Monday, August 17, 2015

Kobo Developing a Loyalty Program called KoboLove


Kobo is in the process of finalizing a new loyalty program that will give you points whenever you purchase an e-book. These points can be redeemed to get free content from Kobo.

The exact logistics of the program is currently unknown but it looks like Kobo will be introducing a free tier where you earn 4 points for every $5.00 you spend and a paid VIP Tier where you earn double points on everything you purchase and save an additional 10% off during Kobo promotions. During certain times of the year Kobo will also be running KoboLove Bonus Days, where both the free and paid tier will get double the normal points.

The semantics of KoboLove should be publicly released in the coming weeks, right now we only have traces of the loyalty program that were spotted in a recent firmware update for some of their e-readers.

OverDrive Media Stations Will Soon be in Public Spaces

dig-lib-1 750xx720-960-0-0

Overdrive Media Stations are computer terminals in which patrons can borrow and checkout digital content inside libraries. These have been available since 2013 and have been adopted at hundreds of locations in the US.  These terminals were developed to exclusively be inside a library, but Overdrive is cooking up something special. They have created new kiosks that are designed to be in public spaces.

Libraries will soon be able to have the option of opting into the new public version of the Overdrive Media Station. They will feature 60-inch screens and professional-grade kiosks for high-traffic areas like hotels, airports, subways, etc. These installations encourage people to walk up and use the kiosk.

OMS supports discovery through special collections like new releases, available now, and children's books, as well as browse by subject or search by keyword. The OMS also allows users to sample all content during their experience and send themselves emails or text messages about the content they want to borrow. When they walk away, they can continue their interaction on their smartphone or tablet, or desktop at home.

The Overdrive Media Station for public spaces has three main purposes for libraries.

1) It promotes the local library as a modern and innovative community organization.

2) Facilitates the acquisition or re-acquisition of members (that is, it encourages people to use the library).

3) Specifically promotes the library's digital services and collections for discovery, sampling and checkout or hold.

The new kiosk system will cost around $13,000 each for libraries looking to branch out into promoting their system in public spaces. They should be available towards the end of 2015, but no definitive date has been set yet.

Fire HD 6 on Sale for $69 – Today Only

Amazon is running another sale on their 6-inch Fire HD tablet as part of the main Gold Box deal of the day. The sale includes both the 8GB and 16GB Fire HD 6 models, as well as the Kids Edition tablet that comes with a case and 2-year warranty. All are $30 off the regular […]

We want you to choose the next Big Library Read!


The next Big Library Read is coming this October and we want your help in selecting the title the whole world will be reading! The genre this time around will be Juvenile/Young Adult and our publishing partners have provided a number of great titles to choose from. Now that we have the submissions from the publishers we want you to tell us which title we’ll all be reading!

To vote simply go to the survey and pick which title you’re most interested in reading. Voting will be live until August 24th at which point we will reveal the winning selection! Let your voice be heard and help decide the next Big Library Read title!

Get over 30,000 titles 25-50% off with the Back to School sale

In a world where schools are back in session, librarians and educators need a sale to properly prepare their digital collections for the onslaught of student needs.

Good thing OverDrive and its publishing partners have prepared such a sale from August 17-September 30.

giphyFeaturing over 30,000 titles at 25-50% off, this is not to be missed! You can access and add all the lists right here.

The Back to School sale includes full catalogs from big publishers like StarWalk Kids and Saddleback Educational who feature common core titles, Nickelodeon, Hachette Audio, Open Road, BBC Active, Cognella who has great classroom texts, and Orca.

Check out these lists for great content at amazing prices:

All Kids Titles 25-50% Off

All Teen Titles 25-50% Off

Streaming Videos 25-50% Off

Audiobooks 25-50% Off

Top Picks Adult Nonfiction


Krisitin Milks is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive

Australia & Singapore Pioneering Education Tour

As an education pioneer for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, I'm on a mission to ensure that all children everywhere have some exposure to computing, whether this comes in the form of digital making, the arts, robotics or computer programming. Recently I've been on a brief tour to Australia and Singapore to spread the Raspberry Pi education ethos to as many people as possible.

