Yet, according to a more recent study this year, an increasing number of publishers are planning on publishing more e-books than print.
What will this mean for the future of academia in the US?
The future of academia in US higher education institution is inextricably tied to technological advances in publishing. That is to say that in the not so distant, students will generally use e-books as a primary mode in which they read and study. In headline news, Florida Polytechnic University took a bold step by introducing a full-fledged no book digital library to its 500 newly registered students this month. This comes just 8 years after the University of California released a report after conducting a study with 2,400 survey respondents, which suggest that reading e-books may have adverse effects on learning and memorization.
Yet, according to a more recent study this year, an increasing number of publishers are planning on publishing more e-books than print.
What will this mean for the future of academia in the US?
By Elise Brege
According to Alison Flood’s “Bookless Library” published by The Guardian, the Florida Polytechnic University has discarded every single page, book cover, and bookshelf from their campus library in favor of stocking approximately one hundred and thirty-five thousand ebooks. Kathryn Miller, director of libraries, states, “‘Our on-campus library is entirely digital. We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program. However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally’” (Flood).
Florida Polytechnic University and their library directors advocate that their electronic library will prepare their five hundred new students for high-tech industries because it develops their students’ ability to read, research, and utilize similar digital documents and formats that will be implemented in their future careers in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.
The university’s new ebook library is also a productive model of book accessibility, personal availability, and cost efficiency. In terms of accessibility, Florida Polytechnic University provides $60,000 dollars of funding for their students to read any ebooks that their library does not own. The university’s library also bases their new purchases directly on their student and faculty’s book preferences. If a specific ebook is unavailable in the university’s library, and this book is requested twice, it will automatically be purchased and accessible for future use. Economically, this system is also more cost efficient because the university is only financially responsible for the books faculty and students use.
Although bookless libraries are a rarity because of legacy print collections, Florida Polytechnic University is not the only institution experimenting with this form. “America: Library Journal also cites a bookless publication library in Bexar County, Texas, a school library in Minnesota, and two NASA Libraries” with the same ebook format (Flood). With the rising Digital Age, shifts in Publishing, and the advantages of an ebook library system, a conversation about physical books and ebooks in our libraries is necessary.
I admittedly chose Flood’s article because it made my eyebrows raise in shock and my stomach drop. I could not believe how aggressively this university forced their students to learn, read, and engage with this formatted material. After reading the article, I was able to understand the library director’s perspective. She wants the best for her university’s students and believes she can help them develop a technological skillset that they will constantly use in their future careers as they interact with data only found online or digitalized.
However, the old English major in me still felt a little dizzy. I have memories of reading, studying, relaxing, and even playing in libraries as a child in kindergarten all the way through college. If I had enrolled in this Florida university, it would be like they were replacing what I once considered a haven and home with 11,000 square feet of cold, sterile emptiness. Sure, they have computers, desks, and reading spaces, but this archway feels like something out of a science fiction novel. My reaction to this image and technology is not rooted in any malice for progress. I have loved listening to novels while working and reading an ebook on the metro, but there is a key difference possibly for me and maybe others. If I fall in love with a book that I have recently read in an nontraditional way, my first instinct is to buy this book, hold it in my hands, and add it as a physical part to the collection of books in my own personal library. Technology has made it more easy, convenient, and cost efficient for me to continue engaging with books through nontraditional methods, but the physical presence of owning a book and having it be physically accessible is very important to me.
This exact topic was a discussion brought up in our Fundamentals of E-Publishing class, and since then, it has been quietly gnawing at me. Why do we feel such a strong connection to a physical book? Besides the possibility that the format promotes better accessibility, connection, and focus on the material, I believe the answer might be even more instinctual. The books that change our lives become a part of our identities because they influence our perspectives and change our futures. We view those novels as parts of ourselves and use them to help define who we are or want to be, so having that book in real physical space—as real and touchable as any other physical surroundings of our lives—might be part of this answer.
Ultimately, I enjoyed reading this article and look forward to possible discussions about these two formatting tools for literature because each format is important and beneficial in their own way. As things progress, I hope a balance of the two formats emerge.
Flood, Alison. “Bookless Library.” 29 August 2014. The Guardian. 09 September 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/29/bookless-library-new-us-university-florida-polytechnic-digital
by Cecilia Galarza
Vox.com is a news publication that launched in April 2014. Aimed at a young audience (millenials aged 25-34), what is innovative about this website is how information is presented.
Content is arranged in a fluid layout with preeminence of engaging images and videos. Articles are organised in different levels of detail, adapting to the attention span of modern readers, who can also opt to delve into contextual information about the news. Background information is displayed using different formats. There is a section with card stacks: a collection of explanations, facts and definitions located under a common title such as “Everything you need to know about...”. Visual resources including different types of maps (economic, factoid, historical) and videos are available for further exploration of a theme.
It looks like the publishers of Vox followed the rules of the modern publisher to attract the attention of readers on the web. It is also an example of the publishing model advocated in the book “Book: a Futurist's Manifesto”: starting with context and making it discoverable, facilitating the management of abundant content.
The mission of Vox is to “explain the news” and their objective is to make hard topics appealing through a combination of presentation elements. The application of this approach to scholarly publishing can open interesting possibilities for engaging young students, as traditional education materials become more up to date with the new generations of readers.
Full article: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/09/02/have-you-looked-at-this-vox-com/
by Rachel DiNunzio
This summer Ingram Publishing Services, through Lightning Source and Ingram Spark, launched the option of a Standard 70lb print paper. This is a BIG DEAL.
Initially a Publisher had the option of choosing between the Standard Select 45lb, the Standard 50lb, or the Premium 70lb. Paper weight is defined by the actual amount of weight in pounds a piece can hold before breaking. So for example, Standard 45 paper can hold 45 pounds! Let’s take a closer look at the options available to publishers before the birth of Standard 70.
Standard Select 45: Standard 45 a pretty strong paper, but it runs on the thinner side when it comes to duplex detailed color printing. This paper is wonderful for something like a catalog, magazine, a text based book with spot illustrations, or a comic book. One can expect a significant about of ghosting, but on the positive side, slick images, and a nice matte surface. When I consulted an Ingram representative about Standard 45, he agreed, “Standard select is best used for a title you want a nice color option, but do not mind if the interior pages are a bit thin. The color output on this option is very pretty and you do receive a matte paper, but the thickness of the page is our thinnest offering.”
Standard 50: Standard 50 is an economical way to produce a full color title—it gets the job done! What will work best for this option, is an illustration or image that is not dependent on exact color matching to the original work. I would strongly recommend this paper for a comic book, many digital illustrations or renderings, text based books with select color illustrations, and traditional illustrative styles such as loose watercolors. I would hesitate to recommend Standard 50 for almost all other types of traditional means of illustration. It is not sensitive enough to convey most traditional mediums with integrity. This paper option experiences the greatest ghosting in a layout where the front image is a simple illustration with a large amount of negative space, and on the back a detailed illustration with dark definitive lines.
Premium 70: The Premium option is absolutely gorgeous. The paper is thick and it feels wonderful turning from page to page. The black ink is crisp and defined. The colors are full and true. Premium 70 is beautiful, but it is also incredibly expensive for a trade book.
This put publishers in a tough position. Does one choose affordable and skimp on the interior quality? Or does one make a fabulous product with a strikingly steep price that may put you out of business?
Here is what the decision looked like for a 32 page, perfect bound paperback, full color, illustrated picture book, 8x10 trim, 55% trade discount, and aiming to make roughly $1.00 per unit sold. Standard Select 45 would not be an effective choice for this type of project, so we would be left with two options.
The right choice to preserve the quality of this book would be the Premium 70, however the only affordable option is the Standard 50. What should the publisher do?
Then this summer, and I swear this happened: the clouds parted, the sun shined through, and little angles started to sing in unison as an email alert popped up with a subject that read, “Standard 70 Now Available”! Ok... there was no singing or clouds parting, but the email did come! Here is the same chart including the new option.
