Guru Roundup: Bringing You the Industry’s Need-to-Know News (Tech-Talk Edition)

Content and Publishing

PR Newswire: AcademicPub™ Signs Leading Publishers and Sets Key Distribution Partnerships

“AcademicPub, the higher education unit of SharedBook Inc., made a three-part announcement underscoring rapid adoption of the service since its April 2011 launch. According to Caroline Vanderlip, CEO, SharedBook Inc., entered into two new publishing relationships, including one with industry-leader Springer Science + Business Media, and two new distribution partnerships. These innovations will ease the ability of educators to create content and obtain AcademicPub products. Additionally, a new academic advisory board has been created to help guide the unit through an accelerating period of customer growth. ‘We are moving on multiple fronts, a necessity in a higher-ed market as dynamic as this one,’ said Vanderlip . . .”

Campus Technology: Open Textbook Groups Join Forces

“The colleges in 15 states and one Canadian province that make up the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) will now be able to tap into the collection of open textbook resources compiled by the international group of institutions that make up the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW Consortium) and vice versa in a new partnership. The community college consortium, which represents 200 schools, has become an associate consortia member of OCW Consortium, and its advisory board will effectively act as a voice for the two-year colleges within the global consortium’s organization . .

Digital Devices

Campus Technology: Is the iPad Ready To Replace the Printed Textbook?

“After trying out the Apple iPad for a short period–about three weeks — three out of four college freshmen said they’d be willing to purchase an Apple iPad personally if at least half of the textbooks they used during their college career were available digitally, according to the results of a classroom poll at Abilene Christian University. According to Scott Perkins, coordinator of mobile learning research in the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at the Texas university, a similar willingness to purchase the devices was borne out among participants in semester-long pilots, which included both graduate and undergraduate students . . .”

GizMag: Kno Releases Textbooks App for iPad

“The company behind the now-abandoned Kno digital textbook has announced the beta release of a new digitized textbook reading application for the iPad. The free to download Textbooks for iPad app offers students access to a vast library of exact digital replicas of real-world textbooks with the added bonus of an enhanced, interactive reading experience, some useful organizational tools and social sharing features . . .”

CNN: More Americans Buying eReaders Than Tablets, Study Says

“Ads touting Apple’s iPad seem to be everywhere, but e-readers such as Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are actually more popular with consumers, according to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Last winter, tablets had a slight market lead. According to Pew, as of that time, 7% of U.S. adults owned a tablet computer (such as the iPad or Motorola Mobility’s Xoom), while only 6% owned an e-reader device. But that picture soon changed drastically. By May, 12% of U.S. adults owned an e-reader, while tablet ownership expanded only to 8% . . .”

CNBC: Apple’s iPad and Other Tablets Make Digital Textbooks Cool on Campus

“Prentiss Ashford wouldn’t call himself a big fan of economics, but the sophomore at Abilene Christian University in Texas says this semester he found himself turning to his econ textbook whenever he had spare moment. ‘Just the fact that it’s on the iPad and it’s all on there, makes me a lot more interested,’ Prentiss says . . .”

The New York Times: Digital Textbooks Slow to Catch On

“While autobiographies and murder mysteries, romance novels and self-help books have enjoyed a smooth transition from print to pixels, the college textbook has met resistance in its digital form. Although sites like CourseSmart , a collective effort among the five biggest American academic publishers to offer digital content, have made e-textbooks widely available at prices that are as much as 60 percent lower than the print editions, sales have yet to catch up; e-textbooks made up only 2.8 percent of total U.S. textbook sales in 2010, according to the National Association of College Stores . . .”

Reuters: Spam Clogging Amazon’s Kindle Self-Publishing

“Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging the online bookstore of the top-selling eReader with material that is far from being book worthy and threatening to undermine Amazon.com Inc’s publishing foray. Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon’s self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense. Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book. These ebooks are listed for sale — often at 99 cents — alongside more traditional books on Amazon’s website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want . . .”

TechFlash: Google Seeks to Grow eBooks Affiliates, Compete with Amazon

“Google has established an affiliate program for publishers and bloggers to join the search giant’s eBook program to sell books and get commissions. Similar to Amazon.com ecommerce affiliate program, Google is offering affiliates a chance to join the Google eBooks affiliate program, linking ebook titles on their websites to the Google eBookstore for purchase. Affiliates can earning a sales commission for books sold. Google say it has more than 3 million book titles. . .

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