Tuesday, December 23, 2014

San Francisco Public Library is Leading the Charge on Digital


The San Francisco Library system first started to get involved in loaning out digital content 2009. They started very modestly with one vendor and now deal with over nine different companies to ensure their patrons will have the latest audiobooks, digital magazines, e-Books and streaming video.

In 2014 the San Francisco Public Library maintained an operating budget of $11.5 million dollars, which 25% of it was invested into digital products. They have an extensive collection provided by Overdrive, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla, Alexander Street Press, Safari, Ebsco, Gale, PressReader, Recorded Books.  In addition to fiction and non-fiction content, they also have a ton of reference content from Gale, EBSCO, Proquest and other smaller vendors.

Patrons are loving their heavily curated collections and the library reported 10,036,860  loans of print and audiovisual materials and 808,093 audiobooks, e-Books and digital magazines in 2014.

In August 2014 the San Francisco Public Library system unveiled their new e-news center at their main branch and has since expanded it to Chinatown and North Beach. The premise is to draw attention to the virtues of reading digital magazines and newspapers on a bunch of Apple iPads. The actual content is provided for free to patron by Vancouver based PressReader, who is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

One of the big developments in the library industry in the last few years is major publishers finally coming around to the idea that just because an e-Book is loaned out for free, it does not devalue the product.  Due to extensive lobbying of the American Library Association, all publishers are now involved. This provides challenges, because they all have a different program. Some allow a certain number of loans before a title has to be repurchased and others charge an arm and a leg, but don’t expire. Laura Lent explained how the SFPL copes “There are good and bad points with each pricing model, and it does present management challenges to keep track of it all and make wise purchasing and licensing decisions.  More publishers seem to be interested in annual or two-year license expiration dates, which makes the HarperCollins 26 circulation model look good in comparison.”

She went on the elaborate “The main focus for us is to ensure we don't end up with a huge renewal bill in a year.  We have placed regular weekly orders for titles that will expire in a year or two, so that the renewal lists will be manageable.  Now that we are finally seeing those renewal lists come in, we are working on a process to review titles and decided if we need to repurchase. You have to look closely at the reports, since while one copy may be expiring, it isn’t always clear if there are more copies available which are not yet expiring. If we opt to not repurchase, then we need to make sure we delete the bib record.”

The library is starting to see massive traction on their digital collection, but continues to look towards the future. Soon, Zinio magazines will be available in the e-news center, which gives patrons a number of titles, including National Geographic.  They also are predicting that in 2015 more companies will embrace the Hoopla model, which provides the library with their entire content catalog and adhere to the pay-per-use model.

San Francisco Public Library is Leading the Charge on Digital is a post from: Good e-Reader

Top 5 Best Android Comic Book Readers


You may be hesitant to load up your favourite comics using a digital reader, but the truth is that it’s not as bad as you think. While it lacks a certain charm that comes from physically flipping through an issue, it’s certainly convenient –and you needn’t worry about the oils from your skin or creases in the pages. Choosing the right comic reader for your Android device can be a little intimidating, with the incredible selection to choose from… so let me guide you through my top 5 choices.


Comics by ComiXology – This is my go-to reader, with a library of more than 50,000 digital comics and graphic novels. It’s easy to buy issues in-app, with everything available the same day as with traditional print releases. The user interface is incredibly versatile, with easy scanning and zooming as you flip between pages… and the platform is cloud-based (which means that your progress and collection is automatically synced across all of your devices). There is a downside of course –this is a closed app, which means only the material gathered using the app can be read using it.


ComicRack Free – It may have started as a desktop comic reader, but ComicRack has made a good name for itself in the mobile marketplace as well. The interface is simple and works well, but the strength of this app comes from the fantastic library management. If you have material in a variety of formats, look no further –CBR and CBZ are supported natively, but in conjunction with the desktop app you can add CB7, CBT, PDF, DJVU and WebComics formats are on the list.


