Digital Public Library of America Launching Ebook Pilot

This just in from DPLA:

This is the second in a series of updates about DPLA’s work to maximize access to ebooks. Check out the first post in this series introducing DPLA’s plans.

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At DPLAfest this past April, the DPLA Board of Directors approved a plan to move forward with an ebook pilot aimed at improving access to a broad selection of open and licensed ebooks through market-based methods. We at DPLA are evaluating what we could potentially do from a community and technology perspective to help libraries maximize patron access to ebooks and other e-content. Through the pilot, set to launch in early fall, DPLA will manage technology solutions for 3-5 large public libraries and consortia.

First, some background: US libraries began providing ebooks through OverDrive in 2004. Since then, library ebooks have been provided through siloed, vertically integrated systems in which users can discover and borrow books from a given vendor only in that vendor’s website and apps. In 2012, a group of frustrated library leaders mobilized to form Readers First to fight for a better user experience for their patrons. This grassroots movement has advocated with some success for more open systems and empowered libraries to demand more from e-content vendors. These innovative, library-driven efforts have also led to multiple IMLS-funded grant projects moving us closer to the vision of a national digital platform. Continue reading Digital Public Library of America Launching Ebook Pilot

When Kids Listen Again and Again

Anyone who has shared books with a child aged between two and four has probably experienced the “read it again” syndrome. You just read it aloud—three times in one go  yesterday—and now it’s being thrust at you for another round, which will be followed immediately by a plea to read it another time right now, please. Of course, this kind of instant repeat wish didn’t spring to human evolution with the invention of the printing press or popular literacy; narrative “bathing” comes with maturing language acquisition whether it’s tell-me-that-story-again, recite-that-poem, or read it again.

Verbal repetition when a child is relatively new to language, is both exciting and soothing.[1]  Every repetition of the same text aloud provides the joy of recognition spiced with the curiously pleasant realization that some tiny, previously unheard nuance now strikes consciousness as well as the ear. Lindsay Patterson wrote last month of research conducted regarding podcasts for kids that opened up new insights on the attraction of repetitive listening by young children.[2] The sample surveyed giving rise to this preliminary research was small and details about it, so far, don’t include socioeconomic, gender, or ethnic demographic reference points. However, having a starting point is better than having none to push forward exploration of the power of listening to the development of children’s capacity to internalize information provided through language. Continue reading When Kids Listen Again and Again

The Four Basic Ebook Models for K-12 Libraries

This is the second article in a three-part series on ebook business models in K-12 libraries. In the first article, we looked at what a business model is and at the four main kinds of ebook business models that K-12 librarians need to know about. In this article, we will look at each of the four basic models in more depth and glance at some examples of them. We will not attempt to compare product offerings in depth, but I will mention an example or two of each model. Because ebook technology is still in its early stages, the platforms and feature sets of each offering change rapidly, so any comparison is bound to be a snapshot at best.

If there is enough interest in an up-to-date comparison, I may write a series of comparison articles after this series has been completed. In the third article, I will draw some conclusions and provide links to other articles on ebooks in K-12 libraries, including some in-depth comparisons. After reading the three articles, you will be able to see how any ebook offering is based on one or more of the four basic ebook business models. This will help you decide whether or not the offering will help your library achieve its goals.

As you read, keep in mind that ebooks are not simply digital versions of printed books. Legally, they are licensed as software, so when you buy an ebook you are buying a license to use a piece of software. You are not buying a physical object. You do not own it in the same way that you would own a printed book. Technologically, they are completely different, too. While they may look like pictures of books on the screen, under the skin they are software.

On the one hand, this brings some limitations, but at the same time, it is possible to use ebook technology to empower readers in ways that cannot be done with print technology. Continue reading The Four Basic Ebook Models for K-12 Libraries

Book of the Week: Love and Crime: Stories (V. S. Kemanis)

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:

Love and Crime: Stories

V.S. Kemanis is a California native who now makes New York her home. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law at Boulder. In her legal career she has been a criminal prosecutor for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked for state appellate courts.  Her short fiction by  has been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Crooked Road Volume 3, and several noted literary journals.


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.

Library for All — not another ebook collection, but rather an idea

It has been a pleasure and an honor to write about various free ebook collections for the No Shelf Required community. I believe we share a number of commonalities about  reading and ways to make it more accessible apart from historical models  based on a buyer-customer relationship. The nine free e-collections I profiled thusfar have various models by which they operate, but all wish to disseminate information outside of  traditional methods.  And, to go a step further, I would be safe to assume that those of us who read NSR, share Mirela Roncevic’s passion to bypass the corporatized process by which print or electronic books are made available worldwide.  From our perspective, Mirela’s efforts to show that a country in its entirety can be a “Free Reading Zone” were not merely experimental, but could well be the leading edge of a future norm. Thus it is, dear readers, that, in my tenth post, I want to present you with not another collection, but rather an idea. Continue reading Library for All — not another ebook collection, but rather an idea

Own Voices

We Need Diverse Books (#WNDB) has gained energy and publisher awareness since its launch in 2014. The proportion of published kids’ books continues to skew below parity for those by and about people of color, varied gender and sexual identities, and specific disabilities, with the latter two broad spectra receiving less census taking and data analysis to date in the publishing world. However, inclusivity has become a publishing value, with more people now noticing that skew and more publishers and publishing gatekeepers are actively working to correct it. The efforts have been concentrated on print titles. While both titles for kids and visually read books desperately need this attention and change in publishing traditions, adult readership and readers who use their ears need increased and sustained inclusivity in publishing as well. Among these are reviewers, whose critical pronouncements on audio materials needs to include articulate and culturally competent attention to authentic inclusivity.

An essential element of moving publishing resources toward inclusiveness, again largely in the kids print market, is awareness of own voices, which has been building broader social media consciousness with the #OwnVoices hashtag. This effort draws attention to the need for justice in publishing: narratives from and about marginalized experiences and characters from authentic sources should be sought and supported. Those who live beyond and beside the empowered culture’s contours are the ones whose voices need to be heard. Inclusivity is necessary to all of us if we are to inhabit a cultural home that has windows, mirrors, and doors. Continue reading Own Voices

K-12 Ebook Business Models and Why You Should Care About Them

“Why do I sometimes feel that the conditions I have to accept when I buy ebooks do not work well for me or for my students?”

“I’ve heard the term business model, and I’d like to understand how business models affect me in the real world of my work. But I don’t want to spend a lot of time learning about them. I just want a basic understanding.”

 

If you are a school librarian, and these ebook questions are on your mind, then please continue reading.

This is the first article in a three-part series on ebooks in K-12 or school libraries. It is intended for school librarians who want a basic understanding of how ebook business models work in their world, and of how to make them work as much as possible to the librarian’s advantage.

The first article will look at business models and their importance, and then sketch out the main kinds of ebook business models that K-12 librarians have to deal with. The second article will look at the models in more depth and give examples of how they work in practice. It will also discuss platform issues. The third article will draw a few conclusions and point out some ways that librarians can skillfully use their knowledge of ebook business models to stretch their budgets and better serve their students. Continue reading K-12 Ebook Business Models and Why You Should Care About Them

Book of the Week: A Contrary Wind (Lona Manning)

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:

A Contrary Wind

Lona Manning was born in South Korea where her parents were teaching missionaries shortly after the Korean War. She grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She has been a home care aide, legal secretary, political speech writer, office manager, and vocational instructor. In her late 50’s she decided to get an ESL teaching certificate. She now divides her time between China (where she teaches) and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

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.

 

Saving war-torn cities through education [and asking publishers and libraries to do more]

On Thursday, April 27, I spoke about Free Reading Zones in Osijek, a city in the East of Croatia that some 25 years after the (last) Balkan war, still shows visible signs of devastation and remnants of human cruelty. This “forgotten” city, as it’s often called, may still be hurting and trying to rebuild itself (I felt this on every corner and in every conversation), but it’s a city that recognizes the value of free access to knowledge. Otherwise the University of Osijek wouldn’t have invited me to speak about Croatia becoming an open virtual library.

Thursday was the first time I publicly spoke about turning Croatia into a Free Reading Zone since the pilot ended in January. And it didn’t happen in its capital (Zagreb) or its major tourist draw (Dubrovnik). Or in any other fancy coastal town on the Adriatic that reaps the benefits of its geography. It happened in the devastated and impoverished Northern city of Osijek, where bullet-ravaged buildings still populate even the main square (see picture).

It was an emotional three-day visit, my first in the fourth largest city in the country, where I spoke in an auditorium full of mostly students (some faculty) about the importance of free access to knowledge (ironically enough) outside institutions such as the University of Osijek, where the event took place. I spoke about the importance of universities and libraries raising their own awareness about the possibilities afforded to us by ebooks and econtent, which still remains largely locked away from most humanity. It took for me to leave New York to become acutely aware of that. Continue reading Saving war-torn cities through education [and asking publishers and libraries to do more]

Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

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This is Article 3 (following What readers want and What books want) in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series of articles on NSR, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016.


So what exactly  happened with ebooks in Croatia in December of 2016? The first two articles in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series, which focused on why the project was immensely beneficial for readers and books (and the future of books), left some questions unanswered, owing largely to my affinity for describing life’s experiences (not just this one) not in a linear fashion but instead in the way in which they get stored in my memory. This often has little to do with chronology and more to do with how various lessons from the experience present themselves to  me after the fact.

The Croatia Reads project, which I founded and managed, was many things to many people who are, in one way or another, affected by books either because they write them, read them, sell them, distribute them, or manage them. In retrospect, and perhaps more than anything, Croatia Reads was an attempt to present the library of the future in all its invisible glory. And this library is able to (finally) fully democratize the written word by virtue of becoming completely invisible, thus accessible to all people, all at once. This, as I’ve written in various other posts, is the vision I have both for the industry I love and have devoted two decades of my life to and for the world, which I’ve had the privilege of experiencing through life on three continents.

The idea came to me about a year ago in the midst of a meeting I was having with my (at the time) colleagues at Total Boox, the company behind the pay-as-you-read ebook model for libraries and direct consumers. Continue reading Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 77th birthday to Al Pacino, born in East Harlem April 25, 1940. He’s one of the guys who put 1970s film on the map—The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, all solid. Since snagging an Oscar for portraying Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman, Pacino has spent most of his screen time shouting—his characters apparently are all ferocious.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Pacino on-stage twice; in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel back in the day and Huey roughly a decade or so ago, and he’s equally affective in theater as in film.

My favs of his Hollywood work are as Michael Corleone in The Godfather I & II and Lefty Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco. Both characters are Mafiosos and killers with no consciences, but Pacino’s approach to Michael and Lefty couldn’t be more different. Something as simple as sitting in a chair reveals each character’s personality: Michael is a king; calculating, intelligent, in full control. His tailored suit and posture reflect his power. Lefty is a dumb slob. He’s a mutt slouching in a T-shirt and cheap track suit.

Perfect, Al.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Book of the Week: Child Decoded; Unlocking Complex Issues in Your Child’s Learning, Behavior or Attention

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:

Child Decoded: Unlocking Complex Issues in Your Child’s Learning, Behavior or Attention

Robin McEvoy is a developmental neuropsychologist practicing in Denver, Colorado. She evaluates and diagnoses a wide range of learning disabilities and learning needs in chil­dren, adolescents, and adults.

 

 


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.

The State of Reading Recommendation Services in Libraries [new white paper]

Newly launched Demco, Inc. division publishes whitepaper about trends around popular library service

Madison, WI (Tuesday, April 25, 2017) – Demco Software today announced the publication of “Going the Extra Service Mile: The State of Reading Recommendation Services in Libraries,” the whitepaper that explores findings from their early 2017 survey of librarians across the globe. The newly launched division of Demco, Inc., which offers mobile apps, programming resources and management tools to 21st-century libraries, has made the paper available for free download here.

Built with input from public, academic, school and special librarians, the survey collected data from over 330 librarians about the state of reading recommendations in libraries. Among the key findings were:

  • 70% of libraries offer reading recommendations, but 91% have no formal system in place for tracking user satisfaction.
  • Overall, reading recommendations are seen as a key service by library decision makers (90%), staff (94%) and library users (41%) alike.
  • Goals for the service vary, but an overwhelming majority see them as a way to foster greater community engagement (80%) and drive discovery of resources (77%).

“Much of the data confirmed librarians’ desires to use reading recommendations to form deeper connections with their communities,” shared Mary Casey, Director of Marketing at Demco Software. “It’s clear that libraries are looking for additional ways to prove return on investment in this service. We’re excited to take this data to our development team and see what innovations they come up with to provide the assessment opportunities that librarians seek.”

Show a teen how to build a summer listening library

This Thursday heralds opening day for the 8th season of AudiobookSYNC Audiobooks for Teens. Here’s an opportunity to acquire 32 audiobooks for free and to keep for personal use (not for library collections). All comers are granted each week’s pair of free audiobooks, while the program selections target middle and high school aged teens. Last year, the program provided more than 170,000 free audiobook downloads of 30 titles.

What it is: AudiobookSYNC aims to highlight listening as a means to reading both high teen-interest titles and titles either assigned for summer reading or likely to require student attention for curriculum support. The audiobook review magazine AudioFile, hosts the annual program, uses the OverDrive app and computer software for distribution, and acquires its titles through donations from more than a dozen audiobook publishers, including the big guys like Penguin Random House and Recorded Books, and smaller houses like L.A. Theatre Works, Ideal Audiobooks, and Naxos AudioBooks. Continue reading Show a teen how to build a summer listening library

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 99th birthday to William Holden, born—YIKES!—Billy Beedle, Jr., in O’Fallon, Illinois, April 17, 1918. With his hard face and I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude, it’s a shame he never played Philip Marlowe. But, he more than made up for it in many other roles.

Holden is pictured here in his Oscar-winning performance in Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17. Remarkably, he was the third choice for the sleazy, wheeler-dealer Sefton, landing the part after Charlton Heston and Kirk Douglas passed. Ach so!


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Book of the Week: Soul Jazz: Jazz in the Black Community, 1945-1975 (Bob Porter)

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:

Soul Jazz: Jazz in the Black Community, 1945-1975

Bob Porter is a record producer, writer, and broadcaster in the fields of jazz and blues. He has worked for such prominent record labels as Prestige, Savoy, and Atlantic. He has produced more than one hundred seventy-five albums and several hundred reissues. He is a two-time Grammy winner, was awarded the Marion McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting, and is a member of the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. He is currently the host of three separate programs on WBGO, Newark. 


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. 

Time travel with the ancient aural art

Among the literary arts, poetry almost always needs oral performance to bring even the solitary reader close to the text. In efforts to record poetry, too its authors almost always are the best choices for performing their own works. This week, take a poetry break and learn about lives and dreams from the mouths of the poets giving their literary art immediacy, whether you are generations away or remember seeing their lines in print.

Amiri Baraka read at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Decker Library, 14 September 1992, an occasion and performance preserved in its entirety. The MICA Archives include more than 100 readings and lectures by poets and artists. Many of the recordings here were made at local performances in Decker Library, including this 1973 reading by Allen Ginsberg. Listening to Baraka and Ginsberg across a quarter- and nearly a half-century offers something more compelling than nostalgia: these poets committed vestiges of their immediate social and political contexts to sounds that resonate with listeners in the here and now.

Recording of William Carlos Williams are preserved at the University of Pennsylvania’s PennSound Center. These tiny, literally seconds-long audios offer him reading his “The Red Wheelbarrow,” on three different occasions, spanning 1942 to 1952. One poet, one poem, and three different pacings give listeners the opportunity to appreciate how each time we express ourselves, the expression is just a bit different, perhaps easier—or more difficult—for the listener to access. PennSound also contains a treasure trove of Adrienne Rich reading her works on a great number of occasions, including this 1988 poem, “Divisions of Labor,” that speaks of matters that continue to be trenchant nearly 30 years on. Also available at PennSound, Francisco X. Alarcón’s “Letter to America”, published first in 1991, is indeed an anthem for today, both in word and performance. Continue reading Time travel with the ancient aural art

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Ward Bond, born in Benkelman, Nebraska, April 9, 1903. One of the great character actors and a pillar of John Ford’s ensemble, Ward spent most of his career (more than 200 films) portraying cops and cowboys. He played football at USC with teammate John Wayne (still Marion Morrison then)—what are the odds?

For most, he’s probably best known as Bert the cop in Frank Capra’s holiday crowd-pleaser It’s a Wonderful Life. He also had small roles in Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, Dead End, and Bringing up Baby.”

My favorites are the Ford films (he did 25 of them), and he’s solid as Tom Polhaus in The Maltese Falcon.

Bond in the “chew” shot from the creme de la creme, The Searchers.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

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