Thursday, January 29, 2015

Print Makes a Comeback at the Expense of e-Readers

Merri spent the kids' nap with the Kindle.

e-Readers had their time in the sun and their popularity has slowly diminished. Gone are the days when the e-reader space was completely saturated with new e-paper companies and startups trying to capitalize on the e-book revolution. Many of the companies that first got involved in the e-reader space are all gone now. Aluratek, Cool-er, iRex, Txtr and Sony either went bankrupt or abandoned making e-readers. Hundreds of digital bookstores also went out of business such as Blinkbox Boox, Sony Reader Store and Diesel eBooks. The novelty of e-books has worn off and bookstores all over the world are now reporting a resurgence in print sales.

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. It sparked a flurry of questions about the e-reader’s death.

Australian bookseller Jon Page of Page and Pages said “Sales were up 3% last year, which is fantastic because for the last three years we’d actually seen a decline in that time.”

United States bookseller Barnes and Noble announced that their "Core" comparable bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, increased 1.7% for the comparable holiday period. Whereas total comparable bookstore sales, including NOOK products, declined 0.6%.

Chapters Indigo, the largest bookseller in Canada reported during their Q2 2014 earnings call that they generated an extra $9.7 million, despite operating four fewer superstores. They reported double digit increases in print sales as customers are buying less e-readers and tablets.

Bookstores all over the world are reporting dramatic increases in print book sales. This comes at the expense of many of the longstanding e-reader brands and e-book stores closing in droves. Has the novelty of e-readers and e-book waned? I think people have come to realize that buying books on your device is anti-social and book readers are drawn to each other to talk about the things they love and to buy books at a physical store, amidst kindred spirits.

Print Makes a Comeback at the Expense of e-Readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Apple Posts Mixed Q1 Results for iPhone and iPad Sales


The latest numbers are in for Apple, and overall they are very good. It would appear that they were right, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were very much desired (and in demand)… to the tune of 74.5 million units sold, breaking their goal of 60 million by more than a few. By comparison, 21.4 million iPads were moved during the same period… which sounds good, until you realize this was a 21% drop in sales from the same period last year.

Anytime words like loss or drop come into play, people start to play their favourite speculation games. Truth be told, it likely wasn’t that unexpected. Upgrade cycles are becoming larger as hardware becomes that much more impressive. If you ask me, there are two other factors involved here: mobile hardware is expensive (forcing users to make a choice between which devices they upgrade), and users tend to be less critical of tablet performance.

Of course, there might be a third reason: the iPhone 6 Plus may have just persuaded would-be iPad Mini users away from a tablet and into Apple’s larger format smartphone.

As we brace for another year of possible product launches and device upgrades, the rumour mill is in full swing –we know there is a smartwatch headed our way sooner than later, but time will tell if there is also a 12-inch iPad Pro as well. I’ve got an opinion or two regarding the likelihood of this (which involves eliminating the Macbook Air now that the Macbook Pro line is slimming down and lightening up), but I’ll save those speculations for another post.

Apple Posts Mixed Q1 Results for iPhone and iPad Sales is a post from: Good e-Reader

Android Games Finally Making iOS-Level Profits


The gap is finally narrowing between the profit made by developers of Android and iOS games. Android certainly has more marketshare, but so far developers have given more attention to Apple’s iOS platform. Where Android used to be somewhat of an afterthought following a successful iOS launch, Android is emerging as being competitive and lucrative –particularly in the gaming category.

According to recent data from gaming marketing company DAU-UP, the average revenue per user for Android games has increased steadily during 2014 –from 20% of iOS revenues in January, to 65% in December.

The actual dollar values are still higher for Apple and iOS developers, but this is more than an increase in revenue; it represents a shift in the type of users that are choosing Android devices. Once thought to be a platform for bargain hunters, Android is now churning out their share of quality higher-end hardware (plus, no matter how much Android users hate it… Google is starting to make the kinds of changes that will standardize development in ways that make developers happy).

Developers should pay especially close attention to this news –if this upward trajectory continues, being among the first to adopt an Android-first development strategy could be incredibly worthwhile.

Android Games Finally Making iOS-Level Profits is a post from: Good e-Reader

VXG Video Player Brings HD Streaming to Android


Smartphone and tablet users are as passionate about media as they are social media and messaging. This means that the eternal search for a worthwhile media player is near-constant. Fortunately, there are a few quality contenders –among them you will find VXG Video Player.

In many ways, VXG Video Player blurs the lines between mobile and desktop video players by boasting a considerable and sophisticated feature list: multiple video formats (AVI, 3GP, M4V, MP4, WMV, FLV, MPEG, MPG, MOV, RM, VOB, ASF, MKV, F4V, TRP, TS, and TP), the ability to record your favourite fragments, upload and download videos over WiFi connections, digital zoom, picture shifting, automatic identification of video and audio files, video preview for listed media (made even easier with smart thumbnails), online streaming, recording of live streams (with add, modify, and delete functionality), and playback of FLV files (without need for the Flash Player plug-in).

With a comprehensive list like that, it is sufficed to say that VXG Video Player does the kind of heavy lifting normally done by a suite of apps.

If you want to test-drive a full-featured (at no charge and ad free!) video player, download VXG Video Player for your Android devices now.

VXG Video Player Brings HD Streaming to Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Top 10 Best Anime – Winter 2015


This winter a copious amount of new anime was released on video streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Hulu and Funimation. With the sheer onslaught of great content its hard to know the best stuff. Today, we look at the stuff that has proven to be the most popular and should give you a solid launching point to discovering some great new anime.

Cute High Earth Defence Club LOVE!



 The Earth Defence club at Binan High school are a group of boys that do nothing but be lazy, however with an encounter of a mysterious talking wombat in a bathhouse, it becomes clear that these lazy boys will become the Battle Lovers of Earth! Defending and spreading the love one heart at a time to thwart the evil of Thunder and the club members of the Earth Conquest Club.

Available at Crunchyroll, Funimation

Death Parade

Death parade 1


Upon death, humans go to either heaven or hell. But for some, at the instant of their death, they arrive at Queen Decim, a bar attending by a mysterious white haired Decim. Challenging them to the Death Game, they must wager their lives and reveal their true natures. Decim himself, however, is the ultimate arbitrator of who wins and who loses and who exactly will go to Heaven or Hell

Available at Hulu, Funimation

Maria the Virgin Witch (Junketsu no Maria)

Maria 2


Set in France during the Hundred Years’ War, with a magical twist, the story follows Maria, one of the most powerful witches of her time. Despising war, Maria tries to maintain peace and help her people by allowing her incubus and succubus familiars intervene in battles, opposing factions and inducing large scale illusions. Considering her a heretic by the church, The archangel Michael confronts her and reveals that if Maria loses her virginity, she will also lose all of her powers while forbidding her to use magic in front of humans. An Angel named Ezekial is sent to watch over Maria to watch that this doesn’t happen.

Available at Funimation

Yatterman Night (Yoru no Yatterman)



Long ago, the Yatterman were heroes of Justice who fought against the evil Doronbow Gang, exiling them and bringing peace to the Yatter Kingdom. Generations later, the Yatterman have since become a corrupt power with everyone forced to live in poverty and despair. After losing her mother to the Yattermen’s selfishness, Leopard, a direct descenedant of the gang’s leader Doronjo, reforms the Doronbow Gang with Boyacky and Tonzra’s descandants, Voltaktze and Elephantus, to rebel against the corrupt.

Available at Funimation

Tokyo Ghoul √A


Genre: Psychological thriller, Action, Drama

In Modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of ghouls, mysterious creatures who look like humans but have an insatiable taste for human flesh. Ken Kaneki becomes a victim in an attack and undergoes a surgery that turns him into a ghoul half breed. Torn between two worlds, Ken must survive violent conflicts between ghoul factions while learning more about ghoul society and what the fine line between ghoul and monster is.

Available at Funimation, Hulu

Fafner Exodus

Fafner 1

Genre:Mecha, Sci-fi, Drama

A community has isolated themselves on an island in order to perform secrete research. The island is mechanical , so not only is it mobile, but also has retractable walls and barriers. A necessary feature as the island is attacked by beings the residents know little about. Aside the protection of the barriers, people on the island enlist a select number of Juveniles to pilot mechas so they can fight against the unknown beings.

Available at Crunchyroll

Saekano – How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend


Genre:Romantic Comedy

The life of Tomoya Aki, a high school otaku working part time to buy anime, one day runs into Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. This encounter inspires Tomoya to design his very own "gal-game" featuring a heroine modelled after the girl he saw. Tomoya must persuiade a few eccentric creators such as the ace member of the art club, Eriri Spencer Sawamura and the school’s top student, Utaha Kasumigaoka, to join his development team if he wants to see his desire become reality.

