Thursday, January 22, 2015

Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 Underway

Haikyuu!! image

Haruichi Furudate's high energy volleyball manga, Haikyuu!!, has already been slated for a second season. Fans of the show weren't surprised to hear this at all, given the show's popularity when it aired last April. But while waiting for a release date of the second season, Haikyuu!! fans will be happily tided over by the news of a compilation film.

The film is part of the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015. Production I.G, the company who animated Haikyuu!!'s first season, have released a slew of information concerning the volleyball boys. As well as the second season of the anime and the compilation film, there is to be a summer event. Considering that the second season will most likely air in July, the summer event could be something celebrating the return of the anime. Production I.G also promises more announcements are on the way.

The compilation film will consist of the first season of Haikyuu!! condensed into a series overview lasting about two hours. Although nothing has yet been confirmed, anime compilation films usually contain additional pieces of animation, often made in a higher quality than the animation designed for TV. Even the prospect of new animation alone is enough to entice viewers, but with the second season on the horizon, watching the film will be a great way to catch up on the series and remind yourself of everything you've missed.

Sports anime has been one of the fastest growing genres over the last three years, and it seems Production I.G is looking to milk it for all it's worth. The company already produces another popular sports anime, Kuroko no Basuke. It's no surprise they would want to bring focus on Haikyuu!!, a manga that has sold over two million volumes. As for fans of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club, we're simply excited to see what else the Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 will contain.

Haikyuu!! Itadaki Project 2015 Underway is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Virgin Hotel Chain Caters to Female Business Travelers

Well-lit vanity mirrors? Shower benches for leg shaving? Kinder lighting in the corridors? Why not?

Some critics of Virgin Group Ltd., the chain of entertainment and service industry offerings owned by billionaire Richard Branson, have scoffed at the corporation’s latest attempt to win over a key demographic with its new hospitality chain, Virgin Hotels. The luxury hotel chain is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of female business travelers, but it’s not just makeup mirrors and smooth legs.

One key feature of this hotel chain is a divided room that allows the guest to accept deliveries like room service or luggage service through the main room door, while staying locked behind a second door with a peep hole. Corridor lighting has been enhanced to ensure that there are no dark corners for someone to lurk in. Of course, there are the less intimidating amenities like larger closets to accommodate business travelers’ suits and dresses, helping to ensure that the purpose of the trip comes off as stylishly as possible.

While some news sources have openly stated that female guests have no need of these extra features because “they’ve done okay without leg-shaving benches thus far,” Virgin’s founder sees it a little differently, considering the numbers of women who travel for business, not just for vacation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Virgin determined early on that appealing to female business travelers was part of that approach. Company executives cited a 2011 report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University that highlighted the market opportunity: While females accounted for only a quarter of business travelers in 1991, they now comprise about half.”

It may seem gimmicky to some, but in a crowded hospitality industry, hotel chains are working overtime to meet the needs of guests in a way that make them stand out. Anyone can offer a bed, a bath, and a bagel in the lobby each morning, but companies are actively working to provide features that make travelers choose their accommodations based on features like wifi that remembers you from your last visit, free digital newspapers and magazines through apps like PressReader, the ability to read the news from “back home” while traveling, and more.

New Virgin Hotel Chain Caters to Female Business Travelers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Textbook Creator Launches

Today Amazon announced the release of a new digital textbook creator tool for educators and authors to easily create digital textbooks, called eTextbooks, and other educational content to promote and sell on the Kindle Store. The new program is called KDP EDU. It’s a new division to the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. KDP EDU is […]

Amazon Textbook Creator Could Be the Khan Academy of Textbooks

Once you secure your position as the ultimate player in self-publishing, where do you go from there? The textbook self-publishing market. Amazon has released the specifics on its new textbook creator app, Kindle Textbook Creator, and while it doesn’t look like it has much to offer in the way of never-before-seen innovation, it does bring the benefits of self-publishing to those who have something great to share in terms of academia.

Just as Khan Academy and the advent of online video uploads brought a whole new realm of instruction to the internet and classrooms alike, the ability to build, sell, and market something that looks like a textbook but behaves like any other title in the Amazon Kindle store–except for the very obvious difference, you can’t read it on a Kindle–renews the coup of self-publishing for a whole new demographic of content creators.

According to an article by Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch, “Kindle Textbook Creator seems designed for speed, and for working with the legacy textbook publishing industry, as opposed to iBooks Author which is more designed to help educators build digital-native experiences from scratch. Books built with Amazon's new tool offer multi-color highlighting for students, as well as built-in notebooks, flashcards for review, dictionaries, and of course multi-platform support, in addition to translating the PDF version of their document into something that works on any reader.”

Currently in a rudimentary format, Amazon has already stated new features will be rolled out as they become available. What also remains to be seen is how the possibility for professional academic publishing can evolve with a tool like this one, considering the intense pressure some universities place on their faculty to publish. As self-published fiction authors have discovered, what may be lost in prestige can be more than made up for in dollars.

Amazon Textbook Creator Could Be the Khan Academy of Textbooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

2014 saw widespread growth in K-12 market for eBooks and digital content

2014 was a great year, and we’re excited to see what 2015 will bring! This past year, we experienced a record number of new K-12 partnerships in the U.S. and abroad. As of January 1, 2015, nearly 12,000 schools and districts have incorporated the OverDrive service into their curriculum and library plans, a 50% increase over the same time last year. We now works with K-12 partners in 38 countries, with 10 countries added to our global network in 2014.

Our school eBook catalog has also reached record size, with 24% growth over the last year, adding more than 100,000 new titles and bringing the total digital catalog available to schools to more than 2 million titles. Audiobook availability has increased 15%, with more than 5,500 new titles available to our school partners. Notable additions to the catalog in 2014 included Pearson eTextbooks, Macmillan, and classic eBooks from Dr. Seuss. In addition, the 2014 acquisition of Teacher's Notebook has given our K-12 partners access to teacher-created curriculum materials from more than 500,000 educators. In 2014, OverDrive also introduced Narrated eBooks, a feature that provides a single eBook file synchronized with audio. Publishers supplied hundreds of popular children's titles in this new format, which are now available for schools and libraries.

Students and educators are accessing OverDrive-powered websites and engaging with the school's digital content more than ever before. The number of new visitors to these websites grew 234% to 2 million year-over-year. The school digital content websites had 6.26 million visits in 2014, an increase of 276% over the previous year.

Are you at FETC? If so, stop by and visit us at booth #336 to see demonstrations including fixed-layout titles and narrated eBooks, and learn more about what we have in store this year.

NEW! eHighlights catalog moves to a new location

Thank you for following our various eHighlights catalogs on this blog. To make it easier to review title selections, we have created a new Catalogs page to better feature our new, noteworthy, and hot titles each month.

Along with our Recommended Lists page, the Catalogs page is intended as a landing place to help you more easily access the titles you really need to know about without spending a large amount of time combing through OverDrive's huge selection of titles in Marketplace.

Each of these books, audiobooks, and videos are hand selected by our team of Collection Development librarians. Think of eHighlights as an easy way to make sure you'r not missing titles you should really have in your collection. As always, the titles have been saved into Marketplace carts for your convenience, or you can click directly on a title to go to its Marketplace listing.

Happy New Year, and please let us know if you have any suggestions for improvement.

Click here to go directly to the first catalog: eHighlights January 2015 Adult Edition

The Kids & Teens Edition will be coming soon, and will be followed by a Video Edition, which we will produce every other month.

OverDrive Announces Growth in K12 Market

overdrive australia nsw
Any time a library can report an increase in circulation, patron engagement, offered services, and catalog content, it’s a cause for celebration. Libraries as vital parts of healthy communities are in a constant state of defense, so growth in the sector is good to hear. But when the libraries in question are school libraries who cater to the needs of emerging readers (and future voters who will determine the strength of public libraries down the road), it’s even better.

OverDrive, one of the world’s leading providers of digital content to public and academic libraries, released news yesterday of record growth of its ebook catalog.

“As of January 1, 2015, nearly 12,000 schools and districts have incorporated the OverDrive service into their curriculum and library plans, a 50% increase over the same time last year. OverDrive now works with K-12 partners in 38 countries, with 10 countries added to their global network in 2014.”

eBook adoption in school libraries stands to result in a significant savings for both public and private centers’ budgets, given the typically lower cost of titles and the elimination of damaged copies. One of the chief complaints in school adoption of digital titles, though, has been lack of content from publishers, a factor that OverDrive has worked hard to eliminate.

“OverDrive's school eBook catalog has also reached record size, with 24% growth over the last year, adding more than 100,000 new titles and bringing the total digital catalog available to schools to more than 2 million titles. Audiobook availability has increased 15%, with more than 5,500 new titles available to school partners through OverDrive…In addition, the 2014 acquisition of Teacher's Notebook has given K-12 partners access to teacher-created curriculum materials from more than 500,000 educators.

One of the most exciting parts of the announcement is the seamless incorporation of audio narration with digital titles, a factor that has been proven to increase not only comprehension and reading levels in students who utilize it, but also to play a key role in fostering reading self-selected texts for pleasure.

“In 2014, OverDrive also introduced Narrated eBooks, a feature that provides a single eBook file synchronized with audio. Publishers supplied hundreds of popular children's titles in this new format, which are now available for schools and libraries.”

With a 234% increase in new visitors to the OverDrive site (over 2 million year-over-year), and 6.26 million visits to the school digital content website in 2014 alone (an increase of 276% over the previous year), K12 academic libraries are finally making solid headway into digital adoption.

