Category Archives: Enhanced eBooks

Sesame Street eBookstore iPad app launched

From an iPublishCentral press release:  Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization that produces Sesame Street, and Impelsys today announced the launch of the Sesame Street eBookstore iPad app. The app provides access to more than 150 Sesame Street eBooks, which are also available via an online subscription at http://ebooks.sesamestreet.org/.

The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store. Users can browse title selection free of charge. To read all eBook titles, the app invites users to subscribe to either one month of full access for $3.99 or one year of unlimited access for $39.99. Current subscribers of the Sesame Street eBookstore can use the app to access their bookshelf with an iPad and will not need to make an additional subscription purchase.

The app was just released this month and quickly rocketed into the Top 10 Free Apps in the “Books” category on Apple’s iTunes store. Continue reading

Cengage’s MindTap, an interview with Nader Qaimari

Last Friday I spoke with Nader Qaimari, the Senior VP of Marketing for Cengage Learning, about MindTap (TM).  MindTap is a program of digital products and service, including Cengage content, that engages students via interactivity.  MindTap plans to bring digital textbooks to life.  In the interview, Nader discusses how library resources fit into MindTap.  More information on MindTap, including sample videos is available at cengage.com/mindtap.

This interview, along with 30+ others, is available on the NSR interviews page.

Pearson and McGraw Hill invest in Inkling

The New York Times reported that Inkling, an interactive textbook development company who make textbooks for the iPad, has received funding from two large textbook publishers, Pearson and McGraw Hill. From the article:

“The amount invested by Pearson and McGraw-Hill, among the biggest textbook publishers, was not disclosed. Inkling’s total investment to date, including money invested previously by several venture capital firms, is just under $10 million, according to a source who requested anonymity because of the confidential nature of the deals. Continue reading

Cengage Unveils MindTap, an interactive learning program

Cengage Learning recently unveiled MindTap™, a program of digital products and services, including Cengage content, that engages students through interactivity and offers instructors choice in content, platforms, devices and learning tools.  Beyond an eBook, course delivery platform or Learning Management System, MindTap is the first in a new category of Personal Learning Experiences (PLEs). MindTap is device agnostic, giving students access to their course materials anytime, anywhere – on their desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

At the core of MindTap is MindTap Reader™, which is a new interactive platform that brings digital textbooks to life.  The MindTap Reader adds significant reading learning activity functionality embedded within the context of text and other elements including video/audio, annotations, activities, applications and instructor source materials, while also preparing existing products to take advantage of future MindTap services. Continue reading

Kirkus Reviews Launches New Category – Children’s Book Apps

While at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference earlier this week, I attended a session on literary reviewing in the digital age.  Bob Carlton from Kirkus was on the panel and provided an overview of the new project Kirkus is taking on to review children’s book apps.   It will be live in early March.  The full press release is below.

Maintaining its position as the first review resource to bring a critical eye to children’s book apps as a distinct new category, Kirkus Reviews today announced the creation of a discovery engine devoted exclusively to this burgeoning area of publishing and app development. Available in early March, it will be found at http://www.kirkusreviews.com/childrens-book-apps/. Continue reading

TOC – Publisher CTO Panel, the future of ebook technology, TeleRead

Summary of Tools of Change session, reprinted in full from Teleread.com by Paul Biba

Bill Godfrey (Elsevier), Rich Rothstein (HarperCollins Publishers), Andrew Savikas (O’Reilly Media, Inc.)Moderated by: Abe Murray (Google, Inc. )

Savikas: first foray in 1987. Stared with cd books and online books in 2001, which was first substantial digital presence. Wish is that Amazon would adopt epub as their standard. Digital is now about a decade for O’Reilly, and one of the biggest changes is that there are many more markets for digital products. Can’t imaging what it will be like in 10 years. Book will not go away – neither the package nor the long form narrative type of content. There will be a whole new category of new media that probably can’t be called books any more. Over the last 100 years more and more layers built up between publishers and consumers and web is bringing us back to a more direct relationship. In his experience the interest in enhanced ebooks seems to come from the publishers more than it does from the reader. Now that books can know that they are being read this can lead to enhanced opportunities. Databases are prime examples for turning into enhanced books. Not convinced that advertising will be as much of the future of newspapers and magazines it has been in the passed. Newspapers have lost the monopoly of being a source of local information. There is what value and need for what newspapers provide, but the package is obsolete. Publishers should be taking a stronger role in advocating with the retailers and device makers. Big piece of the epub 3 revision is to support dynamic delivery to different devices. Continue reading

TOC – EPUB 3 Update

EPUB 3 update panel included Robert Kasher (Book Masters), Keith Fahlgren (Threepress Consulting Inc.), George Kerscher (Daisy Consortium), Bill Kasdorf (Apex Content Solutions)

EPUB 3 was just announced this morning by the IDPF.  The final draft of standard being readied for release at BEA 2011.  http://idpf.org/epub/30 – public release of standard here, ready for comment, looking for lots of comment/feedback from the international community.  They have a great “human readable” document to give everyone an overview/introduction of what this is.

A few items of interest from the presentation are below.  Lots more tweets at #toccon

Accessibility Issues – DAISY consortium have been an integral part of the development of EPUB 3. Accessibility features are woven throughout EPUB 3.  Some key features:  reading order will be well defined, ability to use navigation center to go to different areas of the book, page numbering that is aligned with the print counterpart, semantic structure will be enriched.

Metadata side of things – this standard is designed to be backwards compatible.  New model is built on Dublin CORE and uses a tiny subset of RDFA 1.1.  Not just books!  This will work with other formats too – newspapers, magazines, etc.

Multimedia – now have a way to embed multimedia into EPUB.  Also inheriting richer multimedia – MathML, SVG, allow more of the app like experience, etc.

Concluded with Collective Soul’s “Better Now”

O’Reilly Tools of Change – Keynote with Skip Prichard

Skip Prichard, CEO and President of Ingram Content Group, provided a keynote full of energy and enthusiasm. (The video is available here.)  His theme was the adoption of technology, change, taking risks, and staying true to the purpose of the company.  Skip began with a general overview and summary of the technologies of today stating, “we are rushing to an age of connectivity,” location based services will have a profound impact on society (foursquare, etc.) and personalized content will have a huge impact – customized ads on billboards, contact lenses with virtual reality element, etc.

Continue reading

Horizon Report – Ebooks – One year or less to Adoption

This is probably not a surprise to many people, but the 2011 Horizon Report has listed eBooks as a technology that has one year or less to adoption.

From the Horizon Report:  “Now that they are firmly established in the consumer sector, electronic books are beginning to demonstrate capabilities that challenge the very definition of reading. Audiovisual, interactive, and social elements enhance the informational content of books and magazines. Social tools extend the reader’s experience into the larger world, connecting readers with one another and enabling deeper, collaborative explorations of the text. The content of electronic books and the social activities they enable, rather than the device used to access them, are the keys to their popularity; nearly everyone carries some device that can function as an electronic reader, and more people are engaging with electronic books than ever before.”

Mobile is another one year or less to adoption technology.

Augmented reality and game-based learning are two to three years out, and gesture based computing and learning analytics are four to five years out.

Articles of Interest

New Ebook Platforms Target the Scholarly Monograph

The networked library of the future as bookseller : Futurebook

eBookFling Wants To Be The Netflix Of eBook Lending – eBookNewser

Digital Book World: Industry forecast – results of the DBW/Forrester 2010 publishing survey

What Publishers Need To Know About Making Enhanced eBooks – eBookNewser

Digital Book World Worshop: Ebook design/production, by Joshua Talent

De-Mystifying E-Book Readers; Part 1