Espresso on demand – and that’s not coffee!

Xerox has entered the 21st Century publishing game, reaching a joint selling and marketing agreement with On Demand Books– the company that makes the amazing Espresso Book Machine that can churn out a book in a few minutes. There are only 21 stores and libraries that currently have the machines, but through this agreement, you can bet you’ll see more of them. On Demand hopes to get 80 machines in the world by the end of 2011.

(via GalleyCat and @creativepenn)

The Espresso Book Machine

Become a Kindle author!

The Amazon Kindle is not just a device for reading paperless books and newspapers. It’s also an ecosystem for writers who want to publish their works without dealing with book publishers.

In a recent CNet report, I found out that authors worldwide can now  self-publish Kindle versions of their books or documents. The self-publishing digital text platform, which allows writers to upload electronic versions of their books to Amazon’s e-book reader store, was previously limited to English and to authors based in the United States.

There’s a cost of course, and only 35% of the sales revenue ends up in your pocket – plus Amazon reserves the right to sell your book at a discount. Ouch!

Blogs and newspapers can also be read on the Kindle, but as  yet there’s no self-service way for bloggers to put their work on the Amazon store. Just as well!

Still, an interesting development don’t you think?

Local Books iPhone application!

Local Books is a new iPhone App which should be of interest to all book lovers. It’s powered by LibraryThing Local, the LibraryThing member-created database of 51,000 bookstores and libraries around the world.

Local Books is our contribution to keeping the book world interesting. Amazon and other online retailers are great. LibraryThing is great too. But book lovers can’t be happy in a world with fewer and fewer physical bookstores, and a rising threat to libraries. The more we know about this physical book world, the better we can foster it, and the better we can use websites like LibraryThing and Amazon to improve our world, not replace it.

This application is unique – as it draws on the power of a socially-connected and created resources. We have the chance to increase the value of the App too.

I’ve downloaded it – tested – and it works a treat!!

More details from the LibraryThing Blog:

How You Can Help. Even with 51,000 venues, not every bookstore and library is in LibraryThing. If you know of one that’s not in there, go ahead and add it. If you represent the bookstore or library in question, you can “claim” your venue page, and start using LibraryThing to connect to your customers or patrons. Even if they’re all there, most are still missing something—a photograph, a phone number, a good description, a Twitter handle. Events—especially indie bookstores and libraries—are a particular need. It’s a virtuous cycle. The better we can make the data, the more people will find the application useful, and the more people who will make it better

Features include:

  • Search for venues (bookstores and libraries) as well as events near your current location using the iPhone’s built-in location features.
  • Search for venues and events at any location or by name.
  • Venues can be sorted by distance, name, or type.
  • Venues are color coded, following the maps on LibraryThing Local (colors correspond to the colors used on maps in LibraryThing Local).
  • Each venue has a detail page with a map. Tap it to jump to the iPhone Maps application.
  • Venues often sport a description, clickable website and phone number links, events, and a photo.
  • You can favorite locations and events, and there’s a “Favorites” list where you can find them.(1)

Check it out on iTunes.

Spotted in the BookBench at the NewYorker and  promoted on  Twitter  by @librarythingtim - of course :-)

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Read the book AND watch the video

Why do we need school libraries? Well of course I have lots of reasons why we need school libraries – but the reasons are wrapped up with why we need to change school libraries!!

I am not going to go into that in this post – because I will be talking about this topic and 21st century learning on Wednesday next week, up in Cairns, to a gathering of people involved in spending some government money on school facilities ( I will probably have something to share after that day).

Hopefully they will see the importance of fantastic 21st century learning facilities – school libraries have a significant role to play in facilitating good learning.

The merging of technologies, new media, social networking, interactivity, gaming, virtual learning, web 2.0…all reasons why school libraries are needed and why they have a vital role to play – if we change them.

One of our key roles is promoting literacy and an innovative use of creative spaces and places (real and virtual) that empower reading and writing.

Check these out!

The 21st Century Librarian

The Future of Reading: The Digital Librarian  – “In a Web Age, Library Gets a Job Update” – third in a series of articles from the New York Times looking at how the Internet and other technologies are changing the way people read. School librarians have transformed into multi-faceted information specialists who guide students through the flood of digital information that confronts them on a daily basis.

Oops, they changed the video feed..so you’ll have to jump over to the website to take a look!

