- Web-Scale User Modeling for Targeting (Yahoo! Research, PDF) — research paper that shows how online advertisers build profiles of us and what matters (e.g., ads we buy from are more important than those we simply click on). Our recent surfing patterns are more relevant than historical ones, which is another indication that value of data analytics increases the closer to real-time it happens. (via Greg Linden)
- Information Technology and Economic Change — research showing that cities which adopted the printing press no prior growth advantage, but subsequently grew far faster than similar cities without printing presses. […] The second factor behind the localisation of spillovers is intriguing given contemporary questions about the impact of information technology. The printing press made it cheaper to transmit ideas over distance, but it also fostered important face-to-face interactions. The printer’s workshop brought scholars, merchants, craftsmen, and mechanics together for the first time in a commercial environment, eroding a pre-existing “town and gown” divide.
- They Just Don’t Get It (Cameron Neylon) — curating access to a digital collection does not scale.
- Should Libraries Get Out of the Ebook Business? — provocative thought: the ebook industry is nascent, a small number of patrons have ereaders, the technical pain of DRM and incompatible formats makes for disproportionate support costs, and there are already plenty of worthy things libraries should be doing. I only wonder how quickly the dynamics change: a minority may have dedicated ereaders but a large number have smartphones and are reading on them already.
Kevin Broccoli on the importance of indexes in ebooks.
In this TOC podcast interview, BIM Publishing Services CEO Kevin Broccoli talks about how indexes can and should evolve in the digital world. He says dynamic, linked indexes can be used as cross-selling tools and that index mashups are the way of the future.
Anna Abraham on PlayTales' strategies for success.
In this TOC podcast, Anna Abraham, marketing and PR manager at PlayTales, talks about what makes PlayTales unique and describes how they've embraced the opportunities in children's ebook publishing.
The nuances of location language, game devs find funding through Kickstarter, and the state of ebook pricing.
This week on O'Reilly: Computational linguist Robert Munro explained why location language is far more complex than many realize, we looked at how Kickstarter's crowdfunding is helping game developers, and Joe Wikert explored the major trends shaping ebook prices.
Loss leaders, the agency model and other factors shaping ebook prices.
Joe Wikert looks at the agency model, efficiencies, fixed pricing and other major trends that will drive ebook pricing in the months ahead.
Inside Personalized Advertising, Printing Presses Were Good For The Economy, Digital Access, and Ebooks in Libraries
Forced Facebook Violation, Motivating Learners, Freeing Books, and Browser Local Storage Sucks
- Government Agencies and Colleges Demand Applicants’ Facebook Passwords (MSN) — “Schools are in the business of educating, not spying,” he added. “We don’t hire private investigators to follow students wherever they go. If students say stupid things online, they should educate them … not engage in prior restraint.” Hear, hear. Reminded me of danah boyd on teen password sharing.
- Changing Teaching Techniques (Alison Campbell) — higher ed is a classic failure of gamification. The degree is an extrinsic reward, so students are disengaged and treat classes like gold farming in an MMORPG: the dull slog you have to get through so you can do something fun later. Alison, by showing them a “why” that isn’t “6 credits towards a degree”, is helping students identify intrinsic rewards. Genius!
- GlueJar — interesting pre-launch startup, basically Kickstarter to buy out authors and publishers and make books “free”. We in the software world know “free” is both loaded and imprecise. Are we talking CC-BY-NC-ND, which is largely useless because any sustainable distribution will generally be a commercial activity? I look forward to watching how this develops.
- There Is No Simple Solution for Local Storage (Mozilla) — excellent dissection of localStorage‘s inadequacies.
The fifth in a series looking at the major themes of this year's TOC conference.
Several overriding themes permeated this year's Tools of Change for Publishing conference. The final piece in a series looking at five of the major themes, here we take a look at the ebook evolution, from data on how readers acquire and consume ebooks to platform and format trends and predictions.
Why Mobile Matters, Towards Better Textbooks, Kinect Hack, and Greece Cantrepreneurial Spirit
- Why Mobile Matters (Luke Wroblewski) — great demonstration of the changes in desktop and mobile, the new power of Android, and the waning influence of old manufacturers.
- It’s Called iBooks Author Not iMathTextbooks Author, And The Trouble That Results (Dan Meyer) — It’s curious that even though students own their iBooks forever (ie. they can’t resell them or give them away), they can’t write in them except in the most cursory ways. Even curiouser, these iBooks could all be wired to the Internet and wired to a classroom through iTunes U, but they’d still be invisible to each other. Your work on your iPad cannot benefit me on mine. At our school, we look for “software with holes in it”–software into which kids put their own answers, photos, stories.
- DepthCam — It’s a live-streaming 3D point-cloud, carried over a binary WebSocket. It responds to movement in the scene by panning the (virtual) camera, and you can also pan and zoom around with the mouse. Very impressive hack with a Kinect! (via Pete Warden)
- Starting an Online Store is Not Easy in Greece — At the health department, they were told that all the shareholders of the company would have to provide chest X-rays, and, in the most surreal demand of all, stool samples. Note to Greece: this is not how you check whether a business plan is full of shit. (via Hacker News)
Lavar Burton on the power of storytelling and other highlights from TOC 2012.
LeVar Burton's TOC keynote takes publishing back to its fundamentals; Joe Karaganis says opposition to SOPA isn't enough, we also need we good alternatives; and bookseller Praveen Madan says the future of bookstores hinges on experiences … and perhaps partnering with Amazon.