Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kobo Next Puts the Spotlight on Indie Authors


Kobo Writing Life is a self-publishing platform and it was first unveiled in 2012. It was originally launched to compete with Kindle Direct Publishing and provide a viable avenue to sell books internationally. Kobo has faced many challenges in the marketplace and they are always looking for new things to try out to see what pops. The latest, is Kobo Next, an extension of their digital bookstore that exclusively promotes self-published titles.

Kobo Next is a new section of the Kobo online bookstore that gives readers a chance to discover new authors, they likely have never heard of. Not only are the indie books promoted online, but also in mailing lists and new release newsletters.

The one thing I like about Kobo Next is how they showcase from many different genres. Mysteries, Romance, Science-Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction are the ones they are showcasing this month. This honestly makes sense, because mysteries, sci-fi and romance account for the majority of Kobo book sales.

I hope that Kobo expands upon Next and puts all self-published titles in their own category and create separation from their  traditionally published books. This is best for business.

Two years a go a massive firestorm erupted due to hundreds of adult eBooks with topics ranging from threesomes to incest were being listed in the same category as kids' books. This was primarily attributed to meta data that was incorrectly putting taboo subjects and created a global outrage. Major booksellers such as WH Smith shuttered their digital bookstores, resulting in thousands of customers unable to buy books at all. This was basically a Kobo problem, since WH Smith actually has a license with Kobo to sell digital books.  Not only did Kobo get dissected by mainstream media, but they pissed off authors by deleting over one thousand titles from vanity presses and their own Writing Life platform.

I have always been a strong proponent of sequestering independently published books into their own categories, instead of having them mixed into everything else. There are a myriad of reasons for this, such as quality and control, accepting everything submitted by default and the sub-par nature of the vast majority of titles. I think Kobo Next is laying down the foundation of a separate area for indie titles which is fine by me.

Kobo Next Puts the Spotlight on Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Kobo Glo HD e-Reader is Now Available


Kobo has just released their latest e-reader, the Glo HD. This device is now available to purchase at Chapters Bookstores in Canada and is already shipping out in the post to people who pre-ordered it online.

The brand new Kobo Glo HD features a six inch e-ink Carta screen with a resolution of 1448×1072 and 300 PPI. It has the same front-lit display as the Kobo Aura H2O, so you will be able to read in low-light conditions or complete darkness. One of the cool tricks you can employ is dragging your finger down the left side of the screen to adjust the light.

Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor and 4 GB of internal storage. When you take the e-reader out of the box for the first time you only have 3.1 GB of memory, primarily because the OS  takes up a fair amount of space.

The Kobo Glo HD does have an SD card, but it requires you to remove the back plate off of the device. If you want to put a larger card in, you must first clone the partitions using advanced software. Obviously this will be beyond the average user, but advanced ones can easily do it.

I think this e-reader is perfect for those who have never had one before or have an older Kobo model.

The Kobo Glo HD e-Reader is Now Available is a post from: Good e-Reader

Books for the Terror and Glory of Wedding Planning


Together with my fiancée, I am currently dealing with the joy and stress of planning our wedding.  And despite the fact that I am a 4x bridesmaid and a former cater-waiter, I still need A LOT of help.  Help from our parents and friends, help from blogs and websites, and help from books at the library. It can take a legion of people to make this very specialwedding animated GIF day happen, whether the couple is having a budget-conscious casual wedding at a local park, or an expensive and lavish wedding at a swanky banquet hall.

So for the variety of patrons who will be involved in a wedding this year, I'm happy to present you with a collection of wedding and marriage books for brides, grooms, members of the wedding party, professionals, and beyond.  More than a list of wedding guides and lookbooks, this list includes books for those who may need a little help reducing stress (guilty), fitness and diet guides for those who want to look their best before the big day (guilty), and self-improvement and advice titles for the Happily Ever After of post-wedding life… you know, that whole marriage thing I've heard so much about lately.  Also included manuals for wedding professionals such as photographers and officiants, and craft books for the DIY'ers and Etsy sellers (doubly guilty).

And to keep a little levity and perspective, there are plenty of humor books as well.  Because after an afternoon of mutual ranting and shared stress-eating of Girl Scout cookies with your chosen life-partner-to-be (aka my last Sunday), you need a good laugh.

Liz Tousey is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive 

Amazon’s Whispercast Update Meets the Needs of K12 Classrooms

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was a classroom teacher for almost twenty years, the last seven of which were spent using a classroom set of Kindle e-readers. My classroom had more than 200 ebooks for the students to choose from, and it was a nightmare trying to make that innovation work.

But nightmares no more! Amazon has released an update for its Whispercast feature that will make life so much easier for K12 administrators, reading coaches, teachers, and students.

Before you wonder how Whispercast even applies to this setting, remember not to confuse it with Whispersync. That feature just makes sure your downloads happen seamlessly without the need for a cable, and makes sure that readers are in the same location in a particular book no matter if they read on their e-readers, listen to an audio edition, and more.

Whispercast allows content holders to “mass distribute” their content across devices. To give an example, when I would purchase an ebook for my classroom–remembering that Amazon’s policy allows you to put a single purchase on up to six devices–I had to sit at my desktop and use the Manage My Kindle feature to deliver the book to six different devices, then had to turn on each device and tell it to sync. That process is time consuming, and really erased the “wow factor” of turning to a student who asked if I had a particular book and saying, “I do now. Check your Kindle.”

The real educational benefit to the Whispercast 3.0 update, though, is the purchase order feature. Again, when I purchased the Kindles in 2009, I had earned a grant to buy the devices. The first year, we could only read the free content, which at the time amounted to a lot of public domain classics. The following year, I received the same grant and was able to start purchasing bestselling titles; the problem was in the special permission I had to get to make purchases. I had to use our school’s credit card and store it in the Amazon account, something that is no small feat when you’re dealing with a tax-funded bureaucracy. Eventually the school allowed me to put the remaining balance of the grant money on an Amazon gift card and store that in the system, which did streamline the process.

Thanks to the update, teachers can finally use school purchase orders to buy ebooks. Many schools to this day will not let teachers buy anything that cannot be a) paid for with a purchase order or b) have a “property of” sticker placed on it. It’s a throwback to the olden days of purchasing, but at the same time, the slow adoption is at least forgivable when you factor in the fifty-plus teachers in a single school all trying to purchase supplies for their classrooms while still avoiding fraud.

One final headache that teachers have had to overcome was the need for an administrator (at either the school level or the school system level) to be “in charge” of the use of the devices and the Amazon account. That means that letting teachers buy ebooks for their class can take weeks before someone higher up has the chance to get to it, especially if it’s someone who oversees several schools. That defeats the purpose of instant downloads, and makes even more work on teachers and school officials. The Whispercast 3.0 update allows for administrator oversight while still putting more control in the individual teacher’s hands.

This might seem like a non-issue to ebook consumers on the outside of this situation, but this update is truly a huge development for bringing lower cost and highly adaptable ebooks to the classroom. It’s sad how little penetration ebooks have gotten in the public school setting, especially when you consider the typical cost effectiveness, the ability for students with disabilities to manipulate the book, and the fact that ebooks won’t become damaged and need to be replaced with even normal use.

Amazon’s Whispercast Update Meets the Needs of K12 Classrooms is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Leaves Us With Few Choices Following Nexus 7 Retirement


Google retired the Nexus 7 earlier this week, leaving many of us wondering what could be in store at the upcoming I/O conference in late May. Generally considered to be among the higher-end mobile device hardware options (don’t be fooled by the number of sales, which will appear small by comparison to the likes of Samsung or Huawei), the Nexus lineup is overdue for a refresh (and there may not be much time, if Google gets out of hardware it may be more difficult for the company to keep the reigns tight on the direction taken by Android as a platform).

Not that Google has been sitting on their mobile hands, especially considering the recent announcement of Google Fi (a hybrid wireless carrier intended to increase competition and innovation in the carriers marketplace)… we just want more (by way of an amazingly affordable, completely unlocked, incredibly powerful, terribly versatile, smartphone and tablet line-up). That isn’t too much to ask for is it?

Rumour mills are circling, with many suggesting that there is new hardware coming our way (and it may just be a refreshed, Fi-friendly version of the Nexus 5, called the Nexus 5 2015).

Google Leaves Us With Few Choices Following Nexus 7 Retirement is a post from: Good e-Reader

Windows 10 for IoT

Back in February, when we launched Raspberry Pi 2, the sharp-eyed among you will have noticed the folks at Microsoft making an announcement about bringing Windows 10 for IoT to the Raspberry Pi. We’re excited to share that it landed today – along with a ridiculously cool demo. The chap in the video is HoloLens designer Alex Kipman.

I’m guessing that this video will leave a lot of you wanting to get your hands on a version of Windows 10 for IoT that you can use with your own Pi. This is all in developer beta still, so you’ll have to sign up to the Windows 10 Insider program and grab a copy of Windows 10 Insider Preview (I know a couple of our forum mods did so overnight because I got excited messages about robots from them which I found when I woke up this morning) and download the Windows 10 Core IoT Preview, which is all free. This is pre-release software, so it comes with all the usual stability warnings – and yes, you will have to have a copy of Windows 10 on your PC.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 09.57.44

Steve Teixeira at Microsoft says:

We're embracing the simple principle of helping Makers and device builders do more by bringing our world-class development tools, the power of the Universal Windows Platform, direct access to hardware capabilities, and the ability to remotely debug, update, and manage the software running on Raspberry Pi 2 devices. This Insider Preview release of Windows 10 IoT Core is our conversation-starter. Our goal is to give Makers the opportunity to play with the software bits early and to listen to the feedback on what's working well and what we can do better. You may notice some missing drivers or rough edges; we look forward to receiving your feedback to help us prioritize our development work. We'll be incorporating the feedback we receive into regular software updates along with additional drivers, bug fixes and new features. Those looking for a commercial-quality release should wait for general availability this summer.

Microsoft have made setup information available all on one nice, tidy page of HTML. It’s on GitHub, so you can issue pull requests. Matt Richardson, who is at the Build conference (hanging out with that little robot: B2 is spending the next day living on the Raspberry Pi stand with Matt, and we fully expect Matt to have trained him to make tea by the time the conference is ready to wrap up), and who was able to have a bit of a play with the setup while we in the UK were all fast asleep, seems impressed. He mailed to say:

There’s no desktop and no real shell on Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi, so they made a really slick web backend and it seems trivial to use their UI libraries to draw elements on screen. 

For an early preview it looks really good. I’m actually really interested in trying it out myself.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 09.51.16

Matt’s new best friend

We’ll be watching to see what the community does with Windows 10 for IoT on the Pi with great interest.


What Happens when a Book Publisher Doesn’t Pay Royalties?


There is a growing cadre of publishers that have been not paying authors their royalties. There are many lawsuits currently in the works that seek to get compensation, but its a long and dark road.

Hesperus Press has been ordered by a British High Court to stop selling digital and print copies of Jonas Jonasson's smash-hit novel The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, following an alleged failure to pay royalties.

The book had sold 500,000 print copies and 700,000 e-book copies in the UK since 2012. The author and their agent both never received a dime from them.

The author had their hands tied and couldn’t directly sue the publisher. Instead the case was brought to court by Hachette Book Group, which owns world English rights to the Swedish book.

Jonasson is not the only Hesperus author looking for answers. All four members of staff at the small publisher have resigned from the company in the past few months. Jordan-based chief financial officer Ayman Al Asmar said that a "formal release about next steps and future plans would be issued 'soon'", according to the Bookseller, but gave no further details.

There has been a lot of drama in the publishing world about Author Solutions, the company no one can help themselves from doing business with. Sometimes when you are self-publishing you might not know who you are truly doing business with and some of these companies go to great lengths to hide the Author Solutions connection. Here is the latest list of who deals with them.

  • Simon & Schuster (Archway Publishing)
  • Lulu
  • Harlequin (DelleArte Press) – partnership terminated 2015
  • Hay House (Balboa US, Balboa Australia)
  • Barnes & Noble (Nook Press Author Services)
  • Crossbooks (LifeWay) – partnership terminated 2014
  • Penguin (Partridge India, Partridge Singapore, Partridge Africa)
  • HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson/Zondervan (Westbow Press)
  • Random House (MeGustaEscribir)
  • Writer's Digest (Abbott Press) – partnership terminated 2014

Many authors are very concerned about Author Solutions and their ability to pay royalties. A recent lawsuit was filed against them stating that they misrepresents themselves, luring authors in with claims that its books can compete with "traditional publishers," offering "greater speed, higher royalties, and more control for its authors." The company then profits from "fraudulent" practices, the complaint alleges, including "delaying publication, publishing manuscripts with errors to generate fees, and selling worthless services, or services that fail to accomplish what they promise."

In 2012 over 1,000 authors filed a class action lawsuit against Harlequin, alleging that they did not pay the authors the full amount of the agreed upon royalty for digital titles.

The issue involved the Swiss arm of Harlequin, which the publisher claims is not acting as a publisher. Therefore, the 50% that Harlequin receives—after the other 50% goes to the retailer—is then split with the author. But in the case of royalties from the Swiss branch, apparently the authors feel they have not received the full amount due to them. Harlequin, for its part, claims that this Swiss office is not a publisher and therefore does not share the royalties as other markets do.

When authors fail to get paid royalties who is to blame? When you deal with a very complex structure like Author Solutions do you directly contact them, or the publishing off-shoot?  What if you are traditionally published and a small publishing company that distributes your titles in Polish does not report the correct number of sales? The publishing world is murky, navigating it to make sure you are getting the correct amount is difficult. Maybe this is why so many indie authors are beginning to exclusively publish with KDP.

What Happens when a Book Publisher Doesn’t Pay Royalties? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Racy Cover Lands Author in Court over Theft of Image

It’s always a good thing when Gronkerotica makes national headlines since it serves to remind the rest of us that yes, there are steamy books available that offer fun word play on terms and phrases like “tight end” and “the receiver was wide open.” The fact that the title character (spoiler alert) doesn’t get to have sex in the erotica title he stars in is unimportant to this news.

Unfortunately, the national attention aimed at the erotica title A Gronking to Remember–yes, erotic short fiction starring the New England Patriots’ own Rob Gronkowski–isn’t such a great thing for its author, presumably pen named Lacey Noonan. As it turns out, the image of the adoring and quite photogenic couple on the cover isn’t The Gronk and his girlfriend–which would probably still not be legal since it was used without permission–but is instead an Ohio couple who’s positively mortified that their engagement photo (yes, the photo they shared with the world to announce their undying love) has been made into the laughing stock of the football/literary world.

This isn’t the first time Noonan or this book have been in trouble for the cover art. The NFL compelled the author to remove an unlicensed photo of Gronk from the original cover over copyright issues. The actual underlying cause may have been the photo that was chosen; in the picture, Gronk is wearing a uniform that prominently features a patch with the initials of the team owner’s recently deceased and widely beloved wife, a gesture the entire team took on in order to honor her memory.

Now that the book has garnered national media attention and has been the subject of widespread ridicule, the couple is suing the author for using their picture without permission. The author has replaced the cover once again with a different couple and an awkward drawing of the famous athlete’s face.

This serves as an important reminder to self-published authors about the fair use of photographs and other artwork. Ironically, the same authors who think nothing of grabbing a stock photo or a found image for the cover art would be the first in line to cry foul if their books were pirated. The real shame of the entire saga is that this is the kind of book that, despite the poor reviews that state it is poorly written and barely erotic, is exactly what self-published authors have benefited from in a big way. There is a market for every imaginable type of erotica, and it could have been smart money for Noonan if she’d continued the series in a more legally appropriate way.

Racy Cover Lands Author in Court over Theft of Image is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Glo HD vs Kobo Aura H2O – Reading in the Dark


The Kobo Glo HD and Kobo Aura H2O are two e-readers that are very modern. They are the latest devices issued by Kobo and have some fairly compelling features. The H2O is waterproof and features a 6.8 inch screen, whereas the Glo HD is out at the end of the month and has the highest resolution and PPI out of any Kobo e-reader to date. Today, we compare these two models and show you what its like to read in the dark.

Most modern e-readers have technology that allow you to read in the dark, without the need of an external book light. There are 5 small LED lights on the bottom of the bezel and project light upwards. This makes it easier to read than a tablet or smartphone.

Today, we take a look to see if Kobo has made any improvements from the H2O to the Glo HD. If you are in the market for either of these two e-readers you don’t want to miss this video.

Kobo Glo HD vs Kobo Aura H2O – Reading in the Dark is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sony Smartwatch 3 Unboxing Video


The Sony Smartwatch 3 came out late 2014 and this model features Android Wear. This is the unified operating system that was designed exclusively for smartwatches. Today, we show you the retail packaging and take it out of the box for the first time.

The first and second generation Sony Smartwatches did not use Android Wear, and instead used the very lackluster Sony OS. The 3rd generation model should be a hit because Wear already has hundreds of apps that are optimized to work with it, letting you do things like manage notifications, call a car, follow recipes or navigation directions, and sure-why-the-hell-not, right or left-swipe in Tinder. It’s actually very intuitive and easy to use, and it’s frequently easier to give your wrist a glance than to pull out your phone and unlock it just to see why it’s been buzzing.

The watch itself uses a 1.6 inch TFT LCD touchscreen and can garner you 48 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Sony Smartwatch 3 Unboxing Video is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo H2O e-Reader Gets Pinch and Zoom Functionality


The Kobo Aura H2O came out in October 2014 and it was the first waterproof e-reader to hit the market. Many people were attracted to this device because it featured a 6.8 inch screen and can be used to read anywhere. One of the drawbacks of the H2O was the inability to pinch and zoom when reading PDF files, comics and or when using the internet browser. I am proud to report that a new firmware update solved this issue.

The new firmware update for the Kobo H2O is available now and will slowly be pushed out via WIFI. Once the 3.15 update is installed you want to turn off the water droplet notification setting in order to gain the ability to pinch and zoom digital content.

There is a few other changes in this new update for the H2O, including Chess removed from beta features, No more Beyond the Book – except for related books and a revamped UI for the on-device store.

Kobo H2O e-Reader Gets Pinch and Zoom Functionality is a post from: Good e-Reader

Engaging your patrons with digital magazines and newspapers

A young professional wakes up and reads USA Today with her morning coffee. The newspaper isn't delivered to her apartment each morning – she enjoys it digitally on her iPhone while preparing for another busy day. At lunch, there isn't enough time to really dive into Brown Girl Dreaming, the biography she's borrowed from her library, so instead she flips through a few magazines to pass the time. First, she grabs the latest issue of Newsweek before discovering her next vacation locale in National Geographic and finally finding a great recipe to try for dinner in this month's edition of Fine Cooking. What do these reading experiences have in common? They were all on her smart phone, and they were all borrowed from her public library.

FotorCreatedReaders love discovering new eBooks and audiobooks in their favorite genres from the library, but that's not all they read. Magazines and newspapers are read by millions of users each day as a way to keep up with current events or their favorite sports teams, learn new things or as a guilty pleasure by skimming through the latest gossip. If you're offering your patrons digital periodicals through OverDrive, each time your users reach for their favorite magazine or newspaper it boosts your circulation.

It may take someone a week to finish one eBook from your library, but they can enjoy multiple digital magazines and newspapers in that time – which is why every library that has added OverDrive Periodicals has seen a spike in circulation. Periodicals are available for simultaneous use – which means no wait lists – and they're always up to date with the most current issues.

Libraries in Texas, New Hampshire, Michigan and all over the country have watched their circulation skyrocket since adding digital magazines and newspapers from OverDrive, and yours can do the same. We've made it easy and affordable to add OverDrive Periodicals by creating collections of the most popular titles starting at less than $.02 per copy! If this is your first time purchasing periodicals, click here for details on your access fee, and then check out these great collections:

Top 10 for $500
Top 20 for $1,000
Top 25 for $1,500
Top 30 for $3,000*
Top 40 for $3,000
Top 40 for $4,000*
Top 50 for $5,000*
Top 60 for $4,000
Top 70 for $5,000
Top 75 for $7,000*
Top 100+ for $10,000*

*Collection includes Wall Street Journal

Titles may vary by geographic location

Reviewing Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox won me over a few years ago when I read Friends Like Us in one sitting. I was so excited to hear she had a new novel coming out and she did not disappoint! In fact, I think Days of Awe is her best novel yet and I'm betting this novel takes her from critical acclaim to household and bestseller fame.

{872A93BA-AC00-491B-897B-E152344AC0E9}Img400Days of Awe is an achingly funny novel about love, loss, family, friendship, and moving on. In less than a years' time, Isabel Moore went from being happily married to apathetically separated and her preteen daughter went from adoring her mother to being a moody insomniac. The catalyst that seemed to create this unraveling was the death of Josie, her flamboyant, wild, and unconventional best friend. She was killed in a single-car accident that left Isabel wondering if it truly was an accident or a suicide. As Isabel tries to make sense of this unbearable loss, she pieces together the years and months leading up the Josie's death and discovers that her life was not as it seemed.

Throughout the process, Isabel end up learning more about herself than Josie's death. But what struck me most was Fox's honest portrayal of love and loss. Anyone who has ever mourned the sudden death of a loved one or suffered the pains of a broken heart will connect with the characters on a deep level.

This book will appeal to a wide audience as it straddles the line between contemporary romance and literary fiction. Fans of Anne Tyler and Jane Smiley will love the rich family dynamic and fans of Maria Semple and Jennifer Close will appreciate the cleverness and humor. The candor and authentic portrayal of female friendship will be appreciated by all readers. A perfect book club pick, Days of Awe will leave readers breathless and anxious for the next Lauren Fox novel.

This title will be available to borrow from your library on August 4th but you can place a hold right now!

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

How to Add Hyphen Support to Kindles for Better Readability

One thing that has always annoyed me about reading ebooks on Kindles is the lack of good font choices and the fact that hyphenation isn’t supported, which often results in awkward spacing between letters. Yesterday I posted an article about how to get Kindle books to display custom fonts. Today I’m going to show how […]

Want to Win an Election? Write an eBook

When President Obama defeated Mitt Romney to win the 2012 election, ebook innovator Vook had two books standing at the ready. One was entitled Why Obama Lost, and the other was Why Romney Lost. Not very imaginative titles, to be sure, but that wasn’t the point. The purpose of the books was to have a product to distribute to readers the moment the election results were in. It was hailed as not only a striking move for political discourse, but also a highlight of exactly how effective digital publishing can be in terms of getting information in front of readers with little to no wait time.

A book series by UK publisher Politico is taking full advantage of this exact same technology and the identical reader interest to head off the elections. Rather than a commentary on what went wrong, Politico has a line up that includes titles such as Why Vote Conservative, Why Vote Labour, and 101 Ways to Win an Election. These short titles–which tend to run less than 200 pages and cost £3.99 for the ebook–are reaching out to voters with the parties’ platforms well ahead of election day.

And that’s where US politicians would be smart to enter the ebook realm ahead of November 2016, too. With several major figures already formally announcing their intentions to run for President (a year and a half ahead of the elections), there’s certainly time to write and/or ghostwrite everything from their personable childhood tales to their visions for the country. Moreover, the sales of the books could not only support their campaigns, but could also serve as an early indicator of how the public perceives them, especially where the reviews are concerned. It could also give politicians an uninterrupted forum for stating their cases, without having their dreaded and embarrassing out-of-context soundbites peppering the nightly news.

Everyone from sports franchises to public speakers have taken advantage of the ease and speed of digital publishing and self-publishing to produce an informative product, and politicians would be wise to follow their lead. With the increasing numbers of people–especially younger consumers–taking to reading on their smartphones and mobile devices, it’s a no-risk prospect that could stand to have a major sway over the outcome next fall.

Want to Win an Election? Write an eBook is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Firmware Update 3.15 Released, Adds Pinch-Zooming to H2O

With the Kobo Glo HD set to be released in a couple of days, Kobo has issued an update to officially add support for the Glo HD to Kobo’s software. The new 3.15 software also applies to the original Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Aura, and Kobo Aura H2O. Like usual, you can wait […]

Welcome Philip!

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that a couple of months back, we were advertising for a new CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  

Today we're really excited to announce that Philip Colligan will be joining us in July as the new CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  Philip will be responsible for overseeing all of our charitable activities – that's everything from our outreach and learning resources to grant-giving and partnerships with government and other organisations.  He’ll be working closely with Eben, who continues as the CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading.  

We are concerned that Eben and Philip's very similar facial styling may cause identity problems in the office.

Philip joins us from Nesta, a charity that supports innovation, where he is the Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Nesta's Innovation Lab. In his role at Nesta, he’s supported hundreds of innovators in public services, charities and social enterprises, and has also been an adviser to government.

One of Nesta’s areas of work is helping young people get involved in digital making and creativity, so with Philip on board, we’re hoping that there will be lots of opportunities to work together in future.

Before his time at Nesta, Philip had a career in national and local government, working at the Home Office and Camden Council.  Outside of work he’s a dad, school governor and craft cider maker; a skill we plan on making full use of. (We also hope that his experience in wrangling the Home Office will be helpful when he is called to deal with the weekly détente in the office when Gordon annexes the biscuit tin.)

Philip's perfectly qualified to come and drive the next phase of the Foundation's charitable work; we're delighted he's decided to come and join us. We want to see the Foundation grow in scope and ambition, and we think he's exactly the person to help us do that. Welcome aboard, Philip! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Self-Publish Your e-Books in Germany via Tolino


There once was a dream in Germany that local businesses could band together to combat the Amazon threat. The Seattle company controls 75% of the digital book market in the US and 95% in the United Kingdom. Germans did not want a foreign company to have that much clout and the dream was realized.

Weltbild, Hugendubel, Bertelsmann Club, Deutsche Telekom and Thalia all formed a company called the Tolino Consortium. Their mandate was to open up a digital bookstore and develop a series of e-readers to sell. This allowed the Tolino Shine and Vision to receive major publicity and high availability in bookstores all over the country.

One of the big advantages that Amazon has over their competitors is their Kindle Direct Publishing system. This gives independent authors authors to submit their latest novel and have it available to purchase all over the world. This was the missing piece of the puzzle for Tolino, but now they too have a self-publishing option.

The new self-publishing portal is called Tolino Media. Authors earn a 70% commission on the title sold and their books will be promoted in the Tolino bookstore.

There are other companies that also offer a self-publishing solution for Germans, such as Xinxii. The problem is, their chiefly just digital platforms and not an all in one solution like Tolino.

German authors can not only have their e-books sold in their home country, but also in other markets that Tolino operates in. This includes Austria, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland. International authors, such as those in the US can use Draft2digital to distribute their titles into the Tolino Bookstore.

Self-Publish Your e-Books in Germany via Tolino is a post from: Good e-Reader

Windows 10 Rumoured to Support Android Apps


There are few things a tech geek likes more than a good rumour, so news that Windows 10 devices (like smartphones, tables, and PCs) may be able to run Android apps is a rather exciting possibility. If we are lucky, this possibility will be confirmed at the upcoming Microsoft Build 2015 conference being held in San Francisco.

We don’t know much about how it would work or what it could look like, but it makes sense for a number of reasons. For Android, it gives access to a wider range of hardware (the one thing that is generally not too harshly criticized when it comes to the Windows Phone platform) –not to mention a solid foot in the corporate door. For Microsoft, it’s all about a stocked app store (complete with the kinds of opportunities developers are looking for).

It does raise more than a few questions though –like would this announcement make way for Android apps to find their way onto Microsoft’s successful Xbox One console? Will Android be able to emulate in such a way that Windows Phone apps would also work on their devices? Will developers abandon the idea of creating platform specific apps (at least as far as these two contenders are concerned) –and if that’s the case, whynot move toward a completely platform independent technology like HTML 5 that would also then cross iOS devices off the list? Will the corporate world tolerate ‘open source’ apps on their Windows devices?

From Microsoft’s short-term perspective, the only question they are likely concerned with is whether access to Android apps makes you more or less likely to consider a Windows Phone?

Windows 10 Rumoured to Support Android Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Starts Innovation Fund for Digital Publishers in Europe


Google has started a digital news initiative in conjunction with eight major newspaper publishers. The aim is to develop new products and services that will gain more eyeballs on their publications.

When it comes to search in Europe, Google enjoys a 90% market-share and this is garnering some unwanted attention. The European Union is investigating whether or not Google is using search results to illegally promote their other products and services. News is not directly affected by this investigation. However, publishers have complained for years about the impact of Google's use of their content.

In order to placate major news organizations and generate some possitive press, Google is going to work with the Financial Times and the Guardian to establish a working group to focus on product development as well as providing a €150m innovation fund over three years, alongside additional training and research. Google promises the end result of this fund will "increase revenue, traffic and audience engagement".

Google Starts Innovation Fund for Digital Publishers in Europe is a post from: Good e-Reader

New ‘Dragon Ball Super’ Aims to Air in July


The first new Dragon Ball TV anime series in 18 years has been announced for a Japanese premiere set for July! The new series based off of the original manga by Akira Toriyama will air on Fuji TV and other Channels on Sundays at 9 AM.

The new series being called ‘Dragon Ball Super’, will take place a few years after the defeat of Majin Buu, when Earth has become peaceful once more. Fuji TV producer Osamu Nozaki commented on the new series as well, saying, "As I read the plot [of the series] I’ve already received from Akira Toriyama, my dreams for this begin to expand. An enemy even stronger than Buu or Freeza may appear…"

The series will be overseen by the original Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama and is credited for the original story and character concepts. Toei Animation’s Kimitoshi Chioka is the series director and Naoko Sagawa (Yomiko Advertising) and Atsushi Kido (Toei Animation) join Nozaki as producers.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, the new film taking place after the Majin Buu saga, premiered earlier this month and will eventually screen in 74 countries worldwide! Funimation also hosted the North American premiere of the film on April 11th in Los Angeles with plans to release the film in more theatres with an English dub this summer!

For a lot of anime fans, the Dragon Ball series was a really pivotal part of our lives and to see that a new series is being released after the last Dragon Ball GT series was released in 1996, I know we’re already counting down the days to the new release!

New ‘Dragon Ball Super’ Aims to Air in July is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Use Custom Fonts with Kindles – Embed Fonts in Kindle eBooks

The number one thing that annoys me the most about reading on a Kindle is the lack of good font choices. Your stuck with a few options that Amazon gives, and you can’t modify the weight or boldness of the font at all like you can on other devices like Kobos. A lot of ereaders […]

Amazon’s Newest Delivery Option: the Trunk of Your Car

Amazon became the retail giant it is today based on a few factors, including deep discounts and customer service. But one of the chief ways the online retailer became a consumer mainstay is in its shipping options. Whether taking advantage of the free or low-cost three-to-five day ground shipping or reaping the free two-day shipping benefits of an Amazon Prime Membership, consumers have spoken: I want my stuff now and I don’t want to pay a lot for the privilege.

While Amazon keeps the ball rolling on attempts at Amazon Prime Air drone delivery and has already experiments with same-day and even one-hour delivery in larger markets, Amazon’s newest shipping option will speak to those busy consumers who might not want to risk leaving their new high-end purchase sitting on their doorsteps while they’re at work.

Available for now only in Munich, Germany, and only to customers who own Audis, shipping partner DHL can now deliver your goods to the trunk of your car using GPS to find your car and the auto’s keyless entry code to open the trunk. Once the package is safely placed in the trunk, the car will automatically relock and the parcel will be waiting when you get there. If this trial proves beneficial, Amazon already has plans to work with other auto manufacturers and to offer the same type of service to customers in other cities.

It might seem like a cross between gimmicky customer service and an all-too-eerie Big Brother scenario–after all, Amazon not only has your personal information, your credit card number, and your purchase history, they now have the location and keycode to your car–but this type of shipping option stands to benefit both the environment and companies’ bottom lines. While the data isn’t present on how many times a purchased item is stolen while the customer isn’t home, that replacement item can easily cost the manufacturer, the retailer, and the shipping partner, which results in higher prices for consumers to make up that loss each year. And why burn the fuel to send a truck to every house when their cars may well be parked closer together?

However it works out as a viable shipping option, it is this kind of thinking that continues to keep Amazon on top. It might take off and other retailers might jump on board, or it might be the company’s next laughing stock. Either way, no one can accuse Amazon of thinking outside the box, especially when their job is the box.

Amazon’s Newest Delivery Option: the Trunk of Your Car is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Author Bullying Saga Just Got Real

Authors have existed pretty much since the dawn of the written word and, without a doubt, someone became a critic shortly after that. Unfortunately, whether the opinion of the critic is harsh or complimentary, someone will most likely take issue with it.

Author and reviewer “bullying” has taken on a life of its own in the past few years, and it’s led to some pretty crazy stories of bad behavior on both sides of the issue. Authors have been targeted by whole gangs of haters, some going so far as to allegedly prevent the publication of books by trashing it before it ever appears. At the same time, reviewers have faced nasty criticism by authors and their fans to the point that whole groups of rabid followers will make life miserable for a reviewer who dares to not like a book.

Through it all, unfortunately, is the reality that these opinions are no longer valid assessments of the book, but instead have become intentionally targeted attacks on the authors or reviewers as human beings. It’s enough that some consumers have stepped away from the book review space and refused to participate in reading or writing book reviews, all because their validity is now permanently smeared.

One of the more famous battles involves key moderators and reviewers on Goodreads and a site called That conflict has been covered extensively in international news outlets, and had actually been thought to have died down under Goodreads’ policy change that said inflammatory reviews that attack the author will be deleted from the site. It’s important to know that authors are also under scrutiny from the Goodreads leadership, and their accounts can be deleted for lashing out at reviewers who didn’t like their books.

The arguing, name calling, and finger pointing may have seemed like petty high school drama to some people, but one individual is taking the issue seriously. Rick Carufel, once a supporter of the STGRB website who has been accused of soliciting hackers to unearth the identities of online “trolls,”  has now filed a lawsuit against StopTheGRBulllies and individuals he believes are involved in the matter, including outspoken opponent of author bullying, Anne Rice.

In a press release by Carufel, he states, “Rice believes that anyone who disagrees with her are bullies and has repeatedly attacked the Amazon forum members. Recently she used a list from the hate website to target the Amazon forum members, specifically the Top Reviewers Forum, to her million fans using Facebook. Now she’s campaigning to have her fans dox anyone who disagrees with her, dubbing them notorious gangster bully thugs who need to have their personal lives exposed, attacked and damaged because they don’t agree with her. She has become a direct threat to my personal safety and that of others who use their own names. I no longer feel safe in my own home and dread every knock on the door.”

Rice, the 73-year-old bestselling author of titles such as Interview with the Vampire, Cry to Heaven, The Vampire Chronicles, and the recently published Prince LeStat, could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

“She seems to think she can harass, bully, threaten and terrorize people who disagree with her. I see her recent activity as being very close to domestic cyber-terrorism and illegal. She uses every possible device to harass and intimidate anyone with whom she disagrees. She professes to be a champion against online bullying but is the biggest bully of them all.”