Standard 70: The Standard 70 option provides an ideal paper weight for most picture books. When the reader flips the pages, she can feel the quality and rich thickness of the paper. The paper supports the color ink well, has strong blacks, close to display matched colors, and produces lovely images. All in all, Standard 70 creates a wonderful user experience at a price that is affordable for the publisher and the reader.
All hail the Standard 70!
by Samantha Brule
The Romance Writers of America (RWA) has announced the launch of its new app, Novel Engagement, which targets authors, readers and sellers of romance fiction.
The app contains search and share functionality to allow authors to connect with fans and retailers to discover reader trends.
In addition to its library feature, Novel Engagement offers tests, quizzes and games, as well as literary lists.
The RWA expects the app's current offering of 5,000 titles and 1,000 authors to double before the end of this year.
The original article can be found at http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publishing-and-marketing/article/63240-rwa-releases-novel-engagement-romance-app.html
By Rachel Winston
Knowledge of algorithms has never been more important as computer coding of likes, reputation, popularity, links, comments, and key words decides the rank order of status on a Google site. The use of algorithms is much more widespread than Google rank. Supermarket loyalty cards track purchases, share buying habits with marketers, and predict your future actions. Traffic cameras, toll road meters, and various built in car monitoring devices track, record, and interpret driving patterns, times, and locations. While many students in school continually say that they will never use math in their life, the actual need for problem solving, critical thinking, and data analysis is becoming increasingly essential.
Algorithms pervasively act and control our life. Most people are on the internet for a significant part of each week. With each click, data is collected. The marketing community relies on click-through rates, tag management, and consumer purchasing data. As a mathematician, I want to write the entire article about how algorithms are created, the generation of statistical data, and the interpretation of the results, but, since this is just a test to see if the site works, I will leave you all hanging. If you are really excited about algorithms, please watch my video on the Introduction to Algorithms here:
In an age when publishers worry about the ways technology is chipping away at the print market, Hillel Italie discusses one instance in which a video game has created a new market for one publisher (http://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2014/09/03/minecraft-now-publishing-sensation).
Since last November, Solastic, Inc. has published a series of illustrated guides for the video game Minecraft: "Minecraft: Essential Handbook," "Minecraft: Redostone Handbook" and Minecraft: Construction Handbook." Six million copies have already been sold. The guides are all priced under $10. An additional guide, "Minecraft:Combat Handbook" is due out in late September, with a boxed set slated for October.
The books are being lauded for their ability to get children to read, an increasingly difficult task. Moreover, the manuals foster analytical skills and allow kids to use what they have learned as they play the game.
A big advantage for the publisher is that the guides are know and desired quantities. The popularity of the game has served as adequate marketing for the guide, increasing revenue potential. Booksellers have reported that sales of the guides have been very high, without the need for promotion.
by Monica Sweeney
Barnes & Noble recently acquired three Espresso Book Machines to install in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey locations. EBMs are Print-On-Demand machines available at brick-and-mortar book retailers for customers to print self-published and public domain works, as well as a cherry-picked selection of other published books. B&N plans to feature the EBMs in their stores to "gauge consumer interest" in the technology, according to a B&N spokesperson.
Espresso Book Machines came into the limelight when the idea was debuted at the 2007 Book Expo of America. Since then, many indie retailers have begun purchasing the machines, which has made it a little easier for readers to get their hands on obscure paperbacks, but marginally easier for and self-publishing authors to print their own content. EBMs may be the first real competition against Amazon's Createspace outlet, printing relatively cheaply and allowing the author to stray from the corporate giant.
Most notably, EBMs are not a database of every book that has ever been written. Publishers must authorize the printing of their titles, and as of now, many of these available titles are among the old and the backlisted. If EBMs are to become a true success, publishers would need to provide their backlisted titles as well as their current bestsellers. If Barnes & Noble sees significant interest in the Espresso Book Machines during this pilot program, it's reasonable to speculate that publishers will loosen their constraints and add Espresso Book Machines to one of many consumer-friendly ways to acquire new books.
