Sunday, March 01, 2009

Media Week 8: ALA, Bloomberg, Christie, E-Textbooks

Library Journal publish a round up of ALA. Despite the decrease in traffic they still found things to report on: (LJ)
Indeed, in recent years we have seen a maddening proliferation of e-products, but if there was one thing to take away from Denver, it was that the database madness seems to have at least subsided. Instead, I saw more clarity in approach and simplicity in offerings. Publishers seem to be on a mission to reinvent what they already have instead of introducing another product that looks like something you've seen before.
Silicon Alley takes a look at the Bloomberg business and its competition with a much stronger Thomson/Reuters. Some interesting numbers:
At the same time that Bloomberg directs its resources towards news operations, the part of its business that actually makes money faces rough times. Bloomberg L.P. is almost entirely built on the back of its 290,000 data terminals that cost between $1,500 and $1,800 monthly. But with financial firms cutting head count, terminal sales will likely drop. There’s no point in keeping a data terminal if there’s nobody to man it. We saw an early indication of this last year. Between June 2007 and March 2008 there were 34,000 job cuts by Wall Street banks. By the end of the year Bloomberg saw a drop in net sales of 1,100. That equates to losing almost $20 million in revenue. While the company is still minting cash, this troubling trend won’t reverse anytime soon.
Scholastic has set up a web site that will inform about the impact on education of the Federal stimulus plan.
As a partner to America’s public schools for almost 90 years, Scholastic believes that the funding for education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is good for schools and good for the country. We support Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s call to “educate our way to a better economy.”

Effective and efficient use of funds is a shared responsibility. We believe we have an important role to play in ensuring that this two-year increase in federal resources results in a permanent investment in our students’ futures.

For your convenience, we’ve developed this information portal, which will be updated regularly.
The opening to the public of Greenaway the home of Agatha Christie has prompted a number of articles on the author and the value of her legacy. (Independent)
Exact figures are difficult to come by but royalties from book sales alone are thought to be worth at least £5m a year. The company that benefits the most is Chorion Ltd, which paid £10m for a controlling share of the rights to Christie's work back in 1998. Chorion already owned the rights to several big-name children's titles including Enid Blyton's Noddy and Famous Five series, and Roger Hargreaves's Mr Men books. The company's relaunch of Christie's novels in 2002 was so successful that the author's most famous work, And Then There Were None, appeared once again on the US bestseller list and sold out its initial print run in just 10 weeks.
An article from a the Tyler Junior College student newspaper The Apache Pow Wow (yes, that's the real name) about the experiences of Northwest Missouri State University with a pilot electronic textbook program.

The pilot electronic textbook program began in the fall with four classes and about 200 students. This spring, roughly 4,000 of the school's 6,500 students will use electronic textbooks. "I think that it's the way the world is going," Dean L. Hubbard, Northwest's president, said.

Textbook publishers say many colleges are moving toward using some electronic textbooks, but Northwest's plan to eventually eliminate all bound textbooks makes it a leader in the movement. "Right now, digital products account for a small percent of our higher education business, but it is growing at a rate that is breathtaking," Jeffrey Ho, a product manager for McGraw-Hill Education, said. But Northwest can only move toward a bookless campus as fast as the availability of e-books allows, Hubbard said. "Publishers don't have all textbooks online yet," he said. "But I would think as a realistic measure we could be totally out of the printed textbook business in three years."

That idea pleases sophomore Mike Jenkins. "I think the whole concept is pretty cool," said Jenkins, 19, of Lee's Summit, Mo. Jenkins used e-books in his history class during the fall. "I would like it if we didn't have textbooks at all anymore," he said. "You wouldn't have the hassle of messing with books. The e-book is so convenient, and you don't have to carry all those books around." Plus, unlike printed textbooks, e-books have pop-up interactive quizzes and the ability to search the full text within seconds for key words. New electronic reader technology also will allow students to take notes in on-screen posted notes.

And for more stuff from the past week check out my Twitter stream (or it that 'stream of twits?')

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