Good e-Reader was able to reach a spokesperson for the STGRB website named in Carufel’s lawsuit, but the individual is unable to comment due to the ongoing litigation. She did state, however, that Carufel’s assertion that STGRB is owned and operated by a single individual, Melissa Douthit (who is also named in the suit), is untrue. The lawsuit has reportedly been filed in Minnesota Third District Court, and the plaintiff “has requested $10,000 personal damages for every time Ms. Rice endorses/d the hate website publicly since the email exchange between she and the plaintiff in May of 2014.

The Author Bullying Saga Just Got Real is a post from: Good e-Reader

Reviewing Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

I began reading the Princess Diaries series when I was a similar age to the book's awkward heroine, Princess Mia. Now, as an adult 15 years since the series was first released, I pounced on the opportunity to revisit this familiar character now that she is all grown up in the first adult installment of the series.

{021FEA67-2BBE-48E9-B31A-4199822864BE}Img400It's been five years since Meg Cabot's last book of the Princess Diaries series and with Royal Wedding, Princess Mia Thermopolis is back as a 26-year-old with a whole new set of adult problems.

Chronicled in the same diary format that longtime readers will know and love, Mia must now deal with paparazzi, death threats from stalkers, planning her upcoming nuptials to beau, Michael Moscovitz, and the revelation that she has a long-lost sister from a fling her father had 12 years ago.

The scandal could not come at a worse time as Mia's father, Prince Phillip, campaigns for Prime Minister of the European principality, Genovia. It seems Mia must step up and manage the family crisis, a wedding and all the other duties that being a royal entails.

This book is a fun read that I could not put down. It is filled with all the same characters from the teen years but instead of French class and prom, they're dealing with medical school, pop stardom or trying to pass the Bar exam. Don't worry, I haven't given away any spoilers since there are plenty of other twists and turns in this book that make it a delightful read.

I'm glad Meg Cabot decided to bring back this series with the knowledge that most of her readers have grown up alongside Mia. And that like high school, the real world brings its own set of problems and triumphs.

Royal Wedding will be available on June 2, 2015 but you can place a hold at your local library now! For Royal Wedding Read-alikes, check out these suggestions:


*BONUS: Younger readers are in luck since Cabot will release a new spinoff series that follows Princess Mia's long lost sister, Olivia. From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess chronicles 12 year old Olivia's life as she copes with transitioning from "normal" life to the life of a princess.


Emma Kanagaki is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Picademy South West

Next stop on the great Raspberry Pi Education Team Tour of Great Britain is the South West of England! That's right: we're taking Picademy, the offical Raspberry Pi Professional Development for course for Teachers, on the road again, thanks to our friends at Exeter Library in Devon! I'm already packing my bucket, spade and kiss-me-quick hat. As always, Picademy is completely free to attend.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 07.48.31

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators – April 2015 from cohort no. 8. All demonstrating their best super hero pose!

Exeter Library is an appealing venue for Picademy, with an onsite Fab Lab (fabrication workshop) equipped with laser cutters, 3D printers, and more. I expect we will see some fantastic project ideas realised on day two of the course. Maybe even 'Biscuits' the robot will get a shiny new hat courtesy of Clive's mega-making skills.

Picademy South West will take place on 4th and 5th June. We have space for 24 enthusiastic teachers from Primary, Secondary and Post-16 who are open to getting hands on with their learning and having some fun. We'd like to see lots of teachers from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset take full advantage of this two day event. Sign-ups for teachers are open!

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 07.42.31

Our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Map shows that the team are needed in the South West!

For educators in and around Leeds, remember that our Picademy@Google training events are open for sign-ups too, as we continue to spread free training opportunities across the UK. In the coming months we will announce other venues as part of the Google series.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Google Wants to Buy (and Protect) Your Patents


Anybody even halfway paying attention to the news these days will be familiar with patent-trolls and the never-ending quest for patent-owners seeking to protect their ideas from others wishing to capitalize on them. Google understands better than most, and wants to do their part to put an end to that ridiculous (and confusing, and expense, and frustrating) game. By creating a sort of patent marketplace, current patent-holders interested in selling their intellectual property rights can open a dialogue with Google (who just might be interested in buying it).

This patent purchase initiative is a little bit white knight (saving smaller innovators from the expense of possible patent-troll litigation while also making it more likely that good ideas have the requisite production power behind them)… but it’s not without benefit for Google if they can purchase inspiration and turn it into a resounding success.

It also shouldn’t be discounted, that a single patent may not hold much use to a company or individual –but it may be of significant assistance to a company like Google who could apply the innovation to another product or service already being developed.

Google will begin accepting patent holder submissions on May 8, 2015 and continuing until May 22, 2015. Anybody participating can expect a response by June 26, 2015 (with payout to follow sometime in late August 2015).

They may buy none. They may buy all. They may run this program once, again and again. It’s all an experiment.

It should go without saying that there are plenty of details included in the fine print –be sure to take a closer look before you make a decision regarding the future of your patent.

Google Wants to Buy (and Protect) Your Patents is a post from: Good e-Reader

Coating on Butterfly Wings Key to Reducing Screen Glare


Everybody with a smartphone or tablet understands how difficult it is to read your screen in direct sunlight (or other situations where glare comes into play). It’s one of the reasons I turn to my e-reader after all of this time, because at least it does a little better job –but there is no question that the resolution is lacking and it limits the usefulness of the device. Many manufacturers have tried and failed to conquer the glare-monster… when the solution may have been (literally) fluttering under our noses the entire time: a coating present on the wings of the glasswing butterfly.

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology discovered that the glasswing’s wings reflect very small amounts of light (due to pillar-like nanostructures, the details of which are far beyond what my non-biology-skilled brain can understand). Basically it all adds up to clarity coming from biological chaos –which we desperately need to find ways to duplicate. If (when) we do, the glass on our mobile devices should reduce glare and repel water.

It isn’t just smartphones and tablets that would benefit from this advance, consider other possibilities: watches (smart and otherwise), camera lenses, and especially eyeglass lenses (anybody else with a toddler out there will be especially excited to imagine a world with fewer smudges in their line of sight).

Coating on Butterfly Wings Key to Reducing Screen Glare is a post from: Good e-Reader

Making Sense of Messenger Add-On Apps


All kidding aside, social messaging is as popular as it is powerful. Many people are quick to joke that fans of technology love messaging between mobile devices entirely too much –pushing old fashioned telephone conversations toward extinction. Any grandparent living a distance from their grandchildren will tell you that this new style of messaging bridges gaps unlike any voice call ever could; sending photographs and videos is effortless and painless. Facebook gets it, and they want to dominate it. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference last month, their new Messenger platform was introduced (making it a little more obvious why the company invested billions in other technologies like Instagram and WhatsApp).

So what? Even though Facebook Messenger boasts over 600 million active users, it isn’t like there is a lack of popularity with other services (not the least of which being plain-old SMS ‘text messages’)… and sure, they have added other ‘value-added’ features like voice calling and location sharing… but they also have vision (and more importantly, platform independence).

So how do you win friends and influence people in this arena? Open things up for other developers and users to place their mark on the product, personalize it, and capitalize on the most popular social media platform available –while also making it independent and reasonably non-dependent (improving on both will prove critical to its long term success).

How does it work? By taking advantage of add-on apps, which thankfully are installed (and removed) using traditional app store methods and not using some bizarre in-app, convoluted process.

If you want to see how these things work, take a look at a few of my favourite add-on apps:

  • Ultratext for Messenger – Boasts being the fastest way to make a GIF message (customize and send your creations in under 5 seconds)!
  • GIF for Messenger – These developers want you to be able to quickly express just how much you love pizza (or that girl you have had your eye on, or that new song everybody is humming). Access your favourites again and again from your own library of recent creations.
  • EmoticonAR for Messenger – This add-on uses facial recognition to identify the mood of every person in your snapshot and match them against several built-in mood statuses: happy, sad, tired, great, wonderful, troubled, excited, blessed, loved and sexy.
  • Imoji for Messenger – Turn any image into a sticker!

As you can likely imagine, there are countless others I could point you toward –and it is just the beginning… my only hope is that the average users (above high school age) doesn’t go overboard. I like a clever GIF as much (or more) than anybody, but I may go a little crazy if suddenly every message I receive is cluttered with them.

Making Sense of Messenger Add-On Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

Chinese Smartphone Companies to get Worldwide Exposure from Qualcomm


Qualcomm is setting up a new business unit that will help Chinese smartphone makers with getting worldwide exposure.

Huawei and Xiaomi are getting a fair amount of attention in the Americas and Europe. Innovative new offerings have encouraged people to forgo mainstream brands like LG, HTC, Sony and Samsung.

Qualcomm is betting that it could find companies who have a compelling product, but lacks the ability to sell it overseas. Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president of Qualcomm China, stated that an office was set up in Shenzhen in early 2015 which will provide Chinese smartphone makers the ability to “connect with overseas markets:”

Qualcomm derives half its revenue from China and this is a market where having an office and local staff is critical. There are a number of notable phone companies and start-ups that could benefit from the global distribution network. But, Qualcomm is facing exterior forces that are maneuvering against them.

Qualcomm, which is the biggest maker of chips for smartphones, gets about 2/3 of its profits from licensing its wireless patents. That business model was the subject of a 15-month investigation by Chinese antitrust authorities, which analysts believe was prompted by several major Chinese smartphone makers complaining that Qualcomm was pricing its technology unfairly. This resulted in a landmark $975 million dollar fine and prompted Beijing to curb their reliance on foreign firms.

I think the only way Chinese phones can make an impact in the wider global market is if they have something to difference themselves from the competition. The OnePlus One is garnering a ton of media attention because it they feature an OS done by the CyanogenMod team. Firefox, Tizen and Sailfish are also going to be more popular in the coming years, so there is room to impact the market in an meaningful way and build brand identity.

Chinese Smartphone Companies to get Worldwide Exposure from Qualcomm is a post from: Good e-Reader

Good e-Reader Radio Show – Kobo Glo HD, Pocketbook Sense and Growing up

When I was a young lad growing up, the Scholastic Book Fair was instrumental for buying books. The company has tried to modernize to the smartphone generation by trying out various e-book platforms. Today during the show Michael talks about their attempts and what they are doing now.

There are some new e-readers coming out soon, the Kobo Glo HD and Pocketbook Sense. Are these models worth upgrading to?

Good e-Reader Radio Show – Kobo Glo HD, Pocketbook Sense and Growing up is a post from: Good e-Reader

Captivating Illustrations from 1906 Edition of War of the Worlds


Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa illustrated a number of drawings for the Belgian edition of H.G Wells classic, War of the Worlds.  Only 500 copies were ever made, primarily due to the artists untimely death at 34. The art is currently up for auction and is captivating the publishing world due to his terrifying take on the aliens.


H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds. Wells' tale preyed upon turn-of-the-century fears about the apocalypse and other Victorian superstitions (and social prejudices) about the unknown. Corrêa's fantastical, murky style is fitting of Wells' dark themes. The Martian fighting machines resemble frightening legions of massive spiders


These illustrations are especially riveting for people who live near water towers in their towns.  Imagine looking up to those water towers and hear the tripod horn blast from the movie.


Captivating Illustrations from 1906 Edition of War of the Worlds is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo to Exclusively Publish Jian Ghomeshi e-book


Kobo has picked up the exclusive digital publishing rights to the upcoming title, Jian Ghomeshi – Secret Life. The book will reveal details and background info about the superstar radio interviewer, his tell-tale past and how his actions conspired to getting fired from his post at CBC Radio One.

Jian had a spectacular fall from grace, amidst heavy controversy on his personal life. The upcoming title will be penned by Toronto Star investigative reporter Kevin Donovan, and is slated for release in late June.

In an industry first, the book will be published by Kobo, which will offer the digital version, and ECW Press, one of Canada’s most diversified independent publishers, which will offer the print version to the North American marketplace.

Kobo to Exclusively Publish Jian Ghomeshi e-book is a post from: Good e-Reader