Nooks Will Be Available at Barnes & Noble Stores Beginning Wednesday

Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest book-selling chain, said that its Nook electronic reading device would be available for purchase in its stores starting Wednesday, reports The New York Times.

The Nook, which has been selling through Barnes & Noble’s Web site since late November, has only been seen in demonstration form in bookstores. Analysts had originally said that one of Barnes & Noble’s competitive advantages against Amazon.com’s Kindle device was that the bookstore had physical outlets through which it could sell the Nook.

Barnes & Noble sold out of its initial supply of Nooks before the holiday season, citing higher than expected demand.…Read More

Electronic books now come in snack sizes

Who has time to read a whole book anymore? That’s the thinking behind a new publishing venture by the FT Press, a unit of Pearson, which has introduced two series of short, digital-only titles for professionals who want quick snippets of advice for $2.99 or less, reports the New York Times. The publisher, through a new imprint named FT Press Delivers, has quietly begun selling what it is calling Elements and Shorts through the Kindle electronic bookstore on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore. The Elements, which the publisher has priced at $1.99, are stripped-down, 1,000- to 2,000-word versions of already-published books, while the Shorts are newly written essays of about 5,000 words, priced at $2.99. Titles include “Reengineering the Rules of Management,” by James Champy, the co-author, with Michael Hammer, of “Reengineering the Corporation,” one of the biggest business best sellers of the 1990s, and “Keeping It Honest, From Kitchen to Coca-Cola,” by Seth Goldman, co-founder and chief of Honest Tea, the maker of organic drinks. “It’s a good idea to be able to provide people with shorter, more expedient, more time-sensitive” content, said Timothy C. Moore, publisher of the FT Press…

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Web not yet the answer to college textbook costs

Most students still prefer print to digital textbooks, and even if they didn’t, college campuses so far have made very few titles available online, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. At the University of Pennsylvania, for example, only 31 of the 1,578 course titles registered with the bookstore were available digitally, eight of which were sold by the bookstore. That could change with the advent of the tablet-style Apple iPad and with students throughout the region buckling under heavy book expenses on top of pricey tuition. A small but growing number already are buying digital texts, many of which are half the price of books. Experts expect students to have more choices as campuses, professors, and companies look for new ways to make texts available and more affordable. But for now, textbook publishers and book authors are grappling to find a fair method that makes use of technology and satisfies students. “It’s like the Wild West. Everybody’s trying something new,” said Steven Bell, associate university librarian at Temple. “What’s the pricing model that’s going to work?” Don’t look yet for a groundswell toward digital books. According to the national Student Public Interest Research Groups, 75 percent of students still prefer print. “The critical mass just isn’t there yet,” said Bell, who added that it’s also not clear whether students will buy the e-reading devices to make digital books more palatable…

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Asustek plans Eee Book eReader and tablet PC to rival iPad

Netbook pioneer Asustek Computer plans to launch its own eReader device and a tablet PC to rival Apple’s iPad in the second half of this year, PC World reports. The company will focus on bringing content providers on board when it releases its tablet PC, CEO Jerry Shen told investors. It also will launch its first eReader device, the Eee Book, at the Computex Taipei 2010 electronics trade show, which runs June 1 to 5. Details about both devices were not immediately available. Shen hinted at creating a “smart book” this year, a mini-laptop similar to a netbook but made using a microprocessor and other components normally found in smart phones. The devices offer far longer battery life than netbooks, which are made using laptop PC components. During the conference, he said Asustek saw a better opportunity for smart books this year…

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Textbook firms ink e-deals for iPad

