Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Navigation and Syncing Updated in Kindle for iOS


Kindle is already one of the most frequently used digital reading apps available for iOS, boasting access to over 1,000,000 books in the Kindle store in addition to hundreds of newspapers and magazines. While the existing interface was clean and easy to use, Amazon has implemented a number of updates in version 4.4 that promise to make sync and navigation easier.

One of the handiest new features is the ability to sync to the most recent page read. This means that all of your devices (whether they are iOS, Android or any device using the reading app and registered to your Amazon account) will agree on the last page you actually read (instead of just the furthest page). This is incredibly convenient when you read books like I do –needing to jump backward to remind yourself of past happenings in the volume and then continue from where you were.

Placeholders are also new, allowing you to flip around and explore new areas of your book without changing your current bookmark.

Finally, notes export is a fantastic tool for students and researchers alike. As you are reading, highlighting, and making notes, you can then email these items to yourself. Features like this are critical if electronic books are ever going to fully replace paper textbooks in classrooms.

If you are using an iPad or iPhone, you can download Kindle for your iOS device for free from the Apple App Store. If you are using an Android device, you can download Amazon Kindle (though you won’t see these latest updates in this version just yet).

Navigation and Syncing Updated in Kindle for iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Walking Dead Season 3 Coming to Android


Telltale Games has announced that Season 3 of their successful Walking Dead series of games is headed our way. Less fortunate news is that there are no details being released (fellow fans of the franchise will be dying to find out of our beloved Clementine will once again be taking the lead role in this game as she did in the season 2).

The great thing about these Telltale Games titles is the sophistication in the gameplay. Your strategy is cumulative, meaning decisions you make in earlier episodes will carry through as you move forward. For those of us who are easily drawn in to complex storylines (while also sporting a love of zombies), addiction is nearly guaranteed.

We may not see this third installment in the Walking Dead series until 2015, but if you would like to be prepared, download The Walking Dead: Season One for Android and The Walking Dead: Season Two for free now.

Walking Dead Season 3 Coming to Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon says $9.99 eBooks Make More Money


Amazon has penned an open letter on their website which spells out their mentality in approaching the ongoing Hachette eBook dispute.  They primarily contend that selling eBooks at the $9.9 price point sells more copies and garners more money than titles that retail for $14.99.

In a written statement Amazon said “A key objective is lower e-book prices. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market — e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can be and should be less expensive.

It's also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that at the lower price, total revenue increases 16%.

Amazon also made the keypoint of exactly how royalties are pointed to be shared between Hachette and the Seattle based company. “While we believe 35% should go to the author and 35% to Hachette, the way this would actually work is that we would send 70% of the total revenue to Hachette, and they would decide how much to share with the author. We believe Hachette is sharing too small a portion with the author today, but ultimately that is not our call.”

In closing Amazon said “Is it Amazon’s position that all e-books should be $9.99 or less? No, we accept that there will be legitimate reasons for a small number of specialized titles to be above $9.99.”

Amazon says $9.99 eBooks Make More Money is a post from: Good e-Reader

BookPal Starts Wholesale eBook Business


BookPal has just launched a brand new wholesale eBook operation, that will allow schools, government and businesses to buy titles  in bulk.

When you purchase eBooks from BookPal the only way to read them  is via the  BookPal app. It is a fairly robust with the ability to make highlights, annotations, look up a definition and share excerpts with Facebook or Twitter. In order to customize the overall e-reading experience users can adjust the font size, brightness, margins or initiate night mode. You can download the apps for free for  iOS and Android.

The overall catalog books is fairly small with the launch, and currently there are only one thousand titles. They come from publishers such as  Perseus Books Group, Harvard Business School Press, Gallup Press, Workman Publishing, Storey and Open Road Media.

BookPal Starts Wholesale eBook Business is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Partners with Warner Bros for Digital First Imprint


Amazon has announced a new partnership with Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. The two sides will publish digitally at first, gauging the market to see if a print run is warranted.

The new imprint, which will also use the Alloy Entertainment name, will publish young adult, new adult and commercial fiction titles. Three titles were released for the Kindle today, as part of the partnership; Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand, Every Ugly Word by Aimee Salter, and Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart.

Warner Bros is hoping to leverage films, television and media properties it owns to develop original works for the Kindle. Leslie Morgenstein, president of Alloy Entertainment, said: "One of our strengths is working with talented authors to create and develop properties that have mass entertainment appeal. This program is an exciting extension of our business and will allow us to leverage Amazon's ability to distribute to an incredibly diverse and broad readership."

"Alloy has a tremendous track record developing stories, like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, that our customers love," said Jeff Belle, Vice President of Amazon Publishing. "We're thrilled to promote these books from Alloy Entertainment with our Powered by Amazon program. It's a great fit."

