[Re]introducing the Freda app: DRM-free public domain titles in ePub format

Have you heard of the Freda (short for ‘Free Reader’) app? It is a free ebook reading app that allows users to read free ebooks and other content in epub format, but it can also read books in FB2, TXT and HTML formats.  The app is free but ad-supported, in the form of a single banner ad from the app’s home screen, which can be removed with a $1.99 in-app purchase.

Users can use Freda to read non-DRM epubs on any Windows platform and, as of last week, the app is also available for Android devices (in beta version). Freda comes with a number of classic public domain titles displayed on the homescreen and it includes links to several online sources, including, among others, Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks and Smashwords, where users go to select free ebooks to download them into their app collection.

In addition to being able to pull books from other web sites, the app can also access books on DropBox, SkyeDrive and removable storage cards.

This is how Chris Meadows described the app in a Teleread review published last year: “the real magic of Freda comes from the reading interface, because it has a clean interface, excellent layout control, and literally the most expansive reading options screen I’ve ever seen on any e-reader application. In a new Teleread post last week, David Rothman sheds light on some new features. Read it here here.

Clearly, the app is being developed slowly, with a great deal of feedback from users, and it continues to improve its functionalities.

Book of the Week: Detached (Tanner Lutheran)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Detached

Though his stories are fictional, Lutheran tends to use pivotal real-life experiences as cornerstones in his work. In his newest piece, Detached, he writes as if the roles were reversed and he is no longer the victim of an accidental tragedy from his childhood, but rather the culprit. Lutheran grew up on the coast of North Carolina, where he became passionate about writing at a young age in his seventh-grade creative writing class.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Califa forms ongoing agreement to bring Total Boox to California libraries

Total Boox, the ebook service that offers unlimited simultaneous access while minimizing cost with payment based on actual reading, and the Califa Library Group, the consortium of California public libraries, have announced that Califa will continue reselling the Total Boox service to its members following the conclusion of a pilot period. Califa members will receive a discount on Total Boox, making it even more affordable to them.

Total Boox provides a collection of nearly 100,000 titles from reputable publishers, and libraries pay only for actual reading that their patrons do. This allows the library to expand its ebook collection from bestsellers-only to cover many areas of nonfiction and specialized fiction that it normally cannot provide. Continue reading Califa forms ongoing agreement to bring Total Boox to California libraries

#GivingThanks for Digital Audiobooks

In the opening scene of the new and Sacramento-hatred-drenched movie Lady Bird, the title character and her mother are listening to the closing 30 seconds or so of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath while driving on an August hot highway. They each shed a tear as the audiobook ends and then teenaged Lady Bird pops the cassette—the final of about 20—from the car player and back into its rigid, made-to-crack plastic shell. It’s 2002 and this is how most listeners handle audiobooks. Continue reading #GivingThanks for Digital Audiobooks

Free trial access to Adam Matthew’s Literary Print Culture granted to NSR readers through January 12th

Recently Adam Matthew announced the publication of its latest collection, Literary Print Culture: The Stationers’ Company Archive. NSR originally reported on it in late September. Widely regarded as one of the most important sources for the history of the book, publishing and copyright, the archive of The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers is now available for research via this digital archive.

Adam Matthew is now offering free public access to the archive through January 12, 2018 for No Shelf Required readers. Here are access details:

Libraries and other institutions interested in subscribing may contact publisher for pricing details. Generally, pricing is based on FTE, purchase history, and Carnegie Classification.

Book of the Week: The Trumpets of Jericho (J. Michael Dolan)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Trumpets of Jericho: A Novel

“If any four things could be said to characterize not only my outlook on life but my writing, they’d be my hatred of hypocrisy, meanness for meanness’ sake, blind obedience to authority, and cowardice in the face of injustice. I like to think of my novel, The Trumpets of Jericho, as a story so larger than life, so human, that once read it will become a permanent part of you. I live by myself just east of Austin, Texas, a magnet of a city for the freethinking young, or in my case, the young at heart.”

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Listening to Speak Well

November 19th marked the 154th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln delivering his Gettysburg Address, an event that, of course, was not recorded by any mechanical means. However, because of its brevity, powerful prosody, and stark imagery, it continues to live not just as a document but also as script for oral performance.

The flip side of listening to read is listening to learn how to speak, and listening to stellar deliveries of careful language choices to learn to speak well, compellingly, and clearly in terms of conceptual communication. Without practiced listening skills, speakers lag in oral communication skills, a situation that can lead to frustration, alienation, and exclusion from power.

While the writing of Presidential speeches has evolved over time to comport more popular styles of grammar, phrasing and word choices, how we experience them has also changed. We tend to read them in full and listen to only moments of the whole. Often that listening, truncated as it is, also comes via video and thus invites visual appraisal of postures, faces, and other details beyond the spoken words. Except for those who elect to join forensics teams or involve themselves in school drama departments, young students now rarely, and most never, have the opportunity to experience delivering speeches or master communication intended to be heard (beyond music).

After millennia of human ideas and ideals being shaped aloud, are we now in the Age of Unspeaking?

The world’s first virtual reality book series launches exclusively at Walmart

Reading continues to evolve right before our eyes. We saw this coming, and now it’s arrived. A children’s book series which combines traditional print with AR and VR to drive engagement and to ultimately get today’s young readers to read in ways native to them (not us). This means using technology to bring literature to them  with a whole new approach.–Ed.

From Quantum Storey Company, Inc.

An exciting new children’s publishing venture is launching exclusively today at Walmart that will combine the tradition of illustrated printed books with the dynamic, self-directed action of virtual reality. The Quantum Storey Company, publisher of the disruptive, new book series, Operation YOU®, which insightfully addresses the highs and lows of growing up today, is hitting the shelves exclusively at Walmart, reaching millions of families in time for the holiday season.

Blending “old school” and new, Quantum Storey’s new category of Virtual Reality Books have the potential to transform both the publishing and nascent augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content markets.

Watch promotional video here.

Continue reading The world’s first virtual reality book series launches exclusively at Walmart

No Shelf Required founder Sue Polanka gets an award for contribution to academic libraries in Ohio

Sue Polanka

It is such a pleasure to publish a post here on NSR about our very own Sue Polanka, the academic librarian from Wright State University (OH), who has been instrumental in transforming the coverage of ebooks in libraries and who, in fact, founded and launched No Shelf Required almost (hard to believe) ten years ago. The blog quickly became THE site on all things ebooks for librarians of all walks of life: public, school, and academic.

As noted on WSU’s site, Sue was honored by her peers for her contributions to the university and with academic libraries in Ohio. She received the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award from the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) at its annual conference on Oct. 27 in Columbus.

The award recognizes an individual who has promoted academic libraries and librarianship around Ohio and who has provided leadership in the promotion of the association through service, including committee membership, executive board office or interest group office.

“No one wins these awards alone. I couldn’t have accomplished all I have without the support of my colleagues at Wright State and so many talented librarians across Ohio and beyond,” Sue said.

An expert on ebooks, Polanka is the editor of several books and publications on ebooks including “No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries,” “No Shelf Required II: The Use and Management of Electronic Books” and “E-Content in Libraries: Marketplace Perspectives.” She was also a columnist for EBook Buzz in Online Magazine and Off The Shelf in Booklist. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2011.

I had the privilege of collaborating with Sue many times and on several projects over the years (we edited a book together, worked on a quarterly journal together, etc.) and I consider her one of the most knowledgeable librarians around. I also consider her a dear friend.

It is an absolute honor to carry on the mission of No Shelf Required (which she entrusted me with two years ago) and to be part of its story.

Sue, congratulations. Well deserved.

Two million open access nature illustrations available on Flickr via Biodiversity Heritage Library

From Open Culture:

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an ‘open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives,’ has for many years been making it easy for people to connect to nature through nature writing and illustration. In 2012, they announced the “success story” of their Flickr streams, both containing thousands of illustrations and photographs uploaded by the BHL staff and readers from their huge collections of books.

The first stream, currently at 122,281 images, has been carefully curated, and includes searchable galleries and albums divided by book title or subject…The second stream, consisting of over 2 million images, is a massive grab-bag of photos, illustrations from nature, advertisements, and imaginative renderings.”

Read the full article here.


More about BHL, as noted on its web site:

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” The BHL consortium works with the international taxonomic community, rights holders, and other interested parties to ensure that this biodiversity heritage is made available to a global audience through open access principles. In partnership with the Internet Archive and through local digitization efforts, the BHL has digitized millions of pages of taxonomic literature, representing over 120,000 titles and over 200,000 volumes.”

Spain will be the Guest of Honor at 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurter Buchmesse and Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, in the presence of the Spanish Publishers Association, have signed a joint memorandum of understanding to prepare for Spain’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankurter Buchmesse (20-24 October 2021). This means Spain will be Guest of Honour in Frankfurt exactly 30 years since it was last present in this role. Spain’s most widely read and important contemporary authors include Fernando Aramburu, Dolores Redondo, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Javier Marías, Almudena Grandes and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Some 500 million people speak Spanish, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

The partners describe Spain’s appearance as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse as an excellent opportunity to showcase the developments and trends in Spanish culture in recent decades and to present Spanish literature and authors to an international audience. Another goal of Spain’s participation is to create an international network for the Spanish creative and cultural industries. Continue reading Spain will be the Guest of Honor at 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair

Ebook Friendly celebrates 10 years of Kindle with an educational infographic

“Since 2007, Kindle made millions of people rediscover the joy of reading. But it’s not only e-readers that changed the way we read. It’s the entire ecosystem that includes ebooks, services, and innovations,” writes Piotr Kowalczyk on Ebook Friendly this week in a post that features an infographic listing the most significant events in the development of the Kindle, starting with the launch of the first-generation Kindle in 2007 and ending with the launch of Kindle Oasis 2 on October 31, 2017.

Note the quote at the very bottom of the infographic: “Ten years after the first Kindle, e-ink remains the best technology for the devoted e-reader” (Brian Heater).

We thank Piotr for sharing the infographic with the world and allowing us to post it on NSR.

Book of the Week: Starswept (Mary Fan)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Starswept (Mary Fan)

Although partially nodding to Brave New World, Logan’s Run and The Hunger Games trilogy, the science-fiction dystopian YA novel Starswept is its own blazingly unique creation. Prolific author Mary Fan (12 books published to date) spins a riveting tale against a backdrop of intergalactic human trafficking, brainwashing, corporate greed, freedom fighters, and the backstabbing culture of an exclusive performing arts academy.

In the year 2268, everything has been working well with the trade deal that Earth and humanoid alien planet Adrye established in 2157. Adrye shares its technology with Earth; Earth reciprocates by offering up its best/brightest young performing artists.

Read the full review here.


About the Author

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series.In addition, she is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.  Mary graduated Magna cum Laude from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music, specializing in composition. Although she is currently focusing on writing, music is still her first love, and so in her spare time she composes songs and soundtracks.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

What’s new at Knowledge Unlatched and with Open Access in general

Some Open Access news (as drawn from Knowledge Unlatched’s recent newsletter):This October,  usage of Open Access books, funded through Knowledge Unlatched (KU), has doubled within just one quarter, now totaling 228 000 full-text downloads on the OAPEN platform and 67, 068 chapter downloads on the JSTOR platform.

To mark International Open Access Week, KU announced two new partnerships. It launched a new cooperation with Bertelsmann Verlag to make its Open Access titles in social sciences, education, and social research internationally available through KU. In addition, KU’s partnership with transcript makes 200 political science monographs free for reading worldwide. Continue reading What’s new at Knowledge Unlatched and with Open Access in general

VitalSource and Al Manhal collaborate to bring digital content from over 450 publishers to learners in the Middle East

From Vital Source:

VitalSource®, the world leader in building, enhancing and delivering digital course materials, and Al Manhal, the leading publisher of full-text searchable electronic databases of scholarly, professional and peer-reviewed content from the Arab World, are now collaborating to expand the reach and delivery of Al Manhal’s unique content collection from over 450 Arabic language publishers.

By working together, Al Manhal’s expansive collection will now be deliverable through VitalSource Bookshelf®, the most widely used higher education digital-content platform in the world. Continue reading VitalSource and Al Manhal collaborate to bring digital content from over 450 publishers to learners in the Middle East

StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Besides engaging with what authors and performers have created through audiobooks, the sound of storytelling extends to creating and listening to family stories, neighborhood stories, captured memories of unwritten, and otherwise unscripted, events, and conversations. The work of StoryCorps addresses this by providing both structure for and preservation of such recordings. Recordings made in StoryCorps booths, which pop up around the country on well publicized schedules, are accepted by the Library of Congress as part of the American archives of cultural and popular history. StoryCorps has won a variety of humanities distinctions, including the Peabody Award (2007).

For several years, StoryCorps has been promoting The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a guided opportunity for those gathered with multiple generations to celebrate the holiday. With the goal of creating “a culture of listening,” this effort points directly to the power of listening in communication, intergenerational honor, and understanding. Directions are specific, simple to follow, and require virtually nothing to attain satisfying results. The event is suggested for families, classes of all ages, and neighborhood gathering places. Continue reading StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Nearly 1500 high-resolution images of paintings and other works of art made available for free download by the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has been digitizing its vast collection of objects (4000 and counting) for some time now. It has recently made available for free download in the public domain nearly 1500 items in high resolution,  including paintings by impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern masters like Giorgio de Chirico, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, and Auguste Renoir.

Currently, digital images of more than 2,000 works of art in the Barnes Foundation’s collection are available to the public online. The Foundation encourages “use, enjoyment, and sharing of these images while respecting artists’ rights and copyright.” Each work is assigned a “rights statement” that helps communicate the Foundation’s assessment of the copyright status of the work (e.g., Public Domain, In Copyright, Copyright Undetermined).

According to its web site,  the “Public Domain” categorization is used when the Foundation believes a work of art to be free of known restrictions under copyright law. The Foundation makes those images available for high-resolution download “without charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial.”

Browse the Barnes Collection here.

Follett to sell LEGO Education solutions to U.S. school libraries

From Follett:

In its continuing effort to serve the growing makerspace movement, Follett announced today it will sell a selection of LEGO® Education solutions. These solutions will be offered by Follett specifically for school librarians in the U.S. who are interested in establishing a makerspace in their library.

The announcement was made in Phoenix at the 18th American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference & Exhibition. At Follett’s booth (409), the company is featuring an array of makerspace resources, including LEGO Education solutions. Continue reading Follett to sell LEGO Education solutions to U.S. school libraries

Book of the Week: The Moonshine Wars (Daniel Micko)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Moonshine Wars: Or My Life In Kincaid, Georgia, by Terry Lee Kincaid III

Daniel Micko is biracial male born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelors of arts degree, majoring in film and minoring in English. After that, he graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, with a master of fine arts in filmmaking. He resides in the Bay Area, working on projects and writing in his spare time.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.