Thursday, February 26, 2015

221.4 Million Tablets to Ship in 2015


The global tablet market is starting to mature and there is not as much demand for new devices as last year. It is currently being estimated that 221.4 million units will be shipped in 2015,  slipping by 11.9% compared to 2014.

Leading the market will be Apple, with iPad shipments of 54.2 million units, representing a decrease on year by 16.6%, the report, titled 2015 global tablet demand forecast notes. Other leading international vendors will combine to ship 90.7 million units, growing by 0.1%.  White label tablets, which are customized for small and indie level companies will be hit the hardest, with shipments falling 20.0% to 76.5 million units.

If you want to get a sense of the exact percentages, Apple will account for 24.5% of total shipments, Samsung Electronics for 16.3%, Lenovo 5.3%, Asus 4.2%, Google 1.7%,  Acer 1.7% and Amazon 1.6%.

220 million units is still a fairly solid figure, but this research is basically saying that people are switching to larger smartphones and keeping their tablets longer. These days, there simply isn’t a compelling enough reason to upgrade your device every year.

221.4 Million Tablets to Ship in 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wattpad Releases New Erotica and Romance App


Wattpad is likely one of the breakout fan-fiction communities in the world and the Canadian company has just released new app for iOS that prioritizes erotica and romance.

Wattpad After Dark is a new effort to showcase erotica and romance titles that are self-published on their platform. This is an obvious effort to capitalize on the entire 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon.  I think the aspect that is most compelling is that everything is free.

The app is highly curated and does not display everything that is adult rated on the Wattpad service. The content is being  sorted by some interesting channels, such as “southern romance,” “urban,” and “panty droppers.” As on Wattpad itself, users can comment and vote through the app.

Publishers are really hoping that the next big novel stems from fan-fiction. There certainly is a market for it, as 40 million people have joined Wattpad and they cumulatively read 11 billion minutes of stories a month.

Wattpad Releases New Erotica and Romance App is a post from: Good e-Reader

Is Amazon and Overdrive Giving Up on Kindle e-books in Libraries?


Overdrive has been delaying the Kindle editions of e-books in the United States on titles from major publishing companies. No new Kindle edition has been available from Penguin since December of 2014 and since February 2015, not a single e-book from any major publisher has become available. Is this due to a falling out with Amazon or their current contract expiring? Or something else entirely?

Libraries all over the US have been caught off-guard by the revelation that Kindle e-books from major publishers has slowed to a trickle. Each library has its own library representative from Overdrive and they have not been forthcoming or proactive in letting their clients now what the situation is. It is not until they are approached directly that they acknowledge there is a problem, but they don’t know what it is.

The delay in Kindle editions are all from titles that stem from major publishers. This comprises of companies such as Simon and Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Penguin/Random House.   The only e-books that are available in the Kindle format are the ones being sourced are self-published titles from Smashwords and  small presses.

David Burleigh the Director of Marketing & Communications at Overdrive said they are aware of the issue and they can’t tell me what the problem is, because its confidential. They did let me know they are developing a new program though, and initially it could be the reason why there are bugs in the system.

“OverDrive is working on a new Preorder program that will make titles available to its partners early in the publication cycle, as many as 6 months prior to the date the titles are released to the public. In OverDrive's Marketplace, partners can add Preorder titles to their public-facing sites, allowing end-users to place holds until the title's street date. At that time, the title will be available for download/viewing. If any holds were placed on the title, they will be fulfilled.”

David went on to say “under this program, partners will not be invoiced for these titles until the titles' street dates. This will ensure libraries are charged only when the titles go live. At launch, we will begin with a segment of our catalog, including the Big 5 publishers among others, and additional publishers will be added in the following months. OverDrive's Preorder program is expected to launch in the coming weeks.”

