Just saw an article about Kno, a new company launching a digital textbook platform and reader. The device offers a two panel tablet for viewing textbook material in true form by maintaining page structure, charts, graphs, and other non-text elements. The device allows note taking and highlighting and offers Wi-Fi and 3-G access. Kno has already contracted with 4 academic textbook publishers including Wiley, McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Cengage Learning. For more info, see this article from gigaom or the press release on business wire. Twitter @GoodtoKNO
Rob Reynolds, from the Xplana blog has a great piece on the transformation of textbook publishing. Rob discusses the history and context of textbook publishing, current business models, product types on the market today, and challenges and strategies for the success of digital textbook adoption (and sales). It’s a great overview, I highly recommend it.
Some good reads out there in the blogosphere these last few weeks. Many of these are focused on the electronic textbook and/or implications of such. Additional articles include analysis on the library and bookstore of the future and a comical video about digital publishing and DRM.
Gale announced today the availability of the AccessMyLibrary (AML) School Edition app for the iPhone. The new K-12 version allows students to find their local school library – (grade schools, middle schools and high schools) and access the vast array of Gale resources the school library has purchased on their behalf. Students can use the application to locate their school and then will be required to authenticate for the school year, using a password provided by the school.
Last years law suit against 4 Universities piloting the Kindle reader as a eTextbook solution has done a lot to guarantee the accessibility of textbooks to all students.
Ingram Content Group, working with the American Foundation for the Blind consulting group (AFB Consulting), announced a new disability release for their eTextbook platform – VitalSource. The release, which makes the application more usable for disabled students, contains extensive internal feature and function enhancements, as well as support for third-party screen-reader applications. These new features include the new DTD (Document Type Definition) v3.4 and VitalSource’s “MathSpeak” program which adds rich English-language articulation to MathML tags. With this release, VitalSource is the only eTextbook platform on the market to offer full accessibility in downloads, online, and mobile access points for content. Windows, Macintosh®, and online updates are expected in June, and iPhone®, iPod Touch®, and iPad™ releases in August. Continue reading
Some interesting articles and blog posts these past couple weeks on e-books. The New Yorker article on the iPad, the Kindle and the future of e-books is particularly good.
Faculty Survey Warns of Potential Irrelevance for Academic Libraries, Suggests New Roles – 4/8/2010 – Library Journal
There is an interesting article by Rob Reynolds from the Xplanation blog analyzing the future of digital textbook sales. With a current market share of 1%, digital textbook sales are projected to have 18% market share by 2014, according to Reynolds. He summarizes the influences and trends for this change as such:
Within the general publishing and education markets, the growth of digital textbook sales will be influenced by the following factors: Continue reading
Wow, great news for those of us with Apple devices. OverDrive announced today the availability of their free app – OverDrive Media Console for iPhone – in the iTunes store. Users can now download audiobooks (from their local library or a retail site) via wireless network directly to their Apple device. I am very excited about this since I was unsuccessful at downloading library audiobooks from OverDrive for my recent vacation, something to do with using a MAC instead of a PC. The For more information and to download the app, visit – http://bit.ly/OverDriveiPhone or see the press release. Android users, hold on to your hats, your app can’t be that far behind.
Caught this presentation link on Twitter from Liza Daly at Three Press Consulting. Liza gave a presentation recently on designing eBooks for 2 epub reading engines rather than designing eBooks for 99 different readers (and counting). What is a reading engine you ask? According to slide #7, “A reading engine is the part of the ereading software that actually places text on the screen. It’s the most basic, primitive, component of any ereader.” Her presentation focuses on designing eBooks for 2/3 of the popular epub reading engines – Adobe Reader Mobile SDK (RMSDK) and WebKit. Liza says that thinking about reading engines can really simplify issues around eBook design.
Liza has also designed her own ereader – the Ibis Reader. With Ibis, you can read epub books on a computer or mobile device and your content is stored online, so you can access it anytime.