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 Accessibility Release for Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf
Last Friday I spoke with John Russell, Director of Business Development at Encyclopaedia Britannica. John and I discussed Britannica’s mobile strategy including the new apps for the iPhone. John’s interview is on the NSR interviews page with 24 other great interviews. Have a listen.
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 U. S. Digital Textbook Sales To Rise Dramatically
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.
Just received a press release from EB and Paragon Software Group announcing the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2010 app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Congratulations!
While not the full Encyclopaedia Britannica, the app contains “a version of one of the world’s most trusted encyclopedias with accompanying images and maps, fast article search and look-up functions, minimal memory space, and much more – directly on the iPhone!”
Some of the features available for the app include:
- 25,024 unique articles covering all aspects of human life;
- 800 accompanying colorful images and maps;
- “History” feature shows the last 100 looked-up articles;
- Auto-complete function;
- “Wildcard” search feature allows the user to find names, even if their exact spelling is unknown;
- ‘On This Day’ feature allows you to learn what happened on any calendar day in history;
- Access links within articles for immediate information… and much more!
The app may be downloaded from iTunes for $24.95.
I read a very interesting post in the Scholarly Kitchen blog about going mobile. Alix Vance wrote, “There is increasing evidence to suggest that mobile device use may outstrip personal computer use in the global community in the next 10 years and that the expansion of mobile content delivery tools may be at the center of a new generation of globalized business and education initiatives.” She provided examples of mobile initiatives from several scholarly publishers. You can find it at The Scholarly Kitchen.
While you’re there, enjoy the great entries for April Fool’s Day!
Seton Hill, a private Catholic University in PA, has found an interesting way to recruit new students – a free iPad and MacBook for incoming first year students in Fall 2010. Called the Griffin Technology Advantage, the program is designed to provide top notch technology to students for 24 hour learning opportunities in order to “think outside of the classroom.” Students will be given a new laptop after 2 years, one they can keep after graduating. Interesting that the announcement made no mention of eBooks or textbooks. Hopefully they are part of the master plan!
OverDrive announced today the public beta release of an audiobook app for Blackberry smartphones. This app enables the wireless download of mp3 audiobooks from over 10,000 libraries, barnesandnoble.com, booksonboard.com, or borders.com. To download the app, visit http://www.overdrive.com/software/omc. The full press release is available on the OverDrive site.