Sunday, June 7, 2015

Why your whole library staff should have access to OverDrive Marketplace

OverDrive Marketplace isn't just for submitting purchases. For our library and school partners, it's *the* destination for OverDrive resources. In Marketplace, you can browse the most extensive catalog of digital media available, create curated collections for your website, view statistics, assist users with troubleshooting, keep up with the latest news and sales on the News tab, and more.

CaptureAll of these resources extend across different departments and areas of expertise. So, in addition to all selectors and collection development staff, who at your library or school need usernames for Marketplace?

Reference librarians and subject matter experts: browse the catalog, review and build carts with "Create/view carts" permission, and curate collections for your site.

Technical staff: manage site features like Recommend to Library, and track site usage with Reports.

Catalogers: sign up for MARC records for your digital collection, and keep up with reports on the deliveries of MARC records.

Accounting: contact invoicing support via the Support tab and purchase content credit.

Support staff: use end-user support tools or contact OverDrive's technical support and integration support team via the Support tab.

If you don't yet have access to Marketplace, contact your library or school's Marketplace administrator today. You're also welcome to contact your Account Specialist for more information. Also, be sure to sign your staff up for our Marketplace Basics free webinar on June 16 to get everyone up to speed on how to improve the value of your collection.


Heather Valentine-Gold is an Account Specialist on the Library Partner Services Team with OverDrive.

Book Review – The Modern Mercenary


There have been a number of books published in the last few years that tackle the role that modern mercenary companies such as Blackwater and Dynccorp play on the global stage. The Modern Mercenary by Sean McFate looks at the historical role of mercenaries during the feudal era and how they directly contributed to the formation of national armies. Mercenaries fell out of favor for a few hundred years but are now making a dramatic comeback as the US projects its power into places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

Since the start of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States and other nations have begun to use Private Military Companies to supplement or augment their forces. This shift in acceptance, argues Sean McFate of the Atlantic Council, marks a radical change in how modern wars are fought, and foretell a shift in the balance of power in the world. In The Modern Mercenary, he examines the long history of soldiers for hire and how their presence on the battlefield are an indication of a new political trend: neomedievalism, in which power traditionally reserved exclusively for a central government is spread out among numerous other non-state players.

The modern mercenary of today is contracted to train national armies and to lay down the framework of supply lines and bases. They are hired to patrol the lawless seas off the coast of Somalia and shipping companies get discounts by the Lloyd’s of London to have armed guards aboard their vessels to discourage piracy. The modern mercenary is a corporation based in the US, but the average solider is locally recruited.

What I found interesting about this book is that there is simply no oversight with modern mercenary companies. They are considered civilian contractors and therefore have way more freedom than conventional armies have on the battlefield.

I am sure we all remember the Nisour Square massacre in Iraq. In 2007 employees of Blackwater Security Consulting (since renamed Academi) shot at Iraqi civilians killing 17 and injuring 20. It gained national media headlines and was subject to a probe. On December 31, 2009, a U.S. district judge dismissed all charges on the grounds that the case against the Blackwater guards had been improperly built on testimony given in exchange for immunity. One employee was fired and the rest are still active.

Why are so many books these days written about mercenaries and their role in the modern world? The industry has radially grown from a multi-million to a multi-billion dollar affair. From 1999 to 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense contract obligations—for both security and non-security functions—increased from $165 billion to $414 billion. In 2010, DOD obligated $366 billion to contracts, an amount seven times the United Kingdom's entire defense budget.

The Modern Mercenary is the first book that clearly explains the role mercenaries in the current world we live in. The author worked in the private military industry for several years and the book is thoroughly researched. Another thing, the book is very well written and the author is skilled at rendering complex ideas in a readable and concise way. Highly recommended.

Book Review – The Modern Mercenary is a post from: Good e-Reader

Audible Audiobooks Now Play on Amazon Echo


If you can’t get enough of audiobooks and have been relying on your smartphone or tablet, there is yet another viable option. Amazon has announced that Echo now has the capability to play audiobooks from Audible. It will pick up where you left off on another device and play it while you putter around the house, running errands.

Echo also supports Whispersync for Voice, which allows you to seamlessly switch between reading and listening with your eligible Kindle books. You can read on your Kindle, tablet, or smartphone and then continue listening on your Echo, right where you left off.

Audible Audiobooks Now Play on Amazon Echo is a post from: Good e-Reader

New Star Wars Novels will Retell the Original Trilogy


When Disney made the decision to no longer consider the Star Wars Expanded Universe no longer canon, the conclusion was that Disney wanted to sell more books. They have released a ton of new content so far and are in the midst of retelling the entire original trilogy.

Disney and Lucasfilm have announced a new set of books aimed at young readers in the 8-12 age group, that will take the stories of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, and retell them not as we've seen them retold countless times through the films or other adaptations, but instead refocusing them to tell the stories from the inner perspectives of the cast of characters. Alexandra Bracken (writing A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy), Adam Gidwitz (writing The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi), and Tom Angleberger (writing Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!) will helm the project, which promises to both give a fresh look at scenes we're already more than familiar with, as well as offer to tell what happened "between the scenes" of each movie.

Disney has been on a rampage, trying to fill the massive void that occurred when they nixed the Expanded Universe. In the last few weeks they have also announced “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” YA book series includes a Princess Leia adventure called “Moving Target” by award-winning YA author Cecil Castellucci; a Luke Skywalker novel called “The Weapon of a Jedi” by Jason Fry, author of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia”; a Han Solo story called “Smuggler’s Run” by “Batwoman” comic book writer Greg Rucka; and “Lost Stars,” a book by “Evernight” series author Claudia Gray.

It looks like there is no stopping Disney from monetizing, retelling and releasing everything to do with Star Wars for a new generation.

New Star Wars Novels will Retell the Original Trilogy is a post from: Good e-Reader