Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Shonen Jump


In Japan, manga is serialized in various magazines. Every new chapter that gets released is printed in one of many different magazines, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. There are multiple various prints running a multitude of genres. Here in North America, we really only have one – Viz Manga‘s digital magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump.

The magazine is a mirror image to the popular Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan, a magazine that has been in publication since 1968. It runs almost all the same titles as the Japanese magazine, but with a few additional titles held by Viz Media. When the Viz company first started publishing magazines with their licensed manga, they started with two: Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. These magazines were published in paper, and instead of weekly, came monthly. They were popular in bookstores and issues could be easily found at most public libraries.

In 2011, Viz announced that they were making a shift. By 2013, both Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat were out of print, and had been replaced by a new magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. Viz began several changes when they made the shift. This new magazine would be published weekly, instead of monthly, as previously done. Viz also chose to publish digitally. As for the manga titles that got dropped from running, such as those running in Shojo Beat, are also available through Viz Manga.

With the move to digital, Viz Manga has become much more accessible. Weekly Shonen Jump, in addition to their other titles, can be read through Android and iOS apps, Kindle, Nook, and Kobo E-Reader. Subscriptions are available through Viz Manga, and if you choose to include your mailing address, Viz sends free promotional Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and other fun features. If you’re not feeling a subscription, individual issues can be bought separately. And, as the digital age goes, Weekly Shonen Jump’s publication is simultaneous with Japan’s magazine, so you won’t be missing a second.

As for what is currently running in Weekly Shonen Jump’s lineup, the list is as follows:

Bleach – Who hasn’t heard of this popular manga monster by Tite Kubo? With Naruto ending its 700-chapter run in November, Bleach may be the next biggest thing. For those new into manga, Bleach is the story of a young man who accidentally gains the power of a Soul Reaper – a Death God. With these newfound powers, he is charged with protecting humanity from evil spirits,  and often ends up travelling across the afterlife. Just don’t ask why it’s called Bleach.

Blue Exorcist – The story of the half-human, half-demonic son of Satan. Sounds god already, doesn’t it? In this supernatural tale, young Rin Okumura decides to become an exorcist so he can defeat his father. The story is penned by Kazue Katō.

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma – A collaboration by author Yūto Tsukuda, illustrator Shun Saeki, and with recipes by Yuki Morisaki. If you couldn’t guess by the title, this is a cooking manga. But it’s a high energy cooking manga, about a boy who enters an elite cooking school where only 10% of students graduate. We’re stressed for him already.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgement – Draw by the same artist as Death Note, Takeshi Obata, this manga is about as far from Death Note as you can get. It’s about a grade school defense attorney. This is a unique little gem of a manga, as you can’t say you’ve ever read a courtroom drama quite like this one.

Hunter x Hunter – Imagine if there was a job that’s description entailed exploring the unexplored, collecting lost treasure, and hunting criminals, all while constantly encountering the paranormal. That’s the job description of a Hunter, the pursuit of the young Gon in this manga. The inspiration came from the author Yoshihiro Togashi’s own collecting hobby.

My Hero Academia – By Kōhei Horikoshi, this fairly new manga tells the story of a young boy without any superpowers, living in a world of superpowered people. It’s a story for anyone who has ever been left out. My Hero Academia is also one of the nominees for this year’s Manga Taisho Award.

Nisekoi: False Love – A comedy by Naoshi Komi. This offbeat rom-com stars the two children of rival yakuza bosses, who decide to settle their differences by pairing their children together. This would work – if those two didn’t hate each other. Nisekoi has had an anime adaption running since January 2014.

One Piece – Another long-running popular series, this manga has well over 700 chapters. By Oda Eiichiro, this fun pirate adventure has been one of the top manga since it began, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

One-Punch Man – A comedic webcomic by a mysterious author who simply goes by One, this little treasure details a man who can defeat enemies – with one punch. He’s become bored of his power and is looking for stronger opponents, ones that can withstand more than just one punch.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Who doesn’t need a good vampire story in this day and age? Instead of the ever-popular vampire romance, this dark fantasy by Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto tells the story of a world overrun by vampires, and a young man who sets out to destroy them all and end their reign.

Toriko – By Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, this is another cooking manga. Toriko tells the story of a chef who i travelling the world looking for rare ingredients to create a full-course meal.

World Trigger – By Daisuke Ashihara, this manga is the tale of monstrous creatures crossing over into Earth, and a group of people called Border agents who stop them. The ticket to this manga is that it’s told from the mouth of one of the monsters.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal – How long has Yu-Gi-Oh! been going? How many series will there be? How long will it continue? Hopefully – for eternity. Does this manga need any explanation? A young protagonist sets off to be a Duel Monster champion. By Shin Yoshida and Naoto Miyashi, this manga will have you determined to collect as many cards as you can. After all, how many decks of 50 do you need? With free cards coming with your subscription, the answer is: as many as you fit it your house.

Everything You Need To Know About Shonen Jump is a post from: Good e-Reader

$199 Kindle Voyage Finally In Stock at Amazon

Amazon’s latest Kindle was officially released on October 21st, 2014 in the United States. From that point until just recently, it has been listed as in stock at a future date, with shipping pending. A few of the model variations have been in stock briefly now and again the past couple weeks, but the end […]

Txtr goes Bankrupt


Txtr is based in Berlin Germany and has been in the e-reader and e-book business for quite sometime. Sadly, their entire business model is not viable and they have officially gone bankrupt.

Txtr originally burst onto the  international scene in 2008 with plans to capitalize on the e-reader boom.  Production and design issues led to their first device never being released. The company flipped gears in 2009 and started doing development for online digital publishers and traditional book sellers. In 2010 and 2011 they quickly became one of the largest companies outside North America developing whitelabel e-book ecosystems. The company's portfolio includes clients such as Vol Retail and Weltbilde, who is the largest EU book retailer.

Txtr got a much needed injection of funds in 2011 when 3M wanted to get involved in the digital library space.   The 3M relationship with Txtr goes beyond the obvious financial benefits of being a partner with a large multinational conglomerate, whose presence is felt in many different technology sectors.  When Txtr secured the initial funding from 3M they had toured the company's headquarters in Minnesota and were blown away by how the research and development aspects of the company was handled.

Txtr and 3M worked together very early on developing the 3M Cloud Library App and  e-reader solution for libraries to loan out to their patrons. The relationship between these two companies really helped 3M quickly become a major player in the industry, giving Overdrive and Baker & Taylor a run for their money. Two years ago 3M suspended their relationship with Txtr and started doing all of their app development in-house.

In early 2013 Txtr bet the farm on the Beagle, a low cost e-reader that was designed to pair via Bluetooth to  your smartphone and send content directly to your device. The intention behind this product was to forge a relationship with Telecom companies and offer the Beagle for free, as part of an incentive program to sell more smartphones and give users a reason to upgrade.  Txtr could not secure any meaningful partners and tried to sell it themselves. Users did not embrace this five inch reader and this was one of the final nails in the coffin for them.

The founders of Txtr formed a new e-book start-up called Blloon that is being marketed via a series of apps in the United Kingdom. Customers purchase credits to read a certain amount of pages in a book, rather than buy the book themselves.  Blloon has a number of publishing partners such as HMH, Open Road Media, Allen & Unwin, Diversion Books, Lonely Planet, Profile, RosettaBooks, Faber Factory, Guardian Books, and Workman Publishing.

Selling e-books directly to customers and developing whitelabel solutions for other companies is not a viable way to stay in business anymore. Not only has Txtr gone bankrupt but UK supermarket chain Tesco has just announced they are also shuttering their online bookstore.