ComiCat (Comic Reader/Viewer) – Before you read too much further, know that ComiCat isn’t free, but it’s really worth every penny of the $3.49 price-tag. While it’s try that it really doesn’t offer more (at the core) than competitive free apps like ComicRack Free, it does have a lot of refinement that you’d expect from a commercial product. It’s fast and versatile, and packed with extra nice-to-have features: with a single tap you can scan your device for compatible content (including files on your device storage, download folder, SD Card, or cloud), adjust screen brightness in-app, use password protection, auto split two-page scans and auto crop margins, take bookmarks further by remembering your reading location, and more!


Astonishing Comic Reader – One of the newer comic readers out there, Astonishing has the beauty of being built exclusively with mobile in mind. All of the standard features apply, including simple navigation and powerful zoom –along with being able to generate beautiful wallpapers and boasting Chromecast support. Search is another area where this reader shines, with intelligent suggestions that help you to round out your collection with related comics based on your existing comic roll. Even more exciting is the lack of ads that go along with the free price-tag.


Web Comic Reader for Android – Comics have reached a whole new genre with their emergence on the web without an in-print counterpart. We all have our favourites, whether you wait patiently for the next XKCD or you can’t help but giggle reading Cyanide and Happiness. You can certainly navigate your way around the Internet in a web browser, but that is so 10-years ago! Thanks to Web Comic Reader for Android you can keep track of all your favourite web-based strips while also saving your place (so you can read back from the beginning… which you know is on your to-do list).

Top 5 Best Android Comic Book Readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

10 Public Libraries in US and Canada Surpass 1 Million eBook Downloads


Ten different libraries in Canada and the United States had over one million e-Book checkouts in 2014, a significant increase from the six libraries that achieved the milestone in 2013.

Overdrive has the largest presence all over the world, but tends to focus on North America the most. The company is the market leader when it comes to hooking up libraries with the power to purchase and distribute audiobooks and e-Books for patrons to borrow.  Not only have 10 libraries hit over a million or more downloads, but Toronto Public Library and King County Library System had over two million.

The following libraries have joined the 2014 Million Digital Checkouts Club:

New York Public Library (NY): (42%)

Seattle Public Library (WA): (35%)

Hennepin County Library (MN): (33%)

Los Angeles Public Library (CA): (56%) 

Cleveland Public Library (OH): (25%)

Calgary Public Library (AB): (30%)

Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH): (35%)

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH): (42%)

10 Public Libraries in US and Canada Surpass 1 Million eBook Downloads is a post from: Good e-Reader

Magzter Unveils New Tools for Enhanced Digital Magazines


Magzster is one of the largest digital magazine companies and it relies on publishers to effectively self-publish their content in order to distribute it on worldwide basis.  The company has just unveiled a new tool called MagEnhance.

MagEnhance easily integrate real interactivity into modern magazines, which includes rich text, videos, animation, links, slideshows, and more. It's basically a drag-and-drop platform that requires no coding, so it's accessible to anyone in a publisher's organization.

This makes it a lot easier for publishers to optimize print content for the web. Plus, it's free for any Magzter publisher, taking on Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite in terms of price and functionality.

The essence of this new platform is being able to get magazines to buy into the whole enhanced content scheme. In order to distribute the content properly, it basically has been turn into a dedicated app, which would likely shine on the Apple Newsstand, where media content tends to garner the most sales.

Here is how the enhanced magazine distribution system works. Publishers use the Magzster tools to create digital editions from the same template they use for print. All of the Magzster creation tools are free to  use, such as their MagEnhance and OREY Click Publishing System.  Once the apps are created, they can be distributed by Magzter to Apple Newsstand,  Google Play , Windows 8 devices, Nook and Amazon App Store. In exchange for the tools and distribution, publishers simply enter into a revenue share system which is currently 50/50, which is a huge stumbling block.

