Friday, December 30, 2011

Tough Questions on OER

Here is an interesting OER article that examines a recent U-Mass initiative that offers UMass instructors a $1,000 stipend for producing instructional materials that are free to UMass students.   The author asks whether models such as the U-Mass initiative produce quality products and whether it can be sustained over time because of funding issues.  What is needed, according to the article, is a sustainable business model for OER that does not transfer costs from one source to another, or reduce the quality of the material for students.

The article does not think a higher education institution can produce quality material because the institutions “do not have the systems, incentives, processes, and skill sets and so forth of publishers.”  Basically, you can’t compare a $1,000 book to a $150,000- $1million dollar book.   Further, the author does not expect faculty to do work for little or no pay forever and if we have to rely on the schools we will only see increase in tuition to compensate for OER initiatives.  Also, relying on philanthropists is never a guarantee and the ability to produce curriculum would be dependent on attracting donors.

The OER movement does have some good examples out there -- Connexions comes to mind as one of those models moving in the right direction.  However, there seem to be more poor examples than good ones -- and beyond quality, there are accessibility issues to consider as well.  In addition, if the future of course materials is digital, interactive, linked to student learning outcomes, etc., then is paying faculty to reproduce traditional print textbooks without the editing, vetting, and other elements that go into creating many of today's course materials really going to have the expected impact?  Cheap textbooks -- but at what educational cost?   Are there better ways to spend our innnovation dollars that reduce course material costs while maintaining or even improving student learning outcomes?  That is the solution we should be looking for rather than reinventing stone wheels. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

7 out of 10 Students Don't Buy Textbooks

In the November 29th article by Campus Technology, University of California, Riverside’s recent annual survey, “Undergraduate Experience Survey,” finds that seven out 10 students do not buy textbooks, instead they prefer to rent them, rely on faculty provided materials, or do without them completely.  According to the survey, 73% of students who respond to the survey postpone the purchase and 74% of students chose to skip buying them altogether.   The university’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Steven Brint, commissioned a report on the survey in order to show faculty that “students’ behavior with respect to textbook purchasing may be different than they think.”  “Ultimately, the survey results suggest that not all students are doing the required reading for their courses,” says Brint.

If this statistic is the same at other institutions, then perhaps the greatest competitor to textbook sales is actually the choice not to buy at all. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OER Guide Suggest POD Capabilities in Higher Ed

The "Guideline for Open Educational Resources Higher Education" is now available (ISBN 978-1-894975-42-1).  The document was co-produced by Commonwealth of Learning located in British Columbia and UNESCO, two very influential organizations in the OER movement.  We recommend reading the entire guide but if your time is limited read Appendix 1, “Useful knowledge, competences and skills for effective use of OER in higher education.”   Below are some of the suggested items from the guide.  The last item may make economic sense as to why stores should prepare for OER on campus.

·         There should be clarity about the economic benefits of OER, in terms of marketing institutions and programmes, the cost-effectiveness of materials production, and policies, contracts and grants;

·         Be competent to determine requirements for copyright clearance and privacy to release materials under open licenses;

·         Be able to Reflect copyright and disclaimer statements accurately in materials of different kinds and multiple media;

·         Be able to identify relevant content areas for programmes, courses and modules;

·         Be able to negotiate with external individuals and/or organisations to issue or re-issue resources under open licenses;

·         Understand whether it is permissible to modify the content when customizing materials and , if so, to what extent in can be done and how it should be handled;

·         Understand that if work has been adapted for a specific purpose, how this should be indicated in the customized content;

·         Reinforcing the need to credit the original author/source of the content that is being accessed for use through open licensing; and

·         Implementing the necessary processes for producing print-on-demand texts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daytona State College Reconsiders Going All Digital

Here is a recent article about Daytona State College backing off a previous plan to go all digital textbooks.  The decision comes after a report by the school that suggests students should have a choice whether to use a traditional textbook or an e-textbook.   

Michelle McCraney, the project manager of a pilot program conducted by the school, where 1,250 students and 12 faculty participated in evaluating electronic and rental books, says “some students prefer to have a book, and some students prefer to have a computer to read their books and some students like to rent their books.  Everybody learns differently and you have to be able to embrace that and let people choose.”

According to the article, the school’s study found that “the majority of students found the e-book to be an inconvenience and more time-consuming than flipping through a textbook because it was also challenging at times accessing the books.”  The students also commented in the report the issues of the hidden costs of the e-book, such as a computer, online access, and printing.

The campus hopes to ease into transforming more e-textbook in the school by offering mentoring programs for faculty who are interested in using e-textbooks in their classes.

This story is very similar to the experience of California State University’s pilot program where the conclusion was about choice, affordability, and accessibility.  CSU emphasizes heavily on education faculty and students about e-textbooks.

Monday, December 26, 2011

MacMillan to Launch Digital Textbook "Principle of Biology"

According to this story, Nature Publishing, a division of Macmillan Publisher will debut its digital textbook “Principle of Biology” in January.  The digital textbook is packed with interactive features from dynamic illustrations to interwoven audio and video clips into the text.   

Nature Publishing “chose to make the browser central to the textbook, rather than creating individual apps for students to use on electronic devices- an expensive procedure that might require as many as 20 versions, the website senses which device a student is using say a laptop or a tablet, and delivers the appropriate format to the browser.” 

The textbook was piloted at some campuses of California State University this past year.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hot Book Apps

Interested in learning about what the hottest e-book apps are out there?  Check out this article titled “Boundary-pushing e-books that blow the page away.”  In the article are list of the best of the best e-books that are much more elaborate and interactive and ordinary e-books. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Growth of Digital Instructional Materials

Simba Information, a market research firm for the media and publishing industry, report that the multimedia materials in higher education, in the U.S., will grow 48.4% by the end of 2011, topping at $1billion.

According to the press release, “multimedia materials include a range of content, tools and services from homework assignments and assessments to downloadable lectures, website access for students, e-textbooks and teaching aids for instructors.”

Kathy Mickey, an analyst at Simba says, “Although textbooks remain the largest revenue stream for publishers, the multimedia materials segment is where they can expect to compete against the used and rental textbook sellers.”  Mickey also adds that “Pearson so far has reported the highest percentage of revenue from products tied to digital solutions and services, nearing half of their global education revenue.”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

As an update to the prior posting on the new ISBN policy  from BISG, the organization will be hosting a webinar to discuss and explain the policy.  The program description states:

On December 7, 2011, BISG published their Board-approved Policy Statement on best practices for identifying digital products. The objective of this Policy Statement is to clarify best practices and outline responsibilities in the assignment of ISBNs to digital products in order to reduce both confusion in the market place, and the possibility of errors.

Download the Policy Statement here.

Since publication, the BISG office has received many questions and much feedback.

In order to help clarify meaning and expectations regarding the Policy Statement's recommendations, this live, interactive webcast will feature a strong Q&A component. The publishing industry is encouraged to submit questions and/or feedback regarding the Policy Statement to by Friday, January 6th for consideration on the webcast's agenda.
For those who think this policy does not apply to them, please take time to read it closely.  Depending on how one reads the policy, it could potentially further complicate things for students and course materials.  If ISBN is treated as the gold standard of identification, and if rental digital has a different ISBN than a sold digital for example, or a unique ISBN written for the IPad versus another device, then it become more complicated for students or consumers to determine whether a particular piece of content is actually the correct piece of content for their learning needs. 

Effectively, there could be potentially dozens of ISBN's assigned for essentially the same textbook.  That already exists today, but as formats and devices proliferate, it further complicates things for the consumer, rather than making it easier, and it raises questions about what ISBN does the college store or institutions post relative to HEOA.  This policy could also be used to steer students to a specific format or sales channel through ISBN adoption -- rather than allowing students the choice to pick the format, device, or even retailer best for them. 

Stores are allowed to submit feedback on the policy as well, and I encourage stores to consider attending this webinar to learn more and raise any questions or concerns that might be out there related to the potential consumer or retailer implications of the policy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pay attention to Where Financial Aid Dollars are Spent

An annual audit of Luzerne County Community College finds several “significant deficiencies” that “merit attention,”  according to this article.

One of the items on the list was the following bullet:

·   “Failure by the college bookstore to make sure federal financial aid to students is spent on items allowed by federal regulations.  The auditor found $4,748 of “questioned costs” in  a sampling of 138 students.

As the issue of college affordability becomes a topic of contention and possibly become a presidential campaign issue college store operations and financial aid could be something that might be investigated with more scrutiny so stores should be more attentive to financial aid rules regarding purchases made with financial aid dollars. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ISU Bookstore sees 2-3% increase in digital sales

Iowa State University  bookstore store saw 2-3 percent increase in e-book sales on 2011, according to this article.   However, the program director says, “the print book is not dead considering sales from 2009-2010 were about the same when the amount of sales from e-books was subtracted.”

The bookstore offers comparison shopping too where they can compare prices with Amazon and and students can purchase books from any of these competitors. “Of all the students that used these comparisons, 83 percent of them bought from the ISU Book Store,” says the Director.  Price comparison remains a good way to build trust, provide transparency, and retain or regain market share for college stores. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Samsung's New Flexible Display on Video

Samsung releases videos of their new flexible display technology here.  The video is filled with transparent, flexible screens, and augmented reality that Samsung hopes to rival Apple.  At first, it appears unreal but Samsung plans to introduce this technology in the market in 2012. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Step closer to Instant Learning

Here’s a recent story on current research into instant learning similar to how Neo learned how to fly a plane in the Matrix.  So, if you are interested in learning how to play the piano downloaded into your brain keep an eye on this science.  Based on a techniques known as decoded neurofeedback, or DecNef, an individual can be trained to alter brain function, in order to match that of someone already possessing a certain skill.  The researchers hope to apply this technique to mental disorder patients that could be trained to match the brain activity patterns of a healthy person.  Just think about the ways THAT kind of technology could be misused.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

White House Meets with Higher Ed

Here is an update by the Chronicle on President Obama’s private meeting with presidents of higher education institutions.  While there were no concrete proposals one president, according to the article, believes that “some pretty substantial proposals will evolve in the next few months.  The three take away messages were: Urgency on College Affordability, solution will have to affect all sectors of higher education, and the country needs innovations and cost-management from colleges and leadership from the states."  F. King Alexander says, “I would say they’re in the process of formulating some proposals that would certainly have an impact on higher education and force higher education to think creatively about their ability to help students succeed and control college costs.”

According to the story, the meeting comprised of college presidents who have a record for implementing programs to increase achievement, reduce costs, or both.  “The Obama administration was looking for ways to take successful efforts and make them ‘more strategic and more systemic and have more of an impact because we’re not where we want to be on college tuition.’”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Decline in Print Sales in 2011

Association of American Publishers’ report shows sales of print books dropped 18.6% between Q1-Q3 of 2011 in major trade categories, Publishers Weekly reports.  According to this article, while e-book sales climbed almost to 140% for 15 of the reporting houses, the jump did not offset the slow sales in the print segment.   The combined print and e-book sales fell 5.7%, less than the 8.6% overall drop at the end of the first half of 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EDUCAUSE Release Report on Mobile IT in Higher Education 2011

The Mobile IT in Higher Education 2011 report released just recently by EDUCAUSE, reveals that there has been slow progress in making institutional services, applications, and websites accessible on mobile devices and that the average school has allowed only a few services for mobile access.  However, the report finds that applications related to student learning and course management systems were identified by large proportions of respondents as the “killer mobile app for higher education.”    

Here are some of the Key Findings of the report:

“More than one-third of respondents said they had not spent any money on mobile-enablement in the past 12 months, while two institutions had spent more than half a million dollars.”

“Nearly 40 % of institutions did not mobile-enable any services in the last 12months.”

“Where mobile activity is taking place, services geared toward students are outpacing those for faculty or staff, both in priority and enablement.”

“General communications remains the areas for which respondents expect the heaviest demand for the 2011-2012 academic year.”

“A third of students see mobile devices as an important component of academic success, and majorities regularly use their devices for academic activities.”

“Many respondents consider integrated student services as currently the most valuable area for development of mobile services.  Specifically, applications related to student learning and course management systems were identified by large proportions of respondents as the “killer mobile app for higher education.”

“By a wide margin, central IT most often has primary responsibility for mobile-enablement of institutional services, At smaller institutions, though, and those with smaller budgets, vendor-supplied mobile apps are seen as an important part of mobile initiatives.”

“The median amount spent for each mobile app deployed in higher education is just above $5,000, though the range of per-app costs runs from less than $2,000 to more than $16,000.”

EDUCAUSE has set up Research Hub with more information on the report, including an infographic with findings:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Choosing the Right Script for Your Store

Here’s a great article titled “7 Steps For Creating Disruptive New Retail Experience,” in Fast Company’s Co.Design’s November newsletter.

To provide your customers the experience that will stand out from mundane shopping practice you have to look beyond the subject of design to sociology, economics, organizational behavior, and even theater, the article suggest.   By finding the intersection of these fields we can find the right script for your store.   “Scripts” are unwritten and unspoken shared rules that govern how people act that guide our day-to-day behaviors and interactions, according to the story.  Scripts are the reason why people behave similarly at the DMV and at holiday parties.

The article suggests seven principles that will help you design and choose the right script for your store.

  1. Experience design is not about luxury- It’s not always about “Premium” ideas.  Think about Southwest Airlines and how they combine heart, humor, and efficiency to air travel.
  2. Start with empathy- Stepping into the customer’s shoes.  Good example is Harley Davidson because they employee bikers.
  3. Do you own thing- Find authentic sources of connection with your customers and stick to them.   Think about Target
  4. Utilize all elements of theater- Think of the whole shopping experience as a “play,” including casts, costumes, set, and props.  Good example is Starbucks.
  5. Use different incentives to create different behaviors- Provide employees with right incentives like what Saturn did by employing salaried salespeople and eliminated the stereotypical sleazy car salesman.
  6. The devil is in the trade-offs- Managing the trade-offs is crucial to finding the script with a character that separate you from the rest.
  7. Evolve to stay relevant- Always experiment with new ideas and be ready to change to meet people’s needs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CourseSmart Launches New App

CourseSmart recently made reading e-textbooks more accessible with the unveiling of the new app that can be used on the Kindle Fire, iPad, and Android devices.  The free app provides customers with a catalog of more than 20,000 e-textbooks created by CourseSmart, as well as other digital course materials and users will need to pay for access to the e-materials.   To use the app you need Google Chrome, Safari, or Amazon Silk on Android 3.0 and higher, Kindle Fire, or iPad devices.  Compatibility with other Android devices, iPhone, and iPod Touch is in the works, according to CourseSmart.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More on Amazon...

Following up from the last post -- there are some great posts around on Amazon's latest "marketing" campaign targeting independent retailers.  First is the open letter from the American Bookseller's Association -- an instant classic in both its satire and its seriousness. 

A lot can be said about Amazon's business practices.  Most of it probably not very nice.  By most accounts, Amazon does little for local communities or economies.  Like many things these days, consumers go for the quick savings without considering or perhaps understanding the longer term costs or broader implications.  Amazon looks great up front, but there are costs -- and those costs are born by local communities and small businesses.

Take, for example, the college store -- most college stores are non-profit small businesses whose net profits go back to the institution to support educational affordability -- financial aid, student services, or sometimes capital budgets.  Most college stores are working on reducing the cost of course materials in many creative ways -- while still making returns and contributions to their local campus communities, and in many cases their states too, since college stores collect sales tax in most states. 

The latest Amazon campaign may look like a simple marketing gimmick.  Maybe it is.  But at what point do their business practices go too far and the costs to our communities become too high? 

Amazon's latest marketing effort

Amazon is offering $5 off on items if you take a picture of that same item at any brick and mortar store and you purchase through their online store.  You are permitted to three items on Saturday December 10th.

