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Overdrive and Penguin have come to terms on a new agreement that will see over 500 audiobooks become available to libraries. These new audio editions will be available for public and college libraries in the U.S. and Canada under the one copy/one user lending model in both the WMA and MP3 format.
The Penguin audiobooks are mainly backlist titles, but there are a number of great authors works now available. Libraries will be able to buy older audio titles from Ken Follett, Clive Cussler, Anita Blake, Maya Banks, Roald Dahl, W.E.B. Griffin, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, Jen Lancaster, and Lee Child.
Penguin and Overdrive have had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least, over the course of the past few years. In May 2012 Penguin cancelled the contract they had with Overdrive because they felt that libraries lending out eBooks for free, devalued the overall product. It was only late in 2013 that a series of pilot projects were initiated to get Penguin back in the game with backlist and frontlist titles.
So whats changed with Penguin? Well, Overdrive suspended the ability to deliver eBooks to Kindle users wirelessly and instead have to be downloaded to the users computer and then synced to an Amazon product. Penguin harboured great resentment towards Amazon for their strongarm tactics of getting deals on selling eBooks and it pissed off management.
Still, libraries now can benefit from more audio editions in their library, and this sector is on the rise. The entire audiobook industry is currently worth around 1.6 billion dollars and that figure should climb further. The main reason? Audio book producers have been increasing their output. 13,255 titles came out in 2012, up from 4,602 in 2009.
Welcome to another popular installment of the Good e-Reader Top Android Apps of the Week! Tons of popular games and apps have just hit the street and it is our job to inform you about the most essential ones that are worth your time.
Ski Challenge 14 – Enjoy a little suspense, action and thrills? Then Ski Challenge 14 is right for you! The rapid 3D ski simulations game offers exciting races and spectacular downhill runs this winter. FOR FREE! Experience exciting events and fly down the slope at 130 km/h – your new personal best is within reach!
Stickman Soccer – Experience pure soccer fun with fast paced gameplay, an astonishing atmosphere, stunning smooth animations, simple controls, insane action and tons of replay value. Choose your national soccer team and rank up while playing various seasons in spectacular stadiums or simple dominate in street soccer style matches. Decide whether you want full control over your players with manual running and shoot timing or use the automatic running mode where you have control over precise pass timing and watch your players tackle your opponents. Choose your favorite national soccer team from more than 32 different skilled teams and lead them to glory!
Chromecast – hromecast is the easiest way to enjoy online video and anything from the web on your TV. Plug it into any HDTV and control it with your existing smartphone, tablet, or laptop. No remotes required. Cast your favorites from Google Play, YouTube, Netflix, and Chrome to your TV with the press of a button.
Bible for Kids – The Bible App for Kids is the newest member of the YouVersion family of apps. Available now for Android smartphones and tablets, the Bible App for Kids is always completely free! Through interactive adventures and beautiful animations, kids explore the big stories of the Bible. The Bible App for Kids is a delight-filled experience designed to encourage kids to return again and again. It’s the beginning of a lifelong love of God’s Word.
FIFA – NEVER MISS A MOMENT. Download the most comprehensive football app on the planet and unlock the world of football. Hundreds of competitions, thousands of goals and over a million minutes of football every single week!
Sonic Dash – Play as Sonic the Hedgehog as you dash, jump and spin your way across stunning 3D environments. Swipe your way over and under challenging obstacles in this fast and frenzied endless running game.
Skee-Ball Arcade – Combining the fun of classic boardwalk arcade action with stunning new game boards, explosive power ups, and high-stakes tournament competition for both smartphone and tablet players, Skee-Ball Arcade has it all.
Kingdom Conquest 2 – It is a time of war and chaos. Begin with nothing and end with a kingdom. SEGA’s Kingdom Conquest II is the epic free-to-play strategy game for conquerors. Dominate real players online. Unite the strong and crush the weak until final victory is declared. You decide who joins your cause or submits to your will. Kingdom Conquest II blends the best elements of card battling, real time strategy, MMORPGs, and 3D dungeon battles to deliver a massive and addictive fantasy war game like no other.
Underwater Adventures – Are you an adventurer and a strategic thinker? Now it’s time for you to find out by playing the brand new Underwater Adventures game. Enjoy an underwater world filled with strange creatures, mystery, excitement, and fun, with a game that puts your navigational skills to the test.
Westjet – At WestJet, we really like our guests – so much that we want to go everywhere with you. Our app lets you check in, view flight status, reference travel info and connect with us on the go. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to use our app to book new flights, view upcoming trips and more.
Pocketbook is betting all or nothing on their new CAD Reader and this model has the dubious distinction of not being marketed to the general consumer segment. In order to garner mainstream interest before its Q1 or Q2 launch date of 2014, the company has developed a very polished online commercial.
The Pocketbook CAD e-Reader is aimed at business users who find themselves using software such as AutoCad. It features a 13.3 inch display with full WACOM stylus support to draw and make notes on the fly. Unlike tablets this model will garner around 2 months of battery life. Pocketbook makes it very clear that the CAD Reader is not a replacement for your computer or tablet, but seeks to replace paper and have have new architecture plans updated on the fly.
This is one of the highest performing devices Pocketbook has ever released. It is running Android 4.0.4 on a dual-core 1 GHz CPU with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB Flash storage. The CAD Reader is the first device to use E-ink’s new Fina screen tech, which is lighter and thinner than most of the dedicated e-readers on the market.
The largest site for readers and book recommendations GoodReads has just wrapped up one of their most successful years for their Choice Awards. Almost two million votes were cast and 20 books were selected by the community. When a book is on the ballot and wins the award what type of traction does it get? We have an internal document from GoodReads which illuminates the situation.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini won the best Fiction Award for the 2013 GoodReads Choice Awards. Voting initially opened November the 4th and the book saw a spike in user engagement. The most dramatic spike for people who added the book to their shelf and flagged it as wanting to read was when the book won the Fiction Award. Although GoodReads does not sell books directly, they do end up bringing people to the Kindle Store to make a buying decision if that particular person is using one of the Amazon branded e-Readers and Tablets.
American restaurant chain Applebee’s has purchased 100,000 tablets that will allow the public to order and pay for food. The company plans on keeping staffing levels the same and will not fire anyone due to the tablets being setup at each table.
Instead of going with the Apple iPad like most companies, Applebee’s has decided to go with Presto, which is similar to the Point-of-sale software that the servers use. The tablets will also be outfitted with a standard credit card reader as well as NFC to link up to mobile wallet apps. These are going out to 1,800 Applebee’s locations in the US by the end of 2014. The company also says it plans to add other features like streaming music, video, and even tools that will let you share what you’re eating with Facebook buddies.
During initial beta testing, Applebee’s management discovered that the tablets encourage more orders of appetizers and desserts during a typical meal. For families, the tablets will include a variety of video games that can be accessed through a modest fee. A trivia game, for instance, would likely cost $1 to play, fairly identical to microtransactions on consumer owned smartphones and tablets. Conceptually, Mom and Dad can keep the kids entertained with the tablet while waiting for their meals to arrive.
The Captain America sequel “The Winter Soldier” is poised to hit movie theaters March 26 2014. The movie will be about Steve Rogers after the first Avengers movie and his role in the Marvel cinematic universe. What digital graphic novels are essential reading and who exactly is the Winter Soldier? We dive deep into the issue and give you the low-down.
The Marvel cinematic universe is quite different from the other timelines for digital comics published on a monthly basis. Marvel comics, the Ultimates and other franchises all do a different spin on the same major characters and story lines. When it comes to the line of movies like The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor and others, it is officially dubbed Earth-199999.
In the Captain America movie his good buddy James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was one of Steve Rogers old friends, whom was recruited into his strike force to go after the Red Skull. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola, the main scientist. Zola is captured, but Barnes falls from the train to his apparent death.
The Winter Solider will tell the tale of General Vasily Karpov finding Bucky’s cold-preserved body missing one arm. Bucky is revived in Moscow, but suffers brain damage with amnesia as a result of the explosion. Scientists then attach a bionic arm to him to give him added strength. He is programmed to be a Soviet assassin for Department X, under the code name the Winter Soldier, he is sent on covert wetworks missions, i.e., missions involving assassination, becoming increasingly ruthless and efficient as he kills in the name of the state. While a Soviet agent, he also has a brief relationship with The Black Widow, who was also mind programmed to be an assassin at the time. In the recent Avengers film Hawkeye makes reference to having his mind torn asunder by Loki and Black Window mentioned she knows how he feels.
In order to have his loyalty the Winter Soldier was kept in cryostasis, so between missions he is kept from aging. He does various missions over the years, leading to the terrorist attack that puts him back on Shields radar.
If you want to get a firm understanding of all the different events leading up to the movie, you want to get your hands on the digital or normal graphic novels. You would be hard pressed to find the original Avengers comic book #4, which is the first appearance of Captain America and Bucky. About the best you can do is buy the The Avengers Omnibus, Vol. 1, which has the first 100 issues of the Avengers. It is not available as a digital edition so you will have to spend around $72.00 on Amazon. The best comic you could find, written in the modern times was the retelling of the Winter Solider by luminary Ed Brubaker, entitled Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection. There are three different graphic novels in the collection and even goes into The Black Window, essential stuff. Comixology has the later editions you can purchase for around $10.00 each, so it is fairly economical. Comixology has Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter, Winter Soldier Vol. 2: Broken Arrow and Winter Soldier Vol. 3: Black Widow Hunt.
In an interesting trivia note, Bucky’s death has also been used to explain why the Marvel Universe has very few kid sidekicks, as no responsible hero wanted to endanger a minor in similar fashion. Stan Lee also harbored a well-known dislike for boy sidekicks in general. So, it could be posited that when Captain America was revived in the Silver Age, Stan Lee chose not to bring back Bucky. It was not until the last decade that he was brought back as a recurring character.
The Sony 13.3 Inch e-Reader (DPT-S1) has been well received by the reading community because of its large and lightweight screen technology. Few e-readers ever produced have garnered such buzz and people are visibly excited about a wide-spread commercial release in May of 2014 in North America. Starting December 8th it will be available in Japan for around $1200 US or 98,000 yen. The sad part is that it will not be available in a retail environment. Instead, it will only be available for business customers via Sony’s own website and obviously through the grey market, such as Rakuten.
Many people were hoping that they could pick one of these readers at the big electronic stores like Edion or Bicamera. Unfortunately Sony is making the call to sell it only to business customers, which for the most part are schools. It is not really a product designed for the casual reading audience because it can only read PDF files. So for example, the Sony Reader Store would not be bundled on it, obviously leading to confusion if a newbie reader got their hands on one.
A few months ago ImCoSys announced a new e-reader and they demoed it off at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The ImcoV6L e-Reader is being billed as the first e-reader with an open version of Android and it will allow users to install the e-reading app of their choice. Instead of being locked into dealing with one bookseller on an e Ink based device, you can install Kindle, Nook, Kobo or an indie app like Aldiko. We have official confirmation today that the e-reader is delayed and will be shipping out in February of March of 2014.
The US government shutdown in October prevented a number of FCC applications from being processed or approved. ImCoSys was unable to procure the necessary certification to sell the e-reader in North America. This is very unfortunate as they will be missing out on the critical holiday season.
The imcoV6L features a six inch e-Ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024×758 pixels. It also has a front-lit display, to allow you to read in the dark. Underneath the hood, it is powered by a Rockchip 1 GHZ CPU processor and 256 MB of RAM. There is 4 GB of internal memory and has an SD Card slot to enhance it up to 32 GB. It will retail for around $119.99, which makes it a compelling device.
One of the most interesting aspects of this device is external speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack. This will allow you to listen to audiobooks and music right on the device. Since it is running Android, you will be able to install apps such as Audible, to buy and listen to them right on your e-reader. Another great feature is the physical page turn buttons working in conjunction with the touchscreen. You can turn the pages by gestures or with the click of a button on the left/right hand side.
At a product launch event in New York City Canadian based Kobo announced their intention of launching a digital magazine store. It took a number of months to work out the logistics and build a store interface on their new line of tablets, but it seems to have paid off. Starting today customers will have the ability to buy hundreds of magazines from major publishers and read them on their PC or via the Arc 7, Arc 7 HD or Kobo Arc 10 HD.
The new magazine store from Kobo offers titles from top publishers including American Media, Bauer Publishing Group, Condé Nast, Hearst Corporation, Time Inc., Mansueto, Rogers Publishing Limited, Reader’s Digest, and Wenner Media, with more being added every day.
Instead of relying on the traditional pinch and zoom feature to read magazine articles, Kobo has developed their Guided Reading View. It has a simple tap interface that intelligently moves from one column of text to the next. Guided Reading removes the need for toolbars creating a clear interface free from distractions.
Kobo has pulled their Windows 8 e-Reading app from the Microsoft App Store a few weeks ago. This move will now prevent owners of the Microsoft Surface or anyone on a Windows 8 PC from downloading or reading eBooks.
The Windows 8 Reading App by Kobo was originally developed before Windows 8 officially launched. The Canadian based company had the app all ready for the first wave of Beta testers way back in February 2012. Before the app was pulled, thousands of readers were using the app every day to buy eBooks and other digital content and then read it.
We have reached out to Kobo many times during the last few weeks to get an official comment. I had originally thought that they pulled the app to allow for the integration of their new magazine and kids book services, but it seems they have totally abandoned it. It seems basically that the entire app was not up to Kobo’s standards and many users have moaned that it was barely functional.
In the meantime, you can use the internet browser on any Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet by visiting the Kobo Instant Reader. This is an HTML5 reading app that was originally developed to give Apple iPad users the ability to buy eBooks using the Safari web-browser. It was basically a clandestine effort to bypass the mandatory 30% commission Apple takes from in-app purchases.
E Ink Holdings today announced the upcoming release of E Ink Fina, a new thin and lightweight electronic paper display (EPD) technology. Fina will be the first EPD that will go into mass production for small to large format digital paper products based on a thin glass Thin Film Transistor (TFT) technology. In conjunction, today PocketBook also announced PocketBook CAD Reader – the first Fina ePaper Android device designed specifically for displaying drawings generated with Autocad from Autodesk.
Fina is a glass based TFT technology that uses a very thin glass substrate to deliver products that are much lighter and thinner than what is possible with standard LCD displays. Fina displays weigh less than 50% of the weight of an equivalent glass based TFT and are less than 50% of the thickness as well. This is particularly important for mobile products requiring larger display areas. A 13.3″ Fina display module, installed in the Pocket CAD Reader, weighs approximately 60 grams.
“Fina adds to E Ink’s portfolio of innovative display products which enable unique consumer and engineering products,” said Giovanni Mancini, director of product management for E Ink Holdings. “The extremely low power requirements, thinness, lightweight and readability under all lighting conditions truly enable design engineers to display information where they never thought possible before.”
Pocketbook is a well known brand that specializes in e-Readers and has a somewhat devout following of people who like to load in their own books. The company has always released devices that appeal to a wider consumer market since 2007 and is about to aim a new product at the business segment.
The PocketBook CAD Reader will be 13.3 inches and uses a powerful 1GHz dual-core CPU running Android 4.0.4 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage making it very responsive with a large capacity for storing designs. With built-in Wi-Fi and 3G modules, large 8000 mAh battery.
The new CAD Reader is the first device using a new E Ink technology called Fina ePaper. It is designed specifically for displaying drawings generated with Autocad from Autodesk. It comes pre-installed with a number of free and paid CAD-applications. There is enough internal memory to hold the plans for up to 200 construction projects, which can be edited and shared through the collaboration workspace. The built-in touch screen and precise Wacom digitizer support both touch and a stylus.
“Our goal was to develop a device to be used on construction sites. We created a highly portable large format display device with a rugged and weatherproof case that could hold all the CAD drawings a team needs. This makes designs available virtually anyplace and anytime,” – said Dmitriy Shemet, head of research and development at PocketBook. “We chose the E Ink Fina 13.3 inch display because it has exactly the right properties we were looking for to develop PocketBook CAD Reader. The PocketBook CAD Reader delivers a new user experience for architects and specialists in construction trades allowing them to work on site”.
I am quite surprised that Pocketbook actually is intending on releasing a new device with such great specs. The company has been somewhat notorious over the years of consistently selling modern devices with single core 800 MHZ processors and 512 MB of RAM. This makes the bulk of their products woefully slow, this new one is aimed at a different segment and is optimal for bringing it out in the field.
One of Amazon’s greatest strengths has been the massive expansion of their warehouses and fulfillment centers all over the world. They are spread out geographically so when you order a product, its shipped from the nearest one in your State or one close by. Shipping out packages quickly and effectively has won the Seattle based company acclaim and one of the benefits of a $79 per year Prime membership is free two day shipping. In the near future, customers may get packages 30 minutes after ordering them with their futuristic program called Prime Air.
Amazon is employing a new fleet of aerial drones that are similar to the quad helicopters we see on the consumer level. The intention is to have the drone pick up a package at a fulfillment center and navigate the city or country via advanced GPS, right to your door.
CEO Jeff Bezos channeled the showman spirit of Steve Jobs when announcing this new initiative to the show 60 minutes. ”The hardest challenge in making this happen is demonstrating to the standards of the FAA that this is a safe thing to do. This is years of additional work at this point,” Bezos said.
Amazon is betting on the future of shopping to be delivered by drones. They fly above the city streets, do not get stuck in traffic and go right from the conveyer belt to your front door. ”I know this looks like science fiction — it’s not,” Bezos said. “It will work and it will happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
During the holiday season Amazon is processing over 300 orders a second. The drone based delivery could be operational by 2015, but it is firmly up to the FAA to approve for the use of drones in the public sector.
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