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    Nation's First Bookless Public Library Could Be in Texas →

    The library system, dubbed BiblioTech, proposes to make thousands of e-books available for county residents both online and at a 5,000-square-foot physical location on the South Side of the county, according to a statement issued by Bexar County officials. Visitors would be able to check out books to read on their own e-readers or tablets, or borrow one of the library’s 150 take-home e-readers.

    — 1 year ago with 5 notes
    #technology  #ebooks  #ereaders  #libraries  #books  #library 
    30 Clients Using Computer-Generated Stories Instead of Writers →

    Forbes has joined a group of 30 clients using Narrative Science software to write computer-generated stories.

    Here’s more about the program, used in one corner of Forbes‘ website: “Narrative Science has developed a technology solution that creates rich narrative content from data. Narratives are seamlessly created from structured data sources and can be fully customized to fit a customer’s voice, style and tone. Stories are created in multiple formats, including long form stories, headlines, Tweets and industry reports with graphical visualizations.”

    The New York Times revealed last year that trade publisher Hanley Wood and sports journalism site The Big Ten Network also use the tool. In all, 30 clients use the software–but Narrative Science did not disclose the complete client list.

    …The Narrative Science technology could potentially impact many corners of the writing trade. The company has a long list of stories they can computerize: sports stories, financial reports, real estate analyses, local community content, polling & elections, advertising campaign summaries sales & operations reports and market research.

    Here’s an excerpt from a Forbes earnings preview story about Barnes & Noble, written by the computer program:

    While company shares have dropped 17.2% over the last three months to close at $13.72 on February 15, 2012, Barnes & Noble (BKS) is hoping it can break the slide with solid third quarter results when it releases its earnings on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.

    What to Expect: The Wall Street consensus is $1.01 per share, up 1% from a year ago when Barnes & Noble reported earnings of $1 per share.

    The consensus estimate is down from three months ago when it was $1.42, but is unchanged over the past month. Analysts are projecting a loss of $1.09 per share for the fiscal year.

    The company originated with two electrical engineering and computer science professors at Northwestern University. Here’s more about the company: “[It began with] a software program that automatically generates sports stories using commonly available information such as box scores and play-by-plays. The program was the result of a collaboration between McCormick and Medill School of Journalism.

To create the software, Hammond and Birnbaum and students working in McCormick’s Intelligent Information Lab created algorithms that use statistics from a game to write text that captures the overall dynamic of the game and highlights the key plays and players. Along with the text is an appropriate headline and a photo of what the program deems as the most important player in the game.”

    This, to me, is more game-changing for the publishing industry than all of the innovations in e-books and e-readers combined. Think of genres (like bodice rippers and some sci-fi or children’s books) could be written with some basic narrative inputs! Think of sports recaps or breaking news stories that could easily be generated with a few inputs! 

    I’m not saying this is ideal, because I can certainly see there would be a large margin of error with any program like this (not even touching on the whole job loss issue and fact that these stories would lose the “human” touch of writing and much personal opinion), but it’s interesting to see how programs like this will play out in the future.

    — 2 years ago with 13 notes
    #ebooks  #publishing  #gamechanging  #ereaders  #computer  #technology  #narrative  #news  #journalism 
    Reasons Not to Self-Publish in 2011-2012: A List →

    …there’s the always-chilling question: With mounting pressure to turn a profit, how do editors justify publishing an amazing book that might not speak to a large audience? Talented authors — new and mid-list — are bound to get lost in this system.

    And yet. And yet. I read good books by large publishing houses all the time, books that take my breath away, make me laugh and cry and wonder at the brilliance of humanity. I trust publishers. They don’t always get it right, but more often than not, they do. As I said in the piece that started me off on this whole investigation: “I want a reputable publishing house standing behind my book; I want them to tell you it’s good so that I don’t have to.”

    — 2 years ago with 7 notes
    #millions  #self-publish  #ebooks  #ereaders 
    Library eBook Checkouts Up 200% This Year →

    Compared to last year, eBook checkouts at libraries have increased 200 percent in 2011. According to third quarter 2011 research from digital book distributor OverDrive, eBook checkouts from libraries are expected to be more than 16 million by the end of the year.

    — 2 years ago with 13 notes
    #ebooks  #library  #libraries  #e-books  #ereaders  #overdrive 
    eReader Adoption Hits 12% in U.S. Says Pew Research →

    The share of adults in the United States who own an eReader doubled in May 2011 to 12 percent from 6 percent in November 2010, according to the Pew Internet Project. Tablets haven’t seen the same level of growth in recent months. In May 2011, 8 percent of adults report owning a tablet, up only 1 percent since and 3 percent since November 2010.

    — 3 years ago with 7 notes
    #ereaders  #ebooks  #pew research  #tablets 
    College students’ use of Kindle DX points to e-reader’s role in academia →

    The researchers interviewed 39 first-year graduate students in the UW’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, 7 women and 32 men, ranging from 21 to 53 years old.

    By spring quarter of 2010, seven months into the study, less than 40 percent of the students were regularly doing their academic reading on the Kindle DX. Reasons included the device’s lack of support for taking notes and difficulty in looking up references. (Amazon Corp., which makes the Kindle DX, has since improved some of these features.)

    UW researchers continued to interview all the students over the nine-month period to find out more about their reading habits, with or without the e-reader. They found:

    • Students did most of the reading in fixed locations: 47 percent of reading was at home, 25 percent at school, 17 percent on a bus and 11 percent in a coffee shop or office.
    • The Kindle DX was more likely to replace students’ paper-based reading than their computer-based reading.
    • Of the students who continued to use the device, some read near a computer so they could look up references or do other tasks that were easier to do on a computer. Others tucked a sheet of paper into the case so they could write notes.
    • With paper, three quarters of students marked up texts as they read. This included highlighting key passages, underlining, drawing pictures and writing notes in margins.
    • A drawback of the Kindle DX was the difficulty of switching between reading techniques, such as skimming an article’s illustrations or references just before reading the complete text. Students frequently made such switches as they read course material.
    • The digital text also disrupted a technique called cognitive mapping, in which readers used physical cues such as the location on the page and the position in the book to go back and find a section of text or even to help retain and recall the information they had read.

    Lee predicts that over time software will help address some of these issues. She even envisions niche software that could support reading styles specific to certain disciplines.

    “You can imagine that a historian going through illuminated texts is going to have very different navigation needs than someone who is comparing algorithms,” Lee said.

    It’s likely that desktop computers, laptops, tablet computers and yes, even paper, will play a role in academic reading’s future. But the authors say e-readers will also find their place. Thayer imagines the situation will be similar to today’s music industry, where mp3s, CDs and LPs all coexist in music-lovers’ listening habits.

    “E-readers are not where they need to be in order to support academic reading,” Lee concludes. But asked when e-readers will reach that point, she predicts: “It’s going to be sooner than we think.”

    — 3 years ago with 41 notes
    #kindle  #academics  #college  #graduate  #ereader  #ereaders  #education  #study habits  #reading habits  #technology  #publishing 
    Confessions of a book hoarder →

    I’d last attempted to cull my collection about a year ago, when I carried about 50 books from my shelves to a spare room in the basement; I intended to get rid of them, but they, of course, went nowhere. This time, I hoped to rid myself of a quarter of my books. Nothing so ridiculous happened, of course, but the fact that I found about a half dozen copies of Joseph Boyden’s Through Black Spruce — which I still have not read — and four copies of Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel French Milk — ditto — was proof enough that my addiction had crossed the line into a dark, uncharted area, where intervention may be necessary. I thought it was also fitting that I found both of my e-readers gathering dust under piles of books.

    And on that note, I am headed out for day one of indie book shopping in D.C.! 

    — 3 years ago with 11 notes
    #ebooks  #ereaders  #bibliophile  #book lovers  #books 
    No Sharing Allowed: Amazon and book publishers' stupid attempts to curtail e-book lending. →

    Lendle, a web clearinghouse for people who want to loan out and borrow Kindle books, tries to make lemonade out of this sour situation. Many Kindle titles can be loaned out once for a 14-day period. When you sign up for Lendle, you tell the site which books you have in your Kindle library. The more books you put up to lend to other people, the more books you’re allowed to borrow. Everybody wins, right?

    Not according to Amazon. On Monday, Lendle’s co-founder Jeff Croft got a surprising letter: Amazon said it was cutting off Lendle’s access to the company’s e-book database. Since Lendle can’t run without access to Amazon’s listings, this move effectively shutters the site. Amazon didn’t do much to explain its reasoning—in its letter, the company said Lendle did not “serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.” While Amazon has not responded to my inquiries as of press time, two other book-lending sites told me they still have access to the database. “The news for Lendle looks troubling,” said Anna De Souza, a spokeswoman for eBookFling, “but everything is looking OK for us for now.” And Catherine MacDonald, the founder of, e-mailed to say her site “has had and continues to have Amazon API access and everything is business as usual for us.” This suggests that Amazon might have shut down Lendle for narrow technical reasons. So far, though, the company hasn’t told Croft what those reasons are or what Lendle should do to restore access to the database. [Update, March 23: Lendle is now back up and running. Indeed, as I suggested earlier, it seems Amazon restricted Lendle’s access to its database for narrow technical reasons that have now been resolved.]

    Croft suspects there’s something else behind Amazon’s decision—that book publishers are pushing Amazon to limit e-book lending. That seems plausible. Publishers have long been wary of letting people share digital content. Indeed, they demanded the right to disable sharing for any book in the Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook stores. Publishers haven’t been shy to take advantage of that right. By my count, just three of the top 10 books in Amazon’s Kindle store (as of Tuesday morning) are lendable. Things get worse when you move to the more expensive books on the New York Times bestseller list. Not a single one of the top 10 books on the Times’ hardcover fiction list is lendable, and just one of the top 10 books on the nonfiction list can be loaned out—Pope Bendedict’s biography of Jesus (and perhaps that’s only because he was known to have strong feelings about charity).

    These restrictions are misguided. They’re bad for readers, they’re bad for authors, they’re bad for e-book stores, and they may even be bad for publishers. Of course, the ways in which our rights get chipped away as we move away from analog content is a constant worry in the digital age. I’m not the first pundit to note how terrible it is that we can no longer share, resell, or modify the books, movies, and video games that we get over the Internet. But the sharing restrictions that publishers have placed on e-books strike me as particularly stringent, a rule that underlines how we’ll mourn physical media when it goes away. Under Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s sharing model, you’re allowed to loan out a book just once, for two weeks, and while it’s loaned out, you don’t have access to it. The fact that publishers can’t stomach even this milquetoast model should have us scared for a future in which physical media loses its primacy.

    Perhaps publishers will relent when they realize that lending and borrowing could increase sales. A raft of economic studies shows that secondary markets improve the market for new goods. This makes intuitive sense: You’ll be more likely to buy a new car if you know you’re allowed to resell it later; indeed, you might even pay more for a car with higher resale value. This model has been shown to apply to print books, too. In a 2005 paper, researchers Judith Chevalier and Austan Goolsbee (now the chairman of Barack Obama’s council of economic advisers) showed that when buying textbooks, students take into account the resale value and the likelihood of new editions. Another study showed that Amazon’s introduction of used books increased the online store’s overall book sales. Why? Because, as economist Hal Varian once explained, there seem to be two different markets for books—some people like to buy new books and others like to buy used books.

    This was one of the smarter critiques of e-book lending and its relationship to Kindles, other e-readers, and publishers (especially in regards to economics) that I’ve read in a long time. 

    — 3 years ago with 18 notes
    #ebooks  #ereaders  #ereader  #kindle  #amazon  #lending  #lend  #lendle  #nook  #reading  #books  #borrowing  #libraries  #economics  #publishing  #buying  #book lovers  #bibliophiles 

    Librarians at the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma created the video embedded above, criticizing HarperCollins’ new policy of only allowing 26 checkouts of a digital eBook.

    The video looks at five print books, showing the actual wear and tear on well-loved books with 25, 48, and 120 checkouts.

    Here’s more from the post: “replacement of books in libraries is based upon the condition of the book, not the number of times it has been checked out.  It is not unusual for popular books to be checked out 100 times or more before the wear and tear of circulation takes its toll and the book has to be replaced or repaired.”

    I understand why HarperCollins is doing this, though this video makes an EXCELLENT point that I think the publisher should know and reconsider. The only question I have with this is the actual pricing. What is the cost between the e-book and the print book (specifically for library purchases)? Is there a bulk rate of ebooks for libraries? Are print books more expensive for libraries to purchase than the books we see at stores?

    — 3 years ago with 9 notes
    #ebook  #HarperCollins  #library  #libraries  #ebooks  #ereaders  #print books  #librarians 
    E-books by the numbers

    $1.3 billion: Estimated consumer spending on e-books in 2011
    83: Percentage of executives who said their company is capable of handling the digital transition
    63: Percentage of executives who said their company has a plan to handle the digital transition
    19: Percentage of book buyers likely to buy an e-reader in next 12 months
    40: Percentage of book buyers unlikely to buy an e-reader in next 12 months
    1 million: Number of free Google eBook apps installed in first few weeks after launch
    180: Number of Google eBook resellers
    8: Number of Random House books among top 10 Google e-book bestsellers
    25: Royalty rate publishers consider fair for e-book sales
    50: Royalty rate agents consider fair for e-book sales
    90: Percentage of authors agents say are considering self-publishing
    24: Percentage of books Amazon says are pre-ordered
    36,000: Number of e-book checkouts at the New York Public Library in December, a record
    66: Percentage of multifunctional device owners who said they read more since buying a device
    89: Percentage of multifunctional device owners who said they will read more in 2011
    46: Percentage of multifunctional device owners who said they will read more print books


    — 3 years ago with 3 notes
    #publishing  #book publishing  #ebooks  #e-books  #e-readers  #ereaders  #kindle  #google ebooks  #amazon  #digital  #technology  #reading