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Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open textbook initiatives in the news

Recently there have been several news stories that pertain to open textbook initiatives. Here is a round-up of some of the news.

According to a posting from the Community College Open Textbook Project, The Hewlett Foundation has awarded a grant to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District to manage the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative. The collaborative will expand on the free digital textbook initiative created by the Community College Consortium of Open Educational Resources (CCOER). The grant will help support a campaign to raise awareness about open textbooks on community college campuses and increase the number of free digital textbooks available to students. In addition, community college faculty will be trained on how to utilize free textbooks to meet the learning needs of students.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin introduced the Open College Textbook Act, an open access textbook bill to make textbooks more affordable. The bill would authorize funding for the Secretary of Education to award one-year grants to higher education institutions, professors, and organizations to create introductory level open college textbooks. The textbooks would be made available online and give the public the right to access, customize, and distribute the material. Senator Durbin has been working with the U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, and others on the bill. Rich Williams, U.S. PIRG Higher Education Associate commented, “Textbook prices can be the difference between going to college and dropping out because of cost. This bill takes a step toward textbook affordability by calling for more high quality, low-cost options.”

In addition, the Education Commission of the States has released a document that provides a good overview of the various state initiatives for digital and open source textbooks. According to the document, “Arizona, Iowa and Tennessee expanded their definitions of textbooks to include digital content; Virginia has its first open source textbook posted for public review; West Virginia took it a step further and required textbook publishers to provide an interactive version; and Texas and California both have digital textbooks available to their public school students as well as pilot projects in place to test the effectiveness of technology on learning.” The document also includes an informative chart that compares open source textbooks to e-textbooks by affordability, printability, accessibility, availability, features and benefits.

A fourth article from eCampus News says that Florida has implemented a new program called Orange Grove Texts Plus that will give students at state colleges and universities access to 120 free online textbooks. The program is led by the University Press of Florida which will offer students printed textbooks via print-on-demand for about half the price that students pay now. The print textbooks are being made available because results of an Orange Grove survey showed that 75 percent of students prefer to read a print textbook over a digital textbook and 60 percent of students said they would buy a discounted print textbook even if it was available for free online.

As concerns about textbook affordability continue to increase, more states are beginning to utilize legislation to implement open textbook initiatives. As we have mentioned previously, open access course materials propose several opportunities and challenges for college stores and institutions. There is an opportunity for stores to provide open access course materials in a variety of formats and offer print-on-demand solutions to improve accessibility for students. At a minimum, stores should provide access to the digital versions of the content, even if it is free, so that the store remains the primary source for student content needs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Google Settlement postponed

According to an article from The New York Times, the final hearing for the Google Book Settlement has been postponed indefinitely to give the parties time to re-work the agreement so that it complies with copyright and antitrust laws. A fairness hearing for the settlement was set to take place on October 7, 2009 but was officially postponed after the Authors Guild, Association of American Publishers, and other plaintiffs in the case requested more time due to the number of objections and briefs filed with the court. A posting from the Bits blog reports that more than 400 filings were received and the majority discussed issues pertaining to the agreement.

In Judge Denny Chin’s order he wrote, “The current settlement agreement raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors. Clearly, fair concerns have been raised.”

Judge Chin also commented on the potential benefits of the settlement he noted, “On the other hand, the proposed settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as D.O.J. It would appear that if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit.”

Judge Chin will hold a status conference on October 7th in place of the hearing to discuss how to proceed with the case “as expeditiously as possible.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

NMS, CCRA, and ICBA e-textbook solution

The Chronicle recently featured an article regarding the new e-textbook solution that will be offered by NACS Media Solutions (NMS), Canadian Campus Retail Associates (CCRA), and the Independent College Stores Association (ICBA). To learn more about the initiative, a copy of the press release can be viewed in the post from September 18th. It is important to note that many college stores are already capable of handling and distributing e-textbooks. This initiative aims to expand on the e-textbook offerings currently in place and to provide stores with a system that was designed and developed based on the needs and observations of students, after they had opportunities to use and evaluate other existing systems available to them in the marketplace. The initiative does not replicate digital delivery solutions already available in the marketplace but instead offers a unique solution to help college stores transition to the stores of the future.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bookeen Cybook Opus e-reader hits the UK market

The Bookeen Cybook Opus e-reader has officially launched in the UK, adding another e-reader to the market. The Cybook Opus is the company’s fourth e-reader device. Bookeen describes the device as “pocket sized” and “the lightest on the market.” The device includes a 5-inch E Ink screen, 1 GB of memory, SD card slot, and auto-rotate capability. The device does not feature wireless capability so books must be transferred to the device via a USB cable. There is no word yet on if it will be released in the U.S.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Barnes & Noble app hits one million downloads

A new report from Barnes & Noble confirms that e-book app downloads are continuing to gain popularity. In July, B&N launched two free apps to give iPhone and smartphone users access to its titles as well as store event calendars, directions, and other B&N information. Now, just a few months later, it is being reported that both apps have already been downloaded over one million times. According to the press release, the B&N eReader app for the iPhone was also the number one app in the iTunes Books category this summer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

University of Wisconsin-Madison initiates Kindle DX pilot

According to a recent article, The University of Wisconsin-Madison is conducting a Kindle DX pilot for one of its history seminars this semester. This pilot is a separate initiative from the Amazon Kindle DX pilots occurring at seven universities this fall. The program is being funded by the library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was initiated so that the university could have their own data on the use of the e-readers in the classroom. The pilot includes the use of 20 Kindle DX devices which the university purchased and loaned to the students along with the eight e-texts required for the course.

The university reports that overall the devices have been well received by the students but there are both pros and cons with the e-readers. Some of the pros expressed by the students include the E Ink screen because it looks like paper and does not strain eyes, the ability to save money on textbooks in the long run, and the ability to save paper. The university agrees with the students that a significant amout of paper could be saved by going digital. It is estimated that about 16 million individual pages are printed on the campus each year which equates to 180 trees. Some of the cons expressed by the students include the lack of a touch screen and small keyboard. One student also pointed out that the Kindle technology will need to be enhanced before it can replace paper.

While the student reactions may change over the course of the semester, this is the second university to report that initial feedback from the pilots has been mostly positive. In addition, many of the cons expressed by the students pertain to specific features on the device. We can expect that some or all of these features will be enhanced on future e-readers making the devices even more appealing to students.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Canada renews funding for books and digital technologies

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Government of Canada renewed funding for the Canadian book industry to assist the industry through the tough times. The additional funding will be used to help the industry invest in technologies to keep up with digital publishing as it evolves. A posting on the website notes that it will enable publishers to adopt new business models, publish more books in the formats that Canadians prefer, and utilize more efficient distribution processes. Andrew Wooldridge, President of the Association of Book Publishers in British Columbia commented, “This will help ensure that Canadian books continue to be available for Canadians to read, in whatever formats readers want them.”

July 2009 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for July 2009 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $16.2 million for July 2009, a 213.5% increase over July 2008. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 173.9% for the year. Note that these figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

JISC e-book business model trials to begin this fall

Since 2007, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK has been working on a national e-books observatory project to learn more about the impact of e-books and to develop new models to stimulate the e-book market. From November 2007 to December 2008, students at 127 universities in the UK were given access to 36 science, technology, and medical e-textbooks. The results from the study showed that giving students access to e-texts may not have an effect on print sales.

