Friday, September 19, 2014

Everything You want to Know about the Kindle Voyage


Many companies involved in the e-reader sector are paying attention to what Amazon has created with the new Kindle Voyage. This new device has a number of innovative hardware features such as Page Press and the front-lite controlled by an ambient light sensor. Amazon has also developed exciting new software that even allows you share content with family members. Has Amazon set the bar so high now that no one else can compete?

The Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080. It has 300 PPI, which is the highest we have ever seen for an e-reader. The upcoming Kobo H20 has a 6.8 inch screen with the same resolution but a lower 265ppi. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight is the most affordable one, but only has a resolution of 1024 x 758 and 212 PPI.

Lets face it, people are used to interacting with touhscreen smartphones and tablets on a daily basis. All prior Kindle models had a sunken screen and employed infrared touch. The Voyage has the screen completely flush with the bezel, which is the same sort of tech that the Kobo Aura and Tolino Shine used. A capacitive touchscreen allows for better interaction and better pinch and zoom capabilities.

Instead of physical page turn buttons, the new Kindle Voyage has a feature called PagePress. This is a custom-designed force sensor made of carbon and silver, which reacts to a subtle increase of pressure, triggers a page-turn, and provides a haptic response only your thumb can perceive. Because PagePress has no moving parts, the haptics provide you with the most minimal indication that you have pressed the button, to reduce distraction from reading.

The Kindle Paperwhite 2 had one of the best illuminated screens in the world. Unlike tablets and smartphones that have light emitting from behind the screen, most e-readers have five small LED lights on the bottom of the bezel that project light evenly access the screen. Many companies got this technology wrong, by having splotches all over the screen, or by a pale blue hue, as seen on the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display's brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness."

According to The Verge “The ambient setting is actually smarter than you’d expect. If it detects you’re reading in the dark — say, in bed — it will slowly lower the brightness. The idea is that your eyes naturally adjust to darkness over time, so what seems bright enough at first will be too bright once your pupils dilate. It’s a thoughtful, clever feature, and Amazon also says that you can fine tune the behavior if you don’t like the default.”

Sure, the hardware is really good on the new Voyage, but what improvements has Amazon made on software front? Likely the most important one is the Kindle Family Library, which allows users connect their Amazon accounts to share content with family members. The new feature "links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content," according to the company. What is even better about the sharing program is that Amazon says it will work across Amazon devices and Amazon's third-party apps for platforms including iOS and Android. It can link the accounts of two adults, who can, in turn, manage up to four child accounts.

Amazon has also improved their internal searching feature to work smoother when browsing the Kindle Store to discover new books. It previews results based on your past purchases and GoodReads. In addition Amazon has added a small timer on the books you are reading. Based on your reading habits it will let you know how long it will take you to complete the chapter or the book itself. Take THAT traditional page numbers! I really like the About the Book function, which tells you all about the author and if the eBook apart of an established series.

Amazon has many advantages over their competitors. Apple sees the iBooks business as an afterthought. During their entire iPhone event they never mentioned their bookstore once. Barnes and Noble is floundering, continuing to lose money and is still piggy backing technology from late last year. Kobo is going to release their H20 e-reader very soon and is likely going to generate strong revenue. Many of the smaller companies such as Onyx, Ectaco, Tolino, Bookeen and Pocketbook are very hard to come by. They are mainly sold by small websites in Poland, France or Russia. Shipping alone to the US or UK is enough to frighten off any prospective buyers.

When you buy the Voyage e-reader you are going to have access to over 600,000 titles, by legitimate bestselling authors and indie ones. It has arguably the best eBook social networking site, in the form of GoodReads firmly integrated into the entire eBook discovery experience. I think one of the big strengths of Amazon, that no one really talks about is their user review system. Whenever someone leaves a written review, its automatically populated in their e-readers, tablets, apps or websites. Companies like Kobo fetch their reviews from 3rd parties, and even their Android app is comprised of reviews left just on that specific platform.

Everything You want to Know about the Kindle Voyage is a post from: Good e-Reader

NEW! Engage your readers with curated collections

Did you know that you can now curate your own themed collections of digital titles and publish them right to your public-facing website?

