Friday, January 9, 2015

Postmedia Sees a Silver Lining with Digital


Postmedia is chiefly responsible for the vast majority of newspapers in Canada. The company publishers the National Post, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and a bunch of others. The media company has reported that it had lost $10.3-million in the most recent quarter, which is a slight drop from the $11.8 million dollar loss the same time last year.

Overall revenue dropped 12.6% to $169.5-million — mostly because of weaker print advertising sales, which plummeted 20% to $93.1-million. There is a silver lining to the loses though, which is the continued rise of their digital earnings.

Digital revenue from online advertising was a small contributing factor but the big payoff was the continued investment into the Paywall strategy. In May of 2013 Postmedia implemented a paywall system for their entire network of newspapers. The general public can view 10 free articles a month, before being asked to take out a subscription. Print subscribers of the National Post and the Financial Post can continue to get full access to the newspaper's digital properties. Digital readers who do not have a print subscription can pay $0.99 for the first month and then $9.99 a month thereafter. Digital-only readers can also sign up for the reduced subscription rate of $99.50 for an entire year.

Digital content, advertising and app sales have generated $24.3 million this quarter, which is a 3% increase from the same period last year.

Giving customers free articles and making them pay is just one facet of the overall digital strategy. The company makes available replica editions of all of their Canadian papers via PressReader, which allows domestic and international readers read all of the daily publications for a low subscription cost. Postmedia has also released a series of apps for Android and iOS which continue to generate interest in their digital properties.

Postmedia Sees a Silver Lining with Digital is a post from: Good e-Reader

Apple Sets App Store Record During First Week of 2015


On one hand, there are worse ways to start a new year than with world record-breaking sales in your App Store; on the other hand, it might make the rest of the year a bit of a disappointment by comparison. This is the reality being faced by Apple after announcing that their customers opened their wallets to the App Store to the tine of nearly half a billion dollars in the first week of January 2015 (with New Year’s Day marking the largest single day of sales).

Boasting their accomplishments, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said:

"This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community. We’re so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion."

There is no clear reason for the surge in success, though it is easy to predict that a lot of us found or gave new iOS devices around the Christmas tree a few weeks ago. It may also be that the holidays gave many of us a chance to visit, share app recommendations, take the time to try something new… whatever the truth, Apple will take it.

App Store success means more than just money for Apple: it means jobs all over the world (with the company creating or supporting over 1,027,000 careers).

Apple Sets App Store Record During First Week of 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

HP Stream 7 – $99 Windows PRO 8.1 Tablet Unboxing


Welcome to another Good e-Reader unboxing video! Today we take a look at the very affordable HP Stream. This is a $99 Windows 8.1 PRO tablet that has very respectable hardware specs and a price tag that is hard to beat. Today, we take it out of the box, and power it on for the first time to give you a sense on how it looks and functions.

The HP Stream 7, is seeking to make Windows 8.1 PRO relevant in a seven inch frame. The resolution is 1280 x 800,  and underneath the hood is an Intel Atom Z3735G with Intel HD Graphics (1.8 GHz, 2 MB cache, 4 cores), 1 GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Of course, this device has WIFI, Bluetooth, a Micro USB and Micro SD support to enhance the memory further. You can also listen to music with the 3.55 mm headphone jack or the single speaker.

Its hard to find any kind of fault with such an affordable Windows tablet, although the Kindle Fire HD6 or HD7 might be a more viable investment because of the slick Amazon UI and deep ecosystem.

HP Stream 7 – $99 Windows PRO 8.1 Tablet Unboxing is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kodansha to Digitize All 22 of Its Manga Magazines

weekly shonen magazine

Kodansha has announced that all 22 of the company's manga magazines will get a simultaneous digital release with their print editions by June of 2015. The digital versions of these publications will be available in Japan through Amazon Japan, Rakuten Books, eBook Japan, Yahoo Japan's Bookstore, BookLive and Line Manga. The decision to release simultaneous digital editions of the magazines with their print counterparts is part of the company's plan to further modernize its business and to cater to Japan's growing number of mobile device users.

The head of Kodansha's digital business stated that "our rivals are not just other publishers, but also videos and games. I want to come up with a way to get [audiences] to choose [our content] from among all the ordinary content.”

Weekly Young Magazine (print circulation 670,000) was the first publication to undergo this change on January 5, 2015 with its sixth 2015 issue. Monthly Shonen Magazine (print circulation 660,000) followed on January 6, 2015 with its February 2015 issue, and Weekly Shonen Magazine (print circulation 1.32 million) made this change on January 7, 2015 with its sixth issue of 2015. The company is also planning to release digital backnumber issues of previous magazine publications for these three titles in the near future.

Kodansha has had to speed up its manga digitization efforts after Shueisha Inc. released a digital version of its Weekly Shonen Jump manga anthology in Japan in 2014. Weekly Shonen Jump is the archrival of Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine.

Previously, Kodansha started publishing its Morning magazine digitally simultaneously in May 2013.

Kodansha to Digitize All 22 of Its Manga Magazines is a post from: Good e-Reader

Inkcase Plus Hands on Review


The Inkcase Plus is a portable secondary e-ink touchscreen extension of  your Android smartphone. It was designed to connect via Bluetooth and run a series of dedicated apps that allow you to view pictures, read e-Books or use as a sports tracker.

The InkCase Plus features a  3.5 inch 360 X 600 resolution Mobius e-ink display. It comes with its own battery, which should last about a month with regular use. Unlike the Yotaphone which has the e-ink screen physically apart of the hardware, this one is separate.  There is a dedicated case that Oaxis sells that fits the e-ink screen inside, giving you the functionality of an Android phone on the right and Inkcase Plus on the left.

There are 4 main apps that are available to download from the Google Play store that adds new functionality to the device. There is a connectivity app which basically establishes the Bluetooth connection and lists the number of apps that were specifically created for it. There is also a photo and sports app, which allow you to send over content to your Inkcase. The sports app is a bit of a letdown because the timer is staggered to refresh every 5-10 seconds and basically is just sending over a series of screenshots.

The best app that was made for the Inkcase Plus is the EpiReader  app. It allows you to take advantage of the manual page turn keys and turns it into a dedicated e-reader. All you have to do is download EPUB or PDF documents to  your phone and import them into the EpiReader app. You can then access a menu function to transmit the entire book to your portable and read to  your hearts content.

You can think of the Inkcase Plus as a dumb terminal, when you are reading there is no options to increase the size of the font, change the font-type or augment the linespacing. Instead,  you have to do this on your phone, within the app itself. After making the adjustments it is sent over to the Inkcase live, so you can read books with the font size of your choice. To find the ideal reading setup it does take a bit of time to find your sweet spot.

There are a few other options the Incase Plus allows you to employ. Anytime you get a notification on your phone, such as a phone call, text message, Whatsapp ping or an incoming Skype message, you see it all on the portable. It is possible to disable these notifications, but you have to do it one by one.

I think this device is really solid. You can think of it  as a super low-cost e-reader where you can read books and avoid all the notifications that constantly barrage you on the phone.  The screen isn’t the largest in the world, but users coming from a Blackberry background or a flipphone will feel right at home.  You can buy the Incase Plus with the official case for your Android phone for $105.

Inkcase Plus Hands on Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Bing Puts the Spotlight on Book Discovery


Microsoft is making a radical change to their Bing search engine that will appeal to readers the world over. The company has unveiled a new system that assists in book discovery. If someone searches for a specific title and its written by a well known author, Bing now displays a carousel that lists a number of New York Times bestsellers.

Currently Bing lists bestselling books in just a few genres; fiction, non-fiction, kids and business. If you click on individual title you can find out more about each book. Bing will refresh the carousel as the best-seller lists change, so come back when you're ready to add new titles to your reading list.

Bing Puts the Spotlight on Book Discovery is a post from: Good e-Reader

Multilingual resources for your digital library

Chicago Public Library en Espanol collection

Did you know that it is free and easy to offer a multilingual interface for your OverDrive collection? Connect with new users who prefer to browse and read in their native language or help those learning a foreign language get hands-on experience with site translations at no additional cost for your library. Languages currently available include Spanish, Canadian French, Russian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Malay, Finish, Swedish, German, Danish and Hebrew. More languages are expected to be added in 2015.

In addition to offering a translated site interface, diversify your collection by adding multilingual eBooks, audiobooks, periodicals and streaming video titles from across the globe. Chicago Public Library provides digital content for their users in 24 languages and spotlights some of their foreign language titles with an "En EspaƱol" featured collection.

Another library benefiting from the multilingual interface is Edmonton Public Library. Since adding French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese site translations and additional foreign language content, their circulation dramatically increased and they reached new users. Read more about their success story here.

The newly expanded Foreign Language Getting Started Guides in the Learning Center and the Spanish, French and additional Non-English titles marketing resources in the Partner Portal can help raise awareness for your enhanced collection and educate a larger portion of your community about your digital library.

Contact your Account Specialist to add multilingual interfaces to your OverDrive-powered website and learn more about how this free enhancement can improve your digital collection.

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Weekend Anime Sale on Steam

steam anime weekend sale

Valve is having a Steam weekend sale that focuses on Japanese games with anime art styles, with savings ranging from 20 percent to 70 percent off. With these savings, the games range in price anywhere from $1.49 to $29.99. The sale ends on January 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. PST.

The weekend sale includes various types of games. Dating sims are represented by Hatoful Boyfriend. Visual novels, such as Analogue: A Hate Story, Hate Plus, Sakura Spirit, Long Live the Queen, Cho Dengeki Stryker All Ages Version, Fading Hearts, Go! Go! ~My First Trip to Japan~, Pyrite Heart, and Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Little Planet~ are also part of the sale.

For fighting games, there's Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, Croixleur Sigma, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, The King of Fighters XIII, Fairy Bloom Freesia, and Vanguard Princess. Shoot-em-up games like QP Shooting – Dangerous!!, eXceed – Gun Bullet Children, eXceed 2nd – Vampire REX, and eXceed 3rd – Jade Penetrate Black Package are also included in the sale.

The sale also features role playing games, such as Fortune Summoners, Agarest: Generations of War, 99 Spirits, Recettar: An Item Shop's Tale, The Sacred Tears TRUE,  Ys Origin, Ys I & II Chronicles+, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, and Chantelise – A Tale of Two Sisters. War of the Human Tanks and other strategy games are included in this weekend sale.

Weekend Anime Sale on Steam is a post from: Good e-Reader

Cabe’s home arcade

I’ve got one of those rubbish Dance Dance Revolution mats at home for my PlayStation. You may have one yourself – they’re prone to skating all over the floor, wrinkling up at just the wrong moment and generally mucking your game up. And occasionally causing horrible injuries.

Of course, with a little elbow grease and a Raspberry Pi, we can do better. So Cabe Atwell did. And while he was at it, he also recreated another favourite part of the arcade he used to hang out in as a kid, and made a geometrically faithful reproduction of the Street Fighter 2 control console. Cabe says:

I remember my local arcade used to give free tokens to those who received A and Bs on their report cards. Most of the time it didn't matter for me. I would go into the arcade with one or two quarters, and shut the place down in the various Street Fighter games. The arcade closed down, and I wanted the exact same experience at home.


With Street Fighter, I found that the Sega Saturn had the best and closest experience to the arcade. So, I built an arcade controller for the Saturn. I measured the placement of the buttons prior to the arcade shut down. So, I was able to lay out regulation controls. I sourced real arcade parts from a now defunct company. It was fun. You may not think this, but arcade controllers are loud. All the switches are super sound in a quiet room. Arcades are full of constant noise, so, you never hear it!

My girlfriend was really into the Dance Dance Revolution, arcade dancing games. So, I built a "arcade quality" dance pad. I wanted something made of metal, heavy, and the exact size. All store bought dance pads were soft, moved around too much, or not the correct size. So, I built a dance pad for the Playstation 1 (aka PS1 or PSX).


He didn’t finish the project at the time – everything went into storage when Cabe went to college, and he forgot about them. But in the interim, something called a Raspberry Pi was released.

So Cabe recently dug out his old home-made arcade, rewired all the controllers to interface with the Pi, used a projector to make a giant 120in (3m) display, and downloaded an emulator and some games. As it turns out, everything works a treat.

Unusually for projects around these parts, you won’t need any code to make your own, just some game downloads – but there’s a fair amount of hardware work required, which Cabe gives pointers on over at Element14. If you’re interested in making your own metal DDR pad (my friend Mark made one nearly 20 years ago when we were at university, and it’s still going strong), there are lots of tutorials out there – this was the most comprehensive we found.

Comico Announces Plans to Open Comico Shop

comico image

Comico, the free comic app for smartphones from NHN PlayArt Co., Ltd., has announced that it will be opening the Comico Shop on January 15, 2015 in order to provide comic EC store services. When the store opens, there will be 14 items available, which include Sumahokesu, stationery, smartphone cases and key chains with characters from the ReLIFE manga series featured on them. Prices for items range between 500 yen and 1500 yen, and payment options include cash on delivery and credit card payments.

