Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MixRadio Music Service Enters Private Android Beta


Not since the early days of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) have users been so loyal to a platform in an attempt to retain the use of a single app. This is the case with MixRadio on Windows Phone; known as a popular music streaming service that recently made the move from being a Microsoft-owned property (by way of the pieces acquired from Nokia) to one belonging to Line. Fortunately for everybody on other platforms, MixRadio is branching out: development is underway, with a private beta in progress for iOS and Android users.

There really isn’t anything special about MixRadio that you can’t find in a dozen other popular apps already available for Android; as you can imagine, it is a radio-focused service that customizes the station you are listening to based on a series of parameters that you define. Start with your favourite artists and genres, and the perfect playlist is created perfectly filled with the music you want to hear. Something about it brings mass-appeal, be it the user interface or the algorithm that picks song selections –time will tell once we get our hands on a copy to try.

A specific release date hasn’t been announced, but I would be surprised if it doesn’t happen prior to the planned update of the Windows Phone app scheduled for sometime this summer.

MixRadio Music Service Enters Private Android Beta is a post from: Good e-Reader

North American Manga Industry Estimates that Manga Grew For Second Year in 2014


According to ICv2, a retailer-focused hobby game and comics/graphic novel market site, has just submitted a statement for the North American manga industry that it has hit a growth for a second year in 2014 after a long decline. ICv2 has been estimating the market for manga in the US and Canada since 2002, and things began to look up in 2013 after a big rise and fall with a peak reaching $200 million in 2007 which was then followed by years of a rapid decrease but then accumulating 2/3’s in 2013’s rebound, in which it grew 8% to around $70 million retail in the US and Canada which was a big improvement over the $65 million in 2012.

While ICv2 has not complete a cross-channel analysis of manga sales in 2014, early indicators are positive in both the comic store and book channels. Attack on Titan was both a standalone winner has most definitely raised the field while other genres performed well. Viz also called out their shoujo successes, including the direct market sales, where it saw a 20% increase!

In the Summer of 2014, ICv2 also did an analysis during that period and discovered that over 90% of it’s manga sales took place at that time in the book channel! Though currently, manga sales are still increasing, there’s plenty of room to grow, regardless of which channel is being used!

North American Manga Industry Estimates that Manga Grew For Second Year in 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists Announced


If you are looking for a new book to read perhaps the five finalists for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction might do the trick. The winner will be announced on April 7th, and the 35th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony & Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

You can get a sense of who the authors are and what the books are about by visiting the awards biography website.

Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank (Graywolf Press)

Jennifer Clement, author of Prayers for the Stolen (Hogarth)

Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life (Tyrant Books)

Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven (Alfred A. Knopf)

Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation (Alfred A. Knopf)

PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists Announced is a post from: Good e-Reader

James Patterson Gives $1.2 Million to School Libraries


James Patterson is one of the worlds most successful Thriller writers and he has just promised to donate $1.2 million dollars to school libraries.

Patterson has teamed up with Scholastic to provide the necessary funds to school libraries based in the United States. For each Patterson's donation, Scholastic Reading Club has promised to donate exactly the same amount; the dollar amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000 per library.

This is not a difficult approval process," Patterson said. "Applicants just have to state what they would do with the money in 200-300 words. What could be easier? I try not to be arrogant in the sense that I know what's good for everybody else: I simply ask the question: 'How can I help?'”

The is the second major financial campaign that Patterson has started in as many years. In 2014 he contributed over a million dollars save indie bookstores. Patterson stated early last September that he was personally providing one million dollars in funding to eligible bookstores who applied for and received a grant through the campaign. Eligibility only requires that the bookstore be an actual operating bookseller and that it have a children's section. So far, grants have been applied for through Patterson's website for everything from educational programs, property taxes and physical repairs to stores, and in one case, a book fair-style retrofitted bus that the shop can take to schools to foster kids' interest in reading.

School libraries can obviously benefit from this new program by Patterson, but it necessitates them doing business with Scholastic. Bestselling author Neil Gaiman commented "Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one."

James Patterson Gives $1.2 Million to School Libraries is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox i86 with 8″ E Ink Screen & Android 4.0 Turns up for $249

I came across an interesting listing on eBay yesterday. And then it expired and disappeared. But now it’s back. The elusive and perpetually postponed Onyx Boox i86 that was announced last year is being sold on eBay out of Texas for $249 plus $10.80 for shipping. It’s rather odd to find this model being sold […]

The Blue Fairy Book is Amazon’s Free Audiobook for March

Just when it appeared that Amazon had stopped doing their monthly free Whispersync for Voice audiobook and ebook combination, a new title went up yesterday, considerably later in the month than usual, but it’s good to see that the promotion is still ongoing. This month’s freebie is The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. It’s […]

The World’s Most Translated Books


Every year thousands of new books are published and not all of them captivate readers to the point where they need to be translated. Today, we look at the top 50 of the worlds most translated books.

The World's Most Translated Books is a post from: Good e-Reader

FREE Webinar – OverDrive Periodicals: Lend popular digital magazines & newspapers

If I don’t have a lot of time to dive into the book I’m currently reading I turn to the latest copy of my favorite magazine. I also like to keep up with what’s going on around the world by reading the newspaper each morning. This is why I was so excited to learn that my local library was now featuring a collection of popular periodicals in their OverDrive digital collection. Now I spend each morning and lunch time borrowing digital magazines and newspapers right on my phone.

periodicalsOverDrive Periodicals provide your patrons something to read every day in addition to the great eBooks, audiobooks and streaming videos you offer. Additionally, because they are easy to browse through, libraries are seeing a large increase in circulation simply by making them a featured collection on their digital library home page.

As Holly Varley of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County noted, "We began our OverDrive Magazine collection with 40 titles sure to be popular with customers.  They were featured on our OveDrive page and were an immediate hit—and we've seen a 12% increase in usage in just 8 weeks.  Ordering in Marketplace is simple to do anytime, so additional titles and subscriptions can be purchased exactly when you need them."

You can give your patrons access to more than 1,000 popular digital magazines and newspapers. And OverDrive makes it easy and convenient because periodicals are offered on the same website as your eBooks, audiobooks and streaming video. We've also created collections of the most in-demand periodicals starting at less than $.02 per copy.

Join us for our free webinar on Wednesday, March 11 @ 3:00 pm EST to see an overview of the periodical service and learn about our ever-growing catalog of titles, including The Economist, National Enquirer, OK!, HGTV Magazine, Food Network, ESPN, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, Vanity Fair and GQ!


Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist with OverDrive


Barnes and Noble Nook Sales Down 62%


Barnes and Noble has just announced their 3rd quarter financial results and things like bleak for the Nook line of e-readers and tablets. Customers seem to have tremendous apathy for the booksellers modern portfolio.

The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $78 million for the quarter, decreasing 50.6% from a year ago. Device and accessories sales were $37 million for the quarter, a decrease of 62.8% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume. Digital content sales were $41 million for the quarter, a decline of 29.3% compared to a year ago, due primarily to the lower device unit sales volume.

Despite the sales decline, NOOK EBITDA losses decreased $32 million, or 52.5%, as compared to a year ago to $29 million. Margins improved on product mix and lower occupancy costs, while expenses declined on continued cost rationalization efforts.

Can Barnes and Noble turn around their e-reader and tablet division? Likely not anytime soon, as the company has no plans to release new tablets this year. The only thing they might do is release a new e-reader, but in order for it to be successful it has to surpass the Kindle Voyage in resolution and overall hardware performance.

Barnes and Noble Nook Sales Down 62% is a post from: Good e-Reader

Pivix Launches New Manga Android App


Pivix, an image sharing site popular in Japan, has come up with its  own app for smartphone devices.

The app features a daily update of cartoons, along with editorial comments and recommendations. While most of the cartoons featured are e-comics and webcomics by indie authors, the app will also feature works of authors that run in weekly magazines. The app comes with a ‘like’ button, and by pressing it and using the app, you are helping to support the author. As indie manga has gotten increasingly popular in recent years, more and more young artists are choosing to take this route as opposed to the traditional way. This app is an excellent way to support those looking at the industry from a different angle.

As of yet, the app is only available for Android 4.0.3. or a newer model. Although an app for iOS devices has also been  considered, a release date has not yet been set. One can only assume that it will be coming soon, as the two companies are so keen to compete with one another. The opportunity for equal marketing will be too good to pass up.

The app is available in Japan and the US. In order to view the app, you must must have a Pivix account. For most manga fans, this won’t be a problem, as Pivix has become a popular image sharing site in North America as well. If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for one here!

Pivix Launches New Manga Android App is a post from: Good e-Reader

Yen Press Licenses “Irregular at Magic High School” Light Novels and Manga


Some exciting news from Yen Press! The manga and light novel publisher, has announced on Monday that it has licensed the Irregular at Magic High School (Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei) light novel on the Yen On imprint. The light novels is due to have it’s first volume release starting in November.

Yen Press has also announced and confirmed that the manga it has liscenced is Mahōka Kōkō no Yūtōsei (The Honour at Magic High School). The new manga is a spinoff of Tsutomo Satou’s original story but tells it from the perspective of Miyuki. No further news on when it will be released as of yet, but stay tuned for more information!

Yū Mori began the series in Kadokawa’s Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh magazine in 2012 and Kadokawa shipped the fifth compiled volume on March 7th. If you’d like to check out the anime, you can head on over to Netflix or Crunchyroll.

Yen Press Licenses “Irregular at Magic High School” Light Novels and Manga is a post from: Good e-Reader

The moving story of The Children of Willesden Lane

Last week Team OverDrive had the privilege of welcoming author and concert pianist Mona Golabek to our offices. Her book, The Children of Willesden Lane, tells the true story of how her mother, Lisa Yura, escaped Austria during World War II through the Kindertransport and how her music not only inspired the other children at Lisa’s orphanage but how it became the foundation of her life.

The Children of Willesden Lane teaches readers young and old the importance of family, patience, peace and how to hold onto something and fight for what you believe in. Since the release of the book, Mona has toured the country with her one woman show, The Pianist of Willesden Lane where she portrays her mother and plays the music that inspired her to make it through her difficult times. She also created the Hold On To Your Music Foundation to raise awareness and understanding of the ethical implications of events like the Holocaust. The Pianist shows the power of the arts and how they embolden the human spirit in the face of adversity. Children studying her book have the privilege of viewing this play, fully experiencing the goal of Mona's work.

While Mona was at our Blue Sky campus I had the honor of sitting down with Mona to discuss her book, her one woman show and what she hopes children and adults alike will take away from her story.

Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist with OverDrive. He wishes he could play the piano.

The End for Tech Blog GigaOm

It appears to be the end for one of the industry’s top tech blogs, GigaOm, which was founded in 2006 by Om Malik. The site, which recently underwent a high-profile management change, made a significant shift to both research-based projects and the staging of live industry events, which may be at the root of the money problems some insiders have mentioned related to the shut down. Malik himself mentioned in a statement on his own website that the site is unable to pay its creditors, and employees have tweeted about the transition to being paid by trustees.


GigaOm acquired PaidContent.org in 2012, making it one of the largest and most trafficked tech news sites, with as many as 6.5 million readers per month. It’s a sad end for one of the pioneers in the industry, and no one is feeling that more keenly than the company’s founder.


Cry now

"This hurts more than I can say," senior writer Mathew Ingram tweeted. "I was just told Gigaom is shutting down — it has run out of money. We tried our best, but it wasn't enough."

The End for Tech Blog GigaOm is a post from: Good e-Reader

I spy… Carrie-Anne on BBC Technobabble

We were very excited to welcome children’s TV presenter Frankie Vu from CBBC’s Technobabble, a TV show for children dedicated to explaining how technology works in a fun way, to Pi Towers towards the end of 2014 to talk about how computers are often found inside lots of different appliances, toys, and products.

Screenshot 2015-03-09 12.54.47

In an episode dedicated to Computing, Carrie Anne demonstrates some of our fun projects such as the weather station project and hamster party cam, both of which you can make and build with your students thanks to our free resources.

If you missed it, and you’re in the UK, you can watch it here (the segment starts at about 4 minutes in).


Reading While Under the Influence


Writers such Jack Kerouac, Dylan Thomas, John Cheever, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald all drunk alcohol or other intoxicants while writing their books. Most modern writers that I know always have a glass of wine when they are going to sit at their computers for hours. Its a given that authors tend to be under the influence more than other professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. What about readers?

Can readers digest a novel while under the influence? Does one substance over another make you get into the book more or does it hinder your overall experience?

In doing research for this article it is dramatically apparent that people who drink alcohol tend to read different books than people who for example, smoke pot. I found that people who smoke, tend to be male and gravitate towards authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Douglas Adams, Aldous Huxley, and Neil Gaiman.

Readers are very much like authors, in the respect that having a glass of wine or a small glass of scotch enhances the experience, but too much can detract from comprehension.

Is reading under the influence directly correlated towards the rise of adults buying YA fiction and romance? In 2013 715 million YA books were sold, primarily to adults. Industry statistics from the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013 show that the romance genre as a whole generated $1.438 billion in sales in 2012 and estimated at $1.350 billion for 2013.

You have to admit that reading Hunger Games or 50 Shades of Grey is much easier to digest with a glass of wine than Finnegans Wake or Gravity’s Rainbow. It might be possible that the reason why so many adults are buying easy reads, at the expensive of literary fiction, is because they tend to always be inebriated.

Reading While Under the Influence is a post from: Good e-Reader