The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article on the Kindle and use of it for textbooks. Two interesting points were made. First, many students already carry around a device that can read eBooks, their laptops. Second, publishers want to end the used textbook market, which cuts off their profits. By making textbooks in eBook form with licensing limiting resale, they capture the market again…..at least until students figure out a way to share them!
An abledbody news article last week discusses the new Kindle DX and it’s text-to-speech program that will read a book aloud. According to the abledbody article, the Kindle does not go far enough to provide an accessible player to persons with disabilities. The eBook menus and controls are not audio accessible, limiting access to those with visual disabilities. I’m not certain Kindle had persons with disabilities in mind when they created this new text-to-speech feature since it is not limited to those with disabilities. Kindle will work with Pearson, Cengage Learning, Wiley and 75 other University Presses to provide textbooks on the Kindle this year. Additionally, 3 newspapers have given Amazon the rights to text-to-speech content, NYT, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Sounds to me like the much broader market, with a potential to listen to books in the car, while walking, doing housework, or any other multitude of activities is what got Amazon tickled pink about text-to-speech. Just in case you didn’t hear, Kindle will begin a text book pilot program with 6 Universities this fall.
CWRU Chemistry and Computer Science students will use the new Kindle to access textbooks in Fall ’09. See the full article in either the Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 6, 2009 or The WSJ, May 5, 2009. Amazon has worked a deal with publishers to load the textbook content on the Kindle, which will be “supplied” to students. Nothing in the articles about costs…
The other universities are: Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State.
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
The University System of Ohio introduced a textbook portal last week. This portal, developed by programmers at OhioLINK, searches many sources for textbooks including: OhioLINK catalog, OhioLINK Electronic Book Center, Safari Tech Books Online, and CourseSmart, an electronic textbook provider. Textbooks located on CourseSmart can be leased for about 50% of the print cost. OhioLINK students also receive an additional 10% off the cost.
CourseSmart represents 6 higher education textbook publishers. They use one common platform for hundreds of digital textbooks. Searching, bookmarking, and notetaking are just some of the features available. Students may also print parts of the book.
Locating a book in the portal is easiest with the ISBN. If that is not available, title and author will do. As with any metasearch tool, search capabilities are limited, so the portal should not be considered a replacement for any of the individual resources.
The University System of Ohio includes 14 universities with 24 regional branch campuses, 23 community colleges, and an adult workforce education and training network – operating in more than 200 locations – working in a collaborative, cooperative environment across the state. With a mission to provide affordable, high quality higher education opportunities for all Ohioans, programs and curricula are designed to meet Ohioans’ individual and collective needs for the 21st century. (USO website)
What is an e-book?
How is it different than a book, web site or database?
Are there any differences between reference, monographs, or textbooks in e format?