The Comico Shop is an initiative to help promote the expansion and diversification of business income opportunities for Comico's manga writers, who are new writers that the company has discovered. With this diversification, writers can receive revenue in addition to the 200,000 yen a month manuscript fee and incentive manuscript fee that they are already being paid by Comico. NHN PlayArt Co., Ltd. is hoping to expand the shop in the future. A teaser page for the Comico Shop is now live on the site.

ReLIFE was the obvious property to use for this new initiative, since it is one of the most popular series featured on Comico. Due to its popularity on the service, NHN PlayArt Co., Ltd. has also published this title in print.

To celebrate the app's first anniversary, Comico recently held the Shine! Comico Cartoon Contest. The Grand Prize winner received a trophy and 10 million yen, while the other winners received prizes of 1 million yen and 500,000 yen.

The Comico app was launched on October 31, 2013, and is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Comico Announces Plans to Open Comico Shop is a post from: Good e-Reader

What Makes Kids Read?

Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s content and innovators in kids’ digital reading, has released the findings of its Kids & Family Reading Report, the purpose of which is to “explore the reading attitudes and experiences that most influence children's reading habits, including reading aloud at home, independent reading at school, presence of books in the home, and more.”

There has long been an established correlation between reading in the home, and children’s academic performance and their lifelong association with books. This home reading isn’t limited to parents encouraging or requiring their children to read, but also to how reading is modeled from the parents, how much emphasis is placed on shared family reading, and other factors. This family attitude towards reading is so prevalent, in fact, that this year’s survey actually included parents of children who are far too young to hold a book, let alone choose one for themselves.

“Key findings reveal predictors of reading frequency, the importance of reading aloud to children at various ages, how frequently children have opportunities to read for pleasure at school and much more. For the first time, this year's survey also includes data from parents of children ages 0–5 to shed a light on the role parents play in children's literacy development before they enter school.”

The obvious results of the survey indicated that the more often a child reads, the more books he will read in the course of a year. That might not seem too profound, but there were more important findings, such as the correlation between how often the parents read on their own and how children view reading.

But what makes a child an avid reader? Across the different age groups, there were unifying factors. The most simple answer is obviously access to books; no one can become a successful reader without access to titles, either in the home, at school, or through the library. But other factors include access to results of reading level tests, support from parents in locating interesting titles to read, and a startling emphasis on reading aloud, both as a reader and as a listener.

Interestingly, older students who have access to ebooks reported reading more books, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The ability to browse and download new titles instantly, often at a significant savings over print, keeps the habit in motion as compared to waiting for access to a print title.

This year’s survey also included a focus on reading for fun in the learning environment, and found that when students have access to books and are provided with time to read for fun during the school day, their frequency and their desire to read increase.

"Parents, teachers and librarians all want to help children develop into frequent readers, and the latest edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report provides important insights on how a child's reading experience can be guided both at home and at school to help develop a lifelong love of reading," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. "Our research shows that providing encouragement and time both in school and at home for children of all ages to enjoy books they choose to read will help them discover the power and joy of reading. These tactics will also help to motivate kids to read more books, which will improve their skills and open a world of possibilities for them in the future."

A more in-depth look at the survey and its report can be found at

What Makes Kids Read? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Netronix Debutes 13.3 inch e-Reader at CES


Netronix has debuted a new 13.3 inch e-reader at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This device features a resolution of 1440×1600 and its powered by a Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite CPU processor. It is running an older version of Android right now, but they promised it will be upgraded to Kitkat within a few weeks.

This 13.3 inch e-reader has a capacitive touchscreen display and is meant to be interested with via the active digitizer stylus. All of this combined allows for pin-point precision in taking notes, making highlights and annotations. Users can read tradition e-books but also have more flexibility in controlling their PDF editing experience.

Netronix is claiming that they are looking for OEM partners to license the hardware and they will also provide the SDK for the pen application suite. This includes different sized thickness to line drawing and the entire editing package. I heard that the wholesale cost will be $600 and the company will be ready to mass produce them in three months, after they redesign a new housing for it.

Visually, this prototype bears a striking resemblence to the Sony Digital Paper. It has the same flexible housing and looks to employ e Ink Mobius e-paper. The software is completely different though and the overall price should be significantly more affordable.

Netronix Debutes 13.3 inch e-Reader at CES is a post from: Good e-Reader