Friday, May 29, 2015

George R.R. Martin Won’t Write Game of Thrones Season 6

FILE - In this March 18, 2013 file photo, author George R.R. Martin arrives at the premiere for the third season of the HBO television series "Game of Thrones" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. "The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones," a companion volume to Martin's "Ice and Fire" series, will be released Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo by Matt Sayles /Invision/AP, File)

FILE – In this March 18, 2013 file photo, author George R.R. Martin arrives at the premiere for the third season of the HBO television series “Game of Thrones” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. “The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones,” a companion volume to Martin’s “Ice and Fire” series, will be released Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo by Matt Sayles /Invision/AP, File)

George R.R. Martin has proclaimed that he will not write any episodes for Game of Thrones Season 6, as he is focusing on completing The Winds of Winter. 

When it comes to the television show, George has written an episode for seasons 1-4, but skipped season 5.  The books are pivotal as the source material that the widely successful Game of Thrones television series is based on. Like any television show there are some detours, but the book industry is demanding the new novel be completed.

"Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish," the author told EW. "But I canceled two convention appearances, I'm turning down a lot more interviews—anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done."

George R.R. Martin Won’t Write Game of Thrones Season 6 is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Onyx Boox i86 HDML Plus e-Reader Available June 5th 2015


The Onyx Boox i86 has been floating around in limbo for the last six months. An early prototype was available in early March, which offered a glimpse of what this model would bring to the table and it looks like the final product will be shipping out on June 5th 2015.

We reviewed the Onyx i86 HD  on March 30th and it features an eight inch IR touchscreen with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 with 250 PPI.  This model did not have a frontlight, but the final production model will. This will allow you to read in the dark and in low-light conditions.

This particular e-reader model is not using a modern version of e-paper, as found on the Kindle Voyage or Kobo Glo HD, instead it is employing an older form of Pearl. Normally, I would lament the screen quality is poor, but this couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, reading e-books, manga and PDF files is amazing. Onyx has a bunch of software functions that enhance the rendering of image heavy content.

Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ single core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. The original i86 only had 512 MB o f RAM and 4 GB of internal storage, so there is a big upgrade here.  If memory is a big issue for you, there is support for a MicroSD up to  32 GB.

One of the most exciting features about this reader is the fact it has Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This allows for the playbook of audiobooks and music. In addition, you can hook up external speakers to get a ton of streaming content from companies such as Spotify or Soundcloud.

The Onyx Boox i86 is running Google Android 4.04 as the primary operating system. It comes bundled with Google Play, which gives customers the ability to download their own e-reading apps, without limitations.

If you want to get your hands on the  Onyx Boox i86 HDML Plus, it is retailing for around $220 US or 199€.

New Onyx Boox i86 HDML Plus e-Reader Available June 5th 2015 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Implements Visa Checkout for e-books and e-readers


Kobo has just signed a deal with Visa Checkout, that allows people to buy e-readers and e-books. If you use this new alternative to Paypal, you will gain $10 in free credit that will allow you get a number of free e-books.

The Visa Checkout promotion will run from June 1st to June 20th. When you purchase an e-reader or e-book you will instantly get the $10 credited to your Kobo account and then you can spend it on whatever you want. It is important to note that you can only earn the credit once, not perpetually with every purchase.

Visa Checkout is a relatively new system that allows you to tie in your credit or debit cards and use them to pay for things. The payment platform is trying to secure partnerships to get it going. Recently they did a deal with Chapters/Indigo that allows people to get 20% off a single purchase. Many people have used this to get a big savings off of a Kobo H2O or Kobo Glo HD.

Kobo Implements Visa Checkout for e-books and e-readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Will Readers Download Shazam to Listen to Author Interviews?


Author interviews are everywhere these days. The BBC, NPR and CBC all have longstanding book shows that review and talk to authors. Radio, whether you listen to it online or the old fashioned way often has the highest reach. HarperCollins is betting that the future of author interviews is not Soundcloud, but Shazam.

HarperCollins Publishers has announced a new deal with music identifying service Shazam. Starting today whenever Shazam users wave their mobile phone over any HarperCollins book or promotional content with the Shazam camera logo on it, they will instantly get taken to custom mobile experiences from HarperCollins, including exclusive content, author interviews, special offers, videos, playlists and more. They will also have the ability to purchase books or share them with others. Users with the latest version of Shazam installed on their mobile phones can simply open the app and tap the new camera icon to start the visual experience.

HarperCollins U.S. titles included in the program throughout 2015 are: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, Daddy, Stop Talking!: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won't Be Getting by Adam Carolla, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and The Greatest by Timbaland. HarperCollins Canada titles include The Illegal by Lawrence Hill and The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Additional HarperCollins global divisions will contribute to the program in the coming months.

Why is HarperCollins partnering with Shazam anyways? Its primarily to draw attention to the new visual recognition technology they have developed. It allows people to scan QR codes in posters, packaged goods, print media and transforms the content from static images into dynamic pieces of content.

Publishers are always looking for different ways to experiment with getting content to readers. The big question I have, is will readers gravitate to a platform that has no prior history in promoting books or authors? I give this initiative six months before its quietly discontinued.

Will Readers Download Shazam to Listen to Author Interviews? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Under the Big Tent: Reviewing Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Grown-ups tend to exaggerate. We can go so far as saying they lie for the sake of children's happiness. Fostering hope, imagination, and wonder is part of the adult code of conduct with kids. In Cassie Beasley's middle grade book Circus Mirandus, Micah's grandpa Ephraim has told stories of a magical circus. When Grandpa gets sick, Micah will find out whether his belief in Circus Mirandus is a childish whim or if the circus is real and can help save his grandpa.

{3F122872-9AA0-4B4C-8D4A-83D55930B167}Img400For as long as Micah and Grandpa lived together, Grandpa told stories about his boyhood and stumbling upon a magical circus. The circus is home to a woman who can fly with birds, a giant tiger, and best of all the Lightbender. Unfortunately, Grandpa is dying and his sister, Aunt Gertrudis, arrived to take care of him and look after Micah. She is a harsh woman who thinks Micah's belief in the circus is a cancer in his life. But when grandpa calls in a miracle with the Lightbender, Micah knows his beliefs will be justified. Along with his new friend Jenny, they find the circus and see the magic for themselves.  But will the circus help Micah's grandpa or is he doomed to a life with horrible Aunt Gertrudis?

This book is being touted as a children's version of Big Fish, and that is a very apt description. Grandpa's stories of the magical circus bolstered his and Micah's relationship. Where Aunt Gertrudis thinks Grandpa is only crippling Micah by insisting on the reality of Circus Mirandus. This is a story of belief and trust. One that will encourage children to be creative, to believe in miracles, and to trust that there is magic in this world even when things seem hopeless. For any adults reading this, the message is clear: don't be an Aunt Gertrudis!

Although this book is about a magical circus, the underlying story is that Micah's grandpa is dying. The book deals with death and dying in a gentle way. Although miracles and magic exist within the world of the book, there are still limitations and Beasley does a superb job of towing the line between reality and fantasy.

Circus Mirandus is a wonderful book for summer reading. It is a quick read and will be the perfect companion for kids around 9-12 years old who enjoy magical realism. Also, this book received starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly along with a mention in Indies Introduce. So if my review isn't enough to sway you to give the book a read, praise from all of the above should help!


Kristin Milks is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Hollywood, now with added Pi

We had mail this morning suggesting we watch the trailer for the new Point Break reboot closely. (Keep your eyes peeled at 1:23.)

When we started the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2012, we thought we’d just be teaching kids to code. It’s kind of discombobulating to find that we’ve been making movie props too. (If that clip makes you crave a tiny TFT screen for your own Pi, you can find the ones the film-makers used at Adafruit.)

We’ve found a couple of other recent appearances of the Pi in odd places. Here is a Pi which, we’re told, has been used to do awful, villainous things to a subway train and a rollercoaster in the new CSI: Cyber.



Looking at those mangled GPIO pins gives me the yips.

Best of all, though, is this still that somebody captured from Big Hero 6 and sent to us. Look closely at what’s in the background of the shot.


Hollywood, we salute your fabulous taste. Keep it up.


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Showrooming is on the Rise and Bookstores Suffer


Showrooming is the process in which people visit their local bookstore to snap a picture of a book or scan a barcode to find it cheaper online. The average person is just doing this to get a better deal, but effectively they are directly contributing to bookstores all over Canada, US and the United Kingdom going out of business. Do people who showroom hate print and are actively trying to destroy it?

The Nielsen Global Survey of e-commerce found that British consumers are almost 40% more likely to buy items online than Europeans as a whole. The data also mentioned that that between 2011 and 2014, the number of UK respondents who intended to buy e-books online in the next six months increased 200%.

The UK Booksellers Association found that 63% of shoppers admitted to engaging in showrooming behavior. The survey of 2,045 UK book buyers found that while young people felt (or at least admitted to feeling) guiltier than older shoppers about using bookstores as showrooms, they were actually more likely to do so. 76% of 16- to 24-year-old’s also admitted to visiting brick-and-mortar bookstore before buying online, compared with 51.7% of those over 55 who confessed to doing the same thing.

Meanwhile in the US Barnes and Noble is also a victim of customers walking into the store and buying the e-books elsewhere. A mobile tech company called Placed, analyzed the shopping behavior of showroomers and found 18% of all of B&N’s customers are buying the content via Amazon.

"Barnes & Noble and Best Buy are places that are showroomed like crazy," says Wharton marketing professor Stephen Hoch. Hoch predicts that neither chain is likely to survive Amazon's assault because the stores don't have the service levels to stand out. "Go into a Barnes & Noble or a Best Buy and you see big box stores that should know their businesses. What you find out, however, is that employees don't know their business, and you don't get great help."

Some bookstores aren’t just sitting back and letting customers get away with showrooming. One store, Elliott Bay Book Co., has taken to attempting to get customers to think about their actions. Signs are posted throughout the stacks that warn customers against the practice, even providing a QR code that links to an article that details the after effects of this practice. Yet another business, publisher Educational Development Corp., went so far as to pull their titles from Amazon due to their salesmen giving lengthy presentations to corporate consumers at company expense, and then having those potential customers make the purchase from Amazon.

But will these tactics actually prove effective? After all, if a consumer is willing to physically stand in a bookstore and make the purchase on their smartphone (or on their tablet, using the store's WiFi connection as they do), will simply pointing out how it harms their business enough?

One option would be to actively encourage the online purchasing, and even go so far as to provide a counter top computer to conduct these transactions while directing the customer to the retailer through the store's own website. Kobo has agreements with indie bookstores all over the US and the UK and they can earn affiliate benefits on the transaction. Customers who need the instant purchase of the title will buy it in store, and those who can afford to wait in order to save on the discount can still help the business.

I think bookstores need to get back to basics. Knowledgeable staff that actually read the books they are recommending. I often feel when I visit a bookstore such as Chapters/Indigo or Barnes and Noble the staff are just working there because its a stable job. I want to visit a store and be sold on something, to have that sense of jubilation when discovering something new. Book discovery online is just algorithms and metadata, so impersonal it makes me sick.

Showrooming is on the Rise and Bookstores Suffer is a post from: Good e-Reader