Publishers, librarians, authors: Please support the Free Reading Zones initiative. It supports YOU.

free-reading

The enthusiasm for Free Reading Zones (an initiative of organizations and individuals to spread reading and enable free access to knowledge everywhere) is growing steadily on Facebook since we launched the campaign less than two weeks ago. Why Facebook and not LinkedIn? Because Facebook is where the READERS are. We spend too much time on LinkedIn thinking like professionals, and not enough time connecting with those we are in this business for: readers.

We spend too much time at book shows and library conferences trying to impress each other (as professionals) while failing to see that our industry (in its broadest sense) is painfully disconnected from those it claims to serve: readers. And even though we beg to differ, we rarely want to admit that we don’t care to help readers connect with other readers (something ebooks and econtent can help us accomplish like no other medium ever has in the history of mankindand no, online communities where people get to discuss books isn’t what I have in mind here, although these communities are surely helping us get ‘there’).  If we really did care, people would by now have more free access to books everywhere (just like they have free access to music, art, and other forms of human expression). If we weren’t so paralyzed by fear, we would spend more time looking at the horizon and less time stressing over ‘the bottom line.’

Free Reading Zones (FREZ) is about supporting PUBLISHERS and the AUTHORS they nurture (because they benefit every time someone reads). It’s also about supporting INDEPENDENT AUTHORS (because it is a channel for them to expose their work, and, as it turns out, the world is full of independent authors producing high-quality work every single day). And about helping LIBRARIES ‘go beyond’ the confines of their walls to support literacy in all incarnations. Giving people knowledge, regardless of their zip code, is the kindest, most humane way to serve any society because it serves THE INDIVIDUAL, not the institutionand it is far more important than inviting people to visit the local library, however beautiful the architecture or the smell of paper.

Most of all: it’s about giving access to the written word to people around the world by relying on sponsorships from organizations willing (and eager, in fact) to support unleashing of the stories that have been locked up in print books. Libraries have, for centuries, been the ultimate free reading zones. In 2016, we have the technology and the willingness of an army of people involved in this initiative to turn all kinds of places—public and private—into free reading zones (with help from libraries and other organizations): parks, hospitals, laundromats, airports, airplanes, hotels, beaches, schools, etc. etc.

I have the privilege of running this initiative and working with many of you already. It is an honor to utter the following brands in my conversations with sponsors: Workman, Elsevier, De Gruyter, Berlitz, Lonely Planet, Sourcebooks, O’Reilly Media, Other Press, Oxford University Press, Chicago Review Press, Marshall Cavendish, Lerner, Rourke Educational Media, New World Library, ECW Press, Berrett-Koehler, Algonquin, Artisan, and over 200 other publishers from around the world whose content is available for reading in these Zones (in English and other languages).

To all of you whose books are exposed for reading in these zones: thank you. To the publishers that want to join us, please let me know (non-English language content is especially welcome). To the libraries that want to take part: please don’t wait another day.

To all others who wish to help, please spread the word and support the Free Reading Zones page on Facebook. The page itself serves as ‘proof’ that we are all in it together. Every ‘like’ is a vote for free access to knowledge. Every ‘like’ is a statement to the sponsors everywhere that READING MATTERS. It matters more than publishers. And libraries. And authors. It even matters more than books. If we are unable to ‘see’ it, then who is?—MR


Mirela Roncevic is Managing Editor of No Shelf Required and Director of the Free Reading Zones initiative (launched in 2016 in the United States and around the world). For all NSR-related news and reviews, follow her on Twitter @MirelaRoncevic. For her writings related to books and all things creativity and literacy, follow her on Facebook.

News Roundup [July 29, 2016]

News Roundup

Each Friday, NSR releases a compilation of news stories related to ebooks, epublishing, elibraries, and digital literacy from around the world. The goal is to help information professionals (of all walks of life) keep up with what is happening in the world of ebooks and econtent beyond the confines of their companies, institutions, countries, and continents.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the most important news that occurred this (or any other) week. But it is a curated list, and a way for NSR to not lose sight of the big picture. Here’s the thinking behind what we choose to highlight:

  • focus on diversity and giving equal voice to established news sources as well as to blogs run by independent thinkers
  • promotion of efforts that support digital literacy (in all incarnations)
  • attention to ebook and literacy initiatives in emerging markets
  • strong interest in ideas propelling the industry forward rather than promotions of certain brands
  • strong interest in professionals  challenging the status quo and leading the way

Enjoy this week’s compilation.

