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
I’ve marked the following articles in my delicious account, which are also listed on the NSR home page.
Random House, other pubs miserly toward IDPF/ePub, but new e-readers and Sigil editor show there’s hope
Blackwell and Ingram sign ebook deal; Credo partnering with SAGE; Publishing Technology aligning with Serials Solutions and more – 8/6/2009 – Library Journal
Library Organizations Urge DoJ To Take Proactive Role in Google Book Search Settlement – 8/6/2009 – Library Journal
Articles linked from my delicious account this week include:
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.
You’ve probably read the news about the University of Michigan Press going digital only with most of their titles. They’ve decided to jump to the future business model ahead of many publishers, by going digital now, rather than later. I like their reasoning for the move. Phil Pochoda, Director of the UM Press was quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article to say “Why try to fight your way through this? Why try to remain in territory you know is doomed? Scholarly presses will be primarily digital in a decade. Why not seize the opportunity to do it now?”
Another reason for the decision was to increase the number of titles that UM Press could publish. With the cost of printing and distribution, only titles that would sell, sell, sell were printed. Publishing digital only means more titles from more scholars on more topics, not just those that fit the mainstream. I think that’s good for everyone.
UM Press can also utilize the new Espresso Book Machine acquired by the UM in 2008 (see NSR post). The print on demand (pod) machine has the ability to offer print versions of the digital titles for those who aren’t quite ready for the ebook world.