Monday, October 27, 2014

Amazon Introduces Fire TV Streaming Media Stick


It looks like Apple isn’t the only one bracing for the impact Chromecast will have on the way we watch TV, Amazon has released their Fire TV Stick as a viable contender. Built using powerful hardware (a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band, and dual-antenna Wi-Fi with MIMO), the Fire TV Stick boasts Amazon’s award-winning user interface accessible by the included remote control (or “you can use your phone as a remote with the free mobile app that includes voice search”).

Beyond just being easy to use (plug it in and you’re basically ready to stream in a matter of moments as it arrives pre-registered), the Amazon Fire TV Stick is content rich:

“[Giving you access to a] vast selection of the most popular video and music services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more for instant access to shows like Transparent, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, and The Wire—plus the largest selection of movies and TV episodes to rent or buy from Amazon Instant Video.”

Like the Chromecast, you can fling or mirror content directly from your smartphone or tablet to the Fire TV Stick as well.

If you are now curious enough to give the Fire TV Stick a try, it will be available for sale on November 19th and can be pre-ordered now for $39 USD. Lucky Amazon Prime members ordering before 6:00 a.m. (PT) on October 29, 2014 will receive a significant discount and only have to pay $19 USD. As an added benefit, eligible customers will also enjoy free trial periods with Neflix and Amazon Prime with their purchase of a Fire TV Stick.

Amazon Introduces Fire TV Streaming Media Stick is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Fire Phone Unboxing Video


The Amazon Fire Phone has not been selling very well, and recently the Seattle company said they had to write off close to $170 million in loses. Things have got so bad, that AT&T is throwing in a free Fire Tablet in a bid to lure people over. What is all the fuss about, is this a legit good phone? Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box. You can get a sense on the form factor and core features that makes this unique in the marketplace.

Amazon Fire Phone Unboxing Video is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Unboxing Video


Amazon has been focusing on making their entire lineup of tablets family friendly. In the last few years they have developed a system called Freetime, which automatically blocks access to the Silk Browser and Kindle content stores, disables location-based services, in-app purchases, or social features, and requires your parental controls password to enable or disable the feature. Amazon also unveiled Freetime Unlimited in 2012, which is a subscription based service that lets parents download thousands of movies, television shows, books and apps for a low monthly fee.

Amazon has packaged all of this into the brand new Fire HD Kids Edition, which spec wise, is exactly the same as the Kindle Fire HD6 and HD7. The main difference is the rubberized padding that spans the entire circumference of the tablet. This is an accessory that is shipped with the tablet and is not built right into it.

Today, we unbox a brand new entry into the Amazon product line, the Fire HD Kids Edition. We show you everything that comes in the box and power it on for the first time.

Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Unboxing Video is a post from: Good e-Reader

Monster Strike Arrives from Japan on Android


Fans of classic video game titles such as Street Fighter 2 and Final Flight will be excited to play the latest release from Yoshiki Okamoto: Monster Strike. The game is reminiscent of other monster collecting games, like Pokemon and Digimon, but with action and RPG elements added in. Originally released in Japan, Monster Strike is now available on Android (and iOS) across North America.

You begin by selecting your first monster teammate (I went with Blue Smydra –he didn’t have the highest attack or HP stats, but he was the fastest choice), then setting forth to pull back and sling him into your enemies in an effort to attack! There are a series of special moves that you can unleash as you defeat bosses and progress through the game, keeping you engaged and interested as you play. While it sounds simple, there is a lot of detail and complexity that will make you grateful there is a detailed tutorial mode that guides you through getting started.

The game also features a social media component that allows you to team up with friends in groups of 4!

If you are in the mood to play a game that gives you a true feeling of what classic pinball arcade games should be like with a touchscreen, modern, RPG-inspired twist, then give Monster Strike a try and download it for free now.

Monster Strike Arrives from Japan on Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 Unboxing


The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 edition is the Seattle companies flagship large screen tablet, meant to carry the battle to Apple, Samsung and Sony. This device has amazing resolution and has been slimmed down and enhanced with a new version of Android. It also has better hardware under the hood, compared to the HDX 8.9 2013 version. Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box and power it on the first time.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 Unboxing is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Unboxing


When Amazon first started making tablets they focused on seven and eight inch models and adhered to this size convention for the first few generations. This year, the Seattle based company broke the mold and developed a six inch tablet, called the HD6. Today, we take this out of the box and show you everything that comes inside. As an added bonus, we power it on for the first time so you can get a sense of new design changes and an updated version of Android.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 Unboxing is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Voyage Unboxing Video


The Amazon Kindle Voyage is one of the most cutting edge e-readers we have ever seen. The screen is completely flush with the bezel, has amazing screen clarity and haptic enabled page turn buttons. Today, we take this little puppy out of the box, show you everything that comes inside and power it on for the first time.

Amazon Kindle Voyage Unboxing Video is a post from: Good e-Reader

Say “Yes” to Yes Please

“Before we begin, I want to let you know that I’m broadcasting from my own personal audio booth that I built at the base of Mount Rushmore 15 years ago. And I built it before I had even written one word and here I am now, reading my book to you. What a country.” – Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Amy Poehler is well-known for her starring role as Leslie Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” her years on “Saturday Night Live” and films like “Baby Mama” (and well-known in my heart as my imaginary best friend). In addition to her accomplishments in comedy, TV and film, she has now added author to her resume with her first book, Yes Please, out today from HarperCollins and Harper Audio.

Part memoir, part words of wisdom, part essays – the book offers a variety of interesting and often hilarious stories from throughout Poehler’s life and career. For fans of Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Yes Please will be a must-read.

The digital audiobook is highly recommended, as it truly stands apart from the written text. As a performer, Amy Poehler is an engaging narrator and takes advantage of the audio format. In addition to the author, audiobook listeners will get to enjoy guest readers including Poehler’s former “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update co-anchor Seth Meyers, “Parks and Recreation” creator Mike Schur, Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents.

Another exciting feature of the audiobook is the element of live performance. The last chapter of the audiobook was recorded live on stage at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles. Check out the video below for a preview of Amy getting ready for that event and make sure to meet what is sure to be high demand from your patrons by visiting OverDrive Marketplace and adding Yes Please to your digital collection today!


*The audiobook format of this title is available to U.S. public and school libraries only. The eBook format of this title is available worldwide.

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive. Amy Poehler is her spirit animal.

Amazon Kindle Voyage Reading in the Dark Test

kindle voyage

The Amazon Kindle Voyage has just been released and is a refinement of two generations worth of Paperwhites. Today, we look at the illumination settings in a completely dark environment, chiefly to see if its completely viable to read when going to sleep.

The Voyage has two different settings when it comes to controlling the brightness of the front-lit display. One is called “Auto brightness” which basically uses the ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the levels, based on your environment. You can also tap on the icon, on the main navigation bar to manually set it yourself.

In this video, we check out the screen clarity in complete darkness and check out every single level of illumination.

Amazon Kindle Voyage Reading in the Dark Test is a post from: Good e-Reader

Stunted iPad Sales Not Due to Apple’s App Store


Following a swirl of Internet discussion that is trying desperately to suggest that the iPad is circling the drain (so to speak), Fast Company charted the growth of iOS and iPad apps between June 2010 and October 2014. The results of their research makes one thing clear: whether the iPad succeeds or not, the iOS app marketplace is growing steadily.

So why is it that iPad year-over-year sales have declined during the last three quarters? \Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests that existing users are upgrading more slowly, and other products (such as the iPhone and Mac) are cannibalizing the iPad. Those reasons certainly seem more likely than the reason being offered up by anecdotal bloggers telling us that nearly 675,000 tablet-optimized apps are disappointing to would-be iPad owners (not to mention the overwhelming evidence to the contrary showing that people using tablets are doing so in very limited ways: games, social media, surfing the web, and streaming media).

It is just as likely that the tablet market is becoming saturated, or that the larger 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus (nicknamed the phablet) is blurring the lines between smartphones and tablets enough that users don’t want both… regardless of the reason, news that the app marketplace is thriving is good news. Oh, and as everybody tries to speculate that Apple is going to be in some kind of financial trouble because they are selling fewer tablets, should remember that the 30% they are making off each iOS app purchase is a much larger margin than they typically make on hardware.

Stunted iPad Sales Not Due to Apple’s App Store is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Cost of eBooks to Dramatically Increase in 2015


The cost of eBooks are poised to dramatically increase at the beginning of the new year, due to changes in VAT. Readers will end up having to pay anywhere from 17% to 25% more on each title, depending on the country they live in.

