Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The open content model is also gaining attention here in the states. Initiatives like Connexions and Flat World Knowledge offer open access textbooks. The most recent issue of EDUCAUSE Review (Jan/Feb 2009) EDUCAUSE Review Magazine (January/February 2009) had several commentary articles on open access textbooks. Open access textbooks was also the topic of two panel discussions at the SPARC-ACRL Forum on Scholarly Communication at the American Library Association meeting in Denver this past weekend. If open access is here to stay, stores must consider their role when the content itself is free. Our opportunities lie in providing locally printed versions when students request them, or in providing other educational resources that add value to the core textbook to promote student success. The complexity of our environment in the age of digital just got a little more challenging.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Patrons at participating libraries will now have a great opportunity to try out the e-reader and e-book technology. Susan Hildreth, State Librarian of California explains, “In an era of diminishing time and resources, libraries can provide valuable convenience and flexibility for their patrons with downloadable books and the opportunity to read them electronically. Twenty-first century libraries are successful when they offer content in the widest variety of formats."
College stores are also investigating sale of SONY Readers – providing an opportunity to add value to the library-based collections and for the college store. Joint marketing or advertising campaigns could help both groups, and companies like Sony, better leverage the device, the content, and the retail opportunities – while reducing costs for students in content and device acquisition.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The continued digitization of library collections provides some interesting opportunities and challenges for college stores. On the one side, there are new opportunities for libraries and college stores to work together and share revenue, for instance, creating print-on-demand versions of items that have been scanned (where copyright allows, of course). As an example, McMaster University Titles Bookstore has created such a partnership with their library and is producing copies of some scanned, first edition classics that were signed by the original authors for resale, with a revenue share between the store and the library. What if as a collection of institutions (libraries and stores) we could share such collections in digital format, allowing the content to be sold through any store? As more books are digitized by libraries, and often made available through Google, what will be the impact on book retailers? What are the other opportunities for stores under these new business and content distribution models?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
If Amazon also releases a student version of the Kindle this year and can tap into the $5.5 billion annual United States college textbook market, what will sales look like then?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
As we think about 21st century skills and learning, that most likely means an evolution in course materials to 21st century formats. Given directions in accreditation and learning assessment, publishers are responding by developing tools that confirm learning outcomes are achieved. Those new learning tools will most likely be in digital format. 21st century course materials are not a century away. Retailers must think about their role in delivering these new course materials and learning formats if they are to remain viable in the future.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
“Apple has been experimenting internally with large form tablet devices for years, one source says, but there was concern that users wouldn’t like the device. The difference now is the iTunes app store, which has thousands of games and other applications that are perfect for a touch screen device with an accelerometer. Apple says more than 300 million applications have been downloaded since the App Store launched in July 2008. Combine the App Store, iTunes and a browser and you have one heck of a device.”
There have been similar rumors regarding a new device for some time now however this report claims that sources have actually seen the device and that Apple is in discussions with OEMs in Asia regarding mass production.
If these rumors are true, then combined with (a) other rumors or stories about the number of e-books being sold or distributed to iPhones/iTouches, (b) the capabilities of iTunesU, and (c) the number of academic institutions interested in trying out not just e-readers, but working with companies like Apple, what are the implications for future course materials. Any Apple device is almost certain to be full-color, something other e-reader devices currently lack. That would create some distinct market differences when it comes to the types of course materials that could be delivered over such devices. The challenge then might be the critical mass of educational content. Would open-source content spring up to fill the gap among the traditional textbook publishers for born-digital content suitable for such a device? Would faculty be willing to adopt such content in sufficient volume to make a difference in the marketplace? We can hypothesize about the answers to these and other questions. The question remains though whether stores or publishers will be any better at predicting the effects of such technologies than the music industry was just a few years ago.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
When comparing the results of people between the ages of 18 and 29, the percentages for both television and internet are actually the same this year. In fact, when compared to the 2007 results, the television percentage actually decreased 9 percentage points from 68% to 59% while the internet increased 25 percentage points from 34% to 59%. While the presidential election, economy, and other events that occurred in 2008 may have contributed to the increase in internet usage as the preferred source, the results provide another signal of the tipping point from print to digital.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
According to an article from The New York Times, the decision to go DRM-free is actually a compromise between Apple and the major music labels – Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. In order to remove the DRM restrictions, Apple had to agree to let the record companies set a range of prices for songs in the iTunes store. By allowing a range, the companies hope to make more money on the best sellers and draw attention to the older hits. However, it is not clear why the record labels and Apple suddenly agreed to the compromise. Some speculate that the record companies held out the past few years in an effort to help strengthen competitors but now with the tough economy and declining music sales, it was time to compromise.
What does this mean for Apple’s competitors? And perhaps more importantly, what does it mean for education? Higher education institutions have been grappling with content piracy, including music, for some time now. Will DRM-free content reduce or increase this challenge? How will this shift ultimately affect movies and other content with DRM? A posting on Teleread says it best, “Well, if Apple can do it with the music industry, how long will it take publishers to wake up and notice that the playing field has changed? If past history is any example, too long, I’m afraid.”
There is a great posting on Gutenberg.com which provides 20 reasons why 2009 could be the year of the e-book. The posting is well worth a read and includes many reasons to take note of:
- Less than 1% of people who use the internet have personally experienced E Ink technology. Once people try out e-readers and see that the screens are not backlit and that E Ink technology makes reading easy on the eyes, their opinion of the devices will likely change.
- It is a great time for companies to enter the e-book industry and establish their place in the high growth market. Companies that choose to wait a few years until the industry is more developed will pay significantly higher costs of entry.
- When iPods were first introduced to the market it took about two years to sell a million devices. E-readers are following a similar sales pattern with half a million e-book readers sold and half a million people using devices they already own for reading such as the iTouch/iPhone.
What is your opinion? Can you think of any other reasons? Do you think 2009 will in fact be the year of the e-book?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Student groups across the US and Canada are becoming more active at promoting actionable steps for reducing textbook prices. They are also addressing or targeting communications more directly at faculty members to change their behaviors. This presents opportunities and challenges for college stores. We have seen several stores take a proactive approach towards student relations in this area. A great example would be the Canadian Roundtable on Academic Materials (CRAM). In addition to sponsoring meetings, CRAM has drafted a set of principles, a “be booksmart campaign” for students and instructors, and other resources. Stores that are more proactive in working with students and faculty are likely to be better positioned for the future. NACS has developed some materials in the campus relations toolkit that may help stores with these conversations. The campus relations toolkit is available to members through the NACS website.
Friday, January 2, 2009
What are your projections for 2009? What ideas or technologies would you like to see reported on more here?
Thursday, January 1, 2009
We are interested in hearing from you about developments or innovations related to digital content, course materials, and education. If you are doing something interesting in this space, or have recently come across an interesting study, please share!
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful, and productive New Year-
Mark (NACS Digital Content Strategist) &
Liz (NACS Digital Content Analyst)