“Google” books in your pocket

They’re all talking about it, and being a Teacher Librarian, I have to take notice!

For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. There are lots of wonderful resources available at Google Books. Robert Darton wrote a compelling reflection on  Google and the Future of Books – what the impact of all this digitisation might be (apart from settled lawsuits), including ways in which  libraries might more readily their literature and  knowledge repositories with a global audience.

According to Google writing about the Future of Google Book Search and their agreement with authors and publishers,

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Today, together with the authors, publishers, and libraries, we have been able to make a great leap in this endeavor,” said Sergey Brin, co-founder & president of technology at Google. “While this agreement is a real win-win for all of us, the real victors are all the readers. The tremendous wealth of knowledge that lies within the books of the world will now be at their fingertips.

What I do know is that we have to keep our boys connected with reading, research, knowledge, authoritative resources, and more and they need to know the best ways to have this at their fingertips. I have eReader and Stanza on my iPhone. There are many more! What is different about Google Books is the ease of being able to search and pull down material from such a vast collection.

So in a school like mine, where many boys have an iTouch or an iPhone (even without program calling for these tools) the arrival of readily accessible classic literature on their devices is something to take note of.

As TechCrunch explains:

If you ever get a craving for classic literature while on the go, Google’s just given you the ability to check out your favorite literary works via an iPhone or Android phone. Google’s Book Search currently features 1.5 million public domain books, which have all been optimized to fit a mobile screen. Unfortunately, Blackberrys and other non-Android operating system phones are out of luck in accessing this feature.

Google is using an extraction technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR), that captures and formats the text from the page so that it can be easily viewed on a mobile browser.

Circulate this information to your English staff!

Reading Fast Forward

I read a lot of stuff, then I tweet a lot of stuff! But I also can’t resist blogging things that to me signal an important idea, change, or some experimentation by me or others.

So I tweeted, then blogged about something that is VERY exciting to me. Just over the Christmas hols I’ve been chatting with friends about my iTouch, eBooks, iPhones, Kindles, and the art of reading. I love reading, but I don’t always remember to carry my book around with me. I admit, I  am looking forward to the flexibility of reading digitally more and more.

Here is the next thing that will work for me, and perhaps for you! LifeHacker explains:

iPhone/iPod touch only: If recession budgeting meant choosing an iPhone/iPod touch over a Kindle when the dust cleared this holiday season, you’re in luck: Stanza is a free and fantastic ebook reader for your iPhone/iTouch.

The free application comes pre-loaded with several sources for downloading free or public domain books (including the entire Project Gutenberg library), so you can easily download books like The Art of War, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, or Walden in just a few seconds without spending a dime.

However, if you want to get new books, Stanza also comes with a bookstore with which you can purchase popular new titles as well. Prices range from $8 to $15 based on the books I browsed. The reader itself is fully customizable, so if you don’t like the standard black text on white background look, you can just as easily pick something that suits you. Stanza is a free download for the iPhone or iPod touch.

Better still, this is a fantastic way of providing ebooks for students!!

No excuses now..any library or classroom can get into this easy form of distributing quality reading.

Stanza [iTunes App Store]

The Puzzle Box

A nice find from Kairosnews ready for innovative use by any good school librarian – a wonderful story called The Puzzle Box. This is one for reading aloud, or working with online.

Either way, it’s a little bit of magic from Edward Picout! You might also like to visit the HyperLiterature Exchange, or do a search of the Electronic Literature Directory.

From Chapter 1:

“No, no,” said her Dad. “No, darling, I’m sorry, they didn’t have one. This is something else. It’s a present for you, but it isn’t a GameBox.”

“What is it?”

“Well, I’m not going to tell you that, am I? You’ll have to wait and find out. It was a marvellous shop, though, with all sorts of unexpected things in it. Not the usual mass-produced stuff at all. The shopkeeper was the strangest little man I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Dad,” she said, “why didn’t you tell me Adam was in the back of the car?”

“What?” he said, turning round. “Adam’s in the back of the car? What are you talking about?”

Dora turned round too. The boy on the back seat had vanished.

“Honestly, Dora, you gave me such a turn.”

“But he was there, Dad! A boy called Adam! He was there just now! I was talking to him!”

“I think you must have fallen asleep and dreamt it,” said her Dad.