Link Smorgasbord, April 8 - 14

Indie Bookstore Sales of Kobo Ebooks Dwarf Google; Still Small
A bit about the small, but solid, niche that Kobo has found for itself enabling small bookstores to sell ebooks and ereaders.

The title pretty much says it all, Germany is not the first country to find the patent invalid.

Ebook software package allows professors to monitor student's "engagement index" - frequency of textbook use, note taking, highlighting, time spent using text book, etc.  The potential upsides - teachers may be able to help students pinpoint study habit issues, and possible better flow of information in future textbook editions or possibly better choices in future text book purchases.  Potential downsides - "engagement index" with textbooks has quite clearly in the trial run not necessarily had correlation to class performance, it can give an incorrect or overgeneralized view of a student, and it can give the wrong feedback on the course itself.  At the end of the article the teacher wonders if he's not challenging his students enough (based on textbook "engagement"), he could also actually be teaching them very well or providing very clear notes, it is never as simple as "how much time did someone spend interacting with their assigned reading?"  I find the idea a bit too invasive and "Big Brother"-ish, and it does upset me to some extent that the students find that a comical aspect, but little more than that.

A fantastic Q&A with the author of Burning the Page: The Ebook Revolution and the Future of Reading on technology and reading.
So it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon’s first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” And this: “If you’re willing to overlook the fact that Big Brother won’t be a politician but an ad man and that he’ll have the face of Google.” Mr. Merkoski even has mixed feelings about Amazon, which he left two years ago. “It’s hard to love Amazon,” he notes. “Not the way we love Apple or a bookstore.”
Wow.  This is fantastic, we don't have the medical knowledge or experience to handle some of the things that come up.  Also a fantastic resource since people regularly call the library asking about clinics or doing further research on medical conditions.  Sometimes you need someone other than your doctor that you can just go up to and get consultations from.
Public libraries have long been the go-to place to borrow books, attend classes or log on to public computers. But over the last decade, they have also become shelters for people in need, including the mentally ill, battered women, latchkey kids and new immigrants.
Acknowledging that reality, libraries in Tucson, Ariz., have become the first in the nation to provide registered nurses along with their other services. Placing nurses in six branches is a nod to the widely accepted transition of public libraries into de facto community centers.
We don't have a nurse on staff, and we legally cannot give medical advice.  We can however direct people to resources on finding doctors or medical help.
Book Publishing After the JOBS Act Revolution
I discovered the blog Go To Hellman a few months back and have been following since.  He's writing in this post about something I had been completely out of touch with... the potential for opening up crowd-sourcing to businesses and allowing equity shares in return for crowd-sourcing.  As I this had existed previously under my radar, it made a great read, and I need to be paying attention to the possibilities it brings particularly in regards to publishing.

Saga #12 Banned by Apple : Latest issue banned for small depiction of gay sex.
And more on the Washington Post on the same story.
It's not the first time this has happened and it probably won't be the last, but following up Apple's ban of Image Comics' Sex #1 on Comixology's iOS app, Apple is now prohibiting sale of Saga #12. Why? According to writer Brian K. Vaughan, for two "postage stamp-sized" depictions of gay sex.

The Douglas County Libraries have been creating this report every month since at least this past September.  This current month's report has more availability in titles that libraries can purchase, and gives some hope for pricing.  What isn't shown in the chart is the ownership model associated with the titles.  Some have a 26 check out limit, some we "own", and so on and so forth.

Microsoft Game Director Adam Orth Resigns Following Xbox Comments
I'm not celebrating this, but I'm also not horribly surprised.  Our lives are becoming increasingly public, particularly if you are in a position of note (or even if you're a librarian with a sense of humor).  It's fun to rant and rave out things, including making outrageous statements.  My personal suspicion (and likely that of many others) is that Mr. Orth resigned under pressure.  This is purely conjecture on my part, but he would be far from the first professional to have done so.  I did find the tone


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