Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3 Ways E-Books Will Help Save Serious Money In the Near Future

Several editions of the "Barnes & Noble C...
With 1 in 6 Americans owning e-readers—and over half the population owning a smartphone—the odds are that if you’re reading this, you’re already familiar with e-books. Whether or not you’re a fan, most people still appreciate saving a few bucks off the hardcover price, as well as the lack of shipping cost. But those kinds of discounts are just the beginning of what e-books will do in the upcoming years. Here are 3 ways that e-books will introduce significant savings to consumers and the public in general:

College Textbooks

If you’ve been through college in the last decade—or sent a child through it—you understand how expensive textbooks are. Up until recently, college textbooks had an established market with limited competition, leaving a student few options other than spending $300-600 a semester on books. You could always hunt for used books online, but the high turnover rate of book editions meant that you’d probably end up with an outdated version. Additionally, many professors have their own books published through University presses, then require these books as course materials, which formerly meant that the only way to acquire the book was through a regional college bookstore.

While the textbook market is still pretty controlled, it’s expanding a little each year, and e-books are gradually worming their way into the competition. A few years from now, it may well be impossible for a college press to justify a $200 tab for a book just because they’re the sole publisher, especially when that content can be re-created endlessly for e-readers, without violating the copyright details.

Public Libraries

The mark of a civilized nation has always been an availability of knowledge to the public, and for the longest time our libraries were the only source of this. The Internet has obviously changed things forever, but public libraries still play a crucial role in providing professionally published, copyrighted books at no charge. Unfortunately, some of the first budgets to get cut in economically uncertain times are the ones that support libraries.

E-books allow authors and publishers to donate authorized content free of charge, content that doesn’t require a building to be stored in, or the expensive resources needed to maintain hardcopy collections. Over time, this will save millions of tax dollars in maintaining public libraries, while making the availability of content stored within the library archives limitless.

Traditional Mass Market Fiction And Non Fiction

It’s no secret that the times have changed for book publishers and retail sellers. When massive chains like Borders shut their doors, it casts a looming shadow on all brick-and-mortar bookstores, from your favorite independent place all the way to Barnes & Noble. While this is certainly a scary time for traditional book sellers, the one group that will benefit will be the average reader. Traditional book prices are built around a system of printing, binding, distribution, and sale in a costly retail space. When most books become electronic as a primary medium, rather than a supplement to a hardcover and paperback release, expect those prices to permanently drop.

Most of these changes will be gradual, but we’re already seeing the effects today. The future of books will clearly be in digital form, with hardcopies becoming a niche market for collectors and avid readers. While that will signal the end of an era for many retail publishers and sellers, it will keep reading alive—and affordable—as our culture dives head first into a new technological age.

John is a tech blogger who will still loves going to Barnes & Noble, even though he uses his Kindle and iPhone every day. He writes for such companies as Protect Your Bubble, an insurer of every kind of gadget that can display an e-book, including smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight eReader - Review

The Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight is a state-of-the-art e-Reader that comes with an integrated light. It has a powerful accelerometer that automatically detects the point of orientation of the neighboring device. You can flip through the pages effortlessly using the capacitive touchscreen or use the buttons located on either side of the device to swipe the pages. The dual-feature gives you a flexible option to operate the device your preferred way, which could prove to be handy especially when you are at work wearing gloves.

The other nifty additions to the e-Reader include:

  • A MicroSD card slot – which lets you add up to 32GB extra data
  • A Menu button
  • A Power button

The Integrated light

Now… let’s talk about the special feature – that is, the integrated light. The manufacturer says that it is primarily designed to provide light support in the dark, so it is not to be used frequently. The light’s default brightness level is at 50% which is not essentially good for the eyes. The screen turns a bit yellowish and looks dull when the light is turned off. However, it provides great illumination in the dark and in dim-lighted areas. This makes it a perfect eReader for people who like to read when they are travelling or those who like to read in bed light. As we were using it, we felt that the brightness was okay on the eyes when it was set at a low intensity level. The 758x1024 pixel resolution on the screen is sharp – we found it very effective when drawing in dim light.


Similar to what was present in the previous Odyssey versions, this one too is comprised of an accelerometer which automatically oriented itself when the eReader is rotated in various directions. However, we found the accelerometer point to wrong directions a couple of times when rotated swiftly. It also remained stuck temporarily when kept in landscape mode. We just changed the pointer manually and made sure it came back to the right point of orientation again.

The essential inclusions

The Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight eReader comes with an all-encompassing web browser and a built-in WiFi. So it’s easy to create an account from the eReader and access the branded eBook store. Also, there is a capacitive touchscreen and a nice on-screen keyboard that makes operations smoother and easier.

User-friendly features

Most of the Bookeen ebooks are in French and are priced in Euros, so you will need to do most of your shopping from some other medium and later transfer it to your eReader. This isn’t really difficult though. When connected to the computer, the eReader looks like a bulk storage device on which you can easily drag-drop DRM-free eBooks. The eReader is capable of handling multiple formats such as PDFs, TXT, FB2 and HTML. We tried loading heavy PDF files and were pleased to see that the file loaded much quicker than we imagined.

Apart from the orientation issue, we didn’t really find anything annoying about the Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight eReader. Our ratings for the first-of-its-kind eReader would be a 4 on 5!

This guest post is brought to you by SHARON THOMAS of, a site that offers savings and current information on dish network high speed internet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Will the $59.99 Kobo Mini eReader be your pick?

You may have heard of the 5-inch eReader, Kobo Mini, but failed to pay attention to it. This lightweight title is being offered at a price of $59.99 for the upcoming Valentine’s Day (from Jan. 25th to Feb. 14th 2013) despite its marginally cheaper price of $49.99 before Christmas in 2012.

Compared to the well-known Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Mini comes at a cheaper price and smaller size. If you are living outside of US, it may be a better option, together with Sony eReaders, since standard EPUB eBooks(including Adobe DRM-protected PDF books) are well supported on Kobo instead of Kindle devices.

Technical Specs of Kobo Mini

Here is Kobo Mini eReader review (video) from Good e-Reader.

If you are interested in an eReader with Glowlight, check this Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kobo Glo (video).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

3 Important Reminders About E-Books

By 2013, even the most traditional of avid readers has been exposed to the digital revolution of the e-book. Whether you’ve bravely embraced the new literary medium or are still partial to the spine and dust jacket world of tangibility, you’ve had the time to scope out several different e-readers and form an opinion on where you stand. If you’re still unconvinced that the e-book is one of the best chances that the written word has to survive into the 21st century, here are 3 quick reminders to help persuade you into checking them out:

E-books Are More Durable Than Hardcopies

The first time you heard about an e-book, you probably wondered why you’d want to pay the full price of a novel for what is essentially a text file, something that could be lost in the shuffle as easily as any Word document or PDF that’s been buried in the depths of your hard drive. But in an age where every e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble is permanently stored in your online account with that company, you never have to worry about losing a couple dozen books at once if you accidentally drop your suitcase on the unsuspecting screen of your e-reader. Just register a new device with your account, and every book you’ve ever purchased is available in moments, like a Noah’s Ark full of John Grisham thrillers.

This kind of protection is unprecedented for bibliophiles, who in the past didn’t have the option of re-downloading their library of hardcovers if the moving company sent their boxes to Alaska by mistake, or if uncaring hands broke the bindings on every paperback on the shelf.

E-books Are Always The Same Size

This is something that you might not think would bother you, but after you’ve read your first 4 or 5 books on an e-reader, you may find it a little awkward or irritating that so many books—especially those in a series—come in a variety of sizes. You may have picked up the mass market paperback of Game of Thrones in a grocery store, gotten hooked, then gone to Barnes & Noble to get A Clash Of Kings and found that they only have the larger, bulkier trade paperback, or only the hardcover. You don’t want to wait until you can find one in the same size as the first book, so you end up with a series of books that look severely mismatched on your shelf, like you sent one of your kids to private school and the rest had to survive downtown with the public.

A comfortable e-reader gives you everything in the same size and dimension, and you never have to worry about lugging around an 800-page behemoth that you didn’t actually want in hardcover.

E-books Offer A Positive Form of Instant Gratification

Most of the things in our culture that are instantly available aren’t really good for you—fast food and reality television are within reach 24 hours a day, but make them too much of a habit and your body and mind will start to suffer for it. E-books, on the other hand, take advantage of your momentary desires, but won’t leave you feeling burned out afterward.

If you read a sample chapter of something on Amazon during the commercials for CSI, you may find yourself intrigued enough to want the whole book. But when you finally have some free time later in the week to hit up a bookstore or order a paperback online, you’ve forgotten all about that fleeting literary urge. With an e-book, you can start reading past that sample chapter in moments, and take advantage of that momentum to discover a book that you may have never gotten around to otherwise. Let’s face it: it takes quite a bit of effort to read a book these days, so you have to stoke that fire with whatever tools are available.

