Archive for the ‘eBooks’ Category

Inflight reading!

How awesome is this?!

Southwest Airlines is to add free eBooks to the inflight entertainment suite offered to passengers! With a new partnership struck between Southwest’s Airlines, Kobo and Bauer Communications, free e-books will be available to Southwest passengers while they are in flight.

Reporting this awesome program on GalleyCat: Southwest Airlines Brings Free E-Books to In-Flight Entertainment Offering, Dianna Dilworth notes that hundreds of digital titles will be made available to fliers from Kobo’s digital reading platforms via the airline’s inflight entertainment portal. The offer includes

full books and extended previews bestsellers and new releases from publishers including: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, and Open Road Media, among others.

An email after the flight will inform travelers how they can purchase the book they had been reading.

Pretty cool! Definitely an added ‘bonus’ to the regular inflight entertainment offerings.

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The essence of the value of print is so beautifully captured in this video:

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A very nice initiative to improve the reading levels and achievements of Indigenous Australians has been launched.IRP

A voluntary, not for profit group, the Indigenous Literacy Project looks for recommendations of Indigenous Australian youngsters who could benefit from their program.   After an initial assessment of reading levels, participants will be loaned a Kindle.  If, at the end of a six month period, reading level measurements indicate that the participant’s reading level has improved, they will get to keep the Kindle.   As described on their website, the program is simple and targeted:

Our project aims to improve the reading achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. We target kids who want to read but don’t have access to books.

We loan them a Kindle e-reader. We monitor their progress over time and if they significantly improve their reading frequency they get to keep the Kindle.

With such frightening statistics as those detailed by NAPLAN, this initiative really is very worthwhile.

Indigenous Reading Achievement

A very nice write-up in The Age newspaper: “Intervention kindles a love of reading”  (December 29th, 2012) describes the initiator of the project, Canberra public servant, Daniel Billing, who decided he wanted to ‘make a difference’.  Early results of the impact this program is having on participants are really very inspiring.  Opportunities to either donate or get involved in the program can be found on Indigenous Literacy Project’s webpage.

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Sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit you ’till its right in your face.

That’s exactly what happened when I saw this ‘mockumentary’ on Jenny Luca’s blog Lucacept. Joe’s Non-Netbook is a humourous take on the inflexibility of books.

It’s not the first time I’ve glanced over at the extensive non fiction collection in our Library and wondered whether it’s time to give them a dust. A check of the user stats would probably confirm my guess that the collection is used less and less with the passage of time.

But what this mockumentary really highlights to me is the fact that our students ….. our digital natives ….. feel the shortcomings of print technology in a way that is foreign to me. With the convenience of dragging and dropping text or pictures, selecting hyperlinks to source more information or checking the meaning of words, why would students in today’s schools be interested or engaged with hard copy print of books.

For those of us working in libraries, this is a difficult one. I always used to think that students should be exposed to a variety of sources including reference books, encyclopaedias and non fiction books alongside the enormous range of digital resources. But I admit – I find myself really wondering if there is value or relevance in this long held belief for students of the twenty first century.

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I’m sure you’re already one of the one and a half million people out there who’ve seen the video of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore, but on the chance that you’re not, please take just fifteen minutes and be captured by its magic.

With an app now available, an endless amount of pleasure is to be gained by slipping into this world of fantasy.

Sit back, relax and enjoy!

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Well – it’s happened.  Google eBooks have just hit the virtual shelves of Australia.    I just love this video explaining how it all hangs together:

With titles available for both cloud and digital device reading it will be interesting to see how much of the market share Google is able to take from other players out there.  Browsing through the Google ebookstore certainly has a host of Australian fare tucked in amongst some of the classics.  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it before …..  but my response is well ….. why not?

As mentioned in a recent article on The Atlantic website – Books With Soundtracks: The Future of Reading? – silent movies are a misnomer.  In the earliest ‘silent’ movies there were always sound tracks to add depth and emotion to the visual.  So why not, thought enterprising brothers Mark and Paul Cameron.   Founding the company Booktrack, they have, over the last three years, developed a “cinematic-type experience” for readers.  While five soundtracks for digital books are already available to download to an iPhone or iPad, further titles, either free or at a cost of between $1 and $4, will be available in the near future.

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Television does it.  Radio does it.  Newspapers and magazines do it too.   Websites do it.  Facebook does it.  Google does it.   The list goes on and on ….. so ….. when you stop to think about it ….. why shouldn’t eBooks join the bandwagon too?

While the notion of advertising in eBooks may sound like a leap into unchartered territory, this isn’t, according to the online article Advertising in eBooks: Heresy or Genius? exactly true.

Selling advertisements in books is not a new idea. In fact, it was common for books to be published in serial form and accompanied by advertisements in the early 1900s.  By the 1960s, ads for cigarettes alcohol, and health and beauty products were commonly found in paperback novels.

But advertising in printed books didn’t perform well. It couldn’t compete with ads placed in magazines, on radio, and on television. Advertisements in those mediums were more attractive to advertisers because they could be targeted to a specific (albeit broad) demographic and delivered in a timely fashion.

As the publishing industry works through the upheaval of moving to digital format and faces the complexity of continuing to make a living out of  continuing with their enterprise, all ideas, I guess, are on the table.

As a reader, the thought of advertisements intruding on the intimate space of the book in hand does cause me to bristle ….. but then ….. is this just a matter of me, together with others in the marketplace, adapting to change?

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Recently I blogged about textbooks being replaced by eBooks by 2015 in South Korea.

Thebarton Senior College students. Source: The Advertiser

Well ….. according to one supplier, it won’t be too long before eBooks replace textbooks in Australian schools.  Reporting on the website Adelaide Now it is said that the trend toward increased use of laptops, smartphones and iPads in Australian schools  is having a strong impact on the landscape of education.

Indeed, those of us in schools see this as a growing reality whereby the presence of technology in schools has grown dramatically over the last few years.   Class sets of laptops, tablets and iPads are no longer a rarity in our schools, while the use of Interactive White Boards is almost a given.

James Cathro, managing director of Campion, one of the largest textbook suppliers in Australia was quoted as saying:

While the e-book revolution is only at the early stage in schools, laptop and now iPad usage by students is high and continues to grow, so it is a logical step that the demand for e-textbooks will increase.”

It seems that the days of heavy school bags may at last be drawing to an end!

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