OverDrive Announces Growth in K12 Market is a post from: Good e-Reader


Liz: Here’s a guest post from our friend Paul at Pimoroni, who has a really exciting Kickstarter to share. You know Paul’s work already: he designed the Raspberry Pi logo, and he’s the brain behind the ridiculously successful Pibow case. Over to Paul!

When I was in nursery school, our class had a BBC Micro. One day, it was my turn to play. I’d been ‘painting’, and being young and uneducated, didn’t wash my hands before using the computer, and got paint smears all over this shiny beige machine.

I got shouted at by the teacher a lot and didn’t get to play. Protecting the shiny new machine was more important than learning.

This is why I love Raspberry Pi. It’s a computer you can be rough and experimental with. If it breaks, it’s replaceable, unlike an expensive iPad or laptop.

Learning is more important than the thing you’re learning on. But this attitude of fear and reticence still prevails. We still see a lot of doubt, and a “that’s not for me” feeling when it comes to tinkering and plugging things into circuit boards. As much as we love playing with breakout boards, and the geekery involved, the friction that goes with it can easily turn a 10 minute job into an hour. Digging out wires, reading datasheets, and finding three blog posts with different libraries in various states of undress; we think these are unnecessary distractions.

So, being Pimoroni, we had a lightbulb moment and decided to fix a bunch of issues at the same time. A year later, Flotilla was born; making all these frustrations a thing of the past.

Flotilla is a system of smart, affordable breakout boards backed by great software that lets you easily use them on the Raspberry Pi. The idea is that you can just break out a Pi, pop in a Raspbian SD card with the Flotilla software installed, plug in the Dock then start playing and learning without knowing much of anything beforehand.


The first level is Cookbook. You plug widgets into the Dock. Cookbook suggests recipes that involve those pieces. So plug in a Light-sensor, a Barometer, and Cookbook might suggest you build a weather station or a Digi-pet.


The next step is Rockpool. A simple app-like interface for defining rules. So you can say “If the temperature is high, turn a motor with a fan on”. It’s impossible to get wrong, and can be used without typing. You can build surprisingly complex projects; such as line-following robots, musical devices and games.


The Pi can also act as a WiFi Access point and web server. This lets you connect to Flotilla from your tablet, phone or laptop, and control Cookbook and Rockpool from a web-browser. Great if you’re running your Pi from a battery. On a robot, say. :-)

After that, you’re into the world of Scratch and Python. We'll be providing lovely Flotilla libraries to get you started.

The whole idea is top-down learning. People start by having fun, and doing and discovering what interests them. If they like it, they can delve further into how things work. Clive says it best in the video. It’s "learning by stealth".

We’re pretty sure Flotilla is the first fully-fledged plug-and-play digital tinkering kit. We’re also sure that the Raspberry Pi is the right place for it. The easier it is for everyone to start learning, and being comfortable with computers and electronics, the more time scientists and engineers have to make spaceships, instead of a better coffee-maker, or pet-feeder.

We’re on Kickstarter now, and would love you to support Flotilla so we can turn it into something everyone can use, in schools, at home, in the lab, and contribute too :D

- Paul & Jon & the Pirate Crew.

Google to Become a Wireless Carrier


If you buy a new smartphone from Google Play in the near future, you will be able to use Google as your new wireless carrier. The company has just ironed out agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile to sell voice and data plans directly to consumers.

Google has been experimenting with internet access with its Fiber program in a very limited capacity and via their Loon project sought to provide free WIFI access in remote places. This new endeavor is positioning Google to become a top tier wireless carrier in the US.

Currently, there are four major carriers in the United States: T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, and while T-Mobile has made efforts to shake up the wireless industry with its Un-Carrier initiatives, wireless service in the United States remains much pricier than in other countries, with subscribers getting less data for more money. The thought behind the Google branded service is to be able to directly bundle their data enabled phones at a discounted rate if you buy them from Google Play.

Google will not actually be competing against these big players but has engaged in a licensing program. They will be quite similar to other players in this sector, including Boost Mobile, FreedomPop, and Straight Talk.

The Wall Street Journal has verified this rumor, writing “Google hinted at its wireless ambitions in a letter to the FCC last week, which said higher-frequency spectrum might be used for ‘the next generation of unlicensed broadband services,’ including complements to Wi-Fi networks, ‘or entirely new technologies and innovations.’ ”

It remains to be seen how the Google wireless plans unfold in the real world. We don’t have an actual date or in what capacity users will be able to signup. It looks dubious if Apple will include them as a carrier option to opt into for unlocked iPads and iPhones. Many industry experts seem to agree that the best strategy is to sign up customers who buy Google branded devices, such as the Nexus Phone or Nexus tablet for data.

