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Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Bookless Library Opens in San Antonio (Time)

On Saturday, Bexar County Digital Library – a $2.4 million, 4,000-square-foot space, also known as BiblioTech and located on the south side of San Antonio – opens to the public. The library, built with $1.9 million in county tax money and $500,000 in private donations, looks like an orange-hued Apple store and is stocked with 10,000 e-books, 500 e-readers, 48 computers, and 20 iPads and laptops. It has a children’s area, study rooms and a Starbucks-esque cafĂ©. Most importantly, it will have no printed material.

This isn’t the first time a public library has attempted to go bookless. In 2002, the Tucson-Pima Public Library system in Arizona opened a branch without books. But after just a few years, the library phased in printed materials. Its patrons demanded them.

“I don’t think people could really envision a library without any books in it,” says Susan Husband, the Santa Rosa Branch Library’s manager.

The idea of the bookless library no longer seems so daring considering our drift away from print and toward all things digital. At the end of 2012, 23% of Americans age 16 and older read e-books, up from 16% the year before, while the proportion of Americans who read a printed book fell from 72% to 67%, according to the Pew Research Center. But an all-digital library also raises a very basic question: is a library without books really a library?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ALA Program Summary: E-Elephant in the Room, by Sue Polanka (TeleRead)

On Saturday, June 23, 2012 at the ALA conference, several hundred librarians gathered for an interesting discussion on eBook collection development practices.  This ALA Program was a panel discussion featuing eBook collection development practices from both academic and public libraries.  It was organized by Serin Anderson and Christopher Platt. Heather McCormack from Library Journal moderated the discussion.  A summary of the program and presenter contents is below. The slides from all 4 panelists are available here: eBook elephant 06232012Library Journal and ALA both had summary articles of the program as well.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Libraries Cut E-Book Deal With Penguin (Wall Street Journal)

Penguin Group and electronic-book distributor 3M have made a deal with two New York City public library systems that will return Penguin e-books to library shelves for a one-year pilot.

If successful at the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library—two of the country's largest library systems—Penguin said it could offer similar deals to libraries across the U.S., including school and university libraries. And the deal could prompt other major publishers that currently don't sell e-books to libraries to soften their stances, said Matt Tempelis, global business manager for the 3M Cloud Library.

Penguin is one of four major publishers that don't make e-books available to libraries. Two others—Random House and HarperCollins—impose prices or circulation limits that make e-books impractical for libraries to acquire, library officials say.

The pilot, crafted to protect e-book sales, will delay the release of e-books to the libraries for six months after the titles go on sale in stores and online. Each library e-book will expire after a year.

Full story:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

E-books may take a page out of digital music's book (ars technica)

by Megan Geuss

On Friday, an association of e-book publishers—including major companies such as Harper Collins, Random House, and Barnes & Noble—issued a statement suggesting an outline for a new “Lightweight DRM.” This proposed Digital Rights Management standard could increase interoperability of books on hardware like e-readers.

Don’t get excited yet—the outline was only an invitation to a conversation that the association, called the International Digital Publishing Forum, wants to have. Still, it suggests the traditionally conservative publishing industry is learning how to do business in the Internet era. Hopefully, publishing is realizing something that the music industry has known for years: DRM is dead.

Of course, publishers aren't giving up entirely on DRM yet—they just want a different kind. But the IDPF suggested version of content management doesn’t require a lot of proprietary hardware or software to decrypt e-books (like the system we have today). In DRM’s current incarnation, books bought on a Kindle won’t work on a Nook, and books purchased on a Nook won’t work on a Kobo.

In the Friday statement, prepared by Bill Rosenblatt of Giant Steps Media Technology Strategies, the IDPF said a lightweight DRM option would lower production costs in terms of providing secure hardware and robust software. It would also reduce intensive client-server interactions. And of course, the IDPF suggested a new format would be favorable to consumers because it would be easier to use and understand.

Full story:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple Unveils App and Tools for Digital Textbooks | NY Times

By BRIAN X. CHEN and NICK WINGFIELD| January 19, 2012, 10:17 am

Apple wants students to bid farewell to the days of lugging around backpacks of heavy textbooks, and to welcome the iPad tablet as their new all-in-one reading device.

On Thursday the company released iBooks 2, a free app that will support digital textbooks that can display interactive diagrams, audio and video. At a news conference, the company demonstrated a biology textbook featuring 3-D models, searchable text, photo galleries and flash cards for studying. Apple said high school textbooks from its initial publishing partners, including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, would cost $15 or less.

“Education is deep in our DNA and it has been from the very beginning,” said Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, at the event at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Apple also announced a free tool called iBooks Author, a piece of Macintosh software that allows people to make these interactive textbooks. The tool includes templates designed by Apple, which publishers and authors can customize to suit their content. It requires no programming knowledge and will be available Thursday.

Full story:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Penguin Group Has Halted Library Lending For E-Books

The Digital Shift blog is reporting that as of today, Penguin Group USA will no longer permit any library lending of its new e-book titles. Overdrive, which powers the back-end of e-book lending for thousands of libraries, has confirmed that Penguin is no longer allowing library lending of its new titles. This decision does not effect any e-book titles currently in library circulation.

Penguin sent a statement to Digital Shift (which is a blog under the Library Journal umbrella) stating that the decision to halt new e-book lending stems from concerns over “the security of our digital editions.” The decision doesn’t appear to be a permanent one, but rather Penguin states that it will be holding off on allowing lending again until such time as they have “a distribution model that is secure and viable.”

Additionally, while older Penguin books will still be available in certain eBook formats for lending, none will be available for library lending for the Amazon Kindle. This decision comes just a few weeks after Amazon’s library lending partnership with Overdrive and public libraries came online. It’s also been made, perhaps more tellingly, a few days after Amazon announced its new lending library program for Amazon Prime customers. Amazon’s relationship with publishers over e-book publication on its Kindle e-readers has been contentious at times, but it’s yet to be seen if this is one of them.

Read more:

Monday, November 07, 2011

Amazon, Now a Book Lender (Wall Street Journal)


As the e-reader and tablet wars heat up, Inc. is launching a digital-book lending library that will be available only to owners of its Kindle and Kindle Fire devices who are also subscribers to its Amazon Prime program.

Amazon is launching a digital-book lending library that will be available only to owners of its Kindle devices who are also subscribers to its $79-a-year Amazon Prime program. Jeffrey Trachtenberg joins Digits to discuss how it works and why big book publishers may not be thrilled about it.

The program will be limited, at least at the beginning, in what is available to borrow. Amazon will initially offer slightly more than 5,000 titles in the library, including more than 100 current and former national bestsellers, such as Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

None of the six largest publishers in the U.S. is participating. Several senior publishing executives said recently they were concerned that a digital-lending program of the sort contemplated by Amazon would harm future sales of their older titles or damage ties to other book retailers.

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Anoka-Hennepin teachers write their own online textbook, save district $175,000

CHRIS WILLIAMS  Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The new textbooks in Michael Engelhaupt's statistics class at Blaine High School are kind of cheap and won't last long, but he doesn't mind. After all, he wrote them.

Instead of mass-produced textbooks, the more than 3,100 sophomores in the state's largest district are learning from an online curriculum developed by their teachers over the summer with free software distributed over the web.

Engelhaupt, 31, was one of three district math teachers who spent about 100 hours each developing the lessons, which cost the district about $175,000 less than buying new textbooks.

Engelhaupt said the project began last year when a group of math teachers began talking about new books the district had budgeted $200,000 to buy. They decided they could do a better job.

The problem with mass-produced textbooks, Engelhaupt explained, was that they can cost $65 each and aren't aligned with Minnesota's math tests so the district would be paying for whole chapters that are never used.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trends in Mobile Medicine Panel (Metro)

When: Wednesday Oct. 26,  2011
Time:  3:00 PM to 4:30 PM EDT

Where: METRO Training Center (4th floor)
57 E. 11th Street New York NY 10003
Phone: (212) 228-2320

Emily Morton-Owens
Asst. Curator, Web Services Librarian
NYU Health Sciences Libraries

Paul Albert
Digital Services Librarian
Weill Cornell Medical Library

Sarah Jewell
Reference Librarian
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Library

Presented by Metro's Smart Phones and Mobile Computing SIG

Registration deadline is Wednesday 26-Oct-11 3:00 PM:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fight Over the Future of Digital Books (The Atlantic)

The mysterious tower of the Cambridge University library, once rumored by undergraduates to be filled with pornography, is actually stocked with more interesting stuff: Edwardian spy novels set in far away lands, old country cookbooks, and legal thrillers by authors who are long gone, all conscientiously saved for posterity. Today scholars greatly value collections like these and the librarians who had the foresight to create and keep them. Without such troves we would have precious little to study to understand our past, present, and future.

In a plot turn that surprised many last week, the Authors Guild, led by modern-day legal-thriller writer Scott Turow, filed suit against five universities and the digital tower, called HathiTrust, that those universities created to preserve and make available to students and faculty scans of books from their collections.

Most of these scans are the institutional copies of books digitized by Google, which the Authors Guild sued six years ago in a complicated case that has still not been resolved. (The parties met with a judge yet again last Thursday.) This is the first time Google's university partners have been directly targeted by the plaintiffs.

Unlike Google, which ambitiously -- some would say recklessly -- planned to make all scanned books available in some form to the public, from "snippets" to full views, HathiTrust simply wishes to make available for scholarship older, out-of-print books whose authors and publishers cannot be located. Often called "orphan works," these books exist in an unclear realm: still technically in copyright but without identifiable rights-holders. What is very clear is that without the orphanages we call libraries, many of these works would no longer be available for scholars to read.

Authors Guild v. HathiTrust is a strange legal twist. For an association of professional writers, the Guild seems to have forgotten some of the basic principles of its craft, such as not placing sympathetic figures like librarians in the role of villains. Almost comically, the Guild's press release trumpeting its lawsuit against HathiTrust augurs a dark day in the not-too-distant future when old works, including obscure Yiddish texts, are "abducted" and "released" to thousands of students and professors.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Dog-Eared Paperback, Newly Endangered in an E-Book Age (NYT)

By JULIE BOSMAN Published: September 2, 2011 These are dark and stormy times for the mass-market paperback, that squat little book that calls to mind the beach and airport newsstands. Recession-minded readers who might have picked up a quick novel in the supermarket or drugstore are lately resisting the impulse purchase. Shelf space in bookstores and retail chains has been turned over to more expensive editions, like hardcovers and trade paperbacks, the sleeker, more glamorous cousin to the mass-market paperback. And while mass-market paperbacks have always been prized for their cheapness and disposability, something even more convenient has come along: the e-book. A comprehensive survey released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group revealed that while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amazon to Introduce Library Lending for Kindle (Chronicle of Higher Ed.) announced today that it will make Kindle books available for library lending later this year. Its partner in the Kindle Library Lending program is OverDrive, a widely used distributor of e-books and audiobooks.

“Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone,” the company said in its announcement. “If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.”

How? “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no,” said Jay Marine, the director of Amazon Kindle. “But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A message from OverDrive on HarperCollins' new eBook licensing terms (OverDrive's Digital Library Blog)

From Steve Potash, OverDrive CEO:
Since Friday, we’ve heard directly from many library partners about the new eBook licensing terms instituted by HarperCollins. As an initial step, here is what OverDrive is doing about it.

Beginning March 7, we are making changes in the eBook ordering process. HarperCollins eBooks and their catalog of titles will be moved from our general eBook catalog to a separate collection. Until we have time to review the effect of these new terms with our library partners, HarperCollins eBooks will not be listed in our Library Marketplace. You will be able to review and order HarperCollins eBooks from a separated catalog, if you so choose.

For those librarians who are less familiar with me or OverDrive, we know that you have expressed concern that OverDrive failed to stand up for you and your readers in this situation with HarperCollins, and that OverDrive did not do enough to prevent these changes. This sentiment does not accurately characterize my and OverDrive’s work in the library market over the past decade, nor does it reflect our discussions with HarperCollins regarding these changes. OverDrive did not invite, recommend, or suggest the need for any changes in terms.

We did have an option to stop carrying or distributing HarperCollins eBooks to our library partners.  Instead of taking this approach, we made the decision to continue to make the world’s second largest publisher’s catalog of eBook titles available to you, communicate the changes in advance to our library partners, and offer the option to make informed purchasing decisions.

As a library advocate, my team has made dozens of presentations to publishers and their associations in the US and abroad communicating the marketing and discoverability, and the economic opportunities the library market represents to publishers. We are aware of the challenges you face because of increased demand, shrinking budgets, and incompatible devices entering the market. As a result, we are prompting publishers to consider less restrictive licensing for eBook and digital media lending. OverDrive’s advocacy efforts for libraries have been ongoing for most of the past decade, most recently with the UK Publishers Association and at Digital Book World 2011. Last year we also released a White Paper to encourage library eBook lending.

We are also a firm believer and supporter of open standards and greater compatibility for digital content. OverDrive was one of the founders of the IDPF (EPUB standard), introduced iPod-compatible MP3 Audiobooks (no DRM), provided thousands of DRM-free Project Gutenberg titles, and developed the first mobile apps for direct over-the-air access to library eBooks.  We proudly partner with for LEAP, which supplies accessible eBooks to your visually-impaired customers.

I have been listening to public librarians for more than 10 years on how you want your digital book lending system to work. We have visited with you in all 50 states (and a dozen countries) hosting events with your libraries, your associations, and via the Digital Bookmobile. We will continue to listen to your concerns and are actively asking for your direction, through initiatives like our OverDrive Library Advisory Council and our user group conference this summer, Digipalooza. We’re also following the unofficial channels with which many of you are already familiar (#HCOD).

I can promise you that we will make the OverDrive platform even easier to use for you and your customers. We will protect your ability to make informed choices and we will work with you to set the direction and policies that serve your customers’ interests. Most importantly, we will continue to innovate, invest, and advocate for libraries so readers will have the best options for accessing digital books, anywhere and everywhere.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Expert Predicts a Deluge of Tablet Computers on Campuses (Wired Campus)

By Josh Fischman

Las Vegas—In his keynote address at the Higher Ed Tech Summit, Walt Mossberg, the influential technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, told an audience of higher-education officials and company executives that their future held many tablet computers. And not just the iPad, but some of the 70 or so new tablet devices that have been announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show here.
Speaking yesterday, Mr. Mossberg noted that CES this year should be renamed “TES” because there were so many of the things. (There was Motorola’s new Xoom, for instance, and Dell’s Streak 7, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Hybrid—a laptop with a detachable tablet—and devices from Samsung, Toshiba, Motion …)


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Amid E-Book Growth, Students Still Prefer Paper Textbooks (ReadWriteWeb)

Over the past half-year, we have written extensively about e-books ande-readers. We've discussed the merits of e-books over paper books. We've covered Kindle e-books outselling hardcover best-sellers and theirstrength over the holiday season. We've even included the growth of e-readers and e-books in one of our Top Trends of 2010 posts.
But, as ReadWriteWeb editor Richard MacManus discussed in "5 Ways that Paper Books are Better than E-Books," everything from price to packaging to, most importantly, the feel of physical books may keep them on the shelves for a long time to come. Now, in a study called "Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education," another round in the debate has been settled on the side of paper. 75% of student preferred old-fashioned, paper-and-board textbooks over electronic versions.
The surveying entity, the Book Industry Study Group, announced the results yesterday. The 75% who preferred paper textbooks cited "a fondness for print's look and feel, as well as its permanence and ability to be resold."
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