Wednesday, June 24, 2015

EL James Grey Sells 1.1 Million Copies in 4 Days


E.L. James has just released a new book that is entitled Grey. It retells the original 50 Shades of Grey from the prospective of Christian Grey and it looks to be a smash for the book selling industry. The title has sold over 1.1 million copies in the first four days.

Vintage Books has confirmed that 1.1 million copies of Grey have been sold in audiobook, e-book and print in the first 4 days. This is prompting the publisher to order a third, fourth and fifth reprint of Grey – working with multiple printers – bringing the total number of copies in print up to 2.1 million in the US alone.

James herself has appeared at American bookstores to celebrate the release of “Grey.” She did a book signing in New York at Barnes & Noble and then, with very little notice, appeared outside Dallas in Sulphur Springs, Texas, where she signed books for fans at a sold-out event.

“I am not the least bit surprised,” says Sara Nelson, editorial director of books and Kindle at Amazon. “I imagine it will be No. 1 for a while.” Grey will debut this week at No. 1 and has remained No. 1 in print and digital sales on the site for four straight days.

Harlequin Launches Innovative Rewards Program


Harlequin has just launched a new rewards program in Canada and the United States. Readers can get Skype conversations with their favorite authors, gift basket or autographed books.

A new website has been established called Harlequin My Rewards and readers can earn points by leaving online book reviews, buying books and participating in fun mini surveys.


Now I know what you might be thinking, surveys? Tradtionally surveys are daunting and time consuming. Harlequin has made mini-surveys where they get you to role play or vote on your favorite summertime hunk. They often comprise of a single answer and you earn points with each vote.


Likely the most innovative element about this rewards program is that you earn points not only on e-book purchases but also on print. If you buy a print book from Chapters/Indigo or Barnes and Noble you can take a picture of your receipt and then email it to Harlequin or use the automatic upload tool. If you buy an e-book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble you merely have to upload your purchase confirmation to get points.

What I find most interesting about this program is that you don’t need to horde points for years in order to get anything for free. You get 2,000 points from just signing up and 2,000 points from setting up your romance profile. Earn 200 points from filling out the mini surveys or 100 points from submitting a receipt of a book purchase. You can get free books for 5,000 points, which means you can immediately get something for just signing up.

Harlequin My Rewards is the first program of this type setup by a well known publisher. Women who read romance and erotica are fairly loyal to the genre and this service gives you rewards for reading books. You only have to go out of your way a little bit with My Rewards and I think the publishing industry will be watching this closely, if its successful it will be emulated by others.

Dark Horse Digital Comics now on ComiXology


Dark Horse has finally made the decision to make their entire library of digital comics available on ComiXology. The publisher was the last major holdout from signing a deal and they now join Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dynamite, BOOM! Studios, IDW, Archie, Top Cow and Image Comics — along with a slew of smaller publishers.

More than 800 Dark Horse Comics titles have become available digitally on ComiXology, including “Hellboy,” “Sin City,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “The Goon” and “Usagi Yojimbo.” Under the agreement, Dark Horse Comics collections, graphic novels and manga will be available on comiXology the same day the print versions arrive in bookstores.

There are now 75,000 comics, graphic novels and manga from more than 75 publishers on the comiXology platform.

Nook Simple Touch FastMode & USB Sound ROM (Video)

Earlier this week I came across a YouTube video showing a Nook Simple Touch running the latest and final version of the FastMode + USB Sound ROM. As the name implies, FastMode helps make the Nook refresh the E Ink screen faster—even fast enough to play videos—and USB Sound adds audio support to the Nook […]

Celebrate the power of audiobooks all year long

If you are reading this, you are probably a lover of words. Written before you or broadcasted through you headphones, words matter to you. They matter to us too. Audiobooks may take a backseat to their shinier, newer eBook counterparts sometimes but they offer a world of possibilities eBooks can't always compete with.

Audiobooks_1Maybe they'll work for that little boy who can't seem to connect with the characters in his assigned summer reading. Or they'll help that truck driver on his long commutes across the country. They may work for the woman who's eyes have gone bad from years of squinting at a computer and then later at home before bed, reading her favorite words. Or, they might make the girl writing this post smile because they remind her what it was like when her father read books aloud. It's okay to love both. It's what happens in that secret place inside your mind that makes reading, reading.

June is Audiobook Month and as it comes to an end, we want to help you promote your collection now and though out the year. On OverDrive's Partner Portal you'll find updated promotional Audiobook materials for schools and public libraries. Offered as a zip folder, you'll find bookmarks, half and quarter sheets and even stickers to reach the different audiences visiting your digital collection.

Words matter. Reading matters. Reach all imaginations and highlight your Audiobook collection today.


Christina Samek is a Launch Specialist with OverDrive

Mechanise your chickens

My friend Tony always excuses himself early from parties, because he has to get home at dusk to shut his chickens in their coop. Tony, this one’s for you so that next time, you get to stick around for dessert.


Chickens are birds of habit. You don’t need to shepherd (bird-herd?) them into their coops when the sun goes down; they’re programmed to head to their perches as night falls. Foxes and other predators, unfortunately, take advantage of this to chew on stationary, sleeping chickens, so the door of the coop needs to be firmly closed once all the birds are roosting, and opened again at a repellently early hour in the morning. Usually a human will go and do that job. (When I was a kid, I had to do the same for our family’s ducks. I hated those ducks.)

Let’s face it: given a chance to exercise a bit of laziness, most of us will jump at it. (Metaphorically. Lazy people don’t like jumping.)

Eric Escobar has a very neat Pi-powered solution to the problem of night-time chicken imprisonment, which is safer than some others we’ve seen, which use linear actuators. This door’s lowered using gravity, so there will be no very, very, very slow and eventually deadly crushing of any chickens or small children with Eric’s setup. The door is programmed to be lowered at a certain time of day, once it’s dark enough for all the chickens to have moved indoors.

Everything you need to replicate it yourself, right down to schematics, is at Eric’s GitHub.

The nice thing about using a Pi for this sort of thing is that it enables a certain amount of feature-creep. Now the basic functionality’s there, Eric (or you) can add things like the ability to count chickens in and out of the coop; a camera; automated feeding…I’m trying to come up with a way to get the Pi to collect eggs, too, but I’ve got nothing. Ideas in the comments please!

Chicken-owners will be pleased to hear that we’ve got more chicken-husbandry content for you coming up tomorrow. And something that’s a bit like a chicken for Friday. We’re all about the poultry this week at Pi Towers.



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