Straight after Euro Python in Spain, where Ben Nuttall, James Robinson and I helped to kick start an Education Summit, I boarded a flight to Australia via Dubai. The months between June and September are often the busiest for the Foundation team with the northern hemisphere schools on summer break and southern hemisphere schools in the middle of the academic year. There are often lots of outreach opportunities alongside large conferences in the space of a single month.


After around 30 hours (with two stops) I arrived in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and home to Pycon Australia 2015, where I was to give a talk as part of their first ever education mini conference and give a keynote at the main conference. Fellow Python Software Foundation (PSF) board member Nick Coghlan contacted me to attend the education mini conference way back in January, stating:

I would personally be particularly excited to have you attend, as I came up with the idea of the Python in Education miniconf after Dr James Curran’s presentation last year on the new Australian Digital Curriculum, and his hopes to have Python feature strongly in the implementation of that curriculum.

There are a number of countries around the world which are starting to address the digital skills gap through formal education. In England we have a new Computing curriculum being taught in both primary and secondary schools. In Australia a new Digital Curriculum has been developed, and in some states has already been adopted by forward thinking teachers. Here was an opportunity to work with industry professionals to highlight the changes, and with educators to collaborate and share best practice.

Nick had curated a brilliant day of talks as part of the education mini conference. This was one of the first Python conferences which was not only well attended by teachers, but where most of the talks were given by teachers! In fact you can watch all the talks which have helpfully be added to a playlist by the conference organisers. My favourite talk of the day was given by a nervous developer, Caleb Hattingh, to a room full of teachers about his experiences trying to teach Python to children at a coding club. It was brutally honest and I think sums up many of the problems educators also face in moving from visual programming languages like Scratch to text based languages like Python.

My other notable talk of the day was given by Katie Bell from Grok Learning in which she talks about her work with the Girls Programming Network in Sydney, the National Computer Science School (NCSS) Challenge, and the NCSS summer school where young people spend a few days rapidly prototyping heir own website or embedded electronic device. I've had the pleasure of meeting Katie before at PyconUK last September and at ISTE this June in Philadelphia with Grok Learning co-founder Nicky Ringland. Their passion for computing education is phenomenal and can be witnessed in this talk:

I ended day 1 with my keynote on Raspberry Pi and physical computing, which included a live demo, and started day 2 with a keynote to the entire conference about lessons we've learned about teaching children how to program.

I'm grateful to Nick Coghlan and the other organisers of PyconAu for their hard work bring the event together.


A short flight from Brisbane brought me to Sydney where I accepted a challenge from new education team member Marc Scott to take a selfie in front of an iconic landmark before setting out on a series of talks and workshops.

I gave a brief demo to ICT educators of New South Wales  on the first evening at an event where teachers give up their free time to share ideas and practices around teaching ICT and computer science in a state where it is not a formal part of their curriculum. These were inspirational teachers, willing to push what is possible in their classrooms.

At the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences at the Powerhouse in Sydney I got the chance to speak to education specialists and teachers about our work at Raspberry Pi before leading a fruity physical computing workshop. I was able to share fun ideas and meet some fabulous STEM education enthusiasts.

The museum was truly a fabulous space with well equipped resources for schools. I was lucky enough to receive a brief tour of all the facilities like the Mars Lab, a recreation of the Martian surface, and robotics lab which is used to encourage students to use technology to search for life on Mars. Schools are able to connect to the lab and their rovers via the internet, allowing students to program the bots directly. Using the cameras, they can experience what it is like for space engineers. They test rovers there, and I got to meet one.

Whilst in Sydney I visited good friend Dan Bowen, a CAS #include committee member, and some Windows IoT Raspberry Pi developers at Microsoft, where they all showed me their latest work with the operating system and Physical computing on the Pi. I was invited to meet the Code Club Australia team who are working with schools across all the territories and training teachers in a bid to give children an opportunity to learn to code. I also found time to speak to girls at two different coding clubs and meet some fans!

