spoke to another author and was telling her about it, and she suggested this could improve the process.”

MyPublishingAssistant Lets Authors Streamline Blog-to-Book, eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

New and popular content for schools

Happy July, everyone!

While school may be out for some of you, it is still important to add content to your digital collections to keep your students engaged and reading. We have created lists for the newest and most popular content that was added this past month that your students and users are sure to enjoy.

Check out these new and exciting titles and hopefully you'll find some that you’d like to add to your OverDrive collection. When you click the link below, it will show up as a Marketplace search result and you'll be able to easily add them to a cart.

 New Juvenile

New Young Adult

New Adult – High School Appropriate


If you would like more suggestions, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create recommended lists. Email for more information today!

*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.


Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Library Consortium’s Get the Shaft with Simon & Schuster eBooks


Simon & Schuster has rolled out their nationwide eBook strategy for libraries. In order to offer the digital titles to patrons librarians have to offer the ability for their patrons to buy the title. What about consortia? New information has just been revealed that libraries that belong to a consortium will have the hardest time offering the S&S titles.

There are many consortium libraries all over the United States. Some of the larger ones have close to 600 different libraries spread all over a State. They often pool their financial resources and a few collection managers will buy titles and distribute them to all of their members. What libraries don’t know right now is that the entire consortium would have to opt into selling Simon & Schuster eBooks.

This makes collection managers job very difficult, because they have to approach every single library in their network and see if they would be willing to sell books. They basically have to sell the idea that for every title they sell they get fifty cents commission.

K12 librarian Alison Hewett summed up the dire situation by proclaiming “It is hard to believe that publishers think that offering an ebook to a library for only one year softens the blow of having to be a store for them as well. To me it presents an ethical dilemma. Are book talks literary sales pitches now?

Alison is referring to the fact that libraries consortiums can purchase frontlist and backlist titles from Simon & Schuster. These books have a one copy, one loan policy in place but are only valid for one year. After the year is over, librarians have to purchase the title once again.

Libraries that belong to a consortium will undoubtedly be getting sales pitches from the main collection managers that are responsible for furnishing their locations with eBook content. It does not matter if you deal with Overdrive, 3M, BiblioCommons, and Baker & Taylor, you will have to become a retail store to buy S&S titles.

Library Consortium’s Get the Shaft with Simon & Schuster eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader