Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Berkery Noyes Quarterly Media Deals Reports

Berkery Noyes just released its Information Industry report for Q3 2013, which covers merger and acquisition (M&A) trends over the past 21 months. Click here to view the industry’s median multiples, as well as transaction data from the two-page PDF.

Using a database product from D&B they have also presented segment analyses:

Private Equity Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013

The number of private equity acquisitions in the Information Industry increased 18 percent in third quarter 2013. Meanwhile, deal flow between private equity firms rebounded sharply. After falling 50 percent between first and second quarter 2013, secondary buyout volume increased almost fourfold over the past three months.

Click here to read the two-page PDF.

Media and Marketing Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013

M&A volume in the Consumer Publishing segment increased 27 percent in third quarter 2013. There were several notable newspaper transactions during the quarter that were completed by individual billionaires. This included Jeffrey Bezos' acquisition of The Washington Post Company for $250 million and John Henry's acquisition of The Boston Globe from The New York Times for $70 million.

Click here to read the two-page PDF.

Online and Mobile Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013

There were two high profile mobile advertising transactions during the quarter, each of which highlights the growing interest in real-time bidding solutions. Within this subset, Twitter acquired mobile ad serving platform MoPub for an estimated $350 million while Millennial Media acquired mobile ad network Jumptap for $239 million.

Click here to read the two-page PDF.
Software Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013
Deal value in the Infrastructure Software segment throughout the first three quarters of 2013 was driven in part by the cyber-security subset. Along these lines, three of the top five transactions by value in the segment year-to-date were related to cyber-security. The largest Infrastructure Software deal in third quarter 2013 was Cisco Systems’ acquisition of SourceFire for $2.7 billion.
Click here to read the two-page PDF.
Healthcare Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013
The Healthcare IT segment underwent a 56 percent volume increase on a quarterly basis. It also accounted for nearly half of the industry’s aggregate M&A volume, as opposed to 31 percent in the prior quarter. Deal volume in the Pharma IT segment also increased 33 percent year-to-date when compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
Click here to read the two-page PDF.
Education Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013
The industry’s largest transaction in third quarter 2013 was TPG Capital’s acquisition of TSL Education, a digital education publisher, for $549 million. Financial sponsors accounted for 23 percent of volume but 41 percent of transaction value year-to-date. In addition, six of the top ten highest value deals thus far in 2013 were backed by private equity firms.
Click here to read the two-page PDF.

Financial Technology and Information Industry Merger & Acquisition Trends For Q3 2013

As for the Payments segment, M&A volume experienced a 142 percent increase in the quarter, with a total of 29 deals. This came in the aftermath of a 50 percent decrease between first and second quarter 2013. Regarding strategic acquirers, the segment’s highest value transaction in third quarter 2013 was EBay’s acquisition of Braintree Payment Solutions for $800 million.

Click here to read the two-page PDF.

Monday, October 28, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N42): Writing for Free, Comic Sutra, Autobiographies + More

Why writing for free is wrong (The Atlantic):
But the fact that so many people write for free, all the time, sits uncomfortably with the fact that writing is also, occasionally, a profession. And we have, in this country, a fairly clear sense that work deserves compensation. This is, for example, why I consider unpaid internships morally repugnant, since we're essentially asking that entry-level jobs, for which there is a minimum wage, be performed for free because somebody replaced the word "job" with "internship."
So here is the rub. Unpaid writing is all over the place. But writing is also a job. And jobs should be paid. So is it immoral for a publication to ask for somebody to write for free?
Unfortunately, the "slavery" article in Sunday's Times by Tim Kreider buries the simplest argument—that it's good to pay writers, nobody should appreciate this more than *other writers*—under an avalanche of righteousness, like "nobody would ever ask my sister to perform dangerous surgeries for free." Well, no they wouldn't, and thank heavens, because freelance lobectomies sound like a horrible idea. On the other hand, asking smart people to write for free on their spare time creates an impressive intellectual surplus. I am immeasurably smarter about stuff (I think) because of other writers' willingness to "enslave" themselves to blog networks.
Comic Sutra: Big in Bombay (New Republic)
Savi, with her long hair and voluptuous body, invokes the sensual female protagonists of the ACK series—but with a sly, modern spin. “Arousing sexual excitement and moral anxiety with equal ease, Savita Bhabi straddles both continuity and change,” said Shohini Ghosh, professor of media at Jamia Millia University in New Delhi. India is a major consumer of porn. The international porn star, India-born Sunny Leone, has said that 60 percent of her revenue comes from India. And Savi is now firmly embedded as an icon in the landscape of sexual contradictions that define India today. Characters like Savi have helped to open up the conversation about freedom of sexual expression. When the government shut down Savi’s website in 2009 in the name of the IT Act, which outlaws “lascivious” electronic material, feminists, journalists, and other anti-censorship voices rallied around her in the press.
Autobiography as public relations (Guardian):
Morrissey has inspired a lot of hostility from the literary establishment for insisting on publication as a Penguin Classic. He wants that inevitable rendezvous with posterity and he wants it now. Closer to the ground, or at least the players' dressing-room – a society he's said to have betrayed –Ferguson has provoked bitter accusations and angry rebuttals across the world of sport, from the likes of Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney. If the style is the man, as the French would have it, neither Fergie nor Morrissey have done themselves many favours, though they must be better off at the bank. Possibly the most subtle commentary on the continuing boom in memoir and autobiography, and the trouble it can cause, comes from Jennifer Saunders, Ab Fab's "Eddie", whose own autobiography is Bonkers.
From twitter this week:
Broadchurch the book to be published in 2014
SUNY faculty and libraries innovate to solve problems of high-cost textbooks by producing high-quality open textbooks
Netflix Flirts with a New Idea: “Big” Movies at Your House, the Same Day They're in Theatres :

I love you Suzanne

Friday, October 25, 2013

NATO Base Reykjavik

Just finished scanning a small number of slides from my father in law's collection when he was stationed in Iceland in the mid 1950s.  Those bombs aren't for show.  The jets are F-100 Super Sabre.  The one on the right was shot down in 1968 and the one on the left crashed on landing in 1959.  My research may be unscientific however.

Monday, October 21, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N42): Open Access Myths, eBooks and Tablets, China's Fake Research Industry, Brit Trade Invasion, + More

Open Access expert Peter Suber writes in the Guardian:  Open access: six myths to put to rest
Open access to academic research has never been a hotter topic. But it's still held back by myths and misunderstandings repeated by people who should know better. The good news is that open access has been successful enough to attract comment from beyond its circle of pioneers and experts. The bad news is that a disappointing number of policy-makers, journalists and academics opine in public without doing their homework.
Pew releases an update to its' tablet and ebook ownership report and there continues to be overlap between eBook and tablet buyers.  (Pew)
  • Tablet and ereader ownership
There was a controversy this month regarding 'fake' articles being submitted to open access journals.  Seems that that issue may pale in comparison to what's going on in China (Economist)

As China tries to take its seat at the top table of global academia, the criminal underworld has seized on a feature in its research system: the fact that research grants and promotions are awarded on the basis of the number of articles published, not on the quality of the original research. This has fostered an industry of plagiarism, invented research and fake journals that Wuhan University estimated in 2009 was worth $150m, a fivefold increase on just two years earlier.  Chinese scientists are still rewarded for doing good research, and the number of high-quality researchers is increasing. Scientists all round the world also commit fraud. But the Chinese evaluation system is particularly susceptible to it.

Again, from The Economist: Why most published research is probably false.
Is there a Brit Invasion underway in publishing or is it just a PR excuse? (io9)
Why are so many British publishers coming to America right now? And why are there so many smaller imprints coming out of the U.K.?
I think it’s pure economics. The book industry in Britain is not great at the moment. We’re struggling through the recession with very poor sales. So obviously we’re looking to see where they can make money, and America is five times the size [of] the market in the UK. So it does seem to me that if you’re a small nimble company that you can do this much easier perhaps than the bigger boys. If you’re a big company setting up in America, it automatically becomes a much bigger thing.
 Professor wants to know what's going on with is book (Chronicle):
You can't push on a rope" is a bit of folk wisdom from my rural upbringing. The phrase is about feeling powerless over a process in which you think of yourself as an equal, indispensable partner. Your end of the rope is firmly in your grasp; the other end has gone slack.  It's an apt description of what it's like to have a manuscript accepted for publication, the contract offered and signed, a proper final edit completed, the final product delivered for typesetting, and then ... nothing.  For more than a year, I've been holding the rope and waiting for someone to tug back on the other end.

