Monday, April 20, 2015

Sony Delivers Details For Android-Powered 4K TVs


At CES earlier this year, Sony had some exciting news: brand new Android-powered, 4K HDR televisions that can boast being the thinnest LED displays in the world (at 0.2 inches, that makes them even more slim than the smartphone in your pocket). We may have already learned the what, we were just missing the when and how much… until now.

For those waiting on the edges of their seats, you can get your hands on one as early as this summer.

How much money should you be setting aside will vary depending on just how large you want your new display:

  • X830C has two available sizes: 42.5-inches for $1,299 USD and a 48.5-inches variant for $1,599 USD
  • X850C has three available sizes: 55-inches for $2,199 USD, 65-inches for $3,499 USD, and 75-inches variant for $4,999 USD
  • X930C measures 65-inches for $4,449 USD
  • X940C measures 75-inches for $8,000 USD

Each of the new models will sport Sony’s new X1 processor, making Android TV look and function exceptionally well.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Sony was happy to boast about the X1:

“While Sony TVs have had expanded color, brightness range and upscaling for years, the X1 processor takes another step forward in improving these features. Thanks to X-Reality PRO Picture Engine, developed from over ten years of experience in upscaling, all existing HD content is upscaled to super clear 4K quality.”

Sony has a selection of less expensive sets available this May, but you won’t see 4K quality picture quality or the other bells and whistles with those (they still have Android-TV built-in, but are only 2K HD TV units) –and most would agree that these guys excel on the higher end hardware in this arena, and compete less-so in the more bargain-oriented price ranges.

Ultimately, this is all good news as far as Sony is concerned: after a few product fails, the company is back doing what they’ve always done best (and not a moment too soon, with more consumers than ever embracing smart-TVs and a highly anticipated update to Apple TV likely to fall sometime this year).

Sony Delivers Details For Android-Powered 4K TVs is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Eliminated TestDrive Feature from Appstore


One of the things that set Amazon’s Appstore apart from the others (particularly the big guys like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store) was their ability to offer a trial period for apps you are considering (before taking the plunge with an actual purchase). Introduced back in March 2011 at the same time as the Appstore, the feature was eliminated earlier this month on April 15 (with next to zero fanfare).

According to Amazon, TestDrive had experienced significant decline in usage (with speculation that the popular “free to play” app model make most popular titles free to grab anyway).

It doesn’t seem that developers really embraced the feature either, in 4 years there were only about 16,000 titles that took advantage of the service (which means lots of the apps users wanted to try weren’t included, not to mention it was only available for those in the United States).

Not to worry, there are still plenty of ways to get apps for free (or nearly free) –temporary sale prices, lite versions that offer a preview before purchasing an ad-free or fuller-featured pro version, promotional apps that change over time, and Amazon’s own “Unlocked” feature that operates as a sort of Amazon Prime subscription service for apps.

Amazon Eliminated TestDrive Feature from Appstore is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Company Responsible for China’s Netflix Switching Focus to Hardware


In China, streaming TV is dominated by Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp (LeTV) –services owned and run by one of the country’s wealthiest men, Jia Yueting. Word on the street has it that LeTV is looking for more investors in an effort to take aim at the mobile hardware marketplace (specifically smartphones, which the company is trying to rename as ‘superphones’).

All part of a three-year plan, LeTV is hoping the initiative will help increase profits after China’s regulators forced them to make changes to their content offering while stopping their sales of televisions and set-top boxes (due to tighter controls that forced providers to remove third-party apps from these devices as they may be used to access pornography or pirated software).

Intended to be considered as high-end mobile devices, the superphones created by LeTV are the first to be announced that take advantage of USB-C. Other specs are equally impressive, though it is clear they care more about finding new ways to deliver their streaming video service than forging network alliances as the phones are intended to be dual-SIM.

LeTV has let it be known they plan to enter the US market, taking particular aim at Apple with an inappropriate cartoon that pokes fun at Apple’s closed-world approach to technology.

The Company Responsible for China’s Netflix Switching Focus to Hardware is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wattpad and SoundCloud Bring Audio to Stories


Wattpatt and Soundcloud have partnered up  to allow authors the ability to include sounds, effects or narration in their stories. This new feature will first be implemented in their Android app with broader support rolling out soon.

"Audio clips can bring stories to life. Wattpad writers can use sound effects to add impact to a story, narrate an excerpt, or share a playlist to entertain their readers in a new way," said Tarun Sachdeva, head of product at Wattpad.

I think Wattpad may be onto something with their new initiative with Soundcloud. Traditionally there is separation between an e-book and an audiobook, but Wattpad is hoping to blend the two together.