I remain unconvinced that the refinement of a system to order e-books farther in advance is the root cause of Kindle e-books not becoming available.  Libraries have always been able to preorder titles, as soon as its available in the publishers catalog.  The only thing that is changing is being able to order it even further in advance, which is just a refinement of an existing system, not reinventing the wheel. (Overdrive  just told me that and “to be clear, the Preorder program is an OverDrive program and has nothing to do with Kindle)

Many different libraries have been reaching out to me since I broke this story and we are (speculating)  that  Amazon is getting out of the library business and severing their relationship with Overdrive. 

Amazon is  likely getting out of the library business with their sole client because they have developed their own Kindle Lending Library and more recently their Kindle Unlimited subscription system. Instead of hyping a 3rd party, Amazon really wants to make these two systems work and are throwing all of their marketing efforts to promoting them.

When Overdrive was first getting started in marketing their digital distribution services to libraries, they were the only company to secure a relationship with Amazon. They leveraged the fact they were the only company to offer e-books in the Kindle format and used it as a competitive advantage to spread like wildfire all over the United States. 3M Cloud Library and Baker and Taylor both tried to enter negotiations with Amazon, but were meant with disdain and apathy. Ultimately the talks broke down. If Amazon was ever serious about the library business, why would they only deal with one company and not all of them?

Due to their relationship with Amazon, Overdrive is now the dominant worldwide player that offers audiobooks, e-books, magazines, newspapers, music and videos.  They have gotten so far ahead of their competition that they don’t need to trump the Amazon card anymore to convince libraries on the virtues of going digital. Currently, over 95% of all libraries in the US have an e-book collection and for the most part its been provided by Overdrive.

Its important to note that Kindle e-books via Overdrive has always been exclusively available in the US. The service has never been available in Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom. Likely, Amazon pursued  this relationship with Overdrive as a test, if it were successful, they would expand. USA first and everything second is apart of Amazons DNA.  They always launch products and services in the US first, to see if it gains traction (Fire Phone, Fire TV, Fire Stick, Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Unlimited, etc etc) and then if its deemed a success they normally roll it out to key international markets like Germany and the United Kingdom.

The amount of money Overdrive is paying Amazon to support the Kindle e-book format is not financially viable anymore. There was a time when e-readers were the dominant device to read e-books on and most people took advantage of the “Send to Kindle” function.  This has dramatically changed in the last few years as more people are using the Overdrive Media Console app on their tablets and smartphones. Everyone else is using the HTML5 solution and there simply isn’t a need anymore to support dedicated e-readers, like the Kindle Voyage or Paperwhite.

Is Amazon and Overdrive Giving Up on Kindle e-books in Libraries? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Fire HD Tablets Get Firefly Support with Software Update

Amazon has issued a software update, version 4.5.3, for the Fire HD 6 and Fire HD 7 to add support for Amazon’s exclusive Firefly feature, which can be used to scan and identify physical products and media to get more information about them, plus you’ll get the option to purchase of course. Firefly can also […]

Barnes and Noble Spins College BookStores Into Separate Company


Barnes and Noble has announced their intention of spinning off their college bookstore division into its own autonomous unit called Barnes and Noble for Education.

Barnes and Noble for Education will be its own publicly traded company and the anticipated restructuring should be completed by late August. This is around the same time period in which Nook Digital will also become separated from the bookstore chain into its own company.

There are currently over 714 B&N stores on college and university campuses in the United States. In the last financial quarter the educational unit garnered over $751 million in revenue and is fairly stable in terms of growth. Likely investors will be flocking  to invest in Nook Education when it becomes available.

Barnes and Noble is basically splitting themselves apart right now.  By the end of the year the bookstore chain, college bookstore unit and Nook Digital will become three different companies with completely different ways of operating. This might be for the best, because no longer will most decisions have to be made by the same executive team. If the College bookstore wants to expand their textbook rental system, they are only accountable to themselves and not the same executive team in charge of everything else.

Will splitting the college bookstore into its own company actually happen? Barnes and Noble has had an extensive track record in recent years in flip flopping in all major decisions.