From Twitter:
News: Noel Gallagher Says Reading Fiction 'a Waste Of Fucking Time'
Charlie Hunnam quit Fifty Shades 'after being refused extensive creative input' Really?? What did he have in mind?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo - Good Morning

Somewhere over southern England early in the morning.  Just passed 75,000 actual miles flown for 2013 and still going strong; most fun in years.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wiley(ie) Beyond Print

Last week at the Frankfurt bookfair sponsored Contec digital conference, John Wiley & Sons CEO Steve Smith made it clear that not only is Wiley moving aggressively into digital content but the company is also moving beyond traditional educational publishing into services and data products. Smith mentioned the recent Wiley acquisition of education services provider Daltek and, in the process, he displayed and discussed a much expanded value chain that describes the current Wiley business.

Following the model of industry leader Pearson, Wiley is in the process of transforming its' business and this change has fundamental implications for the company. As Smith stated, "The old model with students was rather ephemeral and quick: they came in, we sold them a book. Now we are developing ongoing relationships with students that will last four years or more." Not only is this changing Wiley's approach to its' market but their total market opportunity is also growing.  This business strategy is a model we have seen content companies like Pearson and Lexis Nexis follow very successfully over the past ten years. Smith admitted during his speech that the market growth expectations for their new value chain are 'explosive' and far above the financial limitations which their traditional library market imposes on them.

In describing the strategy behind how Wiley is reinventing themselves he admitted that while the company is now digitally based, if they exited this phase of their reinvention as "a 100% digital publishing company, that is still not enough. We need to develop products and services that go beyond digital.”

As he outlined his company's tactics they seemed to fall into three focus areas: process, network and corporate development.

From a process stand point the company will need to,

  • go deeper into the communities served to gain a deep knowledge of workflows
  • invest in new solutions to solve pain points
  • evolve content to include semantic enrichment and other enhancements facilitated by the web and social networking
  • include a broader community of researchers, scientists, teachers, etc. and enable solutions for more job and task functions and purposes
  • a focus on outcomes that can be proven to work as a result of the Wiley products and services
Attributing the benefits of a network and community approach to their community the company will:
  • establish a mechanism for finding researchers, experts, authors and other key participants
  • develop more education solutions for teachers and students
  • leverage strengths and assets - particularly their content strengths - that support collaboration and community
  • expand knowledge and links with communities served and support the development of creativity and innovation in communities
From a corporate development perspective, Smith admitted that the company needed to acquire companies in order to support the value chain proposition he described.  Notably, he spoke about the Daltek acquisition and how that business had filled out his value chain beyond the capabilities of the traditional Wiley business.  Wiley he said, would always be looking for "companies that can accelerate our transformation".

Monday, October 14, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N41): Frankfurt Sessions, Libraries and Offsite Storage, State of Publishing from New Republic + More

Publisher's Weekly round-up of some of the early educational sessions at Frankfurt last week including mine on responsive web design. (PW)
Uncertainty is one big obstacle holding publishers back from outsourcing their distribution, observes CEO Gareth Cuddy of ePubDirect. “As the marketplace shifts, margins are squeezed on print, and industry reports showing e-book prices for bestsellers continue to average between $2.99 and $7.99, publishers are cautious about entering the e-book market. But distribution services such as ePubDirect not only share the digital publishing expertise but also allow publishers to access new markets, grow sales internationally and ultimately sell more books.”

And publishers do have a much stronger appetite to sell content directly to consumers nowadays, says executive director of publishing services Walter Walker of code-Mantra, attributing it “to either the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision on e-book price-fixing or simply the astonishing level of activities in the e-book retail business. But the XML-first mandate is one that many publishers find intimidating, and our goal is to use highly efficient plug-ins and templates at the prepress stage without disrupting the traditional Word-to-InDesign authoring environment.”
From the ALPSP blog an excellent set of notes from my session (thanks!)
It's complicated. Apple iOS has 6 different size/resolution combinations. HTC has 12. Even within these platforms there is significant deviation. And it is getting more complicated with the introduction of Microsoft and Asus tablets.
Cairn's advice on how to do RWD right starts with understanding your users and how they access and use your content. Prioritise your content based on the above, then build a site architecture that answers to these priorities. Design a site that provides content for users across device-types and contexts, with grids and typography and images that adapt.
What is responsive web design? It is where you maintain one website that services all devices and screen sizes. It provides complete support for all web pages and features, regardless of the device or screen size. And it enables you to implement changes across all devices.
And this one from the Frankfurt Bookfair blog:
As Bruce Lee said, “when you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.” So should be your online strategy…or so Michael Cairns, COO, Online Division at Publishing Technology, says.

