Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baen Books Can No Longer Be Sent to a Kindle


Baen Books has announced that starting June 10th the company will no longer support the Email my book to Kindle feature. The primary reason for this is due to the new Amazon’s Terms of Use. In essence,  Baen e-books cannot use Amazon’s Personal Documents Service to deliver paid content.

In March 2015 Amazon augmented their cloud system that requires users to subscribe to Prime in order to store e-books, photos and video. If you are not a Prime member, it costs $11.99 per year.  When this new system went live, it augmented their terms of service no longer allowing companies to use the automatic system to deliver paid content to customers Kindles. Basically, any company that sells e-books in MOBI format can no longer deliver the books directly to Amazon branded e-readers.

Baen will continue to sell e-books in the MOBI format and has now posted detailed instructions on how to manually copy them over to your Kindle via USB.

Baen Books Can No Longer Be Sent to a Kindle is a post from: Good e-Reader

Want to Know More About Marvel Comics? Try This New Search Engine


In early 2014 Marvel Comics has done the unthinkable and released a set of tools that will allow developers to build apps and websites pulling data from Marvel.  The API taps into Marvel's vast library of comics—from what's coming up, to 70 years ago. This represents the first API program by any major comic book publisher and provides an innovative way for fans to interact with Marvel Entertainment and Marvel's digital content.  One new initiative is a search engine database named iMarvel.

iMarvel is a reference tool that will serve up character and comic book descriptions based on what you input with auto-complete suggestions to boot. For example if you input Squirlgirl you get a picture and a brief description. It also has links to the comics she appears in, to give you a sense  on what you should buy if you have an infatuation with her.

Want to Know More About Marvel Comics? Try This New Search Engine is a post from: Good e-Reader

Indie Bookstores selling e-books is a Losing Proposition


Indie bookstores have enjoyed a resurgence in book sales over the course of the past year. According to the American Booksellers Association, the number of member independent bookstores has increased more than 20% since e-readers took the world by storm. There were 1,651 in 2009 and this figure jumped dramatically to 2,094 in 2014. These days, indie bookstores don’t just sell print books, but e-book as well, and it is a losing proposition.

Independent bookstores first started selling e-books in 2010 when the American Booksellers Association partnered with Google. This arrangement did not last very long because people needed a smartphone or tablet with Google Play Services, and during this time period many companies did not offer devices with this particular framework. In 2012 the ABA pivoted and signed a new three year deal with Kobo. Bookstores would earn a commission on e-reader sales and also any books that were purchased on the device.

The average indie bookstores has between 1% and 3% of their revenue come from e-books. The ones that have any sort of success have a dedicated person who is in charge of promotions and getting people knowledgeable that they can still support their local bookstore, while buying content online. An example of a successful initiative is McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich. They saw both the sales volume and number of new e-book customers rise in 2014. The store added 71 new Kobo customers for a 23% increase in its customer base. That's in part because the store integrates e-books into its weekly email blast, its radio promotion on NPR, and even at book talks

Many indie bookstores actually see no point to carrying e-readers or e-books.  "We have no plans to sell Kobos at this time," said Bob Ryan, manager of Wakefield Books in Wakefield, R.I. "We understand the popularity of the e-readers, but we're going to cater to the print readers.”

Meanwhile, Steven Baum, co-owner of Greetings & Readings in Hunt Valley, Md., which once carried electronics, has no desire to return. "We left that industry when the sales tax was greater than the profit margin," he said. "The Kobo is too little too late. E-book readers are already on a massive decline, because of the tablet."

Other booksellers were soured by the Google experience and decided not to sell Kobo e-readers. "We did the Google thing," said Grant Novak, manager of the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, which is not selling e-books.

Amazon currently dominates the US, with a 75% market share. This leaves Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google and Kobo fighting over the scraps. Indie bookstores simply are not in the average customers mind when they think of places to go, to buy e-books.  For every person who buys an e-reader from a bookstore is one less print sale, which often has a higher profit margin. Do bookstores really want to  take a gambit on their future by actively encouraging these base of customers to switch to digital content?

I think indie bookstores would be better off not selling e-books or e-readers and instead focusing on the community aspect of book selling. I know plenty of stores in New York that have wine parties and cool events that bring the book community together and foster something far grater than buying an e-book in your boxer shorts.

Indie Bookstores selling e-books is a Losing Proposition is a post from: Good e-Reader

Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno Predicts the Decline of the Animation Industry


In an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Neon Genesis Evangelion’s creator, Hideaki Anno, has stated his thoughts on the numbered days for the Japanese animation industry.

Expressing his thoughts and concern, Anno has stated that he believes the anime industry will begin declining within the next five to twenty years, saying that the "death" of the industry is inevitable. Anno has stated that he believes the industry needs to become more flexible in creating new environments such as introducing more computer graphics in shows because the way things are currently working, the current business model just won’t be maintainable.

Anno told RIA "Japanese animation is in decline," and that the industry has, " already peaked.” and that, “After it does collapse, there will probably be a new resurgence."

This death isn’t the death of anime per se, and Japan will always of course have animation, but Anno has relayed that he believes that the collapse will mark the end of Japan’s dominance. As other countries in Asia begin getting richer, they now have more resources to produce it’s own animated shows in turn throwing Japan off of the epicenter of the animation industry.

Anno believes that there will be less money in Japan and also points out that there are now fewer animators in Japan, which will definitely negatively impact anime as well for the general smaller population of Japan.

"Japan will just no longer be the center of world animation. Maybe in five years, Taiwan will be such a center." Anno adds after describing his trip to Taiwan where he met animators there who had much passion and spirit. Anno also states that animation is only "only moving by intertia."

With all that being said, I find that more animes are beginning to incorporate more CGI in their animes nowadays, such as Sailor Moon Crystal using 3D models to revamp the transformation scenes, Etotama for utilizing CGI for their fight scenes and various mech animes that makes us of 3D models as well. I don’t think Anno’s predictions are entirely true, sure, other countries may begin entering the anime industry but I believe Japan will always be in the center of it and in turn will hopefully begin producing more animes of quality rather than quantity.

Only just a few years ago, a lot of people had predicted that the movie industry would go down as well but we see now that it is only steadily rising higher. Though Anno does make a good point, we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out!

Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno Predicts the Decline of the Animation Industry is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle for iOS Update 4.9 Adds Hyphens, Bookerly Font, and More

Amazon has just updated the Kindle app for iOS devices—the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch—to add some new features. The new software version is 4.9, and it’s a fairly major update. There are some big visual changes that Amazon claims to provide faster reading with less eye strain. Among the changes include the added support […]

Kobo Adds Visa Checkout Option with Free $10 Kobo Credit

Yesterday Kobo announced that they’ve added Visa Checkout to as a new payment option in addition to credit cards and PayPal. Kobo and Visa are trying to entice people by giving away a $10 credit for after using Visa Checkout to complete a purchase. The $10 credit gets applied directly to your Kobo […]

OverDrive app to be featured in Android Auto demos at Google I/O conference

Exciting news for your library's audiobooks!  On May 28-29, attendees of the Google I/O conference in San Francisco will have the opportunity to demo OverDrive's Android app with Android Auto support.  Android Auto was designed to make it easy for drivers to more safely interact with apps, music, maps and more by showing the information clearly on in-car navigation screens. The OverDrive app will enable users to enjoy audiobooks they have borrowed from their library with simple onscreen navigation tools available in a variety of different car models.  The OverDrive app will also be navigable via Google voice commands.

Android Auto extends the Android platform into the car in a way that's purpose-built for driving. After connecting an Android phone to a compatible car, drivers will be able to "project" their experience onto their car's in-dash display, giving them access to apps and services which have been optimized for the car with voice input and glanceable controls.

OverDrive continues to invest in the ease of use and broad applicability of its apps.  This offers another opportunity for users to multi-task by enjoying library audiobooks on their commute or while they travel.  OverDrive for Android with Android Auto support is coming soon


Leading Chinese eBook Publishers to Receive Achievement Awards at BookExpo America

At the largest publishing event in North America, BookExpo America (BEA), OverDrive will host a reception and present the Blue Sky Awards to publishers with top selling Chinese language adult and children's eBooks.  Hundreds of US, Canadian and international public libraries and schools now offer their Chinese readers instant access to thousands of new Chinese language eBook titles in every category (for example, see San Francisco Public Library eBook collection at

OverDrive created the Blue Sky Awards to honor international publishers who have achieved excellence in 5 categories.  During BEA 2015 at a special Recognition Reception in OverDrive's booth #1720, the 2015 awards will be presented to:

  • Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press:  Achievement in Children's Publishing
  • Zhejiang Publishing United Group Digital Media Co.: Achievement in Fiction Publishing
  • Posts & Telecommunications Press: Achievement in Education Publishing
  • China Intercontinental Press:  Achievement in Multi-lingual Publishing
  • Chinese National Publications Import & Export Corp. (CNPIEC):  The OverDrive Innovation Award

"We congratulate and commend this group of leading eBook publishers for promoting Chinese culture and literature to communities throughout the US and worldwide," said Erica Lazzaro, Director of Publisher Relations at OverDrive. "Readers and learners around the world are eagerly discovering and borrowing from their local library popular fiction, children's and educational Chinese eBooks in every genre."