Wattpad and SoundCloud Bring Audio to Stories is a post from: Good e-Reader

FUNimation Recommends 14 Anime Simulcasts for Spring 2015


FUNimation may not have the market share Crunchyroll enjoys in North America, but the company does have a number of exclusives. This spring a number of new anime simulcasts are streaming on their platform and there are deals to be had. Today, FUNimation is recommending 14 new anime shows they have added and is offering a 33% savings on a 12 month membership.

FUNimation has streaming apps available for the Playstation 3 and 4, as well as Roku, Android and iOS. Sadly, they don’t have anything on Apple TV yet, but I have heard they will be doing something soon.

FUNimation Recommends 14 Anime Simulcasts for Spring 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

UK Authors Earn £11,000 per Year


The vast majority of authors in the United Kingdom are not raking in a copious amount of money as originally thought. The average author is only making £11,000 per year more than £5,000 below the income level considered to be a socially acceptable standard of living.

The Business of Being an Author: A Survey of Authors Earnings and Contracts was commissioned by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society found some very interesting facts on the viability of author earnings.

The full research found that the top 10% of professional authors – defined as those who dedicate more than 50% of their time to self-employed writing – earn 58% of all the money earned by professional authors. These professional authors are earning £60,000 or more a year. The top 5% of professional authors – those earning £100,000 or more – earn 42.3% of that money.

Indie authors are not doing much better in the UK, the top 10% of earners made a profit of £7,000 or more and the bottom 20% of authors who have self-published made losses of at least £400.

Despite the fact that most authors are not earning enough to make a viable living this is not dissuading people from attempting to make it their vocation. A new poll by YouGov surveyed 15,000 people and found that 60% would like to be an author.

UK Authors Earn £11,000 per Year is a post from: Good e-Reader

Library staff Parodies Taylor Swift


National Library Week occurred from April 12-18 and the emphasis for many locations was driving new people into their branches and promoting their book collections. In order to reach a younger generation  Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library of Kansas produced a perfect Taylor Swift parody, transforming "Shake It Off" into "Check It Out," an ode to library membership.

I have noticed a big trend with librarians all over Canada and the US in the last few years. They are actually young and hip! Gone are the days where old ladies in cats-eye glasses would shush you at every turn and instead fresh faced kids rock tattoos, neat haircuts and Beats headphones.

The premise of the video is demonstrating how you can save money by borrowing books, magazines and newspapers from the library. By the end, the group is actually doing a coordinated dance number. I think you all have to agree, this is a fairly cool library.

Library staff Parodies Taylor Swift is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon and Audible Bring Audiobooks to GoodReads


Amazon is starting to engage in more synergy between the brands they own. An example of this is incorporating social book discovery site GoodReads into their complete line of modern Kindle e-Readers, so people can share and discover new e-books together. Today, Audible has announced that they are adding audiobooks into GoodReads and people can listen to samples and add audio titles into their GoodReads shelf.

The Goodreads “Listen” feature, which will be rolled out in the coming days. There are 180,000  free audio samples available and if you like what you hear, you can add the title to your "Want to Read" shelf. For Goodreads members in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, or Australia who are not yet Audible members, you can take advantage of their free trial! Once you click on the Listen icon, you will see a link to the trial. Sign up and you'll receive two free audiobooks plus a 30-day free trial of Audible.

Audible is the undisputed market leader in audiobook production and distribution. Matthew Thornton the Director of Communications at Audible told me that  "Audible content includes over 180,000 audiobooks and other spoken-word programming from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Non-audiobook content includes lectures, meditations, language lessons, comedy and periodicals." Audible has added 40,000 titles their store in 2014, a very slight increase versus 2013. In both 2013 and 2014, Audible Studios and ACX productions account for just about half of all titles added to the Audible storefront.

I think incorporating audiobooks into the GoodReads experience is good for users and will hopefully increase the adoption rate of audio across the board.

Amazon and Audible Bring Audiobooks to GoodReads is a post from: Good e-Reader

Best Android E Ink eBook Readers – Android eReaders List

A surprising number of Android-powered ebook readers with E Ink screens have been released over the past 8 months. People often ask which one is the best to get so I wanted to put together this article outlining the best ebook readers currently available on the market with open Android operating systems. All the devices […]

Two Teaser Trailers for Saekano -Blessing Flowers- Visual Novels


Two new trailers have been released for the PlayStation Vita, a visual novel based off of the romantic comedy, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. The new title, Saekano -Blessing Flowers-, was announced earlier this year and have plans to release in Japan on April 30th and buyers will have the option to either buy the regular or limited edition game, the latter including a soundtrack and cloth posters! However both versions include a Vita theme.

The two trailers focus on two five minute scenarios, one that focus’ on swimming and the other on napping! For fans of Saekano, unfortunately there has been no mention on whether or not it’ll get a western release, we will just have to sit patiently and wait!

