Tags: ebook*

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  1. some key findings emerged that shed new light on the differences between reading printed and digital content:

    Students overwhelming preferred to read digitally.

    Reading was significantly faster online than in print.

    Students judged their comprehension as better online than in print.

    Paradoxically, overall comprehension was better for print versus digital reading.

    The medium didn't matter for general questions (like understanding the main idea of the text).

    But when it came to specific questions, comprehension was significantly better when participants read printed texts.

    If all students are being asked to do is to understand and remember the big idea or gist of what they're reading, there's no benefit in selecting one medium over another.

    But when the reading assignment demands more engagement or deeper comprehension, students may be better off reading print. Teachers could make students aware that their ability to comprehend the assignment may be influenced by the medium they choose. This awareness could lessen the discrepancy we witnessed in students' judgments of their performance vis-à-vis how they actually performed.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-19)
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  2. Attendiamo l'arrivo di un Aldo Manuzio dell'ebook
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-05-15)
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  3. l’equivoco di fondo di chi si arrocca in difesa della lettura tradizionale su carta, del fatto che gli studenti preferiscano ancora il caro vecchio prodotto cartaceo altrimenti non ricordano bene cosa leggono (sic! un articolo fra i tanti, Alice Vigna, “La lettura digitale ci cambierà? Meno attenzione e memoria”, Corriere della Sera, 12 febbraio 2015), è dimenticare come la scrittura sia già diventata una sequenza di zero e uno. I libri nascono digitali e si stampano analogici. I programmi di impaginazione hanno soppiantato gli addetti alla fotocomposizione da decenni e l’industria editoriale vive il paradosso di essere già digitale a monte quando per campare “deve” essere cartacea a valle. È una contraddizione destinata a esplodere come accaduto per il giornalismo. Tra le tante reazioni possibili: fare sempre meglio quel che si è sempre fatto (il libro di carta) oppure, nascendo editori oggi, fare al meglio il proprio libro digitale, non così per provare.
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  4. Stop di un tribunale dei Paesi Bassi al mercato dell'usato dei volumi digitali: non ci sarebbe modo di certificare la legalità dei testi alla fonte. Ma la questione è destinata ad essere affrontata a livello europeo
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-01-26)
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  5. Creating a daily reading list involves a few manual steps. In only a few minutes, you have the information you need for the day and you can use your mobile device for something more than just checking email and social media. On top of that, you might just be able to trim down the number of sources from which you get information and free up more time to do other things.
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  6. La UE, infatti, già nel 2012 è intervenuta sulla tassazione dei libri digitali multando Francia e Lussemburgo che l'avevano abbassata rispettivamente al 7 e al 3 per cento ed obbligandole a riallinearla a quella degli altri paesi (15 per cento) e per il momento sembra aver bocciato tutti i tentativi di mediazione in materia portati avanti da Italia e Francia. Per Bruxelles il problema rimane ideologico: gli ebook sono equiparati ai beni e servizi digitali e per questo hanno una tassazione superiore (al momento in Italia 22 per cento) ed una tassazione differente costituirebbe dunque un aiuto statale illecito al settore.

    D'altra parte, come osserva Stefano Quintarelli, alla tassazione è legato anche un problema di interpretazione: quando acquistano un ebook gli utenti si ritrovano in realtà con una licenza d'uso (un servizio per definizione) e non un prodotto che possono liberamente gestire in piena autonomia. Quindi con l'Iva dovrebbe cambiare anche la gestione di questo tipo di beni. Ulteriore problema è poi quello della transnazionalità dei negozi digitali che li vendongo: Amazon ha sede in Lussemburgo, Apple e Kobo ancora altrove, e mentre ora l'Iva è calcolata in base alla nazione dove il libro viene vendut dal 2015 sarà calcolata in base al Paese dell'acquirente.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2014-11-28)
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  7. Open source Sourcefabric Booktype software gives you seamless publishing in EPUB format to all major sellers of e-books with one click.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2014-11-04)
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  8. he fundamental uselessness of book publishers is why I thought it was dumb of the Department of Justice to even bother prosecuting them for their flagrantly illegal cartel behavior a couple of years back, and it's why I'm deaf to the argument that Amazon's ongoing efforts to crush Hachette are evidence of a public policy problem that needs remedy. Franklin Foer's recent efforts to label Amazon a monopolist are unconvincing, and Paul Krugman's narrower argument that they have some form of monopsony power in the book industry is equally wrongheaded.

    What is indisputably true is that Amazon is on track to destroy the businesses of incumbent book publishers. But the many authors and intellectuals who've been convinced that their interests — or the interests of literary culture writ large — are identical with those of the publishers are simply mistaken.
    Books are published by giant conglomerates

    The CEO of Simon & Schuster's parent company earned $67 billion last year (David Shankbone)

    The CEO of Simon & Schuster's parent company earned $67 million in 2013 (David Shankbone)

    Wisdom on this subject begins with the observation that the book publishing industry is not a cuddly craft affair. It's dominated by a Big Four of publishers, who are themselves subsidiaries of much larger conglomerates. Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS, HarperCollins is owned by NewsCorp, Penguin and RandomHouse are jointly owned by Pearson and Bertelsmann, and Hachette is part of an enormous French company called Lagadère.

    In his column, Krugman compares Amazon's large market share to Standard Oil's. But books aren't undifferentiated commodities the way oil is. If you want to buy Paul Krugman's new book, then you can't just substitute some other book. Hachette, however, seems (appropriately) to have almost no confidence in its own ability to market books.

    The real risk for publishers is that major authors might discover that they do have the ability to market books. When George RR Martin's next iteration of the Game of Thrones series is released, I will buy it. If I can buy it as an Amazon Kindle book, I will buy it that way. If he decides that the only way people should be able to read the book is to get Powell's to mail them a copy, then I will buy it that way. And I am not alone. Nor is Martin the only author with the clout to not worry about the terms of distribution.

    But for a publisher to team up with a celebrity author in this way to bypass Amazon would merely reveal how easy it would be for a celebrity author to bypass the incumbent publishers. In the old days, even the most famous author would need a publishing partner to actually make the physical books. Today that's not the case. Martin needs a software platform to sell books, but publishers don't have one. He could easily hire one or more editors to work with him on the copy if he wants to.
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  9. The conclusion? Self-published authors, even the most successful ones, aren’t doing badly of course, but they are certainly not doing as well in terms of exposure as traditionally published authors. Sometimes, a traditionally published author who finds herself retrograded to the “midlist”, with the publisher giving no signs of wishing to renew the contract, may have no choice but to self-publish to survive. This is what Eileen Goudge did and so elegantly explained in a blog post here on Jane Friedman‘s blog, enticingly titled “Self-publish or Perish” (hence the title for my own blog post here).

    However, we should remember that if the midlist author’s economic “survival” is ensured, it is largely thanks to the 70% royalty Amazon pays, because it is certainly not remarkable in terms of exposure – I won’t go further in the details and give you yet another ranking, you can check for yourself if you’re curious (here).

    Moreover, one must remember that all rankings are ephemeral, they change constantly, and one needs to be Amazon itself (or set up a 24 hour watch for months on end) to figure out which authors have “staying power” and which don’t. So all the rankings I’m quoting here are merely indicative.

    Still, some insights can be gleaned. It is particularly interesting to check on the more successful self-published authors and see how they fare today. I checked at random the more famous ones such as Amanda Hocking or John Locke whose amazing success stories (selling “a million copies” in a matter of months) have been instrumental in launching the self-publishing craze.

    Well, they are not doing as well today as you might expect. Amanda Hocking has two books going currently for free and her best selling book, My Blood Approves (now traditionally published by St Martin’s) is ranked #34,251 Paid in Kindle Store. John Locke’s Promise You Won’t Tell, with close to 1,200 reviews was going free the last time I checked and his best selling non-free book Casting Call (actually also the most recent, published in February 2014) is priced at $2.99 and ranked #11,195 in paid in Kindle Store. In other words, it’s doing reasonably well but breaking no records.

    Why are such famous self-published authors with millions of copies sold – I would say even “iconic” writers – following the free promotion strategy exactly as propounded by self-published author David Gaughran in his excellent guidebook Let’s Get Visible?

    I’m sure you can come up with still more striking success stories, and please be sure to highlight them out in the comments, but my point is that the success doesn’t stay on…it waxes and wanes (which is natural) and then falls off a cliff, to use David Gaughran’s striking metaphor. Hence, the authors efforts to revive their books with free promotions. A tough life!

    Now if life is tough for the more successful self-published authors, try and imagine what it’s like for the rest of us?

    The reason why? Basically the tsunami of books that buries every single newcomer!

    No doubt this is another compelling reason why you should follow David Gaughran’s advice. And don’t get discouraged, Amazon has just handed out a candy to self-published authors, making it possible for them for the first time ever to access to the “pre-order” functionality on its website (is this a side-effect of the Hachette-Amazon spat? Who knows…) Regardless of Amazon’s reasons for doing this, it is a big gift, because it means that, just like a traditional publisher could do till now, you are able to promote your book on all the sites you navigate for 90 days prior to launching, while pre-orders accumulate on Amazon’s site: on the day of release, all these orders are filled at a single go, ensuring a boost to your book, launching it up Amazon’s rankings!
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  10. The basic workflow they suggest is that you need to convert your content to HTML. Sounds simple enough, but then you have to do a bunch of additional things including:

    Adding anchor tags to the HTML for the chapter markers and subchapter headers
    Adding tags within your markup to indicate page breaks
    Handcrafting an internal navigation file named toc.ncx
    Creating a very similar HTML version of the table of contents
    Creating a cover image & title page
    Creating a content.opf XML file that defines all sorts of additional publishing metadata, the manifest of chapters, the spine ncx navigation, and the HTML table of contents guide file.
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