Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Exclusive – IDW Partners with Madefire for New Digital Comic Apps


Comic book publisher IDW has exclusively told Good e-Reader that they have ironed out an agreement with motion comic book pioneer Madefire to power a new line of apps for Android and iOS.

IDW first started selling digital comics in 2011 when they partnered with Comixology. Not only were popular franchises like Transformers, My Little Pony and GI JOE sold directly on the Comixology platform, but they also had independent apps.

Starting May 28th 2015 IDW will be releasing a new flagship app on Android and iOS that is powered by Madefire. They will also be releasing new versions of their Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek apps.  Readers will definitely appreciate that any comics they want to buy can be done directly within the app, via an in-app purchase.  This is something users currently can’t do on the main Comixology app for iOS.

It is important to note that if you had the old versions of these apps installed on your smartphone or tablet, they will not automatically update. Instead, you will have to download an entirely new app, but rest assured all of your past purchases will still be available. If you do business with Comixology and have purchased IDW content, they have just posted detailed instructions on what the move means.

Many comic lovers have certainly heard of DC, IDW and Marvel, but likely will draw a blank when it comes to Madefire. Who are these guys? Well, they run a digital-comics app for Android, iOS and the web that's a little different from most of the other comics apps: Its focus is on motion comics. Like comiXology in the Guided View mode, Madefire displays most pages a panel at a time, with the user controlling the timing of the panel reveals. Unlike Guided View, though, Madefire takes things a step further. Once you swipe to reveal a panel, it may slide in, drop down, even vibrate a bit. The word balloons drop in after the art is in place. Figures move slightly within the panels, giving a 3-D effect, and sometimes a bit of sparkle or smoke is animated. And there's audio as well, at least in some of the comics. You can see a short video demo here.

Madefire and IDW first established a working business relationship in early 2013 and the first motion comics based on IDW properties came out later in the year. The Transformers motion comic drew critical acclaim for its  moody soundtrack and excellent voice work.

Comixology has confirmed to Good e-Reader that they will continue to sell IDW comics for an indeterminate amount of time. Jeff Webber VP Digital Publishing at IDW also confirmed “We will continue to offer our product line everywhere you can buy digital comics – our own apps, comiXology, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Scribd and many others.”

I think the partnership between IDW and Madefire really makes sense. IDW is responsible for a ton of great digital comic properties and Madefire brings a very progressive motion comic system that gives Marvel a run for their money. I also think this move was very timely as the official Comixology app for iOS does not allow customers to buy comics in the app and instead provides barriers for the casual comic reader. IDW is basically removing all of the purchasing barriers, which readers will love.

Exclusive – IDW Partners with Madefire for New Digital Comic Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

How Old is your e-Reader?


When a new e-reader is released people normally don’t upgrade to the latest and greatest every year. Certainly e-paper technology does not improve at the breakneck speed that smartphones and tablets do. e-Readers are one of those things that receive very small, incremental updates and often do not give users a compelling enough reason to upgrade. So the question is, how old is your e-reader?

Good e-Reader Research conducted a poll and asked the question “how old is your e-reader?” The intention behind this data gathering report is to find out if users are happy with their older devices or have recently upgraded.

In total, 220 people took part in this poll and it seems that the average e-reader user has had their device between 1 (19.09%) and 2 years (19.55%). A single vote separated these two options, which clearly demonstrates that people have embraced the current and previous generation of Kindles, Kobos and Nooks.

17.73% of the audience proclaimed that they have owned their e-reader for 3 years and 13.18% said they just bought one. What is surprising is that the exact same number of people said they owned their device for 4 or 5 years (11.36%).


So we have clearly established that the average consumer has owned their device between one and two years, but  what e-reader are people actually using? In February 2015 we produced a report that stated Amazon and Kobo were the runaway leaders.  Amazon edged out Kobo with 109 votes (35.14%) to 105 (33.87%), this goes to show that these two companies are the most popular when it comes to solid hardware and the simplified process of purchasing e-books.

In a distinct 3rd place is the largest bookstore chain in the US, Barnes and Noble. The Nook e-reader managed to garner a paltry 23 votes (7.35%), which leads me to believe that their best days are behind them.

How Old is your e-Reader? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Winners of the Kodansha Manga Awards Announced

seven deadly sins

If you're looking for recommendations for a new manga to start, look no further. Manga distribution company Kodansha has released its winners for the 39th Kodansha Manga Awards.

The annual award has been handed out since 1977. The categories for winners have changed around a bit over the years, but usually include awards for best shonen, shojo, children's, and general. This year is the first year a children's award hasn't been given out since 2003, but a special award was given instead.

The list of winners follows below. All are definitely worth checking out, especially if you're in the market for something new.

Best shonen: The Seven Deadly Sins and Yowamushi Pedal

The Seven Deadly Sins, pictured above by Nakaba Suzuki, is set in a fantasy world similar to the European Middle Ages, and follows a group of knights who represent the seven deadly sins as they attempt to take back the kingdom from an evil tyrant ruler. The manga is available to read on Crunchyroll.yowapeda

Yowmushi Pedial, by Wataru Watanabe, is a different story. A sports anime following a high school cycling team, the main character is an otaku who originally joins the team because he wants to have enough friends to finally start his anime club. Instead, he finds himself growing passionate about the world of competitive cycling. The manga has recently been picked up by Yen Press.

Best Shojo:  Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu

long title

Alternately titled 'Running Away is Shameful but Useful,' this romance by Tsunami Umino tells the story of a young woman who can't seem to find a permanent job and is living with her parents. She's currently working as a housekeeper. When her parents announce they are leaving the country, she doesn't want to leave and her employer doesn't want to lose his housekeeper. So they move in together, and to avoid the scandal, they get married.

Best General: Knights of Sidonia

knights of sidonia

This manga by Tsutomi Nihei is a post-apocalyptic space battle series. In the far future, humanity lies on ships such as the Sidonia, where the culture is similar to Japan but with a lot more futuristic, science fiction aspects. To fight the aliens that destroyed the Earth, the ships send out Guardians in specialised armour. The ship will draft almost any human left into the program if they show piloting capability. The main protagonist is one of said drafted.

Special Award: Cooking Papa

cooking papa

For such a simple storyline, this manga by Tochi Ueyama has been going for 30 years. Beginning in 1985, the story follows a salaryman who is also an excellent cook. Rather than let his coworkers know, he tells them all his wife cooks the meals. Having been with Kodansha for so long, the company decided to honour Cooking Papa with a well-deserved special award.

Winners of the Kodansha Manga Awards Announced is a post from: Good e-Reader

Canadian Publishers Embrace e-Books


The Canadian publishing industry has been embracing digital in a big way. In a few short years almost everyone is putting out e-books the same day the print version is available.

Booknet Canada released new information and the report states that the percentage of publishers producing e-books in 2014 increased slightly to 93% (vs 89% in 2013). Of those producing ebooks, close to half have digitized more than 50% of their active titles, and almost a quarter have converted over 75% of their backlist titles. The majority of publishers (65%) choose to publish print and e-book formats of a title simultaneously, while 29% delay the e-book edition until after the print version is available. When asked for the main reasons to publish ebooks, the most popular response was to increase sales (77%), followed closely by to meet customer demand (63%). Only 5% cited "as a mechanism to lower costs" as a reason to produce e-books–a noticeable drop from 15% in 2013. The development of enhanced e-books and apps remained fairly steady from 2013 to 2014, whereas more publishers are publishing digital originals: from 27% in 2013 to 35% in 2014.

The main sales channel was e-book retailers (95%), followed by direct (66%) and wholesale (43%). E-book retailers also generated the most revenue for 69% of respondents, while only 12% reported receiving the most revenue through their direct sales channel. The percentage of publishers offering direct sales is up significantly, however–from 42% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. The majority of publishers (69%) report that e-book sales make up 1-10% of their revenue, while 17% of publishers derive 11-20% of their revenue from e-book sales. As for libraries, the majority of publishers surveyed (75%) sell e-books to libraries, up from 61% in 2013.

BookNet Canada's Director of Customer Relations, Pamela Millar, says, "This report demonstrates a high level of commitment by Canadian publishers and multinationals to include e-books in their offerings, and to continue digitizing their backlist titles."

Canadian Publishers Embrace e-Books is a post from: Good e-Reader

Learn about the newest formats available from OverDrive with our latest hot topics webinars!