Warner Bros and Amazon have been working together for quite awhile with the Alloy properties. Kindle Worlds, the officially sanctioned fan fiction publishing initiative has been using Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip girls as properties for aspiring writings to craft original stories, set in that particular universe. The solidification of Alloy and Amazon might see some of these authors get proper publishing contracts, but likely we will just see movie and television show tie-ins.

Amazon Partners with Warner Bros for Digital First Imprint is a post from: Good e-Reader

Scholastic Storia Closing – What Parents and Schools Need to Know


Scholastic has announced in a very covert manner that they are closing the Storia eBook store, as we know it, and transitioning it into STORIA SCHOOL EDITION and Family Streaming Edition. Instead of selling eBooks directly, they intend on adopting the uber popular Netflix for eBooks ideology. What happens to the hundreds of thousands of books already purchased? How does this new subscription system actually work and is it a viable business model?

Storia was Scholastics catch all system for purchasing eBooks on an individual basis. Parents, schools and kids would use the reading app for iOS, Android and the Kindle Fire to purchase books on-demand. In order to preserve your existing content, you have to open the titles by October 2014 or they will be unable to be read them.

You can think of Storia eBooks as dedicated apps, similar to how digital magazines work on the Apple newsstand. If these apps require an update between now and August 2015, they will likely break the book. This is the primarily reason why Scholastic has stealthy offered a refund policy for any books purchased via the Storia platform. They aren’t really doing a good job making this publicly known, as there is a simple one paragraph blurb on their main website about it.

Scholastic confirmed with Good e-Reader that “Our customer service lines are fielding calls, facilitating refunds and assisting schools in transitioning from individual books purchased by teachers to streaming for an entire school. The advantage is easier access and that each ebooks is accessible by more than one child at a time (rather than buying multiple copies) which is a huge plus for the classroom; teachers are also learning about the new student progress tracking features and they like them.”

Scholastic Storia for Education was first announced in April 2014 and will be formally launched at the beginning of September. It is a system that has 2,000 eBooks and will be delivered in a subscription format. The exact rate that schools pay are dependant upon the size of the student body and how much content they intend on downloading. I have heard that the average rate is between $1,500 and $2,000 per year. This system might be beneficial for schools as they can deliver multiple copies of the same book, without having to buy 30 individual copies.

It will likely be awhile before parents and children themselves can opt into the new subscription system. Scholastic has confirmed with Good e-Reader that they are developing a Family Streaming service that is currently in the Research and Development stage. Therefore the sales structure has not been announced as single title or subscription or both. There has been no ETA given for the official launch, but likely we will not hear about until next year. The main priority is to get the new Education system up and running.

Basically, what Scholastic is doing is shuttering selling eBooks directly to schools, parents and kids. Instead, they are adopting a more financially lucrative subscription based system, which alienates families. Why have a parent buy a few titles a year, when you can have steady income generated from hundreds of schools in the US all paying a few thousand dollars a year.

My biggest concern with Storia technology being integrated into Storia for Education is awareness. Parents and Kids may casually use the app on their tablet or phone to buy and read books. They certainly don’t look at the official Storia website or read publishing geared websites like Good e-Reader. What happens when a new 39 Clues book is announced and little Jimmy is a huge fan of the series. They open the Storia app to try and buy it, only to realize all singular title purchases have been suspended and some of their past purchases don’t even work anymore.. Parents will likely be wondering why some titles work and some don’t and blame their device. In the end, they might decide that Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo might be the more viable method to purchase future titles. After all, they don’t change their entire eBook selling paradigm at the drop of a hat.

Scholastic Storia Closing – What Parents and Schools Need to Know is a post from: Good e-Reader

Shop Til You Drop Magazine to Focus on Digital


Australian based fashion magazine Shop Til You Drop intends to focus on digital, while still publishing four tangible issues a year. The new online edition will be available every two weeks and focus on emerging fashion trends.

Shop Til You Drop was founded in 2004 and is the modern girl's fashion and beauty bible. It aims to make shopping easier and more accessible for time-challenged women. With a focus on shopping smart, it covers the entire market of fashion, beauty and homewares, providing the reader with the ultimate edit of what she needs this minute – mixing high-end fashion with chain-store must-haves; luxury beauty buys with pharmacy products.

Most of the writing and editorial staff of the magazine will be let go, due to sagging readership base. Instead, they will deal mainly with freelancers to write stories and contribute fashion ideas.

Shop Til You Drop falls under the ACP Magazines banner and it was purchased in 2012 by the German media conglomerate Bauer Media. We are now seeing the entire ACP portfolio undergo drastic changes to remain profitable. Grazia and Madison have shuttered their doors and Elle Australia has launched to take their place.

Shop Til You Drop Magazine to Focus on Digital is a post from: Good e-Reader

Studies Still Show Print Edging Out Digital for Reading Preference

A new survey of readers in New Zealand, as reported by Stuff.co.nz, demonstrates that readers still prefer print over digital or audiobooks when it comes to self-selected texts. Despite the growing ebook market and an increase in digital readership in a few key age demographics, print wins out for most and for all the usual reasons.

According to the article on the findings, “Those most in favour of e-books were predictably under 30 year olds who only preferred the printed book by a 28 per cent to 27 per cent margin.

“Those aged 45 to 49 were the most hostile age cohort for e-books with 42 per cent preferring the printed version and 18 per cent an e-reader.

“Consistent with the BBQ debates the major factor cited by those who preferred reading printed books was that they enjoyed the feel and smell. A secondary factor coming through was that there was less strain on the eyes. Lower level factors cited by printed book advocates were they didn't run out of power, it was easier to skip back and forward, habit and print books filled bookshelves.”

It may seem unrelated to some industry watchers, but the fact that consumers still prefer and buy more print than digital actually speaks to the increased validity of data about how self-published authors are faring in the market. Given that indie authors as a group generally sell more of their ebooks than their print titles, and given that consumers purchase more print than digital, it would show that the greater piece of the publishing pie that indies now earn is on even greater sales. They sell fewer books and at cheaper prices, yet still earn more income than traditionally published authors.

This data is no more prevalent than in the Author Earnings reports, who recent study of Barnes and Noble data showed that self-published authors are earning even higher amounts of income than traditionally published authors.

Studies Still Show Print Edging Out Digital for Reading Preference is a post from: Good e-Reader

OverDrive Challenge success stories: Part 1

Last week, we announced the winners of the first ever OverDrive Challenge. The Challenge represented something new for us – if we set specific goals for every public library partner, would they rise to the occasion and try to meet those goals? The answer was a resounding yes! An outpouring of interest flooded in from more libraries than we have ever had participate in an OverDrive contest in the past.

Not only did we want to see our libraries boost circulation, we wanted to see how they would do it. Every library is different and we knew there wasn't a one size fits all solution. We asked our successful libraries to share what they did to hit their highest circulating month ever and thought we'd share a sampling of some of the diverse responses we received. Maybe you can find a new strategy to use at your own library!

Get every staff member involved

"The campaign demonstrated what a difference staff awareness of (and confidence with) the collection makes to circulation figures. At the beginning of the campaign, all staff received an email with some key benefits of our OverDrive collection that they could use as talking points with customers. In addition, all staff who had not yet tried downloading OverDrive eBooks were encouraged to set themselves the aim of using the service themselves in June. The response to this was positive: as a result of browsing our collection and reading the eBooks they had selected, some staff have since followed up with suggested titles for our collection!" – Athina M, Monash Public Library Service

"The circulation staff really got involved in telling people about the challenge. For us, we didn't do anything particularly clever but used enthusiasm to encourage people to use eBooks and eAudio for the first time." – Marlene J, Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County

odchallenge1"We had a Nook class with an employee from Barnes & Noble. We used this opportunity to educate not only our patrons, but bring the whole staff up to speed. To keep track of our stats, we created a goal chart and as a reward for our entire staff working together to reach our goal, we had a staff ice cream party." – Barbara T, Shasta Public Libraries

“We held one-on-one 'eBook open houses' to help beginners. I also give infinite credit to our front desk staff, who faithfully mentioned the challenge to patrons as they checked out print books. During this time, we had a patron come in to learn about eBooks. She's a regular library supporter, and attends many of our author talks and other programs, although she says she hasn't been able to read a book in several years because her eyes have gotten bad. After hearing about eBooks due to the buzz about the challenge, she bought a tablet and came in for help setting up.  When I showed her how to select the text size she prefers, she smiled so brightly!  She's all ready to start enjoying her favorite authors again. eBooks are like a miracle for our large-print readers." – Heather D, Hancock County Library System

Reward your users

"We held a public contest and partnered with our local Best Buy. The highest downloading customers received a Kobo Arc tablet or a $20 Best Buy gift card!" – Lynn Y, Ajax Public Library

"We used our content credit prize to buy eBooks for a new patron driven sponsored collection: Patron Recommended Titles – June 2014 Challenge Reward." – Mark S, Beaver County Library System

"In addition to providing staff with talking points about our eBooks and promoting via email and social media, we ran a giveaway. We randomly picked winners for an eReader and shared the photos of the winners on our Facebook page." – Joyce K, Yukon Public Libraries

"Patrons had the chance to win gift cards if they borrowed an eBook during June, which helped boost interest. Near the end of the month, we were so close to surpassing our goal that we offered a new incentive – we promoted on social media that if we reached our goal, the male staff members would dye their facial hair blue. We called it the "Blue Beard Promise" and our patrons got behind us and gave us the push we needed. You can see our blue beards in action in our YouTube video." – Jason H, Bartholomew County Public Library


Check back tomorrow for more great ideas from our winning library partners!

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Our Excel Formulas Tutorial is Finally Here!

Need help creating formulas in Excel? Understand how they work with this interactive tutorial!

Comixology Now Offers DRM-free Comics for Backups

Last week at Comic-Con in San Diego Comixology announced that they will now offer DRM-free downloads of comics purchased from Comixology. This allows readers the option to save comics for backup outside of the Comixology app. Not all titles are available DRM-free; it’s up to individual publishers to decide if they want to offer a […]

Submit your application to the Raspberry Pi Education Fund

Got a great idea or project to teach kids about computing?

Need some help raising the finance to make it a reality ?

We have some good news: the Raspberry Pi Education Fund is finally open for applications. As a reminder, thanks to all the Raspberry Pis brought by the community of the past 2 years, we have been able to put together a £1 million education fund to help fulfil our charitable mission.

Applications are invited from organisations looking to fund projects that encourage young people to learn about computing or illustrate how computing can be used enhance education in STEM or the creative arts.  You can find more details on the eligibility criteria and submit you application here.


Coding Marathon at the Cambridge Centre of Computing History sponsored by Raspberry Pi Foundation

Go on, what are you waiting for? This is your chance to make a difference.

Amazon’s Latest Tool a Great Benefit to Indie Authors

There are reports that Amazon has a Square reader-like device in the works, one that will plug into a smartphone or tablet (presumably not only the Fire phone or Kindle Fire) and allow small business people to take advantage of the reliance on credit cards that many consumers have. Just like other devices by Square and PayPal, this device–whenever it launches, although some sources say it will be advertised by Staples beginning August 12th–will help stand-alone entities who cannot afford the ongoing fees or contracts associated with most POS credit card machines. More importantly, devices such as these allow for portability, such as for sales at outdoor events, moveable festivals, and spur of the moment sales.

Even before Amazon’s attempt at joining this market, these portable devices are a must for indie authors.

Typically, self-published authors take on all the “leg work” associated with their writing careers. That means not only finding their own professionals to assist with the actual creation of the book, but it means the marketing and promotion as well. Authors often find themselves looking for opportunities like speaking engagements, book signings, and more. Whereas a bestselling book tour set up by a major publisher will handle the sales of titles at each stop along the tour, a self-published author typically has to arrange the signing, set up the space at the venue, sell the books, and then sign. Portable card readers from trusted companies make sales far more likely in the increasingly cash-less society.

Also, a number of authors–who’ve been thwarted by bookstores and libraries when they call to request permission for a book signing–find themselves selling their work at events that are not strictly bibliocentric. Outdoor festivals, themed events, and city holidays come to mind. In these cases, there may not even be wifi to work from, let alone a cash register in place. A portable reader feeding into a cellphone can mean the difference between potential readers simply browsing, as opposed to buying.

Finally, just as the age-old “elevator pitch” wisdom meant being prepared to tell an agent or publisher about a manuscript on the off-chance the author bumped into one, the current wisdom for independent authors to be ready to sell a book at any time. The elevator pitch still applies, but it’s now shifted to talking one-on-one to a potential reader. But having a few copies of the authors’ books handy for these instances means giving away their work–which still isn’t a bad thing–but there’s only so long an author can afford to give away her print material. A portable card reader will let the author offer the book to a potential reader and take the reader up on his offer of payment.

But why Amazon’s? If the reader devices themselves are so useful, should it matter?

Obviously, that remains to be seen. Pricing will be the first factor; Square, Intuit, and PayPal readers are free when users sign up at the website, and cost about $10 or so when purchased through a store like Target or OfficeMax. Reports are that the Amazon reader will cost about the same. And with percentage fees as low as 2.4% (Intuit) and 2.8% (Square), it will interesting to see if Amazon’s ingrained drive to be a better value than everyone else results in a lower fee.

Moreover, with the constant threat of credit card fraud and identity theft, consumers may feel some measure of security by handing their cards to someone with the Amazon logo at the top of the card reader. On the flipside, there’s the potential for a customer to refuse on the grounds that they’re in the anti-Amazon camp.

However it works out, authors would do well to make sure they’re able to accept payments in some electronic way in order to maximize on their own hard work.

Amazon’s Latest Tool a Great Benefit to Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader