Monday, June 8, 2015

Want to Shop Amazon and Buy Indie? There’s an App for That


The entire book selling industry has been disrupted by Amazon selling books cheaper than everyone else and monopolizing the e-book market. Things are simply easier to discover when shopping an Amazon, but a new app is hoping to make buying books from indie stores more appealing.

A new Google Chrome extension has just been released called Bookindy. It allows users to browse for titles, authors or interests on Amazon, and find indie stores with comparable or cheaper prices that are willing to deliver the titles to you. Right now, the service is only available in the United Kingdom, but the founders are “working on updating the extension for US and other countries.”

Bookkindy is partnering with who have a great relationship with each bookshop and will also be the people sending out books for delivery. The extension also shows what shops stock the title, but might not deliver, so you can get out and buy it in person.

Will people actually use this app? I remain dubious. The average customer is not going to install any 3rd party extension to buy indie books.

Want to Shop Amazon and Buy Indie? There’s an App for That is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle e-books get more expensive in Ohio

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If you live in Ohio, the next e-book purchase you make is going to cost more. Amazon has announced they have started tacking on an extra sales tax on anything they directly sells.

Ohio has different tax rates, depending on what county you live in and Amazon will have to abide by them all, including the 5.75% statewide tax.

Amazon did not have to charge sales tax in the past, but this all changed with some big announcements. The company is going to be setting up an AWS data center, which is their online infrastructure that powers the webs most valuable properties, such as Netflix. The state is offering Amazon a 15-year tax incentive package for building its data centers in Ohio and creating 120 jobs, exempting Amazon from paying sales tax for equipment for the data centers and offering tax credits tied to the size of the data centers' payrolls.

The Department of Taxation said for tax year 2013, 50,947 taxpayers voluntarily paid about $3.5 million in use taxes, far short of the estimated $150 million to $400 million. Many industry experts are agreeing that Amazon paying sales taxes would be over $300 million a year.

It is important to note that in Ohio does not charge out of state entities sales tax, stemming from a 1992 Supreme Court decision that ruled Internet and catalog retailers are not required to collect state sales taxes unless they have a physical presence within state borders. Ohio's deal with Amazon is part of a larger Ohio jobs creation plan in which Amazon pledged to bring 1,000 jobs and three AWS new data centers to the state.

Kindle e-books get more expensive in Ohio is a post from: Good e-Reader

Podcast: All of the Big Apple News from WWDC


Welcome to another edition of the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today we take a look at all of the big announcements coming out the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. There are big changes coming with iOS 9, Siri enhancements and Apple Music. Also on the show is my take on a recent book, the Modern Mercenary and Amazon promoting the new Despicable ME movie on their shipping boxes and critics destroying the new Kim Kardashian book.

Podcast: All of the Big Apple News from WWDC is a post from: Good e-Reader

Overdrive Responds to the UK Library e-book Study


Last week a massive new report was released in the United Kingdom that looked at remote e-book lending. The study found e-Book loans are roughly 5% in the UK and 39% of e-book borrowers said that they were much less likely to visit a bookshop; 37% said they were much less likely to purchase printed books; and 31% said they were much less likely to purchase e-books. Overdrive, likely the largest company involved in facilitating digital content in libraries responded to this report, but is nothing but a marketing ploy to get more libraries to sign up with them.

Overdrive is proclaiming that the demand for eBook lending had  no negative impact on publishers', authors' and booksellers' businesses. This is a stark contrast to what Tim Godfray, CEO of the Booksellers Association recently said. "There are serious ramifications that we believe e-book lending will have on our bookshops, not to mention the potential reduction of people visiting libraries.”

Overdrive also mentioned that there is no correlation with the assumption that foot traffic at physical branches will be hurt by e-Lending: “Our data indicates that, to the contrary, e-Lending has resulted in a net increase in the number of library users by reaching those in the community that haven't used the library in years, if at all.”

Does Overdrive really understand the UK market, as much as the head of the booksellers association or the Society of Chief Librarians or The Publishers Association or the British Library Trust and Arts Council England? Likely not. They like to tout that Overdrive CEO Steve Potash testified at the House of Commons in favor of eBook lending in October 2012. This was 3 years ago and they are still beating that dead horse in all of their marketing material.

Overdrive Responds to the UK Library e-book Study is a post from: Good e-Reader

2014 Nebula Awards Winners have been Annonced


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have just announced the 2014 Nebula award winners. If you love either of these two genres, some of the books on this list might be very appealing.

The winners on this list are in bold and the others comprise of the other books competing for the highest prize in science fiction and fantasy.

