Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sling TV Might Just Make Cable Subscriptions Obsolete


CES is always an exciting event filled with news and previews that make us salivate; the 2015 event is no exception, with Sling TV proving to be one of the more exciting announcements. Following an entrance that can be described as nothing short of impressive, Dish CEO Joe Clayton announced that Sling Television will deliver television packages for Internet streaming that includes networks like ESPN, TBS, TNT, CNN, and the Disney Channel (almost 200 choices all told)… all for only $20 per month.

An offering like this has to be making cable companies more than a little nervous. Most of us are happy to pay a subscription fee for the content we want to watch, so much so that we’ve been paying for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime –as long as it doesn’t break the bank.

Most of the participating networks allow you to pause and rewind live TV, with many also giving access to shows that have aired within the past three days. It’s true that you can’t do any DVR style recording with Sling TV, but we have services like Hulu Plus for that (meaning for under $30 a month, you get first run television along with a library of stuff that has already aired) –even paying for both, you are still coming out ahead of the cost for competitive cable packages from leading providers (not to mention the added streaming conveniences).

As if those features weren’t compelling enough, Sling TV will also feature a movie rental service.

Upon release later this year, Sling TV will be featured on a selection of smart TVs, Roku players, Amazon Fire TV (and Fire Stick), Xbox One, Nexus Player, Android TV, Android, and iOS mobile platforms.

Sling TV Might Just Make Cable Subscriptions Obsolete is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox Afterglow 2 Now Available on Amazon


Onyx doesn’t make it easy to get your hands on their latest e-readers since they are only primarily available in Europe. The company operates their own store and shipping to North America can be quite expensive and normally has a long delay, due to customs. In order to get their new flagship e-reader into customers hands Onyx Boox has just begun to offer the Afterglow 2 for sale via Amazon.

The Onyx Afterglow 2 came out in early December and features a six inch capacitive touchscreen with e-Ink Pearl HD and a resolution of 1024×758. You will be able to read in the dark via the front-lit display, which is the same sort of tech you see in the Kindle Voyage and Kobo Aura H2O.

This e-reader has a few things really going for it that makes it standout in a crowded marketplace. I really like the dual core 1.2 GHZ processor which should keep things really speedy, most other digital book readers all have single cores. It also has a stock version of Google Android 4.2 and users can install any app they want via Google Play.

The Afterglow 2 enables you to listen to e-books whenever you need to multi-task. IVONA text-to-speech system with its advanced technologies reads texts less like a robot, and more like a human. You get two voices: English and Polish. This device is also capable of reading a fair number of e-Book formats, including PDF, EPUB, MOBI, DOC, TXT, DJVU, HTML, RTF, and FB2.

Onyx Boox Afterglow 2 Now Available on Amazon is a post from: Good e-Reader

Moon+ Reader Receives Material Design Update


Many devices are still waiting for their upgrade to Android Lollipop, but apps are starting to roll out new Material Design updates in full-force. Among those with a new look and feel is the Moon+ Reader.

Moon+ Reader is arguable one of the fullest-featured digital readers, offering: support for a variety of document formats (including epub, mobi, chm, cbr, cbz, umd, fb2, txt, html, rar, zip, or OPDS), a full array of visual options (like line space, font scale, bold, italic, shadow, justified alignment, alpha colors, and fading edge), over 10 themes, paging options (such as touching the screen or using the volume and camera keys), customizable options (for screen clicking, swiping, and events like bookmarking), auto-scroll modes, brightness adjustment, page turning effects and animations, along with the ability to backup and restore to the cloud via DropBox.

The updated design is really just icing on the cake (so to speak). If you would like to see for yourself, download Moon+ Reader for your Android device now.

Moon+ Reader Receives Material Design Update is a post from: Good e-Reader

India Tackles Digital Textbooks with 3.7M Student Rollout

On the same day that the Times of India reported on the possible reasons for a lagging ebook retail market in India, news sources announced an education initiative in the Indian state of Kerala that will put digital textbooks in the hands of nearly four million students and educators by June of this year. What’s the correlation between the retail and educational landscapes, and the potential for one to impact the other?