Txtr goes Bankrupt is a post from: Good e-Reader

Book Baby Just Broke the Internet for Indie Authors

Since the original innovations in digital publishing and self-publishing first came along, there have been a few upgrades and features added to the concept, but nothing that really shook up the process, at least not in the same way that self-publishing originally turned the publishing world on its collective head. But a new program from ebook and print distributor BookBaby stands to be the first true game changer for indie authors since the recent revolution took off.

While there’s nothing inherently amazing about print-on-demand, being able to combine print-on-demand with a far reaching distribution program is. Authors who currently use CreateSpace–arguably the most trafficked POD service for self-publishing–really only have the option to list their physical books on Amazon, the CreateSpace e-store, and a their own blogs if they choose to fulfill the shipping options themselves. While there is a free expanded distribution option with CreateSpace that at least makes it possible for libraries and bookstores to stock the titles, it sees limited results for most authors.

BookBaby’s new program will distribute self-published print-on-demand titles to retailers like Barnes and Noble through their website (with the potential due to sales and customer requests for in-store sales), Amazon, Powells, NASCORP, Ingram Network, Baker & Taylor Network, plus up to another 150 other outlets.

This program is an add-on to their existing print services, and only requires a one-time minimum order of 25 copies of the professionally printed book. While ebook conversion and distribution is available, it is not required in order to take advantage of the print-on-demand option. That means an author can still offer his ebook on Amazon at his own terms and under his own name, as well as take full advantage of Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program and its benefits, while still offering his print edition through the other networks.

The best part? One of the chief concerns that prevents bookstores from carrying self-published works is the inability to return unsold titles, even at the author’s cost. BookBaby’s program will allow these outlets–from the local indie bookshop to Barnes and Noble’s physical locations–to return unsold books for a full refund, while still not incurring any cost to the author. BookBaby will absorb the cost of the refund.

"This is different from any other Print On Demand program out on the marketplace," said Steven Spatz, BookBaby President. "Self-published authors deserve to have a place on the book store shelves around the world, and our program delivers the maximum exposure through retail stores and wholesale catalogs."

Unlike many companies who offer publishing tools for indie authors, BookBaby does not take an additional royalty on each item sold. The full remaining percentage after the retailer’s cut goes to the author. There are metrics involved in factoring the royalty on the print-on-demand titles, but they are comparable to other distributors in the industry.

Book Baby Just Broke the Internet for Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

3M Cloud Library Investing in New Technologies


3M is focusing on expansion and the development of new technologies as an avenue of growth during 2015. The company will be previewing some of the new product features for the 3M Cloud Library App and the SelfCheck terminals at the upcoming  ALA mid-winter conference.

3M's investment in new technology and talent is in response to the positive reception of its products. Over 1,000 libraries have upgraded to the 3M SelfCheck QuickConnect Interface. 3M Cloud Library customers have a 95 percent renewal rate, and a 121 percent growth in checkouts from 2013 to 2014. Additionally, 75 percent of 3M Cloud Library customers utilize two eBook systems, a testament to the value of a second system for libraries that would like to increase eBook utilization.

"Our growth and renewal rate shows that libraries are finding outstanding value in 3M Library's offerings and technology," said Matt Tempelis, Global Business Manager, 3M Library Systems. "Our intuitive, elegant solutions engage existing and new patrons alike."

3M has also recently added personnel to support its growth. This includes additions to field sales representatives, portfolio managers, research & development, and technical service staff. These individuals bring tremendous industry experience to the 3M Library Systems team.

"We're seeing so many great things in the industry, including this commitment from 3M," said Pat Conley, library director for the Washington County Library in Minnesota. "It's a really positive sign that big companies are seeing ongoing opportunities in serving libraries."

3M Cloud Library Investing in New Technologies is a post from: Good e-Reader

See innovations from OverDrive at ALA Midwinter 2015

Are you going to ALA Midwinter in Chicago this weekend? If so, stop by booth #2623 to see full-scale demonstrations of cutting-edge technology, including:

  • Narrated eBooks: Synced audio-to-text now live with more than 800 titles available to libraries and schools
  • EPUB3 fixed-layout eBooks: OverDrive Read's HTML5 browser-based technology recently launched support for fixed-layout EPUB3 eBooks, allowing illustrated titles for children and adults to be displayed with two-page views. Includes many never-before-available titles for library lending, such as the iconic Dr. Seuss series. See a sample, here.
  • Browser-based Instant Audiobooks: Coming soon, Instant Audiobooks from OverDrive will be demonstrated for the first time at ALA Midwinter. No software or downloads required. Just see book and begin listening.
  • OverDrive Periodicals: OverDrive and NOOK Media have partnered to make popular magazines and newspapers available through libraries and schools. Live in several pilot libraries, OverDrive Periodicals will become widely available in the coming months.
  • Streaming Video: See the latest blockbuster hits, documentaries, TV series, instructional and children's films through OverDrive's streaming video service, now live with thousands of titles for libraries and schools.

On Sunday, February 1 from 10:30-11:30 a.m., OverDrive's CEO Steve Potash will be participating in a panel discussion about the best ways for libraries to bring together authors and readers in the digital age. Stop by the McCormick Convention Center room W196B to attend the session "ALA DCWG: Libraries and Ebooks — Where Do We Go from Here?"

See you in Chicago!

Harry Potter eBooks Added to Oyster’s Subscription Service

Oyster is one of the new and growing companies that offers ebooks through a monthly subscription program, and today they announced the addition of some popular titles. Ebook subscription services have been gaining a lot of ground lately by getting some of the larger publishers to signup, and Oyster is the first to get Pottermore, […]

New Report Uncovers China’s Book Sales

digi pub china
If there was every any doubt about the need for authors and publishers to distribute their books abroad, a new report on book consumption in China may have just put those thoughts to rest. While China does boast the largest single-country population on the planet, those numbers translate into an incredible amount of sales within the various provinces.

What is more interesting about the report was the breakdown by genre within the different regions, as well as the accumulation of where books are being bought in the highest numbers. One particular province, for example, bought more books than the combined sales of sixteen other provinces. Capital cities of the provinces and different universities in various provinces were also examined to discover the overall rate of book buying and the genres that sold the most copies in each location.

According to an article on the findings for, “Chinese people purchased 33 million books via in 2014. The top three provinces for book consumption are Guangdong with 16.89 percent, Beijing 11.39 percent, and Jiangsu 7.01 percent. They are followed by Shanghai 6.45 percent, Shandong 6.23 percent and Zhejiang 5.71 percent.”

While this report took into account the total book buying habits of consumers, ebooks also saw a spike in consumption.

“E-book consumption has increased dramatically along with the development and popularization of smart phones. The ratio of e-book sales to hardcopy sales rose from 10 percent to 30 percent in 2014. The top three sales regions are also the biggest e-book markets: Guangdong, Beijing and Jiangsu. It has become popular for readers to read and buy e-books by mobile phone. In 2014, 60 million e-books were downloaded, which is equal to 20 percent of hardcopy sales. That figure is 10 percent higher than that in 2013.”

This news should serve as a conversation starter for authors and publishers–especially smaller press publishing houses–who have yet to explore the options of international distribution, an important market option considering the lack of available English language content in direct proportion to the numbers of English speakers in many of these countries.

New Report Uncovers China’s Book Sales is a post from: Good e-Reader

Handheld games console – for REAL dummies

Here is the most rubbery review presenter we’ve ever met. Bryan Lunduke is here to show you how even a complete beginner whose hands are made from foam can build a games console from scratch, using a Raspberry Pi.

A tip, Bryan. I know you do not have hands that work (or, presumably, fingernails); but you’ll find that Pibow you’re using looks EVEN BETTER if you peel the backing paper off each layer!

Harry Potter eBooks Now Available on Oyster


The entire notion of Netflix for e-Books has caught on in a big. A few years ago many publishers were resistant to the entire idea and gradually they have all come around. Oyster is one of the leaders in the field of e-book subscription services, where users pay a low monthly fee and get access to thousands of digital books they can read at their leisure. Today, the company is proud to announce that they have reached an agreement with JK Rowling, to have the entire Harry Potter saga available.

