It’s time for our weekly look at the top-selling digital comics of the week. There are a few surprises this week and some predictable results as well.
1. Amazing X-Men #2
2. Superior Spider-Man #23
3. Inhumanity #1
4. Earth 2 #18
5. Batman/Superman #6
6. The Walking Dead #117
7. Amazing Spider-Man #700.1
8. Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 3 #9
9. Young Avengers, vol. 2 #13
10. Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #2
Marvel dominates the comiXology top ten again this week, taking seven out of ten slots; The Walking Dead #117, which topped the chart last week, is back for an encore in the number 6 slot, and DC has just two titles on the list. One of this week’s notable Marvel titles is Inhumanity #1, which kicks off a series about the Inhumans, an ancient, genetically enhanced tribe whose city has just been destroyed. And Peter Parker is back in Amazing Spider-Man #700.1, with both Peter and the series being resurrected after the supposedly final events of Amazing Spider-Man #700.
1. The Hedge Knight
2. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin, vol. 1
3. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
4. The Sandman, vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
5. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
6. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
7. Batman, vol. 1: The Court of Owls
8. Justice League, vol. 1: Origin
9. Ultimate Comics Wolverine vs. Hulk
10. The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes
Most of the books on this week’s list are the same as last week’s, but the order is shuffled around quite a bit, which means people are still buying them. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is new to the list; it was released two weeks ago by Dynamite Entertainment.
1. Smallville #1
2. The Sandman: Overture #1
3. Naruto, vol. 63
4. Forever Evil #3
5. Demon Love Spell, vol. 5
6. It’s a Dog’s Life, Snoopy
7. Sandman #1
8. The World According to Lucy
9. Snoopy at the Bat
10. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
Smallville #1 topped the Nook list last week, too, but you didn’t see it here because it was a free comic—DC was offering a number of digital-first comics for free over the Thanksgiving holiday. Its position in the number one slot probably reflects a lot of free downloads. Everything else is in the same position relative to the other books as they were last week, except for one more new title: Demon Love Spell, vol. 5. This series was my pick for the worst manga of 2013 at the Best and Worst Manga panel at San Diego Comic Con last summer, which shows how much I know.
1. The Walking Dead #117
2. The Walking Dead, vol. 19
3. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #13
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
5. The Walking Dead Compendium Two
6. The Walking Dead #116
7. My Little Pony Micro Series #10: Luna
8. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1
9. The Walking Dead Compendium One
10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #12
The Walking Dead are taking over the iBookstore, apparently, with six titles in the top ten as opposed to four My Little Pony titles. It’s interesting how much of a lock these two comics have on the iBooks top ten, and that holds true further down the list as well; it’s as if these are the only titles a lot of people buy on iBooks.
Early last month, Netflix announced that it will develop five miniseries based on Marvel comics: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will each get their own miniseries, then they will all come together in The Defenders. Last week, the news broke that Twilight writer Melissa Rosenberg will be the writer and executive producer of the Jessica Jones miniseries; she had previously developed a series for ABC based on the character, but that project never came to fruition.
Jessica Jones is an intriguing character. She went to high school with Peter Parker and was there when he was bitten by the radioactive spider that turned him into Spider-Man. Shortly after that, she was in a car accident in which her family was killed and she was exposed to radioactive chemicals, which gave her her powers. In her first comic series, Alias, which is not available digitally, she took the name Jewel and became a costumed superhero, but things did not work out well, and she left to become a private investigator.
Jessica takes a prominent role in the series The Pulse, which is available as part of the Marvel Unlimited subscription service but not on comiXology (except for issue #10, which is a tie-in to the House of M event). As the series begins, she is the girlfriend of superhero Luke Cage and is expecting his child. Looking for a steady income and health insurance, she takes a job with the Daily Bugle (the same paper where Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s alter ego, is a photographer) as a sort of consultant, working with reporters Ben Urich and Kat Farrell. There are three story arcs that are a good read on their own: issues 1-5, in which the staff investigates the disappearance of another reporter and ends up unmasking the Green Goblin; issues 11-13, in which Jessica has her baby during rather tumultuous circumstances; and issue 14, the final issue in the series, in which she tells her baby about one other time she tried to be a superhero, but set it aside to protect two children who were left at a crime scene. At the end of this issue, she decides she will marry Luke Cage, who proposed in issue 13. These three story arcs are a great introduction to Jessica and Luke and won’t get you bogged down with other storylines, as the rest of the series crosses over with other Marvel stories.
If you want to see more of Jessica—and Luke—check out The New Avengers, vol. 2, which ran from 2010-2012. In this series, Luke and his superhero compatriots move to the Avengers Mansion, splitting off from the main group, but they are soon drawn into a battle with supernatural forces. In Settle in for a good read, because this series lasts for 34 issues (also available on Marvel Unlimited).
While news is out about the creative team behind the show, nobody has yet said where Jessica will be in her life journey—the series could focus on her Alias days, before she met Luke and had her baby, or it could pick up the storyline later. The course of true love doesn’t always run smooth for Luke and Jessica, so there are a lot of possibilities. Add that to the fact that Jessica is a strong woman who is fiercely devoted to her child, but at the same time has a realistic view of her abilities and the constraints of life as a superhero, and you have the opportunity for a show that really breaks the standard superhero mold. With Rosenberg helming the project, it will be interesting to see what lies in store for Jessica Jones.
Verdict: 4 Stars
Game developer and author Jeff Kinney has done it again with a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid title, Hard Luck (Amulet Books). In this go around, life is even tougher for everyone’s favorite cartoonish middle schooler. Not only does he have the usual obstacles to juggle, like unpopularity, not doing well in school, and the proverbial middle child problems, this year, and even bigger threat has invaded: a girlfriend.
Specifically, Greg’s best friend’s girlfriend. Rowley, who could be counted on to be Greg’s wingman in all situations, somehow has attracted someone of the opposite sex, and therefore dropped Greg like third period French.
Part of the fun of the Wimpy Kid books is that they are completely relatable to both current readers and to adults who remember the angst of middle school. Apart from that, readers can also enjoy the “you, not me” aspect to Greg’s misadventures. While the book series has been banned in several US schools and libraries due to the attitudes and misbehaviors of some of the key characters, the entire series and this title in particular are perfect for reluctant readers who might identify with the constant uncertainty Greg feels.
Hard Luck is available now, and currently holds the number one bestseller spot on several retailer and book lists.
Simon&Schuster UK has recently announced the launch of a genre-specific social media and blog site, meant to entice avid readers of its New Adult and Romance titles. Called The Hot Bed and curated by an in-house team of four Simon&Schuster UK professionals, the site aims to be the source for news about S&S’s top-selling and most well-loved romance authors, as well as a blog for those authors to make appearances.
Fans will also get in on the action as they can connect with authors and with one-another via the site. The Twitter and Facebook feeds for the new site will allow fans to engage with the storylines and offer their remarks. The site also offers Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube landings.
Several authors have already been featured on the site, including S&S authors Jamie McGuire, Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Alice Clayton, and Christina Lauren.
As the site continues to grow, new program offerings will be announced, including reader events for fans. The site has also promised future efforts to promote the brand through connectedness with other presumably romance brands.
Jamie McGuire, Abbi Gilnes, Colleen Hoover, Alice Clayton and Christina Lauren
None had expected the UK based supermarket chain Tesco to come up with a tablet offering of its own; and if that wasn’t enough, the company has now stated they are planning a sequel for launch soon. All of it started with the Hudl, whose biggest feature has been its affordable price tag. Tesco is claiming the Hudl, which went on sale for £119 (roughly around 195 USD), sold in numbers significant enough to warrant coming up with a sequel. The Hudi went on to notch up sales figure of more than 35,000 within the first few days of its launch, while around 300,000 have been sold in the two months since. That is the entire shipment they had expected to sell through the end of 2013.
As for the upcoming Hudl 2, almost the entire thing remains cloaked in secrecy and the only thing we know of the upcoming device is that it will sport enhanced specifications. That’s hardly surprising considering every sequel is designed to be better than its predecessor. However, it remains to be seen just how much of an improvement Hudl 2 comes with without disturbing the affordability factor which is believed to be Tesco’s trump card.
Aldi’s decision to follow suit with an even cheaper tablet, one that costs just £80, may be a competing point for the Hudl. Dubbed the Medion Lifetab Android tablet or just Lifetab, the tablet comes with features that can be considered befitting the price tag, though a reported four hour run time will be a real pain. Nevertheless, the tablet offers compatibility with the Google Play Store where it will have access to over 850k Android apps. The tablet also comes pre-loaded with quite a few apps such as Drawing Pad, a media player, and a month long free trial of Kaspersky Tablet Security.
As such, there seems to be a new battle brewing in the ultra-low cost tablet segment where the Hudl may have taken an initial lead, though competition is hot on its heels.
The US Apple App Store has crossed one important milestone, that of playing host to over a million live apps for the first time ever. The above feat has been achieved in around five years’ time since the app store first came into being in July 2008. Apple had announced its worldwide app store has made it past the million approved app mark almost a year ago though back then; it’s about 700k apps that were live. Now with over a million live apps, the number of approved apps now stands at a staggering 14 million. Of the more than million apps now live, more than half of these are specific to the iPad while around 900k app apply to the iPhone. In comparison, the Google Play Store now has 881k live apps of the 1.17 million that has been approved.
However, there has been no official statement issued highlighting the above feat. This is surprising as this is the kind of news that anyone will like to go around town trumpeting such an achievement. It was the app discovery site Appsfire that first spotted such a development, something that has been confirmed by Macrumors own app discovery site AppShopper which lists the number of apps available for download being 1,006,557.
Apple has just had a bumper November for sales, which saw demand for its products rise 19 to 20 percent month over month. This is much higher than the normal six percent increase in sales during Novembers over the past several years. Sales are usually robust during the month which marks the onset of the holiday shopping season, though demand for Apple products seems to be exceptionally high this year. This prompted Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White to declare this year’s performance to be the best so far.
Much of the demand can be attributed to the new range of Apple devices. These include the new iPad Air, which comes with a new design that has made it among the thinnest and lightest tablet in the world, and a new iPad mini with Retina Display that has been in short supply, prompting buyers to lap up the first gen iPad Mini which continues to flourish. The new iPhone, which incorporates a fingerprint scanner, has also been selling in record numbers. The iPhone will get a further boost in sales if the deal with China Mobile to launch the iPhone in that country has indeed gone through as expected.
“With approximately 97 percent of the sales now accounted for in our Apple Barometer, we estimate sales in November rose by approximately 19-20 percent month-over-month, and well above the November average of up 6 percent over the past eight years,” said White. “As such, we believe this November will prove to be the strongest in the history of our Apple Barometer.”
The good performance no doubt will lead to a much better showing during the holiday quarter, even after taking into account a 10 percent drop in sales during December. “If we assume an average MoM sales decline of 10% in December, we estimate our Apple Barometer will grow sales by 28% QoQ in 4Q:13, or more than double the average increase of 13% over the past eight years,” said White in a research note to investors.
Apple’s Barometer is a measure of sales achieved by the company based on data compiled from the Taiwan based companies that supply the components that goes into the making of the Apple devices.
The YotaPhone breaks a lot of new ground with its dual display design, opening up a lot of new opportunities for users. With a regular LCD display on one side and an e-ink panel of equal size on the other, the YotaPhone could well be the ultimate smartphone device for many out there; well, theoretically at least. The device isn’t exactly cheap either, having already gone on sale in select European countries for a cool 499 Euros, though it’s not known when it’s going to land in the US.
One question that is on top of everyone’s mind is whether the YotaPhone is as good as it claims. The device comes close, but leaves some space for improvement. To begin with, the device lacks the sleek shine of many of its ilk. Instead, the YotaPhone comes across as a chubby device with thick bezels that give it somewhat of a budget smartphone look.
The lack of the typical Android set of buttons along the front makes things look clean and interesting, though it also requires the user to use a few swiping actions to get going. A right swipe is needed to reach home, while a left swipe accomplishes what the back button does. To see recent apps, one will have to double tap on the display. Similarly, a swipe down using two fingers will take a screenshot of the display and transfer it to the rear display. The gesture controls might be a little disappointing to Android loyalists, which is further amplified by the fact that the swipe pads can be unresponsive at times.
This takes us straight to the most interesting aspect of the device, the secondary e-ink panel along the rear. Unfortunately, being used to the likes of the Amazon Kindles, the rather low 640 x 360 pixel e-ink panel leaves a lot to be desired. Text can be fuzzy to hardly readable at times on the display that has been fetched from the front LCD panel.
However, reading ebooks can be satisfactory, though not the best. The biggest issue here is that the e-ink panel is bogged with ghost images, with a faint image of the previous display lingering. If that is not enough, the lack of adequate ebook reading apps can be telling. While popular ebook reading apps such as Kindle or Kobo can be downloaded on the device, the same won’t work with the e-ink display. Instead, those who’d like to read books will have to make do with the Bookmate app, and it suffers from a very limited collection. There aren’t many apps currently available that can make the most of the e-ink panel, though the notepad that the device comes with can be pretty handy.
These issues however cannot dent the biggest advantage that the e-ink panel has to offer, that of its power saving credentials. The display can hold an image all day long without draining the battery and the rear e-ink panel can also be handy for checking email, notifications, and incoming messages without having to wake up the phone, thus saving power. The e-ink panel also allows for reading just as comfortably in bright sunlight conditions as it would indoors, adding tremendous flexibility to the device.
As for the front LCD 1,280 x 720 pixel display, things are pretty much the same as can be expected of a device running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean except that its controls require getting used to. The dual core chip rated at 1.7 GHz does a good job at keeping things quick and peppy though it doesn’t have the more advanced quad core chips.
In the end, what can be said is that it’s still a work-in-progress. The YotaPhone needs to be fine-tuned before it can deliver a complete and enriching user experience. While the device as a whole needs a fresh and thorough once over, the rear e-ink panel will definitely benefit from more third party apps being developed to make the most of it, something that is practically non-existent right now. As things stand right now, there isn’t much that can be done with the e-ink side of the YotaPhone even though it does have the potential of being a pretty handy ebook reading device.
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.
The staff at Good e-Reader have been working on fumes this year with such a copious amount of e-reading devices that have come out in 2013. We have reviewed close to 70 different tablets, e-readers, smartwatches and the tech that goes into consumer devices. Today, Peter looks at the top 5 e-reading devices of 2013!
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.