There are clearly lots of initiatives in Sydney that parents and educators can tap into from online learning platforms like Grok Learning and the NCSS challenge, to free professional development and workshops from ICTENSW and the MAAS Museum.


I was lucky enough to be able to stop in Singapore on my way back to the UK during the nation's 50th anniversary thanks to the Raspberry Pi team at Broadcom Singapore. I was asked to drop by the office to eat pizza and give a presentation to their engineers about the Raspberry Pi Foundation by Jeffery Chin who leads the Broadcom Singapore Raspberry Pi team, who provide Raspberry Pi outreach to teachers and students in their spare time.

I was then taken to Singapore's Science Centre to meet their STEM education specialists and Ministry of Education representatives to discuss Raspberry Pi professional development for teachers and their computing outreach programmes. Before heading out for some of the best dumplings I’ve ever eaten!


Singapore Science Centre STEM educators, Ministry of Education representatives and  Broadcom’s Jeffery Chin & TK Tan

It is one of the many joys of working for the Raspberry Pi Foundation that I get to meet so many inspiring individuals across the globe and to forge partnerships with them as we all embark this movement to enrich children's education.

The post Australia & Singapore Pioneering Education Tour appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Vancouver Public Library Unveils New Recording Studios


The Vancouver Public Library has always been very forward thinking when it comes to implementing features that people want. They have one of the largest e-book and audiobook collections in Canada and have just opened up a new recording studio for the general public to use.

For anyone living in Vancouver, the public library has implemented six  “Inspiration Labs” which are basically professionally setup studios that can be used to record videos, or allow indie authors to narrate their own audiobooks. .They have green screens, professional microphones and other recording equipment. These are FREE to use for up to three hours a day! You can find out more and book time if you’d like here and check out some of the professional setups they have here.

Europeans have had enough with high e-book prices


Electronic books have found massive success in Canada, US and the United Kingdom. The sales of e-books represent between a quarter and a third of the consumer book market and, by 2018, will edge out printed and audio books as the most lucrative segment. Things over in mainland Europe are quite a different story. Last year, digital books made up 8% of the consumer book market in France, less than 4% in Germany and Italy, and 1% in Sweden and Norway.

Why is Europe lagging behind in e-book adoption? There are two trains of thought on the subject, one is the cultural stigma that e-books will erode print book sales and the other is the high rate of VAT where  e-books are often taxed more than 20% compared to print.

Since the e-book revolution first begun in 2009, there as been a cultural resistance to protect the print industry. Germany and France prohibit the kind of deep discounts on digital books relative to print that have lifted e-book sales in English-language markets. But another, less publicized factor is taxation, which in the case of e-books is all over the map.

Selling e-books in Europe is challenging, since the rules keep changing. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google and Apple  used to be based out of Luxembourg to sell their digital books, since they could get away with charging  3% VAT on e-books in every country in Europe. On January 1st 2015 the European Commission mandated that VAT will be payed based on where the buyer is located and not the seller. The United Kingdom, for example has a 20% VAT on e-books and the Irish Republic VAT is 23%. Germany charges 19% VAT, Luxembourg 3% VAT, Spain 21% VAT and Italy 4% VAT.

Some countries like Poland are trying to fight the existing VAT system to get an even playing field between print and digital. The government has been behind this idea for a number of years and last week a series of judges have petitioned the European Court of Justice to look into the matter.

Poland likely will not be able to change the European Court of Justice, but some countries are considering something even more radical, a single European market for e-books. The European Commission revealed that it would hold an an antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector in the European Union, as part of 16 initiatives on a digital single market to be delivered by the end of next year. As part of its inquiry, the EC will look at cross-border trade in digital content and the Book Sellers Association hopes it will study issues around accessibility and interoperability in e-books.

When it comes down to it e-book taxes are tremendously fragmented in the EU and I think they would be better served with a common VAT on e-books in order to foster growth and allow more players to enter the market.