Thursday News: B&N disses desktop downloads, new Kindles to ponder, breakthrough digital textbook for visually impaired students, and interview with Alison Bechdel

Thursday News: B&N disses desktop downloads, new Kindles to ponder, breakthrough...

In the meantime, Mac users can install this older app, and PC users can install this older app.

It’s not as thin as a sheet of paper, but it’s the slimmest Kindle so far at less than 3/10 of a inch thick (7.6mm) and 6.3 ounces. There are software enhancements under the hood as well, including a “Word Wise” feature that shows word definitions and explanations over text, deeper integration with the Amazon-owned Goodreads service, and chapter-by-chapter book synopses in X-Ray that may eliminate the need for Cliffs Notes entirely. –Wired

Traditionally, the abundance of charts, graphs and data visualizations has made it challenging to bring math and science to visually impaired students. And their teachers struggle to transition from printed textbooks to digital instructional materials. With accessibility directly embedded into Reach for the Stars, every student in the classroom can use the same book. Educators don’t have to convert the content to special formats for students with disabilities. –Yahoo Finance

What are your inspirations? You’ve talked a lot about Harriet the Spy — what does she mean to you?

Oh, god, Harriet the Spy! I read that book easily twenty times as a kid. At the time I just thought she was cool, bravely peeping through peoples’ windows and creeping into their dumbwaiters and spying on what they were up to. But as an adult, I realized that she wasn’t so much a spy as a writer, this archetypal writer taking notes on everything around her. When her friends find her, they’re devastated and so is she. As a memoirist, I identify intensely with her peculiar dedication. –NPR