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eBooks

OverDrive Adds EPUB3 Support, Making It Easier to Read Highly Illustrated Files

overdrive304OverDrive, the largest digital eBook distribution platform for libraries, is now supporting EPUB3 fixed-layout files.

This means that the platform will now be able to properly display highly-illustrated eBooks including such titles as Ancient Rome and Star Wars Jedi Battles, as well as the children’s titles Corduroy and Armadilly Chili.

“OverDrive further extends our leadership with open industry standards utilizing HTML5 along with EPUB3 to open the door to a new world of content for our library and school partners,” stated Alexis Petric-Black, Manager of Publisher Account Services at OverDrive. “The materials and solutions OverDrive partners invest in have long-term compatibility due to this use of open industry standards.”

Liberio Lets You Make an eBook From Google Drive

liberioWant to make an eBook based on files in your Google Drive? A new eBook conversion tool called Liberio has hit the market that lets you do just that.

The platform, which is free with a Google account, allows you to turn any text-based document into an ePUB file directly from Google Drive.  The tool will keep your text format, fonts and images as they are in the Google file. There is even a tool to design your own cover or use a template cover.

Check it out: “We want to make the publishing of eBooks easy for everyone.No matter if you are a teacher, student, designer, artist,engineer or tinkerer, creating and publishing your own booksis now only a push of a button away.”

Oyster Now Available on Web & Mobile Browsers

web_reader_2eBook subscription service Oyster has expanded beyond apps and is now also available on the web and mobile browsers.

The news comes a week after Amazon revealed that it was getting into the eBook subscription business, steep competition for Oyster who so far has been leading the way in the Netflix-for-books business. According to Oyster, June was the company’s biggest month during which its total subscriber base grew by 35 percent. The company also revealed that there are more than 3 million pages read on Oyster a day.

The new platform will help make it more accessible to readers that do not have smartphones or tablets to read on.
“Knowing that about a third of ebook readers regularly read on the web, we’ve had our sights set on this launch for some time,” explained Eric Stromberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Oyster, in a statement. “This marks an important next step on our mission to provide the best product on as many devices as possible.”

Ben Cameron: Publishers Need to Match the Book to the Medium

cameronpublicityBook publicist Ben Cameron believes that publishers have a long way to go before they get eBooks right. In a piece penned for The Huffington Post, Cameron recounts his experience of reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on his Kindle.

The book itself is an eBook, according to the storyline, yet Cameron points out that the publisher didn’t go anything to take advantage of this fact when creating the eBook. Instead of making it interactive, they simply took the print files and digitized them.

Here is more from his piece: “At the moment publishers are quickly churning out ebook versions of the mainstays of their print backlists. But more often than not they are doing so without giving a moment’s thought to making even the simplest of changes to the printed book. So we end up with an introduction to an ebook that sings the praises of paperbacks or ebook cover images taken straight from printed books that boast of illustrations – when the illustrations have been stripped from the ebook editions.”

Oyster Responds to Amazon’s Entry Into eBook Subscription Market

oyster_iphone_book304Oyster, a leader in the Netflix-for-eBooks business, has responded to news that Amazon has entered the burgeoning new marketplace.

“We’re not surprised,” explained Eric Stromberg, CEO and Co-Founder at Oyster, in a statement. “They have pivoted from transactional to subscription-based in other media, and have had limited success. They really paved the way in ebooks, and it’s exciting to see them embrace the market we created as the future of books.”

Amazon’s new service, Kindle Unlimited, will compete directly with Oyster’s eBook subscription service. Both companies charge about $10 a month in subscription fees for unlimited access to their entire library. Oyster’s collection consists of more than 500,000 titles and Amazon’s boasts more than 600,000.

Scholastic to Go Multi-Platform With Upcoming TombQuest Series

tombquestScholastic is bringing a new title to its online gaming/multi-platform book community called TombQuest.

Joining the likes of The 39 CluesInfinity Ring and Spirit Animals, TombQuest is an action adventure story set in ancient Egypt written by author Michael Northrop. The story will include a series of five books, as well as an online interactive game.

The first book in the series, Book of the Dead, is slated for release in February 2015. The second will come out the following May. The books will include hidden puzzles and coded messages on the covers which readers can use in the online game. A beta edition of the game will launch this December. The game allows players to design their own ancient Egyptian maze. There is also a place in the game where readers can write their own fan fiction and share it with their friends.

The series will be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Hits eBook Stores

9780446310789_p0_v6_s260x420To Kill a Mockingbird is finally available in eBook form. After years of holding out, author Harper Lee agreed to the book’s digital publication back in April.

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. I am amazed and humbled that Mockingbird has survived this long. This is Mockingbird for a new generation,” she explained in a statement at the time, released through her publisher Harper Collins.

The book hit digital bookstores on Tuesday. Amazon is selling the title for $3.99 in the Kindle Store. Barnes & Noble has it for $8.99 in the Nook Store. Apple has the iBook available for $4.99.

Open Road Integrated Media Offers Sci-Fi eBook Humble Bundle Deal

openroadOpen Road Integrated Media has formed a partnership with Humble Bundle. The two have crafted a special eBook package tailored for science fiction readers.

According to the press release, this deal “offers eleven science-fiction titles by authors such as Greg Bear, Timothy Zahn, and William Dietz, which are available in multiple formats including PDF, mobi, and epub.” Buyers who pay $12.00 or more will have access to all eleven books.

This Humble Bundle deal will be made available from July 9th to July 23rd. The proceeds will be donated to two nonprofit organizations, the Science Fiction Writers of America Medical Fund and First Book. What do you think?

The Effectiveness of Free eBooks is Declining: Smashwords

smashwords304Offering up a free copy of your eBook has been a good way for self-published and first-time authors to promote their books to new readers. However, according to a new report from self-publishing site Smashwords, that tool may soon be played out.

Here is more from the Smashwords blog: “Free ebooks, according to our data derived from iBooks downloads, generated 39 times more downloads on average during our survey period than books at any price. Yet the effectiveness of free is down dramatically compared to our 2013 (91X) and 2012 (100X) survey results. While there is still much untapped greenfield opportunity for indies to leverage free, I expect the effectiveness of free will continue to decline as more authors learn to take advantage of it.”

The report, which includes 12 months of sales data for 250,000 titles across eBook retailers, also revealed that $2.99 and $3.99 were a popular price point for strong sales.

We’ve embedded the entire report for you to explore after the jump. Read more

Wattpad Reveals Winners of First Prize

wattpadprizeDigital literary community Wattpad revealed the winners of the inaugural Wattpad Prize, its first contest to celebrate readers and writers in the community.

There were more than 3,500stories submitted to the contest in both original fiction and original non-fiction. Here is more about the award from the Wattpad blog:

The Wattpad Prize represents the true spirit of expression by recognizing works of original fiction and original non-fiction, by Wattpadders from all over the world. This contest is Wattpad’s new, juried prize that celebrates both writers and readers from the community. To judge the Wattpad Prize, a panel of experts was chosen, comprised of the most dedicated and active Wattpad readers.

We’ve embedded Wattpad’s list of winners after the jump. Read more

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