This is an exciting new way to tap into your curatorial expertise, showcase your digital offerings, and engage with readers who appreciate hand-picked recommendations. Libraries and schools have already started putting together wonderful curated collections using this new feature, like:

CuratedCollectionsTo start curating collections, log into OverDrive Marketplace and select Switch to Curate from the SHOP drop-down menu (if you don't see the Switch to Curate option, talk to your Marketplace administrator about getting you "Library site admin" permission).

Once you've switched to curate in Marketplace, you'll be able to build collections of titles that you own and then publish them immediately to select locations on your public-facing website. If your public-facing site offers multiple languages, you'll be able to enter a translated name and description for each collection so that you can publish curated collections in every language you offer.

You can find illustrated, step-by-step instructions for creating, editing, publishing, and removing curated collections in the "CURATE" section of the Marketplace User Guide (located in Marketplace under the SUPPORT tab).

We can't wait to see what you create!

Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.

Does Amazon Prime have 50 Million Members?


Amazon is one of those companies that never divulges specific dollar amounts or how many eBooks they have sold. During the holiday season last year they strayed from the normal PR blackouts and proclaimed that tens of millions of members were members of Prime. This got annalists salivating, and we now have potential figures that give us an accurate portrayal of Amazon Primes worldwide numbers.

RBC Capital conducted a research note yesterday and Mark Mahaney said RBC is now estimating that 30 million and 40 million in the U.S. and 40 million to 50 million globally are members of Amazon Prime. Most of this data comes from a new survey that RBC conducted from 4,000 Amazon customers  and found that 37% were current Prime members.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners  The Amazon Prime has become a significant drivers of Amazon sales, even in light of the recent Amazon Prime price increase from $79 to $99.  That means by 2016, the $20 price bump could generate incremental revenue of as much as $1.7 billion. “Prime members spend twice as much, as the rest of Amazon's customers," said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin.

Does Amazon Prime have 50 Million Members? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Comparison Table Updated

This is a quick note to mention that I’ve updated the Kindle Comparison Table with all the new Kindle models currently being offered. The table lists all the older Kindle models for reference too. There are so many different Kindle models available that’s hard to keep track of them all. The chart helps keep things […]

How to Download Nook eBooks Now That B&N has Removed the Option

It looks like B&N is intent on ticking off what little Nook customers they have left. Lots of reports are coming out online, and in Barnes and Noble’s own Nook support forum, about how B&N has removed the option to download Nook ebooks to a computer for backup from their website. Many people are reacting […]

World Maker Faire and PyConUK

It's been quiet around Pi Towers lately. Quiet and disquieting, rather like standing in your nan's best front room when you were a kid and really needing a wee but were too afraid to break the silence. But we have good and exciting reasons for our quietude: we've all been busy preparing for two of our biggest events of the year. This weekend the education team is spreading it's feelers of learning goodness around the world, from the Midlands to East Coast America.

Carrie Anne, Dave and Ben are at PyConUK while Rachel and I, along with James (our Director of Hardware), were beaten with a sock full of oranges until we sobbingly agreed to go to World Maker Faire New York.

The Maker Faire contingent will be joining our friends on the Pimoroni stand, demoing all sorts of goodies both new and old; selling shiny swag; giving out freebies; and talking and talking until we cough our larynxes into our fifteenth cup of Joe (as my American-English dictionary tells me I should call coffee if I want to be street).


Our director of hardware engineering James Adams will be there – he’s giving a talk on What’s next at Raspberry Pi? on [Saturday at 2.30pm according to this / Sunday 2pm according to this] in the NYSCI Auditorium – and Rachel and I will be speaking about digital creativity (details TBA). If you are at Maker Faire do come and visit us. At Maker Faire Bay Area earlier this year it was great to see so many educators and I hope to speak to at least as many in New York. But whatever your interests in Raspberry Pi – from digital creativity to hardware to making stuff (of course!) – we would love to see you.

2014-09-19 10.31.31

New swag bags! Grab ‘em while they’re hot

Meanwhile Carrie Anne, Dave, Alex and Ben are in Coventry for PyConUK – the UK’s annual Python conference. They’re running Python workshops on Pis, giving talks about Raspberry Pi in education and chatting to teachers, educators and developers in the Python community.



Raspberry Pi team hard at work