Monday, March 16, 2015

New Amazon Kindle e-Readers Cannot be Jailbroken


Amazon has pulled out all the stops in a recent firmware update for the Kindle Voyage, Kindle Basic Touch and the Paperwhite 2. This means that enterprising citizens with a proclivity towards exploring the inner workings of the software and modding it are thwarted.

The new firmware was pushed out to all modern Kindle devices in late November of last year. Anything after version 5.60 will not allow you to hack the firmware and do interesting things like change the screensaver system or install custom apps.

Amazon really is hellbent on locking down their entire ecosystem to prevent easy access to mess around with the Kindle software. They are chiefly doing this because they want to dissuade the reverse engineering of their operating system and to prevent hacking.

Locking down ecosystems seems to be the trend right now in the e-reader industry. Barnes and Noble has been getting a lot of flack from their customers when they eliminated the ability to download Nook Books. They said it was to curb piracy, but more likely they want people to use their official e-reading apps for Android and iOS and not the competition.

New Amazon Kindle e-Readers Cannot be Jailbroken is a post from: Good e-Reader

BlackBerry Modifies Galaxy Tab S to Create SecuTablet


Proving once again to be resilient and surprising, BlackBerry is giving tablets another shot (but not to worry, it isn’t anything like the PlayBook). Based on a modified version of the 10″ Galaxy Tab S by Samsung, BlackBerry’s new SecuTablet is taking aim at the security-conscious corporate and government sectors.

Cosmetically the tablet looks pretty much like a standard-issue 10″ Galaxy Tab S, but the inside is filled with goodies from security firm Secusmart (acquired by BlackBerry last year) combined with software built in partnership with IBM. Using a complex system of voice and data encryption (by way of a built-in Secusmart Security Card), the SecuTablet intends to protect any and all sensitive data the device contains.

Hopefully it does a truly amazing job, because the SecuTablet doesn’t come cheap –sporting a gasp-worthy $2,380 USD price-tag.

The good news is that the SecuTablet isn’t all work with no play; standard issue entertainment apps (like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) can be installed and enjoyed. It is in this arena where IBM’s contribution really shines: their software isolates the data and processes from these seemingly less secure apps. Ensuring the SecuTablet can run these fluffier, personal apps may seem unimportant –but these little touches will go a long way toward making it more appealing for executives not eager to carry multiple devices.

If any mobile manufacturer can take a run at dominating corporate tablet marketshare, BlackBerry should be able to. Even though their previous attempts with the PlayBook were short-lived and poorly received, BlackBerry has long-been trusted by organizations with strict security mandates (which is a relationship that matters far more than cost).

Obviously the average mobile consumer won’t be that interested in a SecuTablet, but if the device sees any measure of success it will go a long way to maintain the BlackBerry stronghold in industries such as government (and work hard to keep the brand relevant moving forward).

BlackBerry Modifies Galaxy Tab S to Create SecuTablet is a post from: Good e-Reader

Hachette is Betting on LEGO as the Next Big Thing


Little, Brown Books is a division of Hachette and the publishing companies have just predicted the next breakout book series of 2015. They have formed a new partnership with LEGO to have a series of e-books and graphic novels created. The intention is to have them released by the end of the year to take a advantage of the holiday season.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch their LEGO line with graphic novels, each based on three popular, bestselling LEGO properties: LEGO Ninjago, LEGO Friends, and LEGO BIONICLE. Geared for readers ages 6 – 11, the books will feature fun adventures and original storytelling that will expand the LEGO universe and build upon the key LEGO themes of creativity, imagination, and humor. In addition, each novel will feature exclusive content designed to enhance the storytelling and further engage young readers.

In anticipation of the first book that will release in September 2015, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will support the launch of the program with an extensive pre-publication campaign including a major presence at San Diego Comic-Con, a wide-spread distribution of teaser chapter samplers, and extensive cross-promotion with the LEGO Group.

The LEGO Group is fully engaged in the development of children's creativity for play and learning, having begun manufacturing their unique interlocking toy bricks in 1949. Since then a global LEGO subculture has developed, supporting movies, games, competitions, and amusement parks. As of 2014, around 760 billion LEGO elements have been produced.

Hachette is Betting on LEGO as the Next Big Thing is a post from: Good e-Reader

Big Library Read hath returned with a true Shakespearian tale!

We're excited to announce that the latest Big Library Read is now live, offering millions of users around the globe the opportunity to join the largest global book club in the world. For the next two weeks Shakespeare Saved my Life by Laura Bates will be available to borrow without any wait lists or holds.

From March 17th through the 31st users from 20,000 libraries can read Dr. Bate's story of teaching Shakespeare in a supermax solitary confinement prison and how she formed a lasting friendship with a convicted murderer that saved more than one life.

Dr. Bates has been featured on MSNBC-TV and just recently sold the rights to her book to be turned into a movie! You can learn more about her and Shakespeare Saved my Life at and be sure to join the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag #BigLibraryRead. On Friday, March 27th at 2 pm (ET) we'll have a live twitter chat where we will ask Dr. Bates questions from readers so be sure to tweet @OverDriveLibs your questions for the author!

Also, if your school or book club would like to use this title for group discussions you can use this discussion guide for questions and topics.

Adam Sockel is a Social Media Specialist at OverDrive. He thinks he’s in his 5th of 7 acts.

Team OverDrive’s Saint Patrick’s Day Picks

Today is a great day to be Irish. In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, the Collection Development Analysts made a list of some of our favorite Irish authors and Saint Patrick's Day related titles.

CD Team's St. Patrick's Day Picks


Between pints of Guinness and corned beef sandwiches, share these with your loved ones and patrons in tribute of Saitn Patrick, Ireland, and everyone who is Irish. Always, and today.

Do you have any other favorites that we left off the list? How about any fun plans or library programming you are doing in honor of Saint Patrick's Day?


Some titles are metered access and may have limited regional or platform availability. Check OverDrive Marketplace to find what is available for you.

Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

Kindle Cloud Collections: How They Work and How to Use Them

Amazon introduced “cloud collections” back in November of 2013 to help keep Kindle content organized and have everything synced between Kindle apps and devices. Some people like cloud collections, and others can’t stand the limitations. A lot of people are confused about how cloud collections function exactly, so let’s go over how they work. First […]

Novels have Been Declared Dead 30 Times by Prominent People


The novel has been declared dead over 30 times since 1902 by prominent people in the industry. The Guardian, New York Times and the Observer have all declared at one point that books are on the decline, yet in 2015 they are still around.

Novels are a relatively new format, although storytelling has been going on since the dawn of humankind. The first precursor of the novel has to be the Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote that was published in 1605.  Likely, it is the highest selling book of all time, other than the bible.

Most people are in agreement that the novel first became a literary format in the 18th century chiefly because this was the same time that there was a rise in literary criticism.

Critics and industry pundits have declared the novel is dead for almost a century. The most common reasons are the rise of e-books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines. Lets look at the top 30 notable people who said the novel is dead.

1902— Jules Verne says the novel is being replaced by newspapers.

1925— José Ortega y Gasset says the novel is dying in Decline of the Novel.

1930— Walter Benjamin says the novel is experiencing a crisis in Krisis des Romans.

Autumn 1946—Lionel Trilling says the novel is in a state of decay in The Kenyon Review.

August 20, 1954— Harold Nicholson says the novel is dead in The Observer.

Fall 1955— Norman Mailer says the novel is dead.

Spring 1957— José Ortega y Gassest reasserts that the novel is dying in The Hudson Review.

Summer 1958— Ludwig Marcuse reports on a symposium where the novel is declared dead for Books Abroad.

October 28, 1965 — Frank Kermode says the novel is always dying in the New York Review of Books.

June 1966—Louis D. Rubin says the novel has always been dead in The Kenyon Review.

December 1969— Ronald Sukenick says the novel is dead in The Death of the Novel and other Stories.

April 1977— Raymond Federman says the novel is dead because no one is reading in American Quarterly.

Winter 1978 — Michael Krasney says the Jewish American novel is dying in Melus.

Fall 1980—Leslie A. Fielder says the novel is dead in Salmagundi.

June 21, 1992 — Robert Coover says that all books are dying in The New York Times.

September 26, 1992‚— William Grimes says the novel is dying but not dead in The New York Times.

Summer 1996— Joseph Tabbi says the novel is dying again in The Wilson Quarterly.

May 2005— Naguib Mahfouz says the spirit of the novel is dead in World Literature Today.

December 24, 2007–  Caleb Crain says the novel is dying in The New Yorker.

November 20, 2008— Zadie Smith says the novel is dying in The New York Review of Books.

Summer 2009— Mark Greif says the novel is dead in Boundary 2.

October 29, 2009— Phillip Roth says the novel is dead in an interview.

July 3, 2010—Lee Seigel declares the novel dead in The Observer.

August 22, 2011—Evan Morrison says the novel might be dead in The Guardian.

October 31, 2011— Mark Bauerlein says the novel is declining in Minding the Campus.

January 13, 2013— Sam Byers says the novel is dying on Salon.

June 23, 2013— Thomas Brewster says the “traditional” novel is dying in The Quietus.

May 2, 2014— Will Self says the novel is REALLY dead in The Guardian.

May 4, 2014— A twitter is created to chronicle the Death of the Novel.

May 15, 2014— Scott Christian says the novel is dead in GQ.

via Vox

Novels have Been Declared Dead 30 Times by Prominent People is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Kindle eReaders Blocked from Jailbreaking and Hacking

There’s always been a number of custom hacks and tweaks for jailbroken Kindle ereaders (like screensaver and font hacks), but ever since Amazon released their latest line of Kindles last fall, jailbreaking has become pretty much impossible. Amazon has pulled out all the stops to block any kind of hacking to the Kindle Voyage, the […]

Take advantage of our Monday Magazine Mania sale!

It's Monday Magazine Mania!  Add OverDrive Periodicals today to offer the hottest magazines and newspapers, with an industry leading NOOK user experience, on the same platform as your other digital materials!

6f5442b0eeaa46ce845a7c389e7887a1Here's how it works: Each library or school that orders OverDrive Periodicals today, Monday March 16, will receive a free Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 Nook AND be entered into a drawing to win 3 YEARS OF WAIVED ACCESS FEES!

To receive your Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 Nook and be entered into the drawing:

  1. Login to Marketplace, select Periodicals from the "Shop" dropdown on the upper left.
  2. Create a cart from our top circulating collection of magazines and newspapers and place an order.
  3. Soon after, your users will be enjoying the best digital magazine experience on the market.

Don't Forget: March 40% Off Access Fees:  If you have a case of the Mondays, you can still take advantage of another opportunity to save.  Receive 40% off your first year Access Fees for any new OverDrive Periodical orders submitted on or before March 31, 2015.

Need help creating your opening collection, we’ve curated these lists for you!

Top 10 for $500
Top 20 for $1,000
Top 25 for $1,500
Top 30 for $3,000*
Top 40 for $3,000
Top 40 for $4,000*
Top 50 for $5,000*
Top 60 for $4,000
Top 70 for $5,000
Top 75 for $7,000*
Top 100+ for $10,000*


Happy Shopping!
Team OverDrive

*Monday Magazine Mania Terms: Monday Magazine Mania promotion period runs from Monday, March 16th at 8:00AM Eastern through 11:59PM Eastern. Promotion only available for new OverDrive Periodical customers, who do not yet have OverDrive Periodicals live at their digital collections. Drawing for the three years of waived access fees will be conducted on Wednesday, March 18th.  Winner will be notified by email, and invoice will be adjusted accordingly. Offer limited to US Libraries and Schools only.

New Platform Senserial Delivers Serialized eBooks

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One of the more popular ways that readers are consuming digital content involves the auto-delivery of content such as serialized titles, installment short stories, auto-delivery of digital newspapers and magazines. Whether it’s a throwback to the days of authors like Poe, Dickens, and Twain, all three of whom often wrote and published in installments, or just the convenience of keeping up with content that readers previously enjoyed, serialization is a growing trend in digital publishing.

Sites like Wattpad, ebook distributors like SheBooks and Rooster, and even digital subscription managers like Pressreader and Zinio have all made the convenience and portability of favorited installment reading possible for busy consumers, but a new site, Senserial, is bringing serial titles to the mainstream.

Along with its sister site for multi-artist collaboration Sennection, Senserial is working to reach an audience of readers that don’t have time to browse for the content they know they’re going to love. Much like the Wattpad community in which readers sign up to follow an author whose work they enjoy, Senserial’s readers will be notified of new content without having to remember to go looking for titles.

“Senserial offers e-books that can be read in an exciting series style, with an episode being released every week. This way, much like a favourite TV show, readers can have something to look forward to weekly. We currently have a selection of 5 different novels, more to come once we are live,” explained Erin Bell, company spokesperson.

“We are also offering a special Early Access bonus, where people can claim six free episodes if they register on our website before we go live. We are also working on a communtiy platform, called Sennection, which is a collaborative community where writers, composers and graphic artists can create multimedia ebooks together.”

For more information or to sign up for early access, readers can check out their preview site at The live version of the platform arrives in a little over two weeks.

New Platform Senserial Delivers Serialized eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Time to Imagine: Reviewing The Lost Track of Time by Paige Britt

While other kids spend their summer vacations at the pool, Penelope must follow a rigorous daily schedule set out by her mother. She needs to study and achieve in order to get into a great college and become a successful adult. She may only be in middle school, but time is precious and must not be wasted. So instead of spending her time writing and coming up with story ideas so she can be a writer, Penelope follows schedules laid out by her mother until one day she falls through her schedule into The Realm of Possibility.