Two Teaser Trailers for Saekano -Blessing Flowers- Visual Novels is a post from: Good e-Reader

$79 Fire HD 7 + $12 Covers, & Kindle eBook Deals

Today only, April 20th, Amazon’s main Deal of the Day is the Fire HD 7 tablet for $60 off what it regularly costs. That drops the price of the 8GB model from $139 to just $79, and the 16GB model from $159 to $99. Those prices are for the ad-supported models; add an extra $15 […]

Is the Traditional Publishing Industry Finally Catching Up?

Only a handful of years ago, self-published authors fought for legitimacy and respect while readers, retailers, and the traditional publishing industry scoffed at the notion that anyone would buy a book that hadn’t been passed through the infamous “gate.” Even with the names of early multi-million selling authors being thrown around, names like Amanda Hocking and Bella Andre, those cases were dismissed as flukes. Then came the indie-to-traditional deals in which authors were “picked up” for “real” publishing, and those were also considered abnormal. EL James self-published an admittedly sub-par book that went on to become a blockbuster movie…but that wasn’t “normal,” either.

Basically, it seems as though the entire publishing landscape has grown into admitting that self-publishing is a viable option, as long as there’s a caveat that states the success isn’t normal.

But if that’s the case, why are some of the largest publishing events in the world–events like BookExpo America and last week’s London Book Fair–not only welcoming self-published authors and self-publishing professionals, but finding there are lines of people–reader fans and experts alike–waiting for an audience with these members of the industry?

To be sure, events such as these still relegate self-publishing and digital only to segregated areas of the event. BookExpo offers its Author Hub and uPublishU in side portions of the show floor, but last year’s setup was hardly a dimly lit storage room in a forgotten basement; the area was engaging, welcoming, and provided a full schedule of activities and speakers. The London Book Fair likewise moved the self-publishing focus to the second floor of the conference center, but it was easily accessible and not hidden away; beyond that, it was crowded throughout the event with authors, readers, and industry professionals.

One notable feature of the author-centric self-publishing movement is the understanding that indie authors and companies are moving the entire industry forward at a rapid pace, while only a few holdouts in the traditional industry are digging their heels in and refusing to follow the crowd. For the most part, even the big names who’ve controlled publishing for centuries are looking to experiment, and finding new titles from among the ranks of the indie bestseller lists. The current climate cane be summed up in a statement that has been made since the beginning of the digital revolution: there’s never been a better time to be an author or a reader.

Is the Traditional Publishing Industry Finally Catching Up? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Don’t miss your chance to register for Digipalooza!

Digipalooza Collage

Are you planning to attend Digipalooza 2015 the world’s premier digital content conference for libraries and schools? If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for? Space is limited and we want to see you there!

Come for our unrivaled program specifically designed and tested to drive circulation, increase usage and help you get the most out of your OverDrive digital library. Stay for the new friends you’ll meet, the delicious food you’ll eat and the memories you’ll create at our legendary parties!

Our program this year covers a variety of topics, including:

  • New product previews and demonstrations so you’re the first to hear about the latest innovations
  • Attracting and retaining new users of all ages
  • Using OverDrive Marketplace to strengthen your collection
  • Tactics for evaluating circulation
  • Marketing and community outreach success stories
  • Peer-to-peer idea exchanges
  • Tools to set goals and develop a practical action plan for success after the conference
  • Brainstorming and feedback sessions with Team OverDrive

After fast-paced, content-packed days of informative sessions and networking activities, attendees are invited to explore Cleveland’s entertainment scene. Registration covers admittance to two evening events- a kickoff event at OverDrive’s Blue Sky Campus and a huge party at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.

Don’t just take our word for it; previous attendees have called Digipalooza “a can’t miss conference”. Claim your spot now (while you still can)! You don’t want to miss this. Register now at and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #digip15.

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

Visualising core load on the Pi 2

Since we released Raspberry Pi 2 back in February, a lot of you have been asking questions about how work gets divided between the four cores. David (what’s your last name, David? Let us know and I’ll update this post) in Cambridge has written a remote CPU-monitoring webserver, which outputs a nice scrolling graph of CPU load on all four cores onto a webpage, so you can view it remotely while your Pi 2 works, along with CPU temperature.

The monitoring software itself is lightweight, so it shouldn’t be a big consumer of resources on your Pi – the Pi’s sending a series of numbers representing load, and all the heavy lifting, turning it into visual data, is being done in Javascript by the browser on whatever machine you’re viewing it on. Here are the results, running on a simulated iPhone 4s.

This is very easy to set up; everything’s embedded in the executable, so all you have to do is to run the program. You’ll find full instructions and code in Dave’s GitHub repo here – if you already have another webserver running on your Pi you may need to change ports, but that aside, this is an absolute doddle to run.

Let us know if you have a play; we’d be interested to learn about what you find!