According to a posting on the JISC website, the committee is now exploring the co-existence of e-textbooks and paper textbooks, and evaluating potential business models. Trials will be conducted this fall to access the sustainability of offering access to e-textbooks via aggregated platforms or publisher-specific platforms, determine the impact that e-access via libraries has on the sales of print textbooks, and determine if online access through libraries improves sell-through of existing adoptions. During the trials, students will be given a variety of access options including complete e-textbooks, chapters, short-term rentals, and the ability to purchase the print version. The trials will run through May 2010 and a final report of the results will be published in August 2010.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Universities in Montana to digitize course materials

An article from Montana Kaimin reports that the Montana Board of Regents created a committee that is working to digitize course materials across the state by next year. The committee is developing a plan that includes an “iTunes model” which they hope will be able to provide faculty with the ability to assemble book chapters, videos, and other course materials from multiple sources so that students only pay for the specific materials that will be used during the semester. Of course, publisher support and cooperation will be necessary to make such an ala cart model work, and a new approach to royalty tracking may also be required. The committee hopes that the project will help establish a new pricing structure for course materials that is fair for students and publishers.

John Aliri, committee member, commented, “If the publishers knew the book was paid for every time it was used, they would not need to raise prices.” Aliri went on to say, “If publishers can come at it with a good pricing structure which can be sustainable, students will be happy. But everything will come down to the price.”

The committee, with support from the University of Montana Bookstore, is now challenged with convincing the publishers to lower their prices in exchange for more frequent payment. The project will be officially announced later this year and at that point, a website for feedback will be launched and public forums will be held.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kindle version of Dan Brown’s latest novel competes with hardcover sales on Amazon

According to a posting on the Kindle Nation Daily blog, as of 10:30 AM on September 15, 2009, the Kindle edition of Dan Brown’s highly anticipated book, The Lost Symbol, was outselling the hardcover version on Amazon’s website. While it is not likely that the e-book will continue to outsell the hardcover version on Amazon, considering the anticipated book sales and the estimated number of Kindles in existence, the fact that the e-book initially outsold the hardcover version for a period of time is still very interesting. An article from Fast Company notes that this is a sign that the e-book age is approaching and as new e-reader technologies are introduced, e-books could eventually surpass the printed version. Another posting from ReadWriteWeb features some interesting data from Shortcovers, an e-book store and app for Apple, Blackberry, Google, and Palm devices. Shortcovers reports that The Lost Symbol sold more copies in one day than the popular Twilight series did over the last 2 months.

Google’s public domain books available for printing on the Espresso Book Machine

Last Thursday, On Demand Books announced that over two million of the public domain books scanned by Google will now be available for printing on its Espresso Book Machines. The public domain books are only those which are out-of-copyright and can be viewed in their entirety on the Google Book Search website. These books differ from those which are out-of-print but in-copyright and can be partially viewed on Google’s website. It is those books which have caused much debate in the Google Book Search settlement. An article from CNET notes that it is not clear whether or not On Demand Books will have access to the additional books if the settlement is approved in October.

Several college stores already own Espresso Book Machines and will be able to benefit from this new agreement. McMaster University and the University of Alberta were two of the first stores to purchase the machines and at least a half a dozen other stores have placed orders for, or recently installed, the POD devices. Later this year NACS Media Solutions plans to announce new programs that will make a range of POD capabilities available to stores of all sizes, so that more stores can participate in the technology and provide new services that can improve textbook affordability.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fortune on going digital -- the next big thing

In a sidebar article Fortune magazine notes that industries that one of the next big things for investors will be in industries that have not yet "hopped on to the digital wave." Specifically, she notes that health care and education are "two industries that haven't yet made the migration to a digital age." The example given? Textbooks. The quoted speaker notes that an average consumer pays an average of $100 for a textbook, but the originator gets only $3 to $5 for every book. She claims the "rest is lost in an archaic distribution system." The source of this data was not given. The assumption may be correct -- but that archaic system is also not well understood by those outside of it. That has led to some "replacement" models that have failed, primarily because they did not replace core functions that outsiders would not know even exist.

As an interesting additional note, the speaker noted that
The major barriers for these industries entering the digital age: They are ridden with local politics, have an embedded employee base, and have a disproportionate number of non-profits attached to them. The way that we run our lives is changing. The key for these industries is figuring out how they can keep up.

Well, those are some arguments that are hard to deny. The non-profits element is an interesting observation. Most college stores are non-profits, but as a colleague of mine is fond of noting, that is a tax status, not a business model. However, it would be interesting to ask if the cost of textbooks would truly decrease if the businesses were all for-profits instead. I am skeptical, but willing to ponder the possibility. Any thoughts?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

45 e-readers feature e-paper screens

According to a posting from the Financial Times blog, there are now at least 45 e-reader devices with e-paper screens available worldwide and several more are expected in the foreseeable future. Sriram Peruvemba, marketing vice president at E Ink, commented that the current price of e-readers has prevented the devices from becoming mainstream but the prices are falling and we could see a device under $100 within three or four years time. The drop in price along with the introduction of color e-paper which E Ink plans to introduce next year, could make e-reader mass market products in the near future.

In a related story, the Kindle Review blog recently featured a great posting with a detailed list of 31 e-book readers that are either on the market or expected to hit the market in the coming months. The posting makes a useful reference for deciphering among the e-readers and should be updated soon to also include pictures or videos of each e-reader.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New e-textbook solution

Below is a copy of the joint press release issued today by CCRA, ICBA, and NMS (acronyms defined below). In addition, a short article appears in this morning's Campus Marketplace on this news announcement.



---------------------------------------------------



MEDIA RELEASE


Re-defining Academic Support for Students and Faculty
With New Digital Content Platform

NACS Media Solutions and Canadian Campus Retail Associates introduce
digital content platform as part of joint development agreement.

OBERLIN - - September 18, 2009 - -NACS Media Solutions LLC (NMS) today announced a joint development agreement with the Canadian Campus Retail Associates Inc. (CCRA) for co-development and deployment of a common digital content platform (DCP) for electronic books and print-on-demand content., designed with student friendly terms and reflecting the academic nature of the collegiate marketplace. This agreement represents a new benchmark for industry collaboration, and provides college stores in North America the opportunity to make use of a “best of class” e-book delivery platform that is scalable to store volumes, can accommodate full integration to other store systems, and is wholly-owned by college stores.

The content management and delivery platform was originally developed by the 100-year old student-owned bookstore at Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The platform was further refined and scaled for deployment at over 20 college stores in Canada that comprise the CCRA. These stores will serve as the initial test market for the platform during the 2009 fall academic term. Based upon their results and feedback NMS will work in collaboration with CCRA on further enhancements, as well as the plan for a more broad-based pilot in the United States involving member stores of the Independent College Bookstore Association.

Selected members of the Independent College Stores Association (ICBA) have made significant contributions to many of the technical features and business principles that are incorporated into the platform to enable a large-scale deployment in the US. “The support of ICBA is an integral and valued piece of what will make the NMS-CCRA relationship successful. Their member stores, like those in the CCRA, demonstrate innovation and commitment to student access and affordability of course materials. The collective contributions of all three organizations will accelerate the industry’s ability to demonstrate capability and credibility of college stores as a vital channel for the delivery of digital course materials.” said Ed Schlichenmayer, NMS President and Chief Operating Officer.

“ICBA is excited to have played a part in the development and implementation of the DCP, and to share in this dynamic new level of collaboration of organizations prepared to think and act in new ways. ICBA has come to recognize CCRA as the leading industry organization in terms of web-based solutions for college stores. This was matched by NMS’s initiative, commitment and determination to advancing digital solutions for the industry. We are on the threshold of a new era in collegiate retailing” said Stacy Waymire, ICBA Executive Director.

The launch of DCP will include three levels of service to college stores, including a generic solution, a customized white-label “two cart” service, and a technical package that can be fully integrated to existing store systems. In the near future, web services and tools will be available to faculty to assist in the conversion of course packs, creation of digital course materials, and the review and adoption of faculty-authored, university press, and other publishers’ content.

The DCP content repository presently contains a collection of digital study versions which are mapped to thousands of conventional titles currently used at most North American universities and colleges. These study versions, trademarked as DSVs, have been produced in the EPUB format, enabling them to be reflowable and viewable on most mobile reading devices such as the Sony Reader. The Digital Content Platform is powered by Adobe, supports both rights-controlled (DRM) and rights-free (DRM Free) content, in EPUB or PDF formats, and is both Mac and PC compatible. All well known delivery models, such as free distribution, for-fee sales, term rental, and subscriptions, are accommodated by the DCP with royalty and transaction reconciliation.

“We are challenged by the digitization of our business processes at the same time as our primary product is digitized. We find ourselves competing for the distribution of new products in new ways. We need to deploy capable and credible solutions which are scalable across stores of all sizes and technical sophistication so that college stores remain relevant in the digital distribution channel,” said Chris Tabor, Director Queen’s University Bookstore, and President of CCRA.

----------------------------------------

NACS Media Solutions LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores and is headquartered in Oberlin, OH, USA. Founded in 2008, NACS Media Solutions and its network of partners develops and supports technology and content solutions that enable collegiate retailers to become an effective and vibrant channel for the delivery of digitally-enhanced products and services, helping to support faculty choice and redefining the learning experiences of college students. Contact: Ed Schlichenmayer, President and Chief Operating Officer; 800-622-7498 ext. 2250 or e-mail to: eschlichenmayer@nacs.org.

Canadian Campus Retail Associates Inc is a private Canadian corporation jointly owned by 22 Canadian college stores. Created in 1998, CCRA stores share in the design, development and deployment of technologies and applications relevant in the college store and academic publishing markets. Contact: Chris Tabor, President; 613-533-6000 ext. 74993 or e-mail to: ctabor@ccra.net.

Independent College Bookstore Association is a rapidly growing retail cooperative of independent and institutional college bookstores (no leased or private stores) that is a premier organization in the bookstore industry. This nonprofit mutual benefit corporation is owned by its member stores, which are located throughout the United States and Canada. The mission of ICBA is to provide the programs and services that will establish the institutional store model as the preferred management solution for higher education. Contact: Stacy Waymire, Executive Director; 541-488-2591 or e-mail to: StacyWaymire@ICBAinc.com.

500th blog posting

Today's post hits a milestone for this blog -- our 500th entry. We now have over 21,000 readers from 142 different countries. Thank you to our followers. We hope the blog is meeting your expectations. Please let us know what else we can do to improve the blog, other stories you would like to see reported, or topics where you would like to see more information.



The CITE is now nearly 18 months old. Over the last 18 months we have seen great growth in announcements regarding e-readers and e-reader technology, although it is also equally clear that there is not yet an optimal reader solution available on the market. There has also been growth in interest for alternative approaches to the traditional textbook, most of which involve technology in some way or other.



Later today NACS will be releasing a press announcement regarding a new partnership among some of the leading college store retailing groups -- along with a new e-textbook initiative for stores that will be owned by the industry. A copy of that announcement will appear here in a few hours. We anticipate additional announcements later this year for other new initiatives in the print-on-demand (POD) space, as well as additional partnerships that will enable collegiate retailers to provide content in ways that generate a wider range of affordable options for textbooks and other types of content. In my opinion, the current announcement will send an important message to the collegiate retailing industry that if we choose to remain viable through the coming transition, we must collectively demonstrate the capability and credibility of the industry to provide new and real solutions to the textbook affordability problem. Where digital solutions and new technologies are involved, few stores can do this on their own or will be able to survive if they remain with a store-specific solution absent of industry standards. Today's announcement will encourage standardization of efforts among leading industry groups in an effort to reduce the costs of improving student choice and store offerings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better than Free

As I mentioned in a blog posting earlier today, there was an earlier article on The Technium blog by Kevin Kelly worth reading. The article begins with a discussion of "free" and uses a copy machine metaphor for the Internet. So what is the answer when anything can be copied and appears to be free? Kevin suggests the answer is this:
When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable. When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.

I know, probably sounds too simple, but he goes on to describe qualities, or what he terms "generatives," that cannot be copied, for example: trust. Trust is earned and cannot be easily copied. Savvy retailers design their websites and services to cultivate trust from their customers. Kevin suggests that we put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and ask the following questions:
Why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free? When anyone buys a version of something they could get for free, what are they purchasing?
If we can answer these questions, then we are a step closer to defining ways to create non-imitable value propositions. From his research, Kevin has identified eight categories of these generatives -- values that are uncopyable, or essentially unique. It is the unique, uncopyable, values that can be sold, for they add value to the "free" item and represent something for which a customer would pay.

I think the best thing to do is read Kevin's article at this point. However, for those lacking the time, here are the eight value categories he identified: immediacy, personalization, interpretation, authenticity, accessibility, embodiment, patronage, and findability. The article provides description and examples of each. He goes on to note that:
These eight qualities require a new skill set. [...] these new eight generatives demand an understanding of how abundance breeds a sharing mindset, how generosity is a business model, how vital it has become to cultivate and nurture qualities that can't be replicated with a click of the mouse.

The article has over 200 responses to it, some of which are also interesting and thought provoking. It is a good piece to read and perhaps stores could think more about how these principles might apply to their own products -- and then how we let our customers know that these are the values being provided beyond other sources for the same products.

Interesting interview on Open Textbooks

There was an interesting interview of Eric Frank, co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, that appeared on Spark at the end of August. Many of us have probably hear the folks from Flat World takl before, or have heard about the company. I thought this interview was a bit different though and worth a listen to, particularly if you have not heard of Flat World and their efforts to change how the textbook industry works.

Some of the observations Eric makes in the interview provide some good lessons for retailers. In particular, I would point stores to the discussion of what open textbooks are from the Flat World perspective --that discussion begins around 5 min 20 seconds. The business model problem discussion -- that focus on following the customer, or giving students choice is really well explained at about 6 min 40 seconds into the interview.

One good quote -- at about 7 min 40 seconds in:
So really the point for us was, treat the student like a real consumer.
Put the content in front of them and say, "Here is a full range of choices from
free online to these affordable offline alternatives." And what we are
seeing is that almost 70 percent of students who have that choice actually buy
something, and 30 percent avail themselves exclusively of the free online
version. [...] One of the things one doesn't typically think about in the
traditional textbook model is that first of all that 70 percent of students who
buy is about the same as the traditional model. About 30 percent opt out
of purchasing entirely.

Later in the piece they talk about the characteristics of free, Chris Anderson's book on free, and how the model looks going forward. The interview provides some glimpses of where Flat World might be headed in the future.

Another good quote appears at just over 10 minutes into the interview where he notes, "Listen, we don't know what the future is going to bring in terms of the ways students will behave, what kinds of new devices they will be able to read on." This is a point I have tried to make in the past and I know some people have problems with it. We do not know what the new models will look like yet. There is a lot of speculation, but we are at the early stage of an emerging technology. We know the future will look different, but exactly how it will look is not yet clear.

At about 12 minutes 45 seconds he references a blog posting by Kevin Kelley on Technium where he compared the Internet to a giant copy machine, noting that you have to figure out what you can sell that can not be copied. In the post he spoke about 8 generatives or values that he thought people would be willing to pay for. Kevin's posting is worth a read, and I may enter a separate entry here on that article.

