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Digital books are triggering tectonic shifts in education. One of the most fundamental, yet seemingly invisible, shifts is happening in the back rooms of district offices—not in the classrooms, not among teachers and students, and definitely not in the board rooms of most big-name publishers and textbook companies.
This profound, significant change is happening first in school district business offices, IT departments, and cubicles among staff members who work behind the scenes to acquire materials for today’s students.
What exactly is this shift? It’s a shift in awareness. A very subtle, yet primary, change in perception.
It’s the revelation of the idea that ebooks are not books at all.
That’s right, ebooks are not books.
For the last few years, Bookish.com — the joint venture between S&S, Hachette, and Penguin — has seen a number of iterations and had its share of setbacks. Most articles — including this one — tend to lead with a description of all the difficulties Bookish has had, from CEO change-overs to more than a year in delays. Even fresh off its launch several weeks ago there’s a lot of discussion about what role Bookish.com fills in the ecosystem and whether or not it’s addressing a consumer need. When it was announced yesterday that Goodreads.com was being acquired by Amazon, one of Forbes’ headlines covering the announcement was Amazon Buys Goodreads. Take That, Bookish! As if it’s another string of bad luck in the Bookish saga.
Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?
To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.
Teleread has a piece on hollowed out books that people are making and selling on Etsy
Excerpt: I fell in love with this idea and purchased one of the books on offer: a blue Reader’s Digest Condensed Books in which I planned to store my passport, checks and some cash we are squirrelling away for vacations.
I was impressed with the look and feel of the ‘book’ when it arrived. I liked that it was ‘authentic’ and can, of course, pass for a ‘real’ book on the shelf, since it was one.
Article in the Washington Post Style Section proclaims the new St. Louis Public Library Central Branch "a marvel".
Washington Post Book Reviewer Ron Charles says "Bibliophiles, take note: There’s a spectacular new page on your tour of America’s great book sites: The reopened public library in downtown St. Louis.
The library closed almost three years ago for a $70-million renovation. The results of that work are now open to the public, and the 190,000-square-foot building is the most gorgeous — and usable — library I have ever seen."
The University of South Florida, a public university in Tampa with over 41,000 students, has asked the state attorney to investigate a former library director.
An audit alleges that Beverly Shattuck, formerly director of the medical library at USF, sold her Tampa-area house and moved to Virginia Beach, VA, using university funds to purchase a MacBook Air, two iPads, and a camera, supposedly for telecommuting -- even though the University never approved her experiment in running an academic library from 800 miles away. USF could not identify any legitimate business purpose for the camera or the second iPad. The former library director also used university funds for thousands of dollars worth of travel expenses, the USF audit said, in order to travel back and forth to the Tampa campus.
The most financially significant issue, according to the audit, was over 1,200 hours of unrecorded personal and sick leave. The university says it paid Shattuck over $11,000 in salary that she ought to have taken as unpaid leave when her paid annual leave had run out, and would have wrongfully paid her $35,723 more had the problem not been discovered.
After being placed on administrative leave following the suspension of her purchasing card, USF says, Beverly Shattuck voluntarily resigned. A local news investigation confirmed that she was permitted to retire with benefits from her $150,000+/year job. According to that investigation, a spokesman for the state attorney's office said that criminal charges are pending.
from author of thirteen books, Henry David Sterry.
SWANSEA, Mass. - An outpouring of support for Penny the cat, the unofficial mascot of the Swansea Public Library, has led a Massachusetts man to give up his efforts to evict the cat from the public building.
Patrick Higgins sent an email to Swansea Public Library trustees last Saturday, which said he would file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice if Penny was not removed from the premises. According to Higgins, people allergic to cats would be unable to use the library which meant the public building did not comply with the American Disabilities Act.
As news of Penny’s potential eviction spread, supporters for the neighborhood cat began to rally creating petitions to keep the Penny on the premises. One petition on Change.org has elicited nearly 1,800 signatures.
From the über-conservative American Spectator. Posted by Daniel J. Flynn on Friday Mar 29th at 5:09am
"Today’s public library could be mistaken for a halfway house, homeless shelter, or federal penetentiary."
I write from the public library, which doubles as my city’s daytime homeless shelter. I spend four hours a day there reading and writing. Other patrons, often accompanied by all of their worldly possessions, go there to sleep, masturbate, and stare blankly at the lights. Isn’t this what the local Greyhound terminal is for?
A diversion program for juvenile delinquents apparently meets daily on the first floor. Since the building’s architect imprudently designed the library as a giant open space without walls, their promiscuous use of the “f” word and spirited imitations of famous rappers travel unimpeded to me on the third level — more of a platform two stories above the ground than a separate floor. To encourage such misbehavior, a local library — thankfully not the one I visit — begged its town’s government for $2,000 to buy video games. Libraries once served as refuges against noise. Now the library’s cacophony makes an iPod necessary equipment to drown out the din.
Openness yields to secretiveness elsewhere. Computer cubicles double as makeshift peep-show booths. To protect privacy at the public library, staff has generously equipped computer screens with a tinted gloss that makes the visuals invisible to all save those who look upon them at a direct angle. I mostly glimpse social media and computer games on the screens when I pass. Occasionally, pornographic videos jump out at passersby. Noticing the behavior, rather than the behavior itself, is terribly offensive, so I make it my business to mind my business around pervs who make their business everybody’s business.
In an interview Thursday, Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler and Amazon’s VP of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti stressed that Goodreads will not change for the worse following its acquisition by Amazon.
Full interview here.
In reaction to the recent purchase of Goodreads by Amazon.com, LibraryThing announced the following:
In the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads, we’ve had some blow-back on the fact that LibraryThing charges for a membership to add more than 200 books. In fact, when you go to pay, it’s pay-what-you-want. The money helps pay for the site, and keeps us advertisement-free for members. Also, we believe customers should be customers, with the loyalty and rights of customers, not the thing we sell to our real customers.
However, some people don’t like it. And we want everyone. So, as a test and a welcome, we’re giving out free year’s accounts to everyone who signs up through the end of Sunday. We’ve also upgraded everyone who signed up since 4pm yesterday.
More on their site.
They neglected to mention however that they too are part-owned by Amazon.com (40% due to previous small business purchases by Amazon). This was referenced in the NYTimes article about Amazon's purchase of Goodreads.
"The deal is made more significant because Amazon already owned part or all of Goodreads’ competitors, Shelfari and LibraryThing. It bought Shelfari in 2008. It also owns a portion of LibraryThing as a result of buying companies that already owned a stake in the site. Both are much smaller and have grown much more slowly than Goodreads."
But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 28, 2013-- Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads, a leading site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.
“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”
“Books – and the stories and ideas captured inside them – are part of our social fabric,” said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. “People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world. We’re looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally.”
“I just found out my two favorite people are getting married,” said Hugh Howey, best-selling author of WOOL. “The best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books – To Be Read piles everywhere must be groaning in anticipation.”
Following the acquisition, Goodreads’s headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 2007, Goodreads now has more than 16 million members and there are more than 30,000 books clubs on the Goodreads site. Over just the past 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads. -- Read More
The Cuyahoga County Public Library Board is making plans to abandon the historic Telling Mansion Library in South Euclid-Lyndhurst, Ohio and to replace it with a new, more expensive facility further from the center of the communities it serves.
Do you think an historic building can be a 21st century library? The people who live in this community think so, but read this interesting case study and decide for yourself?
Via MediaBistro GalleyCat: A Chicago Public Library patron wrote a book about his relationship and proposed in the library last weekend. As you can see by the lovely photograph in the story, she said yes.
Where in the library would you get engaged? Here’s more about the library marriage proposal, the most romantic use of the stacks we’ve ever seen.
Jason and Molly both love books and libraries. So Jason decided the library was the perfect place to pop the question… after he wrote a story about how they met, had it illustrated and bound into a book, and then placed on the shelves in the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library. He and Molly “found” the book on Saturday and we are happy to report she said YES! Congratulations to you both – we wish you a long, happy, and book-filled life together!
Libraries & Peeps, inseparable. What is your library doing with Peeps this week?
Please add & update this modest listing with your comments!
And in other news, "how to make Peep infused vodka" (we needed a recipe for that?)
NYT article discussing the Supap Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc case.
Excerpt from article:
More profoundly, the decision might even hasten the near-demise of print — spurring publishers into a digital world where they can license their books rather than sell them, adding some bells and whistles while gaining some protection from the first-sale clause.
Inside a Catholic convent deep in St. Augustine's historic district, stacks of centuries-old, sepia-toned papers offer clues to what life was like for early residents of the nation's oldest permanently occupied city.
These parish documents date back to 1594, and they record the births, deaths, marriages and baptisms of the people who lived in St. Augustine from that time through the mid-1700s. They're the earliest written documents from any region of the United States, according to J. Michael Francis, a history professor at the University of South Florida.
A national digital library endowment: More details, an FAQ, and an invitation to librarians and others to help shape the proposal
Fabian Scherschel at The H Online presents a feature comparing alternatives to Google Reader for those looking to replace it in their daily lives.