Tim O’Reilly: Kindle needs open ePub-style standard to survive, from Teleread.org

Tim O’Reilly: Kindle needs open ePub-style standard to survive
www.teleread.org – Posted: 23 Feb 2009 08:40 AM CST
“Unless Amazon embraces open e-book standards like ‘epub,’ which allow readers to read books on a variety of devices, the Kindle will be gone within two or three years.” – Tim O’Reily in Why Kindle should be an open book, in Forbes.

The TeleRead take: It’s hard to tell how things will shake out, but Tim persuasively summons up a little history—Microsoft’s failed attempt with the Microsoft Network publishing platform. By contrast, O’Reilly got on the Web early with the Global Net Navigator and in time was well rewarded for the experience it gained with an open approach.

The point is, closed standards are a pain in the rear for e-book-lovers and other users who inevitably will want hardware or content that isn’t compatible with MegaCorp’s system. This disillusionment is a little akin to decaying Web links. At first, people buy into Mega’s plans and think that its  proprietary product line will endure forever. Only later do the hassles emerge.

E-book lessons from Oprah’s past
Remember how Oprah touted Gemstar e-book readers some years ago? But then consumers rebelled against a limited choice of books. Even now, following her backing of the Kindle, Oprah fans are finding that many O-blessed books are missing. Last I knew, she wasn’t doing a K version of her O magazine. Her fans may also have been put off by the complexities of the technology, to which proprietary formats can add.

While Jeff Bezos can talk of offering every book in E, he’s jeopardizing his own version by aiming for exclusives. What happens when other giants step in and start bidding wars—not just for temporary exclusivity but in time for the permanent variety?

The score that really counts in book-selling

More importantly, Jeff should also remember that the most meaningful score in the book-selling isn’t market share but healthy growth of earnings. Closed standards like the Kindle’s will slow down the rate of e-book adoption, as people find that his supposedly universal solution isn’t one at all.

What’s more, with Kindle-type DRM, all kinds of nasty issues emerge, such as the inability of readers to own their books for real. Jeff was smart enough to set up a music store without DRM. He should consider the the same for e-books, using social DRM, if need be, in place of “real” DRM. Publishers could still have the option of using DRM, but I suspect that market pressures would encourage back off from this consumer nightmare. DRM is especially nasty in that it turns nonproprietary e-formats into proprietary ones.
Technorati Tags: Tom O’Reilly,O’Reilly Media

Gale offers free access to Women’s History web site

From a Gale/Cengage email I received:

Free Access on our Women’s History Web site
From women in politics to women in the environment, start planning your Women’s History Month events now with great resources from Gale.Farmington Hills, Mich., Feb. 17, 2009 – In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is offering free resources and activities on its Women’s History Month Web site.
Supporting the theme “Get to Know the Women Who’ve Changed Our World,” the Women’s History Month Web site is accessible at http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/ and offers free resources including activities, quizzes, biographies, a timeline, links and more to complement classroom topics.
Activities & Ideas
The site includes activities that can make Women’s History Month more meaningful.  Activities are arranged by topics and include history, geography, music, science, literature and a number of other categories, showing the influence of women in those areas.   New downloadable bookmarks, calendar and screensaver are also available.
Weekly Quiz
One of the most used and enjoyed features of the Web site is the quiz.  Each week, a new quiz based on women throughout history and their achievements will be posted.
Examples of the types of questions:
She helped bring provisions to soldiers on the front lines and set up the Bureau of Records. She is:
Clara Barton
Florence Nightingale
Jane Addams
Best known for her series of well-loved children’s books, this writer published her first book at the age of 65. Her books, still popular today, are autobiographical tales of her own childhood as a pioneer girl.
Jane Austen
Laura Ingalls Wilder
J. K. Rowling
(Correct answers are Florence Nightingale and Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Biographies
From women of the past like Abigail Adams and Joan of Arc, to present day notables including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, biographies of many influential women are included in the site’s biographies section (http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/bio/).  Each entry gives detailed information including birth date and location, details on personal life and career, and resources for further information.
For the Classroom
Free lesson plans, activities to engage students and the latest Gale tools for the classroom are available at Galeschools.com.
Featured Titles
Visit http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/featured_titles/ for a list of Gale titles that will help students gain a deeper appreciation for Women’s History.
Timeline
The timeline available at http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/timeline/ features milestones in women’s history from ancient times through the present, commemorating such events as Queen Isabella creating a unified Spain, Susan B. Anthony crusading for women’s rights and the founding of fashion magazine Elle.
Links
Click on http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/links/ for links to other Web pages created by and for women and girls.