Report: “Transforming Libraries in Myanmar: The E-Library Myanmar Project”

Mike Shatzkin imagines events that could upend publishing as much as the Kindle or the demise of Borders

Free Reading Zones An initiative to spread reading digitally and bring books to people in every corner of the globe

TeleRead’s latest hacker threat forces our archival site to go offline

Publisher restrictions on ebooks & impact in India

New Survey Shows Used and Rented Textbooks Still Trump e-Textbooks

Serial Reader Delivers Bite Sized Reads

Study looks at digital disruption in business, a problem publishers should be familiar with

AAP Reports eBook Revenues Down 18.7% in February 2016

Reader Audiences and Analytics: What Do They Really Reveal?

Google Play Family Library Lets (Some) Share eBooks, Other

Guardian News & Media reports £69m loss, 50K new digital subscribers can not make up for advertising losses

Video: “Digitizing the Collections” at the University of Oklahoma Libraries

The New York Times reports Q2 loss, print ad revenue falls 14%

Kobo Teases August Launch Date for its New 7.8″ eReader. the Aura

Ed Note: All titles of the articles listed below appear in the style used in the original sources.]


Paul Biba is former Editor-in-Chief of TeleRead. For his curated ebook/elibrary/epublishing news, follow him on Twitter @paulkbiba.

Mirela Roncevic is Managing Editor at No Shelf Required. For all NSR-related news and reviews, follow her on Twitter @MirelaRoncevic. For her writings related to books and all things creativity and literacy, follow her on Facebook.

News Roundup [July 22, 2016]

News Roundup

Each Friday, NSR releases a compilation of news stories related to ebooks, epublishing, elibraries, and digital literacy from around the world. The goal is to help information professionals (of all walks of life) keep up with what is happening in the world of ebooks and econtent beyond the confines of their companies, institutions, countries, and continents.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the most important news that occurred this (or any other) week. But it is a curated list, and a way for NSR to not lose sight of the big picture. Here’s the thinking behind what we choose to highlight:

  • focus on diversity and giving equal voice to established news sources as well as to blogs run by independent thinkers
  • promotion of efforts that support digital literacy (in all incarnations)
  • attention to ebook and literacy initiatives in emerging markets
  • strong interest in ideas propelling the industry forward rather than promotions of certain brands
  • strong interest in professionals  challenging the status quo and leading the way

Enjoy this week’s compilation.

 

Romance Makes up 4% of Print, and 45% of eBook Sales

E-Book Sales Increase 9% in the Netherlands

Kindle Unlimited Payout, Funding Jumps in June 2016

eMusic Relaunches Audiobook Store as eStories

Digital maps at the Osher Map Library show promise and perils of digitization

Kindle Announces Singles Classics

Want to beat piracy? Drop DRM, CD Projekt says

Indigo Goes Where Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and a Dozen Publishers and Startups Have Dared to Tread

Google’s Art and Culture app turns your phone into a museum

These are the 6 reasons why newspapers typically decide to drop their paywalls

 

Ed Note: All titles of the articles listed below appear in the style used in the original sources.]


Paul Biba is former Editor-in-Chief of TeleRead. For his curated ebook/elibrary/epublishing news, follow him on Twitter @paulkbiba.

Mirela Roncevic is Managing Editor at No Shelf Required. For all NSR-related news and reviews, follow her on Twitter @MirelaRoncevic. For her writings related to books and all things creativity and literacy, follow her on Facebook.

No Shelf Required supports independent authors (and libraries should, too)

NSR Book Reviews logo - Copy

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers) and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR has for the past two months highlighted  an author reach week (as recommended to NSR by the editors of BlueInk Review). The goal of these “Book of the Week” features is to give face and voice to the writers out there taking the process of publishing their work with a  dignity, dedication, and professionalism.

In the sea of books that are ‘self-published’ each year (over half a million now), it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep up with what is out there. It is also becoming increasingly more difficult to keep up with what is good out there. NSR admires the efforts of BlueInk Review to sift through independently-published books and provide unbiased reviews upon request.

Librarians, if you are looking to augment your collections by supporting local authors — or independent authors in general — please note that you can learn about a new independent author to support on NSR each Thursday. We not only link to the review of his or her book on BIR site but also provide comprehensive bios and other necessary background information about each author and the topic of the book.

