This blog is dedicated to the topics of Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education. it is intended as an information source for the college store industry, or anyone interested in how course materials are changing. Suggestions for discussion topics or news stories are welcome.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thanks to Liz

Thank you to Liz Hains for her contributions to The CITE over the past 2 years. Liz has increasingly handled most of the blog postings and was a great member of our team. Her contributions helped the blog grow past the 50k reader point this year.

Liz was offered and accepted a position with another organization that will be an excellent career move for her. While we search for a replacement, and with the pending holidays, there will be fewer posts for a few weeks. I want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal readers and welcome readers new to the blog.

There are many things happening in this space and with this change in staffing we are looking at a number of opportunities and ways to increase the value of this blog in the year ahead. While postings may be sparse for the next two weeks, we plan to get back up to regular posting speed after the new year. Best wishes to all for the holidays.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

October 2010 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for October 2010 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Trade e-book sales were $40.7 million, a 112.4% increase over October 2009. AAP reports year-to-date e-book sales are up 171.3%. Note: These figures represent the trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gartner’s e-reader predictions

An article from ElectronicsWeekly.com discusses some stats from a new Gartner study. Gartner predicts that e-reader sales will reach 6.6 million units in 2010, an increase of 79.8 percent from 2009. In 2011, sales could surpass 11 million units which would be a 68.3 percent increase from 2010.

Gartner says that e-readers will need to maintain a price advantage because few consumers are likely to buy both an e-reader and a tablet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

iPad pilots at CDI College and the University of Houston

An article from Campus Technology discusses the iPad pilots that are occurring at CDI College in Canada and the University of Houston in Texas. At CDI College, the iPad pilot aims to help students in the nursing and business programs develop technology skills for their future roles in the workplace. At the University of Houston, professors have developed an iPad app for a communications course that includes: learning modules, video lectures, course materials, presentations, tutorials, and simulations. The pilot aims to obtain feedback for a program that helps faculty integrate technology into the curriculum. In addition, a survey will be conducted to evaluate the impact of the devices on learning, class attendance, and study habits.

More information about the pilots can be found here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Children’s Reading Trends in the Digital Age

On Tuesday, December 14th, Book Business will be hosting a free webinar that you may find interesting. The webinar is called: “Children’s Reading Trends in the Digital Age: An All-Access Pass to Scholastic’s ‘2010 Kids and Family Reading Report.’”

The registration page for the webinar can be found here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Interview with James McQuivey, Forrester Research

The Beyond the Book website features an interesting discussion with James McQuivey, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, about the events that have occurred in the publishing industry over the last year and what we can expect in the future as e-readers and e-books take off.

The audio of the discussion is available here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Apple and News Corp to create digital newspaper for iPad only

According to a posting on Mashable.com, Apple and News Corp are preparing to launch The Daily, a news publication that will only be available via an app on the iPad. The publication is expected to launch in early 2011 and could provide consumers with a new type of reading experience that incorporates video and utilizes the iPad’s sophisticated technical capabilities. This could give the publication capabilities beyond what other newspapers and websites currently offer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Smartphones and tablets will become mainstream in 2011

The IDC research firm has released a new report that includes sales predictions for smartphones and tablets. According to a posting on the NY Times Bits Blog, IDC predicts that in 2011 the devices will become mainstream and there will be 330 million smartphones and 42 million tablets sold worldwide. IDC also says that half of the 2.1 billion people who regularly use the Internet will access it from non-PC devices next year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Online enrollments continue to exceed overall higher education enrollments

An article from Campus Technology discusses the results from research regarding online education that was conducted by Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, and was funded by The Sloan Consortium. The groups have been conducting research since 2002 and this year’s survey included 2,500 colleges and universities across the U.S. The survey found that online enrollments continue to grow substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments. The results show that 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course during the fall 2009 semester. This is an increase of nearly one million students from the fall 2008 semester. It also represents a twenty-one percent growth rate which greatly exceeds the less than two percent growth rate for the overall higher education student population.

The survey also found that over three-quarters of academic leaders at public institutions, 55.4 percent of private nonprofits, and 67 percent of for-profits believe that online learning is as good as or better than face-to-face instruction.

For more information, the full report can be found here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google eBooks launches

Today Google launched its online bookstore called Google eBooks. Up until this point, the program has been referred to as Google Editions. According to an article from Wired, the e-book store will have about 2.8 million books that are no longer under copyright and were scanned through the Google Books project. The store will have another 200,000 books that have been licensed from publishers. Users will be able to read the books on Apple devices, Barnes & Noble Nooks, Sony E-readers, and computers. The books will not be accessible on the Amazon Kindle because of compatibility issues.

In addition, Google has partnered with some independent bookstores to allow them to sell e-books on their websites and share the revenue. Google also plans to add social networking features and says it has the infrastructure in place to let consumers purchase digital and paper copies in a bundle.

James Crawford, an engineer for Google eBooks, noted, “The idea is that you buy where you are and read on devices you already own. We are committed to open structure, and building up a wider and wider retailer network.”

The Google ebookstore can be found here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fairfield Public Library’s Technology Petting Zoo

Here is an example of a library that is making technologies available to patrons via a Technology Petting Zoo. Fairfield Public Library in Connecticut has an Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader on display so that patrons can test out the devices before purchasing their own. Library personnel are also available to answer questions about the devices. The library plans to add additional devices as they become available to help its patrons become more informed consumers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Recyclable Laptop

Wired Campus recently featured an interesting story about a prototype of a recyclable laptop that was created by graduate students at Stanford University and Aalto University in Finland. Many of the computer components can be recycled along with other household items while the screen and circuit board need to be sent to separate recycling facilities. According to the article, there are some small technical hurdles that need to be worked out before the computer can be produced.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Survey finds 21 percent of book buyers own an e-reading device

A recent Publishers Weekly article discusses the results from the Codex Group’s national book shopper survey. The survey found that 21 percent of book shoppers now own a dedicated e-reader or tablet. This increase can be attributed to the launch of the iPad and the decrease in the price of the Kindle. By next summer, Codex estimates that 36 percent of adult readers will own devices.

The survey also found that 26 percent of adult book buyers already read digital books and an additional 34 percent of book buyers are willing to try digital books. This means that up to 60 percent of all adult book readers could choose to read in digital format. Another 14 percent of adult book buyers said that they would never read a book in digital format.

To read more about the survey, you can view the article here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alibris launches site optimized for mobile devices that will make textbook shopping easier

Earlier this week, Alibris, an online retailer of textbooks, books, movies, and music, announced that it has launched a new website that is optimized for smartphones and tablets. The new site could make it easier for students to comparison shop and make textbooks purchases from their devices.

Jeanie Bunker, general manager of Alibris Retail, commented, “We know our student buyers often check textbook prices from multiple sources before they buy, so having a mobile site is the best way for them to shop on the go.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Smarthistory interactive art history textbook

The Chronicle recently featured an article about an interactive online art-history textbook that we discussed in a posting last year. The online textbook is called Smarthistory and it is an ongoing effort by Beth Harris, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Steven Zuker, Chairperson of History of Art and Design at the Pratt Institute.

The project began in 2005 and has evolved into an intuitive reference website that features an interactive timeline with images that link to videos. The site also includes links, maps, and photos to engage the users. According to the article, the project has been winning honors and more than 70 universities and colleges either use or recommend Smarthistory. A listing of the institutions can be found here.

In the future, similar websites for other disciplines could be modeled after this idea.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Will the second generation iPad be released early next year?

A recent article from MacNewsWorld discusses the rumors about when the next iPad will be released and the capabilities that it will include.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

On Saturday, December 4, the first Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day will be held. Blogger and creator of the day, Jenny Milchman, hopes that it will encourage families to bring their children to a bookstore so that they can see all that the physical store has to offer. For more information visit: http://www.takeyourchildtoabookstore.org/.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide to eReaders

eBookNewser has compiled a Holiday Gift Guide to eReaders that you may find helpful. It features a listing of all the e-readers and tablets that are on the market this holiday season. The guide includes a little bit of information about each and the associated price tag.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

e-readers expected to be a top seller this holiday season

E-readers are expected to be a popular gift this holiday season and many e-reader companies have expanded the distribution of their devices to stores like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. In addition, Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble, have come up with new ways to promote their devices on the web or in the stores.

In an article from The New York Times, Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, says, “This is the tipping-point season for e-readers, there’s no question. A lot more books are going to be sold in e-book format. It also means that a lot fewer people are going to be shopping in bookstores.”

Forrester Research predicts that about nine million e-readers are currently in circulation in the United States and this could increase to 10.3 million after the holidays.

As mentioned previously, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, e-readers rank fifth on the holiday wish lists of adults.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

iPads assist disabled users

Here is an inspiring story and video from The New York Times about a boy with a degenerative disease that has been able to interact with an iPad. His mother says it is the first device that they have had success with and it is far cheaper than other devices they have tried. In addition, because the apps are inexpensive they can experiment to see which ones are the most beneficial.

The article notes that there are studies in progress to determine how effective the iPad is for people with disabilities. In the months since the iPad has been on the market, it has already become a popular device for assisting the disabled but the usefulness of the device depends on the specific disability. In the coming months, we can expect that additional apps will be created and added to the app store to assist disabled users.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Partnership between XanEdu, Barnes & Noble, and Texas A&M

According to a recent press release, XanEdu, Barnes & Noble, and Texas A&M have partnered to conduct a pilot. Students at the university will access XanEdu’s course materials within the NookStudy application and provide feedback on the usability, accessibility, and features of the content and the application.

As mentioned previously, NookStudy is a free application that can be downloaded to PC’s and Mac’s. It enables students to download e-books and e-textbooks, take notes, tag content, search through both the textbook and annotations, and manage all of their digital content.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kindle e-book gifting program

On Friday, Amazon announced that consumers can now give Kindle e-books as gifts to anyone with an e-mail address. Consumers that do not own Kindle devices can download the free Kindle app to their PC, Mac, Apple, Blackberry, or Android devices to read the e-books.

Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, noted, "We are thrilled to make it easier than ever for our customers to give their favorite Kindle book to a friend or family member as a gift. We're making this functionality available in time for the holidays to offer an easy, stress free holiday shopping option for anyone - not just Kindle owners."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Delta Electronics to work on 3D e-paper in 2011

According to a posting on E-Reader-info.com, a company called Delta Electronics will soon begin mass producing color e-paper displays. The company says that their screen has a faster refresh rate than E Ink displays. Delta Electronics also says that 3D e-paper is possible and it will be a major focus for the company in 2011.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Using e-readers to assist students with reading disabilities

A recent Education Week article discusses how e-readers may be able to help students with dyslexia and reading disabilities. To date, there is not much research to confirm that e-readers can improve reading skills but the devices are still evolving and many educators believe that there is true potential. Some of the benefits that e-readers on the market today can provide are: text-to-speech functionality, the ability to change the size of the type, and a built-in dictionary that can help students look up words and pronunciations. In addition, children may feel more comfortable using the devices in front of their peers because e-readers were not specifically designed for students with disabilities, students may need less assistance from teachers and parents, and the devices could help reduce the time it takes for students to receive the content they need in the format that they require.

Along with these benefits, there are additional capabilities that could be added to e-readers to make the devices more powerful. David H. Rose, the founder and chief education officer for the Center for Applied Special Technology, says, for now it is imperative to bring together the manufacturers of e-readers, as well as educators, policymakers, and experts in educational technology, to determine what features e-readers could and should include.

Lotta Larson, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University, pointed out that professional development will also be required. "I don't think the e-reader in itself is going to make a difference, but if it's used with effective instruction, then it can make a huge difference.”

As the devices evolve and more experiments are implemented, we can expect that additional research will be conducted to determine if e-readers can improve reading skills and assist those with reading disabilities.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resource for iPad Pilot info

Jim Siegl, a Technology Architect from Fairfax County Public Schools, and Eric Lai, a blogger for ZDNET, have put together a website to keep track of all the iPad pilots that are occurring at Higher Ed institutions and K-12 schools. This website is a great resource and it includes details about the pilots, the number of devices in the pilots, and links to associated articles. The website also features information for other industries that are experimenting with iPads.

You can view the website here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Publishers see growth in digital content sales

Recent press releases from Wiley and McGraw-Hill provide information about their digital content sales in higher education and e-book sales.

In a press release from Wiley, William J. Pesce, President and CEO, commented, “In all of our businesses, we are experiencing growth in sales of digital content. We recently added Google to the extensive list of eBook channel partners. Margins in our Higher Education business continue to improve with the growth of WileyPLUS, digital content sales to institutions, customized offerings, and low-cost print products.”

For the Higher Education business, revenue from e-books, digital content sold directly to institutions, binder editions, and custom publishing grew by 33% and represented 21% of the global Higher Education business during the quarter. In addition, Wiley’s e-book sales doubled for the quarter and nearly doubled over the prior year.

In a press release from McGraw-Hill, it says that one of the contributors to a strong third quarter performance was the “double-digit increases in the sales of digital products and services in higher education and professional markets.” In addition, the number of registrations for McGraw-Hill Connect and other online homework management, assessment, and tutoring products grew to 1.9 million which is a 26% increase over the same period last year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York Times to begin publishing e-book best seller lists

The New York Times has announced that it will begin publishing e-book best-seller lists in fiction and non-fiction early next year. According to an article on their website, the lists will be compiled from data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers, online retailers, and other sources. The New York Times has been publishing best seller lists since 1935.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

September 2010 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for September 2010 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $39.9 million for September 2010, a 158.1% increase over September 2009. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 188%. Note: These figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Results from NACS’ OnCampus Research study about e-books and e-readers

NACS’ research division, OnCampus Research, recently conducted an e-book and e-reader survey to find out how much college students are accessing e-books and the devices that they are using. Highlights from the report can be found here.

The study produced many interesting findings. In regards to e-book purchases, 13 percent of college students said that they purchased an e-book within the past three months. Of the 13 percent, 56 percent said that the primary reason for their purchase was that it was a required course material for class.

In regards to devices, eight percent of college students currently own an e-reader or an Apple iPad. Of the 92 percent that do not own a device, five percent plan to make a purchase in the near future and another 36 percent are unsure if they will buy one. The primary reason that 42 percent of students gave for not wanting to purchase a device was that they prefer print books. An additional one-third of the students said that they were not sure how an e-reader device would benefit them and 18 percent said that the device was too expensive or they were waiting for prices to drop.

These stats show that interest in e-books and e-readers is growing but the majority of students still prefer print or do not yet see the need for a device. This is likely to change as the technology progresses, the prices for e-readers come down, and the benefits are realized. In addition, the students in college today tend to have a lower preference for digital than the students a few years younger. As these students enter college in the next few years, we will likely see a significant change in preferences.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HP in-store POD pilots at three universities

As mentioned in a previous posting, this semester Hewlett Packard (HP) is conducting print-on-demand (POD) pilots at three universities: Portland State University, The University of Kansas, and Arizona State University. Below you can find a list of links to articles and videos that provide more information about each of the pilots.

Portland State University:

  • An article from OregonLive.com discusses the pilot and says that the university has also partnered with Lulu self-publishing service. The partnership with Lulu allows authors to format their books online and then print the books at the PSU Bookstore.
  • The PSU Bookstore has created a video with more information and a demo of the technology.
  • Here is a link to a news story and video from Fox12 Oregon.
  • Here is a video that features Glen Hopkins, vice president of Hewlett Packard, discussing how the technology is changing the publishing industry.
  • Here is an article from the Portland Business Journal with more information about the pilot.

The University of Kansas

  • Here are some links to articles from Kansan.com and The Oread KU Employee Newsletter that discuss the pilot at KU.
  • Here is a video demo of the technology at KU’s bookstore.

Arizona State University

  • An article from ASU News features information about the pilot at ASU.
  • Here is a video demo of the technology at the ASU Bookstore. This posting also includes the goals of the pilot and information about their partnership with Lulu.
  • Another video featured on ASU’s The State Press discusses the capabilities of the technology.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Color E Ink e-reader to be released in China

Earlier this week, Hanvon Technology announced that it will be the first to sell an e-reader with a color E Ink display. The device will be available in March 2011 in China and it may be available in the U.S. in the future.

It is important to note that the screen will feature muted colors and not vibrant colors like a LCD screen. Color E Ink is created by placing a color filter over the black and white display. Like the black and white version, color E Ink will not be able to handle full-motion video because of the slow refresh rate. However, the device will still include a long battery life and the ability to read in the bright sunlight.

According to an article in The New York Times, Amazon and Sony plan to wait until the color E Ink technology matures before adding it to their devices. Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, noted, “On a list of things that people want in e-readers, color always comes up. There’s no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant color. We’re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kno announces pricing for tablets and begins accepting preorders

Earlier today, Kno announced the pricing for its single and dual-screen tablet devices and said that a limited number of devices will ship before the end of the year. As a reminder, the Kno Tablets were designed for higher education and include: 14-inch LCD screens to display full textbook pages; the ability to highlight and annotate; multitasking capabilities; support for stylus, touch, and keyboard input; and data backup in the cloud.

A posting on the All Things Digital website says that company will work with some college bookstores and the device will be aimed at 10 college campuses initially. This semester beta testing occurred at several campuses and Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Wiley provided select digital resources for the testing. The Kno website includes videos of a few students describing their experiences with the device and the company says that the student responses have been “overwhelmingly positive for both the single and dual screen devices.”

Students will be able to purchase textbooks through the Kno bookstore that will be accessible on the tablet. The store includes thousands of titles and the list can be viewed on Kno’s website. Currently the device has built in apps for reading, taking notes, and the web but additional apps are in development. A page on Kno’s website invites developers to help them design their development platform and build their app store. Apps for collaboration, specific subjects, educational games, and productivity tools will be available.

In addition, according to the New York Times, Kno plans to make its software available for laptops and potentially other tablets in the future.

These developments will certainly be ones to watch in the month’s ahead.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Study finds digital books could make up 25% of book sales by 2015

An article from The Bookseller.com discusses a new digital study that was conducted by Bain & Company. The study included 3,000 people from the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. The study found that up to 25% of books will be sold in digital format by 2015 and 15-20% of consumers will own e-reader devices. The study also showed that the switch to digital will occur more rapidly in the U.S. and Korea.

In terms of profit, the study found that digital could represent 20-28% of book industry profits. However, this will be dependent on innovation of the content and operating methods. The study noted, “Experimenting with new formats - non-linear, hybrid, interactive or social - is where opportunity lies.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

E-readers rank fifth on holiday gift wish list

According to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association, this holiday season spending on consumer electronics gifts will reach historic highs despite an overall decline in gift spending. In fact, three of the top five items on holiday gift wish lists of adults are for consumer electronics. E-readers made the list at number 5. The full list includes:

1- Peace/Happiness
2- Notebook/Laptop
3- iPad
4- Clothes
5- E-reader

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Best Kindle e-books of 2010

Amazon recently posted a list of its 100 bestselling e-book titles for 2010. They also have a second list that shows the top 100 editors’ picks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Digital coursepacks

Inside Higher Ed’s Technology and Learning blog has an interesting posting about the evolution of the digital coursepack. The posting points out that the iPad could be a platform for developing coursepack apps that include: articles, web content, assignments, video, tutorials, leaning outcomes, and more. Much of this content is only available through learning management systems (LMS) currently. If the content was moved to an app, it would allow the LMS systems to be used for interaction and collaboration and evolve to include authoring and sharing of content.

For more information, the full post can be found here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Project Tomorrow’s Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile! report

Project Tomorrow has released a new report that includes key mobile related findings from its Speak Up 2009 survey.

According to the report, student access to mobile devices has more than tripled in the past few years. In 2006, 9 percent of high school students said that they owned a smartphone with internet access and now 31 percent say that they do. In addition, 24 percent of 6-8th graders say that they own smartphones. This increase in smartphone ownership has led to a change in student opinion about the primary barrier to using technology at school. In the 2008 study, the majority of students said that their school’s internet filters were the primary barrier to using technology but now 78 percent of 6-12th graders with smartphones say that the biggest barrier is the policies that prevent them from using their own devices. In addition, when students were asked how schools could make it easier for them to do their school work, 64 percent of high school students and 60 percent of middle school students said that they want to use their own devices.

When students were asked to design their “ultimate school,” 56 percent of middle and high school students said “mobile computers for every student” (examples include: laptops, mini-notebooks, or tablet PC’s). In addition, 52 percent of middle and high school students said that mobile devices would have the greatest positive impact on learning. More surprisingly, 52 percent of students in kindergarten through second grade said that their “ultimate school” would include laptops for every student.

The study also found that 62 percent of parents said that if their child’s school allowed mobile devices to be used for educational purposes, they would likely purchase a device for their child.

For more information, you can download the full report here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free e-books and textbooks on iTunes U

Apple’s iTunes U currently offers free lectures and courses, and now it will also offer free digital textbooks and e-books. According to an article from Wired Campus, The Open University has added 100 interactive e-books to iTunes U and plans to add an additional 200 e-books before the end of the year. Rice University has also added 18 free textbooks from its open education project called Connexions. Joel Thierstein, executive director of Connexions, pointed out that adding the textbooks to iTunes U could help institutions become more familiar with open-education content.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Dominoes

Here is a fun video for the weekend. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

20 years of e-readers

A recent posting on CNNMoney.com features a slideshow of some of the e-readers that have hit the market over the past 20 years. The slideshow includes the first e-reader, Sony Data Discman, which was released in 1991 and designed to read audio CD’s and CD-ROMs. You can view the full slide show here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

B&N Nook Color

Earlier this week, Barnes & Noble unveiled a new color version of its Nook reader. The device features a 7–inch color LCD screen and Android operating system. This is an interesting device because it combines features of an e-reader and a tablet. It has a color screen and on screen keyboard like a tablet but does not include all of the capabilities or the larger device size. It is like other e-readers because it is designed primarily for the purpose of reading. However, this device will not be as easy on the eyes because it features a LCD screen with backlighting rather than a black and white E Ink screen. In terms of price, it also falls between cheaper e-readers and pricier tablets. Jamie Iannone, president of digital products at B&N, described the Nook Color by saying, “This device is the reader's tablet.”

According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, magazine and newspaper subscriptions with color photos will be available on the device. In addition, according to a posting on the Bits Blog, B&N has also introduced a new feature called Nook Friends that will allow readers to share content and notes with friends via social networks.

It will be interesting to see how this new type of device does this holiday season. B&N is expected to begin shipping the devices on November 19th.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Digital Happenings

While the blog highlights many of the digital happenings affecting our industry, there is often more going on than we have a chance to cover. Here are some links to interesting articles from the past few days.

  • Apple sold 4.19 million iPads last quarter bringing its total sales to almost 7.5 million since April. Interestingly, the iPad sales last quarter were greater than the sales for the entire line of Macintosh computers which also hit a record high at nearly 3.9 million units. Some analysts are now predicting that Apple will sell up to 40 million iPads next year.
  • According to an article from Adage, Apple has also expanded distribution for the iPad to retailers such as Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy. Previously, the iPad was available at 300 Apple stores and now it will be available at 8,000 stores across the country.
  • A recent survey of students by the Associated Press and mtvU found that 57 percent of students said that life without computers and cell phones would be stressful but 25 percent said it would be a relief.
  • An article from The New York Times says that Sharp is scaling back its laptop operations to focus on tablets. Sharp plans to launch 5.5-inch and 10-inch screen Android tablets in December. In addition, Sharp will launch an e-book store that will give users access to 30,000 e-books, newspapers, and magazines. A second article from MacWorld provides more information about the tablets.
  • According to a TechCrunch article, Amazon says that it continues to sell more Kindle books than print books. Amazon says that it has sold more than three times as many Kindle books from January to September of this year than it did for the same nine months of 2009. Amazon also says that sales for its latest Kindle device have already surpassed total Kindle device sales from the holiday season last year (October through December 2009).
  • A recent article from Publishers Weekly discusses the challenges associated with formatting e-books.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazon announces a lending program for Kindle e-books

According to an announcement on Amazon’s website, later this year it will introduce an e-book lending program for Kindle users. Users will be able to loan an e-book to a friend that uses a Kindle device or the Kindle app. The loan period will be for 14 days and the lender will not be able to read the book during that time. The announcement notes that publishers and rights holders will determine whether or not their titles are available for lending. Barnes & Noble has a similar lending program in place for its Nook device.

Amazon also announced that it will make Kindle newspapers and magazines available for reading on the Kindle apps. This functionality will be available for Apple devices initially and for Android devices or other apps in the future. This functionality may encourage users to stay within the Kindle app for all of their reading on various devices.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Touch screen technology from Disney Research

An interesting CNN article says that Disney Research is working on a new touch screen technology called TeslaTouch. The new technology would allow users to feel the location of the keys on a flat screen because it uses small electrical impulses to create a pull and push between a person’s finger and the screen. It differs from other touch-sensitive screens because it can actually simulate the feeling of various textures or friction between objects.

Here is a link to a video demo with additional information.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Webinar on Effective Communication in Higher Education

On Tuesday, November 9th, Platt Retail Institute will be holding a webinar to discuss the results from their study on communication effectiveness in higher education. The webinar will include a discussion about the most effective communication methods and how digital technologies can improve the flow of information on college campuses.

In an email about the webinar, Steven Keith Platt, PRI Director and Research Fellow, noted, "Our research study found that 97 percent of students prefer to receive information via digital channels, rather than from non-digital sources. Overall, text messages were found to be the most effective distribution channel, followed closely by digital signage."

For those interested in attending, you can sign up here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free interactive biology textbook in creation

A recent article from Wired Science discusses the efforts of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation to create an interactive and comprehensive digital textbook for biology that will be available for free. The textbook will be called Life on Earth and it will be created from scratch in the digital format.

Neil Patterson, director of Life on Earth, commented on the effort to revolutionize science education. Patterson noted, “Motion and film are powerful ways of teaching. We’re trying to exploit the human brain, like videogames do, and it’s not a small matter to use technology now available to us.”

The digital book will contain 59 chapters and will be extremely expensive to create so university level editions will be sold for about 10 percent of the cost of an average print textbook. The foundation will also need donations to support the effort.

The Wired article also includes a couple of videos that are worth watching. The first video is a demonstration of the first chapter of Life on Earth and the second video provides more information about the initiative.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

XanEdu and NYU Stern School of Business to conduct iPad pilot

According to a recent press release, XanEdu, provider of custom coursepacks and textbooks, has partnered with the NYU Stern School of Business to conduct a program-wide iPad pilot for MBA students. Instructors at the university will use XanEdu’s system to publish course materials that students can access on the iPads. The course materials will include digital note taking capabilities and collaboration tools. Throughout the pilot, students will be asked to provide feedback to help determine if the iPad app meets the needs of the students.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mobile usage among teens and young adults is on the rise

Nielsen has released a new report about mobile usage in the U.S. that has some interesting statistics.

In regards to texting, teens between the ages of 13-17 far surpass every other age group. Teens send an average of 3,339 texts a month or about six texts for every hour that they are awake. Young adults between the ages of 18-24 come in second at about 1,630 texts per month or about three texts per hour. For both age groups, voice activity has decreased since last year.

According to the report, these age groups are now relying on their phones for many tasks in addition to texting including: the Internet, e-mail, multimedia, games, and apps. Since the second quarter of 2009, data usage among teens (ages 3-17) has quadrupled and among young adults (18-24) it has tripled.

The increased reliance on mobile devices among these age groups presents many opportunities for the mobile industry in the future.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New type of e-paper

A recent Ars Technica article discusses a new type of e-paper that is currently in development. The screen is being developed by Gamma Dynamics and is said to be more advanced than the E Ink screens that are used on many e-readers today. According to the article, the screen is much brighter but it does not use more power. It is also has a much faster refresh rate than the current E Ink screens. More information is available here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

96% of 18-29 year olds own a cell phone

A new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has some interesting findings about the number of Americans that own technology devices. Some of the findings include:
  • 85% of all Americans and 96% of 18-29 year olds own a cell phone
  • 52% of all Americans and 72% of 18-19 year olds own a laptop computer
  • 47% of all Americans and 75% of 18-29 year olds own an mp3 player
  • 42% of all Americans and 62% of 18-29 year olds own a home gaming system

In regards to e-readers and tablets, 5% of all Americans own and e-book reader and 4% own a tablet computer. The report notes that these devices are new but they are proving to be popular with early adopters. The ownership rates of these devices among college graduates and the affluent are roughly double the national average.

The full report is available here

Friday, October 15, 2010

August 2010 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for August 2010 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $39 million for August 2010, a 172.4% increase over August 2009. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 193%. Note: These figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HP in-store print-on-demand pilots

This semester, Hewlett Packard (HP) is conducting print-on-demand pilots at three universities. NMS helped to facilitate the pilots with the college stores at Portland State University, The University of Kansas, and Arizona State University. The stores are utilizing HP in-store print-on-demand technology to print and bind course materials. Each college store has worked out agreements with publishers to print a select number of titles. In addition, books in the public domain and open-source books can be printed. More information about each of the pilots can be found below.

A recent article from AZCentral.com discusses the pilot at ASU. McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, and Cengage Learning have all made a limited number of titles available for the pilot. Some professors who own the rights to their books have also made the titles available for printing. As a result of the pilot, the textbook prices for several courses have reduced. Dennis Mekelburg, associate director of ASU Bookstore, estimates that students could save about a half-million dollars each semester if five percent of ASU classes switch to print-on-demand.

In another article Estella McCollum, director of the KU Bookstore, commented on the pilot at KU. She noted, “With this, we’re essentially never out of stock on the printable titles. We just have a more efficient option for purchasing.” The KU Bookstore hopes to expand the print options next semester to include: student projects, books, portfolios, cookbooks, and other projects.

An article about the pilot at Portland State University points out that the program is good for students, the store, and the earth because it reduces prices for students, keeps sales at the store, and reduces wasteful printing and transportation. The store hopes to get more publishers on board by next semester so that they can increase the amount of content that can be printed.

More information about these pilots will be available prior to CAMEX in February 2011.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Student PIRGs report on open textbooks

A new report regarding open textbooks has been released by The Student PIRGs. The report titled “How Open Textbooks are the Path to Textbook Affordability” concludes that “the next step toward textbook affordability is to promote the creation and adoption of open textbooks.” It says that rentals, e-textbooks, and e-readers are limited in the ability to reduce costs and address student preferences because they only match the preferences of some students. However, open textbooks can reduce costs substantially and accommodate the full spectrum of students.

Some of the Student PIRG data that contributed to this conclusion matches data from the NACS Student Watch study however, there are some differences. For example, in regards to student preferences, the Student PIRGs data shows that 75 percent of students prefer print while 25 percent prefer digital. The NACS study found a similar statistic but when students were subsequently asked the primary reason for purchasing print over digital only 42 percent indicated that their preference for print was the primary reason for their purchase choice. The next two reasons were: lack of inventory (19 percent) and that the professor used the print copy (13 percent). This shows that while a majority of students may prefer print to digital, that preference is decreasing in its relevance as a reason not to purchase digital -- suggesting that the preference for print over digital may be lessening in significance. If the content is available and if the faculty chooses digital more students may be ready to switch. Preference for print may have been definitive before but it is more marginal now.

The Student PIRGs report also estimates that students would spend an average of 80 percent less on textbooks each year if they moved to all open textbooks. This compares to 61 percent less for rentals, 52 percent less for e-textbooks, and 39 percent less for e-reader textbooks. While open textbooks may be more affordable now, the model may not be sustainable over the long term. As more faculty adopt open course materials, it may have an impact on overall educational affordability because revenue that goes to support financial aid, tuition sustainability, and other institutional expenses will be lost. This is not an argument against seeking lower cost course materials. Rather, it is an argument that open source still presents enough shortcomings that it is not yet a panacea for the textbook affordability problem.

While open textbooks will certainly play a part in the future, the associated limitations need to be worked out before they can be widely adopted. College Stores should be thinking about ways to incorporate open textbooks into their offerings. College Stores have an opportunity to provide access to the digital versions and offer printed versions through print-on-demand so that the store remains the primary source for student content needs, regardless of format or source.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

E-book industry to be regulated in China

According to a recent report, China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) has released a regulation to guide the development of the e-book industry in China. The regulation seeks to resolve some of the current issues in the industry. One of the issues is that the e-books are published in a variety of formats and the e-reader devices only support specific formats. This is also an issue in the U.S. and can be challenging for both consumers and publishers. The regulation will help resolve this issue by establishing standards for format, quality, and copyright. The regulation also includes tasks such as: establishing a pool of reading material for e-books, nurturing big e-book brands, and improving the quality of digital transformation of traditional publications.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Virginia Department of Education iPad pilot

A recent article from eSchool News discusses the iPad pilot that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is conducting. The VDOE is working with Pearson to implement the program for fourth, seventh, and ninth grade students in social studies classes. Additional content, software, and platforms are being provided by Five Ponds Press, Victory Productions, Adobe, and MashOn. In addition, AP biology students participating in VDOE’s online learning program will use an interactive textbook created by Inkling in cooperation with McGraw-Hill.

The iPad pilot is part of VDOE’s larger "Beyond Textbook" initiative which aims to “explore the potential of wireless technology and digital textbooks to enhance teaching and learning.”

Patricia Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction, commented on the initiative, “The experiences of students and teachers will be evaluated, and the knowledge gained will help policy makers, educators, and our private-sector partners better understand the potential instructional uses of interactive digital media and wireless technology. We will learn what works in the classroom and build on that as our schools move beyond traditional textbooks.”

The iPad pilot program will kick off on November 1 and will run for 12 weeks. Additional information can be found in the press release.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Esquire magazine iPad app

Here is an interesting video of the Esquire magazine app for the iPad. The app was developed in partnership with Scrollmotion and features an engaging and interactive experience. The first issue of the magazine for the iPad is available now. You can also read more about it in this posting from Mashable.com.

Friday, October 8, 2010

“Digital Public Library of America”

Last weekend, Harvard’s chief librarian, Robert Darnton, organized a meeting of representatives from foundations, institutions, and libraries to discuss how to build a national digital library. The group issued a statement to endorse the idea which includes an open distributed network of online resources from libraries, archives, museums, and universities across the country. According to Mr. Darnton, the goal is not to coordinate existing digitization projects but to make “the entire cultural heritage of the country accessible free of charge to all of our citizens.”

A recent article from The Chronicle includes an interview with Mr. Darnton about the meeting and the challenges. Darnton noted that the biggest obstacle will be “finding our way through our baroque copyright laws.” Next steps for the group include: forming a coalition of foundations to fund it and bringing together leaders to mobilize support in Washington.

Mr. Darnton also recently wrote a column for The New York Review of Books blog that discusses why the U.S. should begin building a national digital library and the other countries that are doing so.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scholastic study on reading in the digital age

Scholastic has released the results from its 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report that explored reading in the digital age. The study included children between the ages of 6 and 17, and their parents for a total of 2,090 respondents.

The study produced some interesting findings including:

  • 25 percent of children (age 6-17) have read a book on a digital device
  • 57 percent of children (age 9-17) say they are interested in reading an e-book
  • 33 percent of children (age 9-17) say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to e-books.

While digital is appealing to many children, the results also showed that kids still embrace print books. 66 percent of children (ages 9-17) agreed with the statement, “I'll always want to read books printed on paper even though there are e-books available."

As for the parents, 6 percent said that they currently own an e-reader and another 16 percent plan to buy one within the year. In addition, 83 percent of the parents said they do or will encourage their child to use their e-reader device. However, many parents worry about the impact of digital devices. 56 percent of parents said that they worry that their children will become less interested in reading books for fun as they become more involved with digital devices.

The full report is available on Scholastic’s website.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Digital Happenings

  • According to The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog, earlier this week Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented, “You’ll see new slates with Windows on them. You’ll see them this Christmas.” Ballmer did not provide any additional information.
  • Earlier this year, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization announced a partnership with Marvell and now OLPC has received a grant from Marvell to fund the development of an Android educational tablet for children around the world. According to an Ars Technica article, the device will be available for demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
  • Rumors have been circulating that MIT is planning to charge for its free online course materials via the MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) system. An article from The New York Times reports that this is not the case.
  • A posting on the Gadgetwise blog features a round-up of the tablets that are in the works. The posting does not include the latest news that Dell is preparing to launch a second Android tablet. Dell recently showed off a 7-inch tablet at a conference but details about the device were not disclosed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sales forecasts for the iPad and Kindle

A few recent articles discuss updated sales predictions for the iPad and Kindle.

Gene Munster, analyst for Piper Jaffray, says that Apple could control 94 percent of the global tablet market this year. This means that Apple may sell an estimated 10.7 million tablets out of 11.3 million in industry sales. Munster also increased the forecast for iPad sales in 2011. Munster previously estimated that Apple would sell about 14.5 million units in 2011. The new forecast says that Apple could sell 21 million iPads and surpass sales of the Mac.

A second article from Electronista discusses Kindle sales. Douglas Anmuth from Barclays Capital estimates that Amazon will sell about five million Kindles this year and 11.5 million in 2012.

These forecasts put Apple ahead of Amazon in terms of device sales but Amazon will still benefit from e-book sales on the iPad. Currently, the Kindle app is one of the most popular apps for the iPad.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Future of the Book by IDEO

Here is an interesting video from IDEO, a global design company, about how they envision the future of the book. Their design concept is broken down into three tracks: Nelson, Coupland, and Alice. Nelson is a reading experience that comprises multiple perspectives, Coupland incorporates social networking into the experience, and Alice invites the reader to engage in the story telling process.

The video has some really interesting ideas and is worth a watch. In addition, here is an article with more information.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

e-reader users are likely to read more and purchase more books

A new study from market research firm Harris Interactive found that 8 percent of Americans use an e-reader and an additional 12 percent plan to purchase an e-reader within the next six months.

The study also found that consumers that own e-readers read more and purchase more books. The study notes, "Overall, two in five Americans (40%) read 11 or more books a year with one in five reading 21 or more books in a year (19%). But among those who have an e-reader, over one-third read 11-20 books a year (36%) and over one-quarter read 21 or more books in an average year (26%)."

Additional results from the study can be found here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Text messaging statistics

The Mashable website recently featured an interesting article about text messaging and how it has become one of the most popular forms of communication. The article includes a graphic to illustrate the texting trends and averages in the U.S. and around the world. Some interesting stats include:

  • Texting has surpassed e-mail, phone, and face-to-face conversation as the main communication vehicle for 12-17 year olds.
  • In the U.S., 14-17 year old girls send about 100 texts per day while boys in the same age group send about 30 texts per day.
  • By 2009, 5 trillion text messages were being sent annually worldwide.

For more statistics, visit the Mashable website.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Rumors about a RIM BlackBerry tablet began circulating last week and earlier this week the company unveiled a 7-inch PlayBook tablet. This announcement has everyone wondering how the device compares to the iPad and other tablet competition. According to reports it does surpass some of the iPad’s current specs but by the time it is released next year there may be a newer edition of the iPad as well.

An article from eWeek includes pictures of the device and points out some of the differences between the PlayBook and the iPad. Some of the advantages of the PlayBook include: 1 GHz dual-core processor, multitasking capabilities, support for Adobe Flash, mirco USB and mirco HDMI ports, and dual cameras. However, the iPad excels with its 3G support, long battery life, and access to thousands of apps.

While the PlayBook is being compared to the iPad, it is expected to be targeted at enterprise users and not the consumer market. For example, Blackberry users may find the device useful because they can pair their smartphone with it and view any of their content on the larger device. Analysts point out that this puts the device in a different playing field. In an article from CIO Insight, Analyst Ken Hyers from Technology Business Research, noted, “[RIM] really has the market to itself. There's little chance, in my opinion, that this will be a runaway best seller, but I don't think it necessarily needs to be. If it catches on with the enterprise as a genuine productivity tool in the same way that the BlackBerry has, it will be a positive development for RIM.”

For additional info, an article from Fast Company features a side by side comparison of the PlayBook, iPad, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kno announces second tablet for education

According to a posting on Wired’s Gadget Lab, Kno Inc., has announced that it will release a second touchscreen tablet this year. Kno’s first tablet includes two 14-inch screens while the second tablet includes just one 14-inch screen. Detailed specs have not been released but it is expected to incorporate similar functionality as the dual screen device.

Osman Rashid, CEO and Co-Founder of Kno Inc., commented on the new device, “Even though the Kno pays for itself in 13 months, the smaller up front investment of the single screen version will allow more students to use our learning platform."

The dual screen device is being piloted on a few campuses this fall and both devices are scheduled to ship by the end of the year.

Pictures of the new device can be found on Wired’s website.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sharp to launch tablets and e-bookstore

Sharp Corp. has announced that it will launch two tablets and an e-bookstore in Japan to compete with the Apple iPad. According to the press release, it will offer a mobile device with a 5.5 inch LCD screen and a 10.8 inch device designed for home use. Both of the devices will feature the Google Android operating system.

Sharp’s e-bookstore will give users access to 30,000 e-books, newspapers, and magazines. Users will be able to receive the latest content on their devices via automatic scheduled delivery. Next year, Sharp will expand the offering to include movies, music, and games.

The tablets and e-bookstore will be available in Japan in December and Sharp plans to launch the system in the U.S. and Europe “as soon as possible.” It has also been reported that Sharp is in negotiations with Verizon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

e-reader users are likely to read more and purchase more books

A new study from market research firm Harris Interactive found that 8 percent of Americans use an e-reader and an additional 12 percent plan to purchase an e-reader within the next six months. The study also found that consumers that own e-readers read more and purchase more books than those that do not own e-readers. The study notes, "Overall, two in five Americans (40%) read 11 or more books a year with one in five reading 21 or more books in a year (19%). But among those who have an e-reader, over one-third read 11-20 books a year (36%) and over one-quarter read 21 or more books in an average year (26%)."

Additional results from the study can be found here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point

On Wednesday, September 29, the Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point online conference will be held. The conference includes some great speakers that you may be interested in. Visit the conference website to view the complete program and find out more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

E-textbooks in South Korea schools

For the past few weeks, Jeff Young from The Chronicle has been traveling through Asia to observe how digital technologies are changing teaching, research, and university experiences. Mr. Young recently stopped in South Korea and observed four classrooms at an elementary school that is participating in the e-textbook pilot run by the government. An interesting article written by Mr. Young provides an overview of the classroom experience and includes comments from students and faculty about the learning experience.

As with other e-textbook pilots, the comments show that there are advantages and challenges to using the technology in the classroom. Some of the advantages include: the wide range of real world material that is available compared to the paper text and that the students are performing better in math class with the digital textbooks. While some of the challenges include: self guided quizzes that do not give detailed feedback and difficulty accessing the materials from home. Teachers at the school also say that they have difficulty finding and producing multimedia content to incorporate into the digital textbooks.

Mr. Young summed up the article by pointing out the e-textbooks provide an interactive and engaging experience but at this point seem to be high maintenance.

You can read more about Mr. Young’s travels on his College 2.0 column.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Digital Happenings

Here are some links to interesting articles from the past few days:

  • The Xplanation blog has a posting about “Nine Important Trends in the Evolution of Digital Textbook and E-learning Content” that is worth a read. Some of the trends include the growth of OER, the development of a common format for e-textbooks, and a merging of the rental and e-textbook markets.
  • An article from the Wall Street Journal reports that Blackberry could unveil a 7-inch tablet as early as next week. According to the report, the tablet will not be sold with a cellular service but users will be able to connect to cellular networks through Blackberry smartphones.
  • According to a recent press release, Vook has released 47 enhanced e-books or “vooks” in the Apple iBookstore. As mentioned previously, vooks blend text, video, images, and social networking into a single experience. Here is a video demo that explains more.
  • Here is an interesting article about a school in Scotland that gave each of its students an iPad for use in class and at home.
  • According to Publishers Weekly, the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative (CCOTC) has partnered with Dynamic Books, an interactive digital textbook platform from Macmillan. CCOTC is a nonprofit coalition of colleges, governmental agencies, educational nonprofits, and other education-related organizations that was formed to help reduce the cost of textbooks. CCOTC has identified 27 open textbooks that will be made available through Dynamic Books beginning in January 2011.
  • A posting on the Kindle Nation Daily blog says that Amazon is winning the e-book pricing war against publishers. The number of e-books in the Kindle store that are in Amazon’s preferred price range has increased significantly over the past few months. The posting includes a pricing analysis as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on iPad pilots at Seton Hill University and George Fox University

A recent article from Wired Campus provides some updates on a few of the iPad pilots occurring this fall.

According to the article, faculty members at Seton Hill University are working with the developers of Inkling, an interactive textbooks app for the iPad, to determine how to integrate the technology into the classroom. As mentioned previously, Inkling has many appealing features including: figures and diagrams that can be freely rotated and resized, embedded videos and case studies, and interactive quizzes. One of the most interesting features is the note sharing functionality that allows students to take notes in the margins and then share the notes with classmates or instructors in real-time. This gives students the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas instantly. Catherine Giunta, an associate professor of business at Seton Hill, says that the technology has changed the way that students interact with the textbook and how she interacts with the students. Ms. Guinta has been able to give students individualized instruction and guidance after reviewing their margin notes.

The article also discusses the iPad experience at George Fox University. For the first time this year, the university expanded the computing options and offered each incoming first-year student a choice between an iPad and a MacBook. According to the article, only about 10 percent of the students chose the iPad so it has been difficult to completely incorporate the device into the curriculum this semester.

Monday, September 20, 2010

July 2010 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for July 2010 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $40.8 million for July 2010, a 150.2% increase over July 2009. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 191%. Note: These figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple’s iBooks is one of most popular iPad apps

According to an article on TheBookseller.com, Apple’s iBooks application is one of the most popular apps on the iPad and it has even surpassed social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter. A recent report says that 78% of iPad owners have downloaded the iBooks app while 52% have downloaded the Facebook app and 34% have downloaded the Twitter app. The report also says that half of the users use the iBooks app three times a week and almost a quarter of the users access it daily.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something you can’t do with the iPad

Here is a funny advertisement from Newsday that was posted on the Bits Blog. It shows you one of the few things that you can’t do with the iPad.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announces innovation fund and partnership with A&E Television Networks

A few recent announcements from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) show that the publisher is preparing for the digital future. Earlier this week, HMH announced the creation of an innovation fund to invest in education initiatives globally. According to the press release, the fund will support projects that enhance student achievement, individualized learning, and technology integration. The goal is to bring new solutions to the market that will play a role in transforming education.

HMH also plans to invest in innovation centers in the U.S. and Ireland. At the centers, innovation teams will work with third party manufacturers, foundations, and academia on new solutions. The HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 app that we discussed last week is one of the new solutions.

Today, HMH also announced a new partnership with A&E Television Networks (AETN). Content from HISTORY, a division of AETN formerly known as the History Channel, will be used to create digital education materials including: multimedia classroom packages, a streaming digital library, and interactive textbooks.

Here is an interesting video from the companies that discusses how the partnership could help transform education in the classroom.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

University of Texas at San Antonio opens a bookless library

As we discussed in a previous posting, some university libraries have begun remaking their physical spaces for the digital future. Stanford University, Cornell University, and Johns Hopkins University have all made changes on their campuses.

According to a recent article, the University of Texas at San Antonio has also created a new library space which will be the first bookless library on a college or university campus. The Applied Engineering and Technology Library at the university includes 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions, as well as computers, LCD screens, printers, and scanners for student use. In the near future, the library will also make e-reader and tablet devices available for check out.

According to the article, the new bookless library is catching on with students because librarians now have more time to assist them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Early results from iPad pilot at University of Notre Dame

An article on Forbes.com discusses the results from the first survey of a test group of students using iPads at the University of Notre Dame. While the students have only been using the devices for a short time, the overall results are positive. Corey Angst, Assistant Professor of Management, and the faculty member teaching the class, noted that he anticipated more negative feedback. “In [Information Technology] research, we almost always see a slight dip in satisfaction after a couple weeks of usage. In this case, we saw very little of that.”

Below is a listing of some of the pros and cons that were expressed by the students.


  • Encouraged exploration of additional topics
  • Provided functions/tools that are not possible with a traditional textbook
  • Made coursework more interesting
  • Improved collaboration among team members
  • Helped with organization
  • Made bags/backpacks much lighter
  • Used for reading in other courses and non-academic reading
  • Reduced paper usage


  • Distracting due to games, apps, and web browser
  • Concerned about the effects of spending so much time looking at a screen
  • More difficult to highlight text on an iPad than a regular book

Notre Dame plans to rotate the iPads among different classes next semester. The university aims to create an “e-publishing ecosystem” for the entire university in the future.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The future of reading

Wired has an interesting article written by Jonah Lehrer about the future of reading on screens. Lehrer points out that advances in technology are making it easier to consume content on television, computer screens, etc., but he worries that this could backfire with books. He says that we may consume the words unconsciously and not truly contemplate the meaning of what we are reading.

“I worry that, before long, we’ll become so used to the mindless clarity of e-ink – to these screens that keep on getting better – that the technology will feedback onto the content, making us less willing to endure harder texts. We’ll forget what it’s like to flex those dorsal muscles, to consciously decipher a literate clause.”

The full article can be found on Wired’s website.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The size of books

Have you ever wondered why books are the size that they are? A posting on Wired’s Gadget Lab blog has the story behind the size.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bookstore at Christopher Newport University to go digital in January 2011

Christopher Newport University recently announced that it will shut down its campus bookstore and launch a textbook website in January. The university said the decision was based on student buying patterns and the increase in online competition. The new website will include new and used textbooks, rentals, and e-books.

An article about the announcement can be found here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Daytona State College plans to switch to e-textbooks in January 2011

According to a recent article from Inside Higher Ed, beginning in January, Daytona State College will purchase licenses from textbook publishers that will give students access to e-textbooks for a fee. This model allows the university to buy the license at a discounted price and transfer the cost and the savings to the students. According to Rand S. Spiwak, chief financial officer of Daytona State College, students may save as much as 80% with this model. Students will also have the option to purchase the print version if they choose. The digital course materials fee can be used as a credit toward the print version. In addition, this model will still give faculty the opportunity to choose among multiple publishers when selecting the texts for students.

The article points out that the college bookstore will not benefit from this new model but the college is prepared for that. Spiwak noted, “The simplest conclusion would be we’ll have no bookstore. What we’ll have is a store that sells t-shirts and backpacks, and things that go with e-readers.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt launches algebra app and pilots in four California school districts

Today, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) launched an interactive full-curriculum algebra app for the iPad and announced year-long pilots with four school districts in California.

The app is called HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 and it includes a year-long course and ancillary materials. The app is intended to provide students with an interactive learning experience that features: guided practice, video lessons, vocabulary links, graphing tools, highlighting, and notetaking capabilities. The app also provides teachers with real-time performance feedback for students.

According to the press release, approximately 400 students in San Francisco, Long Beach, Riverside, and Fresno school districts will participate in the pilot. The students will utilize the algebra app on iPad devices while control groups of students will use traditional paper textbooks. The groups will be compared based on student achievement and attitudes about learning.

The HMH Education website features additional information about the app and pilot. There is also a video demo to show how the app works on the iPad.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How do digital devices affect the way we process information?

An interesting article from NPR discusses several research projects that are studying the way that digital technologies affect our brains. Some research shows that heavy multimedia users have trouble focusing on tasks and filtering out irrelevant information. While other research shows that digital technologies have many positive benefits because information can be organized so that we do not have to keep track of it all.

The article also includes some interesting stats. It says that the average person today consumes about three times as much information as a person consumed in 1960. In addition, an average computer user can switch programs 36 times an hour.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Youth in Japan and China experience “character amnesia”

A recent article from Yahoo News says that the younger generations in China and Japan often have a hard time remembering how to write certain characters because of the constant use of digital devices. In China, electronic devices offer a menu of characters so users just need to be able to recognize a character. In Japan, the simpler writing systems are used for digital devices so over time users may forget the more complicated writing system.

Siok Wai Ting, assistant professor of linguistics at Hong Kong University, pointed out that forgetting how to write the characters could eventually affect reading ability.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five publishers to pilot digital textbooks at California State Universities

Earlier this week, it was announced that Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Bedford/Freeman/Worth, John Wiley & Sons, and Pearson will all participate in a pilot with The Digital Marketplace, an initiative of the California State University Office of the Chancellor.

The pilot begins this semester and includes five California State Universities: Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino, and San Francisco State. Between the schools, 32 courses will be participating and about 4,000 students. Students enrolled in the participating classes will be able to purchase subscriptions for the digital content through their campus bookstores. With the subscription, students will be able to access the digital content for the length of the term and read the texts on computers/laptops, iPad, iPhones, and other devices.

According to an article on the California State University website, the pilot program will likely expand to include more courses and campuses for the spring 2011 semester. In addition, data will be collected throughout the pilots to learn more about student and faculty preferences for digital material.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Full edition of Oxford English Dictionary may not be printed again

According to an article from Telegraph.co.uk, it is not likely that a full edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) will be printed again. The second version of OED was published in 1989 across 20 volumes but has also been available online via subscription for many years. Currently, it receives about two million visits per month from subscribers. The third version is still a decade away from completion and will likely only appear online at that point.

Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of Oxford University Press, commented, “The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of percent a year.”

Simon Winchester, author of ‘The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary’ added, “The printed book is about to vanish at extraordinary speed. I have two complete OEDs, but never consult them – I use the online OED five or six times daily. The same with many of my reference books – and soon with most.”

Oxford University Press, owner of the dictionary, said that it will still continue to print the Oxford Dictionary of English which is sold in bookstores.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sony announces three new e-readers

Today, Sony announced the launch of three new e-reader devices. The three devices are upgraded versions of those already on the market including the Reader Pocket Edition, Reader Touch Edition, and the wireless Reader Daily Edition. All of the devices now include a touch screen and utilize E Ink’s latest display technology called Pearl. Pearl has a contrast ratio approximately 50 percent greater than the previous E Ink display. In addition, all of the devices have a reduced size and weight. The Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition are available now and the wireless Reader Daily Edition is expected to ship in time for the holidays. To see pictures of the new devices, you can view this posting on the Teleread blog.

In addition, Sony has announced plans to expand its Reader line to Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, and China.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

800 institutions to use Flat World Knowledge textbooks this fall

Flat World Knowledge continues to pick up textbook adoptions across the U.S. According to a recent press release, more than 1,300 educators at 800 colleges and universities will use Flat World’s open textbooks this fall. This is up from 400 institutions in the fall of 2009 and 30 institutions during the spring of 2009. To date, Flat World Knowledge has published 24 titles and an additional 50 titles are in the works.

Flat World reports that it is “on track to save 150,000 students $12 million or more in textbook expenses for the 2010/2011 academic year.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Echo Smartpen from Livescribe

In a previous posting, we discussed Livescribe’s Pulse Smartpen. The smartpen looks like an ordinary pen but also includes memory storage, OLED display, speaker, microphone, camera, and a USB connector. When the pen is used with special paper, the camera tracks the movement of anything that is written or drawn while recording audio.

According to a posting on Engadget, this fall Livescribe will release a new pen called Echo. The Echo will include additional storage as well as software to allow users to export their notes to a computer. Users can then share their notes via social networks, email, etc. In addition, when the pen is connected to a computer via a USB cable, anything that is drawn on the paper will be streamed to the computer in real time. These additional features could make the pens very useful for both students and instructors.

The Livescribe website features more information and a video demo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The environmental impact of e-reader devices

A few months ago, the New York Times published an interesting piece about the environmental impact of e-reader devices. While some details about the way the devices are manufactured are not available, the article provides an estimate of the environmental impact of the devices compared to paper books.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Personal digitization of books in Japan

The personal digitization of books is a quickly growing trend in Japan. It is referred to as “jisui” and it allows people to convert a title to a digital format by scanning each page individually. Users find that doing this makes books easier to keep over time, as having their library consolidated in a single place is much more convenient than managing a collection of physical books.

Many companies in Japan now offer book-cutting and scanning services, which has raised concerns about copyright violations, as this process of digitization is permitted under Japanese copyright law provided that individuals do the reproduction themselves and for personal use.

Tetsuya Imamura, an associate professor in intellectual property law at Meiji University, says that the law is lagging behind the latest developments. "Legally speaking, it is a violation of reproduction rights, but with respect to the handling of digital data, the copyright law is out of step with current times," Imamura says.

For more information on this topic, a Mainichi Daily News article about this trend can be found here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Digital Happenings

  • According to a recent press release, three universities and the Virginia Department of Education have announced pilot programs with Inkling. The universities include: Abilene Christian University, Seton Hill University, and the University of Alabama. Inkling is a new start-up company that is working with publishers to rethink electronic textbooks. You can read more about Inkling in one of our previous posts. The Bits Blog also has a recent post.
  • An article from Forbes features a Q&A with Tom Christopher, the president of Follett’s Higher Ed division, about the future of the college store.
  • Is Apple working on a touch-screen desktop iPad?
  • Reuters has an interesting article about a new social networking technology called Scoop. According to the developers, Scoop is intended to help connect college students with their campuses and social communities.
  • Fast Company tells you why you should not underestimate the B&N Nook.
  • An article from San Francisco Chronicle says that mobile payment technologies are gaining momentum and companies like Apple, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless may soon offer this type of feature.
  • According to Information Week, Amazon says that its latest Kindle model has sold more in its first four weeks than any of its previous Kindle devices. For this version, Amazon has reduced the size, weight, and price of the device.
  • In regards to e-book sales, Amazon recently said that they continue to sell more Kindle books than hardcover books. “Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books.”