Indie bookstores normally are swamped during the holiday season, as people ravenously buy everything in sight. Giving the gift of a good book can actually be a life changing event and HarperCollins has announced a new Holiday Express Shipping beginning November 3, 2014 and running through January 16, 2015. All qualifying orders from participating stores received by 1:00pm (EST) will ship out the next business day or two.
"We are pleased to provide this service to the Indie channel in the busiest time of year in order to help them have HarperCollins titles in stock and meet the demands of their customers," said Brian Grogan, senior vice president of sales for HarperCollins Publishers.
"We are equally thrilled to be able to offer this additional level of service to independent Christian retail," said Tom Knight, senior vice president of sales for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. "It is our hope that this program will encourage independent retailers during the critical holiday selling season."
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Chromecast is enjoying increasing support from app developers, which is good news for those of us with Android devices and the desire to make them interact with our televisions. Thanks to recent updates, this capability has been added to: Twitch.tv, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, iHeartRadio, and DramaFever.
What will you enjoy with these apps? With the three channels provided by Disney (free, if you have a cable provider subscription that includes this content), you will see kid-friendly shows broken down into roughly sorted age groups. Music lovers will be excited to try out iHeartRadio, well known as a free and well-populated audio service. Twitch.tv lets the gamers in your life enjoy videos of their favourite titles being played live, while DramaFever is all about International content (in Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Spanish, among others).
Every one of these additions has to make Apple a little nervous –especially when the Chromecast device comes in at under half the purchase cost of the Apple TV.
If you are fans of the music by Avenged Sevenfold, and you really like the horror genre, news that the band is about to release a new action-RPG game for your iOS and Android devices will be very exciting. In Hail to the King: Deathbat you are invited to fight your way through Nightmare and Bat Country, parts of an animated web series already developed and released.
Describing their project, Avenged Sevenfold stated:
The game will feature 8 new theme songs from the band that you can listen to while collecting swords, magic, and powers. Little else is known about the game just yet, other than news that those gamers who love to collect achievements will be richly rewarded.
Hail to the King: Deathbat is due to be released for Android and iOS devices on October 16, 2014, so there isn’t much more time to wait!
There are plenty of action hero games available in the mobile world, but few that capture the true essence of their comic book beginnings. In Spider-Man Unlimited, Gameloft has found a way to marry an action-packed arcade adventure game with the hand-drawn charm of a classic Marvel comic.
The aim of the game is to defeat the Sinister Six. They have opened a dimensional portal in New York (in an effort to bring forth endless versions of themselves). Grouped by issues, the first two are ready to go –with each one featuring 5 boss battles and 25 missions. For those among you who are competitive, daily and weekly events offer rewards while in Event Mode. In Unlimited Mode you can fight your way to the top of the leaderboards.
Gameplay is easy to learn but difficult to master; when you are getting used to a new endless runner, you have to think fast and let the controls become second nature. The best part of the game might just be the storyline and the character voices (giving way to their personalities). A tutorial will get you started on your way, but before long you are on your own.
The graphics are colourful and fun, the text is very easy to read on the screen, and the animations are just detailed enough to make the game enjoyable without seeming over the top (or making you wait for them to load or play through). I am especially fond of the little things, like being able to see that Spidey is breathing by the movements in his chest (making him seem that little bit more realistic).
Feel like making the world a safer place? Download Spider-Man Unlimited for Android and try your hand at playing the hero. The app is free, but be warned –there are opportunities to purchase virtual items.
|Amazon has recently started offering Amazon Prime customers that choose the “No Rush Shipping” option during checkout a $1 credit that can be applied toward the purchase of a print book or Kindle ebook. Previously the $1 credit offer for choosing slower shipping could be used for Amazon Instant Videos. But now both Kindle ebooks […]|
Television and Radio programs often have to rely on sponsors and public donations to keep everything running smoothly. Bookshout is pioneering a new eBook program that can be used to give literary rewards to donors and philanthropists.
How exactly does this new program work? Jason Ilian the CEO of Bookshout spelled it out out. ” Existing radio and television stations that do fundraising campaigns are normally in touch with Forest Incentive. Forest has integrated the Bookshout API, so free eBooks can be given out with the campaign. The station will work with Forest to choose which book(s) they want and a special link is set out to the receipt via phone or email. The link will take them to a branded one-time redemption page where all they have to do is enter a username and password. Then the donor will be reading the ebook on BookShout. They can use the iOS, Android, or web app at any time for their ebooks.”
Publishing giants such as HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Open Road Integrated Media, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, Workman Publishing, and numerous others have committed to participating in the program. "HarperCollins is honored to provide our great content to all public broadcasters via the BookShout!/Forest partnership," said Chantal
Bookshout Rolls Out New eBook Program for Radio and TV is a post from: Good e-Reader
|A reader recently pointed out that an official sleepcover is now available for the Onyx Boox T68 on Amazon for $20. The cover is designed for the Boox T68, specifically the Lynx model (although it would work with the regular T68 too). As the picture below shows, the cover has tabs along each corner to […]|
The European Court of Justice has just concluded that EU member states are free to charge differing rates of VAT on eBooks and paper books. This will allow all countries in Europe to basically change their VAT on all books and not break 'fiscal neutrality', an EU concept whereby markets for the same goods are distorted by varying tax rates.
There have been major disagreements between member states and the European Commission on this subject over the past three years. Luxembourg dropped eBooks from the standard 15% VAT rate to 3% in 2012. France then followed suite with a drop from the then standard French VAT 19.5% to 5.5%.
Most countries in Europe have different VAT prices on digital content and were remiss to change their policies because they did not want to get smote by the European Court of Justice. With their new ruling, member states are now totally free to change the taxes on eBooks, without worry.
The 3% VAT based in Luxembourg was very advantageous to Amazon, Apple, Google and Kobo as an entry point to Europe. By basing their operations there, they could sell books in most European countries at a reduced VAT rate. This really helped them penetrate the lucrative UK market, where the established VAT rate is 20% on digital content.
Publishers, bookstores and small presses have been lobbying the UK government for change. They found that being based in the United Kingdom was inherently disadvantageous, because they had to charge 20% VAT, while Amazon could get away with 3%. This has prompted the EU to change their legislation in early 2015. Ebook companies will have to charge VAT at the rate where the customer is who buys the e-book, rather than at the rate where the servers of the e-book business are based.
|Software updates are usually a good thing. They usually add new features and fix bugs and issues. But the biggest problems with software updates is they can sometimes cause problems and make features not work properly. That seems to be the case with the Kindle Paperwhite 2. A lot of users are reporting problems with […]|
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This update features the long-awaited elimination of the Adobe Authorization step from the app installation process – one of your most frequently requested enhancements. We expect this change will significantly reduce library support questions and provide excellent benefits to users like syncing reading progress across multiple devices and saving libraries and common searches.
First-time users will now be prompted to create an OverDrive account. There is no change for existing users who already have an Adobe ID or OverDrive account associated with their OverDrive app, even after they update to the newest version.
Users under the age of 13 can anonymously authorize the OverDrive app without creating an OverDrive account.
OverDrive v3.2 also includes the following updates:
OverDrive Help articles and videos have been updated to reflect the updates in OverDrive 3.2.
We hope you enjoy the new experience. if you have any questions, please contact OverDrive Support via the Support tab in OverDrive Marketplace.
Grounds for innovation
Here at MailChimp, we’re always trying to listen hard and change fast. Turns out, this requires a good bit of coffee. Each department has its own take on how to keep the stuff flowing, mostly with the standard Bunn-O-Matic commercial machines. A few folks regularly avail themselves of our espresso setup. The developers fill two airpots—one with regular, the other double strength.
And then there’s the marketing team and our precious Chemex.
We make a pour-over pot once every hour or so, all day long, 5 days a week, 50-something weeks a year. Last December, when we were gathering data for our annual report, we got curious about how many Fresh Pots that might amount to. We tried to count it up, but begrudgingly had to accept the fact we didn’t have a good measure beyond pounds consumed. We even tried to keep track with a bean counter, but that didn’t last long.
For a while, the exact nature of our coffee consumption seemed like it would remain just another mystery of the universe. But then one day, talking to Mark while waiting on yet another Fresh Pot, I said, “Hey, I bet we could track the temperature with a Raspberry Pi and post to the group chat when there’s a fresh one.”
I wasn’t too serious, but Mark’s response was one often heard around MailChimp when ridiculous projects are proposed: “Sounds great, just let me know what you need to get it done.”
A few days later, I had a materials list drawn up from Adafruit’s thermometer tutorial, and we were off to the races.
A fresh Pi
With a Raspberry Pi in hand, the first thing I did was add a script to the boot process that sent an email using Mandrill with its IP so I could find it on our network without trouble.
Then, I had to tackle the problem of detecting pot states with only a single datapoint: current temperature. I hoped that comparing the running averages of different time spans would be enough to determine the pot’s status. (The average Chemex temperature over the course of a few minutes, for instance, would tell us something different than the average temperate over the course of an hour.)
Since this was a greenfield project, I wanted to work with an unfamiliar language. I felt like the more functional nature of Clojure would be a great fit for passing along a single piece of state. This turned out to be a great decision, and I’ll explain why in a minute.
Graph it home
I hacked together a quick program that would spit out the current temperature, minute’s running average, hour’s running average, and the running average’s rate of change to a log file so I could analyze them.
Log files in hand, I temporarily turned back to Ruby using the wonderful Gruff charting library to visualize things and make patterns easier to spot.
A few batches of hot water gave me a decent idea what things should look like, so I moved our coffee equipment to my desk to get some live data. This let me check in with the actual running state of the program and compare it with the status of the pot (and led to some coworker laughs and a wonderful smell at my workspace all day).
A brewing or fresh pot is easy to recognize, but figuring out when the pot is empty turned out to be a little tricky. It takes a while for the Chemex to completely cool off, which means it could be empty and still warm, which I’m sure would lead to more than a few disappointing trips to the kitchen. Luckily, the rate a pot cools tells us if it is empty or not—for instance, a half-full pot stays warm longer than an empty one simply because of the coffee still in it. Always nice to have physics on your side.
Watchers for the win
Armed with the collection of datapoints (running averages, rate of change, etc.) for each of the pot’s states, I moved on to figuring out how to notify our department’s group chat room when a pot was brewing, ready, empty, or stale. This is where some of the built-in features of Clojure came in handy.
I already had a program that logged the current state of itself every second. By switching the actual state to an agent, I could apply watchers to it. These watchers get called whenever the agent changes, which is perfect for analyzing changes in state.
Another agent added was the pot itself. The watcher for the temperature would look for the above mentioned boundaries, and update the pot’s state, leaving another watcher to track the pot and notify our chat room. When it came time to pick an alias to deliver the notifications, Dave Grohl was the natural choice.
Here’s a simple example of the pot watcher looking for a brewing pot:
The great thing is the watcher only gets called when the status changes, not on each tick of the temperature. Using agents felt great to me in this case as they provided a clean way to watch state (without callbacks or a ton of boilerplate) and maintain separation of concern between different parts of the program.
Freshness into the future
I’m still working out a few kinks, tuning in the bounds, and keeping a log of pots. It’s been a fun experience and I learned a ton. Something tells me this won’t be the last time we work with Raspberry Pi on a project. What’s next, Fresh Pots in space? Luckily, we’ve got plenty of coffee to propel us.
Ben: Thanks to Steven and MailChimp for permission to use the post – we’re very pleased to see the Pi used as the tool of choice of coffee-hungry developers around the world! Coffee is important to us here at Pi Towers…