For now, the Times has reported that pricing continues to be a huge obstacle to broader ebook adoption. With a price structure that often puts physical and digital editions of bestsellers within only a few rupees of each other, there seems to be little rush to buy ebooks. And with the abundance of sites offering free content for the growing e-reader segment, in areas with consistent connectivity to download books, there is plenty to read on the often-costly boutique devices without having to take the risk of purchasing online with a credit card.

But when the Kerala schools make the move to what they’re calling “Digital Collaborative Textbooks,” students will begin using audio- and video-enhanced multimedia ebooks in the classroom, which stands to bridge the digital divide with the typical tech early adopters. India has already made great strides in the introduction of region-specific, lower cost educational-use tablets

Instead of looking at India as a stagnant market, this disconnect in the ebook purchasing mindset has retailers seeing the potential for massive growth, and initiatives like the educational drive will only add to the attitude shift that’s needed for ebook adoption to take off.

According to the Times findings, an Amazon India spokesperson said, “This high propensity for reading, growth in literacy, increasing internet penetration and internet-enabled devices, plus a rapid growth of middle class population with increasing disposable income, makes it a very promising market.”

India Tackles Digital Textbooks with 3.7M Student Rollout is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Launches Kindle Free Manga Service in Japan


Amazon launched a new manga service in Japan on Wednesday that showcases free content that anyone can download. It is being billed as Kindle Free Manga Magazine and new issues will be posted weekly.

The initial lineup includes the first digital edition of Shueisha’s Grand Jump magazine, as well as Manga Action, Comic Ran Twins, Comic Zero-Sum, Manga Box service, and Square Enix’s Hobo Gekkan Otameshi Gangan.

Kindle Free Manga Magazine is not only being billed as a way to check out the publishers graphic novels and manga, but also a discovery service. There are hundreds of graphic novels and single issues of manga that is being advertised. Each issue ranged in price, but the average price is ¥400.

Amazon started their Japanese e-book store in early 2012 and currently has over 50,000 e-books and 15,000 manga volumes. The platform is starting to become a viable distribution system for companies such as Kodansha and Shueisha who are both publishing weekly magazines.

Amazon Launches Kindle Free Manga Service in Japan is a post from: Good e-Reader

Jaasta May Redefine the Keyboard via e Ink


Jaasta is seeking to redefine what the computer keyboard is capable of, with an assist from e Ink. The company will be releasing their product in the next few weeks and features a very innovative design that allows anyone to switch to foreign language on the fly or customize the key layout to suit the needs of using Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office.


Have you always wanted to try the Dvorak layout without full abandoning Qwerty? You could even get rid of keys you never use, or add duplicates of ones you rely on often. Twitter power-users could finally get a dedicated hashtag key, instead of having to press multiple keys to access it.

The core technology behind this keyboard is e Ink, the same company responsible for the e-Paper used in the Kindles, Kobos and Nooks of the world. The premise behind it is quite simply. One keyboard to rule them all. Instead of hunting around for a specialized keyboard on Amazon for Japanese or Chinese characters, you just install a software package and the entire keyboard conforms to it.


The keyboard sports a 3.5-inch multi-touch touchpad and a display where users can see the time, the language, and battery life. The wireless keyboard will be available to pre-order in the next few weeks and if the $300 price does not scare you off, you can sign up for their newsletter to be the first on your block to own one.

Jaasta May Redefine the Keyboard via e Ink is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Time Machine is January’s Whispersync for Voice Freebie

Amazon finally updated their free monthly promotion for a free ebook and audiobook combo. This month’s free title is H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Through the month of January you can get both the ebook and professionally narrated audiobook for free. Amazon has been doing this for several months now to promote their exclusive Whispersync […]

Waterstones Proclaims Kindle e-Reader Sales are Dead


Waterstones is the largest bookstore chain the United Kingdom and they have proclaimed that Kindle sales had "disappeared to all intents and purposes."