Over the past year OverDrive has been dedicated to helping you maximize the value of your digital library by enabling you to dd5431cd08034326a0958084c99826f4_360offer your users a multi-media experience all on one platform. Your patrons can borrow eBooks and audiobooks as they've always been able to but now they can also stream their favorite movies and television shows as well as read their favorite newspapers and magazines daily on their devices anytime, anywhere as well. To help keep your staff up to speed on these new innovations we're excited to present our next live webinar series- Expanding your digital collection.

We're offering three live sessions from May 19th-26th where we will review the newest formats available for your OverDrive digital library, highlight the hottest titles from Marketplace and provide a live demonstration of the user experience.

These sessions are open to all of our library and school partners so be sure to register today to secure your spot. By offering your users reading, listening and viewing options all on one site you can help guarantee that their first stop for entertainment is the library. This is the perfect opportunity to familiarize your staff with the latest innovations available for your OverDrive service. Sign up today!

The Testament of Sister New Devil Second Season Scheduled for October 2015


With the end of the popular action harem anime, The Testament of Sister New Devil, fans can begin looking forward to the second season which is aimed for a Fall 2015 release. Tetsuto Uesu’s fantasy light novel series’ second season is titled The Testament of Sister New Devil BURST and is already in production for this October.

The anime began airing on Crunchyroll on January 7th with the last episode having aired March 25th. Miyako is serializing the manga adaption of the original light novel series in Kadokawa’s monthly Shonen Ace magazine. Seven Seas Entertainment has also licensed the manga for North American release which will ship in February 2016.

Kadokawa has released the first volume of the show’s first season on March 27th which included a short story from the light novel’s author, special illustrations by Nekosuke Okuma and Yoshiro Watanabe as well as cutscenes not shown in the original TV Broadcast.

Haven’t seen the anime yet? No problem! The story follows Basara Tojo, a freshmen in High school who is suddenly asked by his father "Hey, you said you wanted a little sister, right?" His father announces his sudden remarriage and then leaves to overseas after bringing Basara two beautiful step-sisters; Mio and Maria. But their true forms come to light and the two girls are actually a newbie Demon Lord and a succubus! Basara almost being forced into a master and servant contract with Mio but somehow ends up reversing the contract by mistake, now making the freshmen the new master. Now, ecchi situation after another due to the contract, it is clear that Mio’s life is being pursued by other demon tribes and demon heroes.

While the anime is good, and the fight scenes are quite well choreographed, people who are don’t care for ecchi (perverted) themed shows, or harems, might want to steer clear of this one. Though as most shows of this genre get dropped after one season, the fact that this anime is getting a second one surely means that this anime has won the hearts of many viewers, mine included!

As the new series doesn’t begin airing till October, now’s the chance to catch up! You can go ahead and watch the series on Crunchyroll. In the meantime, for those who have seen the anime, here’s a trailer for the second season to tide you over!

The Testament of Sister New Devil Second Season Scheduled for October 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Glo HD vs Kobo Aura H2O Comparison Review (Video)

For today’s review I’m going to compare the Kobo Glo HD with the Kobo Aura H2O. This comparison review is going to be easy because both devices are virtually identical from a software perspective and share all the same exact reading features and settings. Both share the same processor too so neither has an advantage […]

Make your summer plans now and add Digipalooza to your calendar

Exciting things are happening in Northeast Ohio this August! Of course,Digipalooza is number one in our books (August 5-7, 2015) but we aren't the only big event in the area that week. The Pro Football Hall of Fame's sold-out Enshrinement Festival is August 6-9 in Canton; the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational is August 6-9 in Akron; and recently announced, the first Republican presidential debate is scheduled for Thursday August 6 in downtown Cleveland. This means that hotel rooms will be filling up fast! Luckily, we still have some rooms available in our block at a reduced rate at The Westin Cleveland, exclusively for Digipalooza attendees. If you have registered but haven't booked a room, now is the time! If you haven't registered yet, what are you waiting for? We recommend that you register and book your room as soon as possible. Registration officially closes June 30 and the group rate at The Westin is available until July 8, unless they fill up before those dates (and we expect that they will). We don't want you to miss out!

Looking for a roommate to help cut accommodation costs? Email and we will put you in touch with other attendees interested in sharing a room.

Our program is expanding with sessions to highlight new innovations and workshops to set goals and develop an action plan for after the conference. New presenters are being added every week, including ALA President Sari Feldman and other top librarians and school media specialists. Our special events are exclusively for Digipalooza attendees and Thursday night, we go all out taking over the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Dinner, dessert, drinks, live music and full access to the legendary Rock Hall museum, including exhibits about Paul Simon, The Beatles and a look at the Hall of Fame Inductees. Come see why Cleveland is the place to be this summer and join us at Digipalooza '15!

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive and wants to see you at Digipalooza in August!

The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious

Having looked at the chunky outside goodness of the Astro Pi case yesterday it seems only fair to take another look at the heart of the Astro Pi, the Sense HAT. (This is not a conical cap that you put on the really clever kid and stand him in the corner but our add-on board for the Pi bristling with sensors and other useful things.) It’s currently going out to schools and organisations who took part in our recent competition but we also plan to sell it.

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

The full tech specs are here but basically it has:

  • 8×8 LED matrix display
  • accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer
  • air pressure sensor
  • temperature and humidity sensor
  • a teeny joystick
  • real time clock

The Astro Pi site explains what these all do and how they could be used.

I’m really excited about the Sense HAT. With all of those sensors on a single board it’s obviously a brilliant tool for making stuff (I have in mind a self-balancing attack robot that senses humans, aggressively hunts them down and then gently dispenses Wagon Wheels from its slot-like mouth). But it’s the potential for science that’s making me think. In particular I’d love to see it flourish in the science classroom.

A typical school science classroom

A typical school science classroom

Despite the teacher recruitment ads that inevitably show zany antics with Van der Graaff generators, explosions and dancing bonobos the reality is that much of high school science is about experimentation and observation (which is a good thing!). But lab kit such as sensors, controllers and data loggers don’t come cheap (I was once told by a class that their usual science teacher never let them use the data loggers because “they were too expensive). Nor is it easy to get bits of kit to talk to each other or the Internet of Things (with the potential benefits that come from that such as improved assessment, parental involvement, sharing and consolidating data).

data logger

A data logger I found in a school skip. The size of a cash register yet only logs temperature. On paper.

A Pi wearing a Sense HAT could do everything from monitoring plant growth to controlling and logging experimental variables. A series of experiments using the accelerometer/gyroscope to investigate forces and equations of motion is mandatory. Feel free to add your own ideas below and if any science teachers would like to get involved the please get in touch.

If you are lucky enough to already have a Sense HAT, Martin “When does that man sleep?” O’Hanlon has written an excellent getting started tutorial . If not then it’s worth taking a look anyway to get a sense (yeah, yeah :)) of what it can do.

Astro Pi sense HAT LED

Up above the streets and the houses, Astro Pi climbing high.

The final price is yet to be announced but we’re confident that there will be nothing else out there to rival it for value, potential, support and resources. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on the Sense HAT soon.

The post The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New book: Thing Explainer

A while ago, I posted the comic Up Goer Five, an annotated blueprint of the Saturn V rocket with all the parts described using only the thousand most common English words.

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m publishing a collection of large-format (9″x13″) Up Goer Five-style blueprints. The book is full of detailed diagrams of interesting objects, along with explanations of what all the parts are and how they work.

The titles, labels, and descriptions are all written using only the thousand most common English words. Since this book explains things, I’ve called it Thing Explainer.


The diagrams in Thing Explainer cover all kinds of neat stuff—including computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the stuff you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you’re made of (cells).

Thing Explainer will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 24th. You can preorder it now (AmazonBarnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Hudson); click here for links to more information and options.

Or, in the spirit of the book:

I had a good time drawing Up Goer Five, so I decided to draw more pictures like that and make a book of them. The book explains things, so it’s called Thing Explainer.

You can’t have Thing Explainer yet, but if you want, you can order it now, and you’ll get it about a month before the end of the year.

Touch these blue words to learn how to get Thing Explainer.

Apple has failed the e-Book reader


Apple has quickly become a major player in the smartphone and tablet business. Their devices are everywhere and their constant marketing campaigns always generate buzz. One of the big reasons why people have gravitated towards Apple products was the sheer amount of apps available. Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Sony were all early adopters and generated a lot of money with in-app purchases. In 2011 this all came crashing down and Apple has proven themselves to be an enemy to the publishing industry and e-book lovers, the world over.