Here is a not so happy indie bookstore owner, who writes in PW,  

“To encourage people to snoop at other stores and report back  . . .  so they can keep their prices competitive is pathetic.  Here’s what I do: I pay sales tax, I donate thousands of dollars to local schools, charities, Little Leagues, church pie suppers, school trips, Geobee prizes, etc.  I support my community and that means going to local stores and buying things there. Price is not the only factor for me”
In response to this promotion some indie owners have started an Occupy Amazon movement on the same day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Rental Expanding Fast -- and moving into Digital

Business Insider recently interviewed Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig who says the four year old company has services available on about 8,000 campuses and processes millions of orders a year.  Yes, the article reported 8,000 campuses. Chegg’s additional services than other their core book rental business include Student of Fortune, a Q&A homework help site, and Notehall, a class notes marketplace.  According to Rosenweig, Chegg wants to provide as much digital content to students as possible including class notes, books, and study groups.

Incidentally, Notehall ran into some legal troubles over its note taking business with some California State University students which violated campus copyright policy.  Chegg has acknowledged the policy and has agreed shut down their note taking business at specific universities effective January 1, 2012.

Finally, Kno, which spun out of Chegg, is working on e-textbooks and a related delivery platform.  Previously the company was working on a tablet type device, but subsequently withdrew that initiative.  However, this month they unveiled their "free textbook campaign" where they tend to give away one free e-textbook to every user.  A copy of their campaign ad appears below.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Study Finds eBooks Revenues Will Reach $9.7billion by 2016

MarketWatch’s recent press release highlighted a report from Juniper Research that predicts eBooks revenue will reach to $9.7 billion by 2016, an increase from $3.2 billion in 2011.  The report also suggest that the 30% of all eBook downloads will occur through tablet devices by 2016.  The upsurge is the result of ongoing growth in the dedicated eReader market as well as increase sales of tablet devices.

Is there anyone out there who still think digital books (or course materials) will not matter to booksellers or college stores by 2015?  If you are a retailer, what is your digital strategy?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Investments in digital continue

Here is a couple stories about digital content companies that received venture funding over the last couple of months.  The first story notes that iStoryTime (creator of children's apps) was awarded a $2 million investment from CFP & Founders Investments.  This is a sign that the digital content marketplace is still growing and investors are betting that the convergence of digital content and tablet type devices are going to lead the charge in growing this market.

We also found yet another story about a new start-up company in the higher education space.  This one is offering a new course management tool.  Started by three University of Pennsylvania dropouts has raised more than $1million for their venture thus far.  The software called Coursekit, is an online course platform that highlights social networking and easy-to-use interface.  Coursekit allows discussions, grade posting, calendar and link sharing, and creates student profiles.  Currently, thirty universities are piloting Coursekit and the company has hired 80 students to act as ambassadors to other colleges.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What really happened to the dinosaurs

Every mature industry gets referred to as dinosaurs once in a while.  One of the challenges dinosaur organizations or industries sometimes have is "missing the boat" when it comes to emerging technologies.  They wait too long before starting to move, and then it is too late.  That is one of the reasons why when a radical innovation is involved, the incumbents are often not among the victors -- survival requires reinvention, which is difficult if you have to maintain one foot in the "old world" and the old business infrastructure, while managing transition.  Regardless....

A colleague from another organization shared the comic below with me recently.  Captures the basic idea well -- and it is a great comic for a Monday morning.  I could not find the original online image by the artist.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fair Use Copyright Lawsuit

Faulkner Press v. Class Notes  d/b/a/ “Einstein Notes”

There is an interesting lawsuit concerning copyright infringement pending in a Florida district court concerning the sharing of course information and may answer the question of whether sharing of course materials actually qualifies as fair use.

Professor Michael Moulton, a faculty member at University of Florida published an e-book version of his lectures notes and slides through Faulkner publishing.  He had also registered this information with the copyright office.  The lawsuit was filed after the lecture outlines and film study questions prepared by Professor Moulton were copied and packeted for resale by a local copy shop. The professor had transferred his copyrights in the materials to a publisher, who filed the infringement action. This past June, the district court ruled on the cross motions for summary judgment.  Recognizing that the text materials were protected by copyright, the court wrote:

“The parties have presented various arguments for and against a finding of fair use. Genuine issues of material fact remain for a jury to determine regarding fair use.”

The consequence of this case, much like the outcome in the Georgia State e-reserves lawsuit, has the possibility to greatly impact our understanding and application of fair use.  It will also impact the validity of sites similar to Course Hero and any other entity profiting from the sharing of course materials.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Read Books on Contact Lens?

Don’t blink you might miss something.
This CNN article says researchers at the University of Washington and Finland's Aalto University have developed a prototype of a contact lens that would project digital images onto the retinas of its wearer. According to the story, the researchers published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, says, contact lenses that display digital information are the holy grail for this genre of reality-bending work.   Ultimately, projected displays from contact lenses can replace all the other screens we look at.
Those of you sorry to give up books for screens might soon be able to lament the loss of those screens as well!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Growth in Multimedia Course Learning Products

This story from Marketwire says Simba Information’s latest report shows that the U.S. market for multimedia materials in higher education will grow 48.4%, topping $1 billion by the end of 2011.  According to the story, Cengage Learning's learning tools such as Aplia (homework assistance) and SAM (skills-assessment assistance) had more than 20% growth in a one-year period.   The story also says that product such as Pearson’s MyLabs continues their success on campus and John Wiley & Sons is arranging to unveil a more interactive version of its learning platform WileyPLUS in the near future.
The article quotes Kathy Mickey, senior Simba Information analyst, “Publishers are seeing double-digit growth across the board with multimedia materials.  Pearson so far has reported the highest percentage of revenue from products tied to digital solutions and services, nearing half of their global education revenue.  Although textbooks remain the largest revenue stream for publishers, the multimedia materials segment is where they can expect to compete against the used and rental textbook sellers,” 
So, if you take a conservative estimate of 20% growth rate for multimedia learning products over the next three years we can expect this market to reach over $3 Billion by 2015.  This story should encourage campus stores to put learning tools in your digital product offerings. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Streamlining ISBNs for Digital

Book Industry Study Group releases its policy statement assignment of ISBNs to digital products.  To read the official announcement go here.

The aim of the statement was the address the critical need to reduce product identification confusion in the digital market place in order to provide the best customer experience.

Here are some relevant excerpts that you might be interested in.
  • “Separate ISBNs should be assigned to all unique Digital Books for ordering, listing, delivery and sales tracking purposes. In general, there are three major factors that determine the need to assign unique ISBNs to Digital Books.
  • Content:  If two digital books are created, one an exact textual reproduction of a Physical Book and the other an enhanced version that includes video, audio, etc., then the two Digital Books are unique and different products, and each requires a unique ISBN.

  • Format:  If an EPUB format, a PDF format and a Mobi format (among others) are created, each format should be assigned a unique ISBN. This is similar to creating a hardcover and paperback edition of a Physical Book and should follow the same rules regarding ISBN assignment.

  • DRM: When the application of DRM software is part of the transaction with the Consumer (as frequently happens in the US) it does not constitute the creation of a new format as the term is being used in this Policy Statement. In this case, DRM is not a format: it is a wrapper around a product. An EPUB file with DRM software applied is still an EPUB file, a PDF file with DRM applied is still a PDF file. In this case, DRM is not part of the product, it is part of the transaction. An ISBN is a product identifier, not a transaction identifier.

  • Usage Rights:  If a Digital Book is made available with different usage rights in different markets (e.g. adjusting the usage settings so that printing is allowed in the version going to the education market, but not in the version going to the retail market), each version should be assigned a unique ISBN.”

Copyright and Course Materials

Here’s a story  that might be of interest to campus bookstores especially as custom coursepacks become more commonplace and as faculty incorporate more of their original materials into these coursepacks. 
The story talks about how distribution of course notes, lecture recordings, and exam copies has become an emergent commercial enterprise by brick and mortar and online entities.  

As this happens more often, many professors are concerned that their unique and creative work product, such as stylized lecture slides, detailed course materials, and syllabi, are being made accessible without their knowledge or permission.   To help counter the problem, universities have adopted policies prohibiting students from sharing course materials. 

For example, University of Virginia has recently implemented a policy related to recording of classroom lectures and distribution of course materials by students.  This policy states that recordings, course materials, and lecture notes may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation, or for any other purpose other than study by students enrolled in the class. Public distribution of such materials may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law, or University policy. Violation of this policy may subject a student to disciplinary action under the University’s Standards of Conduct. 

Other schools like Cornell have devised informational sites for faculty to assist them in locating infringing downloads and requesting take-down.  Cornell website lists these websites that are known to redistribute course materials.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beyond Opportunities

In the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of EDUCAUSE Review,the article, “If Not Now, When?” predicts that the college bookstores will be “shattered” within five years along with textbooks, learning management systems, and schools. Author Adrian Sannier is the former CTO at Arizona State University who was responsible for the early Kindle pilots at that institution, and now works for Pearson Education.

Sannier argues that the convergence of trends such as wireless, smartphones, social networking, tablets, and data mining, and their convergence will lead to a digital shift in higher education that will change the education system forever. Sannier notes, “We are now poised to capture the value. The stage is set. The long-awaited digital shift in education can begin. Get ready for the Four Beyonds.” The Four Beyonds are- Beyond Textbooks, Beyond Bookstores, Beyond Learning Management Systems, and Beyond Schools.

This is an excerpt on “Beyond Bookstores:"
“The second sign that the digital shift is imminent is the stress that campus bookstores are under. Campus bookstores have been one of the core institutions of higher education, distributing learning materials to students for a century or more. Uniquely adapted to serve as the middleman between professors’ textbook choices and students’ needs to buy, return, and sell those texts, bookstores have filled a local niche, ensuring the necessary supply of eclectic materials that students would otherwise have to travel far and wide to obtain. As digital forms of these materials have been created, bookstores have turned them into physical products, in the form of access cards and the like, fitting them into the brick-and-mortar business model rather than adapting to the speed and flexibility of electronic retail.

But recent distribution innovations made possible by the Internet have inverted this dynamic, fitting physical texts into the high-speed, high-choice landscape of e-retail. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chegg, and a host of smaller e-retailers offer many of the staples of the campus bookstore at lower prices and even by rental—putting serious pressure on the retail margins of campus bookstores. And as more products move into digital format, the old business models that kept campus bookstores in the distribution game are being replaced by direct sales, which cut the store profit but provide a better price for students and greater convenience for professor and student alike.

The same forces that brought the once-mighty Borders to bankruptcy in 2011 are arrayed against the campus bookstore. In its place will be a direct distribution model for learning materials, one that streamlines the adoption and distribution of digital solutions. This will no doubt cause short-term disruption as the old model unravels, but the end result will be a much wider choice of learning materials and more fluid distribution.”
The author closes by saying:
“Beyond Textbooks, Beyond Bookstores, Beyond Learning Management Systems, Beyond School—the changes introduced by technology have already begun. The digital shift is upon us. If other industries and other fields are any guide, once the dominos begin to fall, progress will be swift and irreversible.”
In Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942), the Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter wrote:
The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation—if I may use that biological term—that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. (p. 83)
College stores that are willing to adapt and change will get through the transformation and find new opportunities that require new business models and practices. Call it Beyond the Possibilities, but the tools that are making this transformation happen will also be the tools that will propel the college store into the digital world and beyond. College stores can and are transforming themselves into e-retailers, and provide values beyond just the middleman aspects that Sannier describes. The college IT community is increasingly talking around the college store without understanding the business and some of the true value the college store provides. To be fair, college stores have, for the most part, been terrible at "telling their story" as to the full range of value they provide to many institutions.

In 2007 college stores, IT departments and librarians met for a summit on the future of information delivery in higher education.  There is value and some functional overlap between our areas, but at the same time we all have some unique strengths and value-adds.  Now that five years have passed and the landscape has shifted significantly perhaps it is time for these groups to engage in conversation again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Belated Happy Birthday to Weber State University- 100th

A couple months back we wished University of Maine Bookstore its 100th Birthday.  We have one belated Happy 100th to go out to Weber State University bookstore.

This is a quote from the school paper. “In 1911, a small, one-room bookstore served the Weber Academy campus. Today, 100 years later, the bookstore’s three locations and online store serve 24,000+ Weber State University students, as well as faculty, staff, alumni, the community and a whole lot of impassioned Wildcat fans.”

Here is a link to the school’s video celebrating its centennial.   If stores are interested in how to get the fun back in the campus bookstore you have to check out Weber State University bookstore.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

University of Texas El Paso Selling Kindle and e-books

Here is an October 18 article on University of Texas El Paso bookstore selling Amazon Kindle family.   In partnership with a third party digital textbook provider they hope to see more students turning to digital for their coursework.   While the sales were not great within the first two weeks of launch, Yolanda Torres, textbook manager at the bookstore, remains hopeful that UTEP students will soon resort to e-readers to avoid textbook hassles, according to the story.  "As of right now, we haven't sold any. I suppose the kids either prefer physical texts or don't know about them," Torres said. "We do not sell them online and the only way we advertised is in-store and the sign outside the doors."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Digital Receipts: The Good and The Bad

Here’s a story that says more retailers are looking to provide digital receipts but some customers are a little weary of personal data.  Retailers already sending email receipts include companies like Gap, Kmart, Best Buy, Sears, and Apple.  Receipts can be received via email and can customers can access receipts on the Web or on their mobile phones, according to the article. 

Some of the benefits of digital receipts include the convenience for customers, who require receipts for such things as product warranties and tax records.  It also supports in helping to reduce fraudulent returns."It definitely will help cut down on fraud," said Joe Masar, marketing director for D&B Supply, an Idaho-based, farm-and-ranch store that is currently exploring digital receipt solutions. "You never want to treat your customer like a criminal, so we tend to trust them. Sometimes we're over-trusting." However, with a digital receipt, Masar said, "then there's no question."

The negative to emailed receipts is that it makes customers nervous about personal data being available to retailers.  Some people consider their spending habits to be personal and they feel personalized marketing to be invasive.

According to the article, Kmart spokesman Aiello recognizes that the corporation is incorporating this information for added personalized marketing such as offering coupons and promotions based on spending habits, but he sees it as benefit to consumers.

"This really starts to open up opportunities that a paper receipt just can't," he said. "If the customer has shown interest in certain things, [he or she will receive] recommendations as part of the digital receipt.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Print disabled children get quicker access to traditional texts

This article highlights Bookshare, a nonprofit that provides free specialized electronic copies of books to students with certain print disabilities.  This story is an example of how e-book technology has great potential for students who previously relied on more burdensome and harder to obtain alternatives to the traditional book.
Bookshare makes books to be read aloud by computers, magnified, and spaced differently so that students with vision problems or learning disabilities can read them.  Bookshare’s agreement with 160 publishers allow them to make these special need e-books  available at the same time new releases reach bookstore shelves, unlike typical audiobooks. 
Bookshare memberships are for students who are blind, have low vision, have such learning disabilities as severe dyslexia, or have a disability such as cerebral palsy that could keep them from holding a book.  For these children, Bookshare is free, due to a $32 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education four years ago that’s led to 150,000 student Bookshare memberships across the nation.  And the department’s office of special education programs gave the organization another $3 million in mid-October to take its work even further during the next year. 
The article says barriers still remain.  For example, many books are filled with photographs, diagrams, charts, and drawings that may be supplemented by a single line or two of text.   Although e-books can read aloud that simple description, more elaborate details aren’t available in most cases.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Increase in College Costs Due to Non-tuition Expenses

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity November 2011 report says that approximately two-thirds of the increase in total college costs stems from non-tuition expenses. Non-tuition costs include books and (off-campus) room and board, according to the report.  The report recommends that more attention needs to focus on controlling these non-tuition expenses.  According the Center’s report, the average amount that students paid, after deducting scholarships and grants, increased by nearly $3,000, while net tuition prices grew by only about $1,000 during same period.  For two year colleges, the overall cost increased by $1,333, while net tuition prices fell to $849.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Demise of Borders Brings New Opportunities

“When there’s a massive transition in an industry, the strong players make it through to the other side,” explains David A. Schick, a retail analyst who covers booksellers for Stifel Nicolaus Equity Research. “What gets caught up in the change are the weaker players.”

This is a quote from Bloomberg Businessweek article from 11/10, “The End of Borders and the Future of Books.”  The story covers the demise of Borders and the rise of small independent bookstores.  These new community minded stores are filling the void left behind by Boders bankruptcy.

In November, 16, 20011 NY Times there is an article, “Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a Bookstore” that gives several other examples of smaller sleek bookstores popping up in areas where Borders once existed.

Could this be an opportunity for campus stores as well?  Is there room for campus stores to provide unmet need in their communities?  Are stores thinking about whether there is a void left by the demise of Borders in their area and can they fill that void? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A University in Mexico Offers Free Course Materials Online

The Chronicle reports that the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) will make virtually all of its publications, databases, and course materials freely available on the Internet over the next few years.

According to the article, UNAM, Mexico's largest university, said the program, known as All of UNAM Online, could double or triple the institution's 3.5 million publicly available Web pages, as the largest collection of its kind in Latin America.  It also says that it would include all magazines and periodicals published by UNAM, and, if negotiations with outside publishers went well, all research published by UNAM employees.  The university would provide online access to all theses and dissertations as well as materials for its approximately 300 undergraduate and graduate courses, according to the story.

"If UNAM can do everything it proposes, this will be a very big step," said Carolina Rossini, the coordinator of the Open Education Resource Project, a program supported by the Open Society Institute to promote open access and open-educational resources in Brazil. "It will fulfill part of the public university's mission to benefit society beyond those who are enrolled or affiliated with the university."

Monday, November 21, 2011

TIPS on Promoting Digital Course Materials

This article is very relevant for campus stores if they are thinking of how to improve digital course materials sales.  The story is about Indie bookstores but the lessons are apropos to college stores as well.

Basically, the article recommends a multifaceted approach when it comes to promoting digital.  You should feature them in general and targeted electronic and print newsletters, advertise online and in-store, train staff, and “just be relentless.”

Some propose having at least one dedicated e-book answer guru and distributing their e-mail contact information to customers.   Campus stores can also do this so that there is one digital content reference expert in your store.  This person can set up regularly scheduled “Digital Therapy” classes for faculty and students where people can share their experiences and ask questions and discuss digital delivery and e-readers.

If you are planning an out-right digital “Go Digital” marketing campaign, the article suggests utilizing website promotions, e-newsletters with a “download the e-book” button, social media, QR codes on shelf-talkers, special events, and in-store signage.   To get the conversation started, one bookstore has bookmarks with big letter: ‘WE SELL E-BOOKS.”
The message from your actions will lead to faculty and staff awareness that the campus store can meet their e-book and digital course material needs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Coolest QR Codes

CNN Money has an interesting story this week on companies that have taken QR codes beyond black and white to full color and beyond.  The story provides a collection of 23 QR codes that reflect brand as much as provide a link to relevant content.  As QR codes gain traction faster than the latest smartphone, perhaps it is time for more retailers and organizations to "think outside the QR-code box" and design codes that extend product brand or image. 

Among some of the companies using creative QR codes in the CNN story:  Gillette, Red Cross, Ralph Lauren, Macy's, True Blood (HBO), Time, and the Salvation Army.  The gallery is also worth looking at to see how some of these organizations use QR codes (i.e., what they direct the user to as a destination).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Washington State Program Creates Free Course Materials

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) recently announced the launch of the Open Course Library.   According to the press release, the Open Course Library is a compilation of educational course materials for 42 of the state’s highest-enrolled college courses. They hope to reach 81 classes by 2013.   Materials will cost $30 or less per student and are available free online for use by any of the 34 public community and technical colleges, four year institutions and anyone else worldwide.
For faculty, the use of the Open Course Library is optional and many are moving towards adoption according to the SBCTC. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Princeton University Press Enters Digital Market with Princeton Shorts

The Chronicle reports that Princeton University Press will test the digital market with its Princeton Shorts.  Using its back list it will take excerpts and package them as e-books.  Running from 20 to 100 pages in length it will have a price range between 99 cents to $4.99 and unlike Kindle Singles, Princeton Shorts will not introduce new content instead it will take selections and place new titles on them, according to the story.  Douglas Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press, called it "good, savvy publishing on Princeton's part." In an e-mail, he said he was "interested to hear what happens—particularly if the market for the 'shorts' turns out to be more classroom than general trade."

Monday, November 14, 2011

E-Book Consumers Loyal to E-Books

Book Industry Study Group’s recent on-going survey on Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading indicates consumers are showing increase devotion and approval of digital books.  According to BISG’s press release, “The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years,” said Angela Bole, BISG's Deputy Executive Director.  The press release also quotes Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services at Bowker who says,  “As e-books become the primary reading format for many consumers in the coming months and years, it will be essential for the publishing community to understand consumers’ individual preferences and desires in order to connect with them."

The press release reports that almost “50% of print book consumer who have also acquired an e-book in the past 18 months would wait up to three months for the e-book version of a book from a favorite author, rather than immediately read it in print.  A year ago, only 38% said they would wait this long.”

Here are the results taken directly from the press release:
·         “Power Buyers are spending more.  More than 46% of those who say they acquire e-books at least weekly (considered “Power Buyers” in this survey) report that they have increased their dollars spent for books in all formats, compared with 30.4% of all survey respondents. This statistic is important because Power Buyers have proven to be a bellwether of overall consumer behavior by three to six months.”

·         “Amazon momentum continues. continues to be the preferred source for e-book acquisition (holding steady at 70%) and e-book information (44%). Barnes & Noble comes in second at 26%, with Apple in third.  One to watch: libraries, which are on the upswing as a preferred source for e-book acquisition.”
·         “Satisfaction with e-reading devices is high. Seventy-five percent (75%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their e-reading device, including more than 38% of respondents who reported being “very satisfied.” Less than 5% said they felt their e-reading device was not a good value for the money.”

·         “Many barriers to e-book reading are falling. Survey results indicate that concerns about e-book availability are diminishing.  And although the cost of e-reading devices remains a reported concern, the single most popular answer to the question of what hinders respondents from reading more e-books was “nothing” at 33% (up from 17.6% a year ago).”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Price Comparison on Mobile Expected to Increase for the Holidays

Mobile Commerce Daily reports on Deloitte’s new annual survey showing that 59% of smartphone owners plan on using their devices for price comparison shopping during the holiday season.  While 44% percent of consumers who own smartphones  plan on using social media connections to seek out advice, discounts, and reviews. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

CourseSmart Integrates with BlackBoard

The Wall Street Journal reports that CourseSmart has developed a new integration platform to work seamlessly with Blackboard.  The single sign-on function allows students and faculty access to CourseSmart's digital course catalog by logging into the Blackboard Learn platform without having to sign into CourseSmart.  This means that faculty who are using Blackboard do not have to leave the platform and instead link required reading assignment, homework problems or other activities that exist in their digital course materials and share that information with their students.

The Blackboard Building Block for CourseSmart is free to higher education institutions, according to the article. Matthew Small, chief business officer at Blackboard says,  "The pilots we are currently running with CourseSmart as part of our signature partnership will continue to fuel this experience as they provide our clients with anytime, anywhere access to their digital course materials from any Web-enabled device, including mobile devices running on the iOS and Android(TM) OS platforms."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The First "Smartbook"

There is news that Atria Books plans to insert RFID chip in 1000 copies of the book THE IMPULSE ECONOMY: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy, making it the first “smart book.”   The consumer's can tap their NFC enabled phone to the RFID sticker and the phone will automatically open the phone's mobile web browser on specific book-related content.

"Proximity marketing solutions like NFC will allow for seamless and frictionless interactive experience whether this is for interactive content on your phone or mobile wallet commerce opportunities," says Gary Schwartz, the author of THE IMPULSE ECONOMY. "This new breed of consumer is using the mobile phone in the physical store to select products, research purchases, and act on content."

Atria Books is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Study Shows Increase In Mobile for Banking and Credit Card Services

A recent study by comScore reveals a rise in mobile usage for banking, credit card, and auto and property insurance services.

The study shows that 12.7 million mobile users used mobile banking, an increase of 45% from 2010.  For mobile credit card services there was an increase of 23% at 18.4 million mobile users.  Use of mobile for auto and property insurance services saw an increase of 19% with 7.2 million mobile users.

“The investments in mobile made by financial services institutions, along with the continued growth in smartphone adoption, have had a truly positive effect on the use of mobile financial services,” said Sarah Lenart, comScore vice president for Marketing Solutions. “New apps and mobile-enhanced sites have made it easier for customers to seek out financial information using mobile devices. With tablets and other web-enabled connected devices gaining popularity in addition to smartphones, financial service institutions are poised for additional growth in mobile access.”

This is an important trend to keep an eye on since mobile will be an expected service in many industries especially for college bound students who as we know use mobile all the time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Copyright Office's Priorities for 2011-2013

The United States Copyright Office released a report on the Office’s priorities and focus subject areas for the over next two years with respect to copyright policy and administrative practice and a series of new projects designed to improve the quality and efficiency of its services in the twenty-first century.   The Office’s policy priorities for the next 24 months are as follows, subject to new developments in the United States and abroad.  Some of the notable items, according to the Register, includes streamlining litigation, perhaps even a recommendation for a special venue for copyright litigation, Orphan Works, and Library exemptions.

Small claims solutions for copyright owners
Legal treatment of pre-1972 sound recordings
Mass book digitization

Rogue websites
Illegal streaming
Public performance right in sound recordings
Orphan works
Copyright exceptions for libraries
Market-based licensing for cable an d satellite retransmission

World intellectual property organization (wipo)
Trans-pacific partnership and other trade priorities

Priorities in Administrative law Practice
Prohibition on circumvention of measures controlling access to copyrighted works
Electronic system for the designation of agents under the dmca
Review of group registration options
Registration options for websites and other forms of digital authorship
Electronic administration of the statutory licenses
Recording notices of termination of copyright transfers

Special Projects
Study of fees and services
Revision of the compendium of copyright office practices
Technical upgrades to electronic registration
Dialogues and roundtables with copyright community
Research partnerships with academic community
Revision of copyright office website
Public outreach and copyright education
Business process reengineering of recordation division
Public access to historical records
Skills training for copyright office staff

Monday, November 7, 2011

Local libraries sell e-books too

A story from last month discussed a new offering that would allow local libraries around the world to provide eBook catalogs to their patrons.  The new functionality would provide library visitors the ability to reference, browse, sample, and buy eBooks that are not available through the library system by linking them to national and local booksellers.

"Public libraries offer for lending a small fraction of publishers' ebook or audiobook catalogs," said Erica Lazzaro, OverDrive Director of Publisher Relations. This initiative "will take hundreds of thousands of early, midlist, and backlist eBook titles that are virtually invisible to library customers and present them for discovery. [It] will also enable for patrons who do not want to wait for popular titles to become available the option to immediately shop for it from a list of booksellers that support their local library."
With local libraries entering the retail ebook business, local booksellers will find themselves with even more competition.  The emphasis here is on future market share, to be sure, but it is a great example of the potential of emerging technologies can reshape entire industries.