Available at Crunchyroll, Hulu

The Rolling Girls

roling girls 2

Genre:Coming-of-age story

Ten years after the end of the "Great Tokyo War" that rocked Japan, most of the country’s political and economic elites mysteriously vanish. As a result, the country split up into 10 original prefectures. Each nation is then ruled by a prophet called "Mosa" and an army called "Mob"  compete as they try to take over the other countries.  Their Supporters known as the "Rest", work to support them while maintaining peace. After a long battled that ultimate leads her friend to be injured, a rook Rest named Nozomi decides to travel around the city on her motorcycyle with her new friends as the seek to become strong and search for special heart shaped jewels.

Available at Hulu, Funimation

Assassination Classroom


Genre: Action, Supernatural, Comedy

The Earth is threatened by a powerful creature who destroys 70% of the moon, leaving it the shape of a crescent moon forever. The creature claims that in one year, Earth will also be by destroyed by him, but he offers man kind a chance to avert this fate. He begins teaching at Junior High in where he teaches the students about assassination. If any student can assassinate him, he will no longer be able to destroy Earth. Though this will not be an easy task as he has several inhuman abilities, such as the capacity to move at Mach 20.

Available at Funimation, Hulu

Aldnoah.Zero 2


Genre: Mecha, Action, Drama

Seeking revenge, Count Saazbaum, a Martian, has attacked the Earth. War between Terrans and Martians ended with Earth’s Terrans gaining victory, however, nineteen months later, the battle between them continues. Martians still continue to invade and the Terrans must protect it.

Available at Crunchyroll, Hulu

Top 10 Best Anime – Winter 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox M96C With Capacitive Touchscreen Now Available

The Onyx Boox M96 is one of very few 9.7-inch E Ink ebook readers available on the current market (see my M96 Universe Review here). Luckily it’s a good one, and now there’s a newer model that’s even better. The Germany-based website has started selling the Onyx Boox M96C. It’s basically the same exact […]

OverDrive Rated #1 eBook app for libraries by users

OverDrive continues to be rated the best eBook app for libraries based on user ratings in the iOS (Apple) and Google Play (Android) app stores. The OverDrive app enables users to borrow and enjoy eBooks, audiobooks and streaming videos on a single website, via smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and other major devices.

Based on user ratings in the iOS and Android app stores, OverDrive has consistently been rated the highest compared to other library eBook apps. In addition, OverDrive has received significantly more ratings, further validating its leadership position. As of January 15, 2015, the OverDrive app had 40,806 ratings in the iOS app store with an average of 4 stars, and 63,272 ratings at 4.4 stars in the Google Play store. The current version of the OverDrive iOS app was rated 1,021 times with an average rating of 4.0. By comparison, the current version of the 3M Cloud Library iOS app averaged 1.5 stars on 82 ratings, and 3.1 stars in the Google Play app store.

Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 has 2 stars based on 55 ratings in the iOS store and 3 stars based on 166 ratings in the Google Play app store. Hoopla's app scored 2 stars based on 413 user ratings in the iOS store, and 3.5 stars based on 2,344 ratings in the Google Play store. Finally, Freading shows 3 stars based on 73 ratings in the iOS store, and 3 stars based on 168 ratings in the Google Play store. See the full ratings chart, here.

In addition to its popular app, OverDrive provides time-saving options for users' reading, watching, or listening experience that don't require downloads or the app. OverDrive announced that browser-based Instant Audiobooks will debut this year to complement the already-available "instant eBook" reader OverDrive Read and Streaming Video. Now eBooks, audiobooks, and films are available in-browser instantly – in as few as two clicks – as well as downloadable through the app so that users may experience them based on their preference.

As the nation's librarians convene for their annual midwinter meeting in Chicago, OverDrive will be demonstrating innovations for 2015 for library lending. See the highest-rated eBook app for libraries, the browser-based products, along with many other demonstrations of the latest products and features at OverDrive's ALA Midwinter booth #2623.


Digital Newspapers Save the Local Coverage Market

Newspapers around the country have been in a steady decline over the past few years, a decline that arguably began with nightly news coverage as more and more households bought a television. In essence, a daily newspaper prints yesterday’s news, which is then read at the end of the work day, making it nearly two days old.

Internet news access–most of it free above the cost of internet service, which consumers pay for already–provides up-to-the-minute headline news literally at the readers fingertips, even if it isn’t always unbiased or wholly accurate.

But newspapers, especially the once-family owned papers, provided a valuable service that internet news rarely offers, and that is in-depth local coverage. Unless a particular incident is noteworthy enough to garner national coverage, it can be completely ignored by the media.

Digital newspapers, on the other hand, have the ability to revive not only the coverage that local newspapers once provided, but also to rejuvenate the true journalism that took place on the local events level. In looking back through the nation’s history, a lot of social good came out of local reporters uncovering the real story; that’s not a service that the public can take lightly.