Google to Become a Wireless Carrier is a post from: Good e-Reader

Nominees for Manga Taisho Award Announced


If you are looking for a great new read, but don’t know where to start, the Manga Taisho Aware shortlist has been announced.  There are 14 nominations in total, meaning competition will be tight. But what sets this award apart from others is that the voting comes in from bookstore workers, the people who really know what is hot and selling.

Manga Taisho has been awarded every year since 2008 to a new manga. The parameters set are 1: the manga must have been published in the last year or earlier, and 2: it must have eight volumes or less published. Because the winner is chosen by bookstore workers, it allows for a lot more freedom of opinion. Winners are most often the more popular choice, instead of whatever looks artsy for critics. Thus, people are probably going to be happier with the result.

Ballroom e Yousoko by Tomo Takeuchi –  With all the popularity of sports anime in recent years, this manga takes on the genre from a new perspective: ballroom dance. The story revolves around a young student ambushed by delinquents, only to be saved by a man who shows his ballroom dance. So it's like The Karate Kid, but with more dancing, and if that doesn't sound like a winner, then nothing does.

Blue Giant by Shinichi Ishizuka  –  This manga centers on the life of a jazz musician. The author previously wrote the mountain-climbing manga "Gaku", the winner of the very first Manga Taisho Award back in 2008.  That alone is enough to make "Blue Giant" a frontunner, and the unique jazzy style only adds to the charm.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi by Kei Sanbe –  This suspense manga is running in Young Ace, detailing the life a manga author who, struggling to get by, discovers supernatural forces. As anything supernatural is popular in this day and age, this manga is another one to watch out for.

Dormitory Tomkins by Fumiko Takano – A short, one volume manga. Not much is known about this little slice of life, but it was enough to merit a spot on this list through twelve chapters alone. Clearly there is something here worth reading.

Houseki no Kuni by Haruko Ichikawa -  This fantasy tells the story of "jewel people," people with skin made of jewels. The main character Phosphophyllite has one of the lowest hardness rankings, and the story chronicles his journey to help defend his people. With a unique setup, beautiful artwork, and some geology facts as well, this manga is going places whether it wins the award or not.

Innocent by Shinichi Sakamoto –  This manga follows the story of Charles-Henri Sanson, who just so happens to be the Royal Executioner of France during the reign of King Louis XVI. Fans of history know where this story is headed, but that doesn't make the historical drama any less juicy. Filled with mature content and gorgeous artwork, "Innocent" is an easy contender.

Kakukaku Shikajika by Akiko Higashimura – This uniquely stylized autobiography tells the story of the author's time spent in an art class with an eccentric teacher. This manga has already ranked highly on several yearly lists, making it solid competition.

Kasane by Daruma Matsuura – This dark drama details the life of a girl who owns a tube of lipstick with special powers. The story is a mesmerizing, psychological dive into the psyche of beauty. If you aren’t intrigued by now, you should be.

Koe no Katachi by Yoshitoki Oima  – This short series has already seen its end, Weekly Shonen Magazine publishing the last chapter in November. But even in its short time, this manga about a deaf girl and the boy who used to bully her touched the hearts of everyone who read it. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, there's no question as to why this manga was nominated.

Kodomo wa Wakatte Agenai by Rettou Tajima – A two volume miniseries run by Morning, this little slice-of-life is as cute as its art style. Although short, it has merit enough to be a contender for the year.

Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsukabi –  A four panel web comic series shown in several magazines, this manga already has its own anime adaption. Only those living under rocks haven't heard of this comedy. It shows the escapades of a girl who meets her favourite shoujo author, only to find he isn't quite what she expected. Wickedly popular, humorous and at times touching, this series could easily be called the year's frontrunner.

My Hero Academiaby Houhei Horikoshi – If superhero stories interest you, this is the manga to read. It's about a boy living in a world with superpowered people, who dreams of being a hero – without having any superpowers himself. The kind of story we can all relate to, "My Hero Academia" is a top contender.

Ousama-tachi no Viking by Makoto Fukami and Sadayasu – A cyber action plotline with a wicked cool graphic style, this collaboration project is worth keeping an eye on.

The Ancient Magus' Brideby Kore Yamazaki –  Picked up by Seven Seas, this unpublished manga sets out to tell the story of a young girl bought by a magus – an ancient sorcerer – at a slave auction. Instead of becoming his slave, however, the man announces he plans to make her his apprentice, and his bride. A Beauty and the Beast-styled paranormal romance, this manga plays to the popular genres while still looking beautiful and unique.

There are a lot of good contenders this year, but only one can be the winner of the Manga Taisho Award. Most of these contenders are shown in Manga magazines, such as Big Comic, Shuukan Young Jump, Cocohana and Manga Magazine. Have you read any of these? If so, what are your thoughts?

Nominees for Manga Taisho Award Announced is a post from: Good e-Reader