Safari is offering O’Reilly books and videos for free to every K-12 student and teacher in the U.S.
This past February, Tim O’Reilly brought me into an email thread with the White House with a straightforward but urgent request — could Safari provide the delivery mechanism to make all of O’Reilly Media’s titles available to every K–12 student in America? Commitments to the President’s “ConnectED” program were lined up from a number of software, hardware, and networking companies, but connected devices would be much more useful with content included. We’re proud that we were able to say yes to something so important — and on such short notice.
It made sense for Safari to deliver on O’Reilly’s commitment, as our business is providing online access to thousands of the best books and training courses to companies and organizations of all sizes. But as we started unpacking the particulars, we uncovered more complexity than we expected. For example, there are tens of thousands of school districts across the country, each with their own IT infrastructure. It simply wouldn’t scale if providing access to every student also meant working directly with every school or district. Compliance with a set of regulations designed to protect children’s privacy (known as COPPA) meant that we couldn’t simply open up our standard platform to students.
Constraints can be wonderful in focusing attention, and fortunately the outstanding team at Safari was up for the challenge. By September 1, we had quietly opened up a beta site where any high school student could apply for access to the full collection of O’Reilly books and videos.
In conjunction with today’s White House event promoting “Future Ready Schools,” I’m thrilled to say that we have delivered on the pledge to make the full catalog of O’Reilly books and videos available for free to any K–12 student in America, more than a month ahead of our original January 2015 promise.
Ebooks are already a big part of our publishing business, and we know many of those ebooks are read on iOS devices. Having those ebooks available for sale in the iBookstore makes it even easier to find, buy, and read hundreds of O'Reilly and Microsoft Press titles on iOS devices.
PDF has competition from EPUB.
We track the ebook formats customers actually download, and from the start PDF has been the dominant choice. But as this post's associated chart shows, there's been a steady shift toward other formats.
A look at the pros and cons of an Amazon-run Android market.
While the carriers see the Android Market as an opportunity to build tightly-controlled versions of the Market, non-exclusivity opens the door for companies that (a) know retailing and merchandising much better than Google, (b) aren't in the awkward position of having to play nice with the carriers, and (c) have a global presence independent of carrier coverage and relationships. Enter Amazon.
Nearly 1,000 additional O'Reilly and Microsoft Press ebooks are now available in the Kindle store, and include a special upgrade offer for access to additional formats and free lifetime updates through oreilly.com for $4.99.
More than 800 O'Reilly titles are now available in DAISY format. If you've already bought an oreilly.com ebook, you can find the DAISY files on your account page.
I spend a lot of time talking with companies that want to resell O'Reilly ebooks. Some are large companies you've certainly heard of, others are small startups that haven't yet launched. But what's remarkably consistent is that few of them offer many of the options and features we at O'Reilly consider critical for customers. Because I'm sure these will come…
We've been running an ebook "$9.99 deal of the day" promotion for some time now, and customer response has been quite positive. There's also some very interesting sales data coming out of these promotions. It's no surprise that promotional pricing increases sales; the balancing act is in making sure that overall revenue increases (offsetting the per-unit revenue decrease) as well…
Hugh McGuire's post yesterday raised some great points about what a really effective web-friendly distributed and inherently social writing platform should look like. When it comes to the software tools we use for certain classes of tasks, I always look to the software developers themselves for insight into what those tools will look and feel like. It's usually the developers…
A deep look at the ebook growth opportunities in global markets and how direct sales can offset print book cannibalization.