Best Novel

Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)
The Goblin Emperor
, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)

Best Novella

Yesterday's Kin, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
We Are All Completely Fine
, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)
"The Regular," Ken Liu (Upgraded)
"The Mothers of Voorhisville," Mary Rickert ( 4/30/14)
Calendrical Regression, Lawrence Schoen (NobleFusion)
"Grand Jeté (The Great Leap)," Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer '14)

 Best Novelette

"A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i," Alaya Dawn Johnson (F&SF 7-8/14)
"Sleep Walking Now and Then," Richard Bowes ( 7/9/14)
"The Magician and Laplace's Demon," Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 12/14)
"The Husband Stitch," Carmen Maria Machado (Granta #129)
"We Are the Cloud," Sam J. Miller (Lightspeed 9/14)
"The Devil in America," Kai Ashante Wilson ( 4/2/14)

Best Short Story

"Jackalope Wives," Ursula Vernon (Apex 1/7/14)
"The Breath of War," Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/6/14)
"When It Ends, He Catches Her," Eugie Foster (Daily Science Fiction 9/26/14)
"The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye," Matthew Kressel (Clarkesworld 5/14)
"The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family," Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous)
"A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide," Sarah Pinsker (F&SF 3-4/14)
"The Fisher Queen," Alyssa Wong (F&SF 5/14)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Edge of Tomorrow, Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Interstellar, Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
The Lego Movie, Screenplay by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Sarah Rees Brennan (Random House)
Salvage, Alexandra Duncan (Greenwillow)
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, A.S. King (Little, Brown)
Dirty Wings, Sarah McCarry (St. Martin's Griffin)
Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Clarion)
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton (Candlewick)

2014 Nebula Awards Winners have been Annonced is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Starts Advertising on Shipping Boxes


Amazon ships out 3,300,000 products a day to customers all over the world.  In the past, you simply got a cardboard box with the ubiquitous Amazon logo, this is going to change. Amazon has just ironed out a new partnership with Universal Pictures to  ship customer orders in bright yellow delivery boxes featuring cartoon characters from the upcoming "Minions" movie. The deal represents the first time Amazon has ever allowed a third party to completely brand its delivery boxes. 

Despicable Me has earned almost $1.5 billion dollars at the box office and has spawned a wide array of toys, video games and stuffed animals.  This is big business and of course Amazon sells all of it. On the box, is a special Amazon link that points to a portal where you can purchase all things Minions.  The shipping box also contains the movie release date, which is July 10th.

Amazon told TechCrunch that the boxes will ship from "select" fulfillment centers, and will come in a range of sizes to accommodate a variety of customer orders for things like books, electronics, DVDs, toys, sporting goods and more. Different minions will grace the different sizes of boxes – Stuart is on large boxes, Bob on medium ones, and Kevin is on the smallest.

The Minions boxes are the start of something big at Amazon. Can you imagine the next time you order a print book online, the publisher might be promoting its next surefire bestseller right on the box?

Amazon Starts Advertising on Shipping Boxes is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wool Screenplay Gets Rewritten by Nicole Perlman


Hugh Howey’s self-published e-book WOOL is hunting around for a director and is being produced Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian.  In order to make the screenplay more appealing to a solid director, "Guardians of the Galaxy" scribe Nicole Perlman is going to rewrite the script.

"Wool" has quickly become a poster child for the self-publishing movement. The book sold over 140,000 copies in the first six months and Howey later wrote The Shift Trilogy, which serves as a precursor to "Wool."

In 2012 the Silo Saga was apart of a huge bidding war by film studios and 20th Century Fox won the rights. They recently convinced Perlman, who saw her script for the movie Guardians of the Galaxy garner over $800 million worldwide, to rewrite the existing script.

In case anyone has high hopes for their self-published novel becoming a Ridley Scott movie, be aware that this title is an outlier, the exception rather than the rule. Howey is a great writer, which is tremendously helpful (although as we’ve seen with Fifty Shades, is by no means a requirement). Unfortunately, because he was a nobody when starting out, he wouldn’t have had much chance of being picked up by any of the major publishers, who are just like the studios in that they’re extremely unwilling to take a chance on an unproven unknown. He’s also a savvy marketer, which is a requirement even for those hoping to hit the lottery and get a Random House deal. Even with those two facets, most titles don’t ever make it to the silver-screen — even if published by Random House or any of the others.

So, congrats to Howey. But recognize that he’s not the sign of a trend. Wool and Fifty Shades just happened to work for some reason; most Amazon novels make peanuts for their authors, and most aren’t even all that good. Brick-and-mortar bookstores and retail outlets still won’t carry them in their inventory, which significantly restricts marketing and distribution to niche channels on the Internet. Don’t give up entirely; write what you want to write, and seek out services to make it polished. But don’t think you’ll be the next Hugh Howey or that Amazon books will be considered “reputable” without that Penguin/Random House seal of approval.

Wool Screenplay Gets Rewritten by Nicole Perlman is a post from: Good e-Reader

OverDrive response to Pilot Study on Remote e-Lending in UK

The year-long pilot study on Remote e-Lending in the UK is complete, and the official statement on the main findings is out.  The good news is that the study confirmed the demand for eBook lending, and more significantly, that there was no negative impact on publishers', authors' and booksellers' businesses.  OverDrive has drawn similar conclusions from studies and programs over the past several years.

This pilot study was conducted by The Publishers Association, Society of Chief Librarians, Booksellers Association, Society of Authors and the Association of Authors Agents, with the goal to help stakeholders better understand the impact of remote eBook lending in UK public libraries.  While it was a small sample size (four library authorities, eBook checkouts accounted for 5% of fiction borrowing), there was no evidence that the pilot damaged eBook sales.  The pilot found that very few users clicked the "buy" button next to the pilot titles, but that eBook borrowers actually bought more eBooks than did other library users.

OverDrive was instrumental in helping to facilitate the study, as three of the four library authorities in the pilot currently work with OverDrive as their main eBook supplier, and this conclusion supports other programs and studies we have produced over the past several years.  Since Steve Potash testified before the House of Commons in favor of eBook lending in October 2012, OverDrive has worked with ALA and partners libraries in the U.S. to demonstrate how libraries enhance discoverability and engagement of published materials.  Our survey jointly conducted with the ALA in 2012 found that "borrowers are also buyers," and the Big Library Read, a recurring program in which a single eBook title is made available for simultaneous use across thousands of library websites, continually reinforces this point as well:  libraries boost sales.

We know in the U.S. and other markets that publishers have become more confident in making their titles available for e-lending.  Through the broad exposure libraries can provide, publishers gain valuable awareness and engagement with their titles.  In addition, OverDrive introduced eBook and audiobook "samples" to provide easy-to-consume excerpts and further expand engagement, and other innovations such as read-in-browser and Readbox (placing the samples on search engine Bing and book review sites such as Huffington Post and Buzzfeed) have expanded the reach of the library to raise even more awareness and engagement.

All publishers – in the UK and worldwide – are invited to join the OverDrive catalog to connect with readers via libraries and schools.  For free promotion, discoverability and engagement that leads to additional sales, libraries offer a unique value proposition that has become even more valuable in today's competitive digital environment.


Kindle Unlimited, Prime eBooks and Kindle Library Books Explained

There are a number of different ways to read Kindle ebooks without having to pay for each specific title. Amazon offers free ebook lending to Prime members, along with a monthly subscription service called Kindle Unlimited, and thousands of public libraries in the US lend Kindle books for free. These are good options for people […]

Building Arduino in the USA with Raspberry Pi

Our friends at Adafruit recently did a deal with some of our other friends at Arduino to build genuine licensed Arduino boards at their insanely awesome factory in downtown NYC. Arduino have been having a spot of bother with their original manufacturing partner recently, so this is great news.

Here’s a picture of Massimo Banzi from Arduino, the indomitable LadyAda and the very first USA Arduino UNO to come off the line.


Miscreants, up to mischief

PT shared this video of the rig they’re using to test and program each unit. It features a Raspberry Pi and an Adafruit PiTFT HAT, and can test and program an Arduino UNO in under 15 seconds, versus the 1 minute 37 seconds it took for their earlier rig. (See? We always said that Raspberry Pi and Arduino make a beautiful partnership.)

One of the most popular uses of Raspberry Pi outside of education is in factory automation. They crop up all over the place: monitoring and controlling things; as a low-cost, reliable alternative to traditional industrial controllers; in other test setups (Raspberry Pis made in Wales are also tested using – you guessed it – a Raspberry Pi); and now it’s being used to make more of something we love by some people we think are completely brilliant. We’re sending all our very best wishes to team Arduino and to team Adafruit across the Atlantic: if you want a genuine Arduino, Adafruit’s the place to get one!

The post Building Arduino in the USA with Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

EuroPython 2015 – Education Summit

This year’s EuroPython conference takes place in July in Bilbao, Spain. Not only is our own Carrie Anne Philbin presenting a keynote (alongside the creator of Python, Guido van Rossum), but the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be running an Education Summit, in partnership with the EuroPython Society.

EuroPython Education Summit_Logo_FULLWe have a dedicated track of education focused talks, as well as training sessions, workshops and discussion groups for teachers and educators. There’ll also be two days of sprints for developers to contribute to educational projects.

As well as Carrie Anne’s keynote, I’ll be giving a talk and workshop on physical computing, and James will be giving talks on the Raspberry Pi Weather Station and his experience as a teacher at PyConUK. We’re really excited to be attending, and helping facilitate the first Education Summit at EuroPython.

Reduced ticket prices

Good news – teachers can pick up conference tickets at the student ticket price of €120, and the organisers have also arranged coupons for kids on request – please email

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators – we’d love to see you there!

Community Pythonistas

We’re not only appealing to teachers to attend EuroPython – anyone interested in Python should feel welcome to attend, and we’d love to see more of the wonderful Raspberry Pi community in Bilbao. Come see some great talks and learn from the best in the industry, show people what you do with Python, and of course come and take part in our Education sprints! Personal tickets are available at €340, and Bilbao is lovely in July.

std_logo_one_color_redI’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Carrie Anne, who has just been elected to the Python Software Foundation’s Board of Directors – we wish her success in her role on the board.

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Critics Slam New Kim Kardashian Selfish Book


Kim Kardashian has a new book out called Selfish. The title is 448 pages and comprises of selfie pictures she took of herself. While the but Daily News has called it “as much a part of pop-art history as when Andy Warhol painted soup cans.” One critic though, certainly did not sing any praises.

Project Runway Judge Tim Gunn read a few of the books captains in a recent interview "I took a selfie at a red light while driving. I think that's illegal now," Gunn noted, "Well, she's illegal." And of a photo of Kardashian sticking out her tongue, he said, "Can I just say something? To all the young people out there in particular, banish this… This is disgusting and vile. What if this is the only thing that survives in the time capsule?"

Gunn then singled out of a picture of the reality TV star wearing a heavy fur coat with the caption, "I just got this Fendi coat and was in New York. I was in a taxi and took this selfie to send to Kanye to see if he liked my new coat. He did!" Gunn's response? "I feel my IQ plummeting."

Other critics have lambasted the book, finding little to no meaningful value. Amazon, B&N, Kobo and GoodReads all have a litany of user reviews, lets look at the most notable.

“This book is on the reading list for my psychology class on Narcissistic personality disorder to show us what to look for.”

“A literary masterpiece! Worthy of being in the company of Bastiat and Hugo! The powerful visual imagery, coupled with her internationally acclaimed humanitarian, scientific and academic achievements will catapult her to historic international importance. Her book will go down in history as the defining moment of 21st Century social relevance and intellectual achievement. I have no doubt that this publication will soon join the Bible and the Koran as one of the world’s most influential books of all time!”

Kim Kardashian West here provides us with an existential black hole that the transcendental nihilism of a Ray Brassier can only dream of evoking (in fact, I find it interesting that on pages 256-257, somewhere a little past the book’s halfway point, we are provided with two pages that have no words or pictures at all, pages that are completely black: it is as if this is symbolic of the black hole at the center of Western society/civilization, with the selfies orbiting it like husks of dead galaxies).

and likely the most notable.

“I don’t understand why people are not considering the far ranging historical implications of this book. This is a tool that could end modern day warfare. We load up drones with thousands of these babies and airborne release over the headquarters of our enemies. Each book will descend to the earth like the gift from Heaven above that it is. Delivered by a cute little white parachute which could also double as their surrender flags, we do have the technology to see such tiny surrender flags from satellites orbiting the Earth. Plus, there would be so many of them so don’t you worry. We could definitely see that from space.”

“This book has the capability to defeat our enemies on several fronts. First, after receiving it, they would have no idea what our current political and military policies towards them thereby creating mass confusion in their ranks. Second, after perusing it, they could feel so sorry for our society that they decide to take their fight elsewhere. The enemy’s logic could follow this trajectory “If this is what is important in that society, it will destroy itself. We can use our weapons better elsewhere.” Third, if running low on heating supplies, the enemy might burn this book en masse. Once again the satellites come into play and bingo! Drone strike. Lastly, this book could bring world peace by making our enemies stop and think. Leadership should never be surrounded by a bunch of “yes” men as Mrs. West is. It just might make them take time out to have a ‘sensing session’ to see what is wrong in their ranks. After all, this book could help the enemy to stand down, take some time reevaluate goals and use the knowledge garnered in a series of team building exercises. In the meantime, Kim K has bought us valuable time to incapacitate our enemies. Just when you think this woman could not give any more to humanity, she gives us this. We live in historical times.”

Critics Slam New Kim Kardashian Selfish Book is a post from: Good e-Reader