Chinese publishers are enjoying rapid sales growth in the US and international markets as part of the Chinese government's "Going Abroad" strategy.  OverDrive's Chinese collection has become one of the fastest-growing categories within its public library catalog, which now includes more than 20,000 recently published Chinese language titles in EPUB and other digital formats.

Notable achievements from the 2015 Blue Sky Award winners:

Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press – Children's Publishing

Since its partnership with OverDrive began in 2014, FLTRP has provided a number of classic bilingual children's titles, offering global libraries with excellent language-learning materials. FLTRP is well-positioned to tell China stories to the world.

Zhejiang Publishing United Group Digital Media Co. – Fiction

Favored by readers and patrons worldwide, Zhejiang Publishing United Group Digital Media Co. supplies a wide range of the most popular Chinese fiction and has experienced rapid growth in the library market. Content supplied includes titles from bestselling authors such as Cai Jun, Li Ximin, Shen shixi and Zhou Haohui.

Posts & Telecommunications Press – Education

With its strong background in technology and computer science, Posts & Telecommunications Press has become a pioneer in educational digital publishing, supplying China's best nonfiction titles in a variety of subjects including business, computer technology, travel, photography, art, management and more.

China Intercontinental Press – Multi-lingual

Specializing in multi-lingual publishing, CIP is now one of China's leading publishing companies with multi-lingual publications, most of which are in Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Arabic. With a focus on Chinese culture, traditional arts, religion, cooking & food, popular social topics, CIP's titles have become a main source for readers who are interested in learning about China.

China National Publications Import & Export Corporation – Innovation

The CNPIEC collection is one of OverDrive’s fastest-growing Chinese partner catalogs. They offer content from the most prestigious literature publishers including People's Literature Publishing House, Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House, Central Compilation and Translation Press, New World Press. As the first aggregator providing professionally translated bilingual metadata, CNPIEC is enabling over 30,000 English-speaking librarians to select quality Chinese titles.

Microsoft Apps Now Available on Samsung, LG, and Sony Tablets


Microsoft is on a rampage trying to woo companies to bundle their Office line of apps on all sorts of Android tablets.  They have been very successful ironing out deals with Samsung, LG, Sony, Haier, Positivo and Wortman.

Officially Microsoft has signed deals with over 31 different companies to have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype loaded on Android driven tablets.

The first batch of tablets to include the MS apps will be on a yet unannounced LG tablet, and Sony will include them on their Xperia Z4 tablet within the next 90 days.

There is no word yet if these apps are able to be uninstalled or not, I know many people will be quite irate if they aren’t.

Microsoft Apps Now Available on Samsung, LG, and Sony Tablets is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Unveils New Bookerly Font for iPhone and iPad


Amazon has just released a new version of their seminal Kindle e-Reading app for the iPad and iPhone. The company has made a big step towards better typography with the advent of Bookerly, the first typeface designed for the Kindle for scratch. Additionally, it looks like Amazon is trying to solve the Kindle’s typesetting problems with an all-new layout engine that introduces better text justification, kerning, drop caps, image positioning, and more.

Bookerly is going to be replacing Caecilia as the new default font for the Kindle Fire line of tablets and their fleet of apps. Bookerly is a serif style of font that has been custom-made by Amazon to be as readable across as many different types of screens as possible. Like Google’s Literata, Bookerly is meant to address many of the aesthetic issues surrounding e-book fonts.


Does Bookerly make a big difference while reading an e-book? According to Amazon’s internal tests, that means it’s about 2% easier on the eye. That may seem like a small improvement, but spread that 2% across millions of Kindle users and billions of pages of e-reading, and it all starts to add up.

I think the one exciting thing that users will notice right away with the new Kindle App for iOS is the new layout engine. It justifies text more like print typesetting. Even if you max out the font size on the new Kindle app, it will keep the spacing between words even, intelligently hyphenating words and spreading them between lines as need may be. This will obviously appeal to people who frequently adjust the sizes of the fonts or have vision disorders and want to read more effectively.

Amazon Unveils New Bookerly Font for iPhone and iPad is a post from: Good e-Reader

Emoti – Visualising our Emotions

If you missed the updates recently, we’re currently running a 12-month programme for creative young people called Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists.

