Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
- Universities that have made parts of their collections available for digitization will receive deep discounts on access to the collection, or -- in Michigan's case and perhaps those of others -- will pay nothing for access to the collection, which currently has about 10 million volumes and could easily double in size. Every participating library will have full free access to digitized copies of all of the books it contributed.
- For people at other institutions, a free "preview" of a book -- with about 20 percent of content -- will be available online.
- Individuals will be able to purchase full access (but not download a copy) at prices that Google said would be inexpensive compared to regular purchase prices.
- Colleges and university libraries could buy site licenses, with pricing based on Carnegie classification. While no scale was released, Google officials said that the goal of pricing would be both to provide appropriate recognition to copyright holders but also to ensure wide access to the collections.
- Any of the universities that have provided volumes for the project will have the right to seek arbitration if they feel that the pricing does not reflect both of those principles.
While the new agreement addresses the pricing issue, some of the pricing details have not been released so it is not certain that the agreement is enough to keep Google from overcharging. Corey Williams, associate director for the American Library Association’s Washington office commented that the agreement is a “step in the right direction with regard to pricing” but notes that “we think any library should have the ability to review pricing.” It is expected that the other universities participating in the digitization effort could sign similar agreements.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
What effect will the Kindle DX have on the education market?
There have been many articles speculating on the effect that the Kindle DX could have on the education market. An article on The Bookseller, features commentary by Evan Schnittman, vice-president of global business development at Oxford University Press, who believes that the Kindle DX preview was “a smart tactical maneuver” to help Amazon stake out its territory in the academic market before the “textbook e-reader wars” begin. A posting on the Brave New World blog comments on the article, pointing out that the device and e-books are only part of the solution. “Students require connectivity, reference, to be able to capture notes, bookmark, diaries, collate files, create documents, will probably not be restricted to text, or even greyscale. Therefore ask yourself as a student with limited disposable income, would you rather invest in a Kindle DX at $489 (£325) or more suitable devices that are not tied to content and a single business model and that can’t connect to all resources and can do more than download and store mere documents.”
Kindle DX’s chances of succeeding
A posting on the Kindle 2 Review blog features a listing of the positive and negative indicators contributing to the Kindle DX’s chances for success. The posting notes, “Amazon has indicated, and the success of the Kindle 2 makes it likelier, that they intend to have Kindles around for 10 or more years. The Kindle DX becomes the first iteration of their attempt to capture the college textbook market and expand the Kindle family. I feel the DX family of Kindles will be a huge success – perhaps with the current version at a slightly lower price point, perhaps with dx 2.”
Kindle DX pilots
In regards to the Kindle DX pilots, the universities are still working out the details but Case Western Reserve University and Princeton University have provided some information. At Case Western Reserve, Kindle DX devices will be distributed to about 50 students enrolled in first-year chemistry, computer science, and electrical engineering courses. The student reactions to using the Kindle DX for reading textbooks will be compared to a control group using traditional textbooks. The university will also launch a project to evaluate the impact of the device on the learning experience, determine if faculty delivered the information in new ways, and determine if students approach their reading and assignments differently. At Princeton, students and faculty in three courses will receive the Kindle DX devices. The Princeton pilot will differ from the other pilots because it will be part of a sustainability initiative that focuses on reducing the amount of electronic reserve course materials that are printed by students.
Amazon offers subscription model for blogs
This week Amazon made another surprising announcement and said that it will let bloggers offer their posts via subscriptions in the Kindle store. According to an article from E-Commerce Times, Amazon will set the price for the blogs and keep 70% of the revenue with the remaining 30% going back to the blog publisher. The article notes that the model is questionable given that users can simply access the blogs for free in the Kindle’s browser but if Amazon is able to persuade consumers to pay for online content and “budge the ‘free content’ paradigm even slightly, it could be a game changer.”
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Another article indicates that the University of Missouri’s journalism school now requires incoming freshman to purchase an iPhone or iPod Touch to replay lectures. According to Brian Brooks, Associate Dean, “Lectures are the worst possible learning format. There’s been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much of that lecture.” Other MP3 players could also be used but the Apple devices were chosen because of the number of students that already own the devices and the ability to download the lectures for free via the iTunes Store.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
“We are committed to making Kindle books available on a vast array of devices. Whether you own a Kindle or not, we want you to buy Kindle books from us. With the Kindle device, we succeed in business only on the merits of how good the device is. If we can build the best reading device, then that is how we will succeed.
“But if you like to read books on the iPhone we want to support that too. We want to see Kindle books read anywhere. We have high standards, making sure Whispersync works. It is the seamlessness of what we are trying to achieve that we don’t want to jeopardize. Those are the things we want to do, and we will roll out Kindle applications as broadly as we can.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
“Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, Reed College, and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia will launch trial programs to make Kindle DX devices available to students this fall. The schools will distribute hundreds of Kindle DX devices to students spread across a broad range of academic disciplines. In addition to reading on a considerably larger screen, students will be able to take advantage of popular Kindle features such as the ability to take notes and highlight, search across their library, look up words in a built-in dictionary, and carry all of their books in a lightweight device.”
A posting on Wired features a comment from Jeff Bezos who said, “A particular class of book that shines with this display is textbooks. We’re going to get students with smaller backpacks, less load.” What is not so light, though is the price – announced at $489. It is not clear what price textbooks for the device will sell at compared to traditional textbooks, or whether those textbooks will expire after a certain period of time like many other current digital textbook options. While students may be interested in the Kindle DX, we will have to wait and see if they are really willing to purchase a black and white single-purpose device for their textbooks when they already own a computer. But whether they purchase this exact device or wait for something with more capabilities, we can expect that eventually the large screen devices will offer enough to make the price tag worth it.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Many sources are also speculating about how this device could affect the publishing industry and if it could really help save struggling newspapers and magazines. An article from Computerworld points out that while publishers could benefit from the ability to charge for subscriptions, it is unclear how a subscription model will succeed when content is available for free via the internet. The Silicon Alley Insider adds, “no matter how big the Kindle screen is, electronic subscriptions are not going to save the likes of the New York Times.” Additionally, due to the black and white screen, the device can really only display newspapers and some periodicals because replicating any glossy magazine would require a color screen. In terms of educational material, coursepacks and some textbooks may display reasonably well but the majority of textbooks require color for illustrations and diagrams. It is questionable if students will really be willing to purchase a black and white device such as this. A posting on Thad Mcilroy’s blog comments, “who really believes that students are going to carry into their classes a notebook computer (or smaller) that allows them to surf the web, Twitter, provide online messaging, save their personal files and photos and a hundred other features — a device which they already own — and then purchase an additional black & white only device, albeit with a web browser, and be thankful they can leave books at home and read them instead on a device clearly inferior to their notebook or netbook (which can easily display the same material)?” It will be interesting to see what the large screen Kindle is intended for and the agreements that have been worked out. A posting on ZDNet uses NACS data to talk about how this is more about textbooks than newspapers or magazines. However, regardless of the exact intentions, it looks as though Amazon will be among the first to release a large screen device targeted to academic purposes, anyone willing to take bets on the impact to college stores over the next two academic years?
Monday, May 4, 2009
Bookshare partners with publishers and universities to make more books available to students with disabilities
In regards to working with the publishers to obtain the digital version of the books, Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare commented, “Digital media is the future for learners and individuals with print disabilities. Fewer than five percent of books are available in accessible formats today. Working directly with book publishers, we have an extraordinary opportunity to knock down the barriers and raise the floor of access to ensure all individuals have access to print publications at the same time.”
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
New e-paper competitor – Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have created a new display that looks more like actual paper. The display is much brighter than the current E INK technology because it reflects 55% of ambient light as compared to 35-40%. The researchers say that the technology could eventually reflect more than 60%, making the display almost as bright as white paper. The researchers have developed partnerships with other companies and will soon begin commercializing the technology.
Braille e-book reader – Although it is likely still a concept at this point, four designers have created a Braille e-book reader that would use electromagnetic signals to change the surface pattern of the device to simulate Braille text. The technology to create the device is already available so we could see this device in the near future.
BeBook e-reader – A smaller, cheaper version of the original BeBook e-reader will soon launch in Europe. The reader has an E Ink display and runs on the Linux operating system but it does not offer wireless capability. There is no word yet if the reader will launch in the U.S.
Sony to do away with proprietary format in UK - At the London Book Fair, Richard Palk, Sony’s new business content and services manager announced that they will move away from their propriety format in favor of ePub in the UK. Palk commented, “ePub has become the de facto UK consumers' format of choice." He also added that Reader and ebook sales have exceeded expectations, "We see demand for ebooks and digital readers growing in the UK. It's clear that a reading revolution is beginning." There is no word yet, if a similar decision will occur for the US market.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Disruptive innovation is the business idea that every so often a new innovation comes along that completely changes the marketplace, knocking the old market leaders from their perch and giving rise to new ones. […] Because they take advantage of these radical innovations, new entrants to the marketplace are essentially competing against “non-consumption” while the innovation continues to improve. Once the new innovation has matured, these companies are in a great position to compete with the established market leaders, and therefore they nearly always win.
They then use the story of Digital Equipment Corp and perceptions of how they thrived and then suddenly failed due to management practices that were once seen as sound, but later seen as poor. The article comments:
“How can smart people suddenly get so stupid?” Christensen asked. His answer: It wasn’t management’s fault; it was disruptive innovation. […] The early PCS weren’t very good, which is typical of the first wave of products to take advantage of any innovation. And as all good companies do, Digital listened to its customers, who were saying this very thing. As a result, Digital decided it wasn’t worth changing its business model. In effect, the company’s managers had to choose between making good products with a high profit margin, using a well-established business model; or scrapping that model – an extremely risky move – and making flawed products with a much smaller profit margin. Of course, sound business management practices said they should choose the first option … and the rest, as they say, is history.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? E-textbooks? E-readers? The future of the college store??? Hello, McFly? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?
Finally, he talks about the innovation S-curve – one of my favorite concepts in innovation:
Whenever a disruptive innovation occurs, the pattern in which the new model replaces the old one follows an S-curve that can be calculated mathematically. At first, as suppliers of a new innovation work out its flaws, adoption is fairly flat. But then, as the innovation improves to the point where it’s widely accessible and delivers a satisfactory experience, adoption spikes rapidly. This mathematical model has proven to be remarkably consistent throughout history.
And to paraphrase or reword in our context: if that historical patterns holds true, then the latest disruptive innovation affecting college stores – digital course materials – is set to take off dramatically.
The article is a good read, and the book an even better one. Disrupting class also has a blog with some provocative ideas. It should be a must-read for stores.