James Daunt is the CEO of Waterstones and many people in the bookselling industry were surprised when he forged a relationship with Amazon in 2012 to sell Kindle e-reader. A year prior, in a series of interviews, Daunt spoke of Amazon as the “enemy” and “a ruthless, money-making devil”.

Daunt lamented that his predecessors did not develop their own e-reader while the market was unsaturated and not consolidated. Waterstones sold lackluster devices that did not allow customers to buy books right on the readers. When James took over the company his first reaction was to scrap all the woeful readers they currently stocked and made new relationships with Amazon to bring in a big brand name.

One of the reasons why Waterstones is seeing a decline in e-reader sales is because British consumers are still enamored with print. Over £2.2 billion was spent on hardcovers and paperbacks in 2013, compared to the £300 million that was generated by e-books. James Daunt told the Financial Times that the resurgence in popularity of tangible books was due to Waterstones refurbishing some of its 290 shops.

I think this was an interesting time for Waterstones to proclaim that Kindle sales were dead. The five year contract to sell the readers and tablets expires this year and this could be used as leverage to get a better deal or to get out of dealing with Amazon completely. The die hard Kindle users tend to buy the devices online from Amazon when pre-orders become available for new product releases, such as the Kindle Voyage.

If Waterstones were to get out of the Kindle contract, likely they would secure a number of deals with other e-reader companies such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo and the Tolino Alliance.

Waterstones Proclaims Kindle e-Reader Sales are Dead is a post from: Good e-Reader

TV Show Read-Alikes

tvreadalikesLooking to add some new titles to your digital collection? Check out our TV Show Read-Alikes. Handpicked by our staff librarians, these lists can be very helpful in finding popular, high-circulating content that your patrons are sure to enjoy. These would make great curated collections on your digital library homepage.

American Horror Story: Asylum Read-Alikes
American Horror Story: Coven Read-Alikes

American Horror Story: Freak Show Read-Alikes
American Horror Story: Murder House Read-Alikes
Big Bang Theory
Breaking Bad Read-Alikes
Downton Abbey Read-Alikes
Girls Read-Alikes
House of Cards Read-Alikes
Mad Men Read-Alikes
New Girl Read-Alikes
Sons of Anarchy Read-Alikes
True Blood Read-Alikes
True Detective Read-Alikes
The Walking Dead Read-Alikes

As always, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create any Read-Alikes or recommended lists. Email for more information today!

Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

Royal Institution Christmas Lecture 1 – video!

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, we sponsored the Royal Institution’s 2014 Christmas Lectures. They have just made the video of the first of the Lectures – the one with all the Raspberry Pis in it – available to watch online, wherever you are in the world. It’s really worth your while – the Lectures make up some of the year’s best educational TV.  Click here or on the image to visit their channel and view.


We’d like to send our very warmest congratulations to this year’s presenter, Professor Danielle George, and to her husband: baby Elizabeth was born just after the lectures aired. (Great choice of name, team George!)

e Ink Smartband LookSee is Fashion Statement for Men


When it comes to smart accessories, most seemed to be aimed at women. There are a ton of smart necklaces and rings that are currently on the market, but aside from watches, men don’t really have anything that is directly made just for them. This mentality seems to be changing with the advent of a new e Ink device called LookSee.

The LookSee pairs with a custom made LookSee app via Bluetooth to let users choose from either hundreds of pre-loaded photos and patterns or their own photos, which are then displayed in a series on the bracelet. It can also display text, photos, clockfaces, maps, QR codes and boarding passes.

This device has an e Ink display, giving users an entire years worth of battery life. This is primarily due to the fact that e Ink does not draw any power with a static image and only generates a current when the pictures are swapped or changed.

LookSee bears a striking resemblance the new Sony smartband that will be issued sometime in 2015. It seems as though there is a big movement right now with personalizing fashion accessories with tech, sure to be a crucial area for wearables in 2015.

e Ink Smartband LookSee is Fashion Statement for Men is a post from: Good e-Reader