Category Archives: Tech Updates & Upgrades

Using Bluefire Reader to Download Library eBooks

There have been several blog posts this week about using the BlueFire Reader application to download eBooks from library collections to various iOS devices.  Josh Hadro from Library Journal has a great post with step-by-step instructions and screen shots.  Other posts, not as detailed as Josh’s, include:

CNet – Bluefire Reader brings free public-library e-books to iOS

Another post from the Download Squad site offers a brief description with a couple of screen shots.

Articles of Interest

Three misperceptions about the ebook business

Textbooks headed for ash heap of history?

A Student’s Stranded On A Desert Island … Tech Devices

Inside the Google Books Algorithm – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic

iTunes U Introduces Free eBooks: Download Shakespeare’s Complete Works

Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog: eBooks: Lending vs. Reselling

Forrester Research on future of ebooks: $3 billion by 2015

Will Your Local Library Lend E-Books? (Or Can They?)

Library eBooks on the iPad/iPhone, no Sync Required – Library Journal

Kindle Facts and Figures (history & specs)

OverDrive eBook app for the iPhone – Sneak Peak

Today OverDrive posted a Video Sneak Preview of their upcoming eBook app for iPhone. Check it out at the following:

Digital Library Blog Post: http://overdriveblogs.com/library/2010/11/09/sneak-preview-overdrive-ebook-app-for-iphone/

YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhbV3phZ-N4

The app will support OverDrive-supplied EPUB eBooks upon initial release, and will also continue to support OverDrive MP3 audiobooks like previous versions of the OverDrive app for iPhone. The app for iPhone is currently slated for release in early December.

OverDrive’s Gutenberg Project now LIVE

Big news fom the Digital Library blog at OverDrive about their pilot project with Project Gutenberg records – it’s live and available for libraries.  From the blog post:  OverDrive’s Project Gutenberg eBook collection, featuring over 15,000 EPUB titles that are free to your library and to your customers, is out of beta and available on more than 125 ‘Virtual Branch’ websites. Since we launched this feature in August, library customers have downloaded 100,000 eBooks from the collection. That’s great news for all libraries with these free EPUB eBooks because each download can count as a circulation for your library, even though no authentication is needed to access these ‘always available’ titles.

More information, including instructions on viewing the “Gutenberg Report” within one’s Content Reserve account, is in the post.

Charleston Conference – Open Textbooks Model & Library Involvement

Jeff Shelstad, Founder and CEO of FlatWorld Knowledge spoke first.

Jeff provided some stats on higher education:

  • 19.1 million students in 2010 in college
  • $850 avg spent on textbook
  • so, it’s about a 10billion industry
  • Cengage, Pearson, McGraw-Hill are the big 3 publishers along with many other small ones

Problem is that the industry has outworn their value proposition and is not willing to pay for the product the industry is offering.  Affordability is a huge problem.

36% of community college student in a study said that the cost of textbooks had caused them to leave/dropout Continue reading Charleston Conference – Open Textbooks Model & Library Involvement

eBooks 102 – From Print to Enhanced eBooks – Webinar

Aptara and Digital Book World are sponsoring a complimentary webinar on November 2nd on the development and production of eBooks.  The description from their website, where you can register,  is:

Enhanced eBooks and apps aren’t simple, natural extensions of their printed counterparts. They require a great deal of careful planning, due to differences in eReader capabilities and implementations, as well as complexities of the original publication.

Join us for a show-and-tell, of sorts, as we walk you through the development and production process from print to enhanced eBooks and apps.

Using a real life book as an example, we’ll review the key planning and execution considerations each step of the way. Continue reading eBooks 102 – From Print to Enhanced eBooks – Webinar

Articles of Interest

I missed this last Friday, sorry for the long list.

PA sets out restrictions on library e-book lending | theBookseller.com

UK Publishers Association sets out restrictions on ebook lending – stupid!