We have a Google+ community for the group to post ideas, share interesting links and ask each other for help and we hoped they would also use it to arrange to meet up outside of the organised field trips: within the first month, one of them found the Art Hackathon and suggested they go along and take part. Three of them went along and teamed up with some others. Yasmin wrote a full account of the hack…

I've always heard about how awesome Hackathons could be; they're a chance to surround yourself with intelligent people who share the same interest, come up with inspiring ideas together and become engrossed in a project, with everyone chipping in to turn concept into reality over one weekend.

But I’m going to be perfectly honest with you here; however awesome this sounds, I can't help but feel a tad intimidated by it all. There's still so much I feel I have yet to learn and I always worry about how much of an asset (or a nuisance) I would be.


So when I saw an opportunity to go to an Art Hackathon, which aspired to mix teams with different skill sets and types, I knew that I had to attend, and I'm so glad I did! With the Hackathon holding presentations by many talented people including as Joel Lewis, Di Mainstone and Nick Rothwell, as well tables full of various tech and art supplies, there were no limitations to the amount of creativity that we could muster!

Yasmin and Milton

Yasmin and Milton

All of this inspired a creation that managed to win 2nd Place for Peoples Choice, and I can proudly say that I was a part of its development:

Emoti – Visualising our Emotions

Emoti shows the emotional state of the world through combined visual colours and audio, resulting in a beautifully chaotic representation of the emotional state of the world – or at least the twitterverse.

Using Twitter Widgets, our team was able to pull certain keywords from tweets being posted in real time and assign them to different emotion types, which meant being able to have constantly updated data on how people were feeling on twitter through these emotion-related keywords. The emotions we assigned them to were: Happy, Sad, Surprised, Afraid and Angry.

From this data we then created a simple HTML web-page with 5 divs, or blocks, of colour relating to the different emotion states. These would constantly change width depending on the data that was being collected from the tweets to give a visual representation of how many people were tweeting under each emotion:

  • Green = Happy
  • Blue = Sad
  • Yellow = Surprised
  • Pink = Afraid
  • Red = Angry

To make this experience of witnessing how the world feels and how frequently these emotions change more immersive, these visual representations are also accompanied with audio. We chose five audio tracks, one to depict each emotion, adding them into the web-page using the HTML5 audio tag, and adjusted their volume depending on the emotion-based twitter data with some JavaScript wizardry. This ended up with the clashing music types seemingly battling against each other, reflecting how hectic the live emotion states were and how rapidly they would change at random; one moment showing solely happiness, the next ultimate anger.

The Hackathon Effect

The Hackathon Effect

This was an Art Hackathon don't forget, so, of course we had to present this data in a beautiful and intriguing way. What's more intriguing than creating the illusion of 3D colour-changing ripples?!

For this effect, the designers in our team laser cut clear plastic to create the individual ripples and slotted them into a black board. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to whip out my Raspberry Pi! We ran the web-page through the Pi and hooked it up to the HDMIPi, allowing a bright screen for our structure to be placed onto, so that the moving coloured blocks from below would shine onto the clear plastic and give the illusion of a 3D object.

IMG_1019 IMG_1024 IMG_1045

Finally, the structure was put together in a dark, enclosed space, and the end product came to life, completely exceeding my expectations! Colours danced gracefully across the ripples, making us forget that there was even a web-page below. It was easy to get lost in the entrancing movement of pattern that the object seemed to create. As soon as you immerse yourself in the full experience, with audio as well as these entrancing visuals, it becomes a little overwhelming. Watching the colours is one thing, but hearing the clashes of audio really brings the message across that this is how people from around the world are feeling right now.

It’s both a marvel and a mess all at the same time; both beautiful and chaotic. Just like the emotions we feel and the complexity behind them.

Yes, it’s open source! Find the (somewhat messy) code here:

What I Gained…

Aside from the obvious: an awesome project, a better understanding of how to work in a team and improved coding skills, I managed to come away from the Hackathon feeling much more positive about what I, an as individual, can achieve. I may not be have been the most skilled coder in the room but I was still able to have meaningful input on the project, both creatively and through my development skills, which leaves me wondering what I was so worried about in the first place!

As well as this I'm so grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting many creative and genuinely lovely people. It was so interesting to see all of the various projects that everyone had made, each one entirely unique and fascinating in its own right.

Thank you to the people behind the Art Hackathon event and those intelligent folk within the Emoti Dream Team who helped bring it to life:

P.S. This is my very first blog, how am I doing? Let me know! (If you want to… No pressure…)

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