Barnes and Noble Spins College BookStores Into Separate Company is a post from: Good e-Reader

B&N to Keep Nook, Split off College Business Instead

Once again Barnes and Noble is backtracking on one of their earlier business decisions. Last June B&N announced that would be spinning off the Nook portion of their business into a separate company. As it turns out, that’s not going to happen. Barnes and Noble’s new plan is to separate their college business, which consists […]

Google Announces Android for Work Program


Anybody carrying a smartphone knows just how powerful those pocket-sized computers can be. Further to that potential is the reality that mobile devices have moved from luxury to necessity, particularly in the corporate world. In the beginning, Microsoft dominated this business market –with Apple showing promise as their primary competition. According to an announcement from the Official Google for Work Blog, Android isn’t ready to bow out just yet. By taking advantage of their new Android for Work program, Google is bringing a group of high-profile partners together to help businesses implement more devices using their platform.

According to Google, Android for Work contains four key technology components:

Work profiles – We've built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users’ personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won't erase or view their personal content.

Android for Work app – For devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat, or that don't run work profiles natively, we've created the Android for Work app. The app, which delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps, can be completely managed by IT.

Google Play for Work – Google Play for Work allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work, simplifying the process of distributing apps to employees and ensuring that IT approves every deployed app.

Built-in productivity tools – For everyday business tasks, we've created a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendar, which supports both Exchange and Notes and provides document editing capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

There is no question this is a step in the right direction. The corporate world prefers to deal with others like them –which has always been the struggle for open source platforms gaining widespread adoption in that sector. Businesspeople want somebody to call when things don’t work, and Google is partnering with the kinds of companies that can offer consistency, security, and relevance.

It will take time to tell whether they can be persuasive enough to be successful, even with a program like Android for Work. Google is eager to boast having billions of activated devices, but fails to mention just how many are underpowered or fail to be subscribed to working data plans. Even with that said, there is no reason why iOS has to be the defacto standard for the corporate world without a little healthy competition from other full-featured platforms like Android.

Google Announces Android for Work Program is a post from: Good e-Reader

Death Parade: The Review

Death parade

Every season comes a plethora of brand new animes to be watched, but with so many new releases, how do you figure out which are worth it? Well today I will be reviewing an anime that was released during the 2014 winter line up and that has been making quite a buzz.

Death Parade, written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, is a series that originally spawned from a short film entitled "Death Billiards" which was originally produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project and was released on March 2nd, 2013. The television series began airing in Japan from January 9th and is licenced by Funimation.


Somewhere in an unknown location, a mysterious place called Quindecim resides to make judgement on those who has passed. Upon death, humans go to a place as we know to be heaven or hell, but at the instant of their deaths, humans that have passed at the same time instead arrive at a bar where a quiet bartender named Decim works. There they are challenged to games, wagering their lives in which the end results reveals the secrets to what led them there.

Welcome to Quindecim

Are you looking for an anime that’s full of suspense, drama, comedy, dark humour as well as life or death situations? Well then Death Parade is definitely for you. I have to say the summary for the anime was interesting and this past weekend I decided to take the plunge to watch it since I was in between shows, and I have to say, I was thrilled with my decision.

The anime sets itself up very well from the first episode by welcoming you with an incredibly upbeat and fun OP by BRADIO. Right after the opening theme, we find ourselves watching a couple that have come to a mysterious hall, with no current memories of where they are. After wandering down the hall, they are greeted by a gorgeous post-modern bar called Quindecim. Enter Decim, the arbiter and bartender. After a very confusing introduction to the rulese, the couple have no choice but to play the game with their lives on the line.

If that doesn’t sound good, I don’t know what does! The animation is gorgeous in itself, the character designs are interesting and the overall atmosphere really sets you in the mood. I found most of the games left me feeling somewhat emotional (Yes, I will admit one of the episodes made me cry!).

