Nov 3 2009
The winners of the CL Wilson, Queen of Song and Souls are as follows:
I have sent you an email.
Inside the Higher Ed blog has another piece on technology and scholarship. This time, Alex Golub laments the shift of readers from paper texts to digital texts arguing that scholarship includes making the texts part of your physical environment, something that the current slate of ereaders do not foster:
Except textbooks. I have to admit I am scared silly by the idea of a generation of students so alienated from material they are supposed to be immersed in that they rent digital textbooks that they do not intend to keep, cannot dog ear and underline, and otherwise feel totally alienated from. Even the current trend of students not underlining in books so as to preserve their resale value strikes me as appalling. Taking ownership of your education — and indeed, just learning how to read closely — means making your books part of your physical environment.
I never marked up my textbooks. I always took notes in a separate notebook and was religious in keeping my texts as clean as possible. The digital textbook would have appealed to me if I had the option because I would have interacted with the text at a higher level. Possibly I never attained true communion with literature and reading as Mr. Golub suggests is achievable. What is an immutable truth, however, is that the current state of the hardware market does not yet meet the needs of students. Dedicated devices are really for the leisure reading market.
Jason Boyett pointed out the really restrictive guidelines for the Harlequin Steeple Hill line and author Tess Mallory chimes in about how the Christian Book Association is suppressing good Christian fiction. Funniest comment, to me, was Jen’s who said that her childhood was a Steeple Hill romance. Mine too, Jen. Mine too.
Simon & Schuster, who is struggling to get into the black this year, has hit on a new way to sell books: chapter by chapter. Starting with the non fiction book by Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, S&S will sell individual chapters for $2 to $3. Best part? Those digital chapters will be encrypted with some kind of DRM. I’m not totally opposed to S&S’s new business venture. There are some craft books in which I would just like one chapter or a cookbook where I want just one recipe. What works for non fiction, though, would be disastrous in fiction. The serial was lauded for its inexpensive nature.
Two things happened to Barnes and Noble yesterday. First, it had a conference call with investors trying hard to convince them that as the reading public moved toward ebooks there was still space for retailers like BN. Second, BN was hit with a lawsuit from Spring Design who had presented an idea of a dual screened ebook – eink on top and lcd on the bottom – reader based on Android operating system to Barnes and Noble under a non disclosure agreement (NDA). If you click on the link you can see how visually similar the two devices are even though there is some difference in functionality. I would think that Spring Design would file for injunctive relief and if successful, it would halt the sales of the nook which is currently the best selling item for Barnes and Noble.
Borders is offering an “in stock guarantee” which means that any book that is not in stock but is listed on the Borders.com site will be shipped to the customer for free. Not sure exactly how this is going to work, but it’s a nice offering for readers and customers.
- Christopher Walken reads Lady Gaga
- Artist makes a dragon sculpture using real bones. This looks awesome.