For more information, please contact Linda Busse at linda.busse@cengage.com.

E-Books Are Not Books

I read an interesting paper by Mark T J Carden of Ingram Digital. He presented this paper at the Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (see citation below).  Mark discusses how eBooks are following the same evolutionary path of physical books and won’t be fully adopted until the “traditional book is deconstructed and reconstructed to create new paradigms for storing and delivering content in electronic forms.”  He offers suggestions for re-inventing the eBook.

1.  classify the content into groupings like data, explanation, instruction, or narrative and identify user behaviors like look up, skim, view, enjoy – map these together

2.  examine models of acquisition and possession, skim or view vs. consume or immerse.  These require different business models and licensing

3.  examine page layouts and formats.  What might be suitable for a print page may be unsuitable for the electronic one. reformat as necessary

4.  establish effective reading devices and the unfortunate format wars that come with them.  DRM or no DRM. my format or your format, or do what the music industry is doing – open access to content, if you can find a business model to support it

Conference on Information and Knowledge Management archive
Proceeding of the 2008 ACM workshop on Research advances in large digital book repositories table of contents

Napa Valley, California, USA

SESSION: Enriched digitized books table of contents

Pages 9-12

Year of Publication: 2008

ISBN:978-1-60558-249-8

eBooks I: Business Models and Strategies, OReilly TOC

The OReilly Tools of Change conference is underway in NYC, with many presentations and discussions about ebooks.  One that caught my eye was a panel discussion of eBook business models and strategies.  The presenters were:  Michael Smith (International Digital Publishing Forum), Kenneth Brooks (Cengage Learning), Leslie Hulse (HarperCollins Publishers), Cynthia Cleto (Springer Science+Business Media.  Cynthia Cleto was featured in the NSR audio interview in October, 2008.

The presentation demonstrates various drivers of ebook publishing, challenges, and patterns in user behavior that are driving the market to offer various business models.  It breaks down ebooks into the trade, higher ed, reference, and STM categories providing comparison charts on challenges, strategies, formats, etc.  I was happy to see catch phrases like – epub, DRM not necessary, and sales by the chapter, but unfortunately, they were not listed in each of the four categories.

eBooks II:  Formats, Standards, and Implementation, part two of the series on eBooks, discussed epub, but on the developer side of things.

New audio interview – Leslie Lees, ebrary

A new audio interview has been posted to NSR’s interviews page.  This one features Leslie Lees, VP-Content and Market Development, ebrary.  Leslie and I discussed methods of ebook purchasing that involve patrons and what ebrary is doing to plan for these new business models.  Check it out, it’s absolutely the best thing you’ll hear all week!

NSR interviews are generally 15 – 20 minutes in length.  I recommend you download the mp3 file, then listen.

eBook Course, University of Newcastle

Getting to grips with developing and managing e-book collections: an introduction

to be held in the

Netskills Training Suite, University of Newcastle
Tuesday 27th October 2009, 9.30 – 16.30

Course Outline
This course opens the door to a new electronic format and is designed to support librarians who are beginning to set up e-book collections. In the last eight years, there has been an unprecedented growth in the publishing of e-books with an increasing array of different types available for all sectors. The programme will give you the opportunity to explore different e-books including a range of commercially-published and free reference works, monographs, textbooks, and fiction. Examples will include individual titles and also collections of e-books, such as those offered by NetLibrary, Credo, MyiLibrary and Oxford University Press. The course will also facilitate consideration of the new opportunities e-books offer for librarians and users in academic, public and special library and information services, and will explore the significant collection management and promotional issues which challenge information and library staff.
The course is designed to offer: *    an understanding of the nature of e-books
*    a familiarity with range of commercially-produced e-books from publishers and aggregators
*    a familiarity with range of free e-books *    an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of the medium
*    an appreciation of the collection management issues associated with bibliographical control, selection, acquisition, access, evaluation, licensing, and archiving
*    a familiarity with the different ways of promoting awareness and use of e-books.

In addition to talks by the presenters, the course includes practical exercises. One will allow delegates to explore examples of online e-books in a structured way. Others will comprise activities during which delegates will examine the major collection management, and marketing and promotion issues. Plenary sessions led by the course presenters will be held to enable delegates to  discuss their findings in the light of current research and professional practice.

Course Presenters: Ray Lonsdale and Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong and Ray Lonsdale have been working and offering courses in the field of e-books, e-resources and collection management for the past 12 years, both in the UK and abroad. Up until recently, they were members of the Joint Information Systems Committee e-Book Working Group, which has been promoting the publishing and uptake of e-books in further and higher education and sixth form colleges. Ray is Reader in Information Studies at Aberystwyth University and a Director of Information Automation Limited. He has specialised in the field of collection management and, in particular, in the management of electronic collections. Ray has published extensively and has edited several national and international professional and academic journals. Chris runs a consultancy, research and training company, Information Automation Limited, which he set up in 1987. The company specialises in all forms of electronic resources and in electronic publishing, a topic on which Chris has taught a module in the Department in Aberystwyth. Chris is a regular writer, and sits on the editorial boards of three professional journals. He is also a National Councillor of CILIP.

For more information or to book a place on this course, please visit www.ukeig.org.uk <http://www.ukeig.org.uk/>  or email meetings@ukeig.org.uk

Don’t forget the UKeiG Conference 2009

UKeiG will be holding a residential forum that will provide opportunities for information and IT professionals to network while catching up on the very latest developments in e-information. This event will have the added benefits of having the opportunity to wine and dine in excellent social surroundings and being excellent value for money

Book now at www.ukeig.org.uk <http://www.ukeig.org.uk/>  or by emailing conference@ukeig.org.uk to get your early bird discount!

UKeiG has the CILIP Seal of Recognition, which recognises high standards in the content and relevance of training courses. See http://www.cilip.org.uk/qualificationschartership/seal/ for details

UKeiG is a Special Interest Group of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE. Registered Charity No. 313014

Booking Form – Getting to grips with developing and managing e-book collections: an introduction

Netskills Training Suite, University of Newcastle
Tuesday 27th October 2009, 9.30 – 16.30

Costs (including lunch and refreshments):

UKeiG members £160 + VAT (£184.00); others £190 + VAT (£218.50)
Please complete and return this form by 20th October 2009, to Christine Baker, Piglet Cottage, Redmire, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 4EH.  Tel & Fax 01969 625751.  Email: cabaker@ukeig.org.uk

Name(s)…………………………………………………………………………………………..
Organisation……………………………………………………………………………………..
Address……………………………………………………………………………………………
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Tel…………………………………Email………………………………………………………

*I am/am not a member of UKeiG (*please delete as necessary)
*I enclose a cheque for ………………….made payable to UKeiG
*Please invoice me/my organisation
[* please delete as necessary]

A cancellation fee of £25.00 + VAT is payable.  No refunds after 20th October 2009

Please specify any special dietary requirements ……………………………………………

__Please tick if a CPD certificate is required.

Data Protection Act 1998

__Please tick if you do not wish your name and affiliation to appear on the delegate list.

__If you are not a member of UKeiG, please tick if you do wish to receive information about future courses and other UKeiG activities

UKeiG accepts firm bookings by post, fax, email and through the UKeiG Web site. All fees are payable in full prior to the date of the course. Cancellations received less than 7 working days before the start of the course will be subject to the full fee. For non-attendance at a course there will be no refunds and the full fee will be payable. Substitutions may be made at any time without additional cost. UKeiG reserves the right to cancel a course if insufficient bookings have been received. Delegates will be offered an alternative date or a full refund of the course fee. UKeiG reserves the right to make changes to the programme. UKeiG will not be liable for any consequential loss of travel or accommodation fees due to cancellation of the course.

US House floor using print reference

Yesterday I had a rare opportunity to walk on the US House floor, thanks to a private tour from my nephew Matt, who works for one of the Ohio Representatives.  As we were milling about, looking at the electronic voting, printers and fax machines, laptop plugins, and CSPAN cameras, I was shocked to see, sitting in the corner up front, a huge Random House dictionary on a big stand.  Of course I had to grab it, touch it, leaf through it.  I so desperately wanted to take a photo of this proud print resource, sitting atop its pedestal with the grand House floor in the background.  Despite the fact that I smuggled in my iPhone, Matt told me it was illegal to take photos.  So alas, my proof is missing.  ….gee, most people would want to sit in the big chair!

Once and Future e-book

The Once and Future e-book: On Reading in the Digital Age
A veteran of a former turning of the e-book wheel looks at the past, present, and future of reading books on things that are not books. -by John Siracusa, Apple Technology Specialist at Ars Technica.

John writes about the history of ebook devices, corporate mis-steps, outmoded business models, DRM, and the market vibe.   Technologically minded librarians will empathize with his frustrations.  Those who aren’t can get a quick background of the way tech, business, and customer interests interact and conflict.  Publishers will recognize the plea for new business models.  The post suggests that an immediate change in attutude and practice is needed or publisher’s will lose the moment’s opportunities.

ebrary Creating Patron Driven Purchasing Model

At the ALAMW Conference I sat in on a brainstorming session with ebrary folks and about 50 librarians.  The topic was patron driven/initiated purchasing models.  ebrary is in the beginning stages of creating a model and wanted to get feedback from librarians.  Some common themes that came up included:

budgets – librarians weary of budget control, who has the right to buy, how to budget, which budget, and what happens when we run out of money, is the service turned off?

access – when is the book purchased? first click, after 5/10 minutes?  how much “free” time does a user have to browse a title before they decide to access/pay for it? is it just one user or simultaneous, and how does price change that?

usage – what type of usage statistics will be available?  these will be important to analyze the cost effectiveness of this program.  can we get usage stats on printed pages? downloads? pages viewed? and, what consitutes a “usage” in terms of purchasing the ebook?

ILL – purchasing ebooks essentially means we no longer have ILL rights.  So, will ebrary work this model into consortial agreements or could ILL fees be instituted?

pay per view/rent-to-own – paying a smaller fee to use the ebook one time, two times, etc. If the book price is reached, the library would own it, if not, its a cheaper way to provide access to many more titles.  Librarians were concerned about spending money on intangible items and how to educate the auditors and penny pinchers about this new model.

Thanks to ebrary, I was able to get some comments from one of the moderators.

Allen McKiel, Dean of Library and Media Services at Western Oregon University summarized his thoughts on one of the ebrary Patron Driven Models sessions.  He said:

I heard librarians flirting with pay-per-view in a number of their comments as Leslie plied them with leading questions. The responses labored around a mixed subscription/pay-per-some-features model until patrons had encumbered a charge that was equal to the price of the book, in which case the library would then ‘own’ the book. Librarians find it hard to realize that e-books no longer require charging structures that are based in physical objects. The conversation from my hearing leaned toward resolution in a pay-per-view model. Five hands shot up when Leslie asked if anyone was interested in pay-per-view. Then he dropped the subject and never went back to it. I think librarians may finally be ready to talk about pay-per-view as a real option. Pay-per-view compliments research and educational environments. Discovery and learning are facilitated by access to information particularly information that is produced by the academy. Pay-per-view would optimize access and thereby facilitate research, the production of information, and learning. Publishers would provide an editorial selection role based in their being able to identify resources that researchers and students would find useful since they would receive compensation for their service proportional to use of their publications by faculty and students.

I think publishers have a window of opportunity to develop access to everything on a pay-per-view model that can evolve gradually using a mixed subscription/pay-per-view model. A variety of collections available through subscription/pay-per-view would permit reasonable access to a variety of academic institutions at affordable prices that would also permit reasonable profit margins for publishers. It would also permit publishers to experiment with models that would optimize their revenue while simultaneously optimizing access for all students and faculty. Library budgets that are driven more directly by faculty and student use would be more likely to increase than budgets dependent upon librarian requests.

Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform

On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content.  It was an interesting discussion.  I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.

Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting

Friday, January 23, 2009

Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.

The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.

Sue Polanka – Wright State University

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.

Todd Carpenter – NISO

One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of – more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces – has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]

Peter McCracken – Serials Solutions

Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]

Rolf Janke – Sage Reference

Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing.  The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc.  The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]

Ron Boehm – ABC-CLIO

Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.