In the “Pixel Imperfect: Serving an Online Audience with Responsive Content” presentation at CONTEC Frankfurt today, Cairns and Michael Kowalski, Founder, Contentment, discussed the need for publishers (both book and magazine) to create mobile-enabled content for the rising mobile reader. As one of those readers who is reading increasingly on my phone and less on my computer, tablet, or ereader, I appreciated that someone was trying to figure out something to fix all of those books, sites, and magazines I so love so I can read them on the go and not fumble through poorly-converted web-focused content.
From Eoin Purcell on the fair itself: (Blog)
If I was to put my finger on one key root cause though, I think that what’s going on is that publishers have, as an industry, come to terms with the fact that they are in the midst of a great disruption, one that they cannot individually predict the long term outcome of (and Michael Bhaskar spoke eloquently on this on Wednesday). There is general acceptance too that while individual companies retain huge power over their own destinies, the technology giants who have moved heavily into the content and media space, the rise of self-publishing and the general shift of digital distribution means that publishers are no longer the only forces in publishing and that increasingly they accept that they are not even the preeminent force in publishing.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education, as people return from summer vacation perhaps they are finding their libraries significantly changed. This is not a new story:
Talk of digital revolutions and bookless libraries notwithstanding, academic libraries around the country are feeling the squeeze as legacy collections outgrow shelves, and shelves give way to learning commons and shared study areas. Those twin pressure points—too many print books plus new demands on library real estate—have spurred academic libraries to try a set of state and regional experiments to free up library space to suit modern learning styles and still make sure that somebody, somewhere, hangs onto books that make up part of the intellectual record, even if those books haven't circulated in years.

For such experiments to succeed, librarians say, they should build off existing relationships among libraries, and they should draw on solid data—on persuasive and detailed analyses of what's in a collection and how it's used and whether those books are available somewhere else. The streamlining of collections has to be handled in a way that doesn't enrage faculty members who still cherish access to physical books. Many disciplines, especially the sciences, favor electronic resources, but print still holds powerful appeal for a lot of scholars
(No mention of NY public library)

Books Don’t Want to Be Free How publishing escaped the cruel fate of other culture industries from the New Republic.
Step back and look at books in a wider context, though, and the picture changes. If you’re in the business of selling journalism, moving images, or music, you have seen your work stripped of value by the digital revolution. Translate anything into ones and zeroes, and it gets easier to steal and harder to sell at a sustainable price. Yet people remain willing to fork over a decent sum for books, whether in print or in electronic form. “I can buy songs for 99 cents, I can read most newspapers for free, I can rent a $100 million movie tonight for $2.99,” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle content, told me in January. “Paying $9.99 for a best-selling book—paying $10 for bits?—is in many respects a very strong accomplishment for the business.” At the individual level, everyone in the trade—whether executive, editor, agent, author, or bookseller—faces threats to his or her livelihood: self-publishing, mergers and “efficiencies,” and, yes, the suspicious motives of Amazon executives. But the book itself is hanging on and even thriving.
From Twitter
Frankfurt Session on "What is a publisher" (#pubnow)
Book market gains new momentum
Frankfurt Contec twitter feed (#contec13)

Monday, October 07, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, No40): Open Access Publishing Scam?, US Panorama, Political Biographies, Expensive Journalism, 50 Shades +More

Lots of discussion has been generated by the publication in Science magazine about journalist John Bohannon expose about open access journal publishing.  Here commentary from The Chronicle:
“The data from this sting operation reveal the contours of an emerging Wild West in academic publishing,” Mr. Bohannon wrote in Friday’s issue of Science.
For now, however, allegations of flaws—at least in the way the magazine promoted the piece, if not how the study was constructed from the start—are commanding the bulk of the attention.
Mr. Bohannon offered his fake science submission only to open-access journals, a growing model in which published articles are made freely available rather than restricted to readers with a paid subscription.  More than a dozen critiques have been posted to various news sites and blogs, some of them suggesting a bias by Science, which charges for subscriptions, against the open-access model.
The pique is less about Mr. Bohannon’s 4,200-word article, which suggests he confirmed a problem throughout academic publishing, than his magazine’s 200-word press release (read it here; scroll down to see it), which repeatedly emphasized his findings as an indictment of the open-access model. The sting operation, Science said in its promotion, “exposes the dark side of open-access publishing.”
What the magazine got wrong: Guardian

Favorite fonts from the Observer a pictorial:
Three weeks ago, Domenic Lippa, a partner at Pentagram Design Consultancy, selected his favourite 10 fonts. His list inspired hundreds of readers to pick their preferred typeface. He says: 'Nowadays we all use fonts: the digital revolution has meant that we can choose from thousands every day. Only 20 years ago, most people wrote correspondence by hand, or used a typewriter, using a font called "typewriter". Typography, once the domain of an elite minority, has now become democratic, and with that comes a voice. The hundreds of examples posted here all have something to inspire. If you want to know which type you are, check out this little game my company created a couple of years ago – it might change your view of fonts…'
Why do politicians like writing political biographies so much? New Statesman:
It made for a fine silly-season story to read that Boris Johnson was writing a book about Winston Churchill. Here we see a man, instantly recognisable and quite irrepressible, a master of wit and wordplay, from a privileged background yet with the common touch, always ready to parade his own vices to mock political correctness, and above all a bad party man with ill-concealed ambitions to get to the top. But which man?
The question is hardly new. When a living politician is drawn to be the biographer of a great statesman – that is, a dead politician – we are bound to wonder about the motivation. In the past, the usual reason was piety. An eminent former colleague or political disciple, preferably one with some literary bent, had to be recruited as the keeper of the bones of the saint. John Morley’s life of his hero Gladstone is a classic example. What was expected was a work in at least two volumes, as the conventional “tombstone” biography. De mortuis nil nisi bunkum.
Saturday Night Live - Screen tests for Fifty Shades of Grey: pairings from Seth Rogen (Bobby Moynihan) and Emma Stone (Noël Wells) to Tracy Morgan (Jay Pharoah) and Tilda Swinton (Kate McKinnon) try out for the coveted roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. (The sketch's casting of Nasim Pedrad as Aziz Ansari serves as a reminder of the ensemble's overall homogeneity). 

Why investigative journalism is still necessary but also very expensive.  A case study in The Atlantic (Peter Osnos) of Propublica.
Clearly, $750,000 is a very expensive story. On the other hand, what price do you suppose a parent with a young, feverish child might put on these disclosures? As a society we have to find the means to underwrite reporting of this magnitude. Of all the funding ideas that are mainly predictable—foundations, sponsored conferences (a particular specialty of the Texas Tribune), annual appeals, donor buttons on the sites--one notion that deserves far more attention than it has received so far came from Steven Waldman, the author of the Federal Communication Commission's massive 2011 study of the country's news media in the broadband era, including "shortfalls in robust accountability journalism." According to a report by Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute, Waldman told the conference that he believes that the tech companies that have grown in scale and revenues to a considerable degree from their distribution of news—Apple, Google, Verizon, AT&T—owe these nonprofit content providers a portion of their massive proceeds. "The winners of the new economy. . . . If they would put just a tiny bit of their wealth into this," Waldman said, serious journalism could thrive.
From twitter;
In Maui’s Upcountry, Where the Paniolo Roam My old neighborhood.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N39) Debrett Manners, ALPSP Journals report, Textbook pricing, K-12 Education + More

News that publisher Debretts is to offer the socially inept life skills for surviving in the modern office had more than a few recalling the famous job interview scene from Trainspotting.  How likely the average new hire is going to be able to scrape together £1,000 remains to be seen.  From The Guardian. 
They are not ignoring new technology, and will offer guidance on "netiquette": when to put a smiley face or kisses on an email (never in the workplace) and why you should never text the boss unless they have texted you first. Debrett's developed its programme on "social intelligence" for under-30s after a survey of business leaders threw up some serious issues around young people entering the modern workplace.  "Manners, social intelligence, personal presentation and impact can be as important as academic qualifications," says Debrett's. "With so much focus on exam results and the hectic informality of modern family life and technology, social graces can be a casualty."
Along with a slew of other surveys, including one by YouGov today which says that half of employers find graduates they are employing are not "work ready", the Debrett's research flags up rising concerns among business people about the employability of graduates and school leavers who have been tested to the maximum academically, but have no notion of what to expect from a job. The accusation is that schools and universities are so focused on academic targets that they are failing to produce rounded graduates. Instead they are turning out young people who are shy and awkward after spending all their time on the internet or mobiles, who lack the ability to spell or write a letter, and are unable to get through a day without regular online checks on what their friends are up to.
Personally, I could suggest one or two of my past managers for training (or brainwashing depending on your view) and they would need suggesting since they live in complete ignorance of their appalling behavior.  (that's enough -ed).   Coincidentally, the NYT published an opinion piece over the weekend that also touches on office behavior:
As the book and her columns make clear, open-plan offices, designed in the name of cutting costs and encouraging collaboration, have become dens of intense irritation. Walls and doors can no longer protect workers from unwanted visits, along with various odors, shouts, coughs, sneezes, popping of gum, belches and spitting. It’s also clear that many employees are uncertain where their professional life ends and their personal life begins — a confusion abetted by technology that enables them to take their work wherever they go, and to conduct personal business while at work.
In an interview, Ms. Martin deplored the “pseudosocial events” that many businesses arrange in the name of teamwork. You should be collegial with co-workers, “but they’re not friends,” she said. If you genuinely become friends with someone in the office, by all means spend time with them, she said. But too many managers are dragging entire groups to retreats, dinners and after-work drinks, and to events where some people mistakenly think they should be able to behave just as they would at a normal party, she said. Ms. Martin suggests that workers who dread attending social events try to bow out by saying that they have work to do. 
In my experience no belching and spitting but lots and lots of coughing fits.  Priceless.

And from the movie Trainspotting: How to interview for a job (not):

ALPSP has released a report on academic journal publishers' policies and practices in online publishing.  This international survey, the fourth in this research series from ALPSP, was undertaken to establish current scholarly publishing practices and assess changes in practice and policy across the industry. More than 300 publishers took part, including more than 180 small publishers (ie 1 - 10 titles). For the first time, the ALPSP survey included societies who have outsourced their publications to a publishing partner.

Time for classes to start which means articles about high textbook prices.  This time from The Times Higher Education which quotes an unlikely American Enterprise Institute study on the price of textbooks.   The article purports to suggest that digital textbook use is increasing because of high pricing but also notes that students prefer print overwhelmingly.
For one thing, staff and students have been surprisingly reluctant to abandon print.
Nearly 80 per cent of students surveyed by the National Association of College Stores say they prefer print to e-books, and academics assign digital texts in only 14 per cent of courses.  In focus groups conducted by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, faculty said they were concerned about whether the authors of OER textbooks were adequately paid, whether the quality was sufficient and whether the content was objective. OER textbooks do remain limited in scope and number. OpenStax, supported by grants from sources including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provides titles for just five introductory courses.  Nevertheless, OpenStax estimates that it will save 40,000 students a collective $3.7 million this year, or an average of $92.50 per student.
A better article about the digital transformation in education publishing comes from Education Week which profiles the approaches taken by the big three K-12 education publishers.
Mary Jane Tappen, the deputy chancellor for curriculum, instruction, and student services for the Florida Department of Education, says that as districts in her state transition to digital curricula, schools want to pull the very best content from multiple sources—some they might buy, the rest might be free.
"We're moving away from one book per content area per grade per student," she says. With digital capabilities already in development, Florida will be able to track what pieces of content are the most successful with students. Tools providing a rating for pieces of digital content will be visible on each teacher's desktop, allowing the teacher to sort the material by standard and the best rating.
Tammy McGraw, the director of educational technology for the Virginia Department of Education, says one way for big textbook publishers to figure out what K-12 educators want and need is to work more closely with teachers and administrators.
Several years ago, as iPads were just starting to be used in schools, McGraw says, she approached the major publishers and asked them to think about how to deliver textbooks through a browser. Some publishers ended up partnering with the Virginia department to convert their print textbooks to apps, and both educators and publishers learned a lot about what students liked and didn't, says McGraw, and about the difficulties in digitizing print textbooks.  Students, for example, didn't like to use the browser on the iPad—they wanted the textbook to be accessible using an app. Students liked the interactive media and the electronic note-taking and highlighting features, and they loved to quiz themselves and do assessments on the fly. Many of those features ultimately became integrated into the products offered by the publishers, according to Tammy McGraw.
 From Twitter this week:

Newest Bond author: it's not just casual sex. What 007 wants is a relationship
Robert Harris on An Officer and a Spy: 'No desire to be taken seriously by the literary establishment'
You can see some odd things at the airport: Suit coat, shorts, black socks, dress shoes. Consultant wears no pants.