Friday, January 30, 2015

Google Now Integrates with 40 Third-Party Apps


Google Now Launcher just keeps getting better and better… this time with news that the app has rolled out integration with 40 third-party apps. By taking advantage of this functionality, developers can use cards to display notifications, summaries, and any relevant details for you to view at a glance.

According to Google (from their blog, describing the integration in more detail):

“In the morning, catch up on news of the day with cards from The Guardian. On your commute, Pandora can give you recommendations for music to play, based on what you like, or you can be reminded to complete your daily French lesson on Duolingo. During your downtime, you can take care of the groceries, with a card from Instacart reminding you to stock up on the things you often order. If you’re planning a trip and looked up places to stay on your Airbnb app but couldn’t make up your mind, you’ll see Now cards from Airbnb for the location and dates you’ve researched. And when you land at an airport, you’ll see a card to order a Lyft.”

The current list of supported apps (in alphabetical order) includes: Airbnb, Belly, BookMyShow, Busuu, Coinbase, Cookpad, Delivery Hero, Duolingo, eBay, ESPNcricinfo, Ford, Hailo, Hootsuite, Housing, Instacart, Kayak, Life360, Lincoln, Lyft, Meru Cabs, Mint, Mytaxi, Pandora, Redfin, Runtastic, Runtastic Me, Shaadi, Shazam, SmartNews, Strava, Suumo, The Economic Times, The Economist, The Guardian, TripAdvisor, Walgreens, Wattpad, Waze, and Zillow.

While this integration is now in place, don’t be concerned if you haven’t yet seen any of the new third-party cards –Google has planned a staged roll-out that will be completed in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t already got it installed, download Google Now Launcher for Android now.

Google Now Integrates with 40 Third-Party Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

How to Self-Publish Digital Manga


Aspiring manga artists often find themselves being challenged in a number of different ways. Not only do you have to come up with an idea and start drawing, but distribution and turning the final product into an e-book are huge barriers. A new tool has been released that takes PNG, JPG, GIF, CBZ, CBR and CB7 files and turns them into EPUB and MOBI formats, which are the ideal formats to submit your final product into the Kindle or other online bookstores.

One very intuitive tool that all manga developers should be using is Kindle Comic Converter. It takes all of your image files and condenses them into a proper e-book, which is necessary if you want to start monetizing with any of the leading digital platforms. The final product will not only look really good on tablets, but KCC will insure that your comics and manga are fully optimized for E-Ink displays, such as the new Kindle Voyage. This app is free and is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Once your manga is converted to an e-book you can start thinking about distribution. The first option to consider is Kindle Direct Publishing, which is the program Amazon runs to get your content into all of the different bookstores in North America, Europe and Japan. Submitting your content is free and they simply take a percentage of each sale. Currently Amazon controls roughly 75% of the e-book market in the US, so its an ideal platform to get immediate eyes on your finished product.

Another viable option is using the self-publishing system called ComiXology Submit. It was originally developed for comic books but does accept manga and graphic novels. When submitting your publication it will actually be reviewed by an in-house squad to monitor it for quality. ComiXology basically wants to ensure that anything that is submitted is appropriate for international distribution.  Single issue comics are allowed to be sold for .99 or more. When a comic is sold, creators will gain 50% of all royalties, but if it is sold on iOS, you will see it diminish to only 35%. You may not make a million dollars, but you can gain valuable experience via the DIY approach.

One of the little known self-publishing platforms for manga writers is Kobo Writing Life.  Users can publish manga and other graphic-based ePubs (including ePub 3 files) through Kobo Writing Life. It is, of course, quite more popular with their authors in Japan who are publishing through the KWL Japan version of their portal, but authors anywhere in the world can publish manga. Prehapes the largest advantage that writers have is that the Kobo catalog is not as extensive as their e-book version. The manga section is not very big, which allows self-published content to really standout.

I would really recommend you self-publish your manga digitally before you even consider trying to get published by VIZ MEDIA or Shueisha: the publisher in Japan for Shonen Jump.  Keep in mind, that getting published in a Shonen Jump, is not something you can easily do.  If you are dead bent on going the traditional route you can find the phone number or editor of your favorite magazine and give them a call to setup an appointment.  99% of mangaka got their start this way. Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha, Urusei Yatsura) got her start this way.  Takeshi Konomi (Prince of Tennis, COOL) also did. Almost every manga artist that you’ve ever heard of approached magazines and publishers directly. If you want to start entering competitions or need writing advice, Jamie Lynn Lano has an amazing blog that is worth checking out.

How to Self-Publish Digital Manga is a post from: Good e-Reader

Crunchyroll Experiments with Publishing Original Content

46d8420b4926207680ae06ac38a41ab61422568059_fullCrunchyroll is well known for their anime streaming service and to a lesser degree their digital manga. The company has broke new ground today by taking the first tentative steps into publishing their own content.   Crunchyroll has announced a new and original comic by Hiroyuki Takahashi and Patrick Macias entitled "Hypersonic Music Club".

The new comic is available today  and you can go over to the website right now to check out the first page which shows off unique art style and beautiful splash art! The story pitch is as follows "In the world of tomorrow… when technology has reached it limits… a group of young cyborgs must battle the extra-dimensional monster girls for final control of the enigmatic force known only as…The Mystery Frequency!"

Crunchyroll first launched their manga service in 2013 and  Hypersonic Music Club will be the first time they have ever published an original work. The new line of web-comics will be called Crunchyroll Originals, and will feature Japanese creators. No further information has been released, but we do know that Takahashi will be providing us with 2 fully colored pages per month and starting next week, we can start expecting full character bios! I’m already excited to see what will come out next!

If you’re ready to go ahead and start reading, go ahead and check crunchyroll or their official tumblr for some cool art!

Crunchyroll Experiments with Publishing Original Content is a post from: Good e-Reader

Paperight to Shut Its Doors

In sad news for extending the reach of ebooks and print-on-demand, global distributor Paperight has announced that it will cease operations. The company operated under an anti-piracy/pro-book access model that licensed ebooks from publishers to be sold via photocopy shops across various regions in Africa.

Good e-Reader first wrote about Paperight in 2013 when the group won a digital innovation award at CONTEC, the preshow event to the Frankfurt Book Fair. At the time, it was truly astounding that a company could win such an award for getting more people to read print books.

Paperight operated in remote regions by filling a need for licensed content. Until the company’s arrival, many book stores and university textbook vendors offered a library of single-edition titles that students or their parents would photocopy for a fee. This wasn’t only spurred on by piracy efforts, but also by the fact that many publishers lack a licensing agreement in certain African countries, and therefore did not sell their titles within the region. The only way to access the material was through photocopied piracy.

Paperight changed that by licensing the digital edition and allowing readers to purchase the book via a lower cost license, which the shop owner would then print out on the copiers and bind. Call it a highly rudimentary Espresso book machine, if you will.

While many cultures might be willing to pay a little more to not have to stand at a copier and generate their own books, that has proven to not be the case in the markets that Paperight served. At this time, while optimistic about where the industry can take their pioneering efforts and where their work will take them next, the company has had to close its doors.

Paperight to Shut Its Doors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Hacking Guides and ROMs for Onyx and Boyue Android eReaders

One of the benefits of ebook readers that run Android is the highly customizable nature of the Android operating system. If things aren’t setup or optimized the way you want, you can often hack the operating system to tweak things and make changes for the better. You can find hacking and rooting directions online for […]

Adobe Digital Editions Now Available on the iPad


Every major publisher sells e-books with encryption that basically prevents unlawful sharing and distribution to file sharing sites. Adobe is the leading DRM solution and sometimes users find it hard to read their purchased content on mobile devices. In order to make readers lives easier, Adobe has just released their seminal Digital Editions app that was designed exclusively for the Apple iPad.

The Adobe Digital Editions app for the iPad will allow you to read any PDF or EPUB file that you bought from online retailers. It also has support for content that you borrowed from the library.

You can easily import your e-books into the app by accessing your cloud storage service of choice, such as Dropbox. There is also support for opening up attachments in Apple Mail or via iTunes File Sharing on your computer. To read a protected book, you have to authorize the app first by logging in with your Adobe ID or whatever ID the bookseller has provided you with.

When it comes right down to it, this is a first generation app and many critical features are lacking. There are few options to augment your reading experience and about the only thing you can do is make annotations, highlights, bookmarks, search, and or just adjust the display and text. If you have ever used the Adobe Digital Editions app for your PC, this is a less developed version made for the iPad.

Adobe Digital Editions Now Available on the iPad is a post from: Good e-Reader

Target Stops Carrying Barnes and Noble Nook Products


Target has found that carrying Barnes and Noble Nook tablets and e-readers to be very unprofitable. This has prompted the US big box retailer to suspend their relationship with the bookseller and Target will no longer stock Nook products.

Target is trying to dump all remaining stock for Nook branded tablets, e-readers and accessories. Big deals are to be had if your local shop, since all of the online entries have just been removed. You can pick up a brand new Nook Glowlight, Nook HD or HD+ for between $30 to $50.

The Barnes and Noble Nook line of devices is the latest causality in Targets bid to carry more recognizable mainstream products and not to be a showroom for companies that sell things online. In 2012 Apple approached Target to sell their complete line of iPads in their store, but they had to stop selling Kindles first. The retailer acquiesced and suspended their relationship with Amazon.

Target Stops Carrying Barnes and Noble Nook Products is a post from: Good e-Reader

Managing your Metered Access titles just got easier

Have you said this: "How am I going to manage all of our metered access content easily and stay on top of expiring content without taking a lot of staff time or going crazy?"

We’ve heard your feedback on managing Metered Access content and fulfilling demand for your users, and we are delighted to introduce the first of several OverDrive Marketplace enhancements designed to streamline shopping, reporting, and weeding of metered titles.

Shop for expired titles
In addition to the weekly cart of titles with five or fewer licenses/30 days remaining, you can now conveniently search for and create new carts of titles that have already expired. On the Shop tab, select the "Holdings" parameter from the Basic or Advanced searches to browse results by “In collection & 0 checkouts remaining” or “In collection & 0 days remaining.”

metered access


Report on expired titles
The collection statistics report, located on the Reports tab, features new search parameters for "Lending model" and "Holdings." You can generate a report of titles by specific lending model or see titles that have expired. To inform the timing of re-purchase decisions, a new column in the results of the report displays the date the last copy of a time-metered title will expire.

As a bonus, collection statistics now features a search parameter for "ISBN(s)," so you can enter a list of up to 200 ISBNs and view statistics for those titles only.

Once you've run the report and identified titles of interest, take advantage of the new option to instantly convert your results to a cart—try it out today!

In addition to the new features for managing metered content, we made our Weeding functionality easier. More info on that here.


Karen Estrovich is the Director of Collection Development at OverDrive. 

Teaching literature with Raspberry Pi

Last week, checking out posts people had made on our Facebook page and the projects they were telling us about, one in particular caught my attention. Sarah Roman, a high school English teacher from New Jersey, had written:

Our English class is going to be using the Raspberry Pi in order to build book-based video games, incorporating Scratch, Sonic Pi, and Python. The students are incredibly excited […]

There was a link to an Indiegogo campaign; we love to see Raspberry Pi used creatively outside of computing lessons, so I clicked on it. A minute of video opened with the title “English Classroom”, but it didn’t look like my high school English lessons. Students work around computers, ignoring the camera as they concentrate intently on… wait, is that Minecraft?

We got in touch with Miss Roman to find out more. She intends (for starters) to get students in her Junior Honors class (15-16 years old) building Pi-based games consoles with games that draw on their reading of Dracula by Bram Stoker, and she is raising funds to kit out her classroom with Raspberry Pis and accessories. The students will use Scratch, working collaboratively to create their own graphics, sounds, and housing for the console. Older students will be using the Raspberry Pis in their study of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Of course, these plans are only the beginning of the road for the Pis, both within and beyond Miss Roman’s classroom; her project proposal notes that there could be an opportunity to work with other instructors to show them how they might use Raspberry Pi in their teaching.

English Literature students

This isn’t the first time that Miss Roman has introduced video games to the English Literature classroom. Last year, Juniors reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies worked in groups to build the island where the story is set from the imagery evidence they found in the text, adding significant quotes and moments to it via signposts and books; putting each student group into the same Minecraft world allowed them to explore each other’s work. Students were thrilled to use information from the book to build their own islands, and would sigh when the class came to an end. Miss Roman says,

Essentially, the Pi is helping me to integrate fiction and nonfiction, different literacies, and boost creative thinking […] I’m extremely happy with the Pi, and I’m sometimes staggered by the applicability it has for my classroom. I think that complex texts and ideas deserve projects that offer complexity as well, and by opening avenues of this kind for students, they have the ability to understand texts in ways that haven’t been previously accessed.

We’re excited to learn about Raspberry Pi being used in this way, and we hope that this crowdfunding campaign garners plenty of support – we’d love to hear more from New Jersey as this project takes off!

Onyx Boox M96C vs M96 Notes and Highlights Video

Yesterday a new 9.7-inch E Ink ebook reader called the Onyx Boox M96C was released. It’s an updated version of the original Boox M96 (review); the difference is the M96C has a capacitive touchscreen for finger touch as opposed to a touchscreen that requires using a stylus pen on the original M96. The older and […]

Top 5 Sports Anime


The genre’s been around for a while, but in the last few years, sports anime has hit a surge in popularity. If you haven’t already dived into the passionate world of sports manga, this is the time to do so. To get you started in the right direction, here’s a list of the best sports anime and manga out there. Picking the cream of the crop is a hard task, but the following were chosen based on a combination of success, storyline, and general popularity. Let’s take a look at the top 5 sports anime!

5. Ookiku Furikabutte


Often shortened to Oofuri, or in English, Big Windup, this baseball manga can best be described as ‘sweet.’ Author Asa Higuchi tells the story of a young pitcher named Ren Mihashi, who wants to be an ace pitcher but suffers from an incredibly low self-esteem. As he joins a new team in high school, his confidence as a pitcher and a person grows. The sweet factor mostly comes from watching Mihashi overcoming his anxiety and self-esteem issues with a little help from his friends. Oofuri has been running in the magazine Afternoon since 2003, and has had two seasons of an anime adaption from 2007-2010. The anime can be watched through Funimation.

4. Kuroko no Basuke


If you have to put a pin on the sudden jump in sports anime popularity, it could easily be pinned on Kuroko no Basuke. The manga, by Tadatoshi Fujimaki, began its run in 2008, in Weekly Shōnen Jump, and ended in 2014. The series’ popularity didn’t really kick up until the anime adaption began airing in 2012. Since then, it’s only grown. The story follows Tetsuya Kuroko, who was part of an incredibly strong basketball team in middle school. But their team had a falling out, and every player went to a different school. Now, Kuroko is determined to defeat all his ex-teammates, and prove to them that his way of basketball – to play as a team – is the best way. Kuroko no Basuke is available on Crunchyroll.

3. Hajime no Ippo


If there was an award for longest-running sports manga, this would be it. Hajime no Ippo, a boxing manga penned by George Morikawa, started in 1989 – and it’s still going. The story follows Ippo Makunouchi, a shy kid always getting picked on. One day, after getting sorely beaten by a group of bullies, Ippo is rescued by a retired boxer. In true Karate Kid fashion, Ippo decides to take on professional boxing. What sets this sports tale apart from the others is that boxing is not a team sport. Instead, the bonds formed are with teachers and opponents. Hajime no Ippo has had several anime adaptions over the years, beginning in 200 and the most recent ending in 2014. The first of these is available through Crunchyroll.

2. Slam Dunk


Not only is this manga one of the best-selling in history, it has been credited for the rise of basketball’s popularity in Japan. If that isn’t an indicator of a good sports manga, nothing is. Drawn by Takehiko Inoue, Slam Dunk ran from 1990-1996 in Weekly Shōnen Jump. The subsequent anime series ran from 1993-1996. It details the story of a delinquent high school student, Hanamichi Sakuragi, who’s had a bit of bad luck with the ladies. When the girl of his dreams tells him to try out for the basketball team, he reluctantly does, and finds himself caring about the sport more than he ever thought he could. The anime can be found on Crunchyroll.

1. Haikyuu!!


Perhaps it’s author partiality ranking this fast-paced, hot-blooded volleyball anime in the top spot, but there’s no denying that since its debut in 2012, Haikyuu!! has proved itself a superstar. The manga, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump, has sold over twelve million volumes. The anime, beginning in 2014, has a second season coming. But what might be Haikyuu!!’s greatest asset is that it features volleyball – one of the least popular sports. The story, by Haruichi Furudate, stars Shouyou Hinata as a short kid with a big jump determined to be a volleyball star. In middle school, he pulls a team together and manages to make it to his local tournament, only to be crushed by the opposing team and it’s main member Tobio Kageyama, the oft-called King of the Court. Hinata swears to Kageyama that he’ll return in high school and defeat him. This plan works great, until he gets to high school and finds himself on the exact same team as one King of the Court. The story balances humour and action with pain and heartbreak, and some truly touching moments. The anime is beautiful, with fluid motion and an incredible sense of motion. You’ll be hooked by the first episode. If you haven’t already seen Haikyuu!!, see it immediately. The series is available on Crunchyroll.

Top 5 Sports Anime is a post from: Good e-Reader