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Is e-reading to your toddler story time?

The New York Times reported recently on studies about reading and screen time for infants and toddlers. The main conclusion is that since devices are new, it’s too early to be sure whether reading on a device has the same benefits as reading in print – more data is needed, and the studies need to be conducted over long periods.

The article covers research from several studies that have found less language learning takes place with ebooks and educational games due to missing live social interaction, and includes the comment “…perhaps the biggest threat posed by e-books that read themselves to children, or engage them with games, is that they could lull parents into abdicating their educational responsibilities.”

Posted in Devices, Libraries.

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ALA responds to Adobe update

On Tuesday, ALA responded to the Adobe update, urging further action to address user privacy concerns and data collected by all vendors:

“”Beyond data transmission, ALA continues to be concerned about the amount of data collected and retained by all vendors within the e-book ecosystem. Transparency to users is one important step, but we all must work to help ensure that only data necessary for user functionality are collected, are properly protected, are not sold for profit or used for other secondary purposes, and are deleted as soon as possible.

Working with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and others, the DCWG will continue to investigate these issues, advocate with publishers and distributors, establish best practices to protect reader privacy, and secure the best possible licensing terms for libraries and our readers. We’re pleased that Adobe promised a continuing dialogue with ALA.””

Posted in Devices, Libraries, Retail, Vendors.


Adobe posts update for security breach

On Friday, Adobe posted an update for Adobe Digital Editions 4 to remedy the problem of transmitting data in plain text. The update is available here. They’ve also advised that “Adobe Digital Editions 4 users are receiving an update notification via the auto-update mechanism built into the product.”

Adobe has also noted that prior to the update, “the user ID and device ID were obfuscated by assigning unique values (“GUIDs”), which were collected and stored in place of the user ID and device ID.”

Adobe has added information to their privacy policy to clarify what they are collecting. The updates and correspondence do not address the fact that Adobe is collecting more information than necessary when library eBooks are being used, as no library eBook licensing models use percentage of book read or duration that the book was read. These licensing models exist for consumer subscription services, such as Scribd and Oyster. For example, most sources report that rightsholders are compensated by Scribd after 30% of the book is read, and for Oyster after 10%.

Posted in Devices, Publishers.


CLA statement about the Adobe data transmission issue

The full text of the Canadian Library Association statement published Friday is provided below or link to the PDF.

Statement Regarding the Transmission of Unencrypted Data via Adobe Digital Edition 4 Software
October 10, 2014

The Canadian Library Association champions the values of Canadian libraries and considers these values an important part of providing collections and services. Among these values is the library patron’s right to privacy and their right to understand how their personal information is used by organizations with whom they interact. These values are described in the Canadian Library Association’s Position Statement on Access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of June 2012.

We were concerned to learn that software provided by Adobe that is commonly used in the delivery of ebook content by libraries is contravening those values in a very serious manner.
We understand through recent postings on The Digital Reader and Ars Technica that Adobe Digital Editions 4, the software frequently used to manage eBooks and DRM (digital rights management) has been transmitting unencrypted data about patron reading history to Adobe servers.

Most libraries that lend ebooks that have publisher-imposed DRM restrictions in place are obligated to advise patrons to use Adobe Digital Editions if they use computers to manage their eBooks. Adobe’s error in transmitting unencrypted data about library patrons compromises libraries’ commitment to citizens to keep their information secure and undermines our stated values.

In addition to the issue of unencrypted data transmission, we encourage Adobe and other resource platforms to provide clear terms of use that identify what information is gathered about users and their reading habits and how that information is shared. Library patrons trust Canada’s libraries with their personal information, and CLA supports libraries in their responsibilities around protection and disclosure of personal information, including reading choices.

CLA looks forward to the swift resolution of this issue by Adobe, along with a renewed commitment to user privacy protection. In the meantime, we will encourage our members to communicate these concerns to their patrons and offer alternatives to those who wish to ensure their privacy is protected.

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA/ACB) is the national voice for Canada’s library communities, representing the interests of libraries, library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy. CLA/ACB represents 1,410 library workers, libraries, and library supporters; and Canadian libraries serve in excess of 34 million Canadians.

Posted in Libraries, Vendors.


ALA statement on Adobe privacy breach & Adobe’s response

On Monday, October 13, ALA posted a statement including Adobe’s response to the ALA request for information. Adobe has reported that they expect an update no later than the week of October 20.

Adobe’s response included the following:
“Adobe Digital Editions allows users to view and manage eBooks and other digital publications across their preferred reading devices—whether they purchase or borrow them. All information collected from the user is collected for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers and distributors. Additionally, Adobe Digital Editions is designed to collect this information solely for eBooks opened in Adobe Digital Editions or stored in the Adobe Digital Editions library directory, and not for any other eBook on the user’s computer. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy.”

ALA notes that in addition to the data transmission issue: “…ALA also is concerned about the possible over-collection and unnecessary retention of sensitive user data. Are all of the data elements collected necessary for product functionality? Is such sensitive user data deleted soon after the need for operational purposes is fulfilled? These issues and guidance are outlined in ALA’s policy statements and tools created by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom such as the Privacy Toolkit and the Choose Privacy Week website.”

Posted in Libraries, Vendors.


Adobe Digital Editions Privacy Breach

On Monday evening, The Digital Reader reported that Adobe Digital Editions software was transmitting unencrypted personal information from users’ computers back to Adobe. The data included reading habits and ebooks stored on the computer.

Based on current information, the privacy breach affects a certain subset of library patrons — those who use Adobe Digital Editions version 4 on their desktop. This is typically patrons who use an eReader, such as a Kobo or Sony Reader, or read library books on their computers using the software directly.

Version 4 was released on September 8, 2014. Earlier versions of the software are not known to have this issue, so the older versions are better choices until this issue is resolved and library patrons should not update their software.

OverDrive tweeted yesterday that they are reviewing the situation and will comment when they have more information.

Jim Loter, Director of IT at Seattle Public Library, blogged earlier today about the news and shared a letter from the library to OverDrive.

Adobe responded to the Digital Reader last night, stating that user data is “collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers.”

Other links associated with the discussion:

Further details about the situation will be posted as they become available.

Posted in Devices, Libraries, Publishers, Vendors.


Canadian ebook sales plateau in 2014

From Publishers Weekly on September 19th, “publishers say that e-book sales in Canada have plateaued. BookNet’s Noah Genner says that BookNet has “paused” its consumer panel survey research on e-reading because the growth in digital books seems to have paused. “The numbers we’re hearing for e-book unit sales is still around 17%, 18%, 20%, that kind of range,” he says, noting that the rates vary considerably depending on genre. “We know for the genre categories inside fiction, some of [the rates of e-reading] are quite high.””

The article includes comments from publishers and notes that sales are high for certain titles.

Posted in Publishers, Retail.


eBooks third in US sales

Publishers Weekly reports that eBooks rank third in unit sales by format at 23% for the first half of 2014 based on data from Nielsen’s books and consumers survey. Paperbacks are most popular at 42% and hardcovers are just 2% ahead of ebooks, at 25%.

Within the specific categories of adult fiction and young adult fiction, ebooks represented 30% of unit sales, while among children’s sales excluding YA, ebooks represented 13%.

Posted in Publishers, Retail.


New study on ereader vs print comprehension

From the Guardian on August 19: “A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.”

Posted in Devices.

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Early report from pilot shows libraries drive sales

A UK library eBook pilot showed that of 464 books loaned through the public libraries participating, patrons bought 20 books. The pilot launched in March 2014 and is planned for one year.

Posted in Libraries, Publishers, Retail.