Monday, July 02, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N27): Julian Barnes, eTextbooks Anyone? Inheriting eBooks + More

Julian Barnes writing in the Guardian about his life as a bibliofile:
By now, I was beginning to view books as more than just utilitarian, sources of information, instruction, delight or titillation. First there was the excitement and meaning of possession. To own a certain book – one you had chosen yourself – was to define yourself. And that self-definition had to be protected, physically. So I would cover my favourite books (paperbacks, inevitably, out of financial constraint) with transparent Fablon. First, though, I would write my name – in a recently acquired italic hand, in blue ink, underlined with red – on the edge of the inside cover. The Fablon would then be cut and fitted so that it also protected the ownership signature. Some of these books – for instance, David Magarshack's Penguin translations of the Russian classics – are still on my shelves.
Ten reasons students aren't actually using eTextbooks (Edudemic):
When e-textbooks were first introduced, they were supposed to be the wave of the future, and experts thought we’d see e-reader-toting students littering college campuses, and of course being adopted in droves by online university students.
But they haven’t taken off quite as expected: according to market research firm Student Monitor, only about 11% of college students have bought e-textbooks. So what happened? Here, we’ll explore several reasons why students aren’t yet warming up to the idea of e-textbooks today.
 Amanda Katz on NPR asks whether your grand children will inherit your eBooks (NPR):
In the age of the e-book, the paper book faces two possible and antithetical fates. It may become something to be discarded, as with the books that libraries scan and cannibalize. (In the introduction to another book, Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books, Price mentions the severed book spines that hang on the wall at Google, "like taxidermists' trophies.") Alternatively, it may become a special object to be preserved and traded. My grandfather's copy of War of the Worlds obviously falls into the second category — but very few of the millions of books published since the mid-19th century are ones you'd want to own. If Amazon has a "long tail" of obscure but occasionally purchased titles, the tail that goes back 150 years is near endless and thin as thread.
Meanwhile, the kind of "serial" book sharing (as Price describes it) that occurs over time is giving way to simultaneous, "synchronous" sharing. With the Kindle, you can see what thousands of other Kindle readers are highlighting in the book you're reading — a fairly astonishing innovation. But the passage of books from hand to hand, gathering inscriptions along the way, is not part of the e-book economy. Will your grandchild inherit your Kindle books? No one knows, but given password protection and the speed at which data becomes obsolete, that seems highly unlikely.
Real time language translation for in-class lectures is tested in Germany and could expand their pool of foreign students$  Maybe the could work on comprehension next (Chronicle):
The translation system could be an essential tool in making Karlsruhe and other German universities more attractive to international students, perhaps even allowing them to eventually abandon language requirements if it proves reliable enough.
Many students, in Germany and elsewhere, are also interested in translating from English into their own languages, especially Chinese, Mr. Waibel adds. “There’s tremendous potential for this,” both in classrooms and more generally, he says.
Even students who feel comfortable in the language in which a lecture is being delivered have said they find the automatic translator useful. Some have said they find that having a transcript in German helps improve their German and allows them to better follow a lecture, even if they don’t use the translation component.
Here's proof there's always a silver lining.  Sometimes in lace and satin.  And naughty.  (Observer):
"Once women see that sex shops are clean and then they visit again. Once they feel comfortable and realise that they are not the only people in the world trying to do something different they start asking the questions they would have asked years ago if they realised there was someone to ask."
Lesley Lewis, who first worked as a dancer in Soho in 1979 and now runs the famous French House pub, said the new generation of visitors were a welcome addition.
"Soho was always a place where people could be themselves. In the past it was gay men holding hands and if now it's women going to sex shops after reading Fifty Shades of Grey then that can't be a bad thing. Long may it carry on like that," she said.
The Library of Congress curates 88 books that shaped America

Lectures go digital.

The World's 54 Largest Book Publishers, 2012  

OCLC & EBSCO Develop Partnership Offering Interoperability of Services 4 Libraries and Increased Options for Discovery

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