Friday, October 31, 2008
The Official Google Blog notes that the agreement is truly groundbreaking for three reasons. “First it will give readers digital access to millions of in-copyright books; second, it will create a new market for authors and publishers to sell their works; and third, it will further the efforts of our library partners to preserve and maintain their collections while making books more accessible to students, readers and academic researchers.”
The settlement must be approved by the court but includes a $125 million payment by Google as well as the establishment of a new licensing system allowing copyright owners to register their works and receive a share of subscriptions, book sales, and ad revenues.
However, if the settlement goes through as stated, some parties may not participate. On Thursday, Harvard University Library announced that they find the terms of the settlement unsatisfactory and will not allow their in-copyright works to be scanned. Harvard’s concern includes questions regarding access to the scanned books, prices charged for access, and the quality of the scanned books. University spokesman John D. Longbrake noted that Harvard participation will be dependent on the result of the settlement and they may decide to join “if the settlement between Google and publishers contains more reasonable terms for the University.”
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This development provides another signal that digital forms of reading are gaining ground and other newspapers are sure to track The Monitor’s success as they determine the future of their publications. Last year, in an interview with Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman, and publisher of The New York Times, he suggested that they too could move to online only in five years. Sulzberger said, "I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either.” Sulzberger later clarified his statement by saying, “So let me clear the air on this issue. It is my heartfelt view that newspapers will be around—in print—for a long time. But I also believe that we must be prepared for that judgment to be wrong. My five-year timeframe is about being ready to support our news, advertising and other critical operations on digital revenue alone ...whenever that time comes."
The change to online only versions of newspapers could disappoint faithful subscribers but as John Yemma explains the transition is inevitable, “Longtime readers love coffee and a newspaper. So do I, there’s nothing like it. But everyone, sooner or later, is going to have to make the transition, and that’s recognized.” The same can probably be said of textbooks and course materials. If the shift to digital is inevitable and if it begins to have an impact within the next 3-5 years, will your store be ready for the transition?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
“Blogs, search engines, e-commerce sites, video, and social-networking portals are thriving today thanks in large part to the notice-and-takedown regime ushered in by the much-maligned copyright overhaul.”
The posting goes on to say that even Google which also owns You Tube credits the DMCA for its success.
In the future, Congress could reopen the DMCA which will create an opportunity for reform but also an opportunity for the MPAA and RIAA to influence the law. We have already seen instances where the RIAA has influenced recent legislation, such as the reauthorization of the higher education act, which will now require institutions to perform some of the policing function for content providers that they have previously avoided. A reopening of the DMCA could have significant implications for DRM, and digital course materials. This presents both opportunities and challenges for the college store community, as well as much of the rest of higher education related to digital content and intellectual property.
Information on the basics of the DMCA, as well as links to the DMCA itself, are available through the UCLA Online Institute for Cyberspace Law and Policy, as well as other sources.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
On Friday’s show, Oprah also spoke about her desire to use the Kindle for textbooks at the school she opened in South Africa as well as her prediction for the future.
“I was telling my head of school in South Africa about it because my little girls are 12 and 13 years old and they have 60 pounds of books on their back. I’m trying to figure out a way to get all of their textbooks downloaded to the Kindle so they do not have to carry their textbooks around.” Oprah went on to say, “I do believe this is the future for academia, period.”
We look forward to finding out more about Oprah’s influence on the Kindle sales.
Monday, October 27, 2008
“Lifeskool is the only FREE On Demand television network dedicated to helping you make the most of your life with exclusive content that inspires and informs.”
The on-demand service is offered on the web and also on TV through certain cable providers. Currently the shows are updated each week with 13 categories to choose from including: Cooking, Health & Fitness, Music, and Video Gaming. However, we may see enhancements to these offerings soon as the network develops under its new owners.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
“Nearly everyone has experienced the frustration of renting a DVD and returning it unwatched, or paying fees for late or lost discs, or not having any new movies to watch because the old ones were not sent back. Our mission is to provide a more convenient and efficient DVD rental experience that gives the customer complete flexibility.”
Flexplay’s DVDs offer the equivalent of a two-day movie rental without the need to return the DVD after viewing because it simply stops working. The customer is in control of the rental because the DVD is activated by the customer when the sealed package is opened not when the DVD is received. The DVD stops working two days after it is opened due to an adhesive in the DVD that oxidizes when exposed to air making the disc unreadable by a DVD player. For added convenience, the DVD’s can be recycled when they become unplayable and unopened DVD’s are designed to work for one year.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
How do your schools compare? Are students exposed to workplace collaborative technologies on campus before entering the workforce? What might the college store’s role be in helping students and campuses with this technology/training challenge? Is there a potential product or service opportunity?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"The book market is very competitive so we try to get online and acquire the lower priced books as early as possible. We want Gonzaga students to enjoy the lowest price advantage and do our best to beat students from other schools to the market."
Do any of your stores purchase textbooks from Amazon?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
“There are few scanned textbooks in circulation and that’s what we’re here to change. Chances are you have some textbooks sitting around, so pick up a scanner and start scanning it.”
According to a posting on TorrentFreak, a blog dedicated to news about BitTorrent, the admin of Textbook Torrents hopes that another replacement site will soon be available. When asked if he thought publishers had learned anything he stated,
“Intellectual property corporations are notorious for missing the point. Like I’ve said before, we were out to make a statement, to give out as much free stuff as possible, and I think we’ve made that statement - perhaps not as loudly as we could have given another few months and a little more perseverance - but certainly people have heard, and are talking. Piracy will never be sustainable for the textbook industry, but perhaps this is the first step towards a more sustainable model in the future.”
Surely the website has brought more attention to the issue of textbook piracy and many questions still remain on how to make content more affordable to students to prevent piracy in the future. Are you aware of any piracy prevention initiatives on your campus?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Do you know of any experiments around textbooks and pricing occurring on your campus? Can you suggest any experiments that could be conducted with faculty members?
Monday, October 13, 2008
IDPF is presenting at the Frankfurt Bookfair in Germany this week on digital publishing and the e-pub standard. They will be joined by representatives from OverDrive, Random House Digital, and Sony Electronics. It should be a very interesting session. It sounds like an interesting session. If anyone has notes or insights to the Frankfurt Bookfair, and particularly the role or presence of digital there this year, please share!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,”
Although as Chief Executive Hadrien Gardeur of Feedbooks, Stanza’s largest distributor of content, points out, the iPhone and Kindle may not be direct competitors,
“Kindle appeals to heavy readers who spend far more time reading than anyone who uses an iPhone. But I don’t think the mass market is ready to spend that kind of money. So they really don’t compete with one another at this point.”
Stanza is currently working on deals with several major publishers which may make the two direct competitors when it acquires the advantages of the Kindle including newer titles, and the ability to browse, purchase and download directly to the iPhone. Stanza will face new competition in the upcoming months if the E-Ink screen technology used by the Kindle progresses. However, it will be interesting to see if the heavy readers are willing to give up the screen technology in favor of an all in one device when Stanza announces their negotiated deals in the New Year.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
1- We had to keep the initial pilot under 10 stores, and initially we planned on only five. To be able to evaluate some of the system capabilities, we needed to be able to maximize the total number of transactions that might occur during the initial pilot period. Good IT project management suggests that we control pilot diversity at first to allow for better consistency in the process of evaluating the technology capabilities.
2- For the initial pilots, we are working only with commercial movies and TV content, and we had the understanding that the studios wanted evidence that some well-known larger campuses would have interest in the initiative. This contributed to our ability to get more favorable pricing, which we will be able to pass on to stores of any size. Similar requirements associated with the content licenses restricted our ability to include any Canadian stores in the initial pilots as well. We hope to move beyond those restrictions soon.
3- Because the initial content consists of only commercial movies and TV, based on our financial analysis, stores would need to conduct a certain average number of transactions per day to make the initiative profitable. That threshold was greater than what most smaller stores are likely to experience in a day for movie content. However, as we add other forms of content, the value proposition will increase and the barriers to profitability will drop. At least one small store we reviewed the pilot criteria with agreed that it was better for a store of their size to wait to the next phase to participate.
4- In the first phase of pilots we are assessing the pure technology, and gathering initial information to assist stores in determining how to sell or market the content offerings. We need to ensure enough initial transactions to be able to evaluate the viability and appropriateness of the selected partners and the solution relative to the needs of the college store.
Our goal is to design a solution that is scalable for stores of all sizes to the best of our ability. Indeed, the primary mission of NACS Media Solutions is to enhance the capability and credibility of the college store industry as a whole in the delivery of digital content. To be successful in that mission, we recognize that any solution that does not work for small stores in addition to large stores, will not be effective. We plan and hope to have 15+ small stores participating by July 2009. Small stores will help us assess some of the scalability and feasibility dimensions so that we can continue to refine and scale the service for all NACS members. There are many decisions yet to be made and small stores should not fear that the pilot stores are going to make all of the decisions for the industry about what the final solution looks like. We recognize that the solution will need some modifications to work for all stores and that broad-based and diverse participation in the solution design will yeild a more robust end product that will provide greater satisfaction for a wider range of stores and their customers.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Tentatively dubbed the e-book initiative, UT will pay for electronic copies of textbooks for students in certain classes, starting in the spring. The initiative treats the e-books, which students can download onto their computers, like software, for which UT pays a licensing fee. Initially, students in those classes will use the e-books for free. If the program, which campus and industry officials say has been tried at other schools, is successful, students would pay $25 to $40 a book in licensing fees.
Additionally, during the e-textbook trial, the campus store will print bound copies of the text on demand for those students who choose to opt out of the free e-textbook offer in favor of a printed copy. The cost for each printed copy is estimated to be between $20-40 as noted in an article posted by Inside Higher Ed.
Another article published by Ars Technica, also points out the substantial savings that students at the university could see with the use of e-textbooks. According to UT’s financial aid website, the students spend about $409 a semester for books therefore students could potentially save over 75% by going digital. This article also credits NACS digital distribution initiative however it incorrectly states that textbooks will only be delivered via kiosk and fails to mention the web-based component. A correction notice has been submitted to the article discussion site.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Everyone, please join me in welcoming Liz to the NACS staff.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
A couple days I received an e-mail from Lina Lipscombe, director of the bookstore, computer store, and digital store at Concordia University in Montreal. I have long respected what a number of the Canadians are doing, and Lina is no exception. I asked if I could share her message, as I think it is a great example of what stores can do if they embrace this concept of communicating and educating the campus community:
Last summer you shared with me the draft document re digital content. Included was the importance of communicating and educating the campus community. We signed with Jumpbooks this summer and started including e-books to our course list as an option for students. I took your advice and sought ways to communicate this to our community. Well one little article led to many other opportunities. Here are a few,
I contacted the editor of the Concordia faculty and staff paper and the following article appeared in the first week of classes
this article was then picked up by a student newspaper and they wrote the following
The Quill and Quire national publisher magazine also contacted me and asked questions about digital (have not seen article yet) and finally the local television news company came in a did a video (I am not exactly star quality, but I think the message got through)
Thought you might be interested how some schools are trying to bring attention to this new content delivery.
It started with a simple outreach to the campus faculty/staff newsletter, and resulted in national and local media coverage. The media is interested in what stores are doing digitally. It can be a great selling point on the value of the college store. Do others out there have stories about how they have communicated with their campus community around their use of digital? This is information and knowledge we should be sharing!
Friday, October 3, 2008
So, what are the key takeaways from stores from this meeting:
- You can't expect digital to take off overnight. If you are not already driving traffic to your site and do not have experience handling online transactions, adding digital will not change much.
- If stores continue to play a waiting game to enter the digital market, they may not be part of it. Stores must invest in their futures now, even if initially it is not profitable, so that they have a place and role as the technology and product takes off.
Finally, I heard discussion about the roles of large stores versus small stores, and what some of the different experts had to recommend. I know this has been a concern among the membership since the initial NMS pilots were announced, which includes no small stores among the initial seven. I am working on a posting for this coming week (likely Tuesday), to address this question more directly and that should raise some discussion points.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The reader is over 10 inches high and very thin. It has a notepad with stylus capability and is aimed at business documents and business users. Usability among e-readers continues to improve. E-readers become more like tablet PCs every day. A better e-reader for textbooks gets closer every day.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What is your clicks-and-mortar strategy for delivering content and convenience?