Tag Archives: Sony

eBrary eBook on a Tablet

eBook Platform Accessibility

I have commented, negatively, on the accessibility of supposed academic eBook platforms before, so it is a welcome relief to read the JISC post today – Accessible ebook platforms – seven honest dealers (and a few non responders) – whose findings support my claims – until recently many of them were not accessible, or even should be called ‘eBooks’.

My complaint is, and has been (and may continue to be), that they are not eBooks in the sense of an ePub or MOBI file, i.e. scalable, accessible, etc. Academic eBooks are files, often PDFs, loaded to a proprietary piece of software that controls access, printing, searching, etc. In this software you can view the whole book page inside their ‘skin’ which enables searches, thumbnails, chapter links, etc. When viewed on a desktop this is clunky, at best, but workable.  Continue reading

Kindle App

‘Kindle’ eBook App

‘Kindle’ eBook (iPhone/iPad): I didn’t go out and buy a Kindle when they first appeared, but I wanted to. At the time we were testing the Sony eReader at work so I borrowed one of those for a couple of weeks, which I didn’t like (mainly due to hassle of connect-to-upload and software issues, but it was still OK to use).

Since then the Kindle and other eBook readers have come along way. The new look Kindle Touch, B&N Nook and the new Kobo available in the UK WH Smiths are all impressive devices, but they still do not have the overall functionality of the iPhone or iPad (except the Kindle Fire, which is still not in the UK yet! Grrrr!).

And so to the Kindle App for iPhone and iPad:

“The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, giving users the ability to read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines and PDFs on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You’ll have access to over 900,000* books in the Kindle Store. Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across devices (including Kindle), so you can pick up your book where you left off on another device. ”

Kindle Free : http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/kindle/id302584613

I recently read and finished the complete Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which I bought for the Kindle and downloaded on both iPad and iPhone. Depending on where I was and what device I had available I read the eBook in about a week (yes, I’m a fast reader when I enjoy the book). Whist I downloaded the Kindle App about a year ago this was the first paid-for book I’d read on it and the experience was great – it was easy, enjoyable, I could pick it up for a page or chapter or two at a time, etc, etc.

Why am I including this as an App in learning and teaching list? Here’s why:

  • Sync (Whispersync) – the ability to save progress in any book on any device that is running the Kindle App (including your laptop/desktop) and advance to this point when you pick up another device and want to continue reading from where you stopped.
  • Publishers are becoming more accepting of the format of electronic books, so expect to see versions available in different formats, including EPUB, in the future. In which case the Kindle and Kindle App will be an excellent choice.
  • One advantage I can see about using Kindle and Amazon in general (whether it is using an Amazon device or just the App) is the ability to send documents to your account and device via email – “Email PDFs & other documents to your new Send-to-Kindle e-mail address and we deliver them to your device. The documents are automatically archived in the Amazon Cloud and available for re-download on your iOS or supported Kindle devices.” If Schools are not using this when they give these devices to students to get learning materials to the students then they are missing a HUGE trick – I would if I was involved in that kind of project!
  • Scale the text to the size that suits your eyesight, and even change the background from white to ‘paper’, even white text on black for night-time reading.
  • Simple touch the screen to progress/turn the page, or you can swipe to turn.
  • Access to massive Amazon eBook store (+900k reportedly available).
  • Dictionary – tap and hold a word to view the definition (dependent on connection).

Other resources you should look at about Kindle and eBooks:

Are you using a Kindle or the Kindle App (or both)? How are you using ‘them’, and are you involved in a scheme whereby the students are given one (or an account) and you send them the documents they need instead of them downloading from the VLE?

Sony to launch new Reader(s)?

Rumours are still rife that Sony are expected to release details of the (imminent) release of not one, but two new Readers.

ZDNet: Sony launches two new readers including a pocket-sized $199 device

ZDNet: Sony launches two new readers including a pocket-sized $199 device

While we know Sony for their innovative, if somewhat lacking, Sony Reader PRS505, news of an updated model is not unexpected (since the Kindle is now on it’s second edition). What wasn’t expected is the possibility of two models.

The PRS300 is a smaller (5″ screen) and more light-weight edition, more akin to the original idea for what the eBook reader should be: portable, small, holiday-book market, while the larger PRS600 is what educators were looking for in the original version; touch-screen, wireless (?), Mac-compatible, support for Google ePub, and even note-taking (not sure on this final point though).

Little information is available on when they will arrive in the UK, and if so at what price, but the US is going crazy for any information it can get.

Based on my experience with the original PRS505 the addition of wireless and touch-screen technology will help ‘sell’ it as mobile learning device. It still looks like it lacks enough features and technology to make it anywhere near good enough for students and/or educators to want to spend the £200-300 price-tag it’ll demand when (if) it comes out.