Friday, December 17, 2010

A Future of Social Reading?

Imagine being able to connect with other readers, or to connect with the author!

This report from NPR the other day mentions the idea of "Social Reading"
Some in the publishing industry look forward to a new age of "social reading," in which devices allow readers to share their reactions with each other. And the author might be interested in seeing a graph of the page-turns of thousands of people as they read his latest novel.
"I wouldn't have a problem with looking, but I would probably ignore what I saw," says author Stephen King. "There's a thing about certain pitchers who all of a sudden can't find the strike zone and are walking a lot of hitters and giving up a lot of hits, and you'll hear the announcer say, 'He's steering the ball.' And writers can do that, too."
But King expects the data will continue to be collected, as book-lovers switch to networked devices.
"Ultimately, this sort of thing scares the hell out of me," King says. "But it is the way that things are."
Read the full report (and listen) at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google eBooks: "Time to set your reading free"


"Google eBooks is compatible with any dedicated ebook reader that supports the Adobe eBook platform, including the Barnes & Noble Nook™ and Reader™ from Sony. With just a few steps, you can start reading over 3 million Google eBooks on the go."...

"Google eBooks can be downloaded onto all eReader devices that run Adobe Digital Editions. (Note: Google eBooks are not currently compatible with the Kindle).

Some common supported devices include: Aluratek Libre, Astak EZ Reader, BeBook, Bookeen, COOL-ER, Elonex eBook, HanLin eBook, IREX Digital Reader, Neolux Nuut, and more."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

eBook Devices? Which one to get?

My 11-year-old niece is an voracious reader (putting it mildly). She is never without a book (and not just one), and she reads her favorites over and over. She would like to get an eBook reader for Christmas, and didn't know which one to ask for: Kindle, Sony, Nook, Pandigital, Augen, Literati, iPad? There are many to choose from.

What features are important in a eReader? 
I recommended that she investigate an eReader that also includes a desktop app, such as Kindle or Nook, since she already has a netbook that she travels with (and uses mostly to play games -- mom regulates Internet access on the device). And for the more "generic" readers, Adobe's "Digital Editions Software" provides a way to read eBooks on PCs and Macs. This way she can begin reading eBooks on her computer and determine whether she enjoys reading from a computer screen vs. a paper copy. She is also looking forward to the portability and space-saving features of electronic text.

connected – adaptable – flexible – customized
This white paper from Adobe, addresses the issues of authoring and delivering eBooks across devices: The authors state, "it’s becoming clear that eBook readers want:

• An open environment where readers can download books from a variety of sources
• Interoperability among devices
• Ability to share books with friends"

This weekend we downloaded the Nook desktop app and located some free eBooks from Project Gutenberg -- ("the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device."). We also discovered (through the Adobe white paper, that "The nook user can download books from the public library via the Overdrive Content Reserve system. These books expire after a certain period and are returned to the library." If you are looking for additional places to download eBooks, check out

As we were researching, we discovered this website, which states is an "informative resource for everything about the growing world of electronic book readers, often called ebook readers or ereaders." We found reviews of a variety of handheld devices, links to holiday sales and more.

Can you help an 11-year-old decide? Which is your favorite eReader device and why?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CourseSmart Bookshelf and App for the iPad

I recently signed up to take an online class at my community college, and had the opportunity to buy an electronic book for the course. The e-textbook could either be read on my computer or an iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone using an application named CourseSmart Bookshelf. This e-book seems to be more of an interactive PDF, since you can zoom in for a closer look on any page. On the Mac, I can also highlight text, and use the "Edit > Speech > Start Speaking" menu to have the words read to me.

On the iPad version, there is no search feature, but users have the ability to highlight and mark notes. The iPad/iPhone version ONLY works with an Internet connection (it logs you in whenever you start the app), whereas the Mac version allows you to read "offline" ... however, the iPad and Mac applications do not seem to sync to one another (similar to a Kindle that will return users to whatever place they were last reading in the book, without regards to the device being used.)