Major textbook publishers have struck deals with software company ScrollMotion Inc. to adapt their textbooks for the electronic page, as the industry embraces a hope that digital devices such as Apple‘s iPad will transform the classroom, reports the Wall Street Journal. The publishers are tapping the know-how of ScrollMotion to develop textbook applications and test-prep and study guides for the iPad. “People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010,” said Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. and one of the publishers involved in the project. Other publishers include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, Pearson PLC’s Pearson Education, and Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan Inc., known for its test-prep and study guides. Many developers and publishers are working on applications that will work on the iPad and other digital devices. Maureen McMahon, president of Kaplan Publishing, said a recent Kaplan study showed that students remain big fans of printed books but that they would be more receptive to e-textbooks on portable digital devices. Whether the iPad will be the digital device to transform the classroom remains to be seen. “Nobody knows what device will take off, or which ‘killer app’ will drive student adaptations. Today they aren’t reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials,” said Kranenburg…

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Future of eReading might not be iPad, but Blio

Blio will allow students to interact with textbooks in full color.
Blio's makers say it will allow students to interact with textbooks in full color.

Despite all the buzz about Apple’s iPad tablet and how it could be useful for reading electronic textbooks, a new software program on the way might hold even more promise for education.

Blio, a free eReader program that is expected to be available in February, reportedly will allow users to read more than a million electronic books on nearly any computer or portable device, with the ability to highlight and annotate text, hear the text read aloud, and more.

Blio was announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and is the brainchild of education technology pioneer Ray Kurzweil, creator of Kurzweil Educational Systems and a range of assistive technology products.…Read More

Educators intrigued by Apple’s iPad

The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.
The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.

Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, could push other companies to bring more color-capable eReaders to the market in a move that could make digital books more commonplace on school campuses, educators said after the long-awaited release of the technology giant’s latest product.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad Jan. 27, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

The iPad, which is Wi-Fi enabled, has 10 hours of battery life, features a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 lbs, and will use the iPhone operating system, meaning education companies that have made iPhone apps can make their technology available for iPad users.…Read More

Amazon unveils 70 percent Kindle royalty plan

Amazon.com has unveiled a program that will give authors and publishers a larger share of revenue from each Kindle eBook they sell beginning on June 30, 2010, PCMag.com reports. The 70 percent royalty option offers 70 percent of list price, net of electronic delivery costs. It will be in addition to Amazon’s existing DTP standard royalty option, and will not replace it. As an example of how the new royalty option works, Amazon cites an $8.99 eBook, saying that the author would see $3.15 with the standard option and $6.25 with the new 70 percent option…

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France plans its own rival to Google Books

France’s culture minister on Jan. 12 unveiled a plan to develop what he hopes will prove a uniquely Gallic competitor to Google Books, reports the Associated Press. Frederic Mitterrand didn’t rule out cooperating with the ubiquitous, U.S.-based search engine and said France was prepared to share files with Google under certain conditions. But he made clear that the company would have to play by France’s rules. Mitterrand said an existing French database of scanned documents, called Gallica, would serve as the foundation for a vast, new internet portal for French letters. Run by France’s national library, Gallica has fewer than a million items in its database and is mainly accessed by professionals, not the public. France aims to build up Gallica’s collection by cooperating with French publishers and private companies–including, perhaps, Google–on the onerous task of scanning and cataloging books. The Google Books project already has scanned and cataloged more that 10 million books as part of its project to create an online library accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Copyright issues have proved a thorn in Google Books’ side, however, with many authors and publishers worldwide contending its digital library violates copyrights. On the French site, publishers would be able to decide how much of books under copyright would be accessible online, and links would send users to online retailers. Deals eventually could be struck to swap books in French that have already been scanned by Google Books for books scanned in France, creators of the plan said…

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e-Reader boom kindles variety of new options

eReader use is growing daily, especially in education.
eReader use is growing daily, including in education.

When most people think of electronic book readers, Amazon’s thin, white Kindle probably springs to mind. But that could be about to change: A cascade of new eBook readers will hit the market this year, taking the devices far beyond gray-scale screens with features such as touch navigation and video chatting–and probably lowering prices, too.

It’s happening as other gadgets, such as mobile phones and tablet computers, give people even more choices for diving into their favorite books electronically.

This week, nearly two dozen companies that make the devices or deliver reading material to them are showing products at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the first time it has devoted a section to eBooks.…Read More