Magzster might make sense for small publishers, looking to digitize their content for release on many different app platforms. For medium and large sized publishers likely they are using their own in-house tools, or are paying over $2,875 a month for access to the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Enterprise system.

Magzter Unveils New Tools for Enhanced Digital Magazines is a post from: Good e-Reader

Celebrity Memoirs Have Peaked


Celebrity tell all books and memoirs have often sold enough copies to make the entire endeavor profitable for all parties involved. Lately, a number of flops have occurred and this has put the entire publishing business on notice.

There is lots of finger pointing going on at Simon & Schuster over the recent flop of the Hillary Clinton book entitled Hard Choices. The former secretary of state received an advance of $14 million dollars, the second highest ever. Her book sold 161,000 copies in its first three weeks, according to Nielsen BookScan — but 85,000 of those were sold in the first week. That number has dropped sharply to 48,000 and 28,000 in the following weeks. Total, as of December the book only sold only 250,000 copies.

Charlie Redmayne, UK chief executive of HarperCollins UK has publicly proclaimed that his company is “moving away from big celebrity hit-and-miss stuff.”

Certain celebrities in the United Kingdom have enjoyed huge success – with Alex Ferguson’s tell-all book notching up nearly 700,000 sales so far this year. Roy Keane’s The Second Half, selling 149,000 copies, and Lynda Bellingham: There’s Something I’ve Been Dying To Tell You, selling 265,000 copies. But for every successful book there are many more flops and Mr Redmayne says he feels it’s now time to pull back.

Part of the reason why the company is scaling back from celebrity based memoirs is because HarperCollins lost £180 million from January to June. He said: “I felt the company had embraced some quite risky celebrity non-fiction. A lot of these books were hugely expensive and they were not necessarily going to back-list well.” He went on to say that “celebrity non-fiction market, in my opinion, has peaked. It’s still there, there’s still a market for it, but it is coming down.”

Penguin Random House is also starting question their willingness to publish celebrity books. The catalyst was likely one of their biggest flops with last years Pippa Middleton fiasco. The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister was said to have received a staggering £400,000 fee for the book in advance and sold only 2,000 copies in the first week.

One book industry insider said that the range of books on sale this year is not as strong as last year. "This year it is essentially a bunch of 30-something comedians all fighting over the same slice of the market. There is also not much to appeal to ladies," he said, adding that the recession has pushed total book sales down by around 5% this year.

The Bookseller Magazine recently reported that sales of biographies and autobiographies had slumped four per cent in 2014. Publishers are mostly in agreement that they are scaling back their operations on books on celebrity culture both in the US and UK. This might be a good thing, as most of them are written by ghost writers anyways.

Celebrity Memoirs Have Peaked is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble Repurchases Nook Stock from Pearson

stock exchange investment

When Barnes and Noble started experiencing close to $1.2 billion in loses in their Nook Media division, they started to get companies to invest. Microsoft contributed $300 million and educational publisher Pearson kicked in $89 million. In early December the bookseller bought back their shares from Microsoft and today, B&N repurchased the 5% equity investment from Pearson for $28 million dollars in cash and stock.

Barnes and Noble is now free to charter their own path, without having to be accountable to 3rd party investors. Although they are still responsible to their shareholders, as part of being a publicly traded company, they are free to determine their own direction.

Earlier in the year, the largest bookseller in the US expressed their interest about spinning off the Nook division into its own autonomous entity. This is poised to occur in August 2015 and should increase the overall profitability of the consumer and college bookstores, which tend to be huge money earners.  It is yet unknown whether or not anyone will step forward and purchase Nook, or if Barnes and Noble will commit themselves to e-Books and e-readers for the foreseeable future.

Barnes and Noble Repurchases Nook Stock from Pearson is a post from: Good e-Reader

2015: The Year for Kids and Tablets

We know that the days between December 25 and January 5 are some of the busiest of each year for libraries who deliver OverDrive digital titles to their patrons. This year we expect these days to be busier than ever, with cheaper Kindles and many other inexpensive tablets for sale, as well as the new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet, which is ranked the number 4 toy in the US for this Christmas. So what does this mean?

We believe this will be a huge year for kids and eBooks, and that this trend will continue. For instance, in March, the "first child-friendly, juice proof" android tablet aimed at ages three through ten, will be launched.

With these new trends in mind, you'll want to make sure you have a Kids' eReading Room if you don't already have one, and that it's filled with the most popular materials for kids so they're not disappointed when they try to find something to check out with their new devices. Many of our library partners have found that adding a Kids' eReading Room has increased their circulation significantly, and right now you can add a Room free with a modest content commitment.

To save you time we've created several carts of guaranteed popular kids' books to ease some of your burden of creating carts at this busy time of year. The lists below are divided by age level for your convenience, and include such titles as Frozen tie-ins, the newly available Dr. Seuss collection, and other proven top circulating books for kids. You can click on any of the links below to go right to the Marketplace cart to place your order, and then filter by selecting "not in collection" to see only the titles you don't already own.

Popular Picture Books

Popular Beginning Readers

Top Chapter Books for Kids Under 12

Great Narrated eBooks

**Geographical rights may vary by title.**

As always, if you need help, feel free to contact your Collection Development Specialist, or the collectionteam@overdrive.com. Or call 216 573-6886, ext. 762 to reach the Collection Development Department or your specialist. We're always happy to assist you in any way we can.

Naughty or Nice

I had the opportunity to play with this machine a few months ago, when Brian Corteil, a Cambridge maker-extraordinaire, brought it to a Raspberry Jam. It’s a piece of genius: the Naughty or Nice machine removes the guesswork from Santa’s assessment of the year’s behaviour, and applies the scientific method to the problem.


A palm rested on the reindeer-leather surface inside is assessed by tiny elves imprisoned in the baseplate, and little sleighbells, dangling from a festive holly wreath, tinkle a coded message to Santa to let him know whether the hand’s owner is naughty or nice.

(Actually, the machine takes a photo of your hand and counts the red pixels. This means that little people, with little hands, will come out with a much nicer score than us naughty grownups.)


Children I saw using this machine thought it was magical, and formed a long line – for once my “explain all the technology” instinct was subdued, and we just let them think the machine was driven by enchantment. And a Raspberry Pi. Brian’s made full build instructions available over at Adafruit – thank you Brian, and I hope Santa’s made a generous assessment of your own behaviour this year!


MGM streaming video titles now available for U.S. and Canadian libraries


We’re excited to announce that you can now add popular, award winning streaming video titles from MGM studios to your digital collection. These titles can be instantly played on virtually any device with an internet connection and web browser. MGM titles use the Cost Per Circ (CPC) format, which means that you can add the entire catalog to your collection, and pay only when a user borrows a title.

Titles available from MGM in OverDrive Marketplace include films such as Blame it on Rio (Michael Caine), The Care Bears Movie (Mickey Rooney), Eat Drink Man Woman (directed by Ang  Lee, Academy Award® nominated for best foreign language film), A Dry White Season (Susan Sarandon, Marlon Brando, Academy Award® nominated for Best Actor) and Casino Royale (1967 version), as well as popular literary adaptations such as Moby Dick (Gregory Peck, Orson Welles) and Of Mice and Men (John Malkovich).  Other MGM titles will be live soon, including Bowling for Columbine (Academy Award® for Best Documentary, directed by Michael Moore), Flyboys (James Franco), Purple Rose of Cairo (directed by Woody Allen, Academy Award® nominated for Best Screenplay) and Manhattan (directed by Woody Allen, Academy Award® nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress).

CPC titles allow you to set a monthly budget maximum and per-user circulation cap* to control how much you spend on checkouts from that plan each month. You can adjust the budget and policies for any of your CPC plans at any time. If you’d like to suppress the display of any of the titles in a plan at your public-facing site, you can visit the Weeding section of the Library site admin page.

Sloppy BBC Article Draws the Ire of the e-Reader World


The BBC recently penned their prospective on a new report by the Harvard Medical School that linked the use of tablets at night to an overall sleep onset delay of around ten minutes, and 11 minutes less REM sleep. The report basically equated e-readers, such as the Kindle as using the same screen technology as the iPad.  Mainstream media such as the BBC is spreading a terrible misconception of what an e-reader is.

The Apple iPad and tablets that are cited by the Harvard team use a backlit display that shines upwards into your eyes at around 60 Hz. e-Paper based readers on the other hand use technology provided by e-Ink, which mimics real paper.  The average e-reader does not have a built in lighting system, but the ones that do normally have five small LED lights built into the bottom of the bezel and project light evenly across the screen. This provides a subtle illumination effect, but does not increase pupil dilatation, like a tablet does.

This Harvard report, like many others tackling this subject  matter basically equate the usage of tablets with the suppression melatonin.  So what is melatonin and why is it a big deal? Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night and under conditions of darkness in both diurnal and nocturnal species. It is a "timing messenger," signaling nighttime information throughout the body. Exposure to light at night, especially short-wavelength light, can slow or even cease nocturnal melatonin production. Suppression of melatonin by light at night results in circadian disruption and has been implicated in sleep disturbances, increased risk for diabetes and obesity, as well as increased risk for more serious diseases, such as breast cancer, if circadian disruption occurs for many consecutive years, such as in night shift workers.

What the BBC and this specific report is getting terribly wrong is just because you can read an e-Books on a tablet, does not classify it as an e-reader.  If a mobile device has an LCD or LED display, it is a tablet. If you hear the term e-paper or e-ink the device is an e-reader. The BBC and many people in academia have no concept of the differences between tablets and e-readers and just lump them into a singular category.  They think that a Kindle Voyage is the same as a Kindle Fire. This demonstrates a clear lack of understanding on consumer technology. 

Sloppy BBC Article Draws the Ire of the e-Reader World is a post from: Good e-Reader

Giant Cybook Odyssey Firmware Update Available


French e-Reader company Bookeen has just released one of the biggest upgrade package for their entire line of Cybook Odyssey devices.  Not only has the entire UI been cleaned up, but there is also a new dictionary manager.

The firmware 6.2 updates is applicable to all five Odyssey models from 2011, 2012, 2013. You simply have to connect it up to your local WIFI network and it should prompt you to install it. It is important to note that once you start updating your device, make sure its fully charged. If the battery dies while you are in the middle of upgrading… Well, maybe its better off you didn’t know!

Here is a few of the things that are in the new update; New Annotations menu: notes and highlights have their own menu for simpler access. (Note export is planned for a future update.) Tip: to add a note or highlight, touch the beginning and end of the text you want to select, and hold until you see the text highlighted. A dialogue box with the options « Add highlight » and « Add note » will appear. You can also store and organize your books by collection with numerous sorting features in addition to using our traditional folder view.

The overall interface is more clean and intuitive. Bookeen has removed superfluous frames, lines, and shaded zones to improve visibility and simplify navigation.They have also included a huge number of e-book reading enhancements, starting with the overall PDF experience. When it comes to reading all of the different menus to change the text size, fonts, linespacing and margins have been condensed to one single page. Speaking of fonts, the one thing people love about the Kindle is the stock font Caecilia, the Odyssey now has that too!

Finally you can now search for occurrences of a key word in the text of your book by selecting the word, the same way you consult the dictionary. Just press your finger on the word you want until you see it highlighted to bring up the search options. You can also search for any word in your book or in the dictionary, by simply typing it into the on-screen keyboard.

Giant Cybook Odyssey Firmware Update Available is a post from: Good e-Reader