Le papier fait de la résistance à l’université (Should Universities Force E-Textbooks on Students?)

“Last month, USA Today reported that a few colleges and universities in the U.S. now require students to purchase e-textbooks instead of traditional textbooks. The USA Today article noted that many of the students attending these colleges are opposed to being obligated to buy e-textbooks. Many of them prefer print textbooks, even though print books tend to be slightly more expensive.


serdaLAB – Bibliothèques: l’ALA publie un rapport sur les modèles économiques des e-books

L’American Library Association (ALA) a mis en ligne son rapport sur les modèles économiques des e-books pour les bibliothèques publiques. Ce rapport décrit les caractéristiques générales du marché actuel de l’e-book et met en évidence les contraintes et les restrictions des modèles économiques actuels. Il émet ensuite des suggestions aux éditeurs pour présenter leurs contenus dans les bibliothèques publiques.

Selon Robert Wolve, co-président de DCWG, aujourd’hui “aucun modèle n’offre les meilleures conditions pour toutes les bibliothèques et aucun ne sera adopté par tous les éditeurs et distributeurs. Ce rapport décrit les conditions que les bibliothèques devraient rechercher dans leurs accords avec les éditeurs et distributeurs, ainsi que celles qu’elles devraient éviter.”

Le DCWG recommande ainsi que trois grandes caractéristiques de base devraient se trouver dans tous les modèles économiques appliqués aux e-books:

–  l’inclusion de tous les titres : tous les titres d’e-books disponibles à la vente devraient aussi être disponibles dans les bibliothèques,
–  des droits durables :  les bibliothèques devraient avoir la possibilité de posséder effectivement les e-books qu’elles acquièrent, y compris le droit de les transférer à d’autres plate-formes et de les prêter indéfiniment,
–  l’intégration : les bibliothèques ont besoin d’avoir accès aux métadonnées et aux outils de gestion fournis par les éditeurs pour encourager la découverte des e-books.

Selon Maureen Sullivan, présidente de l’ALA, si les bibliothèques se verront peut-être obligées de renoncer temporairement à une ou deux de ces conditions, elles sont cependant toutes essentielles à terme. Concernant les e-books, les bibliothèques font face à de nombreuses contraintes et restrictions imposées par les éditeurs comme la limite du nombre de prêts, des prix variables, des ventes différées ou des restrictions sur les prêts inter-bibliothèques. 


Bruxelles pourrait imposer un format universel pour le livre électronique

“La Commission Européenne réfléchirait à la possibilité d’imposer aux éditeurs et fabricants de lecteurs de livres électroniques le respect d’un standard commun, qui assurerait une interopérabilité entre les plateformes et les matériels de lecture.”


Searching in ebooks: A unique use case that requires a unique approach

This is part of an ongoing series related to Peter Meyers’ project “Breaking the Page, Saving the Reader: A Buyer & Builder's Guide to Digital Books.” We’ll be featuring additional material in the weeks ahead. (Note: This post originally appeared on A New Kind of Book. It’s republished with permission.)

Not all ebook search monocles are equal. Options range from non-existent (Hey, Kobo! If there’s room in the programming budget for virtual reading awards like the Inverted Comma and the BookLover, then it’s time to spring for a search tool, too!), to roughly implemented (Nook), and from nicely polished (Kindle, iBooks) to fully instrumented (Inkling).

To help make sense of what works versus what doesn’t, consider first why readers search. If the title at hand is a reference or how-to book it's often to look up a specific ingredient or procedure. But those kinds of books aren't actually selling that well in eBookLand; publishers are turning those titles into apps. Instead, ebook fans are gobbling up narrative — fiction and non-fiction alike. Those titles all top the charts and so it's worth refining that earlier question: For narrative-style ebooks, why do readers search?

Often it’s for a quick lookup: a character we’re having trouble remembering, a plot twist we want a refresher on, a memorable quote. In each of these cases the searcher’s goal is quite different than what takes place during, for example, a traditional web search. There, you want to leave Google or Bing or wherever. In a book, by contrast, you just want a quick answer … and then an equally quick return to where you left off.

So with that in mind, let’s start off with what I would argue is a not particularly good search implementation. Here’s what a reader sees when searching on the Nook iPad app:

How’s a reader supposed to decide which of these results is the one she wants? Think about how cumbersome it is to tap each item, get whisked off to its location, and then have to navigate back to the starting spot. What a pain. In a print book, at least you’ve got fingers, bookmarks, or a coaster to hold your spot as you leaf around (reviewing index entries, for example). But in an ereader device, the disruption readers suffer after following a link is significant.

Especially for folks in search of a memory jiggle, the most important thing a search tool can do, then, is help quickly decide which result contains the answer they’re looking for. So this means designing a search tool that:

  1. Returns accurate results (duh)
  2. Presents these results with plenty of surrounding context
  3. Highlights the term clearly on the destination page
  4. Makes it easy to quickly return to the original reading position

If 1) and 2) are done well, there are plenty of cases where the reader never has to deal with 3) and 4). So a big part of making a search tool helpful happens in the results list itself. Make it big enough and you bring joy to the reader: they get the memory nudge they need and can get back to the passage where they stopped reading. Some of this stuff is fairly straightforward and can already be found in a few of the more polished e-reading systems.

Consider, for example, the iBooks app on the iPad.

You get a generous sampling of text surrounding the found term (which is itself clearly visible in boldface) making it easy to skim the list and find the result you’re looking for. You also get a tally of the number of times the term was found. For students and other researchers this can be a big help, as they often want a search tool to function like a print book’s index: to help perform a comprehensive review of a particular person or concept. And once the reader taps a result, the page he arrives at displays the term highlighted in yellow. Nice.

But there’s more, still, that can be done. More that a morphable digital screen can do … all in the service of trying to maintain a reader’s flow and minimize the page flipping required on devices that have proven themselves to be pretty poor page flippers.

Here, for example, is one possible solution I’ve sketched out, modeled on the “page preview” feature popularized by Bing, and now used by Google and plenty of other web search sites. (In case you haven’t seen it, it’s where you hover your mouse over any item on a typical search results page and up pops a small window showing the web page you’d see if you follow the search result link; it’s a great timesaver when you’re reviewing a list of results since it lets you do a quick visual skim before clicking any link.)

Proposed design for improved ebook search results
Click to enlarge

Rather than sending the reader to the search result, the idea here is to fetch the result for them. The results list appears just as it ordinarily does in, say, the Kindle app. But there’s that tiny “Show More” option; when tapped, it unfurls the result, increasing the viewable preview. In many cases that’s all a reader needs. For those who need more, the search term remains active and can be tapped to see the target page in full. By giving readers a quick way to review, temporarily, extra content like this, digital books can help preserve the immersive state that a great book induces.

Another way to improve the search results list: sortable search results. Here again progress made in the world of web search can improve how things work within a book. By letting the reader sort the results list in different ways a seemingly overwhelming heap can be reduced to something more manageable. iPad textbook publisher Inkling provides some handy design work in this area.

The tabs at top let the reader sort according to relevance (a software-driven guess at what's most important), content order (where the result occurs, ordered from start of book to finish), and type (audio, video, text, and so on). At the bottom of the search pane two other tabs let the reader switch between chapters they own and the entire book (Inkling sells chapters individually). This last twist is clever — half reader service and half marketing. Because the tool lists a meaningful snippet of the found term, someone searching for, say, bassoon, might see that there’s a video demo of that instrument in a chapter they haven’t yet purchased. Good stuff.

My main takeaway: by all means, let readers search. But give ’em tools that let them get back to what they’re reading as quickly as possible.

TOC Frankfurt 2011 — Being held on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, TOC Frankfurt will feature a full day of cutting-edge keynotes and panel discussions by key figures in the worlds of publishing and technology.

Save 100€ off the regular admission price with code TOC2011OR


[from sentinelle] Google Partners With iRiver to Make eReader

Google just announced on its blog that it's partnering with hardware maker iRiver to release the first e-reader device with built-in Google eBookstore support.

The e-reader device is called the iRiver Story HD and looks like the first generation Amazon Kindle, but with bronze buttons.

Using the Story HD, you'll be able to buy books from the Google eBookstore, a first for a dedicated e-reader device.

Before, you could buy books from the Google eBookstore and then read them on your phone or tablet.

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PEW Research suggests surge in e-Reader purchases

A new research report from PEW suggests that e-Reader growth has surged since late last year (PEW):

The share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May, 2011 from 6% in November 2010. E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals. This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults.

Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—havehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif not seen the same level of growth in recent months. In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom. This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010. Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.

Growth over time

Download the full report.

Announcing the Open Library redesign « The Open Library Blog

We’re very excited to announce the “soft launch” of our brand new Open Library site! This is version 1 of a reconstructed Open Library, and we’re going to keep it “soft” at a special URL until we’re sure it’s stable enough to make the final transition to


(Thinking about) Open Access eBooks

As e-books emerge into the public consciousness, “Open Access”, a concept already familiar to scholarly publishers and academic libraries, will play an increasing role for all sorts of publishers and libraries. This chapter discusses what Open Access means in the context of e-books, how Open Access e-books can be supported, and the roles that Open Access e-books will play in libraries and in our society.