Friday, February 20, 2015

Being an Author is Sexy but Self-Publishing is Not


The writing profession as a whole, has a captivating allure. Looking at old pictures of Jack Kerouac at his type writer defined a generation. These days the people kids look up to are bloggers who became celebrities and YouTube personalities getting major publishing contracts. Now more than ever, everyone wants to write the next Hunger Games or Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey. The truth is, most will resort to self-publishing because they do not have the skills and writing ability to land a publishing contract. Instead, they will get lost in the shuffle and never be heard from again. Being an established writer with a publishing contract is sexy, being self-published is not.

A YouGov poll that has just been released rates being an author the most desirable job in Britain – with 60% of people saying they'd like to do it for a living. This is a 24% higher than those who want to be a TV presenter and a remarkable 29% higher than those who want to be a movie star.

Many of these aspiring authors have dreams of getting a traditional publishing contract, getting a lucrative book deal, making the rounds on television shows and giving interviews. Whats not to love? You are in control over your own destiny and have an entire team backing you up. Everyone relies on you to be successful so they can be successful.  Sadly, the vast majority of the people who want to be an author  never do or elect to self-publish.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with being an indie author and walking the dark and dreary road of self-publishing. Some books sell really well,  but its only a handful  of authors that garner the vast majority of sales and are considered true success stories. I am talking of course about  EL James, Hugh Howey, Sylvia Day and John Locke.

Last year, self-published e-books accounted for over 31% of  Amazon’s Kindle Store sales, whereas Big Five traditional publishers accounted for only 16% of sales according to an recent Author Earnings report.

Bowker Market Research reported in 2013 that self-published e-books account for 12% of the entire digital publishing market in the US and in the UK  account for 5% of all sales. Many industry experts agree that in the next few years these figures will grow further to 20%.

One of the reasons why indie titles are selling well, despite that fact they are mostly written by unfamiliar authors is due to price.  The early history of successful self-publishing in the Amazon system is largely a story of books whose bargain prices tempted readers to take a chance on something new. Many indie authors charge between .99 and $5.99  for their titles, compared to the $9.99 a reader must pay for John Grisham’s bestselling "Gray Mountain," published last year.

Becoming an author, whether you are self-published or traditionally published is hard work. You have to treat each book you write, as if your life depended on it. At the end of the day, could you do the book tours, autograph signings and talk to hundreds of people and stand by your work? Being a true professional? Sadly, most people just play at being a writer, not treating it as a true vocation and something they just do on the side. Sadly, its these titles that don’t sell, don’t get reviews and give self-publishers a bad name.

Being an Author is Sexy but Self-Publishing is Not is a post from: Good e-Reader

Waterstones Makes e-book Recommendations via Source Code


Waterstones is the largest bookstore chain in the United Kingdom. The bookseller prides themselves positioning titles in the stores and online in order to assist people in discovering a brand new title. The company has gone beyond algorithms that monitor your website browsing behavior and is making active recommendations within their source code.

Many young web developers often look at a websites source code by using any popular internet browser and  checking out what makes it tick. The Waterstones website actually has programming recommendations built right into the <head> element. Here is what you will see if you right click on the website and click on view source.

waterstones source code

As you can see, there are names of books that have to do with programming and links where they can buy them. This obviously is meant to appeal to teenagers who want to learn more about programming for the web.

Waterstones Makes e-book Recommendations via Source Code is a post from: Good e-Reader

Pros and Cons of Mobile Payment Services for Indie Authors


Indie authors need to be able to have their own point of sale systems in order to sell their books. Major conventions like the Romance Writers of America and other tradeshows don't provide any avenues for authors to sell their print or digital books. Instead, authors are now employing mobile payment systems in order to gain a higher share of the revenue and have more versatility than simply using Paypal.

Self-published authors are a savvy bunch and the most successful ones are not sitting at home, hoping to sell their books online on Amazon or Kobo. Instead they are pounding the pavement, participating in book tours and doing autograph sessions. Some, are bypassing the traditional retail channel altogether and starting their own online storefront on Shopify.

There are a ton of different point of sale terminals out there, everyone is promoting their own systems. When it comes to selling print and digital books, which are the best? Today, we take a look at the top platforms out there that make selling books directly to your readers simple and easy.


Since its initial launch, Square has become one of the most widely used mobile credit card services worldwide. You will be able to recognize it instantly from its small construct in the shape of a white square that can be easily attached to a smartphone or tablet for credit card payment processing.

PRO: Square is very easy to use. This is perfect for the small business owner because you won't need to invest time into training staff like you would when it comes to a POS system. The iPad and tablet version of Square even allows users to include photos of their products at the checkout screen for customers. Furthermore, users will be able to track inventory on a daily, weekly or monthly basis through an online dashboard at any time they please. All of this is working towards reducing the hassle of cash registers that are connected to large computers with POS systems.

CON: Because Square aims to be efficient, there lacks a human element when it comes to user support. Besides the virtual help center, there is little way of communicating to square directly. This can prove to be rather frustrating when real-time support is needed to run your business.


PayAnywhere has been in business for longer than any of the other mobile credit card payment service providers. For those that find trust in companies that have proved their long-term track record, PayAnywhere may be the choice for you.

PRO: Unlike Square, PayAnywhere offers users one-on-one telephone support with separate customer service and technical support departments. If you rather chat online, there is also a online help centre option on their website you can easily access. Furthermore, PayAnywhere supplies users with comprehensive tutorials on their website to demonstrate the proper usage of their service. Interestingly enough, PayAnywhere is also one of the only remaining mobile payment services that actually support the use of Blackberry devices.

CON: While PayAnywhere can be connected to receipt printers or cash registers, it will only allow this for Apple devices. This means for your business to use PayAnywhere, you will have no choice but to connect it to an iPhone or iPad for use.

PayPal Here

PayPal Here is an extension of the current PayPal services that allows users to connect transactions to their PayPal accounts. It allows users to track sales and records both online and off and is most fit for those that already use PayPal services.

PRO: Compared to the rest of the mobile credit card payment services, PayPal Here is able to accept the widest range of payment options including online invoices and payment through the PayPal app. This means your business will never pass up on a customer because you lack the payment options to facilitate the purchasing transaction. What is more is that PayPal Here does not require any detachable credit card reader in order to process transactions. All you will need is your smartphone or tablet camera to be able to accept credit and debit cards.

CON: Unfortunately the PRO can sound too good to be true. As of now PayPal Here is not yet available on tablets and iPads so if you were planning on processing information on those devices, you will not be able to use PayPal Here. In time, this transition will occur and businesses will be able to facilitate face to face as well as online transactions through PayPal here. But until that occurs, PayPal service users might also have to opt for another alternative when it comes to mobile credit card payment services.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Payment Services for Indie Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

Marvel Promotes Two for One Digital Comic Weekend


The new Avengers movie is dropping in a couple of months and to get everyone prepared Marvel is doing a two for one digital comic weekend. It starts today and ends Monday at midnight. Everything in the Marvel online store, Marvel app and Comixology is eligible for the deal.

With all of the deals to be had, what should you read? Star Wars #1-2 have been pretty good, but Darth Vader #1 has been getting rave reviews.

Marvel Promotes Two for One Digital Comic Weekend is a post from: Good e-Reader

RemoteInk Turns PocketBook eReaders Into Computer Monitors

I came across an interesting post at MobileRead yesterday about someone who developed a program called RemoteInk that allows you to use a Pocketbook Pro or Pocketbook Touch as a computer monitor. Right now the program only works with Linux and X-Windows systems (too bad or I’d give it a try). But there are a […]

New Editions of eHighlights are Here!

The Collection Development team has been hard at work on the newest editions of our eHighlights catalog.

eHighlights feb 15Each new issue features upcoming releases with the reasons we believe they will be popular. Think of it as a way to make sure you never miss any of the must-have titles.

For the best of streaming video content including options from MGM, Warner Bros., Starz and more, check out movies such as "Diggers" with Paul Rudd and Sarah Paulson, "The Lookalike" starring Justin Long and Gillian Jacobs, and "The Carbon Rush" documentary featuring Daryl Hannah.

The Streaming Video catalog will be updated every other month.

The eHighlights Adult edition features hot titles like The Damned by Andrew Pyper, Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis and so much more.

Each edition of eHighlights Adult catalog will include guaranteed hot titles, fiction and nonfiction eBooks and will be published monthly.

For a complete list of all our catalogs, check it out here.

Emma Kanagaki is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.

A history of Raspberry Pi in LEGO

There is a significant chance that this is the very best thing on the internet. Richard Hayler and his two boys have built a massive LEGO diorama tracking the history of the Raspberry Pi, from concept to Astro Pi’s visit to the ISS.


The level of detail’s amazing. Here’s a group of mad scientists inventing the Pi:


And here’s a primary school with its own Raspberry Pi setup, some deliveries going on in the background.


Here, for some reason, are a PIrate, MOnkey, RObot and NInja hiding in some bushes.


And here’s a lady in a pith helmet.


There are loads more pictures and much more explanation over at Richard’s website: click here, or on any of the pictures to marvel at the enormous detail Richard and the boys have gone into. Bonus points if you can work out what the hotdog guy is all about. (I couldn’t, and I work here.)


A look back at a record breaking year in digital reading (Infographic)

2014 was another record year for libraries and digital reading! Around the world users borrowed more than 136 million digital titles from OverDrive powered library and school websites. This included more than 15 million browser-based titles borrowed using OverDrive read and over 32 million audiobooks!

To take a deeper look into the year that was we’ve created this great infographic to offer a visual representation of the amount of titles borrowed and what some of the most popular titles were that people checked out. Thank you to all of the users who continue to support thier public libraries 24/7 by embracing OverDrive and digital reading!

Simply click the image below to see the full infographic.



Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist II with OverDrive.

Wattpad Adds Tools for Greater Engagement

One of the sleeping giants in the world of self-publishing is the unassuming platform Wattpad. While the rest of the industry battles it out to be the biggest names with the flashiest systems and lure the most authors or books, Wattpad has quietly been amassing a user base of forty million registered users who actively engage in the site’s content and communities. How impressive is this engagement?

  • More than 40 million people have joined Wattpad
  • People spend 11 billion minutes a month on Wattpad
  • Over 100 million uploads shared on the platform
  • A user signs up on Wattpad every second
  • More than 24 hours of reading material is posted every minute

“Probably our biggest story is how quickly we continue to grow,” explained Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content at Wattpad, in an interview with Good e-Reader. “More than 100,000 people are joining Wattpad each day now, which is more than one user per second. Our average session length is thirty minutes, which is almost unheard of on the internet, that people are spending this time engaging in reading.”

This user engagement is two-fold, as a the site is the go-to location for writers who wish to post their content for others to enjoy, and as Wattpad continues to be a source of constant reading engagement for readers interested in following existing stories, discovering new content and new writers, and generally contributing to the climate of writer-reader relationships.

While Wattpad has been likened in the past to becoming the new “slush pile” due to the high number of stories and authors that have been picked up by traditional publishers and have even reached the top of the bestseller lists in several countries, one of the lesser known innovations is the amount of Wattpad content that has been adapted for film, including serialized television shows and feature-length films, particularly in foreign markets.

“Wattpad has been adapted to many languages,” continued Gardner, speaking of the users who have posted content in more than fifty different languages. “All we do is adapt the buttons and the language of the platform itself, and it’s our users who begin to share stories in that language.”

One of the most exciting new features that Wattpad recently introduced is its Writer Analytics Dashboard that provides an in-depth look at who is engaging with writers’ stories. The information includes:

  • The number of unique readers by chapter
  • The number of reader votes by chapter
  • The number of reader comments by chapter
  • How many reads each story part/chapter has (to understand points of reader dropoff)
  • How many votes and comments each story part/chapter has
  • Reader age, gender, and location

This type of data on writers’ work helps the authors in terms of knowing and connecting with their audiences, as well as providing them with an avenue to determine the course of further writing efforts.

Wattpad Adds Tools for Greater Engagement is a post from: Good e-Reader

Contest: Win Two e-Readers by Energy Sistem


Over the course of the last few weeks Good e-Reader has reviewed two new e-readers by the Spanish company Energy Sistem. The PRO and SLIM reflect the latest entrants into their electronics portfolio and the devices read EPUB, MOBI and PDF. Today, we are not only giving both e-readers away, but also their official cases too!

All of the contests we run on Good e-Reader last about two weeks, and entering is simple. All you need to do is click on the video below, LIKE the video, subscribe to our YouTube channel and drop a comment on the video, letting us know that you did it.  Every month we giveaway new e-readers, tablets, cases and cool e-paper accessories, so stay tuned for more of the worldwide phenomenon that is Good e-Reader!

Contest: Win Two e-Readers by Energy Sistem is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook DRM: Providing Protection or Preventing Profits?


Have you ever purchased an e-book, but could only use it on a single device or app? That's because digital rights management (DRM) is preventing you from moving it to other devices. By definition, DRM is any technology that sellers build into an electronic product or service to limit the range of the file's uses after purchase. DRM is designed to prevent customers from using digital technology beyond what a bookseller or mobile device manufacturer intended.

Why is DRM used?

Considering the amount of time and money authors and publishers invest in a new book, it's no surprise that they would want to protect their work from piracy. DRM systems can place a wide range of restrictions on content purchased legally, such as blocking the conversion of e-books into different formats and imposing limitations on e-book sharing with multiple users and different devices.

How does DRM affect customer experience?

Since the arrival of e-books, almost all publishers require e-book sellers to apply DRM to every e-book sold. This means that each e-book you download has some sort of limitation on how you read it. DRM prevents copying, printing and sharing by tying each e-book file sold to a specific user's account and limiting the devices that support it.

While DRM offers protection for the publisher, it has its drawbacks for the customer. DRM can keep consumers from moving books from device to device. DRM may also keep a customer from buying an e-book at one store and downloading it on another store's proprietary reader or app. A great example of this situation is how e-books bought from Amazon cannot be downloaded on Barnes and Noble's Nook reader and confirms why DRM is an imperfect solution to protecting e-books and other files.

What happens when publishers remove DRM?

Remember when people downloaded mp3s illegally on Napster? In the early days of digital music, downloading mp3s illegally was often the only viable solution to accessing music across various devices because of strict DRM restrictions and regulations. When Apple, one of the first major players in the market, used DRM with its iTunes files, a frenzy of negative feedback from its customers resulted. In response, Apple removed DRM in 2009 and reverted to an open file approach, which meant legitimate users could not only purchase music from Apple, but also play that music on multiple devices. Since then, iTunes has become the largest and most profitable music store in the world.

In a recent study within the music industry via ARS Technica, researchers found that removing the DRM restrictions on downloads not only enabled search and sharing among consumers, it also led to increased sales of more obscure music customers might have otherwise bypassed. With the prominence of DRM-free music, incentives for "pirates" to steal music are becoming a thing of the past.

Today, the publishing industry is facing the same issues with e-books as the music industry did with music downloads. With increasing demand for mobile and e-book content, major publishers have come to depend on e-books as an important stream of revenue, contributing significantly to their bottom line. To calm the fear of potential rampant piracy, publishers of e-books are opting for the more conservative DRM approach to protect their investments and the work of writers, but that comes with some risk to customer satisfaction.

Striking a balance between keeping customers happy and protecting e-books

Booksellers currently face the challenge of keeping the content protected, while also keeping customers happy. While some willingly adhere to a strict DRM approach, other booksellers reject the notion that limiting titles is the best solution to e-book piracy. The restrictive environment that DRM creates not only limits cross-compatibility, it also tends to alienate end-users who, out of frustration, search for alternatives, such as illegal "stripping." Stripping is an often crude way to remove DRM limitations on a protected file. This practice is illegal, although fairly easy to accomplish.  The simplicity of stripping reduces DRM as a minor deterrent.

Trying to lock customers into a single device or punishing them for the actions of others deprives customers of the flexibility they desire. Treating customers with respect and catering to their needs means working to create compatibility between platforms and expanding options to all e-readers.

Are there other options to DRM?

Luckily, DRM is not the only solution to e-book theft. For example, distributors can add a digital watermark containing the customer's name, email address and other information to identify the purchaser. This would embed personal and IP location information into the e-book at the time of purchase, tying that copy back to its owner. Because there isn't a traditional DRM security layer on the file, customers would be able to read these watermarked e-books across multiple platforms, removing the limitations of reading e-books on different devices. Customers would also have the ability to download e-books from the bookseller of their choice, minimizing Amazon's stronghold over the market. Customers could buy e-books from Barnes and Noble, or smaller bookstores, and easily add them to their Kindle's library.

New trends in streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are changing the way users access music and how musicians are compensated. These services are removing the risk of illegal downloads for music. Eventually, similar approaches will make their way to e-publishing. Once that happens, the need for illegal downloads will virtually disappear.

In order to satisfy the needs of the publishers and the consumers, today's e-book industry leaders should be searching for new alternatives like watermarking. In addition, publishers need to consider the possibility that the proprietary nature of DRM may be the problem rather than the solution, causing more harm than good. One of the best ways to avoid boxing customers into a maze of restrictions is to provide several alternatives that recognize the reality of digital life. Once booksellers and publishers decide to stop policing infringement, they'll have more time, energy and creativity to build better, more innovative service to customers and develop a positively memorable experience for paying customers.

eBook DRM: Providing Protection or Preventing Profits? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Anime Adaption for Akagami no Shirayuki-hime


There are certain times of year that tend to gather multiple anime releases, and July is one of them. This year, news of July 2015’s anime lineup has been given a start by shojo manga Akagami no Shirayuki-hime.

Known in English as Red-Haired Princes Snow White, the manga began in 2006. It’s a fantasy romance, telling the story of Shirayuki (Snow White), a medicine woman whose red hair is her standout feature. Because of her hair, she is ordered to become the Prince’s concubine. Not wanting that life for herself, Shirayuki cuts her hair and runs away to the neighbouring kingdom of Clarines. On her way, she meets Zen, the Prince of Clarines, and saves his life after he eats a poisoned apple. After this encounter, Shirayuki decides to join Zen’s court as the royal pharmacist.

The series is being helmed by Studio Bones, the company behind Noragami and Fullmetal Alchemist. Although the manga has been around for some time, and has received moderate popularity, Bones is most likely choosing to animate the series now due to the boost of positivity for the fantasy genre. With shows like Sword Art Online, fantasy anime is gaining a comeback after not having much on the radar in past years.

If the adaption of Shirayuki is well-received, it could further boost demand for fantasy anime. Moreover, it may lead to the manga, and subsequently the anime, being licensed for an English release. There are a lot of positives on the horizon for Akagami no Shirayuki-hime.

Anime Adaption for Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a post from: Good e-Reader