Attended a virtual conference today, “The Handheld Librarian.” There were two presentations on ebooks, one related to Kindles in libraries and the other on ebook devices. The latter, presented by Charlotte Johnson of Southern Illinois University, highlighted the resourceful LibGuide she has developed on ebook reading devices. It is available from the SIU Edwardsville site. She has a section for each major device including Sony Reader, Kindle, Apple iTouch/iPhone, Plastic Logic, iRex, and Augmented Reality.
Being part of the Wright State University community has given me a whole new perspective on students with disabilities. Approximately 10% of our population is part of this community. It is very difficult for these students to get their textbooks and other course material in a format appropriate to their needs. That has just been made easier with the announcement of the U.S. College and University Partnership with Bookshare. Bookshare is the largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Their press release contains all the details of this new program. Text of this release is also below, click on more. Continue reading Finally, a Textbook Program for Students with Disabilities
From the EBL blog:
We’ve recently announced that EBL titles can be downloaded to the Sony Reader, but did you know that EBL’s new reader is already accessible on an iPhone and iPod Touch?
Patrons can access EBL titles on their iPhone or iPod Touch through the normal webpages. The image view in the reader will render the full book. Scrolling works by using two fingers. We’re planning to offer a scaled down view more suitable for mobile access later this year.
And news just in… downloading EBL ebooks to the iPhone/iPod Touch is soon to follow. Adobe have just announced a partnership with Stanza Reader, the reader application designed for the iPhone. Read more here.
According to an ebrary press release, they have launched their new QuickView. QuickView “enables end-users to instantly view documents in many of the leading web browsers and even works on the iPhone. No software downloads or installations are needed.” Groovy. QuickView will not replace the existing Java Based Reader, it is offered in conjunction.
ebrary’s key features of QuickView:
- Instant viewing and page flipping in a web browser
- Relevancy ranking at the chapter level with links to specific sections
- Navigate to search terms or specified pages
- Search within documents for key words
- View and navigate to highlights and notes created using an ebrary Reader
- Multiple view magnifications
I’ll check this out at Charleston this week and give it a whirl on the iPhone. Anxious to see how legible that will be!
There is not a ton of information about the KDDI R&D Laboratories Inc. “Portable Viewer System” but what has been revealed is exciting. It’s A4 and can wirelessly receive images from devices like a mobile phone. The screen can display up to 4,096 colors and refresh in 12 seconds. I’m not sure whether e-paper means it’s a derivative of eink or some other screen technology.
Strangely the device is nearly completely controlled by the handset. It doesn’t seem a very practical interface, but it is a prototype.
by Jane Litte
If you are one of the 8,500 libraries using the OverDrive Media Console for digital audiobooks, you now have a new feature – compatibility with Microsoft’s Zune. Both DRM-free and DRM-protected (Digital Rights Management) audiobooks are compatible. This now opens up the direct transfer of audiofiles to Zune, iPod, and virtually all other mp3 devices.
For the full story, check out OverDrive’s press release.
or, skip the full story and just download the Media Console.
Top 10 list in support of ebooks. From the Writers Handbook Blog.
10 Reasons Not to Write Off Reading From A Screen
Over the past few months there has been much discussion of an impending digital revolution in the way we read books. While much of this is hyperbole there has been incredulity in many quarters that anybody would ever want to read from a screen. We are all attached to books and the idea seems, at first glance, anachronistic. However there are some good reasons why it might not go away as quickly as you’d think.
1.) We do it all the time anyway. Whether its emails, blogs, the newspaper or text messages for the bulk of us, most of our reading is already on screen. The New York Times now was 13 million online readers per day against a print readership of 1.1 million.
2.) Those who read books read the most online. The Guardian reported that “women and pensioners were [the] most active readers” (22/08/08). A recent study showed women, the most enthusiastic readers, dominate social networks; 16% of “silver surfers” spend over 42 hours per week online. Moreover overall internet usage was up 158% in the UK from 2002-2007.
3.) e-Ink technology removes many of the disadvantages of screens. Using ionized black and white particles it eliminates eye strain and glare, expertly recreating the look and feel of paper and print.
4.) New devices (using e-Ink) like the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle are backed by technology giants who know how to make a product work. They come with features like an MP3 player (the Sony) and wireless connectivity (the Kindle). Expect them to only improve in the coming years.
5.) In Japan mobile phone fiction- keitai novels- have gone from being a niche market to big business, with some novels being downloaded over 200k times a day. It has been reported that half of bestsellers in Japan are now mobile.
6.) Likewise in China online novels are huge. The most searched for term on Chinese search engine baidu.cn is “novel”. According to Wired 10m “youth” now list reading online as one of their main hobbies.
7.) The iPhone has changed the parameters again by offering a fantastic reading experience, on a portable easy to use, multi-functioning device. Apps like eReader and Stanza make an already desirable phone a viable ebook reader.
8.) Paper costs are going through the roof- up 150% this year. With no slowing of the commodity book in site paper and manufacturing costs are likely to increase. Along with the cheapness of delivery the economics of electronic reading start to make sense.
9.) Government policy is to invest in ereading. Education policy wonks view reading from laptops and PDAs as a handy workaround to encourage book averse but technophile teenagers to read. A school in Birmingham even replaced all textbooks with Palm Pilots.
10.) The internet offers a whole new way of consuming content. Bundling, chunking, web only content, integrated multimedia elements, exciting new serialisations are only the beginning. This is reading from a screen not as something like lost but as something gained.
No one is saying that we will all run off any read all our books off a screen. Books are here to stay. Reading from one type of screen or another is not about to replace books, rather it is an addition to the varied climate to literature that already exists, a creative challenge, a commercial opportunity and new way for readers to enjoy texts.
Michael Bhaskar is Digital Publishing Executive at Pan Macmillan and blogs at http://thedigitalist.net.