E-books in the news

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, p. B1, Barnes & Noble Challenges Amazon’s Kindle, by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Geoffrey A. Fowler.

“The biggest news here is the multi-channel integration of [Barnes& Noble’s] physical store and e-book store via the iPhone ,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. “It makes use of B&N’s biggest asset: the brick-and-mortar store.”

. . .

Mountain View, Calif.-based Plastic Logic is targeting its e-book reader for the business audience, . . .

 

The New York Times, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, p. B1, “Barnes & Noble Plans An Extensive E-Bookstore,” by Motoko Rich.

. . . Barnes & Noble said that it would offer more than 700,000 books that could be read on a wide range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, the BlackBerry and various . . .  computers. . . .

More than 500,000 of the books now offered electronically on BN.com can be downloaded free, through an agreement with Google to provide electronic versions of public domain books that Google has scanned from university libraries. Sony announced a similar deal in March to offer the public domain books on its Reader device.

E-book momentum

A front-page, above-the-fold story in today’s New York Times about e-books suggests that the devices are finding new readership and acceptance.

According to the story, “Turning Page, E-Books Start To Take Hold,” by Brad Stone and Motoko Rich, “[m]any Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-bound demographic. . . . the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds.”

The story concludes with a quote from a book reader who “once railed against e-readers” and who now is “in love with [her Kindle].”

But it’s not just the Kindle.  According to the Times:

Amazon.com’s popular Kindle is unavailable until February, creating an opening for Sony’s Reader . . . The increased competition could signal the public’s acceptance of the idea of reading longer texts on a portable digital device.

In addition to the Kindle and Sony Reader, the story makes reference to e-book applications and devices from Apple (iPhone), Fictionwise, Scroll Motion, Plastic Logic, Polymer Vision, Foxit Software, and E Ink.

The Future of Reading and Researching the Pacific Northwest tree octopus

Today’s New York Times has a front-page feature “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?,” by Motoko Rich.  “This is the first in a series of articles that will look at how the Internet and other technological and social forces are changing the way people read.”  The article contains numerous instances of using the internet for research and the resulting potential liabilities; for example:

Web readers are persistently weak at judging whether information is trustworthy.  In one study, Donald J. Leu, who researches literacy and technology at the University of Connecticut, asked 48 students to look at a spoof Web site (http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/) about a mythical species known as the “Pacific Northwest tree octopus.” Nearly 90 percent of them missed the joke and deemed the site a reliable source.

The article also mentions Nicholas Carr’s article in The Atlantic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” the subject of a post here, Jet Ski research” – Is Google Making Us Stoopid?  The New York Times article offers a good example of some “Jet Ski research” as performed by a 16-year old boy:

When researching the 19th-century Chief Justice Roger B. Taney for one class, he typed Taney’s name into Google and scanned the Wikipedia entry and other biographical sites.  Instead of reading an entire page, he would type in a search word like “college” to find Taney’s alma mater, assembling his information nugget by nugget.