Specter of e-book piracy looms large on horizon

If Libraries are Screwed, so are the Rest of Us | Digital Book World

How five e-readers stacked up – USA Today

In Digital Age, Students Still Cling to Paper Textbooks

The Thinking LMS (Learning Management System) – Inside Higher Ed

Kindles at high school bring praise, surprises – one month of use at Clearwater High School

6 things I would do today if I were a bookstore owner waiting for Google Editions

Honey, I Shrunk the E-Book: Amazon Slicing “Singles” for Kindle

Libertary: new book reading site

Amazon has 76% of e-book market, survey reports

Kindles, Sony & Nook e-Readers Allowing Libraries To Thrive In Information Age?

CUNY to launch Entourage Edge pilot program

As Textbooks Go Digital, Will Professors Build Their Own Books? – Technology

ALA TechSource Bloggers Discuss the LJ/SLJ eBook Summit

ALA TechSource bloggers  Kate Sheehan, Jason Griffey, and Cindi Trainor chatted with me about their impressions of the LJ/SLJ Libraries at the Tipping Point eBook Summit.  The full story is available  on the ALA TechSource blog.

50 Benefits of eBooks – New Edition

Michael Pastore has released a revised and expanded edition of his book – 50 Benefits of eBooks.  It is packed with information about how to understand, and enjoy, the digital reading revolution. The book, soon to be released as a 368-page paperback, is now available in ebook editions which contain all the same information as the paperback yet sell for less than four dollars.

Published by Zorba Press (in Ithaca, New York), ==50 Benefits of Ebooks== is a lively introduction to the brave new worlds of ebooks and electronic publishing. This revised edition (now 66,000 words) is 25% larger than the September 2009 edition, and contains ten new chapters. The ebook now available in PDF and EPUB is priced at $3.99.

To buy the ebook, visit the ebook’s web page: http://www.zorba.us/?page_id=142

Full News Release is here: http://www.zorba.us/?page_id=318


Accessibility and eBooks – Resources and an Interview

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Ken Petri, the Director of the Web Accessibility Center at The Ohio State University, about the accessibility of eBooks and eBook readers.  Ken is incredibly knowledgeable on the topic and offered a great deal of information during the interview.  It’s about 25 minutes in length, so I strongly encourage you to download the file before listening due to it’s size.  Ken provided us with a great list of resources for various aspects of eBook accessibility, which are below.  Thanks Ken!

NSR offers monthly interviews with librarians, publishers, and others involved in the eBook industry.  Have a listen from the interviews page. Continue reading Accessibility and eBooks – Resources and an Interview

Future of Libraries 2010: The Consumer and Library E-book Markets

A must read post from the Librarian in Black blog, Future of Libraries 2010: The Consumer and Library E-book Markets, offers a summation from 3 speakers at this event held in San Francisco on September 21st.  They include Paul Sims, Ann Awakuni, and Henry Bankhead.

A few clips from the post:

Paul Sims, “He believes that eBooks have the potential to disrupt our ability to provide access to collections. He quoted the ALA Core Value about Access: “All information resources that are provided directly or indirectly by the library, regardless of technology, format, or methods of delivery, should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users.” eBooks are preventing us from meeting this core value.” Continue reading Future of Libraries 2010: The Consumer and Library E-book Markets

Much awaited blio reader to launch Windows version on September 28th

The wait is finally over, well only if you own a Windows based device, for the blio reader from K-NFB and it’s partner Baker and Taylor.  There is a full story in Business Wire, but the highlights include:

O’Reilly Media offers DAISY formats in ebook bundles

From an O’Reilly Media press release:

For years O’Reilly Media has supplied digital files of our books to Bookshare, a non-profit that provides accessible reading material to the print disabled. For qualifying readers, these ebooks are made available worldwide. And now, through a collaboration with Bookshare, we’ve started making the easy-access DAISY (Digital Accessible Information Systems) formats available within our ebook bundles on oreilly.com for more than 800 titles. Continue reading O’Reilly Media offers DAISY formats in ebook bundles

Articles of Interest

Hot reads this week.  Here’s a list of some good ones:

New from Bowker: Selection of Statistics from Consumer-Focused Research Report for Book Industry « ResourceShelf

The digital era has not made publishers defunct

Kobo Now Supports ePub and PDF files

Google Book Search beneficial to publishing industry, study shows

The ABC’s of E-Reading – Wall Street Journal

Virginia State University Business School Buys E-textbooks for Students

Ebook market share at B&N tops their print book share

EPUB Straight to the Point – Book Review

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a new book by Elizabeth Castro called EPUB Straight to the Point, which was brought to my attention by Michael Pastore of Zorba Press and Epublishers Weekly.  Michael, author of 50 Benefits of Ebooks, just completed a full review of this new EPUB title and emailed the link to me.  His conclusion:  Publishers, authors, book designers everyone interested in making EPUB ebooks can buy Castro’s book with complete confidence; the book will teach you to build a better ebook than you’ve ever built before.  Thanks, Michael.

Get Your Gutenberg in Your OverDrive

Last Friday, the Boston Public Library added 15,000 Project Gutenberg books to it’s virtual library, supported by OverDrive.  This new project between OverDrive and Project Gutenberg is currently in beta and allows libraries to provide access to these public domain titles at no charge.  The titles are DRM free EPub books and users will not run into holds, checkouts, or authentication.

The full press release from OverDrive is available and current OverDrive customers who are interested in adding the Gutenberg titles to their own virtual library should contact OverDrive’s partner services group at partnerservices@overdrive.com.

New Book About eBooks in Libraries – Release in August

I’m thrilled to inform you that No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries will be released in late August.  This edited book, published by ALA Editions, discusses a variety of eBook topics for school, public, and academic libraries.  Since I have a bit of clout with the publisher, I’m able to release the TOC and introduction for your review and consideration.  It is below.  Of course, it will be available in a variety of eBook formats, and print too. Continue reading New Book About eBooks in Libraries – Release in August

How do you make an EPUB Book?

Michael Pastore, author of 50 Benefits of eBooks, provides a review of a new book – EPUB, Straight to the Point by Elizabeth Castro.  Michael states, “Castro’s book fills an immense gap in this field, as an essential guide for publishers, designers and authors who need to produce books in the EPUB format.”  Better yet, he read it on his iPad using his iBooks app.  As a new author who worked with a traditional publisher, I’ll be anxious to take a look at this to see the steps involved in creating an EPUB book.  Who knows, maybe self-publishing will be easier than I thought.

Webinar Summary eBooks vs. Apps: Pros, Cons, and Possibilities

I attended the Digital Book World/Aptara webinar today -eBooks vs. Apps:  The Pros, Cons, and Possibilities.  My notes are below, summarizing the content.  Very interesting webinar and some really good content, eye opening for a librarian to see what features are being discussed for enhanced ebooks, brings back memories of interfaces past and present.  Slides are available – definitely look at the comparison chart, discussed below.

Speakers: Eric Freese, Pablo Defendini and Peter Costanzo; Moderator:  Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

enhanced ebooks – are easier to develop because it the preparation of a data file, usually less expensive,  based on a standard,  interoperable because they are built on EPUB, but some vendors will wrap DRM around them making them slightly inoperable.

apps – are programs specifically written for a platform and interoperability cannot be guaranteed; easier for the functionality to be successful by it required custom development expertise. Continue reading Webinar Summary eBooks vs. Apps: Pros, Cons, and Possibilities

Google Editions: What We Know (and Don’t Know)

Eric Freese, and Aptara Solutions Architect, wrote an article for the Digital Book World blog yesterday, “Google Editions:  what we know and don’t know.”  In this article he discusses content, platforms, partners, EPUB, price, and the possibility of a “gpad” type tablet in the future.  Unfortunately, as the title suggests, there is much we don’t know about Google Editions, but the article is still a great summary.