Category Archives: e-book

Kindle coming to the UK

According to a report on the Mobile Today website, Amazon’s e-Book reader, the Kindle is coming to the UK.

Amazon is close to finalising a launch date for its ‘Kindle’ electronic book reader in the UK and is in advanced negotiations with a mobile operator for an MVNO, Mobile  understands.

The online retail giant has made a major play for ebooks to protect the business against the likes of Apple and Google disrupting the traditional book market.

Amazon is understood to have outsourced all aspects of manufacturing for the Kindle in the UK to Qualcomm, including securing ‘connectivity’ with
a mobile operator in the UK.

I have mentioned before that I have used Sony’s e-Book Reader and that I would have preferred the Kindle. Well soon it looks like I might be able to make that choice.

Are e-books the new newspapers?

BBC Click asks the question are e-books the new newspapers?

Electronic book readers are still a minority pursuit for book lovers, but the devices have the potential to become the norm one day.

With newspapers in crisis, there are now suggestions that e-books might offer journalism a new portable platform and subscription model.

Read more.

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Sony eBook Reader – First Impressions

Though I would have preferred a Kindle, in the end (as the Kindle is not available in the UK) we ordered some Sony eBook readers for assesment and evaluation at the college to see if they would be of any use for our learners. We got the Sony PRS 505 eBook Reader model.

Sony eBook Reader - First Impressions

So what are my first impressions then?

I did like the size and weight and the fact that it came with a leather case. It felt right and looked good.

Then I was initially disappointed that there was no native Mac support. Sony eBook Library is not officially supported on Mac OS X or Linux based systems, although when the device is connected it grants access to its internal flash memory as though it were a USB Mass Storage device allowing the user to transfer files directly. There are some third party applications and I have found (but not yet tried) Docudesk PRS Browser for the Mac.

So once I had access to a Windows PC, I installed the software, though I had to charge the device first. The device is charged by USB, though it has a 5V charging socket, it does not come with a charger (but the PSP one fits and works fine, not sure if I should recommend that).

After configuring I installed the “free” hundred classic books which come with the device and at this point not worry about buying any eBooks. I have been recommended to use WHSmith over Waterstones as WHSmith is “cheaper”.

The process of reading a book is quite simple and the screen is easy to read. I haven’t had a chance to read a whole book, but initial impressions was that the screen was not going to be too hard on the eyes. The controls are relatively simple, but there is no touchscreen (and as I am use to PDAs and the iPod touch) it was difficult not to touch or swipe the screen.

The Sony Reader can also show pictures (admittedly in greyscale) and play audio files.

So why would you want to use an eBook reader?

Well though you can use eBooks on a regular computer or laptop, the battery life on eBook readers is a lot longer and therefore will probably last the week unlike a laptop which would probably only last the morning.

It should also be possible (with SD Card and Memory Stick slots) to “give” students all their learning materials, assignments, etc as eBooks so there would be no need to download stuff from the institutional VLE.

Why would you use this over a laptop?

Personally I wouldn’t. I would more likely use it in conjunction with a laptop, using the Reader to read source material and the laptop to write it. I also think this would stop or deter the learner from potentially plagiarising a source by copying and pasting.

Overall my first impressions are very positive and I think it is a great device. Whether I will use it and use it extensively has yet to be seen.

Sony eBook Reader

We have been looking at e-Books for a while now, but of course we currently don’t have anything except computers (and mobile devices) to read them with.

Here in the UK we are unable to get Amazon’s Kindle though that may change on the future.

I have previously mentioned Sony’s e-Book Reader before, Mobile Tech Review have a review of the new PRS-700 model.

I am in the process of ordering some for work, so will let you know how I get on when it arrives.

School to give out e-textbooks

Though e-Books have been around for a while I found this article from The Register interesting.

A London school’s pencilled in plans to ditch old-style textbooks because it wants pupils to swot up using mobile phones instead.

The Hackney City Academy, which is due to open in September 2009, plans to put PDF copies of its textbooks onto its intranet, from where pupils can access the books directly from their handsets or laptops. Pupils can then save content and read it as and when they wish.

School to give out e-textbooks

Now though I am an e-learning person I am not an e-learning fanatic!

In less than ten years every book that has ever been published will be available online to borrow for free (probably).

Even if this is the case I know I will still read books.

Books did not kill the spoken word. Radio did not destroy books. Television has not seen the demise of radio. The Web has not crumbled television.

e-Resources won’t replace printed resources they will add and enhance them.

For news for example: I still read newspapers, I still listen to the Today programme on Radio 4, I watch BBC News on the TV, I look at the websites of traditional broadcast media for news, I read and subscribe to blogs, and I also find out about news via Twitter.

I still read books.

Picture source.

Sony’s Reader to be available in the UK

Here in the UK we have been unable to get hold of Amazon’s Kindle we will soon be able to get hold of Sony’s Reader for eBooks.

Reader doesn’t have to replace your traditional books – it’s just a new way of enjoying reading. With Reader you can carry far more books with you wherever you go, so whatever mood takes you you’ll have a book that fits it. And using Reader couldn’t be simpler:

When you buy a Reader, install the supplied software on your computer, connect Reader to it with the cable provided and voila! Create and manage your eBook library on your PC and transfer your eBooks to Reader exactly like you do with your music on your mp3 player.

Need a new book? Choose from around 25 000 titles available from waterstones.com the online store of Britain’s best-loved bookseller. Simply buy the ones you want and import them into your PC’s Reader library.

Store up to 160 books at a time on your Reader. If you’re a real bookworm add to your collection and store thousands more using a Sony Memory Stick Duo™ or SD memory card.

Bookmark pages or magnify text on a page; Reader will also remember where you last left off – even if you don’t.

It’s slim and light so you can take it with you wherever you go and the long battery life means you can enjoy nearly 7000 page turns without recharging – that’s like reading War and Peace five times over.

Reader (model PRS-505) will be available from early September.

So why would you want to use an eBook reader?

Well though you can use eBooks on a regular computer or laptop, the battery life on eBook readers is a lot longer and therefore will probably last the week unlike a laptop which would probably only last the morning.

Thanks Engadget.

Kindling

Amazon’s Kindle is proving quite popular.

Due to heavy customer demand, Kindle is temporarily sold out. We are working hard to manufacture Kindles as quickly as possible and are prioritizing orders on a first come, first served basis. Please ORDER KINDLE NOW to reserve your place in line. We will keep you informed by email as we get more precise delivery dates. Note that Kindles cannot currently be sold or shipped to customers living outside of the U.S.

Some are going for silly money on eBay, but I guess it won’t be long before they are available once more.

Of course they aren’t available in the UK at all, I wonder if we will ever see a UK version of the Kindle?

Innovating e-Learning Conference e-Books

One of the problems with being off work for a while is you do miss a few things, so catching up on the JISC website I was pleased to see that the e-Books from the 2007 Innovating e-Learning Conference had been published online.

‘Institutional transformation’ and ‘supporting lifelong learning’ were the themes of the JISC online conference held earlier this year and two conference e-books have been published today to reflect both of these themes.

You can download the books from this page (scroll down).

You can read the outcomes of the joint presentation I delivered and the discussion  that followed on Personal technologies and the future of learning in chapter five of book one.

Innovating e-Learning Conference e-Books

The books make for interesting reading if you missed (or even just missed parts of) the conference and are a useful reminder of what was discussed for those that took part.