For the longest time Rowling was heavily resistant to the idea of digitizing her titles. The main problem was control, she did not want an established publishing company to take a percentage of each sale and wanted to market the books herself. This led to the creation of Pottermore, the only place online where you can buy the digital editions of every Harry Potter book ever written. One of the things that drove its success was that every title was DRM-Free. This allowed readers to easily transfer them to their smartphones, tablets or e-readers and not have to use 3rd party tools or utilities. The Pottermore initiative was spearheaded by Charlie Redmayne and his efforts were such a resounding success that he was soon tapped to be the next CEO of Harper Collins UK.

When Oyster launched in 2013 one of their top ten searches every single month were the Harry Potter books, now the wait is over. All seven main Harry Potter ebooks and three Hogwarts Library eBooks are now available.

Oyster’s Reader Themes will be replaced by “House Themes,” with designs inspired by Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, and readers can tap the Sorting Hat icon to have one chosen at random. The Oyster Review will also be dedicated to Harry Potter from Jan. 28 – 30, featuring unique editorial content celebrating the series, commissioned and authored by Oyster.

Harry Potter eBooks Now Available on Oyster is a post from: Good e-Reader

Mike Bloomberg Covets the New York Times


Michael Bloomberg is a man on the mission.  One of his lifelong goals is purchasing one of the most influential newspapers in the world, the New York Times.  A few years ago he formally approached Chairman Arthur Sulzberger about a possible deal, but was told “The New York Times will never be for sale.” Recently the New York Magazine published a speculation piece and for all sense and purposes, Michael’s interest has not waned.

Michael Bloomberg is the former mayor of New York and held the office for three terms.  He is considered to be the wealthiest person in New York, whose reported net worth is north of $33 billion, could certainly afford to acquire a publicly traded media company with a market capitalization of a mere $2 billion—even if he had to pay a substantial premium.

Many of the most popular newspapers in the US also proclaimed that they would never be for sale, but look how it all panned out. The Wall Street Journal was not for sale until Rupert Murdoch made an offer that was 67% above their shares' trading value.  The Washington Post wasn’t on the market until Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos came knocking and bought it in August 2013.

The New York Times has been under the gun lately to produce. In October they  reported a loss of $9 million compared to a profit of $12.9 million in the third quarter of 2013. The loss was driven, in part, by the cost of buyouts and over 100 layoffs, as well as a capital investment in new products. The company bet big on NYT Opinion, a mobile app dedicated to opinionated content and NYT Now, which was aimed at younger readers. Both had not gained the traction the Times had wanted and were quickly shuttered.

One ally that Bloomberg has in a possible buyout situation is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who also expressed an interest in purchasing the Times. Last week, Mr. Slim exercised warrants to become the largest shareholder of the company with a 17% stake and told Reuters last July that his holdings in the company are a "financial investment." If Bloomberg paid a dramatic above average rate for the company, Slim would make a copious amount of money.

Will the Times sell? It looks highly unlikely, primarily due to the way the company is structured. Poynter outlined the current situation by saying “The structure of the family trust is the heart of the matter . It would be almost impossible unless there was unanimity" among family shareholders to sell the company to an outsider.  Even were there a block of dissident family members, stock in the Trust would have to be offered first to the other Class B Trust shareholders before it could go to anyone else.”

The New York Times core business is sound. Their online digital strategy is paying off big time. They basically pioneered the paywall system, that gives people a limited amount of content they can read, before they have to take out a subscription. Over 900,000 people are currently paying for this and via their official line of apps for Android and iOS apps. Third party companies are also lending the assist in generation additional revenue.  PressReader  is marketing the NYT replica edition to a ravenous audience.

Mike Bloomberg Covets the New York Times is a post from: Good e-Reader