Odilo celebrates back-to-school season with the addition of Sesame Street titles

ODILO is celebrating the back-to-school season with a collection from their newest publisher, Sesame Workshop.

ODILO’s  eBook platform, content, and flexible lending models (One-Copy/One-User, Pay-per-Use, Simultaneous, and Subscription) help schools and libraries better serve their students, educators, and families. With a strong international presence, ODILO’s marketplace offers over one million titles in multiple languages from more than 3,500 publishers; subjects range from popular fiction and nonfiction to educational titles. Continue reading Odilo celebrates back-to-school season with the addition of Sesame Street titles

Book of the Week: City of Ghosts (J.H. Moncrieff)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

City of Ghosts

J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure. She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class. Continue reading Book of the Week: City of Ghosts (J.H. Moncrieff)

When teachers forget how to listen

With the new American school year either poised to open or already entering its fifth or sixth day (depending on local practices), many classrooms are hearing the voice of just one of the room’s occupants. Teachers need to manage both their students’ learning opportunities and their interactive behaviors and, most typically, this is achieved in the 21st century by word of mouth: orally delivered directions, admonitions, and that warning shot of calling out a particular student by name.

Or calling out some syllables that the teacher is has decided suits the need for a name as well as does the actual name of the student. In the multilingual, multiethnic classrooms—and even in the comparatively homogenous one in which not everyone bears a three- to five-letter moniker shared by generations of English speakers—the expert in what to call the students isn’t the teacher. The wise would-be classroom manager simply asks. And then listens to what the student with eleven syllables and only four consonants pronounces.

Continue reading When teachers forget how to listen

Alexander Street collaborates with indie film distributors to launch a new film collection for libraries

Just in:

Alexandria, VA – Indie films are synonymous with compelling viewpoints on historical events, insights into our current world, and innovative story-telling. Beyond that, they offer critical insights and profound perspectives on the human experience providing a new level of engagement for students with their classroom content.

Independent World Cinema: Classic and Contemporary Film, a new film collection from Alexander Street, a ProQuest company, provides streaming access to over 400 independent films essential for film studies, media studies and theater students. The films support research and learning in these fields yet have a wide range of applicability reaching as far as psychology, gender studies, and anthropology. Students will gain new insight and perspectives into their field in a format that they depend upon often—video. Continue reading Alexander Street collaborates with indie film distributors to launch a new film collection for libraries

Smashwords, libraries, and the [new] culture of authorship

Libraries have traditionally promoted a culture of learning and a culture of books. Now they have the opportunity to promote a culture of authorship. — Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

In our time, late in the second decade of the 21st century, libraries have an opportunity to not only continue their traditional mission of providing books and encouraging literacy, but of extending that tradition into a new world of library-based publishing in which the library grows beyond being the locus of literacy in its community and transforms itself into the champion of the creative force of authorship.

As I have been writing these articles on Indies in the Library™, the word “Smashwords” keeps coming up. Especially, as I wrote the last article, about educating indie authors on how to work with libraries, I realized that the Smashwords’ technology and distribution platform solves two of the largest barriers to libraries acquiring indie ebooks: putting the books into library distribution channels and getting them into ebook platforms that patrons are already comfortable with. I wanted to talk with the person who had the vision to create this.

Kat Brooks of IndiesUnlimited knows Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, and was kind enough to make an email introduction. Mark and I then managed to schedule a phone call. He has a very busy schedule speaking, not only at writers’ conferences, but at library conferences and even at individual libraries that are developing their programs to work with indie authors. I was eager to hear his thoughts on indie publishing and on the future of publishing and libraries. Continue reading Smashwords, libraries, and the [new] culture of authorship

Book of the Week: Terminal Rage (A.M. Khalifa)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Terminal Rage

A.M. Khalifa is a critically acclaimed author based between Rome and Los Angeles. He writes up-market political thrillers and literary fiction focusing on niche international stories that breach cultural taboos and provoke dialogue on sensitive issues. Having lived, worked or studied in over 15 countries, Khalifa is fluent in four languages.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Expressions, Impressions

Just as authored, edited, and mass produced books comprise only one segment of the to-be-read universe, audiobooks are not alone in what we can read by ear. We’ve long tuned into broadcast events—live sports, journalists’ reports, opinions and performances—and we negotiate our daily public lives as much by attending to ambient aural messages as to signs and written directions.

With digital preservation and dissemination broadening its capacious notice of aural resources, there is a growing wealth of sound archives that carry “reader” content. The Quietus (http://thequietus.com) offers a fine point of entry into this world of expressive sounds. Earlier this month, the site launched an interactive archives of contemporary Protest Sound. Take a journey on your own, or include this in lower and upper division political science course curricula. Protest & Politics (http://citiesandmemory.com/protest/) gives access to international expressions of government dissent, with the ability to key sound to geography, and a tutorial on different forms of protest. Specific tracks recorded at protest events vary in length and most are long enough to give listeners contextual sounds as a bed for the intentional messaging. Continue reading Expressions, Impressions

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Alfred Hitchcock, born August 13, 1899, in London. His films are still so much fun to watch.


August 15, 1965: Performing at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY, The Beatles set another precedent as the first band to play a sports arena.


August 16, 1977: Elvis Presley dies at 42 with enough fat in his arteries to grease a train, and the drugs in his blood would fuel a Grateful Dead tour.

“Like no one before, he let out a roar, and I just had to tag along.

Each night I went to bed with the sound in my head, and the dream was a song.

Big Train from Memphis, Big Train from Memphis,

Now it’s gone gone gone, gone gone gone.”

—John Fogerty, “Big Train (From Memphis)”

Hail to The King, baby!


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Major plays and musicals come to Alexander Street

Just in:

Alexandria, VA (August, 2017) – Now students and researchers can be immersed in the work of award-winning writers, actors and directors in action, whenever and wherever they are. BroadwayHD is one of the most important distributors of current Broadway plays and musicals – distributed exclusively to libraries via the Alexander Street™ platform.

An essential collection for students and researchers of the performing arts, The BroadwayHD Collection provides a unique pathway to uncovering critical insights only available from experiencing live performance. Encompassing 25 award-winning live Broadway plays and musicals featuring such luminaries as James Earl Jones, Jane Krakowski, Ed Harris, Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline, this content is exclusively available from Alexander Street for worldwide educational streaming. Curated especially for performing arts scholars, The BroadwayHD Collection is also invaluable for studies in drama, music, dance and literature. Continue reading Major plays and musicals come to Alexander Street

ODILO chosen by European Commission to help boost literacy in schools

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​​​​​​​Just in:

Denver, CO, August 15, 2017 – ODILO, a global leader in the eBook industry, has been selected by the European Commission to provide their digital reading platform to European schools and universities.

Improving literacy and reading comprehension in schools has become one of the main challenges across Europe. With the support from the Commission, ODILO can now provide innovative and affordable solutions to assist schools and universities in their own reading plan implementations. Continue reading ODILO chosen by European Commission to help boost literacy in schools

This week in Literature and Arts

August 7, 1934: The U.S. Court of Appeals upholds the lower court’s ruling that James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is art, not pornography, and eligible for sale in the United States.


August 8, 1969: At roughly 11:30 a.m. as a constable held traffic, photographer Iain Macmillan climbed a stepladder, focused his Hasselbad camera’s 50 mm lens closed down the aperture to f22 for great depth, and firing the shutter at 1/500th of a second shot six pictures of The Beatles walking away from EMI Studios crossing Abbey Road. The fifth exposure became the album cover.

Linda McCartney on the sidelines shot her own pix of the event.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Welcome, local author. Your public library wants you!

As the indie author revolution grows, more and more libraries are providing services to them. Many libraries have extensive information on their websites. Pike’s Peak Library District sets an excellent example at https://ppld.org/local-authors. But, what do you do when an indie author/aspiring writer walks in the door and needs something he or she can carry home with them?

Many indie authors are first-time writers, especially those who write memoirs. They may be of retirement age and somewhat uncomfortable with technology. For instance, they would rather you give them information in printed form than refer them to your website. They may have an ebook edition of their book, but they paid someone to create it for them, and they do not understand library ebook purchasing procedures. They didn’t know your library had services for them, and you need something to give them so they can begin learning about the services.

Continue reading Welcome, local author. Your public library wants you!

The British Library provides access to over a million vintage images on Flickr

More and more copyright-free images and illustrations are available freely online without a library card. Many of these initiatives are driven by libraries and various other government institutions. As they should be.

The British Library’s archive on Flickr includes over a million free images and illustrations. They are drawn from 17th, 18th and 19-century books in the Library’s collection, located in the main building in London. The archive is divided into themes including, among many others, Women of the World, Decorations & Design,  Space & SciFi, Architecture, Portraits, Book Covers, Illustrated Lettering, Children’s Book Illustration, Technology & Industry, and Fauna.

For other sites offering free vintages images, consider also the following:

Book of the Week: World of Dawn: Arise (Shawn Gale)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInkReview, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

World of Dawn: Arise

Shawn Gale writes on Canada’s West Coast. He is a graduate of the Fraser Valley Writers School, where he earned a Master’s diploma. He graduated from Humber Colleges School for Writers with a Letter of Distinction. He has a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Creative Writing from Bircham International University. He was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing department from 2014-2017, where he earned two certificates. His stories have been published in anthologies and periodicals in the US and Canada. 

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Defending the honor of ebooks (and innovation)

Is the ebook a dead format? How eBooks lost their shine. The Reason Actual Books Are So Much More Memorable Than Ebooks. US Ebook Sales Decline. These are some of the headlines I’ve seen recently perpetuating the (suddenly popular) notion that ebooks are not ‘in’ anymore. That they have somehow failed us. That nothing compares to the reading of actual physical objects in the world. That the challenges the publishing industry has seen with ebooks (i.e., declining sales) point in the direction of a ‘format’ on the verge of dying.

Such articles aren’t only written by informed bloggers and journalists but also by industry professionals with significant experience in the publishing and library and information science markets, particularly those catering to consumers and public libraries. They exhibit a great deal of knowledge and sensible arguments about the challenges the publishing community (trade, in particular) has had with ebooks, focusing largely on the shortfalls of various business models to deliver revenue as predictable as revenue from print, the technological issues associated with ‘formats’  that haven’t been able to deliver a fully satisfying reading experience, and, not to be overlooked, the fierce competitiveness within the market itself, which has often resulted in ‘the powerful’  thriving even if their offerings were inferior to those by various start-ups (most of which perished in recent years).

In short, technology has not been able to ‘disrupt’ book publishing the way it has disrupted other industries in the not-so-distant past (e.g., music, news), and here we are at a crossroads again, asking some existential questions. Continue reading Defending the honor of ebooks (and innovation)

DPLA to launch a membership program

On September 1, 2017, DPLA will launch the Hub Network Membership program. According to DPLA’s announcement, “the program will create a closer, more formal collaboration between DPLA and the members of the Hub Network to achieve [their] common goals and is an essential step in providing a structure and framework to give Hubs a voice in the direction of DPLA.” Continue reading DPLA to launch a membership program

Laughing to Learn

Humor is a powerful force that can be put to work in advancing understanding. Whether it’s the witty raconteur of a math professor who knows how to create enlightenment through lighthearted comparisons or the final bridge from one’s native language to arriving at a sense of full comfort in an acquired one, the opportunity to laugh provides heavy lifting of external information to internal grasp.

Of course, both humor and tastes in humor vary widely, expanding from visual slapstick to arch punning. The sorts that rely on transmission through language make readily available material for listening readers in search of learning as well as casual entertainment. To be successful on either or both counts, such audiobooks rely heavily on both careful writing and fine acting. Evident humor must expand subject comprehension rather than making it obscure or distasteful to those who might be put off by extreme argot or shocking imagery; while these can themselves be put to good entertainment services, they can also raise defenses among many listeners and thus make learning unlikely.
Continue reading Laughing to Learn

On big publishers embracing the textbook revolution

In an article for Fast Company, Steven Melendez writes:

“The digital revolution has been rocking the academic publishing applecart for years. Students bristling at the price of books—an intro biology text can cost hundreds—have been turning to alternatives like book rentals and e-texts.

Increasingly, there is a new challenge from the growing Open Textbook Revolution—and traditional bookmakers, after years of opposition and lawsuits alleging copyright infringement, are trying to get a piece of the action as their glossy hardbacks get tossed aside.

Open texts are free academic materials written by educators and professionals that are peer-reviewed and licensed to be freely downloaded…Thanks to investments by universities and private foundations, many of the free online peer-reviewed texts are on par with the big bucks’ books in terms of depth and production values—and they’re rapidly gaining traction.”

Read the full article here.

Ebooks in K-12 libraries: The options, the issues, the possibilities

This NSR original three-part series on ebooks in K-12 or school libraries (written and researched by Peyton Stafford, an expert on school library-oriented publishing ) is intended for school librarians who want a basic understanding of how ebook business models work in their world and how to make them work as much as possible to the librarian’s advantage.

The first article looks at business models and their importance, and then sketches out the main kinds of ebook business models that K-12 librarians have to deal with. The second article looks at the models in more depth and give examples of how they work in practice. It also discusses platform issues. The third article draws a few conclusions and points out some ways that librarians can skillfully use their knowledge of ebook business models to stretch their budgets and better serve their teachers and students.

After reading the three articles listed below, school librarians should be able to recognize the business model that goes with any particular ebook offering they may be evaluating. This will help them compare offerings so they can make wise decisions as they acquire and manage their ebook collections.