The overall cost was less than the printed version of the textbook, however, note that users do not get to keep the electronic text -- it's actually a 360-day "lease." I paid $41.50 to lease the book (which lists for $103.44 for the printed version). In addition, I had to pay a $50 fee to access the online lecture content at McGraw Hill (not part of the ebook). If I bought a new book with the online content as a "bundle" at the college bookstore it was $167.65, (or $125.75 used). I also considered that a trade in value on used books, is only between $10 and $26.

A recent update to the CourseSmart "app" (towards the end of the semester) introduced a new feature: the ability to connect with fellow classmates "within" the context of the book. This option was not promoted by my instructor, and I had none of my classmates' contact information in order to connect to fellow readers, so I'm not sure how this feature works.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Book of the Future?

Here is an interesting video on the book of the future:

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

"Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books? "
Link:  (
-- Chris Penny

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Reinvention of Print, One App at a Time

"The company is ScrollMotion, and while you may have never heard of it, you’ve surely heard of some of its biggest clients. Hearst, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Simon and Schuster, and The Jim Henson Company are just some of the big name clients that use ScrollMotion to create digital, interactive content experiences for the iPhoneiPhone,iPad and beyond.... The publishing industry is undergoing a significant transformation. It’s not just the death of the printed newspaper and the push to move from newsprint to the web; the publishing industry at large is becoming digitized."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This blog post in the NYTimes (8/23/2010) introduces a new company, "Inkling" which "gets" the idea of "Connected" -- "the company wants to offer a textbook experience that moves far beyond simply downloading a PDF document to an iPad.

One unique feature the service offers is the ability to discuss passages of a book with other students or professors. By selecting a piece of text you can leave a note for others to read and develop a conversation around the text."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Electronic Reading Devices Transforming the Concept of a Book

From the July 18, 2010 L.A. Times article, learn how "digital tools advance beyond screens that talk and play videos, connecting readers to authors and online fan communities."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

iPad Goes to College this Fall

An exerpt from Chris Foresman, ArsTechnica
"[Oklahoma State U]niversity has already identified one class where the textbook in ePub format costs $100 less than the dead-tree version. With a typical class load of five courses, it could be possible to completely offset the cost of a device like an iPad in textbook savings alone. (At least, this is true if you're comparing the iPad against a stack of brand new textbooks; the savings may disappear if used books are brought into the comparison.)

"The Illinois Institute of Technology has even more ambitious plans to integrate iPads into academics. A technology initiative will give all incoming freshman undergraduates -- about 550 students -- an iPad to use as a technological enhancement to the curriculum. Because all freshman are required to take several introductory courses, such as 'Introduction to the Professions,' software, e-texts, and other resources will be uniform for those courses." -- Posted by Prof. Harry

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A new America through broadband

Here is an article by Blair Levin and J. Erik Garr who both recently left the FCC after nearly a year of leadership developing the National Broadband Plan. Essentially it's a look into their take on the Future of the Book.  -- Prof. Harry

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Future of the Book is Now!

Be a part of innovation in the making!
At the Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) Summer Institute 2010 in Orlando, a team of educators presented our ideas on how we think the future of the book should be connected, adaptable, flexible and customized. Join us and share your ideas about how we can begin to prepare our students and our schools as books, and textbooks specifically, begin to change over the next few years (and decades).
Join us on this blog, as we share information and links to interesting articles, and suggest book apps for and about education. Imagine the Future of the Book with us. For once, we are ahead of the curve. Together we can influence authors, publishers, school districts and government alike.
The Future of the Book is now! The iPad and iPod touch devices are being adopted at schools and universities this fall at an amazingly fast rate. It is we ADEs who will be the early adopters and who, through trial and discovery, will help develop the best practices for the Future of the Book.

Future of the Book Team, Apple Distinguished Educators: 
Robert Anderson, Jill Burdo, Charlene Chausis, Chris Penny, Bill Rankin, and Harry St.Ours.