Though while the theme is dark, if you watched the original Death Billiards, you will have already gotten a feel for the theme, the show does have it’s uplifting moments that really make you forget that the stakes of the game is either reincarnation or the void. Death Parade has the storytelling literary techniques that a great psychological thriller should have and often deals with subliminal philosophical, religious and cosmological meaning and conceptualizations of life and Death.

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t checked out this anime, I highly recommend that you do! You really can’t go wrong with a compelling story that keeps you guessing, and the outcome is never quite what you think!

Death Parade is available on Funimationand on Hulu!

Death Parade: The Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Reviewing Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon, vocalist, bassist and founding member of the critically acclaimed band Sonic Youth is the coolest woman alive. Possibly to ever exist. And she proves this in her new memoir Girl in a Band. Okay, I suppose this may just be my opinion but it would be impossible to exaggerate the enormous impact she has had on the modern music scene and the Riot Grrl movement.


Gordon has always been known for her aloofness and reservation when it came to publicity and the spotlight of fame. I was honestly very surprised when I first heard she was penning a memoir so I wasn't sure what to expect before reading. While I wouldn't consider this a "tell-all" memoir by any means, her honesty and openness throughout the book was gripping and inspiring on many levels.


With bravery and class, she writes of her childhood in Southern California, growing up and dealing with her brother's diagnosis with paranoid schizophrenia, to New York’s art and music scene in the eighties and nineties and the formation of a groundbreaking band that made it possible for bands like Nirvana to prevail.  The most gut-wrenching aspect of the memoir is Gordon's candid narrative of her divorce after a 27 year marriage to bandmate Thurston Moore. But the overall story is bittersweet as she emerges from the breakup stronger than ever.


Girl in a Band is a must-read for all Sonic Youth fans as well as any fans of 90s Alternative music. However, people not familiar with Gordon's band or peers will be taken in by her emotional stories and fascinating account of a life lived outside the box.

Are Paper Magazines Still Important?

Just as the debate once raged about the state of print-versus-digital book publishing, magazines and newspapers are feeling the pinch of that familiar argument. While supporters on both sides of the book format aisle proclaimed that their preferred format was here to stay and the other was on its way out, the same points could be made of digital news.

Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal sat down with Time, Inc.’s CEO Joe Ripp to discuss the merits and relevance of magazines like People, a title that has steadfastly maintained its dedication to a monthly volume in the era of instant mobile news.

“For Joe Ripp, chief executive of Time Inc., the competitive landscape has translated into the sale of once-prized real estate, and a coming move to lower Manhattan that will save on rent,” wrote Trachtenberg.

“We've got a legacy business that is shrinking and it's going to continue to shrink,” stated Ripp. “Go to any airport right now. There are fewer magazines being displayed. People are engaged with their iPhones; they aren't reading magazines the way they used to. And when they are on the plane now they have Wi-Fi on board, so they're doing their emails.

“They aren't reading less of our content, however. If they are interested in celebrities they are still getting celebrity news; if they are interested in cooking they are still getting cooking information. They are just consuming it in different places.”

Ripp makes a profound point about formats over information. The clamor for the information hasn’t changed at all, though the format has shifted exponentially, perhaps even more so than for book publishing. Just as with books, though, there are books that you collect and books that you consume; print lends itself to titles that readers want to own for years to come, while ebooks were ideal for books that readers enjoyed and then promptly moved away from. The same can be said of magazines, specifically in instances in which the content is timeless, as opposed to something like celebrity news, which Ripp pointed out is in a constant state of motion.

With even the publishing industry admitting that it’s moving forward and leaving paper largely behind, a confession that the book industry is still waiting for, it’s important that outlets be prepared to meet consumers where they are when it comes to reading. Airports like Miami International have recently moved into the digital magazine space, as have a number of universities; hotels, motels, and other hospitality industry services have already made a smooth transition to offering digital content in exchange for customer loyalty, and public and academic libraries are adopting a digital circulation in greater numbers than ever before. If industry icons like People don’t catch up quickly with a faster-paced content offering, selling their real estate will be only one of many concerns.

Are Paper Magazines Still Important? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Former Walmart Store Transformed Into an Amazing Library


Big box stores such as Walmart proliferate the United States and each location tends to take up close to 2.5 football fields. In total Walmart accounts for 698 million square feet of land in the U.S and the environmental impact is quite staggering. When these stores close, they often fall into a state of disrepair and most retail companies cannot justify such a large location. One former Walmart store in McAllen, Texas has been transformed into an amazing library.

The McAllen Public Library features 123,000 square feet and is currently the largest single floor library in the US.  It originally opened in late 2011 and has been going strong ever since. In the first few months they experienced an increase of over 23% in loans. The next largest is the Johnson County Central Resource Library in Overland Park, Kansas, at 90,547 square feet.


The library has a massive collection of over 355,794 books and a massive collection of digital content, such as audiobooks and e-books.

The library even has an acoustically separated lounge for teens as well as 6 teen computer labs, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children's computer labs and 2 genealogy computer labs. Other new features include self check-out units, an auditorium, an art gallery, a used bookstore and a cafe.


Can you honestly think of a better use of a former Walmart than a library? This location was straight up abandoned for over seven years because the retailer opened a new location 1.5 miles down the road!  I know a lot of bookworms in Texas that have actually made a pilgrimage to this location to check it out.  Word to the wise, on Saturdays there is a farmers market right across the street.


Former Walmart Store Transformed Into an Amazing Library is a post from: Good e-Reader

Tangram: An Open Source Map Rendering Library

I have a Raspberry Pi project that I'd love to use street maps for, but it would be a daunting challenge for me to figure out how to read map data and write the code to draw the maps on screen. It's why I was delighted to discover Tangram ES, which is a library for rendering 2D and 3D maps using OpenGL ES 2 with data from OpenStreetMap. The library works on a number of devices, including of course Raspberry Pi.

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo (from the video above) and the team at Mapzen are responsible for the open source project, which is an offshoot of their WebGL map rendering library, Tangram. While Tangram ES is still a work-in-progress, they've been using Raspberry Pi 2 to speed up their development of the library and they're ready for more people to take it for a spin.

Structured a lot like a research and development lab, Mapzen is a startup founded with the idea that mapping done collaboratively, transparently, and in the open can produce more resilient software, and ultimately, better maps. Their focus is on open source tools and using open data to create the building blocks for future mapping applications, including search & geocoding, routing, and transit, in addition to the rendering work they’re doing with Tangram.

Patricio is a graphics engineer on Tangram, responsible for implementing different graphical features such as tessellation, lights, materials, environmental maps, and other CG effects. The team also includes Brett Camper, who is Mapzen’s co-founder, as well as Peter Richardson, Ivan Willing, and Karim Naaji. The ES version of Tangram was started by Matt Blair and Varun Talwar.

“Last December Karim and I thought it could be interesting to get Tangram ES running on a Raspberry Pi,” said Patricio. “At the beginning we thought it would be difficult and probably slow, but at the end we were surprised by the speed of the app and how easy the implementation was. Cross-platform C++ development is possible!”

“In a way, the Pi is an ideal test platform for developing graphics software that targets low-power systems,” said Matt. “The OpenGL ES 2 implementation on the Pi is the strictest that we've encountered, so it has become our gold standard for ensuring correct usage of OpenGL. The only major missing piece on the Pi was a compiler that supports C++11, which Tangram uses extensively. However since the Pi is a complete Linux distribution, installing the packages we needed with apt was a breeze.”

Don’t have to take Matt’s word for it; you can install and test drive Tangram ES on the Raspberry Pi right now:

Installing Tangram ES

Using Raspbian, here's how to install the Tangram ES library from the command line and execute the included sample code:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cmake g++-4.7 libcurl4-openssl-dev
cd ~
git clone
cd tangram-es
git submodule init && git submodule update
make rpi
cd build/rpi/bin