Friday, March 14, 2014

Amazon Relaunches Kindle Installment Program

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Amazon rolled out an installment plan for a single tablet last December. It allowed users to make a small down payment and then a series of monthly payments until the balance was paid off. It looks like Amazon was happy with the way it all turned out, because they are making it a regular feature across their entire product line of Kindles.

Residents of the USA can put a down payment of 1/5 of the total cost of the Kindle Fire HDX or the Kindle Paperwhite. After it’s shipped out, you simply have to make a series of 5 small payments.

The basic Kindle can be yours for a minimum payment of $13.99 a month, which is something any kid can afford with a paper route or selling lemonade. To be eligible for this offer, you must reside in the United States of America, your Amazon.com account must have been active for at least two years and you must have a valid credit card associated with your Amazon.com account that expires no earlier than June 30, 2014. Residents of Florida and the District of Columbia are not eligible for this offer.

Amazon Relaunches Kindle Installment Program is a post from: Good e-Reader

Learning through gaming

Allen Heard, Head of Computing at Ysgol Bryn Elian in North Wales (that’s Welsh for Bryn Elian School), is visiting us at Pi Towers today. We’ve been talking about making Computing fun to learn, and how to make sure that kids remember what they’ve done in their lessons – and perhaps even keep learning at home.

Allen’s been running Tech-Dojo events in North Wales, which have been attracting hundreds of kids – on Saturdays! Here’s what he’s been doing: note the Flappy Bird clones the kids are writing in Scratch, the use of Minecraft, the way kids are learning about pixel art by building recognisable sprites out of beads, and other ways he’s bringing out the kids’ ability to think programatically through building games and the fundamental elements of games.

A few months ago, Allen entered these Tech-Dojo events into the North Wales e-Learning Technology Competition for projects that engage with the local community. He’s just heard that the project won first prize in its category, and will present it to educators from across North Wales at an event at Glynd┼Ár University, St Asaph, next week. We’re very excited: we think this sort of model of education’s great for kids who find traditional learning dry, and the results the kids are achieving speak for themselves. Congratulations Allen: we look forward to seeing similar events rolling out across Wales, and further into the UK!

Young People will Spend More on eBooks in 2014

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The youth of today are spending more on eBooks than ever before, but are resistant to the idea of a dedicated e-Reader. Instead, they are gravitating towards smartphones and tablets for their digital reading.

A new report from Voxburner surveyed 1,544  young adults, ranging from 16-24 in the United Kingdom. Apparently only 5% of young people expect to buy an e-Reader in the next 12 months. This is compared to the 24% of respondents who expect to buy a tablet and  40% who are expecting to upgrade their smartphone.

However a more positive revelation for ebook publishers is that 26% of young folk expect their spending on eBooks to increase this year. This rises to 29% among female respondents, although significantly falls to 18% among young males. Not very surprising that young girls are leading the charge with digital reading adoption.

Many publishing companies, such as Hachette are now seeing 30% of their entire revenue stream derive from eBooks. There is no denying they are popular with adults, but youth are still resistant to it. 62% of the respondents have said that they still prefer to hold books as a physical product rather than in digital format, whilst one fifth of 16-24s feel that they don’t want to be restricted to a particular device, such as the Kindle, which prevents books from being shared with friends easily.

Luke Mitchell, Head of Insight at Voxburner shared some insights on why young adults are not embracing digital reading. One compelling point was “They don’t have an e-reader. Almost half of 16-24s do not own a device they would consider reading ebooks on. A quarter say they would read an ebook on their smartphone if they really wanted to.” He went on to finalize “They simply resent being enslaved to technology. Contrary to belief, new Voxburner research into youth attitudes to technology reveals that digital natives do not want to spend any more time looking at screens that they already do.

Young People will Spend More on eBooks in 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Pottermore Posts New Unpubished Content from JK Rowling

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JK Rowling, whose wizarding world of Harry Potter has breathed new life into an entire generation of readers when it first appeared, is still a beloved book series to the original fans and to new readers who continue to discover the books and movies. Rowling’s digital site, Pottermore, continues to grow in membership as new features and content adaptations are created.

Now, Rowling has released through the site a new piece of content that first appeared just as a mention in one of her original Harry Potter books. “History of the Quidditch World Cup” is only mentioned in passing as a reading material in Harry’s world, but now Rowling has written the title and published it on Pottermore, making it one of the longest pieces of new content to appear on the site.

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to publish such an imaginative and engaging story from J.K. Rowling about the history of the Wizarding world's most exciting sport," said Susan L. Jurevics, Chief Executive Officer, Pottermore. "We're committed to being the only digital destination where fans can discover new original content about the world of Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling. 'History of the Quidditch World Cup' helps us not only fulfill that mission, but it also serves to entertain and delight our community."

The first portion of the book is available on the site now, and the second installment will appear on March 21st.

Pottermore Posts New Unpubished Content from JK Rowling is a post from: Good e-Reader

Math books for Pi Day

March 14 was a pretty big day when I was in elementary school. We had classroom parties where we would play elaborate games and eat apple and blueberry pies until we were stuffed. Prizes were awarded, and all of the kids had a blast. Unbeknownst to us at the time, we were learning valuable skills that we would use for the rest of our lives.  I feel very grateful that I had such amazing teachers that made learning math so much fun. Many, many, many years later, I still text my brother and wish him a Happy Pi Day every March 14.

In honor of Pi Day, we have created a great list of Mathematics books that your patrons and students are sure to enjoy. If you need a refresher course on the basics or some Advanced Calculus help, we've got you covered. Looking for fun games to help your kids learn or have you finally decided to learn the proper way to calculate a tip? These books are for you.

When you click the link below, it will show up as a Marketplace search result and you'll be able to easily add the titles to a cart.

Math Books for Pi Day

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If you would like more suggestions, your Collection Development Specialist is available to help create recommended lists. Email collectionteam@overdrive.com for more information today!

*Some titles may have limited regional or platform availability.

 

Rachel Somerville is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive.

OverDrive Catalog Adds Digital Texts from Pearson

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One of the main frustrations with the digital textbook market is the lack of penetration in public schools at the elementary and secondary level. While the convenience and affordability of digital texts have been available in higher education institutions for some time, it is the tax funded public schools who are still waiting for the benefits that come from digital adoption.

Now, digital content provider to libraries and schools OverDrive has inked a partnership with Pearson to provide the company’s eTexts to its partner academic and public school library members.

"Providing students, parents and community members digital access to our instructional materials in schools, colleges and public libraries around the world is one more way that Pearson is ensuring that all learners can achieve the results they need to be ready for college or careers," said Larry Singer, Managing Director of Pearson's School group, in a press release.

Some of the titles that will now be available through this partnership include Prentice Hall United States History, Prentice Hall Economics, enVisionMATH Common Core, myWorld Social Studies K-5, Writing Coach, Interactive Science K-8, AP* French, along with other textbook titles.

"Enabling student access to digital textbooks continues to be a priority for OverDrive," said Don Fabricant, Chief Sales Officer and General Manager for Education at OverDrive. "Pearson is a leading provider of educational titles, and this partnership represents a significant advancement in eBook materials for educators and students."

This program will come as a welcome relief to schools who are already struggling to provide up-to-date material in a cost effective way to K-12 students.

OverDrive Catalog Adds Digital Texts from Pearson is a post from: Good e-Reader

Corporation Primary School in Singapore to Set Up Own Digital Library

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The Corporation Primary School in Jurong West, Singapore, is in the process of setting up a digital library of its own. The new library will be a first of its kind in a school in Singapore and will initially host about 5,000 fiction and non-fiction ebook titles. The e-library is expected to launch by the end of this month and will be open first to the lower primary students before before reaching other patrons later.

Authorities believe will this appeal to the tech savvy students who'd like to read books off a device, and a digital library is expected to spur the habit of reading among the students from an early age. This will also save the students the trouble of traveling to the school library each time they are in need of a book or to renew. All they need to do is to log in to the school library system to download the book on a compatible device, which can be a smartphone or a tablet.

However, not everyone is convinced of the benefits of having a digital library in place. As some parents have stated, they'd rather not have their kids introduced to technology at such an early age as they feel it can be glaring to the eyes.

Read about kid’s tablet usage issues here.

Corporation Primary School in Singapore to Set Up Own Digital Library is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Suspend Windows 8 App

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Nook Media may never have spun itself away from Barnes and Noble, if it wasn’t for the 300 million Microsoft committed to the enterprise. The main reason Microsoft invested the money was to see Windows 8 have a flagship e-reading app, that it could market internationally. Numerous pitfalls have besieged the Nation’s largest bookseller and new SEC filing has Barnes and Noble suspending development on their apps for Windows 8 and Windows phones.

Microsoft has been developing their own e-reading app called the
Microsoft Consumer Reader. Windows 8 already has a very basic reading app, but only supports the PDF, XPS and TIFF files.

Basically what is happening is Microsoft is leveraging the Nook Windows 8 technology and implementing into their own app. Instead of B&N making solid apps on their own, they are going to just make them directly FOR Microsoft. This is likely a wise move on the Redmond based company, as they have more staying power in the technology sector. Who knows where Nook Media will be in a few years. In the last few months they axed their executive staff, fired 190 people and cut back funding by over 74%. Saying things are a bit dire at B&N, would be stating the obvious.

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Suspend Windows 8 App is a post from: Good e-Reader