Read more at Publisher's Weekly:
by Leslee Moore, 9/5/2014
With new technology emerging in what seems to be a daily basis, it seems inevitable that the new merges with the old to create experiences richer and more innovative than one would have believed possible ten years ago. With the popularity of role-playing games long withstanding the time before Macs or PCs were ever in the hands of the consumer, gaming creators and authors would be missing out on a fruitful opportunity by ignoring the potential that lies with collaboration in the digital age.
Fortunately, both industries caught on pretty quickly, and the gaming world is continuing to strengthen their ties with the literary world with a new collaboration. It all centers around Kings of the Realm, a free-to-play, interactive game found in the App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The game is based on the book series of the same title, and lets users create strategies for conquering villages and kingdoms, with the ultimate goal to become king of the realm. There are now an abundance of interactive games that focuses on the setting and characters of a beloved book, and in this instance, the book series' writer, Oisin McGann, worked closely with the gaming developers of Digital Game Studios in the creation of this online game.
Both sides of these collaborations benefit greatly. The authors have another creative outlet that brings more attention to their books, and the game studios have ready-made ideas for their new creations. Additionally, the collaboration also has the potential to bring differing fan bases together. In the instance of Kings of the Realm, fans of the book series can delight in immersing themselves further into the storyline of their favorite characters, and fans of medieval-age interactive games have the option to read the books that served as the foundation of one of the games they enjoy. The result is a richer experience for all.
eReaders, Comprehension, and Consumer Preferences
By Rhonda L. Larson, 09/04/2014
I’ve recently noticed (because I’ve been looking) a number of articles on reading comprehension and digital text on tablets and ereaders. This topic also surfaced during the first class session of the Fundamentals of E-Publishing Course, part of GWU’s MPS in Publishing Program. Naturally, there is a range of opinions about digital publishing formats; reading is a personal activity, and no two human brains work the same.
A study published in January 2013 by Anne Mangen of University of Stavanger in Norway found that 10th graders who read material on a screen demonstrated less comprehension of the information than the same-grade students who read the material on paper.
A Harvard University study published in September 2013 found that reading on a screen helped high school students with dyslexia to read material faster and with greater comprehension. There have been any number of different studies on the comprehension levels of readers using both paper and digital formats, each study seeming to indicate something different—depending on the age of the test subjects, their familiarity with the digital devices, the reading material used, etc.
Considering the implications of all of these studies, those in the publishing industry would do well ask, “Which formats are more enjoyable for the reader?” as well as, “Which formats lend themselves to better comprehension of x type of material?”. It may also be worth exploring whether individual readers prefer different types of material in different formats—such as reference material in a digital format, and literature on paper. Ferris Jabr wisely pointed out in Scientific American in April 2013, “But why, one could ask, are we working so hard to make reading with new technologies like tablets and e-readers so similar to the experience of reading on the very ancient technology that is paper? Why not keep paper and evolve screen-based reading into something else entirely? Screens obviously offer readers experiences that paper cannot.”
In June of this year, Julian Baggini wrote in the Financial Times, “…research has already told us a lot about how we read now. First and foremost, it emphasizes that even using paper, there are many different approaches…our habits have provably been created largely as combination of childhood experience and how the medium we read in is nudging us… Second, we might benefit from being aware just how much habit, fashion and culture shape our preferences.” In August, Forbes Magazine contributor Jeremy Greenfield asked “Will Ebooks Make Us Dumber?” (Although, the online version of this article was re-titled, in a charmingly ambiguous fashion, “Ebooks Will Make Us Dumber, Or They Won’t”.) Greenfield concludes, after mentioning a number of these types of studies, “What the right mix of reading is, for both adults and children, is unclear. What is certain is that what we think it is will change and that each individual study should be taken as a data point only, suggesting the path for future research”.
Ultimately, the consumers will make their preference of formats known by which products/formats they purchase.
There may be some information buried in these studies that sheds light on (or opportunities for further research that explores) the propensity of digital consumers, as opposed to paper book consumers, for “binge reading”. (Please see Emily Klingman’s thought-provoking piece on the implications of binge reading in the Editorial section of this newsletter.) Further, if binge reading has or will become a phenomenon, will that translate into a growing demand for E reader subscription services from providers like Oyster, Scribd, and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited?