As a book lover, you might find it hard to take the plunge when it comes to switching to an e-Reader. What you might not realize, however, is that e-Readers come with their own set of unique benefits that can be quite useful and exciting for avid readers. If you're getting ready to "turn the page" and upgrade your methods of reading, here are five good reasons you might want to consider when it comes to investing in an e-Reader.
Most e-Readers are small and lightweight, which makes them easily portable. Who hasn't felt the regret of packing their bag full of books for travel, class, or an afternoon lounging in a park or on the beach? While you may enjoy collecting physical, printed books, having to carry your collection around with you can be taxing. Plus, if you've ever had difficulty deciding exactly which books to take with you, being able to effortlessly carry hundreds will permanently eliminate that problem. E-Readers are also very convenient for public transportation. They're easy to operate with one hand, so you won't have to let go of a subway pole or handrail to turn the page (and risk toppling over off balance in the process!).
If you're the type who likes to take notes and bookmark certain parts of your novel, an e-Reader makes this easier than ever, without ruining your book with pencil marks and dog eared pages. EReaders also make it easy to search through the text, easily jump to whichever page you want, and bookmark different pages. As PCMag notes, many eReaders have touch screen keyboards, which have a more user-friendly, intuitive flow, and make it even easier to take notes or run searches while reading books. You can also easily look up the definitions for words you don't recognize, as eReaders often have built in dictionaries. You might eventually see even more reading-enhancing features in the future, as well– More interactive digital novel formats might be on the way, as Tech Radar points out that creative publishers might soon begin to experiment further with the eBook format and its technological potentials.
Books on Demand
Can't decide what to read on any given day? With an e-Reader, you won't have to, as you'll have all of your books available on demand at your fingertips. Cloud storage is popular and convenient nowadays, and with an eReader, you'll be able to store all of the books you've downloaded in your personal cloud. This not only creates a backup, but also allows you to access your entire library of books—and gives you the option to purchase and download even more—anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Is there a new installment of your favorite series out, or did your favorite author release a new book? Do you just really want the new issue of a particular magazine? You don't have to get up and lug yourself to a bookstore in order to get it. Everyone loves instant gratification, and when it comes to books, an e-Reader is exactly the way to get it.
Privacy – No, Really!
With an e-Reader, nobody will know what you're reading, which means that you don't have to feel bashful for picking up that saucy romance novel, or for delving into that far-out conspiracy theory book you otherwise wouldn't want to be caught dead with. On a more serious note, The Conversation also points out that older or otherwise visually impaired readers often aren't able to easily read printed books, as they aren't always available in accessible formats. Since eReaders allow you to change the size and color of the text, you'll be able to adjust it in a way that makes books easy and enjoyable to read, without the stress. If you don't want others to know that viewing printed text is challenging for you, an e-Reader could be the solution.
A Slew of Extra Features
E-Readers aren't just for reading books anymore. Purchasing an eReader is bound to give you access to many other extra features, including the ability to take photos, listen to music, use GPS services, or even browse the web. Some eReaders even have apps that can help you enhance your productivity; there's a Nook eReader that comes equipped with Microsoft Office, for example. Creating and editing documents, reports, or just taking notes on what you're reading has never been easier that what today's e-Reader technology allows.
Feeling hesitant about switching to an e-Reader is understandable, but the benefits of technology do outweigh the sadness of leaving physical books behind. Besides, there's no rule that says you can't have both! In today's changing technological landscape, however, an eReader seems like the logical next step for the avid reader. It might just be the next best gadget you never realized you needed.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Barnes and Noble is teasing a new Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook tablet on their developer page. This will be the second tablet that the bookseller will release in 2015 after the 8 inch Samsung Galaxy S2 4 Nook came out earlier in the month.
I think Barnes and Noble will likely be releasing the 9.7 inch edition of the Samsung Galaxy S2 that came out at the beginning of September. This is the only other tablet that Samsung has released recently, so it makes sense that Barnes and Noble will start selling this model too.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 9.7 inch will retail at all Barnes and Noble Bookstores for $499! Who will be able to afford it? Has Barnes and Noble finally lost their minds? I keep hoping for a turnaround from the bookseller, but they keep pumping out more expensive hardware. What ever happened to the tablets they used to make that cost less than $200 and everyone bought one?
It is very interesting that Barnes and Noble has the Nook Glowlight Plus e-reader ready to launch and but they intend on releasing yet another tablet first. Then again, maybe they will announce them both at the same time.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 at a glance
Audiobook consumption is at an all time high thanks to the sheer number of titles currently available. In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible. One of the most popular methods to consume digital audio is via subscription services such as Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Scribd. Is there a future for unlimited streaming audio or is it just a flash in the pan?
Scribd initially got into audiobooks back in 2014 when they ironed out an agreement with Findaway World to include over 30,000 titles. They expanded their network in April of 2015 with directly fetching audiobooks from major publishers. The company had a minor setback last month because people were listening to them in such great numbers that they were failing to generate a profit. They pivoted from unlimited listening to allowing members to have access to a single audiobook per month and users have the ability to purchase more credits.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited may get a lot of attention with their extensive e-book collection but in 2014 that added over 2,000 audiobook titles. They currently have the smallest pool of titles to choose from, but they managed to make it work.
Major publishers are very apprehensive about the unlimited subscription model when it comes to e-books and audiobooks. Tim Hely Hutchinson, chief of Hachette UK simply sees the current generation of e-book websites as not being viable. ""people are always pitching new models to me, and the first thing I say is that the existing model works really well. I don't believe in subscription. I don't see how it would do anything other than cannibalize the business we already have. I know other people take a different view. Within the limits of the law, I hope [HarperCollins UK c.e.o.] Charlie Redmayne will explain it to me, because I don't get it." Neither is he interested in selling direct—"I don't think the consumer wants it. The last thing I think we should be doing it undermining our customers, the retailers."
Audiobooks.com does not have an unlimited subscription model but they have been in the business for a really long time. This has afforded them a unique prospective on the inner workings of the industry and recently GM Ian Small sat down with Good e-Reader for an exclusive interview.
Many e-book subscription sites have dabbled in audio, but have since scaled back, because of the market demand and high costs, making it unprofitable, what are your thoughts?
I think the audiobook listener is a rather unique customer to satisfy. Offering an extensive catalogue and a convenient but effective way to listen to the books are not the easiest solutions to provide. I think some organizations might underestimate how competitive the audiobook market has become. If you're not able to offer an excellent customer experience at a competitive price, and meet the consumers overall high expectations, you'll lose them.
Amazon continues to offer a small audiobook library of around 2,500 titles in their unlimited platform, how is Amazon succeeding at this, but others are failing?
I don't want to speak on Amazon's behalf because I don't work for the company but as someone familiar with the industry my suspicions would be that by enforcing such a strict limit on the catalogue offering they're able to control their costs substantially. It's also not a standalone service but one of many product offerings Amazon provides so it doesn't need to generate a level of profitability that other companies may require for it to be successful. Let's be honest, Amazon is usually more concerned about selling shares than how they sell books.
Is there a future in an all-you-can-eat audiobook service?
Yes, I absolutely believe so. I'm a big champion of the model. There are many stakeholders involved with audiobooks – Authors, narrators, publishers, customers, and retailers so it's going to take some time (and obviously trial and error) to find a model that works for all parties involved. But it is becoming more commonplace for the consumer to enjoy their digital media in this capacity. There are perceptions of other industries that are currently using the "all you can eat" model and that it has not worked out favorably for all parties involved (see the music studios). So I understand the reluctance to completely dive in and deviate from existing retail models. It's going to take some time and a little tweaking to get it right for audiobooks.
Why is the unlimited model a broken business strategy from an industry insider's perspective? Can you please give me your thoughts on this and the reasons why it's broken?
I wouldn't say it's broken, I would say that we're at a pretty important and defining crossroad right now. We're trying to find a model that can expand the market and lower the barrier for consumers to enjoy audiobooks while trying to avoid mistakes that have happened in other markets and their rights holders. It's a learning process (albeit an expensive one) to figure out what doesn't work, and then build on what does.
Readers who’ve been with us since the beginning of this year might remember Bernd Krolla’s beautiful and elegant Raspberry Pi-based Wordclock. Since we last wrote about it, Bernd and friends have continued to work on the project, and they’ve added a few new features, which Bernd introduces here.
The main change since January is that all the Wordclock’s software is now plugin-based. By default it uses one that indicates the time in words; other plugins allow other display functionality, with a new menu button to switch between them. A number of new plugins use the Wordclock’s letters as pixels to display low-res images and animations: you can view sunrise and sunset along with appropriate time information, the current phase of the Moon, and a basic local weather forecast with icons.
The coolest plugin, in Bernd’s opinion and in ours too, is by new project co-author Markus, and lets you play a classic ’80s game.
Bernd and the rest of the team would like as many people as possible to experience the joy of Wordclock, so you can find all the code used on GitHub, and there’s comprehensive documentation covering both the hardware and the software the project uses. If you want to optimise a Wordclock layout for a different language (or a different shape of display), Miniature Giant Space Hamster’s instructions are the place to start.
e-Books have been dramatically increasing in cost to the consumer ever since publishes have gained the ability to dictate their own price. Some people have called this phenomenon predatory pricing, devised to put the bulk of digital bookstores out of business. In a recent keynote with the Book Industry Study Group, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy proclaimed she doesn’t have a problem with high prices.
Despite predictions that e-books might reach 50% of all book sales, Reidy said e-books sales have slowed and are likely to settle at about "25% to 30%" of total book sales. Although initially e-books helped jump backlist sales, Reidy said, "not anymore," noting that "the novelty has worn off." She said now "there are fewer readers" entering in the digital category and said the slowing growth in e-book sales have pushed publishers back to "highlighting books as beautiful physical objects."
Asked if the higher pricing of e-books, in the wake of publishers' new agency agreements with Amazon, had also figured in the slowdown of e-book sales, Reidy noted that in the wake of publisher settlements over e-book price-fixing charges in the case with Apple, "I'm not supposed talk about pricing, " but added that “our data says that our pricing is effective."
The Chinese market has been very appealing towards companies heavily involved in selling digital content, such as e-books. Amazon has been the only mainstream company to successfully enter the market and encourage adoption of their Kindle bookstore. The Seattle company is poised to have some real competition as Apple has announced that they brought their iBooks system to China.
The iBooks Store offers customers a wide selection of both paid and free Chinese language books from top local publishers, including "Big Head Son & Little Head Dad" by Zheng Chunhua, "The Family Belongings of Chinese People" by Ma Hongjie, and for the first time in China, Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series will be available in a digital format. Purchased books are available anytime on customers' Apple devices.
Apple will likely see moderate success in the Chinese market that has often been accused of being heavily fragmented. There are a number of industries in the hunt for e-book revenues: online retailers, hardware manufacturers, social networks, telecom operators, search engines and even traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Public libraries have always played a vital role in the communities they serve. The changing needs and demands of patrons have led to a physical evolution of libraries, including an increase in group work spaces, expanded computer and internet access and dedicated kids and teens hangout areas. Concurrent with this physical transformation has been a change in the way libraries deliver books to readers, with 90 percent now offering digital content to complement thier print resources.
In advance of the American Library Association's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, OverDrive, the leading eBook and audiobook platform for libraries, conducted an end user survey from June 26-July 15, 2015. Administered via library websites, the survey collected input from 16,756 respondents. This report will utilize this data to examine the positive effect the shift to digital content has had on the role of libraries in their communities by helping attract new readers, serve existing patrons better and reach beyond their physical walls.
|Amazon’s new lineup of Fire tablets officially get released today, with the first wave of orders arriving at customers’ doors. So there’s no better time for a roundup of free Kindle ebooks to help load up on some content for these new devices. And don’t forget about Amazon Underground for a ton of free apps. […]|
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Pronoun is a new company launched by the folks at Vook. They want to convince indie authors that they are a better alternative to LULU, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life and Smashwords. How can a startup basically come out of nowhere and be a compelling value proposition for digitally savvy authors? Simple, they will put you in every major online store and give you 100% of all the royalties.
Pronoun knew they had to present a better alternative to most of the major online bookstores, which only pay authors between 60% or 70% per each sale. The sales should be fairly steady, as Pronouns distribution network includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.
Authors do not need to be skeptical about Pronouns intentions. They are a profitable company without dipping into the pockets of authors. Pronoun just raised $3.5 million in new funding from Avalon Ventures, so they have enough to remain in business. They also have big clients such as the New York Times, Forbes, and Fast Company who pay them for their real-time data and analytics service that stemmed from the Vook acquisition of Booklr.
Pronoun is not only appealing to authors but has picked up some allies in the formation of their company. Stefan Pepe, who formerly served as Director of Amazon's North American books division, had joined its Board of Advisers at Pronoun. Stefan previously held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga.
I think Pronoun is a safe bet for indie authors. They have an online digital e-book creator suite that can create cover art and insure everything from table of contents to mobile readiness can be established. They are utilizing their real-time data service to monitor sales and report them faster than anyone else. Hell, they even throw in a free ISBN number so your books aren’t relegated to the shadow realm.
The digital book publishing platform for authors, announced today a $3.5 million investment from Avalon Ventures. This venture capital financing closely follows the announcement of Pronoun's new book publishing platform, which uses technology and data to empower authors to create, distribute, and market their books while controlling all intellectual property rights and keeping 100% of earnings.
With this financing, Pronoun is further developing its technology and data analytics, creating a viable alternative to the exclusions and restrictions of traditional publishing as well as to the complexity, limitations, and high costs of self-publishing for authors.
"At Pronoun our mission is to put the author at the core of everything we create," said Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer of Pronoun. "This funding allows us to continue building a team of people who sincerely value authors and their books, and to deepen our commitment to providing authors with free and meaningful tools, resources, and capabilities."
Major media companies, brands, and bestselling authors, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Jon Krakauer, Jodi Picoult, and Nick Hornby, have published more than 7,000 titles on Pronoun's digital book creation and distribution platform. Pronoun's proprietary data and analytics engine, which tracks performance, customer behavior, and pricing statistics on more than 5 million books each day, helps authors find and reach their audience for the lifetime of their books.
Pronoun joins Avalon Ventures' successful investment portfolio in digital media, which includes Zynga, Simulmedia, Tapad, and Bookbub. Avalon Ventures partners Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann join Pronoun's Board of Directors in conjunction with leading this investment.
"Book publishing remains a multibillion dollar industry and an important part of our media culture, but its infrastructure and business model is trapped in an analog world. We believe there's a massive opportunity to rethink how publishing works and operates,” said Rich Levandov, Partner, Avalon Ventures. "As an investor, I look for companies and teams that are not only willing to be first movers, but that stand up for, and empower, creators. We invested in Pronoun because, like us, this team believes the future of publishing will be driven by technology, data, and a model that puts authors first."
In addition to Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann, Elisabeth DeMarse, Chairman and CEO of TheStreet, joins Pronoun's Board of Directors. DeMarse also sits on the board of AppNexus, and brings with her more than two decades of operational experience in traditional and digital media. Pronoun also welcomes Amazon veteran Stefan Pepe to its Board of Advisors. Pepe formerly served as Director of Amazon's North American books division, and held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga. He is also a board director at Domino Media Group.
"I spent a decade at Amazon as digital technology transformed the publishing landscape," said Pepe. "I am excited for a new phase of innovation, and Pronoun's emphasis on technology and data, paired with the team's unparalleled focus on the author, uniquely positions the company to create a better model for book publishing."
Pronoun is a digital publishing platform that empowers every author to create and distribute beautiful digital books, own and control their work and their rights, and receive 100% of their earnings – all for free. Pronoun is based in New York City. It is backed by several leading venture capital firms, including Avalon Ventures, Floodgate, Tribeca Venture Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective, Felicis Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and SV Angel.
Kobo has been actively developing a loyalty program for the last six months. The idea was to reward people who bought e-books with credit, that can be used to get free content. Today, Kobo officially announced Superpoints.
Kobo SuperPoints rewards you with 100 points for every $10 you spend on e-books and digital magazines. You can use the virtual currency to get free e-books, the average title costs around 2,400 points and there are over a million of them to select from. If you manage to accrue 4,500 points you can enroll yourself in the Kobo VIP program which saves you 10% off everything in their bookstore and you can also select one free e-book a year. If over four thousand points is a bit daunting, you can spend $10 as a one time fee and become a VIP member.
At certain times during the year Kobo has promised that they will run “Bonus Days” which will reward double the credits on everything in the store. Likely they will do this at certain times of the year, such as Christmas, Halloween and Mothers Day.
I think Kobo did something really great with this loyalty program. It rewards people who read the most with discounts and free books.
Google announced plenty of new devices today at an exclusive event in San Francisco. The phones are made by LG and are dubbed the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Likely, one of the coolest new offerings is a a 10.2-inch tablet with USB-C that starts at $499. And instead of running Chrome OS, the Pixel C runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Both of the new Google Phones will come with a free 90-day subscription to Google Play Music, and if you’re pre-ordering in the US you’ll also get $15 Google Play credit. Also available only for US customers is Nexus Protect ($69), which extends the standard one-year warranty to two years for mechanical breakdown and accidental damage. You can get a replacement phone the next day.
Nexus 5X Review
Nexus 6P Review
Pixel C Review
Youth in the United Kingdom are not very enamored with the entire concept of reading on a e-reader, smartphone or tablet. The first survey from a new company called YouthSight asked 1,000 people what type of medium they regularly employed to read novels. 64% said they preferred print books, while 16% said e-books.
When it comes to electronic reading devices, nearly half of all of those surveyed (43%) said they read using their smartphones. The next most popular device was a Kindle, used by 34%, then iPad (27%), laptop (23%), other tablet (19%), desktop computer (3%).