If you’re dead set against the approaching digital tide, than these points probably won’t offer anything new to convince you. But if you’re on the fence about e-books and e-readers, then you owe it to yourself to take advantage of this incredible new medium. You’ll read more, you’ll ultimately save a bit of money, and you’ll have a personal library at your fingertips anywhere in the world.

John is a tech blogger who cherishes every moment with his Kindle. He writes for a variety of companies, including gadget insurer, who can help protect your e-reader from theft and damage.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Windows 8 reading app list

I have written several posts about how to read eBooks on Windows 8 (Surface RT / Pro). In this post, I will bring you the collection of mainstream Win 8 reading apps.

1. MetroReader ($1.49) 
Supported formats: DRM-free EPUB, TXT

Metro reader is the first reading app for Windows 8, which supports the most popular eBook format EPUB as well as TXT. By using this app, users can read eBooks offline, set view modes, resize fonts, etc.

2. Nook for Win 8 / RT 
Supported formats: Purchased Nook books

Nook for Win 8 / RT app offers users a platform to purchase various electronic titles including books, magazines, comics, etc. from Barnes & Noble. It supports reading-progress syncing, font adjusting, space / theme setting, free-sample fetching, 14-day free subscription, auto recommendation by theme, and the like.

3. Kobo for Win 8 / RT
Supported formats: Kobo books, DRM-free & Adobe DRM-protected EPUB / PDF

Kobo for Win 8 / RT app is reportedly to offer an access to over 1 million free classic titles. People can easily reach the hottest Kobo books on its home screen. Parallel to other reading apps, it allows readers to customize reading themes / fonts / layouts and store books on Kobo cloud.

4. Adobe Reader for Win 8 / RT 
Supported formats: DRM-free & password-protected PDF
Free Adobe Reader app enables readers to quickly open general PDF files along with password-protected PDFs in various cases (email, web, devices, etc.). You can also use it to locate recently-read files, search for text, zoom text / images, bookmark, use link, share, email as attachments and so on.

5. Kindle for Windows 8 
Supported formats: all Kindle formats (AZW serials, TPZ, PRC, MOBI)

Kindle for Windows 8 comes in an elegant way. You can pin Kindle books to Windows Start screen, set background color / font size / reading columns, highlight, take notes, look up word definitions, listen to Kindle books (text-to-speech function), etc. What’s more, you won’t miss any fabulous book at a budget (free) price.

6. Adobe Dgital Editions for Win 8 (not available)
Supported formats: DRM-free & Adobe DRM-protected EPUB / PDF

Adobe Digital Editions is a professional reading app supporting Adobe DRM protected PDF and EPUB files. Although there is no ADE for Windows 8 available, you can install ADE 1.7 or ADE 2.0 (.NET 3.5 required) on full Windows 8 devices. Win 8 RT devices are not supported by Adobe Digital Editions.

7. Calibre
Supported formats: DRM-free EPUB / PDF / MOBI

Calibre well supports DRM-free EPUB / PDF / Kindle MOBI books on PC / Mac. As with ADE, there is no Calibre for Windows 8 / RT version. Fortunately, we can install Calibre Windows (supporting XP, Vista, Win 7 / 8) or Calibre Windows 64 bit (supporting Vista, Win 7 / 8) depending on our systems. It does not support RT processor, either.

This presentation shows how to read eBooks on Windows 8 with above apps.

Friday, January 18, 2013

6 eBook-related tools you can't miss

As an avid eBook-reader, you must have endured incompatible eBook formats and the confounded DRM restrictions for long. Here are 6 eBook-related tools you can't miss, which is sure to make your e-reading life even more flexible and convenience.

Amazon Kindle reading app undoubtedly belongs to the category that you can't miss. It gives you an easy access to Amazon's abundant eBook titles, including thousands of free & high-quality eBooks protected by exclusive Kindle DRM, which are not supported on non-Kindle apps or devices at all.

Parallel to protected Kindle AZW / TPZ / PRC books, considerable EPUB and PDF books purchased from non-Kindle stores are DRM protected as well. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) can well support Adobe DRM protected EPUB and PDF books and deliver complete eBook managing functions to readers. In addition, you can use 3rd party reading apps with ADE supported such as Aldiko and Stanza, to read eBooks on portable devices: iPad, android tablets, etc.