In this land, Penelope meets Dill, an eccentric, Willy Wonka-esque man who tells her about the woes the Realm of Possibility is facing. The Great Moodler who once came up with fabulous ideas for the people of the Realm to think about and play around with has gone into hiding. Chronos usurped power over the Realm and made the land and the people in it adhere to strict time tables. Now "moodling" (imagining and thinking up ideas) is considered a waste of time and the people of this land have become Clockworkers, drones who work around the clock. Now Penelope must find her way home on top of ridding the land of the time crunched Chronos.

I read this book at a leisurely pace (Chronos would be displeased with the amount of time I spent on it), and found it to be a delightful ode to imagination and a look at how to manage time, or how not to manage time. The book has a lot in common with The Phantom Tollbooth which Paige Britt, the author, hails as one of the inspirations for her writing. Through wit and word play, Britt shows children that imagination, creativity, and some "me" time are essential for growth and stability. I can imagine children giggling at the "Wild Bore" who is a small man who will literally bore you to death unless you can get a word in edgewise. Violet colored illustrations scattered throughout the text add another whimsical touch and help populate this world. The characters are dynamic and the author makes places, people, and things based off of wordplay.

This is a book for advanced readers in elementary school and is meant for ages 8-12. It has already received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly. For anyone who loved The Phantom Tollbooth, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or The Wizard of Oz this book is an easy addition to your bookshelf.

Kristin Milks is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Microsoft Office 2016 Seeks to Unify Design


Self-published authors normally employ Microsoft Office to write their next novel. Depending on your operating system of choice, the actual design of Office changes dramatically. When Office 2016 comes out later this year it will amalgamate the overall design from the Android and iOS apps into the PC version.

A leaked version of Microsoft Office 2016 has just been released and there is a new “colorful” design. It's also similar to the Windows 10 touch-optimized versions of Office, with a colored look that matches the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications.

I think unifying the design principals from the mobile line of apps and integrating them into the desktop variant is critical to the continued success of Office.  Not too long ago Microsoft was heavily resistant to the mobile space, but under new leadership have fully embraced it.

Microsoft Office 2016 Seeks to Unify Design is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Worst e-book Cover Art – March 2015


Self-published authors normally forgo the expense of hiring a professional graphics designer to do their e-book cover art and elect to do it themselves. Sometimes it works out, but most of the time the end result can make you shake your head in disdain.

A recent example of terrible cover art for e-books stems from a steamy, new erotic fan fiction titled “Conquered by Clippy” that just popped up on Amazon for the low, low price of $3. This 4,000 page book was written by Leonard Delaney, who has also penned such classics as “Mother #$#$$#! Wizards,” “Taken By Tetris Blocks,” and “Sex Boat.” Seriously, its a book written about a girls encounter with the quintessential Microsoft Paperclip!

Today, lets take a look at other recent examples of e-book cover art that will hopefully give indie authors pause when they write their next novel.




Some of these e-book covers leave me speechless. I am literary lost for words on how these travesties of justice managed to actually be released into the world. At the very least, we can chuckle at the artistic ineptness of writers.

The Worst e-book Cover Art – March 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Slice Media Player Starts Shipping!

Back in August 2014 we got very excited about one of the first Kickstarter projects to use the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. We’re pleased to announce that after much hard work, many late nights and far too much sugar and caffeine, the FiveNinjas team have started shipping actual real Slices to backers. Here’s a picture of Gordon and Jon working their ninja magic in a cold warehouse somewhere in deepest darkest Sheffield; the racking that can be seen in the picture contains parts for 1500 Kickstarter Slices.


Slices are assembled at a secret location in Sheffield, UK

We believe Slice is the first Kickstarter project using the Compute Module to start shipping to backers, narrowly beating our other favourite project the OTTO Camera (which also seems to be very close to shipping!).

Slice comes in black, red and silver

Slice comes in black, red and silver

One of the things we wanted to see with the Compute Module was people using it to do just this type of thing – leverage the Raspberry Pi technology to create innovative and high-quality products with minimum resources, something that has historically been a difficult challenge.

The FiveNinjas team includes our very own James Adams and Gordon Hollingworth, who have been spending large amounts of their spare time working on the Slice hardware and software and, in doing so, discovering exactly what it’s like to build a product using the Compute Module and mass produce it. In the process a few wrinkles have been found, but mostly it has been a big success, and there’ll be another blog post soon from Gordon on the process used to test and program Slice in mass production (which is a very important and often overlooked part of creating a real product).


Slices being automatically programmed before packing and shipping

We’ve been told that to get the cost of the Slice motherboard down to an affordable level the Ninjas had to make a minimum order of 3000 Slice PCBs, so there are 1500 more Slices that can be built relatively quickly once the Kickstarter units have all been shipped. If you missed the Kickstarter and want to grab one of these extra units, head over to the brand new FiveNinjas store!