Category Archives: e-book

Standards and Formats

Not quite the venue, but quite close....

Today I delivered a presentation at The 12th Annual Ebooks Conference in Edinburgh in Scotland. Flying up from Bristol, just for the day, I gave a 40 minute talk (with questions) on a layman’s guide to ebook standards and formats.

One thing I wanted to get across, was that many of the problems that causes users to have problems with their devices is because of wider issues. These wider issues impact on format problems.

EPUB, Mobi, PDF, iBooks – what does it all mean for readers of digital content? This session takes a layman’s look at proprietary formats and standards in ebooks helping us to make sense of it all.

Obviously in 40 minutes it was challenging to cover everything in detail, but one thing I did do (which I hadn’t done for a while) was live tweet references, URLs and pictures as I was presenting.

I used Keynote Tweet 2 which is a little Applescript that tweets the text from the notes field from a Keynote presentation. I used it for the first time when I delivered the Ascilite 2009 Keynote.

When Twitter moved from basic authentication to OAuth this broke Keynote Tweet.

Using this guide, I installed Ruby, used twurl instead of curl and today it worked.

What I like about Keynote Tweet is that it is perfectly timed with the presentation timings, no need to set up or automate tweets in advance.

Overall I was pleased with my presentation and the rest of the day was interesting and there was a fair bit to think about as a result.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #087 : Are you a glue sniffing, magic mushroom addict?

Old Books

What is the current landscape of ebooks in education? What is the future of ebooks? Where are we going?

With James Clay and Zak Mensah.

This is the 87th e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Are you a glue sniffing, magic mushroom addict?

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Are you a glue sniffing, magic mushroom addict?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Everything is out…

Old Books

When I visit my local library and look for a specific book, I might be lucky and it’s on the shelf, if I am less lucky it’s not at my local library, but is available from another library. If I am unlucky then someone else has borrowed it and though I can out in a reservation, I have to wait until it is returned.

This is one of the disadvantages of having just a single copy of a printed book. Of course one of the advantages of the digital ebook is that it would be possible to make and lend it to as many people who wanted it… or so you would have thought.

My local library service, LibrariesWest have recently launched an ebook lending library. It uses Adobe Digital Editions so works fine with the Bluefire Reader app on the iPad, so no need to worry about having a proprietary ebook reader.

However I was a little taken aback when I looked at the range of books available to find that most of them were out on loan!

All out on loan

I couldn’t actually download a digital version of the book I wanted as it was on loan to somebody else. Now the reality isn’t that the digital file is on someone else’s computer and not available, no of course this is a DRM limitation placed on the library service by the publishers.

The publishers have taken the traditional business model they have used with libraries before with printed books and applied it to digital ebooks.

So if someone “borrows” an ebook, then it is not available to anyone else. This isn’t a technical restriction, it’s a business choice.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the business model only allows the books to be borrowed for a certain number of times before it “wears out”.

I am sure that LibrariesWest could spend a lot more money and have ebooks that can be borrowed by multiple users all at the same time.

What this does tell us, is that we are still at the start of the ebook lending model and at this stage publishers are trying to duplicate a traditional business model in the online world. As with a lot of other traditional business models, this will change at some point in the future.

eBooks go Mobile at TurboTEL

Sony eBook Reader

At the recent JISC RSC SW TurboTEL 2012 conference I delivered a presentation based on one I delivered at a CILIP Excecutive Briefing on e-Books.

Through the use of a number of mobile devices James will give an overview of how the FE sector is promoting their e-book collections through mobile technologies and how this can enhance the learning experience and extend the access and use of e-books.

You can hear a recording of the CILIP presentation as part of the e-Learning Stuff podcast that covers much of what I covered at the TurboTEL event, but in a lot more detail!

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #086: Do you like books, or do you like reading?

#ebooksuwe2012 #366photos

I delivered the keynote at e-Books: Experiences and Future Directions, A Joint Higher Education and NHS Event for Library Staff held at UWE in Bristol.

What are the challenges and issues when it comes to the embedding and use of ebooks in libraries?

With James Clay.

This is the 86th e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Do you like books, or do you like reading?

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Do you like books, or do you like reading?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes