"In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves---the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it out for her!"
Fight for your right to read!
I used to have a sticker showing some books with the text "Weapons of Mass Instruction" on my laptop, but I think this example of a Weapon of Mass Instruction is better by far!
While I don't think I will, I can now pick up the Kobo ebook reader at Walmart here in Canada, as well as at several bookstores. where can you buy it in the States? You can't yet, but will be able to next month. Sorry, it's just so rare that Canada gets anything close to a technology exclusive :-( Sounds like it still has some work to do, but the price is good!
As I'm wrapping up my preparation for my screencasting workshop next weekend at CIL2010, I finally got around to reading my copy of the forthcoming book, The Screencasting Handbook, by Ian Ozsvald, and thought I'd provide a quick review.
Ian's releasing this book in stages; it's not done yet, though you can buy it at a discount and get all updates until it is finished. I have no affiliation with Ian, and get no kickback if you buy.
First off, this book is written with internet product marketing in mind. There's not a lot geared towards planning for strictly educational screencasting, though there are several mentions of best practices for creating tutorials to help users learn a commercial product, so that can work for those of us in library-land. Ian starts with examples of using simple tools such as Jing and Screentoaster to create quick and easy screencasts, and then progresses through different tools and techniques working towards the type of screencast that might take as long as a week to fully create, edit and distribute. He's got extensive experience with Camtasia Studio and BB Flashback on the Windows side, and ScreenFlow on the OSX side, so those are the tools he uses as examples.
New screencasters will find his early chapters on how to prepare to screencast useful, but it was the later chapters that I found valuable. Specifically the legwork he's done on HD recording dimensions, distribution tools (apparently TubeMogul allows you to upload a single screencast or video which will then be simultaneously published to a couple of dozen partner sites, including YouTube), and microphone selection suggestions.
Ian's got an easy style to read, and if you can get past the irony of reading a book about how much better it is to produce video tutorials (to be fair, there are many many links to follow included in the PDF copy), you may find this a valuable purchase. Especially if you can't get to one of my workshops :-)
Oooh, Dan D'Agostino, Collection Development Librarian at the University of Toronto, has an excellent guest post at TeleRead where he starts to nail the current problem with academic ebooks; namely that they're not downloadable. This is the first in a two? part post that examines the strange case of academic libraries and e-books nobody reads. Go check it out - what do you think?
Part 3 of yesterday's The Current on CBC was a 26-minute piece on eBooks; mostly about pricing structures, with reminders that publishers provide a lot more than the paper upon which books are printed. At the 15-minute mark is an interview with David Kent, who's the President and CEO of Harper Collins Canada. He guesses that their business is currently about 3% ebooks, but he expects that to be 40-50% within 3-5 years. It's not a "must listen", but it was interesting and balanced.
TeleRead has a great post on The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook. It's written by one of the developers of Calibre, a program for managing ebook collections, and as such touts Calibre as pretty much the perfect tool for handling your conversion needs. What's really nice is the concise summary of the different formats, and a discussion of DRM and ebooks.
Over the holidays I decided I'm now going to be e-reading exclusively on Stanza for the iPhone, which seems to support pretty much all the e-formats. I'll probably take a look at Calibre as a tool for keeping all my e-books in one place though. As an aside, I got to take my first look at a Kindle over the holidays. I didn't actually read anything on it, but did poke around with the interface for a bit. Bleah. Personally I haven't had any issues reading on the iPhone for hours at a time. Maybe it'd be even easier on the eyes on the Kindle, but I found the interface very unintuitive. I didn't like the flash as the e-ink turned pages either. No Kindle for me!
Teleread has a great post in which the author reports on his/her experiences with the Sony PRS-505 ebook reader after one year of use. I particularly wanted to point out the section of the review entitled "Have my book-buying habits changed?" because it mirrors my experience reading and buying books for the iPhone. I used to get almost all my reading materials from Calgary Public Library, but in the past 8 months or so that's changed as I've bought all of my leisure reading on sale from Fictionwise, and almost exclusively for the convenience factor. The frequent sales entice me to buy the books I want, and in some cases books I was waffling on just because the price is right and the buying experience is so easy.
So to summarize for the publishers: Before ebooks I didn't buy. After ebooks I buy.
This ought to be up the alley of quite a few of you:
Editors of the forthcoming ACRL publications book Embedded Librarians: Moving beyond one-shot instruction, to be published late 2010, seek proposals for chapters from skilled librarians who have researched and/or implemented an embedded librarian program. The book will provide an overview of embedded librarianship within higher education. Chapters are sought about strategies for and experiences of creating a long-term embedded presence in multiple non-library settings, both online and in-person.
Potential topics include:
Prospective authors should email a brief CV, a writing sample, and a one-page proposal for their chapter to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals are due by January 30, 2010.
Engadget reports that we now have a trio of big publishers who will experiment with embargoes on ebook versions of major new releases. Basically the publishers will release a the hardcover, but delay the ebook version for some time. The commenters are not pleased. On one hand, if this is compared to the paperback delay model it makes sense to get the high priced items out first, but on the other hand, they could also price the newly released ebooks around the same price as the hardcover, until the paperback comes out. This would give the customer the choice they want. Piracy is obviously the worry here. That, and Amazon's pricing model of $9.99 for ebooks.
Speaking of piracy, I read that the movie industry has had a record year of revenues this year (with still 20 days left in the year).
A little news from the world of Collection Development and Acquisitions - just received word that Baker & Taylor (YBP) has acquired BNA! Also as part of the deal, Blackwell U.K. will acquire Baker & Taylor's Lindsay and Croft business in the U.K. Full press release.