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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Friday, January 31, 2014

E-Readers Not Welcomed in This Class

Textbook costs have been in the headlines since the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) released its survey that found 65% of students said they did not purchase course materials because of the price. It also reported that 82% of students said they would do better in a class with free online access to course materials.

A professor at Temple University understands the angst, but is unmoved. Students of Meredith Broussard’s digital journalism class are asked to leave their electronic devices at home and bring the textbook, or at the very least a printout of the class assignment, because she’s found that digital-native students really have nothing more than a basic understanding on how to operate the gadgets.

“For a couple of semesters, I patiently endured students announcing their technical difficulties to the entire class,” Broussard wrote in an article for The New Republic. “After a while, I realized that I was spending an awful lot of class time doing tech support.”

Broussard admitted there’s a time and place for electronic devices in the classroom and she likes reading on her Kindle, but she’s come to the conclusion that the printed book is just easier to use. Legislative initiatives, like the one in Florida to switch to digital textbooks in public schools by 2015, make her nervous.

“E-books are not the best format for the way the American education system works right now, nor do they allow students equal opportunities for education,” she wrote. “When the myriad human-computer interface issues get ironed out, and when e-books are logistically better than print books, I’ll be happy to switch over. That day hasn’t arrived yet. Sometimes, innovation means sticking with what works.”

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Net Neutrality in the News

Net neutrality—the idea that all data on the Internet should be treated equally without discriminating or charging differently—was in the news recently when a federal appeals court ruled that regulations established in 2010 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) went too far.

Open Internet rules prevented Internet Service providers (ISPs) from blocking or discriminating against any legal website or online content. The appeals court ruled the FCC cannot enforce those rules because the Internet isn’t considered a crucial utility, such as telephone service or electricity.

Verizon, the company that brought the lawsuit, argued the new ruling would provide customers with more innovation and choices. Education experts worry the ruling will allow ISPs to control delivery of services depending on how much content providers are willing to pay for.

“This is a terrible idea on every ground,” wrote Ravi Ravishanker, chief information officer and associate dean at Wellesley College, in his institutional blog. “Given that everything happens on the Internet now, unless those dreaming up creative ideas can pony up a lot more money to get the attention of the ISP, they are dead in the water.”

Others are not so sure since the court also ruled the FCC still has legal authority over broadband. Phil Hill, co-founder of the education technology consulting firm MindWires, told Campus Technology the ruling should provide more freedom of access to Internet services.

“This should allow the FCC to implement new rules that don’t step on the toes of the common-carrier rules,” he said. “In other words, as long as the FCC doesn’t screw up, it should be able to regulate and enforce net neutrality with future rules. But there will be a lot of overheated rhetoric in the meantime.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Look Ahead from the Inside Out

People who don’t actually work in education, bookselling, or print publishing spout plenty of dour speculation about the survival of these industries. When people who do work in these industries come together, such as at Digital Book World’s recent conference, they explore worrisome trends but also see a definite future.

NACS’ own Tony Ellis, vice president of industry advancement, was among the participants at the Making Information Pay in Higher Education event, produced by the Book Industry Study Group in conjunction with the DBW conference. A few of his key takeaways from conference presentations are:

  • More college students say their classes have no assigned textbooks. In many cases, faculty are opting to use content within integrated learning systems, such as Pearson’s MyLab online products.
  • Textbook prices continue to be a deal-breaker for many students, with more engaging in “illicit acquisition behaviors” to obtain their course materials. Once a book price crosses the $30-$40 line, students are more likely to be tempted by pirated content.
  • Even though students prefer to study from print and e-book sales are slowing across all reading genres, publishers are gung-ho about digital books, despite difficulties with technology, standards, and data analytics. Still, they acknowledge print will stick around for quite a while.
  • Bookstores and libraries are expanding into new roles. Libraries are helping patrons learn how to use digital materials. Stores are providing more services to help authors, especially self-published ones. Both aim to be the place where readers can discover titles and connect with authors.
  • Word of mouth matters more than ever. The opinions of others, as expressed on social media and other online sites, have more influence on consumers (especially those of college age) than marketing, branding, and customer service.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Students Finish Online Courses on Campus

Completion rates of massive open online courses (MOOCs) may be low, but a survey by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) found that more students are finishing online classes taken on campus. The study, Managing Online Education, reported that 78% of the students completed online courses taken on campus, just 3% lower than the rate for in-person classes.

The problem, according to the WICHE report, is publicity surrounding the much lower MOOC completion rates.

“Some have confused MOOC completion rates with those of ‘traditional’ online courses,” the report said. “These results show that online completion rates track more closely with those in on-campus courses than is found in MOOCs.”

The study also found that more than 85% of responding institutions have developed standards for online course, but 65% were unable to provide on-campus completion rates and 55% didn’t report the online rates.

“As is the case with all of higher education, there is room for improvement,” the report concluded. “Perhaps the needed improvement is not as much as some critics might claim.”

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed the WICHE study with data from 17 MOOCs offered by the two schools over the last two years. The study found completion rates are misleading when judging the potential of MOOCs.

“People are projecting their own desires onto MOOCs and then holding them accountable for criteria that the instructors and institutions, and, most importantly, students don’t hold for themselves,” Andrew Dean Ho, associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and director of the MOOC research at the university, told The Chronicle of Higher Education

Monday, January 27, 2014

Study Reports a Dip in Online Education

The percentage of academic officers who said online learning was important to their institution has fallen from 69.1% to 65.9%, according to the 2013 Survey of Online Learning from the Babson Survey Research Group.  The report blamed the decline on schools that don’t have online offerings and have no plans to start.

The percentage of academic leaders who rated online learning outcomes as the same or superior to face-to-face instruction rose from 57% in 2003 to 77% in 2012, but slipped to 74% in the 2013 report. The survey noted more 26% of respondents from institutions without online offerings said that learning outcomes were worse online, an increase of 3% since the 2012 report.

However, 90% of the respondents also said it was likely or very likely that every college student will be taking at least one online course by 2018, according to a report in eCampus News.

“Baccalaureate institutions continue to hold the most negative views toward online education and are the largest proportion of institutions with no online offerings,” the authors of the report wrote. “That said, a majority of these institutions provide some level of online instruction. Associate institutions have among the most favorable views towards online and were among the earliest institutions to embrace online instruction.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

Most Americans Still Read Print Books

A new study from the Pew Research Center showed that the number of adults who read an e-book rose from 23% at the end 2012 to 28% by the end of 2013. It also reported that 69% of Americans read a tradition book in the past year, up from 65% in 2012.

More than 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older, were surveyed between Jan. 2-5, 2014, for the study.

“Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits,” the authors of the report wrote. “Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% are ‘e-book only.’”

Those statistics could soon begin to change. The survey also found that in the final four months of 2013, ownership of tablet computers rose from 34% to 42%, while adults who own dedicated e-readers jumped from 24% to 32%.

The report indicated reading on e-readers has risen from 41% to 57% since 2011, while reading on tablets went from 23% to 55%. Cellphone reading rose from 28% to 32%, but reading on computers fell from 42% to 29% over the same period.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Textbook Cost-Cutting Tests Tempers

Many colleges and universities are looking for ways to shrink the out-of-pocket expense of course materials in response to pressure from students, parents, policymakers, and legislators. However, as campus administrators investigate possible solutions, they’re sometimes coming under fire from faculty.

For example, at Alamo Colleges in Texas, faculty were not at all happy with the chancellor’s recent proposal to cut textbook costs by requiring each course section to use the same materials, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Alamo comprises five community colleges, with a number of the same courses taught by different faculty at different campuses.

Faculty viewed the proposal as infringing on their academic right to assign whatever course materials they deem most suitable for the class. The chancellor saw it as the means to negotiate bulk purchases of textbooks or license digital materials to secure a lower per-unit cost.

For at least some courses, only a digital version of the textbook would be available to students, which also raised a red flag for faculty. They expressed concerns about students without Internet access at home.

The University of Utah is trying to avoid that kind of conflict. The UU Academic Senate appointed a committee to come up with ways to snip as much as $500 annually from each student’s textbook tab, according to The Daily Utah Chronicle. The committee has representatives from faculty, staff (including the bookstore), and students, who will work together to develop recommendations.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

E-Learning Caucus Educating Congress

Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but members of Congress really don’t have a firm grasp on what online education is. In fact, a 2011 survey of representatives found that many thought distance learning was basically correspondence classes. That led to the formation of an e-learning caucus.

The primary goal of the caucus is to educate elected representatives about online learning. The group has plenty of work to do since members still fail to understand just how much online learning has advanced or who the classes target.

“There’s this thought that most participants are just coming for one or two classes, that online education is just used for shorter-term certificate programs,” Julie Peller, director of federal policy at the Lumina Foundation, told eCampus News. “The number of students taking online courses, either completely or as part of a brick-and-mortar program, is not widely known or discussed.”

That can be a problem when 14% of the college population in the United States is taking courses entirely online, according to a study from Learning House Inc. and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. A Sloan Consortium survey also found that 30% of the student population took at least one online course in 2012.

“The goal has been to increase awareness of e-learning, online education, and the issues that affect it,” said Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who created the caucus with Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD). “We plan to continue to have a good schedule of briefings to bring these issues to the broadest audience of policymakers.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Kids are Reading Electronically

At a CAMEX 2011 education session in Houston, TX, Don Newton, executive director, CCSF Bookstore Auxiliary, City College of San Francisco, told attendees he believed digital content would not gain widespread acceptance until school-aged children began using it regularly. That day is getting much closer, according to a study from PlayCollective and Digital Book World.

The survey of 900 parents found that 67% of children age 2-13 now read e-books, up 54% from a similar report from 2012. It also found that many of the kids who read e-books said they read them every day, with nearly 92% reading an e-book at least once a week.

Use of digital reading in the classroom was cited as one of the main reasons for the increase in e-reading over the past year.

“In the last year, based on this research, the kids’ e-reading has reached and passed a tipping point,” said Paul Levine, co-CEO of PlayCollective, in a report in Digital Book World. “This is becoming a normal part of their lives and becoming habitual.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brave New World on Campus

Technology is forcing higher education to change. Some experts predict that disruptive forces will lead to the end of the campus-life experience for students as institutions move to new ways of delivering content.

A recent Wall Street Journal article even suggested the university of the future may just use the campus for its amenities and not bother with hiring faculty since massive open online courses would provide instruction.

“It’s a business model that just might work, especially in geographic locations students favor,” the author wrote. “Grand Cayman is awfully nice this time of year.”

A strategy to reimage college buildings is already underway, according to Anthony Flint, author and fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He cited an experiment at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts where dormitory space is being used for lectures and a “tinkering space” being tested by the University of Utah as two examples in an article for The Atlantic.

“It’s a fascinating rethinking of the historic model of institutions cloistered behind ivy-covered walls,” Flint wrote. “What seems to be equally true is that all the tiers of higher education—elite privates, publics, community colleges—seem to be looking at this reboot. MIT, Princeton, Caltech, Chicago, all are reassessing the composition of the physical campus, trying to anticipate the brave new world.”

Friday, January 17, 2014

Learning Registry Ready for Educators

The U.S. Department of Education has been working on a network aimed at organizing online academic content for educators. The DOE recently finished the computer code for its Learning Registry, a free tool that will connect educators with vetted resources.

DOE officials are trying to increase participation in the system, according to a report in Education Week, and have created a video to introduce the project.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

MOOC Providers Making Changes

It seems as if only yesterday massive open online courses (MOOCs) were all the rage. The New York Times proclaimed 2012 as “The Year of the MOOC” because they gave students an alternative to traditional classroom education, providing free online courses (for no credit) from some of the most elite institutions in the world.

In 2013, reality set in. Statistics started showing that while many enrolled, few completed the courses despite little or no cost. Then, late last year, one of the pioneers of the movement came out and said MOOCs were “a lousy product.”

“I think that’s just honest, and I think we should have an honest discourse about what we do,” Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of MOOC provider Udacity, told Fast Company. “Online education that leaves almost everybody behind except for highly motivated students, to me, can’t be a viable path to education. We look back at our early work and realize it wasn’t quite as good as it should have been.”

Thrun and other providers in the industry have decided to change course a bit, putting more emphasis on employee job-training classes for corporations, according to a report from National Public Radio. The updated platforms are being designed to include more human support for students, such as the “learning hubs” Coursera is developing that will provide a weekly in-person instructor.

“We have people almost 24/7 that help you when you get stuck,” Thrun said. “We also added a lot of projects that require human feedback and human grading. And the human element—surprise, surprise—makes a huge difference in the student experience and the learning outcomes.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MOOCs Not Dead Yet

While the initial burst of enthusiasm over massive open online courses (MOOCs) may have expired, a wrapup report on a MOOC tied to a TV show about zombies reveals there may still be some life in the format.

As previously recounted on The CITE, Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead was offered last fall at no charge on Instructure’s Canvas Network platform, taught by a multidisciplinary panel of professors from the University of California at Irvine with some involvement from the show’s cast and crew.

Some 65,000 people worldwide signed up for the eight-week course. One of its chief aims was to determine whether more students would persist to completion if instructors applied the scientific concepts to an apocalypic survival scenario, albeit a fictional one. According to Instructure’s new report, that goal was achieved.

Instructure doesn’t say how many students remained at the end, but about 12,000 filled out an exit survey, suggesting a much higher percentage finished than in the usual MOOC. About 59% had never taken any type of online course before and 83.6% had never taken a MOOC. But, 83% said they spent at least an hour a week on course assignments, not including watching that week’s new episode.

Not all of the enrollees were fans of the show, some indicating instead they were intrigued by the multidisciplinary approach and its application. More than half of the survey respondents said they’d be more apt to take another MOOC with multidisciplinary content than a single-topic course.

And that may reveal the real key to student success in MOOCs and any other educational format: When the course content and course materials are brought to life in an interesting way, more students remain engaged in the topic and make it through the course.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lynn Turns to iTunes U

Many colleges and universities offer online content through iTunes U, but use other providers for their learning management system (LMS) because the Apple software doesn’t provide features such as analytics, attendance tracking, and gradebooks. Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, is going the other direction, phasing out Blackboard Learn in favor of iTunes U.

Lynn is already a committed Apple campus, piloting a program that replaced textbooks with iPad minis in January 2013. That program was expanded last fall to include all freshmen, transfer students, and upperclassmen enrolled in core classes. The university plans to issue minis to more than 2,000 students next fall.

The move to iTunes U makes sense for Lynn because its pilot program showed that students using the iPad earned better grades than those who didn’t use the device. In addition, the study found that three-quarters of the students preferred using the iBook created for the course over a traditional textbook.

“Since we are moving forward with content and making sure that a device is available for every kid, we wanted to make sure they had a mobile environment,” said Chris Boniforti, chief information officer at Lynn.

Lynn will probably use iTunes to host content and assignments and will have to develop its own system to track those analytical features not offered through iTunes, according to the report in Inside Higher Ed. But the move does provide Lynn students with a mobile-first LMS that doesn’t require them to switch between systems to use.

A survey of Lynn students enrolled in core courses in fall 2013 found that 94% felt the tablet contributed to their learning experience and 90% still used the device in classes that didn’t require it. Sixty-one percent of the students added that getting an iPad mini helped them decide to attend Lynn.

All Lynn courses will use iTunes U to host content and assignments by this fall, but only about a third will feature free iBooks created by Lynn faculty members. The rest will use traditional textbooks. Moving a course to the iTunes U system only requires knowing where to upload content and which boxes to use for text for those faculty members unwilling to create their own iBooks.

“The next thing for me is to make sure that this is better than the way we’ve been doing it,” said Michael P. Petroski, who manages faculty development for the tablet initiative. “That sort of keeps me up at night: to make sure it’s not a cool gimmick.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

Public Universities Lead the Way Online

The new year has just begun, but two reports have already come out that show public nonprofit universities are well ahead of private institutions when its comes to online education, according to a piece in eCampus News.

Public universities dominate the online education categories in the 2014 U.S. News and World Report college ranking, while a study done by Learning House Inc. and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) found that 14% of American college students responding to the survey take online courses only, but just 20% of those take online courses at private nonprofit schools. The report also said that nearly half of online college students study at public nonprofit universities, with a third receiving an online education at for-profit colleges.

In the study Online Learning at Private Colleges and Universities, 59% of the responding chief academic officers reported that faculty time and effort were key barriers to online education at private institutions.

“Technology has enabled students and faculty members to learn and teach online,” wrote authors of the AASCU report. “Faculty members have learned how to use the technology and how to adapt their courses to online delivery; librarians, bookstore managers, tutors, and advisors have learned how to provide services to remote students who never come to campus; and chairs, deans, and provosts have learned how to develop and market online programs and how to lead faculty members who live elsewhere.

“Private colleges and universities have each responded differently to this technology. Some have rejected it as contrary to their mission to provide personalized, intimate learning environments, while others have embraced the technology with an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tablets Still at the Center of CES

Four years ago, e-book readers and tablets were the hot stars of the famed ConsumerElectronics Show. At this year’s CES, underway Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, standalone e-readers aren’t even lukewarm but a new generation of tablets still occupies the spotlight.

A host of new tablet models, representing a variety of features and forms, are on display at the show, according to C/net. Manufacturers seem to be trying to figure out just what consumers want in a tablet. Do they need one with a stylus, a larger screen (up to 12.2 in.), mini versions with cellphone capabilities, or a stripped-down model with a cheaper pricetag? How about a hybrid laptop/tablet that can boot up both Windows 8.1 and Android operating systems?

Tablets will almost certainly gain ground with college students, who would rather tote something lighter than a laptop around campus, especially if all they want to do is take notes and go online.

Wired.com’s CES coverage also highlighted a new higher-end tablet that might work well for professors doing field research or campus retailers handling off-site sales at the stadium. The Panasonic Toughpad can be dropped without damage from a normal standing or desk height, resists dust and water, and comes with ports for a payment-card reader, bar-code reader, GPS unit, or extra battery.

For the first time, a section of the CES floor was devoted to showcasing new developments produced by higher-education incubators. The Academia TechTechZone features innovations from seven institutions.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Caltech Implements Open-Access Policy

Faculty at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) decided on a policy that requires them to grant open-access rights to their scholarly papers. The move will make their work more readily available and help simplify the copyright process, according to a report in Campus Technology.

Copyright issues are a big reason for the new policy because it prevents publishers of the many journals in which Caltech research appears from suing authors who post their content to their own online sites or the institute’s online repository. It also complies with a directive from the United States Office of Science and Technology that requires federally funded research be made available for free within a year of publication.

Caltech faculty will continue to publish in academic journals and can still grant exclusive rights to their work; they just need to request a waiver from the policy.

“Ideas are most powerful when they are free to move, not held behind a screen until they are purchased from a vendor,” said Brenda Fultz, professor or material science and applied physics at Caltech. “The new open-access policy at Caltech increases the impact of our ideas by better connecting them to the information society around us.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Struggling SNHU Saves Itself Online

In just five years, Southern New Hampshire University has gone from a struggling 2,000-student private school to become the “Amazon.com of higher education” with an enrollment of 34,000. University President Paul LeBlanc recognized that the university’s online division had the potential for rapid growth and could produce new revenues.

“The business models implicit in higher education are broken,” LeBlanc said in an article in Slate magazine. “Public institutions will not see increasing state funding and private colleges will not see ever-rising tuition.”

The problem, according to LeBlanc, was an immersive educational system designed to accommodate 18-year-olds instead of students who are working adults with schedules that rarely fit into academic schedules. The commitment to the SNHU online division produced a web site that offers 180 programs and full-time admissions counselors who will call prospective students within minutes after they click on a program.

The online courses run for eight weeks and combine readings, problems, and videos, with weekly assignments and a final project. Instructors use predictive analytics to keep an eye on students’ progress and identify those who are having trouble.

Critics say it’s a cookie-cutter approach and question exactly what kind of education the university is delivering. Faculty complain the television advertising is too slick and worry their jobs may be in jeopardy, but SNHU enrollment figures suggest it certainly seems to be working.

The university has already started to expand the program, offering degrees requiring students to master different competencies instead of working through courses and with faculty. One term costs $1,250 and students who complete 120 competencies earn an associate’s degree.

“We are super-focused on customer service, which is a phrase that most universities can’t even use,” LeBlanc said.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Efficiencies Lowering Quality of Education?

Colleges and universities are facing increasing pressure to graduate more students quicker and for less money. Policymakers at some institutions have responded by reducing the number of required credits, cutting certain major fields of study, and giving credit for life experiences.

Now, some professors are asking if this push for efficiency is leading to lower-quality education.  A group of faculty members plan to meet later this month in New York to discuss the issue.

“There are a whole bunch of policies—like getting students through more quickly—most of which don’t pay attention to what they are learning,” Debra Humphreys, vice president, Association  of American Colleges and University, told The Atlantic. “It could be making a bad situation worse if we don’t look at the impact of not only how many students but what they learn.”

One area of concern is policies that include performance-based funding. While critics contend that a U.S. graduation rate of 56% is unacceptable, too little is known on how such policies affect the quality of what is being taught.

Humphreys added, “Getting students through more efficiently, more quickly, and with the learning they need, we need to pay attention to all three. Otherwise, at least one will suffer.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

New App for Teams to Create Online Courses

Teams of educators now have a way to create online courses. The open-publishing platform Versal is beta-testing its Versal for Teams application that provides instructors with a platform to build courses that include text, video, quizzes, and customizable interactive simulations that can be published and shared with learners through a web site or blog.

The tool is set up for nonprogrammers, allowing them to drag and drop items into the course. The team edition provides a dashboard for managing author activity, course progress, and learner success tracking.

“We instantly started hearing feedback from companies and universities that they loved the ability to create and publish courses, but needed tools to manage everything internally. This is only our first step in building out a platform that is flexible for anyone—individual instructors and organizations alike,” Versal founders and CEO Gregor Freund told Campus Technology.

The base program is free and includes one gigabyte of storage for the development of three courses that can be accessed by up to 100 people. Prices range from $250 to $5,000 per month for teams needing the bandwidth to create more courses.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Predictive Analytics Help Students Succeed

The most well-known application of predictive analytics software is credit scoring, providing financial institutions with a ranking of the likelihood a customer will make future credit payments on time. The technology is also finding its way onto college campuses as a tool to help students improve grades and stay in school.

Four schools in Tennessee found that students using Degree Compass software created by Desire2Learn to select courses had a much higher rate of success than peers who chose courses on their own. The average number of credit hours passed by students using the technology for 12 credit hours was 10.66, compared to just two credit hours passed for students who didn’t use Degree Compass at one school.

The software compares information from a student’s transcript with data from thousands of other students to generate individualized course suggestions ranked on a five-star scale.

“I am very excited about the latest data that shows more and more clearly how students of all abilities succeed when they follow the recommendations from Degree Compass,” Tristan Denley, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents, said in a report in eCampus News.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tough Year Ahead for E-Reading

2013 wasn’t a great year for e-readers. Sales of the devices continued to decline and a study released in December found that 60% of the consumers who downloaded e-books never read them. Michael Kozlowski, editor of the blog goodereader.com, is predicting more of the same in 2014.

First, E Ink will start moving away from e-reader technology. The e-reader business has been losing ground to tablet technology for more than a year and Kozlowski wrote that expansion into the digital signage market will be its next move.

The E Ink shift away from e-reader technology may be helped along if Kozlowski is right about Barnes and Noble. He predicted that since B&N makes more money on digital content sales, it will decide to give up on the Nook. He also expects Sony to give up on its e-reading devices to focus more on tablet and multimedia-based experiences.

He also predicted declines in both reading on tablet devices and e-books in general.

Reading on tablets will decline because manufacturers will move away from producing as many tablets in favor of more smartphones in 2014, which should produce more smartphone readers. Or maybe, with e-book sales flat or in decline throughout 2013, people will just head back to hardcover and paperback books.

“With the way things have gone in 2013 in the e-reader and tablet sector, some people may be optimistic about the future,” Kozlowski wrote. “I, for one, am not.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Must Have Gadgets for 2014

While Playstation 4 and Xbox One are already on the market, only time will tell if any of these gadgets will live up to the hype. But it’s fun to speculate. 

Happy New Year's from all of us at the National Association of College Stores.