Ebooks

Democratic Group’s Proposal: Give Each Student a Kindle

Some influential members of the Democratic party want to give electronic reading devices to every student in the country.

Amazon.com should like the name of their proposal: “A Kindle in Every Backpack: A Proposal for eTextbooks in American Schools,” by the Democratic Leadership Council, a left-leaning think tank, was published on the group’s Web site Tuesday.

Its authors argue that government should furnish each student in the country with a digital reading device, which would allow textbooks to be cheaply distributed and updated, and allow teachers to tailor an interactive curriculum that effectively competes for the attention of their students in the digital age.

Full blog entry at NYT

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Amazon Shaves $60 Off Kindle 2 Price

Amazon has lowered the price of the Kindle 2 e-book reader by $60. The Kindle 2 will now sell for $300 instead of the $360 it was introduced at earlier this year.

Amazon’s move has put Kindle in a better position to compete with its rivals by bridging the price gap. Sony’s basic e-book reader costs $280, while lesser known brands such as the Cool-er will set you back by $250.

More at Wired.com

$299 Kindle on Amazon

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Conversation at the dentist

I took my daughter to the dentist yesterday. As I was waiting I overheard two of the dental hygienist talking.

Topic of discussion? The Amazon Kindle.

One dental hygienist was telling the other that her husband had an Amazon Kindle and really loved it. Was mentioning that it was great when he travelled. Just found it interesting to hear discussion of the Kindle out in the real world. Also interesting to hear discussion about reading.

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Reality changes more slowly than I like to think

Blog post by Mike Shatzkin, publishing industry consulatant:

I did a panel yesterday at NYU as part of the summer publishing program on “New Visions” for publishing. The group was put together by Leslie Schnur. I shared the stage with four very articulate co-presenters who gave very diverse views of the future. Our audience was a full room of about 50-100 (I wasn’t counting; I didn’t know I’d be writing this piece) very attentive 20-somethings with a serious interest in publishing.

Blog post continued here.

Kindle Could Carry Advertisements

Purists take note: Amazon has applied for a patent that could allow it to embed advertising on the screen of its Kindle e-book reader.

Christian Science Monitor reports that the internet retailer recently filed two applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office. One is for "providing fixed computer-displayable content in response to a consumer request for content" - effectively putting content onto a website or mobile device.

While the prospect of seeing Twilight related merchandise advertised while reading Stephenie Meyer may alarm some, other bloggers have appealed for calm. Elizabeath Clifford-Marsh, at Revolution Magazine, noted: "According to the patent, ads will be served on an opt-in basis, but it is unclear whether Amazon interprets opt-in as a specific request or the simple act of downloading content." Bookseller.UK.

Amazon Kindling

Let e-Readers Be e-Readers

Despite the Kindle's continuing success, it's widely believed that the device cannot remain simply a terminal for Amazon's (AMZN) e-book sales if it is ever to become a true mass-market product. But what must it become? Some leading figures in the publishing business insist that sales growth in digital publishing will come only when e-books are incorporated into an all-purpose communications device like the iPhone.

Since February, however, the combination of unexpected sales growth for Kindles at Amazon, including the release of a larger, more versatile reader—the Kindle DX—has begun to suggest that we may be moving in the opposite direction, toward a highly specialized reading-centric device.

Full story here.

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Kotobarabia’s Arabic E-Books Extend Borders

CAIRO: Most of the difficulties faced by Arabic-language book publishing stem from two basic problems: government censorship and very limited distribution. But with e-books, Ramy Habeeb, founder of the Egypt-based publisher Kotobarabia, has managed to bypass both seemingly intractable problems.

Read more about it at: http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=1420

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Springer launches MyCopy service for eBook users

Following the successful completion of the MyCopy pilot project, the specialist publishing group Springer Science+Business Media has, with immediate effect, extended this eBook service to all academic libraries in the USA and Canada that have purchased Springer eBook Collections. All registered library patrons will be able to order a soft cover copy of a Springer eBook for their personal use by clicking on a button on the Springer platform.

Full piece here.

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The Kindle and the Jewish Question

Excerpt:

Like my father and the Jewish doctoral student, a Chasidic master living at the turn of the 20th century looked at the world around him with an eye to Jewish life. One day, a disciple approached him and asked, "Rebbe, every time I turn around, I hear about new, modern devices in the world. Tell me, please, are they good or bad for us?"

"What kind of devices?" asked the Rebbe.

"Let me see. There's the telegraph, there's the telephone, and there's the locomotive."

The Rebbe replied, "All of them can be good if we learn the right lessons from them. From the telegraph, we learn to measure our words; if used indiscriminately, we will have to pay dearly. From the telephone, we learn that whatever you say here is heard there. From the locomotive, we learn that every second counts, and if we don’t use each one wisely, we may not reach our destination in life.”

So, what can we learn from the Kindle? Like the telegraph, telephone and locomotive, it offers us lessons - as I see it, at least three of them - for living life meaningfully.

Full piece here.

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