The majority (64%) said less than £3 is the right price for an e-book, whilst 26% said they would be willing to pay between £3 and £5.
|Kobo has just launched a new promotion called Kobo Super Points. Basically customers earn Super Points when purchasing ebooks and magazines that can be used to get free ebooks. There are two levels to the program. One that’s free for all customers to use (Super Points automatically accumulate with each purchase). And there’s an upgraded […]|
At OverDrive we know a few things for certain: 1) #BannedBooksWeek is awesome and 2) offering your users customized curated collections is a great way to boost your circulation. Why not marry those two undeniable facts by creating a #BannedBooksWeek curated collection for you site today! We’ve even done the hard work for you. At overdrive.com you’ll find some of our favorite banned books in a collection you can sample and share and then, when you’re ready to purchase check out this complete list of over four hundred banned and challenged books in Marketplace. In fact, adding all of these titles is a great way to boost the value and variety of your library offerings.
We’re also celebrating #BannedBooksWeek by using the hashtag on social media to share some “mug shots” of Team OverDrive getting caught reading banned books. We’re also giving away two devices a day to the first person who answers our banned books trivia correctly so make sure your users are following @OverDriveLibs for their chance to win! If we can let you in on a little secret, we actually read banned books all year along (*gasp*) but this week we get to shout that pride from the digital mountain tops. Join in the fun and give your users a whole new collection to discover because if it’s worth being banned it’s definitely worth reading!
The largest electronics retailer in Australia JB Hi-Fi started selling digital books two years ago. Things haven’t been going so well for them and they announced that on September 30th they will be shutting down the JB Hi-Fi Now ebook store.
The company is the midst of emailing all of the customers who have registered an account on the platform or have bought an e-book.
Toronto based Kobo has picked up the contract for the users and all JB Hi-Fi Now purchased will be transferred over to the Kobo ecosystem. JB is also giving everyone a free $10 credit that they can use to buy any digital book they want from Kobo. If you have any questions about the transfer to another bookstore JB Hi-Fi hascreated an FAQ page with 11 questions on the transfer from NOW eBooks to Kobo.
Kobo has an extensive track record of swooping down on companies about to go out of business and somehow works out a financial arrangement to buy the users. They did it with Blinkbox books, a UK bookseller that was run by the supermarket chain Tesco. But perhaps Kobo’s biggest triumph was when they took over millions of users from Sony, when the Reader Store went out of business in North America, Europe and Australia.
It is not very surprising that yet another digital bookstore is going out of business. Worldwide e-book sales have plummeted over the last two years and it seems as though the format is being deliberately sabotaged by the publishers.
Jessie is here? Who’s Jessie? Wasn’t she the cowgirl doll in “Toy Story 2” – you know, the one who got abandoned in a park to that Sarah McLachlan song, resulting in at least one software engineer finding he had something in his eye at that point…?
Yes, it is that Jessie, but not in that context. The Raspbian operating system is based on Debian Linux, and the different versions of Debian are named after characters from the “Toy Story” films. Recent versions of Raspbian have been based on Debian Wheezy (the penguin who’s lost his squeaker in “Toy Story 2”), but Raspbian has now been updated to the new stable version of Debian, which is called Jessie.
So what’s new?
Many of the changes between Wheezy and Jessie are invisible to the end-user. There are modifications to the underlying system to improve performance and flexibility, particularly as regards the control of system processes, and as with any update, there are numerous bug fixes and tweaks. And at the same time as the upgrade to Jessie, we’ve added a bunch of changes and improvements to the desktop user interface.
Look and feel
The first thing anyone starting the new Jessie image from scratch will notice is that the default behaviour is to boot straight to the desktop GUI, not to the Linux command line. This was a decision taken because this is the expected behaviour for all modern computers; the default interface for a personal computer in 2015 is a desktop GUI, not just text on a screen. It is still possible to set the Pi to boot to the command line for people who prefer that – just toggle the relevant setting in the Raspberry Pi Configuration application described below.
When the desktop launches, you might notice some slight tweaks to the appearance of things like menus, check boxes and radio buttons. This is because the appearance of Raspbian is now based on version 3 of GTK+, the user interface toolkit used for the LXDE desktop environment. The older version 2 of GTK+ is slowly being replaced with version 3 in many applications, so this change was inevitable at some point – the new appearance isn’t a huge change, but does look slightly more modern. Many of the applications in Raspbian are still using GTK+ version 2, but the PiX theme for GTK+2 has been changed to bring it into line with that for GTK+3.
You’ll notice on the menu bar that there is now an eject icon at the top right – this is a new plug-in that allows USB drives and the like to be safely ejected without the risk of losing data. It’s slightly risky to just pull out a USB drive, particularly if you have just copied a file to it, as the system manages the write to a drive in the background, and the write takes a finite amount of time. If you pull the drive out before the write has finished, you’ll corrupt the file and lose data – clicking the eject icon and then selecting the drive to remove waits for any pending writes to complete and then prompts that it is safe to remove the drive.
One of our main aims with regard to Raspberry Pi is not just to make it a great cheap computer for education, but also to make it a great cheap computer in its own right. To this end, we want to make it possible to use a Pi to do the sort of things you’d do on a Mac or a PC, so we’re including some more applications that we think people will find useful. In this release, we have added the LibreOffice suite and Claws Mail.
LibreOffice is a full-featured office suite which is compatible with Microsoft Office files – it includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, vector drawing and database programs, all of which should feel familiar to anyone used to using Office. It has had some optimisation for Pi, and runs pretty well, particularly on Pi 2.
Claws Mail is an email client for those of us who are old-fashioned enough to prefer not to do email through a browser – it supports all common email protocols, and offers all the functionality of a standalone mail client like Windows Mail or Thunderbird.
There are also two new applications in the Programming category – these are two new environments for writing Java applications, called BlueJ and Greenfoot (from the University of Kent and Oracle). If you’re interested in learning Java, or already a Java programmer, have a look at them. There are some sample projects for both in the /home/pi/Documents directory.
Settings and configuration
There are a couple of new settings dialogs in this release, found under the Preferences entry in the main menu. The first is Raspberry Pi Configuration – this is a GUI version of the old raspi-config command-line application, which provides all the same functionality in a nicer interface. (The old raspi-config is still on the system and can be accessed from the command line by typing “sudo raspi-config”, but it shouldn’t be necessary to do so any more.)
The new Raspberry Pi Configuration allows you to enable and disable interfaces, tweak performance and configure internationalisation options, such as timezone and keyboard. It also allows some more control over boot options than was available in the past, with the option to automatically log in as the “pi” user available when booting to both CLI and desktop.
There is a new keyboard setting dialog, accessed from the Localisation tab, but hopefully many people won’t need this – the system will detect some common keyboards sold for use with Pi and set up the GUI keyboard driver correctly. If that doesn’t happen, it’s now easy to choose the right country and keyboard type in this dialog.
The other new setting dialog is the Main Menu Editor. This is a Pi version of a menu editor called Alacarte, written in Python – this should make it easier for people to add or remove items to the main menu. (And, by popular demand, the Other menu is back on the system – but it will now only appear if applications are installed that don’t appear in any other categories…)
There are updates to several of the applications that used to come with Raspbian. There are new versions of Scratch, Sonic Pi, and the Epiphany web browser; none of these have changed fundamentally in operation, but they all include bug fixes and performance improvements.
Support has been added for some of the new Pi peripherals that have been released recently, including the Sense HAT as used in Astro Pi – this is now supported under Scratch and Python.
Python users used to have to launch Python with sudo in order to allow access to the GPIO lines – Python can now access GPIOs as a standard user. Also for Python, the Pygame Zero game environment is installed by default – have a look at pygame-zero.readthedocs.org for information on what it can do.
One final small thing – if you want to get a screenshot of your Pi, just press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. A PNG file will be put in your home directory, thanks to the (slightly strangely named) scrot utility.
Where can I get it?
This is a major version upgrade – due to the large number of changes to the underlying operating system, we strongly recommend using Jessie from a clean image, so you’ll need to download a new Jessie image from the downloads page on our site.
Starting with a clean image is the recommended way to move to Jessie. If you really need to update a Wheezy image, we have tried an unsupported upgrade path which is documented on the forums here. This has been shown to work on a vanilla Wheezy image, but we can’t predict what effect it may have on any packages or data that you have installed, so this is very much at your own risk. Feel free to add your experiences and improvements to the upgrade process to the forum so others can benefit.
As ever, your feedback on the release is very much welcome – do add a comment below, and I’ll try to respond to as many as I can.
One of the seldom mentioned centerpieces to iOS 9, is a new system wide font called San Francisco, which replaces Helvetica Neue. Apple has mandated that this new font will be unifying every device from the Apple Watch to the MAC. Developers now have access to San Francisco, giving them the ability to use it in all of their apps.
Helvetica, was created in Switzerland in 1957, when there were no digital devices. Helvetica is widely used by many companies as the corporate type even now, and no doubt it will be used in the future as a great classic font.
San Francisco, on the other hand, is a modern font. It will change the typefaces dynamically according to the context. It is a kind of "Digital Native" fonts for the digital age.
Apple is not the only company to develop and release a major new font that was designed for multiple pieces of hardware. Amazon generated a new font that was designed for an e-reading experience called Bookerly a few months ago, while Google crafted a new font that replaces Droid Serif and is very noticeable when you are reading an e-book from Google Play Books.
I think anyone who has an e-reader, digital comic or magazine app on iOS should start to use Apples new font. The key reason is so that your app remains modern and does not break immersion.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Many serious readers have dreamed about either living in a bookstore or sleeping overnight. You can read whatever you want having access to thousands of books, magazines and newspapers. A bookstore in Japan has listened and are in the process of organizing a sleepover.
According to Rocknews “a little over a year ago, someone in Japan tweeted that they would "love to live in Junkudo", one of the country's largest book store chains. Little did they know that someone at that very company would not only see the tweet but organized a sleepover called "Try Living in Junkudo."
The bookstore has an online application if you are interested in checking out. There will be a grand total of 10 lucky people (five pairs) to spend the night inside the Sennichimae Junkudo store in Osaka. The event will occur on October 31st and will last the entire night. Best of all, it will cost absolutely nothing to spend the night, but you will be expected to buy at least three books or magazines.
If you have ever downloaded an app or game from Google Play before that is larger than 50 MB you often need to download an expansion file. This is all going to change with a new update to Google Play that will let developers submit apps that are 100 MB or less that don’t require an OBB file.
Many people have a large disdain for apps that are not ready to play as soon as they are downloaded. The increase from 50 MB to 100 MB will be a boon for app developers who struggle to keep things under the limits and often forgo adding critical features that the community wants.
The increase in size might be good for developers but it will certainly increase the amount of space apps take up in your lower end phones or tablets in the future. I know plenty of people who can only install a few apps on their phone before they have to uninstall some stuff for every new app they want to install. This change also will likely encourages bad code and overall bloat.
Young children are quite enamored with story time in the evening, but parents are finding it hard to meet their needs. When parents do read to their kids, they tend to back off when their young ones become independent readers.
A recent survey, by YouGov for the children's publisher Scholastic, revealed last week that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn't ready to lose their bedtime story. The study found that 83% of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents.
Life is busy and sometimes parents don’t have time to read to their children. 2,000 parents responded to a survey that was produced by Settle Stories, an arts and heritage charity. The data stated that only 4% read a bedtime story to their child every night, with 69% saying they did not have the time. In February a study by TomTom of 1,000 parents of children aged one to 10 found that 34% never read a bedtime story to their children, with 29% blaming late working and 26% the daily commute.
Reading to your child establishes stronger bonds and promotes a love for reading. The last thing you want, as a parent, is the classroom to be the first place where a child has access to books.
The video below introduces an unsual sound art piece based on a Raspberry Pi. Named Ra – as in the sun god of the ancient Egyptians – it’s a little like a record player, except that it doesn’t play records; instead, it “plays” pyrite discs, a rare kind of mineral deposit. Its creator is Dmitry Morozov, a “Russian media-artist, musician and engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms.” He describes Ra as a sound object/synthesizer.
Usually, pyrite, or fool’s gold, forms cuboid crystals. But in coal mines near Sparta, Illinois (and nowhere else on Earth, so far as anyone knows), it forms discs with grooves radiating out from the centre, and these are known as pyrite dollars or pyrite suns. Ra uses a laser to scan the surface of a pyrite disc as it is turned, and represents the mineral’s superficial irregularities as sound.
Dmitry was inspired to create this piece of sound art by his reading about the preservation of the earliest sounds recorded in fragile media such as wax. The projects he was learning about all used lasers, and he set out to make his own laser sound reader that would be able to produce sound from unorthodox irregular surfaces.
A DIY laser pickup “reads” the surface of the pyrite as it is turned by a stepper motor. Its output is passed to a Raspberry Pi which synthesizes it and applies various filters and effects, and plays the resulting sound through a single speaker. Ten control knobs and nine switches allow a user to alter the speed and direction of the disc’s motion and the parameters of the sound synthesis and processing carried out by the Raspberry Pi. There’s a little more information on Dmitry’s website, and the object itself is in the Sound Museum in St Petersburg.
As you’ll have heard if you played the video above with sound, the audio representation that Ra makes of the patterns in the material is an eerie cinematic sci fi-like soundtrack with with long, sustained tones interspersed with short and distinctive motifs of rhythm and melody that alter as they repeat. It’s unexpectedly appealing, to me at least, and leaves me wondering what the synthesizer would make of other substrates.
Amazon is in the process of disabling their Send to Kindle functionality on competing bookstores. The Seattle company recently changed their terms of service that is having a reverberating effect on the e-book industry.
Last March Amazon augmented their cloud system that requires users to subscribe to Prime in order to store photos and video. If you are not a Prime member, it costs $11.99 per year. When this new system went live Amazon changed their their terms of service for a number of things, which included a new clause that bars 3rd party companies from using "Send to Kindle" or “Send to Email".
The terms now state "You may not charge directly or indirectly to distribute content via the Service. You may not use the Service to send infringing, unauthorized, or otherwise illegal content."
Amazon is using the augmentation to the TOS to suspend the ability or to impose arbitrary limits on how much content can be delivered to your Kindle e-Reader, Fire tablet or any of their apps.
The entire 3rd party book selling industry has been feeling the effects of Amazon. A couple of months ago Baen Books announced that they no longer could send e-books to the Kindle and a small time later The Pragmatic Bookshelf said the same thing. Today, O’Reily is the latest company to proclaim that Amazon has disabled them.
O’Reily has stated on their website that this is the last day they have the ability to deliver paid content to the Kindle. In order to cushion the blow they are having a 50% sale on everything in their store.
I don’t have any confirmation, but considering some ecosystems such as Netgalley or Smashwords can deliver e-books to the Kindle, but some companies can’t, leads me to believe that Amazon is adopting a favored nation policy or are licensing access to Send to Kindle in return for money.
Library Wars demonstrates the future of the libraries role in Japan in the year 2020. This new short film is a precursor to much larger cinematic experience that is entitled Library Wars: The Last Mission and will open in Japan on October 10.
This short film does not require you to watch anything in advance. The premise is actually fairly interesting. A new law threatens to clamp down on freedom of expression. Iku Kasahara joins the Library Defense Force, a military unit dedicated to protecting books from being confiscated. You can think of it as a romantic comedy that is cenetred around the lives of people working in a library.
I would recommend checking out this nine minute short film, it was composed with no dialog and just has music and subtitles.
|Ever since Amazon released their new 10-inch Android tablet, the Fire HD 10, I’ve been saying that it isn’t a good buy. There are better tablets on the market for the money, namely the Lenovo Tab 2 A10 tablet. I just posted a Lenovo Tab 2 10 review a couple days ago, and there’s no […]|
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Self-published authors are facing major difficulties in selling their e-books online. Many bookstores are closing or scaling back and Amazon changed the rules for their Kindle Unlimited program, paying authors by pages read instead of when a book is opened. What is an author to do?
Oyster announced last week that they were closing their company in early 2016 and most of the company founders were hired to work at Google Play Books. Oyster had raised over $17 million in two years and was unable to make the Netflix for e-books concept work. Their investors were unwilling to give them more time to pivot the company in a different direction so they sold everything to Google. Oyster, as many of you know was one of Smashwords clients.
Last month Scribd proclaimed that they were losing money on the Romance and other categories and responded by banishing over 200,000 self-published books. They plan on still maintaining a robust catalog of romance books and will manually add and remove books to keep that section fresh. Almost every other genre though will be a victim of the "great self-publishing purge of 2015."
Google Play Books used to be a viable option for self-published authors, but due to rampant abuse of their Partner Program the company decided to halt all new registrations until they could put mechanisms in place to prevent piracy.
If you haven’t heard about piracy problems facing Play Books, you can read all about it HERE. Suffice to say fake authors such as Flamanca Hollanda have posted a ton of books and generated thousands of dollars in sales, which Google gets a cut. Upon closer inspection these books were really written by legitimate authors such as Sylvia Day, Orson Scott Card or Tom Clancy.
Earlier in the year Amazon changed the way authors were paid out who participated in Kindle Unlimited, which is their Netflix for e-books subscription program. Users pay a small monthly fee and have access to over a hundred thousand e-books, primarily from independent authors. In order for an author to enroll themselves in KU, they need to participate in Kindle Direct Publishing Select, which grants Amazon exclusivity on a participating e-book. Basically, it means that you can’t sell an enrolled title on Smashwords, Kobo Writing Life or Nook Press.
Amazon now will pay authors based on pages read, which is not resonating well with most authors. This is because the payment per page read could be as low as $0.006, meaning that an author will have to write a 220-page book – and have every page read by every person downloading it – to make $1.30.
Casey Lucas, a literary editor who works with self-publishing authors, says she has lost six clients already. They have decided to stop writing after "estimating a 60–80% reduction in royalties".
One of the drawbacks of Amazons new program is that by placing the emphasis on length of book rather than quality of book, Amazon is shutting out more than just erotica and serialized short fiction authors. Nonfiction authors and especially children's book authors – whose works tend toward the shorter side – are also going to be hard hit by this change. You can look at it this way, Amazon wants to low-ball authors with decreased payouts and how can Oyster, Scribd or any bookseller compete when Amazon can fleece authors and give the savings to readers?
Indie authors continue to have a large pool of companies to distribute their e-books into, but this pool is turning into a pond. Most of the Amazon alternatives do not have the readership base or the sales to make registering an account and submitting your content worth it. Plenty of authors have told me that their Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press and iBooks sales are virtually non-existent. This is primarily due to Amazon controlling 75% of the book market in the US and 95% in the United Kingdom.
If you are an author who has written less than 3 books, I recommend going exclusive with KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited. You may not make a ton of money but Amazon knows that there’s a large number of authors who’d be willing to receive less pay in exchange for broader readership.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
|Review Date: September 2015 – Review unit purchased from Amazon Overview The Lenovo Tab 2 10 was released in May 2015. It’s a 10-inch Android tablet that runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s among Lenovo’s A series tablets that also includes 7 and 8-inch models. The Tab 2 10 is the best of the bunch. It […]|
Major publishers have gained the ability to dictate their own prices on e-books and this has dramatically increased the cost to the customer. In many cases the hardcover is actually cheaper now than the digital version and this is because of predatory pricing.
Publishers have been making moves to capitalize on the convenience and instant delivery of e-Books by making them more expensive than their printed counterparts. I have talked to many high ranking executives off the record and they have told me that they foresee the destruction of the e-book market and are anticipating higher profits on print down the road.
There are many companies that are heavily involved in the e-book sector that have went out of business over the course of the last year. Sony killed off their consumer e-reader division and abandoned the Reader Store in every country, but Japan. Diesel eBooks, Oyster, Entitle, Txtr, Blinkbox Books and others have all closed up shop because e-books are no longer profitable.
The reason why these companies went out of business is because of predatory pricing from the publishers. If you have never heard of this term, its basically a pricing strategy that is intended to drive competitors out of the market, or create barriers to entry for potential new competitors. The fewer e-book stores that exist, the less sales the format generates, which is resulting in a resurgence of trade paperback and hardcover sales at the expense of e-books.
The Association of American Publishers, using collected data from around 1,200 publishers, found that e-book sales dropped 10% during the first five months of 2015. They also found that e-books generated 24.9% of publisher revenues between January and May, down from a peak of 26.5% in the same period last year.
The Kindle "has disappeared to all intents and purposes", said James Daunt the head of Britain's biggest book chain Waterstones. He also reported that print book sales lifted by 5% in December 2014 and that they plan on opening at least a dozen stores in 2015 . Foyles, the London chain of bookstores, said sales of physical books had risen 11% last Christmas. Across the pond, Australian bookseller Jon Page of Page and Pages said "Sales were up 3% last year, and will increase by 6% in 2015, which is fantastic because for the last three years we'd actually seen a decline."
United States bookseller Barnes and Noble announced that their "Core" comparable bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, increased 1.1% in the first quarter of 2016, while Nook product sales declined 28.0%.
Likely the most compelling case of predatory pricing for publishers is in your local libraries e-book collection. Very early on, publishers realized that e-books do not have as much legal protections as physical books do, because they are considered a service and not a product. This has resulted in the e-book cost increasing by over by 800% and limits on the number of checkouts being imposed before the library has to buy a new copy. Real books last MUCH longer than this, at a fraction of the price to the library. The sad truth is, e-book sales are falling all over the world, but libraries don’t have the luxury to abandon buying them and are at the mercy of the publishers.
Print is doing so well now, that publishes are heavily investing in infrastructure. According to a New York Times article Hachette added 218,000 square feet to a warehouse last year, Simon & Schuster is expanding a New Jersey distribution facility, and Penguin Random House has invested nearly $100 million in expanding and updating its warehouses.
In a few short years most digital bookstores will be out of business and Amazon and Kobo will likely be the only players left. The destruction of the digital book market has already been set in motion and there is nothing that can prevent the format from being completely annihilated.
When the tablet industry started to blossom in 2011, one of the companies to really make a splash was Notion Ink. It was the first Android device that incorporated a screen from Pixel QI, which allowed you to use it in direct sunlight. The company has always done some really cool things with design and this is very evident in their new product, the Notion Ink Cain Signature Black Edition.
Notion Ink Cain Signature Black Edition, sports a 10.1-inch multi-touch IPS display with 800 x 1280 pixels and Scratch Resistant Glass. It is powered by a 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F processor with 646MHz Intel HD Graphics with 2GB RAM. On the storage front, this device comes in 32GB/64GB of inbuilt storage with an expansion option of up to 128GB via microSD card slot. There are two cameras on the front and rear, both are 2 MP.
The Notion Ink Cain Signature Black Limited Edition is being billed as a “2-in-1”, since it comes with a magnetic cover with integrated keyboard and multitouch trackpad. The device also comes with ProPen, which is an “active stylus”, as the company calls it. The ProPen allows functions such as scribbling, sketch and drawing. It has been designed with a tip that can be turned either clockwise or counter-clockwise in order to adjust the sensitivity.
Currently you buy can buy this device via Snapdeal. The 64 GB variant is available for $317 USD and a 32 GB model will be released soon for $279.00
Friday, September 25, 2015
The Atavist publishes a monthly magazine and has a self-publishing portal where tens of thousands of storytellers, from giant companies to small nonprofits create their own branded magazines every month. Today, Atavist has confirmed that they are ditching their mobile apps and focusing on web content.
Many people have not really heard of Atavist before, unless you have self-published long form articles. The company has been around for over five years and they publish their own original content. Atavist juxtaposes various digital forms that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books — a bit like music singles in iTunes — Atavist presents stories longer and in more depth than typical magazines, less expensive and more dynamic than traditional books.
Today, the founders of Atavist have confirmed that they are abandoning app developed and instead focusing on the web. “Five years ago, a native app seemed like the best way to design and showcase their stories. But since then, they say, "the web caught up." "Not only was there very little we could do in a native app that we couldn't do on the web, but the structures of the native app environment made it nearly impossible to design well for both," they write.
Atavist's decision to move away from a native app is consistent with what's happened to some other digital first upstarts that have tried to launch an iPad magazine or app. The aptly named The Magazine, an experiment on iOS, folded. Circa, a news app on Android and iOS, shut down earlier this year. The Daily, an iPad-only magazine created by News Corp, didn't last two years. Apple itself shuttered its Newsstand app with the advent of iOS 9, and petitioned all of their former Newsstand publishers to gravitate towards the new platform.
Nowadays stories are shared via social media and can gain some heavy traction when featured on Hackernews or Reditt. The Atavist found having a reliance on apps made it impossible for their stories to gain any meaningful traction. Now that they are focusing on the web, things hopefully will improve for them.
|This year Kobo has released two new ebook readers, the Kobo Glo HD with its 300 ppi screen and the entry-level Kobo Touch 2.0. The good thing about both of them is they share the exact same dimensions, so covers and cases are interchangeable between the two different models—that’s something that rarely happens. If you […]|
Facebook has just released a new set of tools that will appeal to people who are writing original content for the social media network. The new update you can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about. You can caption and resize photos, and format your text into headers, quotes or bullets. To see notes your friends have written or write your own, visit Facebook.com/notes or search "notes" on mobile.
Oaxis has announced a brand new product that will make long reading sessions on your iPhone extremely viable. The inkCase i6 adds an 4.3 inch E Ink display to your iPhone 6, adding conveniences and better readability. inkCase i6 connects wirelessly to your iPhone 6 through Bluetooth. Reading on inkCase makes your reading more enjoyable with the paper like display quality and helps you conserve your iPhone's battery.
Not only can you read books on the secondary screen but you can also access push notifications, weather updates and email. The always on display ensure you will not miss another important notification; messages, news and other notifications.
The case is available for preorder for $99 and will start shipping this November. Once its available for the masses the price will increase to $129.
4.3″ E Ink Display
480 x 800
Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0)
Built In Memory
Built In Battery
Physical Dimensions (attached to iPhone 6)
140.7 x 69.5 x 11mm / 5.54″ x 2.74″ x 0.43″
Findaway has partnered with HarperCollins to enable Harper customers to purchase any of the more than 6,100 audiobooks published by HarperCollins directly on www.hc.com and playback the content on any iOS or Android device through the HC Audio app. HC Audio is powered by Findaway's audiobook distribution platform AudioEngine.
"We are uniquely positioned to serve HarperCollins as a technology partner," said Mitch Kroll, Co-Founder & CEO of Findaway. "We are proud to deepen our long-standing partnership with HarperCollins as they expand the market to directly serve audiobook listeners worldwide with their new offering."
When we released Raspberry Pi 2 in February this year, we announced that Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core, a version of Windows 10 for small Internet-of-Things devices that may or may not have a screen, would be available for the device. Since the Windows Insider release of Windows 10 Core in August, we’ve found that lots of people looking for a Pi 2 are arriving at sellers’ websites from sites catering for Windows developers. Many Windows developers are coming to Raspberry Pi for the first time; we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them, and we hope they’ll encounter much success and plenty of fun building with Raspberry Pi.
The pack is available with a Pi 2 for people who are are new to Raspberry Pi or who’d like a dedicated device for their projects, or without one for those who’ll be using a Pi they already own. The box contains an SD card with Windows 10 Core and a case, power supply, wifi module and Ethernet cable for your Pi; a breadboard, jumper wires and components including LEDs, potentiometers and switches; and sensors for light, colour, temperature and pressure. There’s everything you need to start building.
The Windows 10 Core Starter Pack website provides very clear directions for setting up your PC and programming environment and your Raspberry Pi. It also has links to tutorials for four carefully chosen projects to get you up and running on hackster.io.
You can buy the Windows 10 Core Starter Pack from Adafruit, and Microsoft will be showing it off at a demo area in the Maker Shed at World Maker Faire in New York this weekend, where there will also be packs available to purchase.
By Sheila Henline, a librarian and Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.
(ED. Note: for optimal enjoyment press play before reading…)
Every year libraries and librarians, booksellers, publishers and authors become involved in #BannedBooksWeek, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. The importance of choice is crucial when accessing information and reading.
This year Banned Books Week celebrates Young Adult Books! "Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book" said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee. She states: "These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices."
One such example this year is the book Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. A South Carolina high school pulled this title from their summer reading list after a parent complained about references to a drug deal, drug use and sexual assault/attempted rape. The Charleston (SC) County Public Library received 1,000 copies of this book, donated by an online donation drive at BookRiot. Students asking for a copy at this library, receive one to keep for free!
As we observe Banned Book Week, take time to reflect on the many titles that have been questioned and even censored in some communities. OverDrive contains a wide variety of books that have fought to stay on the bookshelves. As for me, I plan on eReading Some Girls Are and then I'll settle in with an eBook of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Be sure to check a banned book out today!
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Barnes and Noble is in the late stages of announcing the first e-reader they have produced in two years. The Nook Glowlight Plus will heavily compete against the Kindle Voyage and Kobo GLO HD in terms of overall specs and a solid price point.
The Nations largest bookseller has begun to make changes to their main website in order to gear up for the full product listing. Currently they have a placeholder section for the Nook Glowlight Plus, which is said to comprise of an e-Ink Carta screen and a resolution of 1430 x 1080 and 300 PPI.
Barnes and Noble has been biding their time for an announcement for the new e-Reader and they basically just wanted the internet fanfare to die down from all the new products that Apple and Amazon have produced in the last few weeks.