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Article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education"
The trickiest part of teaching with electronic textbooks is getting everyone on the same page—or to the same part of the digital text. That's what a professor in the honors college at Arizona State University found last month at the start of an experimental class with Amazon Kindle e-book readers.
There are no page numbers for books on the Kindle; instead, every passage has a "location number," which lets users jump to that section. Those numbers can be long, and it can be awkward to type them on the small keyboard. So when Ted Humphrey, the professor, asked students to turn to a certain passage in the Iliad, there were "some glitches," he says, as a few students mis typed the location number.
"You have to hold down an 'alt' button to type in the numbers," which can be cumbersome, says Carson Cook, a student in the required course in Western civilization, who also worries that it will be difficult to take notes in the digital margins using the Kindle's keyboard.
The Sower’s success on Scribd attracted the attention of publisher Numina Press, which used print-on-demand technology to get the book into stores in just 29 days. And now, The Sower just hit the San Francisco Chronicle’s fiction bestseller list — perhaps that’s not too surprising, since the book was written-up in the Chronicle last month, but placing just three spots behind the new book from Thomas Pynchon, one of the most respected novelists alive is impressive.
NYT story about textbooks on the iPhone.
Apple uses a tagline in its iPhone commercials — “There’s an app for that”— to convey the idea that its phone is adaptable to almost any purpose. But an app that makes the double-page spread in a printed textbook easily readable on the iPhone? There’s no app for that.
Amazon invited some unflattering literary analogies earlier this summer when it remotely erased unlicensed versions of two George Orwell novels from its customers’ Kindle reading devices.
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, apologized to customers for the deletions in July. And late Thursday, the company tried to put the incident behind it, offering to deliver new copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” at no charge to affected customers.
Amazon said in an e-mail message to those customers that if they chose to have their digital copies restored, they would be able to see any digital annotations they had made. Those who do not want the books are eligible for an Amazon gift certificate or a check for $30, the company said.
One brave publishing executive speaks out on ebook pricing, and we comment
Blog entry by Mike Shatzkin, publishing industry consultant.
Sony Electronics, Inc. announced the third member of its new ebook Reader family, the Reader Daily Edition, a wireless model with 3G connectivity.
Sony also announced the Library Finder, an application to enable users to access their local library's collection of ebooks via the Sony eBook Store.
According to the French publishing group Hachette: Hardback books could be killed off if Amazon’s e-books and Google’s digital library force publishers to slash prices, warns Arnaud Nourry, Hachette's chief executive.
Mr Nourry said unilateral pricing by Google, Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble could destroy publishers’ profits (not to mention what is happening to bookstores).
He said publishers were “very hostile” to Amazon’s pricing strategy – over which the online retailer failed to consult publishers – to charge $9.99 for all its e-books in the US. He also pointed to plans by Google to put millions of out-of-copyright books online for public use.
“On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99,” Mr Nourry said.
Mr Nourry’s comments come as analysts predict a growth spurt for the still-niche electronic reader market, with wireless devices from Sony, Plastic Logic and others due to compete with the Kindle.
Financial Times reports.
Your Kindle can't do this, local library ebooks now available on the Sony Reader. Blog post at The Mobile Gadgeteer.