Thursday, February 12, 2015

Apple Looks For Partners To Provide Smoke and Mirrors


The only thing Apple loves more than profit, it is their privacy. Historically, Apple has done a very good job of keeping product upgrades all hush-hush –but the last few updates and upgrades were leaked ahead of time (and fairly accurately, I might add). In some ways, this is a good thing –having the inside track helps accessory manufacturers to be first to market, and it also lets us get that perfect case or dock at the moment we buy our new device. As you can likely imagine, Apple wants to seal those leaks and prevent anybody from getting pertinent details for new devices ahead of that much-anticipated keynote address.

Luckily, there might be a compromise. If the latest Apple-related rumours are true, the company is considering partnerships with key accessory makes and technology providers.

Reading between the lines, this would mean two things: partners who have signed an agreement (carefully designed by Apple’s lawyers) will recieve all of the technical specs for a new or updated device in exchange for secrecy, the end-user wouldn’t be stuck with less accurate details in the rumour mill.

Really, I’m just happy that I could have a few case options on day 1.

Apple Looks For Partners To Provide Smoke and Mirrors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Soviet Illustrations of the Hobbit Are Scary


The Hobbit by  J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most important and influential fantasy books ever written. The books have gone on to influence a number of major properties such as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. We are likely familiar with the illustrations of the American and UK editions, but during the cold war in Soviet-era Russia, things were kind of dark.

The 1976 edition of the Hobbit featured the typical Russian style: much more traditionally stylized than Tolkien's own drawings, they were more angular, friendlier, almost cartoonish.  Lets look at some of the more notable drawings from the the book.

Below, the wizard Gandalf, an ostensibly harmless soul, pays Bilbo a visit.


Next, we have the three trolls, arguing about their various eating arrangements, with Bilbo hiding to the side.


Here, Gollum, paddles his raft in the depths of the mountains.


Finally, here's Bilbo, fulfilling his role as a burglar in Smaug's lair.


via Reditt via Retronaut

Soviet Illustrations of the Hobbit Are Scary is a post from: Good e-Reader

Video – Crunchyroll Becomes a Manga Publisher


Crunchyroll is well known for their streaming anime service, but the company has been focusing on manga for the last two years. In order to become a juggernaut in western manga the company has gotten involved in publishing original content. Hypersonic Music Club is the first project, although it is only publishing a few things monthly. You can think of it as basically a web-comic at this point and not a fully featured new manga franchise.

Video – Crunchyroll Becomes a Manga Publisher is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Launches in Canada


Amazon Kindle Unlimited launched in the US last summer and now has expanded into Canada. Starting today, the all you can read subscription service can be accessed and over 750,000 titles are available for $9.99 a month.

Canadians can get reading right away with a 30 day free trial with no financial commitment. You can read using your dedicated Kindle e-Reader, Fire tablet or any of the Kindle branded reading apps for Android and iOS.

Kindle Unlimited's Canadian rollout also includes 15,000 French language titles. It's worth being slightly wary though, as the service was found to include a lot of self-published titles when it launched elsewhere.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Launches in Canada is a post from: Good e-Reader

Happy Galentine’s Day! Books for you and your gals.

Rest assured, you don't have to be a fan of the show Parks and Recreation to celebrate Galentine's Day. According to Leslie Knope (Actress and comedienne Amy Poehler's character on the show), February 13th is a day for women to leave their male significant others at home and spend time with their female friends. If you're a Parks and Rec purist, you "kick it breakfast style" with waffles and frittatas, but any celebration of lady friends and family counts as a Galentine's Day celebration.

In the spirit of the holiday, the Collection Development Analyst team each pitched in title suggestions to bring you a list of titles that feature awesome lady characters, funny lady authors, waffle and brunch recipe books, and so much more. So treat yourself, and your patrons, to some of these great titles! Click the link below to get started.

Galentine's Day: Ladies Celebrating Ladies


10 Tips to Help Make Your eBook Reader Last Longer

Most people in this day and age like to upgrade their ereaders and electronics every few years when new technology comes out, but if you’re the kind of person that likes your current ebook reader and want to make it last as long as possible, below are ten helpful tips to help maximize the life […]

Kindle Unlimited Arrives in Canada for $9.99 a Month

Today Amazon announced the arrival of Kindle Unlimited in Canada. It’s surprising that it has taken this long considering it first launched last July in the United States. Amazon has been steadily rolling out their ebook subscription service internationally for the past six months. Other countries that have Kindle Unlimited access include the United Kingdom, […]

Tips for Authors Hosting an Amazon Giveaway – Part I

Amazon’s new giveaway tool was only launched this week but it has already received more than its fair share of criticism. Complaints about favoriting Twitter followers and automatically receiving notifications every time those people tweet are valid; it didn’t have to work that way. But the demands from consumers for a centralized location of all the giveaways so they can just click their way down the list and nab free goodies? That’s not how giveaways are supposed to work.

While the tool is brand-new and will surely have updates and new features as genuine feedback rolls in, there are some ways that authors can leverage the platform by using it in the way that it’s actually intended.

1. Followers – You can set up your giveaway to include the mandate that entrants must follow you on Twitter in order to play along. There’s even a handy, oversized Follow button that lets them follow you immediately in order to continue with the giveaway process. Two of the complaints about this tool involve the Twitter following, first that they receive notifications because they followed you, and also that entrants can follow, win or lose your giveaway, and unfollow immediately.

Your job during your giveaway is to be really, really interesting on Twitter. Step one is to offer up such great, personalized content on Twitter that these new followers ideally wouldn’t want to unfollow you. Beyond that, you can use a tool like ManageFlitter to see who has followed you and then who has unfollowed you. Reach out to those individuals on Twitter in a non-threatening way and develop a book-based relationship to retain them as followers.

2. Print vs eBook – Yes, you can host a giveaway with your own books, but right now this only applies to your print editions. There has to be something for Amazon to mail them, after all. Your first step then is to ensure that Kindle Matchbook is enabled on all of the print titles you plan to give away (this can be found in your KDP dashboard). When someone wins your print edition, he may go on to take advantage of the free ebook edition, thus improving your ebook rankings. However, you have to tell the winner that the ebook edition is also available, since the winner does not have to view your Amazon sales page to claim the book. It’s shipped automatically just by hitting Confirm.

Look for more hints on taking full advantage of the giveaway tool in part two of this series.

Tips for Authors Hosting an Amazon Giveaway – Part I is a post from: Good e-Reader

The MagPi – Issue 30 out now, and a Kickstarter for Volume 3 in print!

Created by the community, for the community, The MagPi magazine is the world's first and only free, regular magazine about Raspberry Pi. It has been published online almost every month since May 2012, and every issue is packed full of hardware and software projects and tutorials for all skill levels. Now there’s a Kickstarter campaign to bring Volume 3 of the magazine into print.

MagPi Vol 3 draft binder cover

Draft of the design for the Volume 3 binder cover

Volume 3 comprises all ten issues published in 2014 (issues 20-29): that’s 468 full colour pages! They’ll come in a lovely smart binder, with a spine designed to match the Volume 1 and 2 binders so that they look neat beside one another on your shelves (we care about this kind of thing at Pi Towers, and we’re quite sure that MagPi readers feel no less strongly).

And that’s not the end of this week’s MagPi goodness: Issue 30 is out now.

The MagPi Magazine, Issue 30

It features electronic ping pong using the Pi’s GPIO and LEDs, an account of using Raspberry Pi to enhance navigation data on marine voyages, an air hockey arcade game in Scratch, an introduction to C#, Raspberry Pi 2 (of course!) and plenty more. Download your pdf copy now!

Top 5 Shojo Manga


Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and everyone is feeling the pull of Cupid’s bow. The flowers, the chocolates, the jewellery, and the heartfelt cards from your significant other, it’s all a staple of this holiday. But flowers and chocolates are such typical Valentines, and there are only so many fancy restaurants to attend on dates. Instead, why not spend this year with the best Valentine ever – a shojo manga? As Valentine’s Day fast approaches, here are the top 5 shojo manga, perfect for spending the day cuddling up with your loved one.

5. Lovely Complex


What do you do when you’re the tallest girl in high school? Get a crush on a tall boy, of course. Certainly not get a crush on the shortest boy in high school – but that’s exactly what Risa Koizumi does. The romantic comedy by Aya Nakahara tells the story of Risa and her 5’1 love interest, Atsushi Otani, and their journey from snarky classmates to friends to something more. The series is fun and lighthearted, while still managing to get a few sad scenes as well. But those sad scenes do nothing to detract from the humour of Risa and Otani, often referred to by friends as the comedy duo. If you’re looking for a manga full of laughs to share with your lover, this is the one for you. Find it at Viz Manga!

4. Boys Over Flowers

boys over flowers

If you’re looking for more of a sweet, vintage taste this holiday season, this is the manga for you. Written by Yoko Kamio, Boys Over Flowers is the tale of a poor girl attending a rich academy for the elite. This ‘weed’, Tsukushi Makino, runs headlong into the Flower Four, otherwise called the F4, the most popular boys in the school. As the only girl who has never swooned over Tsukasa Domyouji, the leader of the F4, she unwittingly gains his attention. This attention later blooms into admiration and love in this slice of romance. Follow along with Tsukushi and Tsukasa and their love story at Viz Manga!

3. Kaichou wa Maid-Sama!


When an all-boys school suddenly becomes co-ed, there’s bound to be a few bumps in the road. Misaki Ayuzawa is determined to smooth out those bumps in the road, becoming the student council president and determined to make the female experience better for her school. Along the way, she gains a reputation for being a boy-hating demon – but, as popular boy Takumi Usui discovers, this isn’t entirely true. The rigid Misaki atually has a part-time job…at a maid cafe. This series from the pen of Hiro Fujiwara has a great sense of humour, and the maid cafe theme might help put a little spin on your Valentine’s Day charm. Tokyopop distributes Maid-Sama, and can be found in your local bookstores!

2. Ouran High School Host Club


You already knew this one was on the list. If you didn’t, this is one manga you need to read immediately. Bisco Hatori’s tale has been a staple in the shojo manga genre since its debut. The story follows Haruhi Fujioka, a poor girl attending a rich, elite school, who encounters a group of six popular boys. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But Host Club differs from other series by satirizing many shojo cliches. The manga pokes fun at stereotypes, and characters will even break the fourth wall on occasion. But the humour of the series does nothing to detract from its plot, which is truly romantic at heart. Despite being mistake for a boy, and breaking an expensive vase on her first visit, Haruhi gains the love and affection of the Host Club, and finds love for herself in return. The misadventures of the Ouran High School Host Club can be found at Viz Manga.

1. Fruits Basket


Picking the best is the hardest, but after reading this manga, you’ll be surprised there was even a contest. Written by Natsuki Takaya, this manga follows Tohru Honda, a girl who is temporarily homeless and living in a tent. These unfortunate condition are discovered by the Sohma family – specifically, by Yuki and his cousins Shigure and Kyo. Tohru quickly learns that the Sohma family is under a curse. They are possessed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and will transform into an animal whenever under stress, or hugged by a member of the opposite gender. This, of course, leads to problems as Tohru begins living with them. Instead of being afraid when she discovers their secret, Tohru sets out to break their family’s curse. It’s a true love story, a modern-day fairy tale that would warm the hardest of hearts. Sold through Tokyopop, this manga is available in just about every bookstore across North America. Instead of the typical flowers and chocolates, why not gift your Valentine with a basket of Fruits Basket?

And for all the people out there who will be alone this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single by choice, single and pining, or single and freshly out of a relationship, here’s a manga to boost your lonely spirits.

Skip Beat!

skip beat

Drawn by Yoshiki Nakamura, this shojo is still going strong today. It tells the story of 16-year-old Kyoko Mogami, a girl who discovers that her boyfriend isn’t what she thought he was and thinks of her as a doormat. Instead of getting sad and depressed about it, Kyoko gets angry and swears she’ll get revenge. The only problem is, Kyoko’s boyfriend is a teen pop star, and the only way to get revenge on him is by overtaking his career. In true Legally Blonde fashion, Kyoko dives headfirst into the world of superstardom. Although the story begins as a revenge campaign by Kyoko, it evolves into more of a journey of self-discovery as she grows and changes. It’s a great manga for anyone looking to stand on their own two feet as opposed to leaning on someone else’s. If you’re going to be single this Valentine’s Day, don’t spend it alone – spend it with Kyoko and her story. Read it at Viz Manga!

Top 5 Shojo Manga is a post from: Good e-Reader

ALA to Craft a Monumental Survey on the State of Digital in Libraries


Libraries in all over the world are embracing digital content as major publishers have firmly committed themselves making audiobooks and e-Books available. The American Library Association knows that 95% of all US libraries have an e-book collection. That's up from 89% in both 2013 and 2012, when researchers thought that adoption had plateaued for good. In provide key information on digital usage in libraries,  ALA has partnered Book Industry Study Group and Nielsen for a monumental survey.

The survey will seek to understand library patrons' use of digital resources and other services offered by public libraries, and will "examine the impact of digital consumption behaviors, including the adoption of new business models," on library usage across America.

Over 10 different libraries in the US and Canada had over one million digital loans in 2014, with two libraries lending out two million e-Books. This number will likely double in 2015, as companies like 3M Cloud Library and Baker and Taylor begin to gain further traction. Likely the survey will talk about these companies and also new audiobook distributions systems like Hoopla.

Results from the survey will announced at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco at the end of June. Good e-Reader will be live on the scene making all of the key findings known.

Currently, it is unknown what the exact questions on the survey will be. I pinged ALA and other people involved in the project and everyone said it was too early to talk about anything definitive.

ALA to Craft a Monumental Survey on the State of Digital in Libraries is a post from: Good e-Reader