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Scholastic report on kids and reading (US)

Scholastic has published a new “Kids and Reading Report” based on 2014 surveys of 2,558 children and parents in the United States. The report covers reading for fun, activities that encourage reading, books children enjoy at different ages, and attitudes towards print vs. ebooks.

Selected highlights:

  • the percentage of children frequently reading for fun (5-7 days/week) has continued to drop, from 37% in 2010 to 34% in 2012 to 31% in 2014
  • 51% of children ages 6-17 are currently reading a book for fun and another 20% just finished one (29% haven’t read one in awhile)
  • reading enjoyment declines sharply after age 8, dropping from 62% to 46% reporting ‘I love it’ or ‘I like it a lot’
  • 61% of children had read an ebook as of 2014, compared to 46% in 2012, however, 77% are still mostly reading print books
  • 65% of children say they’ll always want to read print books even though ebooks are available
  • 55% of those who have read an ebook report that they prefer print – however, the preference for print declines with age, from 66% of children 6-8 to 48% of 15-17 year olds
  • among those who have not read an ebook, interest in reading ebooks has dropped since 2012

The library is the most popular source reported by children for finding books – 77% of children aged 6-11 find books to read for fun at the library, and 58% of 12-17 year olds. The next most popular source is school book fairs at 63% and 28% respectively by age. Among activities that parents use to encourage their children to read for fun, 63% report taking their children to the library as an activity, putting libraries in third place – choosing books from a book fair flyer (57%) or having books at home (54%) are listed slightly more often.

Posted in Libraries.

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eBook subscription services affect indie authors

From GigaOm this week, summarizing several articles about eBooks and subscription services in 2014: “What is now being proven is that market is not infinitely elastic,” publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin wrote on his blog on New Year’s Eve. “It seems likely that the low-priced indie authors are disproportionately affected by KU. Who bought indie author ebooks in the first place? The price-sensitive reader! Who switches from buying individual ebooks to the subscription service first? The price-sensitive reader! In other words, the subscription service offering appeals most to the same audience as those who read indie-published ebooks.”

While many more books are now available to readers, the author notes a key problem from a revenue standpoint for the market overall: “if more people aren’t buying and reading more books, it will be a problem for most authors and for all ebook subscription services.”

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Tablets, not ebooks, damage sleep

Numerous news outlets reported this week on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for the USA with headlines like this one from the BBC: “E-books damage sleep.” Reading the journal article on the study reveals that it was of 12 people and conducted using tablets. As a result it applies to reading ebooks on iPads and Android tablets (including Kindle Fire and Kobo Arc), as well as any other activities that people might do on a tablet.

GigaOm in “Do e-readers really harm sleep? Depends on what you call an e-reader” clarifies that the research was done in 2010-2011, and does not include e-ink readers, such as the traditional Kobo, Kindle, Nook or Sony, all of which use reflected light and in this sense have the same properties as print books. The study also doesn’t cover side-lit or front-lit displays, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo.

The news that devices that emit blue light affect sleep (devices which also include TVs and computers), has been reported repeatedly over the past several years, including in other publications from Harvard Medical School.

Posted in Devices.

Wired on ebook challenges for the visually impaired

Wired reported on December 15 about the challenges and opportunities that ebooks and ereading present for the visually impaired. The article primarily focuses on the issues with Kindle:

“When the Kindle 2 was released in 2009, it came with TTS functions that could be used across all Kindle ebooks. Publishers balked. They argued that TTS would negatively impact the audiobook market, and that a computer reading an ebook aloud constituted a violation of copyright. Amazon conceded.” The article goes on to discuss the related legislation:

“If a tablet doesn’t have a text-to-speech feature, you can modify it. Root the tablet and install a TTS app not sanctioned by the manufacturer. More commonly, though, people just strip the DRM off ebooks they buy. Then, the ebook can be uploaded to and read through an e-reader’s existing TTS feature. The problem is, both those workarounds are technically illegal under an esoteric clause in US copyright law.

Here’s why: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 law designed to protect digital content from infringement. Under Section 1201, it’s illegal to break a technological lock that protects copyrighted content—like an encryption over a tablet or DRM over an ebook. So, it’s not just a voided warranty that would-be readers have to worry about: Web-connected e-readers are essentially tablets, and you can’t legally root or jailbreak a tablet. Even if you just want to trick it out with a cool app that extends the device’s accessibility or functionality.

Breaking the DRM on an ebook is also technically a violation—-but the Librarian of Congress granted an exemption for people who are visually-impaired or have a print impairment. But the ruling is interestingly idiosyncratic: it’s legal for someone with a disability to strip DRM from ebooks, but it’s not legal for developers to create programs or apps that strip DRM.”

Posted in Publishers, Retail.

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Teen reading choices (US)

Nielsen has published a study reporting that 20% of teens buy ebooks, compared to 23% of 18-29 year olds and 25% of 30-44 year olds in the United States. The study notes that many teens tend to borrow and share reading material, and that they also learn about new books from social media.

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ALA meets with New York publishers

ALA met with multinational publishers in New York in early December. From the American Libraries magazine’s site:

“Two of the critical issues that we discussed with the publishers are pricing models and digital preservation. Each publisher has a different pricing model, but no single model will suit all libraries—libraries and librarians need choice. Digital preservation was acknowledged as an important issue, with diverse responses from among the companies. With both issues, ALA was invited to further engage with these publishers.” Other key issues, such as accommodations for people with disabilities and privacy, were also discussed.

“The DCWG will be focusing on the development of specific proposals in the next few months,” said Erika Linke. “We will draw upon the full membership and staff of the DCWG, and look to receiving input from ALA members and the library community at large. Thoughtful and strategic ideas, yet practical and realistic for both the publishing and library communities, are needed. We will also consider how ALA can help libraries improve the effectiveness of their engagement with publishers, such as hosting author events.”

Posted in Libraries, Publishers.

Kobo reports on reading trends

Kobo published its inaugural reading report, including the most popular books that are actually finished by Canadians:

“Overall, Canadians find romance to be the most engaging genre, with 62 per cent completion, followed by fantasy (60 per cent) and mystery (59 per cent).”

They also note that “self-improvement books, including cookbooks, health, and self-help books, are more popular during the month of January than at any other time of year. More self-improvement books and books overall were downloaded in January than any other month, likely to kick-off some New Year’s resolutions.”

EBOOK MUST HAVES – 2014’s Bestsellers

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth
Divergent – Veronica Roth
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood – Diana Gabaldon
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
Philomena – Martin Sixsmith

CANADA’S TOP PAGE-TURNERS – The Most Completed Books of 2014

Lover Awakened – J.R. Ward
Eleven on Top – Janet Evanovich
K is for Killer – Sue Grafton
Iron Kissed – Patricia Briggs
F is for Fugitive – Sue Grafton
Sweet Possession – Maya Banks
C is for Corpse – Sue Grafton
Chasing Perfect – Susan Mallery
Plum Spooky – Janet Evanovich
The Janus Stone – Elly Griffiths

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Publishers recognize ALA and Digital Content working group

In their “Notable Publishing People of 2014” article published November 28, Publishers Weekly recognizes Sari Feldman and Robert Woolven, co-chairs of the Digital Content Working Group for their work with publishers since 2011, saying “their work over the last three years has helped redefine library-publisher relations for the digital age.” The article continues “Publishers say discussions with ALA leaders and
the DCWG have been instrumental in moving their e-book programs forward. And more importantly, direct lines of communication are now established between publishing executives and library leaders—which Feldman says is unprecedented—and those open lines will prove vital as the digital discussion moves beyond questions of basic access to e-books.”

Posted in Libraries, Publishers.

Simon & Schuster now available in OverDrive for Canadian libraries

Simon & Schuster content became available to Canadian public libraries late yesterday through OverDrive. About 5,300 eBook titles are showing in the content marketplace this morning, however, many current bestsellers do not yet appear. The license term is 12 months, and displayed prices currently range from $2.20 to $129.99. Popular trade titles appear to be mainly in the $20-$30 range, with lower prices for romance.

Update from OverDrive: Titles are being added in increments of 4000-5000. There will be 16,000 frontlist and backlist titles with Canadian rights when all are loaded, which will take a couple of days.

Posted in Libraries, Publishers.

Simon & Schuster drops buy button requirement for libraries

Simon & Schuster announced today that it will no longer require that libraries implement a buy button to make Simon & Schuster content available for lending. Simon & Schuster eBooks have been available to all US public libraries through OverDrive, 3M and Baker & Taylor Axis 360 since June 2014. In Canada, they are currently available via a pilot through Bibliocommons at Edmonton Public Library, which began in December 2013. Broader Canadian availability is expected soon.

Posted in Libraries, Publishers, Vendors.