The Evil Side of eBooks – Piracy

The NYT had a very interesting article yesterday on the book piracy.  It highlights the increasing amount of illegal sites to download pirated eBooks, or print books that were scanned.  Publishers are spending much more staff time and hiring large legal departments to track down sites.  Here’s a quote from the article:  “It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole,” said Russell Davis, an author and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a trade association that helps authors pursue digital pirates. “You knock one down and five more spring up.”

I sometimes see posts on a variety of library distribution lists about finding reference titles online for free, and it makes them quite mad that they’ve just paid hundreds of dollars for the same book, either in print or e.  Maybe the publishers should give these angry librarians the Whac-a-Mole paddles and let us track down those pirates 😉  21st Century shushing at it’s best.

NY Times Reader – Brilliant

The NY Times released it’s 2.0 Reader today, powered by Adobe Air.   The basics:

  • works on Windows, MAC, linux
  • updates every 5 minutes
  • stories run in multiple sections of the paper
  • news feed for breaking news
  • read off-line
  • 7 day archive
  • even has the crossword
  • all for $3.95 a week

This short flash clip highlights the reader –Long Live the Newspaper!

NY Times article explaining the Reader.

Chronicle discusses Kindle and Textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article on the Kindle and use of it for textbooks.  Two interesting points were made.  First, many students already carry around a device that can read eBooks, their laptops.  Second, publishers want to end the used textbook market, which cuts off their profits.  By making textbooks in eBook form with licensing limiting resale, they capture the market again…..at least until students figure out a way to share them!

Kindle DX – Text to Speech

An abledbody news article last week discusses the new Kindle DX and it’s text-to-speech program that will read a book aloud.  According to the abledbody article, the Kindle does not go far enough to provide an accessible player to persons with disabilities.  The eBook menus and controls are not audio accessible, limiting access to those with visual disabilities.   I’m not certain Kindle had persons with disabilities in mind when they created this new text-to-speech feature since it is not limited to those with disabilities. Kindle will work with Pearson, Cengage Learning, Wiley and 75 other University Presses to provide textbooks on the Kindle this year.  Additionally, 3 newspapers have given Amazon the rights to text-to-speech content, NYT, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe.  Sounds to me like the much broader market, with a potential to listen to books in the car, while walking, doing housework, or any other multitude of activities is what got Amazon tickled pink about text-to-speech.  Just in case you didn’t hear, Kindle will begin a text book pilot program with 6 Universities this fall.

ePub vs. DRM: The Great Debate

A great debate between ePub and DRM is going on between Paul Biba and David Rothman at Teleread.  They both have posts supporting their arguments.  NSR will interview Paul Biba next week, so stayed tuned for more on this exciting discussion. Continue reading ePub vs. DRM: The Great Debate

Case Western Students will use Kindle for Textbooks

CWRU Chemistry and Computer Science students will use the new Kindle to access textbooks in Fall ’09.   See the full article in either the Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 6, 2009 or The WSJ, May 5, 2009. Amazon has worked a deal with publishers to load the textbook content on the Kindle, which will be “supplied” to students.  Nothing in the articles about costs…

The other universities are:  Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State.

Google Book Search Settlement

Posting on behalf of Peter Murray, OhioLINK, full post at:  http://dltj.org/article/gbs-summary/

Today was to be the deadline for objecting to, opting out of, and/or filing briefs with the court on the Google Book Search Settlement. That was the plan, at least, when the preliminary approval statement from the court was issued last year. That deadline changed, and that is part of a recent flurry of activity surrounding the proposed Settlement. In honor of the original deadline, this e-mail provides a summary of recent news and an index of documents that you might want to read for more information. Continue reading Google Book Search Settlement

Gale Offers Free Access to Health & Wellness Resource Center

Farmington Hills, Mich., May 5, 2009 — In support of National Women’s Health Week, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is providing one month’s free access to Health & Wellness Resource Center, an electronic resource providing a comprehensive array of medical reference and periodical materials. To obtain access to the resource center, libraries can download a specialized widget throughout the month of May at http://access.gale.com/widgets/whm. Continue reading Gale Offers Free Access to Health & Wellness Resource Center

The Cost of Publishing a Book

One thing librarians are always ranting about is the cost of eBooks.  In some instances, the eBook can cost 150-200% of the list price.  The Kindle 2 blog just posted an interesting break down on the cost of print books.  When it comes down to it, printing costs are only about 10% of the total book cost.  Author royalties, marketing, proof reading/editing, cover design and the like all take a piece of the pie as well.  These expenses don’t magically go away on the eBook.  The 10% printing cost is used to manage interfaces, buy servers, and to pay programmers, which probably costs more than 10% of the book I would think.  Ron Boehm, from ABC-CLIO, wrote a nice article about the economics of publishing and ebooks for NSR, it contains more information on the pricing of p vs. e.    The question still remains, why are some eBooks priced at list and others at 150 – 200% over list?  I think some of this has to do with the number of simultaneous users, 24/7 access, and other value added features that a publisher or aggregator may offer.  Recouping costs of development and storage are probably factored in their too.  None of this makes it any easier to swallow for those of us paying the higher costs, but one can only hope that over time, as the eBook matures and interfaces are perfected, that the costs will stabilize.

Finally, a Textbook Program for Students with Disabilities

Being part of the Wright State University community has given me a whole new perspective on students with disabilities.  Approximately 10% of our population is part of this community.  It is very difficult for these students to get their textbooks and other course material in a format appropriate to their needs.  That has just been made easier with the announcement of the U.S. College and University Partnership with Bookshare.  Bookshare is the largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.  Their press release contains all the details of this new program.  Text of this release is also below, click on more.   Continue reading Finally, a Textbook Program for Students with Disabilities

EBL adds new publishers

EBL just announced the addition of new publishers to their platform.  They include:

* Harvard Health Publications
* Continuum International Publishing Group
* Ashgate Publishing Group
* Spinifex Press (Australian publisher)
* Hindawi Publishing Corporation
* Perseus Books

Will Print-on-Demand Stifle eBooks?

There is a really interesting article (with comments) on the TeleRead blog about the Espresso Book Machine.  If you remember, UM purchased the Espresso back in October.   This new article, written by Court Merrigan, focuses on the machine’s use in bookstores – store front or in one’s closet.  It’s big in the UK, with plans to expand the 500,000 title Espresso offering even further if Blackwell can negotiate the rights to in-copyright books.

Merrigan ponders the future of bookstores, amazon, and the impact of POD to the eBook industry.  Comments from publishers offer even more ideas and perspectives.   One comment, from Michael Pastore, states “This machine could also be deployed in libraries, and help make some money for libraries, which are much in need right now. And independent bookstores might be looking at this machine reverently, as a mechanical messiah.”

IDPF Conference on eBooks

On May 11 – 12th the IDPF will hold its Digital Book 2009 Conference in NYC.  The theme is “an eBook Stimulus plan for Publishing.”  More information is available on the conference website.  Looks like there will be some sessions on DRM, ePUB, XML, and a presentation from Google on the Book Search program. Anyone attending?  If so, consider posting your comments here on the blog.

WSJ article – How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write

Interesting article in the WSU on eBooks, “How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write.”  It focuses on more popular reading than academic sources, but brings out some interesting points about marketing, discovery, and selling pieces/parts of books.

An added FYI, when I find articles related to eBooks I bookmark them on my delicious site, which is linked to the blog.  Just go to the homepage to see the recent delicious bookmarks.

Gale offers free resources for Earth Day

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Apr. 20, 2009 — In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is offering free resources on its completely updated Environmental Resource Web site (http://www.galeschools.com/environment/).

Continue reading Gale offers free resources for Earth Day

Kindle2 Sony Reader in the personal market

Michael Pelikan has written an interesting article in Against the Grain about the Kindle Sony ebook reader showdown (Feb 2009 issue, article not available online.)  Michael focuses this first article on the personal use market, but I’m (impatiently) awaiting the next installment when he will look at library support for reading devices.  Michael is from Penn State where they’ve partnered with Sony to distribute Sony Readers through the library and within selected courses.  The article includes interesting comments from faculty about the experience.  He also gives a shout-out to calibre, open source ebook management software.

Checklist for evaluating eBook aggregators

A colleague of mine, Deborah Lenares, from Wellesley College forwarded me her checklist for evaluating eBook aggregators.  We thought it would be a good idea to share this spreadsheet and allow other librarians the opportunity to add evaluation criteria.  So, if you are interested in viewing/adding to it, you’ll find it on google docs.   Caution, as soon as you make a change to the spreadsheet, it’s there for good, or at least until someone else changes it.  We’ll see how this goes.

Webinar on the Google Book Settlement next week

The Copyright Clearance Center is sponsoring a webinar on April 14th called, The Authors Guild, AAP, Google Settlement: What Authors & Publishers Need to Know as May 5th Approaches. More info here.

Details include:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:00 pm
Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00, New York)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 5:00 pm
GMT Daylight Time (GMT +01:00, London) Continue reading Webinar on the Google Book Settlement next week

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