Baker & Taylor has announced that it is streamlining its Axis 360 services with Blackboard Learn in a bid to offer a more integrated learning and teaching solution to both students and teachers. Axis 360 is the media library arm of Baker & Taylor which has emerged as one of the most favored distributor of both print and digital media the world over. Blackboard Learn in turn is a Learning Management System and the above arrangement will make it convenient for both students and teachers of the K-12 grade to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from Axis 360 from within Blackboard Learn itself.
Speaking of the development, George Coe, President and CEO of Baker & Taylor said; “Integrating the Axis 360 digital media platform into Blackboard Learn will help smooth the delivery of digital materials into classrooms across the country.
“This is an important and fast-growing area. Baker & Taylor and Blackboard recognize the need to stay ahead of technological changes and to offer schools a broad array of materials in formats that students and teachers are demanding.”
One of the inherent advantages of Axis 360 is that it allows for the ebooks or audiobooks to be downloaded and read (or heard) on a PC or Mac. Further, the books are also compatible with iOS or Android devices and hence can also be comprehended via smartphones or tablets as well running either of the OS. Axis 360 is also compatible with Blio reader that offer several convenient tools to aid in learning for those with visual or other forms of disability.
“We believe that accessible, interactive digital content is a core component of online instruction for K-12 and that it can help create a more immersive, engaging learning experience for young people,” said Mark Belles, senior vice president, K-12, Blackboard. “We are excited to partner with Baker & Taylor to make it easy for teachers to find and integrate ebooks and audiobooks into their classrooms, and for students to check out and consume them within their learning environment.”
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Baker & Taylor Integrates its Axis 360 Services With Blackboard Learn, Good Times For Students and Teachers
Pocketbook has just released a new e-reading app for the Apple iPhone. This app is certified with Adobe, so you can enter your Digital Editions ID to import books with DRM. It is a solid first effort and the functionality of the app mirrors the one they released on Google Play last year.
Pocketbook has been making e-readers since 2009 and normally released three new devices a year. They have been focusing on app development for the last year, with a number of reading apps. The iPhone app does not have a ton of functionality but will allow you to change the sizes of the fonts, adjust the font type or make highlights.
The app has some limitations, such as the inability to buy books directly from Pocketbook. Instead, you have to import them onto your phone, which puts up barriers for ease of use. One of the benefits is that you can import in eBooks that are in the standard EPUB format, that you might have downloaded from the internet.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Exclusive Contest! Today Good e-Reader and Kobo are partnering to give away three brand new Kobo Mini e-Readers! This is one of our biggest contests yet and is open to everyone.
The Kobo Mini has a pint size five inch touchscreen display running an older version of e-ink Vizplex. It has a resolution of 800×600 pixels and gives you the traditional 16 levels of grayscale. This is very small device that fits in any of your pockets and was designed to be extremely lightweight and portable. Underneath the hood dwells a 800 MHZ processor, which is the same one the original Kobo Touch had employed. There are 2 GB of internal storage for your ebooks, newspapers, and PDF files.
To enter the contest you need to LIKE the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We will be picking three winners at random in two weeks and announce them in the description of the video. Good Luck to everyone.
On January 13th, a hearing was held in which Apple moved to toss out the provision requiring the monitor, and on Monday last week, Cote denied this move as well. After reports that Apple was not playing nicely with Bromwich and stalling on providing documents to the monitor, Cote ruled on February 10 to appoint a magistrate to oversee the working relationship Apple has with Bromwich. Attorneys for the government in this case have even accused Apple of making up allegations of wrongdoing and calling into question the monitor’s behavior, possibly as an excuse to have Bromwich’s role removed.
Problems arose between Apple and Bromwich almost immediately. The company is fighting what it considers to be an outrageously high salary for the outside monitor, while Bromwich has raised complaints that he is typically denied access to executives within the company. Apple has gone so far as to ask Cote specifically to remove Bromwich for what they feel is an unjustified attitude against the company.
The magistrate who will serve as a go-between for Apple and Bromwich is Judge Michael Dolinger, who will largely serve as a mediator who helps ensure that any future concerns from either party actually have merit before making their way back into Cote’s courtroom. He is also charged with holding meeting between the parties on a regular basis to ensure compliance, and helping follow through with Cote’s orders that Apple turn over documents to Bromwich, which it has declined to do.
One positive outcome for Apple has been the clarification of the monitor’s scope of authority. While the appeals court in this instance didn’t strike or overrule Cote’s decision, it did make sure that all parties involved knew exactly what Bromwich’s role is in his duties.
While Good e-Reader has covered the news of alleged author and reviewer bullying on Goodreads, this time it was bestselling and revered author Anne Rice who posted her position on author bullying, as well as warns authors that this behavior is no longer limited to Goodreads but has worked its way over to Goodreads’ parent company, Amazon.
Rice posted on her Facebook page yesterday this warning to authors about the activity she’s witnessed, and even been subjected to herself:
“Anti-Author Bullies are a real problem on Amazon.com, especially in the Amazon Discussion Forums. Authors, especially indie authors, need to be warned about this small but toxic underworld thriving in the shadows of Amazon.com…keep in mind: my post here has nothing to do with authentic customer reviews on Amazon, both positive and negative. I’m talking about a little subculture that specializes in trying to lecture, browbeat and humiliate authors. They are gangster bullies. These people desperately want a place at the table in the world of books and readers, and they have worked their way into the Amazon system like termites in a beautiful wooden structure. Beware.”
Rice also linked to a well-known website that focuses on the bullying issue, StopTheGRBullies.com, which highlighted through screenshots several comments directed at–and responded to by–Rice herself on forums where she attempted to defend authors’ rights to write and publish their works without being subjected to personal negativity.
Rice has supported authors’ craft through a variety of discussions on Amazon boards on many different topics, but those discussions are now closed. Many reviewers and authors have spoken out on the topic of online aggressive behavior and have called out for Amazon to take action against the practice. While sites like Goodreads have evaluated and adapted their terms of service in an attempt to foster only healthy and constructive book discussion, Rice’s post on the topic opens the door for further discussion on what steps still need to be taken.
While companies like Coursera are seeing a current wave of interest and participation in the US, Europe trailed behind in the availability of MOOC choices for students of all demographics. Now, Berlin-based iversity is working to change that, and has already enjoyed some measure of success by increasing its enrollment to over half a million registered class users in just the first four months of its launch. Even more interesting is the fact that iversity, which began with twenty-four courses to choose from, has only grown to offer twenty-eight classes in that time period.
But one of the common denominators that plagues MOOC companies is the surge of interest in enrollment, but the very pathetic fizzling out of students along the way, leading to less than ideal completion. iversity has now finished its first virtual semester, and only achieved a four percent completion rate.
An article on the company for TechCrunch does offer some hope for MOOC success though. While the article points out one of the inherent obstacles to MOOC participating in Europe, namely that higher education in the EU is typically far less expensive than in the US and therefore does not carry the financial burden that makes MOOCs so popular in America, Natasha Lomas explains that letting users choose to pay for final accreditation for their efforts in the online class can lead more students to see the purpose in completion. As more and more MOOC providers ink deals with major universities to provide learning options to a range of students, initial participation may surge once again but completion can also rise.
Half Million MOOC Users Sign Up for Europe’s iversity is a post from: Good e-Reader
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Publisher’s Weekly has been at least trying to keep attention in front of consumers on the ongoing loss of bookstores, often using its social media platforms to remind users of stores that are shuttering. But today, the magazine had some news of hope to share for community bookstores in the form of an article about author James Patterson’s one-man effort to support independent booksellers with his personal grant funding.
Called the $1Million Indie Bookstore Campaign, Patterson stated early last September that he was personally providing one million dollars in funding to eligible bookstores who applied for and received a grant through the campaign. Eligibility only requires that the bookstore be an actual operating bookseller and that it have a children’s section. So far, grants have been applied for through Patterson’s website for everything from educational programs, property taxes and physical repairs to stores, and in one case, a book fair-style retrofitted bus that the shop can take to schools to foster kids’ interest in reading.
According to PW’s article, the first installment of payouts for the grants has now happened, to the tune of over $250,000 dollars. While a complete list of the stores that have already received their grants–in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000–is available in the article, suffice to say that the list is quite long.
Patterson’s publisher, Hachette, is supportive of the author’s decision to support bookstores in this way, but is quick to point out that this is a labor of love that Patterson has taken on all by himself. The publisher’s representatives do encourage their stores to learn more about the grant and apply, but they do not influence the selection or fund Patterson’s project.
But why would an author go to these lengths, especially on his own? The answer he gave in an interview with the magazine is quite remarkable: "The future of books in America is at risk. Bookstore traffic is down. Kids aren't reading as many books. I want to really shine a light and draw attention to the fact that this is a tricky time. The government will protect the automobile industry and the banking industry, but not books."
James Patterson Provides $1M to Save Indie Bookstores is a post from: Good e-Reader
Follett has launched 17,000 ebook titles for students in preK through 12th grades as a result of its new partnership with Penguin Group USA. This also marks the fifth major partnership that Follett has forged in the past six months, with others being Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan. Follett specializes in the supply of quality educational material to schools, colleges, and public libraries, and this latest agreement will no doubt boost its appeal in the segment.
“This partnership allows Follett to continue its mission of supporting student learning by providing access to the best content and materials, whether print or digital,” said Tom Schenck, President and COO, Follett School Solutions. “Penguin’s publishing lists include hundreds of the world's most widely read authors, which is why we are pleased to be able to offer this collection to our customers.”