SELF-e_IndieAuthorDay_Logo_v2Please also note that NSR is a media supporter of Indie Author Day, to take place on October 8th, 2016. Libraries across North America will host events all day long, designed to bring local writing communities together in their libraries and invite them to participate in author panels, book readings and signings, workshops, and presentations. Then, at 2 p.m. EST everyone is invited to join a digital gathering featuring Q&A with writers, agents, and industry leaders that will bring together the larger indie community. More information on Indie Author Day 2016 is available on its official site.

These books and authors have been highlighted so far on NSR [or you may go directly to NSR’s Reviews page].

Unmoored by Jeri Parker

The Olive Picker by Kathryn Brettell

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

Danya: A Woman of Ancient Galilee by Anne McGivern

When We Were Invincible by Jonathan Harnisch

Prader-Willi Syndrome by John Hernandez-Storr

Deliver Virtue by Brian Kindall

Grace Period by Melinda Worth Popham


 

News Roundup [July 15, 2016]

News Roundup

Each Friday, NSR releases a compilation of news stories related to ebooks, epublishing, elibraries, and digital literacy from around the world. The goal is to help information professionals (of all walks of life) keep up with what is happening in the world of ebooks and econtent beyond the confines of their companies, institutions, countries, and continents.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the most important news that occurred this (or any other) week. But it is a curated list, and a way for NSR to not lose sight of the big picture. Here’s the thinking behind what we choose to highlight:

  • focus on diversity and giving equal voice to established news sources as well as to blogs run by independent thinkers
  • promotion of efforts that support digital literacy (in all incarnations)
  • attention to ebook and literacy initiatives in emerging markets
  • strong interest in ideas propelling the industry forward rather than promotions of certain brands
  • strong interest in professionals  challenging the status quo and leading the way

Enjoy this week’s compilation.


Why education continues to fail digital content (and students ready to fully embrace it) [No Shelf Required]

BookBaby Launches e-Book Editing Service for $1,200 [Good EReader]

Amazon Kindle exec Mike Torres tells everything you wanted to know about Page Flip [TeleRead]

Hot Summer News from Wattpad HQ [Wattpad]

A Jailbreak for Every Kindle [Hackaday]

Research Tools: Massive Open Access Database on Human Cultures Launches Online [infoDocket/Library Journal]

Review: Kindle (2016) [The Digital Reader] Continue reading News Roundup [July 15, 2016]

NSR Book of the Week: Grace Period by Melinda Worth Popham

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers) and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week.

Grace Period: My Ordination to the Ordinary

About Author

Melinda Popham

Melinda Worth Popham is a writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. Her third book is a memoir about her spiritual journey of finding God after going through a divorce and watching her daughter battle depression. Popham earned her B.A. in English from the University of Chicago and her masters in English/Creative Writing from Stanford University. She spent two years at Yale Divinity School earning her second masters degree and searching for spiritual growth. She lives in the Los Angeles area.

 

About BlueInk Review

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.

Why education continues to fail digital content (and students ready to embrace it)

Education Opinion Piece

In her opinion piece for No Shelf Required, CEO of Metrodigi, Kathryn Stewart, gives three reasons why education has been slow to leverage the benefits of digital content: inferior user experience; shortage of engaging content; and lack of commitment to overcome institutional barriers. Full article below.—Ed.


Making the Move from Print to Pixels in Educational Content

By Kathryn Stewart, CEO, Metrodigi 

The migration from physical to digital content has transformed many industries from entertainment to publishing. Why has education—a market sorely in need of innovation—been so slow to leverage the benefits of digital content, especially given the enthusiasm of today’s tech-savvy students?

As schools and universities are quickly being populated with digital natives, it’s essential that campuses keep up with their technology choices to keep students satisfied. In fact, a recent study found that 73 percent of college students recommend their university review and change its digital strategy. How can the institutions that are preparing tomorrow’s leaders keep pace with the rapid advancements in technology and student expectations today?

I see the challenges/opportunities as three-fold:

Much of the educational content available today does not provide a robust user experience.

Digital textbooks, for example, are often little more than PDFs of the printed textbook under glass. Today’s students (and instructors) are receptive to digital educational content, but a more engaging experience is required to realize the full potential for this content.  A recent survey of college students from Wakefield Research bears this out: according to that survey, 34 percent of students said the greatest benefit of digital textbooks is that they are more affordable and convenient – but not necessarily compelling. In fact, those same students identified various aspects of digital content that would improve their learning experience, including:

  • 61% of students said that homework that is more interactive, containing elements such as video, would improve learning outcomes.
  • 48% of students said their learning would be enhanced by technology that helps them collaborate digitally with students from their class, or from other schools.
  • 61% cited the ability to exchange instant feedback with instructors as something that would improve learning.
  • 55% said digital learning that personalizes their learning experience (i.e. gives instructors the ability to track student progress in real-time) would be useful.

Clearly, there is a market for engaging, educational content, but supply has not caught up with demand.  Which brings us to the next barrier:

There is such a shortage of engaging digital content because the transition from physical to digital formats is not as simple as it should be.

Just like education, publishing as an industry has been slow to change and adapt to the digital landscape.  Even though educational publishers know there is a need to provide digital content, they are often stuck at the intersection of running while trying to put on their pants.   There is no question that there is a need for new tools that help publishers develop and deliver robust, interactive educational content more efficiently and affordably but many education technology companies today promise a single solution rather than a toolset that can be used to fuel a learning revolution.  Content is typically thought of in long-form and to break it down into shorter “learning bytes” requires a deep understanding of the types of learning outcomes instructors and students expect.  As we have partnered with publishers and institutions alike, we’ve found that it takes more than one of everything—process, tools, people—to reach a successful outcome and we encourage educators, publishers, startups, schools, and universities to recognize that working together will produce positive results.

There must be a commitment to overcome institutional barriers in order to make digital content a reality in the classroom.

As both the market and the means for producing educational content improve, there must be a systemic effort to address the structural and behavioral aspects associated with the widespread proliferation of digital content. This includes making sure all students have access to the Internet, and the devices they need to readily access course materials, and making sure educators are trained and comfortable in the use of digital content. Clearly, many of these elements will require legislation, training and institutional commitments that transcend the publishing industry. The task is vast, but this is a rallying cry: let us all work together to improve the production and distribution of educational content, as well as the access and infrastructure needed to make it broadly available. In this way, we can accelerate a much-needed disruption to our outdated educational offerings.


In her role as CEO of learning technology company Metrodigi, Kathryn Stewart is responsible for strategic vision and operational success. Stewart has more than two decades of experience in operations management, editing and design within the publishing industry, and she is a recognized thought leader in the education industry.  She was most recently Chief Operating Officer at the company, and prior to her tenure with Metrodigi she also held senior positions at Thomson and Cengage Learning.


Interested in contributing an opinion piece to NSR? Find all details here.

NSR Audiobook Review: Charcoal Joe (An Easy Rawlins Mystery) by Walter Mosley

cover_9780735208742Title: Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Author: Walter Mosley

Narrator: Michael Boatman

Publisher/Producer: Books on Tape, 2016

Duration: 10 hours


Reviewed for NSR by Michael Rogers (Babylon, New York)

This 14th outing in Mosley’s award-winning Easy Rawlins series finds the48-year-old L.A. private investigator as firmly wedged between a rock and a hard place as a man can get and still draw breath. He’s not crushed—yet—but space is getting real tight!

With his WRENS-L Detective Agency—formed with partners Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly—gaining momentum, Easy is hired by his sociopathic friend Raymond “Mouse” Alexander on behalf of gangster Rufus Tyler, a.k.a. Charcoal Joe, to prove a young African American physicist innocent of a double murder. The cops caught Dr. Seymour Brathwaite standing over the dead bodies of known criminal Peter Boughman and a hitman named Ducky in a beach bungalow, but the scientist claims to have stumbled upon the crime while searching for his housekeeper mother and was about to notify the police when they appeared with guns drawn.

Brathwaite is as unlikely a killer as possible, but he’s a black man poised over two white corpses and that’s good enough for the police. Nursing a broken heart, Easy prying an innocent youth from the LAPD’s iron grip provides the perfect distraction, but nothing in a PI’s day is ever what it seems. Seymour’s problem is the proverbial tip of the iceberg—Easy very quickly finds himself among several very bad men and equally dangerous but physically alluring women. Along with the usual cast of characters populating the Easy mysteries (Mouse, Mama Joe, Jackson Blue, Feather, Bonnie, etc.,), readers are treated to the huge bonus of Fearless Jones (star of his own Mosley series) lending much-needed muscle.

Despite being well dressed and more articulate than most men of any color, Easy strikes deep-rooted fear in most white women and ire in white men (especially cops), but 1968 society is taking baby steps towards racial tolerance, and the PI does his bit to further the black cause, although, as he notes, the hammer is always poised to drop.

Narrator Michael Boatman has a strong voice, but his reading is a bit flat in the book’s opening (it evens out as the story progresses). His pacing also is a tad slow—Mosley unfurls the story in short, quick-moving chapters, so the reading should be equally energetic. However, if the listener is driving or performing another activity requiring constant attention, the slower pace might be perfect, so ear of the beholder.

A new Easy mystery is always a pleasure, and series’ fans will have a fine time catching up with old friends.


NSR now publishes reviews of audiobooks. The reason is simple: we believe audiobooks are ebooks, and that listening is learning. Read more about it here.

Special thank you to Michael Rogers, former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal, for contributing this and other reviews to NSR. Publishers/producers interested in getting their (newly released) audiobooks reviewed on NSR should contact Michael directly at mermsr@optimum.net.

 

News Roundup [July 8, 2016]

News Roundup

Calisphere, the University of California’s Gateway to Digital Collections Adds Expert Curated “Exhibitions” [infoDocket/Library Journal]

50 untranslatable words from around the world [Ebook Friendly]

ALM takes ‘Connecticut Law Tribune’ digital-only [Talking New Media]

Global Digital Ed. Pub. Market 2016-2020 – Threat from Open Educational Resources & Alternative Textbook Sources [BusinessWire]

Harlequin Launches BookBreaks App for Serialized Stories [Digital Book World]

New Research Article: “Measuring the Impact of Digitized Theses: Case Study From the London School of Economics” [infoDocket/Library Journal]

Prince Online Museum Launches, Access 20 Years of Singer’s Archived Websites [infoDocket/Library Journal]

Amazon KDP and Kindle Unlimited: What It Means for Authors and Publishers [Written Word Media]

How to Make your Book Free on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) [Written Word Media]

Amazon Launches “Edition M” Thriller/Mystery Imprint in Germany [The Digital Reader]

ProQuest Adds 30 Million Pages to Digital Historical Collections [Campus Technology]

Wellcome Trust to Launch an Open Research Publishing Platform this Fall, Powered by F1000Research Technology [infoDocket/Library Journal]

The Translation of Thomas Becket – Medieval manuscripts blog [British Library]

The Latest Supreme Court Ruling On Kirtsaeng Hints at a Possible Expansion of Fair Use [The Digital Reader]

Why Audiobooks Are Not the Same Thing as Books [Digital Book World]

The Vatican is going to Digitize Rare Gulf Manuscripts [Good eReader]

LISWire: New edition of the seminal guide to copyright issues in online learning [LISWire]

The cry of the stories to be FREE [No Shelf Required]


[Ed Note: All titles of the articles listed below appear in the style used in the original sources.]


Paul Biba is former Editor-in-Chief of TeleRead. For his curated ebook/elibrary/epublishing news, follow him on Twitter @paulkbiba.

Mirela Roncevic is Managing Editor at No Shelf Required. For all NSR-related news and reviews, follow her on Twitter @MirelaRoncevic. For her writings related to books and all things creativity and literacy, follow her on Facebook.

NSR Book of the Week: Delivering Virtue by Brian Kindall

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers) and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week.

Delivering Virtue

About Author

Brian KindallBrian Kindall has written one adult novel and two middle-grade books: Blue Sky, the story of a girl who lives among a herd of ibex in the high Alps, and Pearl, about a girl made of stone who has been resting on the floor of the sea for a thousand years—until a boy pulls her from the waves and her life transforms. The author’s writing style blends adventure with humor and emotion.  His third novel, Delivering Virtue, was a finalist for an IndieFab Book of the Year Awards and takes readers on a journey through the American West in the 1850s. Kindall lives with his wife and three children in Idaho.

About BlueInk Review

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.

Portal on all things ebooks and econtent and for all reading, writing, publishing, curating, and distributing books and other content in digital format, including publishers, librarians, content developers, distributors, retailers, and educators. Managed and edited by Mirela Roncevic, with contributions from professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.