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Kindle Singles – A New Form of Digital Journalism

If you’re not familiar with Kindle Singles* they are short works of fiction and non-fiction found in Amazon’s Kindle Store that are intended to be read by the reader in one sitting.

And among the many Kindle Singles are some excellent works that focus on current events. And in relation, one of the great things about this new type of literary work is that journalists can quickly write up essays or short pieces regarding current events, as they are unfolding, and then quickly digitally publish their works. So youdon’t have to wait months to read a new work relating to a current event; you can actually read a Kindle Single about the event while it is still a current event!

And another good thing about these short literary works is the price. Most of them are priced at less than five dollars.

For example, consider the top five works on Amazon’s List of the Best of 2011: Kindle Singles list:

The Saint by Oliver Broudy – Price: $1.99

Blood on the Tracks by Cecelia Holland – Price: $1.99

Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer – Price: $2.99

Let the Great Axe Fall by Robert Blecker – Price: $1.99

The heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield – Price: $0.99

Not one of those titles costs more than $2.99!

In relation, the New York Times has an article on this subject today titled Electronic Mini-Books That Allow Writers To Stretch Their Legs and it discusses this subject and offers additional suggestions for great Kindle Single works including John Hooper’s Fatal Voyage: The Wrecking of the Costa Concordia ($1.99) and Death Comes to Happy Valley: Penn State and the Tragic Legacy of Joe Paterno ($1.99).

Check it out!

Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/books/kindle-singles-genre-between-magazine-articles-and-books.html?_r=1&ref=books

*Note: There are other publishers that put out e-singles and a few of them are mentioned in the New York Times article.

Linda R.

25 Billion Apps!

For those of you familiar with the iPad and iPhone this will come as no surprise and for everyone else it will offer an illustration of why the iPad and iPhone arei so popular. This past week someone downloaded the 25thbillion app from Apple’s App Store.

And for those of you who might not be very familiar with the iPad or iPhone just a brief explanation of why this is signification and honestly, why it is fun!

The iPad and iPhone are so popular for two reasons; firstly, the devices themselves are wonderful to use – they offers a very sensitive touch screen with a great display although granted the iPad has the larger screen! And secondly, there are a great variety of apps that can be downloaded and used on the iPad and iPhone.

There are apps (short for software application and akin to the icons found on a PC) for almost everything under the sun. There are apps for buying e-books and interactive books, reading free library e-books, apps for listening to personalized music and radio stations from across the globe, apps for knitting, cooking and crafting, apps for playing games of all kinds, apps that offer tips on how to play the sport of your choice, apps for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Smithsonian among other news related apps; there are apps that offer new movie trailers and movie show times, sports news and even apps that rate apps just in case youdon’t have time to browse through all the thousands of apps in the App Store!

And just as the iPad and iPhone are so popular so too are the apps; in fact that apps are so popular that even though Apple’s App Store has only been in operation since 2008 it has just seen the 25th billion app downloaded!

Here is a link to a CNET article on the subject!

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57390111-37/apples-app-store-25-billion-downloads/

And in relation, if you’d ever like to see what an iPad looks like and how it works — stop by the library! We have iPads for in-house use and would be happy to show you how easy it is to use one.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Linda R.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore & iRobot

I am a super huge fan of the library blog Will Unwound which is hosted by the retired librarian and Booklist columnist Will Manley, and is found online at http://willmanley.com/

And in relation, this week Will’s weekend post highlights a really cool video that anyone who loves books and libraries will find fun! It is called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and is located at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNjtZ5V4P-c

And if you’re thinking to yourself what on earth does that have to do with technology…My answer is not much! It is one of those I-thought-I’d-share-this-cool-info that is widely off the tech topic of this blog things. Feel free to do the same! Conversations and feedback are always welcome in library land!

And on to a tech note! Do you remember Rosie the Robot maid in the Jetsons cartoons?

Well the technology is catching up with that futuristic vision!  A company named iRobot, which puts out circular robotic vacuum cleaners that do indeed clean your floors on their own, has just developed a new robot called Ava that uses a tablet computer for a brain and could potentially be an office or house hold assistant. The New York Times website has a neat article about the iRobot company and the Ava. The article is found at the following link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/technology/for-irobot-the-future-is-getting-closer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=technology

Enjoy your weekend!

Linda R.

New Apple TV?

The tech rumor mill as abuzz this week with rumors that Apple may unveil not only the third generation iPad at its special press event next Wednesday, March 7 but also a new Apple TV! And that the new Apple TV will be more integrated with the iPad.

And for those of you who are not familiar with the Apple TV, here is just a little bit of background info! The Apple TV is one of those small, about the size of a hockey puck, media streaming devices that allows users to easily watch Internet accessed video content on the large TV in their living rooms as compared to on a small computer screen. (So you can watch your Netflix or Hulu TV shows on your HDTV instead of on your laptop!)

The Apple TV is one of the two popular most popular media streaming devices at the moment, the other is the Roku player, so this is an exciting idea.

Perhaps the new Apple TV will incorporate the SIRSI assistant and allow you to vocally tell your TV which shows you want to watch! We’ll have to wait until next Wednesday to find out!

In the meantime here’s a link to one of the tech blog stories speculating on what features a new Apple TV might have:

http://gigaom.com/apple/new-apple-tv-ipad/

And as a post script I actually own both an Apple TV and a Roku player, as do several of my co-workers, so if you’re interested in knowing more about media streaming players please feel free to ask us about them!

Linda R.

Google’s Online Privacy Policy is Changing

The issue on online privacy is a hot one. And Google, who has to say the lease a large online presence, is changing its privacy policies as of tomorrow, March 1, 2012.

Google is eliminating many of its privacy and polices paring down them down to one privacy policy to cover everything.

And in relation, if you’re logged into your Google account while you are online Google does keep track of where you go and what you look at while you are online.

This is something of a complicated issue!

And to try and make the issue more accessible here’s a link to an NPR story titled How To Adjust Your Privacy Settings Before Google’s Big Shift that discusses Google’s new privacy policy in reasonably simple terms:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/02/29/147596859/how-to-adjust-your-privacy-settings-before-googles-big-shift

Thinking of Buying an iPad? Wait until March 7!

If you’re thinking of buying an iPad I’d suggest you wait until after March 7; because Apple has sent out invitations to the press for a March 7 event to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. And that is the same location where they’ve held all previous new model iPad introductory events – so it is certain that Apple will be introducing a new version of the iPad on March 7.

Here is a link to a New York Times Bits article that briefly discusses the upcoming event and some of the improved features that the next iPad is expected to have:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/apple-confirms-march-7-event-for-new-ipad/

I can’t wait for the new iPad!

Linda R.

The First of Many Postings Regarding E-Books & Public Libraries

E-book are going to a be a subject frequently discussed in the pages of this blog because they are an increasingly popular format and because unlike printed books that public libraries can buy from many vendors while also being able to buy all works put out by all publishers; e-books are a format that publishers are blocking public libraries from owning.

To be more precise, our library purchases e-books via OverDrive the vendor that serves most public libraries in the United States; and we can only purchase e-books from OverDrive that OverDrive has a license to sell us or in some cases a license to license to us and that is the crux of that matter licensing versus owning. When the library buys printed books we own them and can loan them to patrons through out the Southern Tier Library System and keep them in our collections indefinitely but when we buy e-books from OverDrive they can only be downloaded to certain ereading devices and in a certain way required by the publishers and some publishers won’t sell us e-books they will only license e-books to us for a certain period of time and then they expect public libraries to purchase those e-book titles again.  And the great majority of large publishers won’t sell e-books to public libraries at all which is why if you’re looking for a hot and popular new title put out by Simon and Schuster or MacMillan you won’t find it in the library’s Digital Catalog because those publishers, among others, won’t sell e-books to public libraries.

If it sounds confusing that is probably because it is!

Here is link to a Guardian article, titled Ebooks The Great Disruption, that discusses many of the issues regarding this new format of e-books:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/27/ebooks-giant-disruption-publishing?newsfeed=true

And here is a link to the OverDrive website which offers news about the Harry Potter series becoming available for school and public libraries to “purchase” for their patrons. And you’ll notice I have the world purchase in quotation marks…And that is because libraries will not be allowed to actually buy the e-books but instead will be able to license them and will have to renew that license periodically to keep the Harry Potter books in their digital catalogs:

http://www.overdrive.com/News/getarticle.aspx?newsArticleID=20120227

And if you have any questions about the availability of e-books in public libraries ask the staff at SSCL or simply post a comment!

Linda R.