The European Commission recently unveiled a new ruling where member states will be taxed in the European member state in which the consumer is located, as opposed to the country from which the product is sold. Starting in January 2015 the new tax rates will be in effect for eBooks.

The new VAT laws will prevent Amazon, Nook and Kobo from getting away with charging a paltry 3% tax on eBooks, magazines, graphic novels and newspapers sold to European countries, because their headquarters are in Luxembourg. In a few months, UK customers will have to pay the 20% VAT on eBooks from Amazon, instead of the 3%. This will increase eBooks accross the board by 17%.

The Luxembourg government stands to lose around €800 million a year from the ruling, while the UK and Germany stand to gain around €350 million each by the higher VAT rates.

Patrons of Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Europe are obviously going to be disgruntled that they will be paying more money for books, but the evening out of the VAT will allow Waterstones, Thalia, Txtr, Ciando, and Virtualo to compete better on price and hopefully gain more traction in the industry going forward.

In the United Kingdom Amazon accounts for 75% of all eBook sales. They have been able to capture the vast majority of readers due to the low prices and solid discovery experience. Will customers remain loyal if the prices increase dramatically?

The Cost of eBooks to Dramatically Increase in 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Voyage Covers and Cases List

After nearly one week of using the Kindle Voyage, I’ve come to the conclusion that a cover is pretty much required to get the best out of the PagePress sensors. And of course the whole providing protection thing… I mentioned in my Kindle Voyage first impressions review that I had a hard time holding the […]

Digital Marvel Graphic Novels Now Available at Kobo


Kobo has reached an agreement with Marvel to sell over 250 graphic novels on their global online bookstore. The new comics can be purchased using any of the official Kobo tablets, their main website or bought in one of their many apps for Android, Blackberry or Windows.

The inclusion of Marvel graphic novels joins Archie, DC and Dark Horse on the Kobo ecosystem. With so many Marvel movies on the horizon like X-Men Apocalypse, Ant-Man and Avengers 2, and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, readers will want to become familiar with the source properties.

“For more than 75 years, Marvel has been transporting comic fans to exciting new galaxies," says Santiago Melo, Merchandiser, Kobo. "Tackling big issues with larger than life characters, these stories continue to be a constant source of enrichment in our popular culture and we couldn't be happier to welcome them to the Kobo family."

"Marvel is excited about our partnership with Kobo and happy to have the opportunity to provide fans, new and existing, another great way to experience our legendary content," says David Gabriel, SVP Sales and Marketing for Marvel Entertainment.

Digital Marvel Graphic Novels Now Available at Kobo is a post from: Good e-Reader

Making a Unicorn HAT

Our good friends at Pimoroni have made a very sparkly HAT. We thought you’d like to see where unicorns come from.

The Unicorn HAT is available at Pimoroni for £24 – get them while they’re warm (but not hot)! Clive’s busy writing a graphics resource for learners featuring this particular HAT – watch this space for more details.

Anatomy of a Misfit read-alikes

If you loved the Big Library Read pick Anatomy of a Misfit as much as we did at OverDrive, it will be hard to move on. To make it easier on you, our staff librarians have curated a list of read-alikes. Check out the list highlights below.

If you’re looking for other Andrea Portes titles, try:

Andrea Portes – Hick Unbridled Books Hick is Portes’ debut novel. It is a coming-of-age tale about 13-year-old Luli, who has had enough of small-town life and hits the road to Las Vegas. The film adaptation (from Phase 4 Films (USA), LLC) starring Blake Lively and Chole Mertz is also available in streaming video.

Andrea Portes – Bury This Soft Skull Press In Bury This a 25-year-old cold case is reignited when a group of film students start making a documentary about the victim’s life.

Can’t get enough of misfits like Anika? Pick up these titles:

Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower MTV Books This cult favorite follows wallflower Charlie as he navigates freshman year, first dates, new friends, and family dramas.

Leah Rae Miller – The Summer I Became a Nerd Entangled Teen Madelyne Summers is a typical blonde cheerleader on the outside and a comic-loving nerd on the inside. When Logan, an adorkable comic shop employee, discovers her secret Madelyn faces a difficult decision: keep denying who she really is or risk losing Logan forever.
If you loved the “Mean Girls”-esque tone of Anatomy of a Misfit, check out these titles:

Lauren Oliver – Before I Fall HarperCollins e-books “Cupid Day” should be the best day of popular Samantha Kingston’s life, and it is… until she dies in an awful accident. However, she still wakes up the next morning.In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Courtney Summers – Some Girls Are St. Martin’s Griffin Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around. Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.

Click here for the full Marketplace list of these titles and even more Anatomy of a Misfit read-alikes.


*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.

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


Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.

Brookstone Mistakenly Begins Pre-Order For Fitbit Surge Wearable


Fitbit hasn’t even made their official announcement launching their upcoming wearable, but Brookstone went ahead and started offering pre-orders for the much-anticipated Surge watch… though the page is now unavailable. Often regarded as the king of the fitness-related wearables market, Fitbit’s updated entry in this category could be a meaningful contender.

During the time Brookstone had their page active, we were able to get a glimpse into what this device is going to look like –inside, and out. While the main question answered indicates this is indeed a fitness device and not a true smartwatch, a touchscreen display (that tilts up slightly toward you, making it very easy to see) and additional functionality helps it to actually fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of technology is now built-in, like the 8-sensors (for steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, and active minutes) along with with a GPS to make those details more accurate without the need for a smartphone nearby.

Athletes will love the automatic, continuous heart rate monitor and the ability to record workouts as they happen.

Geeks will appreciate that a few smartwatch features are included, allowing for call and text notifications while also being able to control your music.

Most importantly (and even better than being water resistant and lasting a full 7-days on a single charge), the device syncs wirelessly and is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS (plus with Aria Wi-Fi scale).

With an anticipated price-tag of $249 USD, it’s on the expensive side of fitness trackers. It may be seen as worthwhile for those interested in a little more functionality than existing pedometer type trackers can offer, without making the more sizeable jump into a full Android wearable or the upcoming Apple Watch.

Brookstone Mistakenly Begins Pre-Order For Fitbit Surge Wearable is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Scout Battles Horrendous Indie Authors

Kindle Scout introductory image Amazon

Amazon has just taken the beta sticker off their new author and reading community, Kindle Scout. The essence of this program is to give authors a chance to pitch their upcoming books to the public and readers cast their vote on what ones get published.

Amazon is throwing their marketing and financial efforts behind authors to publish their next book exclusively through them. They are giving an advance of $1,500 and a 50% eBook royalty rate to authors who successfully woo the crowd to get behind their next title. The book will then get hyped with Amazon, and likely the books in the early stages of the Scout lifetime will get a ton of media attention.

"We're always looking for new ways to add meaningful connections between readers and authors," said Dina Hilal, General Manager of Kindle Scout. "We've been delighted by the submissions so far and are excited to give readers a say in which books they want to read. We also hope they'll have a lot of fun getting to know authors and their work."

I think Scout is a really great idea and will assist in a huge problem in the publishing world, the dirge of indie author titles. Every week, thousands of horrendous books are released that pollute the digital ecosystem and hinder the eBook discovery process. In all honesty, indie authors are destroying literature as we know it. Scout attempts to vet out the wheat from the chafe, and hopefully we will only hear about the best of the best and not indie generic title number 19281210912.

Amazon Kindle Scout Battles Horrendous Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

New York Times Bets the Future of News is not Paywalls


The New York Times is betting the future of newspapers is not paywalls or digital subscriptions, but charging on a per article basis. The Times recently invested in Netherlands based startup Blendle to usher in a new area.

Blendle recently attained three million dollars from the NY Times and and German media giant Axel Springer. The company launched in 2013 and has been billing themselves as the iTunes of news. This has been a hot topic for quite a few years already, and this pay-for-what-you-read model is a huge step forward.

The Blendle service has attracted over 130,000 registered users in just over a year. The essence of the service is to partner up with hundreds of Netherlands based news agencies and pay them a percentage of every article that is read. Each news item price is established by the publisher, so the pricing is not consistent, but everything is really cheap.

The money that Blendle has raised will be used to establish a presence in other countries. They want to include more agencies and sources to be able to have a true European reach.

New York Times Bets the Future of News is not Paywalls is a post from: Good e-Reader