Tim McCall, Vice President of Online Sales and Marketing at Penguin, said, “Penguin is looking forward to making our catalog of ebooks available to Follett and to its school library customers.”
The PR link below contains the complete details:
Follett today announced it has launched a collection of nearly 17,000 ebook titles for PreK-12 students from Penguin Group (USA). Penguin is the fifth major book publisher to partner with Follett in the past six months, joining Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.
(Logo: The Penguin collection is available now through Titlewave, Follett's collection development, search and ordering tool that provides access to more than 270,000 ebook titles to PreK-12 schools nationwide.
"This partnership allows Follett to continue its mission of supporting student learning by providing access to the best content and materials, whether print or digital," said Tom Schenck, President and COO, Follett School Solutions. "Penguin's publishing lists include hundreds of the world's most widely read authors, which is why we are pleased to be able to offer this collection to our customers."
Tim McCall, Penguin's Vice President of Online Sales and Marketing, said, "Penguin is looking forward to making our catalog of ebooks available to Follett and to its school library customers." Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House company, is a leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publisher.
Among Penguin's popular PreK-12 titles available through Follett include, "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, "The Westing Game" by Ellen Rasking, "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl, "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor, "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green, "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, and "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.
With books increasingly moving to digital formats, Follett has been at the forefront of the transition with tools and solutions that help customers access and integrate the new forms of content within schools. Follett Shelf is the virtual bookshelf most used by schools to access ebooks, while Follett Enlight provides students with a consistent and easy-to-use ebook reading environment on their desktops, tablets and smartphones, and allows users to add notes and highlights and then view them anywhere they have access to their Follett Shelf account.
Today, more than 29 million students and educators in 42,000 schools worldwide use ebooks provided by Follett.
Amazon has opened up its Amazon Coins for use outside of the Kindle Fire tablet range. Amazon’s virtual currency will now be compatible with other Android smartphones and tablet devices. However, the coins can only be used to make purchases from the Android App Store. Further, this is valid only for the countries where Amazon has launched the virtual currency, which includes the US, UK, and Germany.
This virtual currency launched last year in the US, and was later expanded to the UK and Germany. The online retail giant encouraged Kindle Fire tablet users to make their purchases using the Amazon coins, throwing in various incentives in the process. For instance, every Kindle Fire purchase came bundled with 500 coins free, which otherwise will cost $5. Further, purchases made using Amazon coins incur a discount of 10 percent. Users also get to earn the coins when downloading some specific apps or after having reached a particular level in some games.
Amazon introduced Amazon coins as alters the buyer's mindset; they are led to believe they are spending virtual currency and not real dollars. Also, with the coins sold in batches of 500 for $5 or 1,000 for $10, users can feel like they are getting a lot of the virtual currency to play with for little actual money. The aim has been to make users to spend more by simplifying the buying process. Unleashing the currency on the entire Android family of smartphone and tablet devices is no doubt a step in the right direction in achieving much higher levels of transactions.
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I went to a baseball match in Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago. (Go Diamondbacks!) It’s a remarkable cultural experience if you’re not American: and I am grateful to the man next to me who put up with a stream of questions (“Why has that number just gone up? Why isn’t he MOVING? Why does it stop every ten minutes? What is that giant plush hotdog thing? What sort of country carpets its stadia and serves beer at games? How is his leg doing that?”) not by killing me, as he must have been sorely tempted to do, but by sharing his packet of salted sunflower seeds.
I was reminded just how superficial my understanding of American institutions like baseball (or monster trucks, or roller derby, or that thing they call “football” that isn’t) is, and how much of that understanding has been gained entirely from watching The Simpsons. That baseball match had everything: dancing mascots, footlong hot dogs, an organ playing “Take me out to the Ball Game”, and a t-shirt cannon, just like the one that killed Maude Flanders. (This is not a spoiler. Maude Flanders died nearly fifteen years ago.)
Since that baseball game (where none of the t-shirts made it in my direction) I have had the odd daydream about owning a t-shirt cannon. It’d be great. I could use it to clothe people a long way away. David Bryan and a Raspberry Pi have made it all possible.
You’ll need a lot of PVC tubing, an understanding of both Pi the computer and Pi the irrational number, a compressed air tank…and sprinkler valves. Dave’s cannon’s not just a hobby project: it sees regular use at Minnesota Rollergirls events.
Dave has written a superb how-to, with detailed diagrams, parts lists, some help with the maths you’ll need, an explanation of how he came to the engineering decisions he made, all the necessary code, and much more. I must check up on the legality of letting the work experience kids near compressed air: we could use one of these ourselves for events.
Thank you Dave! (If you like the way Dave does things check out his cat feeder, which we featured here last year) – and RIP Maude Flanders.