The first iPhone debuted in 2007 and the iPad 1 came out April 3, 2010. These devices quickly gained support because of the sheer amount of content you could download. You could download digital magazines with Zinio, Newspapers with PressReader and e-books with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony and a slew of others.

In Febuary 2011 Apple revised their terms in the App Store, which required companies to give Apple a 30% cut on in-app purchases. In the past, e-reading apps Kindle, Nook, and Kobo have avoided paying the cut by sending customers to a Web-based interface outside the app.

This change basically made it impossible for e-book retailers to continue operating its apps under the new terms without losing money. The date this change came into effect, all of the big companies selling e-books pulled the ability to buy content within their apps.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google, Sony and other companies pulled in-app purchases for a number of reasons. Chiefly, was due to their roles in selling books. All of these companies basically act as agents, selling books. They don’t make a lot of money per each sale, after the publisher gets their cut. Giving Apple 30% would basically result in them making little to no money. The second was that these companies sell such as large volume of books, that it would empower Apple way too much.

In July of 2011 then CEO of Kobo Michael Serbinis said in an interview “Aside from not having any links to an e-bookstore, you can’t even mention your Web site or explain to readers from within the app how to purchase books and get them onto the device. It’s very simple to do, but some people downloading the app for the first time might not figure it out.”

At the time, readers were up in arms about not being able to buy books within apps anymore. If there was any lasting cultural effect that Apple provided us, was that if it doesn’t have an app, people aren’t going to use it. Apple relegated all of the e-book sellers to having apps, but no content.

If you turn on your new iPhone 6 Plus or iPad Air 2, likely you would have noticed the iBooks app. It comes installed on every new device and the reading app can’t be deleted. This is Apple’s own digital platform to sell books and that can purchased immediately in the app. This competitive advantage is paying off. According to a Digital Book World report in 2014, Apple has a 24% market share for e-books in the US.

"Apple is our No. 2 e-book retailer over the past year – and a strong No. 2," said Matt Cavnar, co-founder of Vook, which distributes about 5,000 ebooks for authors, small- and medium-sized publishers and its own publishing operations. According to Cavnar, Apple is paying a lot more attention to what Vook's author and publisher clients are doing and capitalizing when possible.

I am an Apple user, I have an iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air and Apple TV. I find the synergy between purchased content is the best that’s available in Canada. On the flip side, I never make impulse book purchases because I can’t use Amazon or Kobo. There was a time when I was spending thousands on comics from Comixology, then Amazon bought them and removed in-app purchases. I never bought a comic from them again.

I often wonder if the lack of selling e-books on the Apple platform is what resulted in Kobo getting acquired by Rakuten because they couldn’t make it on their own. Or if Barnes and Noble could have become a major e-book juggernaut, if they could continue selling e-books on the Apple platform.

In the end, I think Apple has been horrendous to serious readers. Unless you jump through a lot of hoops, you aren’t buying an e-book easily. The only way you can is via Apple and I am sorry to say I like Amazon and Kobo better.

Apple has failed the e-Book reader is a post from: Good e-Reader

Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Coming to Comic Con


Every year, San Diego Comic Con is a spectacle – the biggest convention in North America, with guest speakers, panels, and cosplayers from every corner of nerddom. Although every year brings noteworthy guests, this year will have all anime fans jumping for joy, as Yu-Gi-Oh!'s creator and author Kazuki Takahashi will be a guest.

This year the con will run from July 9 to July 12 at the San Diego Convention Center. While we don't know what day Takahashi will be there, all special guests have a spotlight panel where he will talk to fans, answer some questions, and sign autographs.

Yu-Gi-Oh!'s manga, which ran back in 1996 to 2004, was an immediate smash hit all over the world. The story about a card game called Duel Monsters with roots back in ancient Egypt helped launch the card game genre of anime, and gave it a figurehead. Since then, the franchise has expanded with collectible cards, toys, and more manga and anime. Saturday morning cartoons just aren't the same without some Yu-Gi-Oh! variation in their midst. The latest of these series, titled Arc-V, started in Japan last year.

As Takahashi rarely visits the U.S., this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to meet him. It would be hard to find a child who hasn't been affected by Yu-Gi-Oh! in one way or another, and to meet someone who caused such a strong influence around the world is the dream of many a fan.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Coming to Comic Con is a post from: Good e-Reader