DynamicBooks, a new subsidiary of Macmillan, unveiled today a new digital publishing platform that allows instructors to freely customize and modify some of today’s most respected textbooks. Using the DynamicBooks’ editing tools, instructors can tailor world-class content to suit their classroom needs by editing existing content or adding new text or media assets. Once instructors “publish” their custom book, their students can choose to purchase either a fully featured digital text or a printed version of the new book.
DynamicBooks was created in close partnership with Ingram Content Group Inc. and utilizes Ingram’s successful VitalSource Bookshelf platform and Lightning Source print-on-demand capability.
The day after Apple’s big iPad debut, Amazon reported stellar fourth-quarter results that included a 42% increase in sales and net income up a whopping 71%. Although Kindle and eBook sales still account for only a small segment of revenue — predicted to be about 5% in 2010 according to most analysts — its success continues to be a highlight.
In Amazon’s earnings release, Bezos threw a spotlight on the “millions of people” who own the e-Reader, adding, “When we have both editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books.”
ScrollMotion’s been tapped to transmogrify textbooks published by McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and every standardized test-taking student’s favorite, Kaplan.
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If you’ve over-analyzed the iPad keynote as much as we have, by now you’ve probably gotten the distinct sense that something felt like it was missing. One of those things, apparently, were Apple’s ideas about re-inventing the textbook.
“Most eBook readers, for whatever reason, are priced at about the level of a low-end netbook, which proves to be a significant barrier,” Mitchell said. “A tablet that is both an eBook reader and a netbook-like device would make it much more attractive to your everyday user. Plus, interactivity will bring new content and media that hasn’t been imagined yet.”
Without a formal announcement, Amazon.com has started allowing authors to publish their ebooks for the Kindle without digital rights management (DRM), the technology that limits how consumers can use the ebooks they’ve bought.
The change appears to have gone in effect around Jan. 15, when a few Kindle publishers spotted changes in Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. A new option gave publishers the choice to “not enable digital rights management.” A science-fiction author named Joseph Rhea appears to have been the first to notice the change. On Jan. 15, Amazon announced an expansion of its Digital Text Platform to non-U.S. authors, but made no mention of DRM changes.
C.S.H.B. 4294 amends the Education Code to authorize use of the state textbook fund for the purchase of technological equipment. The bill requires the commissioner of education to adopt a list of electronic textbooks and instructional material that conveys information to the student or otherwise contributes to the learning process. The bill authorizes a school district to select an electronic textbook or instructional material on the commissioner's list to be funded by the state textbook fund.
A total of 30 e-book readers rely on Adobe software, including Barnes & Noble’s just-debuted, already-delayed Nook and Sony’s popular Sony Readers, according to Nick Bogaty, senior business development manager for digital publishing at Adobe.
Both PDF and ePub are open industry standards, though the optional encryption and DRM provided by Adobe’s Content Server and enforced by the Adobe Reader are not.
Adobe may balk at the comparison, but its role in the e-book market is similar to the one Microsoft Corp. plays in the PC market: It’ a builder of a semi-open ecosystem of partners to whom it sells publishing tools.
In this analogy, Amazon.com is like Apple: successful, but secretive, with a reliance on proprietary formats like the Kindle’s native AZW that creates customer hassle and lock-in.
Initially, any new information medium seems to degrade reading because it disturbs the balance between focal and peripheral attention. This was true as early as the invention of writing, which Plato complained hollowed out focal memory. Similarly, William Wordsworth’s sister complained that he wasted his mind in the newspapers of the day. It takes time and adaptation before a balance can be restored, not just in the “mentality” of the reader, as historians of the book like to say, but in the social systems that complete the reading environment.