According to an article for Bloomberg, Cerberus Capital Management LP has a plan in the motion to purchase Digital First Media Inc., which owns some regional news outlets like the San Jose Mercury News and the Denver Post. This deal would expand the digital reach of these papers and allow a broader audience of readers who have some form of tie to the region–former residents, or readers whose parents still live in Denver, for example–to continue to benefit from the serious journalism that takes place in those regions.

Once deals like this take place and broader digital publishing options open up for newspapers, digital newspaper and magazines subscription providers are able to step in with a quality, easy to use app that allows consumers to access a wide variety of content that they otherwise never would have found.

Digital Newspapers Save the Local Coverage Market is a post from: Good e-Reader

Author Earnings 2015: Indies Are Still Winning, the Industry Still Doesn’t Believe It

Author Earnings
You have to hand it to Hugh Howey and the elusive Data Guy: they do a great but thankless service for which they receive heaps of professional scorn, but they don’t let that stop them. Every time they release a new Author Earnings report filled with charts and graphs and actual information culled over countless hours at the computer, I remember the scene from the film Day After Tomorrow when Jake Gyllenhaal’s character pleads with the people to not go out into the storm, begging them to save themselves and warning them they will die if they go out there.

They don’t listen, of course. And then they die.

But the fact that Author Earnings has been providing solid data–regardless of the people who declare that the data is not solid, despite having no other proof of that statement other than their status as well-known industry professionals–all this time has done little to change the minds of the top names in publishing. They still wave their hands dismissively and continue along the course they’ve been charting for four hundred years.

The “executive summary,” or key takeaways of the findings in this January 2015 report, states:

  • “AuthorEarnings reports analyze detailed title-level data on 33% of all daily ebook sales in the U.S.
  • 30% of the ebooks being purchased in the U.S. do not use ISBN numbers and are invisible to the industry's official market surveys and reports; all the ISBN-based estimates of market share reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen are wildly wrong.
  • 33% of all paid ebook unit sales on are indie self-published ebooks.
  • 20% of all consumer dollars spent on ebooks on are being spent on indie self-published ebooks.
  • 40% of all dollars earned by authors from ebooks on are earned by indie self-published ebooks.
  • In mid-year 2014, indie-published authors as a cohort began taking home the lion's share (40%) of all ebook author earnings generated on while authors published by all of the Big Five publishers combined slipped into second place at 35%.”

The newest information from the most recent Author Earnings report includes its usual proof in the pudding of how indie authors are faring in the current book retail market, but also includes an interesting topic that hasn’t received as much attention due to the availability of months of back data: Kindle Unlimited numbers.

“A quick aside on Kindle Unlimited (KU). The indie share of author earnings includes 8% from KU borrows of indie books. In our last report, KU was a brand new part of the author-earnings landscape. To account for it accurately, we crowdsourced borrow-versus-buy ratios from hundreds of indie authors participating in KU, and found that they averaged 1:1 (half KU borrows, half full-price purchases). We used that 50% borrow ratio as a baseline in our author earnings calculations, although we found that plugging in any other ratio instead, even 0% borrows or 100% borrows, made little difference in the overall numbers and pie charts. In November, when announced the size of the October KU "pot" at $5.5 million and the indie per-borrow payout at $1.33, we could now double-check our crowdsourced KU-borrow ratio of 50%. So we did:

$5.5 million / $1.33 = 4,135,338 indie KU borrows in October

Which is exactly 48% of the 8,561,293 paid monthly downloads (purchases + borrows) of Indie & Uncategorized books in KU shown by our data — quite close to the 50% we originally crowdsourced. Perhaps the wisdom of crowds is a thing, after all.”

For a closer look at the in-depth report (and all of its pretty charts and graphs), click HERE.

Author Earnings 2015: Indies Are Still Winning, the Industry Still Doesn’t Believe It is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Benton Park Live Coding Orchestra

We’re always really excited to see the resources and tools we make being used by kids in school. This video is from Benton Park School in Leeds, where a Sonic Pi orchestra put on a live coding performance recently. You can see setup, practice and some of the performance itself here.

I first watched this with Sam Aaron, who created Sonic Pi, looking over my shoulder, and we were both giggling with glee.

If you’re a teacher and you’d like to get something like this going in your own school, but don’t know where to start, why not apply for one of our free CPD sessions at Picademy?

And if you’d like to hear more from Sam, he’s going to be live-coding some of the music for the evening party at our upcoming Big Birthday Weekend – I hope you’ll be joining us!