You must have been familiar with the famous eBook converter, Calibre. Yes, it's magic, which can be used to convert eBook formats, edit eBook metadata, transfer eBooks, get books, subscribe to RSS/Blogs, Get books, etc. What's more, it's free!

Epubor Ultimate is an all-in-one software to help remove DRM from regular Kindle / EPUB / PDF / Nook books and convert eBook formats at one time. Thus you can feel free to purchase eBooks from most stores and then convert to formats supported on your eReader devices. If you are an Epubor patron, you will get a free link for hundreds of bestsellers from Epubor.

Compared to ADE, most people are still accustomed to open PDF files with Adobe Reader. It does not work on DRM-protected PDFs but offers strong support to PDF itself. Another professional PDF reader is Foxit Reader, which offers even stronger support to PDF files than Adobe Reader, however, there is only Windows version available.

Sometimes we need to create PDF files by ourselves, according to those existing documents. PDF Creator empowers you to convert any printable files, Word, Excel, Presentation, Webpage, JPEG, etc. to PDF with a simple "print" button. As a result, we can create a rough PDF eBook with ease. And it's free.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Learn HTML and CSS for free!

HTML and CSS are basic skills for folks dealing with web services. People who haven't yet grasped these courses are always ready to search out free ways to learn about HTML & CSS. I stumbled across a post about this on IT World and then got to know learn.shayhowe.

This site offers free stuff to teach people how to build websites with HTML and CSS technology. There are guides for newbies and seniors respectively. However, I failed to find a way to get them downloaded directly from the site.

Consequently, I generated PDFs chapter by chapter and then merged separated chapters into one PDF based on the webpages so that people can read it (A Beginner’s Guide to HTML & CSS) offline. However, it totally depends on the original webpages, which comes with plenty of redundant & irregular content. Sorry...

Free download A Beginner’s Guide to HTML & CSS 

This PDF is completely based on learn.shayhowe. Any commercial behavior is not permitted.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kindle Touch Software 5.3.2 new features

Amazon Kindle Touch has got Paperwhite-like features now. Viewed from this point, Amazon doesn’t show an obvious preference for Paperwhite. Great Job! Now let’s check what features the latest software has brought to us.

1. A new user interface
2. Whispersync for Voice
3. Enhanced Parental Controls
4. Book Covers
5. Time-to-Read
6. Recommended Content
7. Enhanced book samples
8. Navigate graphic novels, and comics

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get free Kindle books in 5 ways

Free Kindle eBooks are always popular, especially when they come with high quality. One merit of eBooks is precisely that we can embrace a cloud of free eBooks without paying for them, along with dedicated reading devices. Among considerable sites for free books, I sort out 5 ones here so that you can get free Kindle books efficiently!

1. Amazon.
The best way is to go to Amazon directly. Checkthis link, you will get free Kindle book list in front of you. In this case, however, you are likely to spend more time to pick out the right one.

As you like, you can input and search for “free Kindle eBook” as well.

Get free Kindle books - Amaon Kindle

Get free Kindle books - Daily Free Books - logo
This is obviously a professional site delivering free eBooks, where you can get free books not only from Amazon Kindle but also from Smarshwords. Free eBooks can be displayed in multiple modes according to your setting. Anyway, you may well look for a desirable title as thou wilt.

Get free Kindle books - Daily Free Books - grid

Get free Kindle books - Daily Free Books - list

Get free Kindle books - Free Kindle Books

I personally like this site very much. Kindle books are classified here and it’s easy to go to the right section and look for good titles.

4. Pixel of Ink
Get free Kindle books - Pixel of Ink

Pixel of Ink is another site for getting free Kindle books, where hundreds of well-reviewed free Kindle books are covered, together with book description attached in the home page. Subscribe to Pixel of Ink and you need not to check the site regularly.

Get free Kindle books - Hundred Zeros
As it describes, “Hundred Zeros is a frequently updated catalog of best-sellers that are free on Amazon”. You can easily get the most popular free Kindle books on the whole or select a category in terms of your own tastes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Non-fiction eBooks/books you can’t miss

People always discuss the “best things” on communities. I was riveted by such a topic on quora the other day and let’s check the good non-fiction books that we can’t miss!

1. Guns of August by Barbara Tuchma
This is a highly recommended historical eBook to let you know about World War I.

2. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
This well-written eBook soon grasped readers’ attention and became a bestseller when it’s firstly published in 1996.

3. Drive by Daniel Pink
As The New York Times put, shattering new way to think about motivation.

4. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Now people think about food instead of exclusive eating when they are at fast food restaurant.

5. Half of the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof
Amazing stories in this book will give you strength.

6. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
As one of the best non-fiction reads, it is said to have changed the way many people think about food.

7. Letters of the Century by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler
This book aims to deliver an emotional impact. According to the book's editors, "The difference between knowing that Americans were grateful to Jonas Salk and reading this letter to him is like the difference between knowing the words of a song and hearing it sung. Letters give history a voice."

8. The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
Through this business book, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen tells you what you should do and what you shouldn’t, in a clear way. 

9. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
You will get the true American history ahead of you through this book.

10. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Read this book, enjoy two historical stories and decide for yourself.

11. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
This is an immensely funny read, which will even drive people to make mistakes in a similarly funny way.

12. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
This is a book filled with wisdom, bringing moving and inspiring to the audience.

13. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
This book makes people laugh and think at the same time.

14. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
You are bound to resonate with David Sedaris, the bestselling author, through this humorous words.

15. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This is an enlightening book written by the bestselling author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which might change the way you think about the world through history, economics and other angles.

16. The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker's enthusiasm about language is bound to leave a deep impression on you.

17. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Interesting to read, The Tipping Point shows that ideas, messages and cognate things have ways to spread rapidly.

18. The Art of War
It tells you how to deal with conflicts in a courageous way.

There must be many other fascinating non-fiction books that this post has overlooked. Why not leave a comment below with a short description?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to use Office app on Kindle Fire

People often deal with office documents, especially Word on their mobile devices such as Kindle Fire, apart from regular entertainment ones. Here I will show you how to use a free app, Kingsoft Office for Android on Kindle Fire.

Firstly, make sure that the setting of “Allow Installation of Applications” is ON.
(Tap upper right corner)”More…” -> “Device” -> “Allow Installation of Applications” -> “ON”.

Secondly, download Kingsoft Office for Android on your Kindle Fire. In this case, your Kindle Fire is required to be Internet connected.

Home -> “Apps” -> “Store”. Type in “Kingsoft Office for Android” and search for it. This app is inherently free, however, non-US users cannot download apps from amazon store, even free ones. Consequently, I recommend the second method to you.

Launch Kindle Fire’s built in browser, google for “Kingsoft Office for Android free download” and go to Kingsoft’s official site to download. Never try to do this on Google store since Kindle Fire users have no way to download apps there (except for rooted ones). Tap “option” icon at the bottom of the download page, then “Download” icon, you will find the downloaded APK item. Tap to install.

use Office-on Kindle Fire-install

Third, check this office app on Kindle Fire.

There are five icons in the upper right corner, which are used to open, create, share, remove and interactive. Tap the “WPS” logo in the upper left corner, you will get all related icons. Here we create a new document by tapping “New Document” under “Create” category.

Create a Word document. 

use Office-Word on Kindle Fire

On this app, we can edit, spell check, find and replace, insert all kinds of contents (picture, table, hyperlink, comment, Evernote, manual paint, etc.), set formats including style, encrypt and the like. Wow, what a powerful word app! One fly in the ointment is the typing. If you are a Kindle Fire HD user, add a bluetooth keyboard to it.

Create a Presentation (PPT) document.

use Office-PowerPoint on Kindle Fire

Compared to Word, the Presentation function shows inferior performance. No rich models or Custom Animations are provided. We only can edit and play in a basic level.

Create a Spreadsheet (Excel) document.

use Office-Excel on Kindle Fire

Spreadsheet is famous for its ability to deal with all typed of data. Well, Kingsoft spreadsheet is strong as well to some extent. You can edit, insert a cloud of functions, ascending/descending, check data validation, edit cells and so on. Nevertheless, it’s not convenient to edit an excel file on Kindle Fire at all. Perhaps we shouldn’t count too much on a 7-inch tablet, which is not a computer after all.

When saving doc, you’d better save to “My Documents” folder. When the Kindle Fire is connected to computer with the USB cable, you will get your file under “documents” folder.

Apart from Kindle Fire, you can install this office app on other android devices (tablets and mobiles) like Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD, Nexus7, Samsung Galaxy and HTC mobile models. Thus all android can benefit from it.

All in all, this app is a good option for people who use office files on the go while they can turn to games or videos at intervals. However, if you are at home or at office, conventional MS Office software is still better.