The interview concludes at close to 15 minutes 30 seconds. An easy listen over a long coffee break or during lunch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Initial student reactions to Kindle DX pilot

A recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses some of the initial reactions from students participating in the Kindle DX textbook pilot at Arizona State University. The article reports that most of the feedback has been positive but the lack of page numbers on the Kindle texts can make it difficult to locate a certain page or passage during class. Each passage in the text is given a location number but the numbers can be long and must be typed on the keyboard leaving room for error. One student also expressed concern about using the keyboard to take notes while another student commented that their favorite Kindle feature is the built-in dictionary. In addition, two students dropped the class at the beginning of the semester when they realized they would be participating in the Kindle pilot.

The article notes that this could be a big year for digital because of the Kindle pilot and also because this is the first semester that textbook publishers have made a large amount of their titles available in the digital format. Publishers are also working to find out more about student content preferences. For example, CourseSmart has begun working with some college stores to promote the digital option and Facebook groups have been organized so that students can share their personal experiences with e-books. The increased availability of digital course materials this semester and interest in student preferences could help boost digital sales which currently account for up to 3 percent of the market (depending on how you calculate the percentage).

June 2009 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for June 2009 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $14 million for June 2009, a 136.2% increase over June 2008. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 149.3% for the year. Note that these figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New posts coming soon

We received a few notes that the blog has not been as up-to-date as usual over the past couple weeks. Our apologies. Liz has been out for her wedding and honeymoon, and my wife and I just returned from a month in Russia to bring home our new son. Both Liz and I will be back in the office again starting next week and blog postings will continue regularly at that point. We will also do some catch-up on some of the big stories that have come out over the past few weeks for those of you who might have missed them.

Best regards-
M

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Free webinar series from Project Tomorrow and T.H.E. Journal

Next Wednesday, September 16th, Project Tomorrow and T.H.E. Journal will host their second free webinar based on the results of Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Online Research Project. The webinar entitled, “Digital Content” will feature the views of students, teachers, and parents on the topic of digital content in the classroom. The webinar will also discuss how students and parents would create the “ultimate online textbook.” The link to sign-up for the webinar is available here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Spain's first e-book fair to be held in November

An article from the Publishing Perspectives site says that Spain’s first e-book fair will be held this November in Madrid. In June, e-books were banded from the Madrid Book Fair so two companies, Bubok and e-Cultura, have joined forces to create the Digital Book Fair or Feria del Libro Digital. The fair will include workshops and exhibits to let attendees experiment with e-book technologies. The organizers of the Fair hope that it will encourage the development of sustainable business models for all players in the industry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Flurry report shows three million active users of iPhone e-book apps in July 2009

Flurry, a company that provides metrics for smartphone usage, has released a new report with some very interesting data. The report says the number of available apps in the Apple App Store has increased from 25,000 in January 2009 to 65,000 in July 2009. If the store experiences the same growth rate, it could have over 100,000 apps by December 2009. The report notes, “To put this in context, the App Store soon will carry more items than the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, which merchandises about 100,000 items per store.” Flurry also tracks active user sessions of iPhone e-book applications and found that there were three million active users in July 2009, a 300% growth rate from April 2009. The e-book category of apps is now the second largest category representing 14% of the total apps.

In addition, Flurry tracks the number of “New Project Starts” to gauge developer interest for both iPhones and smartphones that include Google Android. According to the report, 18 new Android devices are scheduled to begin shipping this year and the growth rate of new Android projects increased 50% from June to July 2009. The iPhone still controls much of the developer interest, but interest in Google Android systems is increasing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Round-up of newly released e-readers

With all the new e-readers hitting the market, it can be difficult to determine the differences among them. The Chamber Four blog recently featured a review of all the newly released e-readers. The review includes the new Sony Readers (PRS-300 and PRS-600), Bookeen Cybook Opus, Onyx Boox, Cool-er eReader, Ectaco jetBook, Astak 5-inch EZ Reader, and the Astak EZReader.

The Adobe Digital Editions website also has a listing of all of the e-readers that support ePub content and utilize unprotected or protected Adobe software.