Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

An early adopter of open source textbooks, Neth said he turned to the new technology out of frustration with spiraling prices of commercial textbooks.
"It's seeing the costs go up every semester and almost feeling powerless," Neth said.
Universities and state governments are lining up behind the cause as a way to make college more affordable. The open textbooks, produced with publicly available material, are issued to students for free or a small fraction of the hundreds of dollars they typically spend annually on books.

From Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Fistfights and Beggars: Found Street Life in Old Prints

All we see of teh bridge though is is decking, though we do see a huge rise, which gives us a hint of teh bridge's nature--it turns out that this is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world.  While the architecture is beautiful and teh perspective intersting, teh characters populzting the foreground are sometimes even more interesting. In general figures like this were used to take up empty bits of space and to provide perspective, and were depicted in the standard ways in which walking/riding humans are represented. In this case, however, there is a lot of social drama going on amidst the simple space fillers. 

From JF Ptak Science Books: Fistfights and Beggars: Found Street Life in Old Prints (1757)


On the Merits of Disturbing Literature

Yet I do not only want the reader to fear for Elsie. I tried to both intensify and relieve that fear by placing it alongside the hope that Elsie will heed the best in herself, as she is, intermittently, able to do. Elsie’s journey does not ultimately paint a disturbing portrait of life. Rather, Wreck and Order sets a young woman’s disturbing behavior against her attunement to the “countless earthly riches” of having a body and a mind, showing how difficult and how necessary it is to honor the simple and the good.

From On the Merits of Disturbing Literature


A Review of the Amazon Books Store

In conclusion, I see a couple of strategic advantages in Amazon Books. Such stores offer to, what Apple Stores provide to Namely a showroom where customers can try products such as Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and whatever new products they might produce in the future.

From A Review of the Amazon Books Store

Google opens an online store for 'books that can't be printed

"Welcome to our bookstore," reads the blurb for Google's new Editions at Play initiative. "We sell books that cannot be printed."

It's a simple manifesto that marks an interesting foray into the digital arts for Google. Editions at Play is all about exploring the idea of "digital books" — not just ebooks, but books that simply can't exist on static, printed paper. The project launched last week with a pair of new titles: Entrances & Exits by Reif Larsen, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs by Sam Riviere and Joe Dunthorne. The first is essentially a point-and-click adventure game in Google Street View, while the second is a "failed collaboration" consisting of Riviere's and Dunthorne's diaries which readers can switch back and forth between.

From Google opens an online store for 'books that can't be printed' | The Verge


How to Read a Book a Week

So how can we read a book or more a week? It turns out that what works best for me is following some advice I got while I was still in college. Michael Jimenez, a professor of Latin American history, was one of the best professors I ever had. One day I told him that I was struggling with the reading load.

From How to Read a Book a Week


A Lost Beatrix Potter To Be Published

Report from The New Yorker: Last week, Penguin Random House announced that it will publish another “lost” Potter work about a cat: “The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots,” which she had begun and abandoned two years earlier, in 1914. Several manuscripts of the story were discovered in 2013 in the Potter archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum by Jo Hanks, a publisher at Penguin Random House; the book is being published this fall to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Potter’s birth. The author concluded the she "did not draw cats well."

Are paper books really disappearing?

That e-books have surged in popularity in recent years is not news, but where they are headed – and what effect this will ultimately have on the printed word – is unknown. Are printed books destined to eventually join the ranks of clay tablets, scrolls and typewritten pages, to be displayed in collectors’ glass cases with other curious items of the distant past?

From BBC - Future - Are paper books really disappearing?


Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington's Slave

After a torrent of criticism, Scholastic has decided to stop distributing A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book about one of George Washington's slaves.

The historical book tells the story of Hercules, a slave used by the president as his chef. It shows Hercules and his daughter Delia happy and taking pride in making Washington a birthday cake.

Almost as soon as the book was released, it received withering criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery.

The review in Kirkus noted that the book contained images of smiling slaves in almost every page. But it cautioned that this was not the same kind of story that had played out just months before when A Fine Dessert, another story about happy slaves making sweet treats, was eviscerated by critics.

Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic

"For years, Mr. Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who now focuses on the philanthropic work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had been scribbling notes in the margins of books he was reading and then emailing recommendations to friends and colleagues. Then he began to post these recommendations and critiques on the blog. “A few years ago I started thinking it would be fun to share some of these notes with the public...” Mr.


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