Review: Nook Tablet is a worthy competitor to Kindle Fire

The Nook Tablet improves on the Nook Color mainly by beefing up the processor and memory and extending the battery life.

Last week, Associated Press technology writer Peter Svensson reviewed the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s $199 tablet that aims to challenge the iPad. This week, he reviewed the new $249 Nook Tablet from bookseller Barnes & Noble, which he called “a solid product, worthy of duking it out with [the] Kindle Fire.”

Here’s what he had to say about the device…

“Like the new Kindle Fire, the [Nook] Tablet has a 7-inch, touch-sensitive color screen, about half the size of the iPad’s. It’s the same screen as on the Nook Color, the eReader Barnes & Noble launched a year ago. I thought it was the best eReader yet when it launched.…Read More

Barnes & Noble launches eBook software for students

One-third of students are comfortable with eBooks, according to a study.
One-third of students are comfortable with eBooks, according to a study.

Barnes & Noble has joined the growing list of companies and organizations giving college students electronic alternatives to their pricey textbooks with the book retailer’s free NOOKstudy software that could save students 40 percent at the bookstore.

The NOOKstudy software will be usable on PCs, Macs, the Apple iPad, and, of course, the Nook when the program is released in August. More than 500,000 free eBooks will be available through the software, according to the Barnes & Noble web site, including some texts that might be required for college students.

Barnes & Noble will partner with learning management giant Blackboard in its NOOKstudy launch, allowing students who use Blackboard’s online learning platform to buy and read texts available in the NOOKstudy library, which will be stocked with more than 1 million eBooks in all.…Read More

Feds: Make eReaders accessible to all students

Colleges have agreed to abandon Kindle pilot programs because of accessibility issues.
Some colleges have agreed to abandon Kindle pilot programs because of accessibility issues.

The federal government will help schools and colleges using eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle to comply with laws giving students with disabilities equal access to emerging education technologies, officials announced.

The Departments of Education and Justice stressed the responsibility of colleges and universities to use accessible eReaders in a letter published June 29, after more than a year of complaints from low-sighted and blind students attending colleges that have piloted eReader programs.

Many eReaders have a text-to-speech function that reads words aloud, but the devices lack menus that people who are blind or have low vision can navigate.…Read More

University library sees demand for Kindles soar

Oregon State undergraduates have flocked to the library's Kindle rental program.
Oregon State undergraduates have flocked to the library's Kindle loaner program.

For students looking to temper sober textbook readings with a literary escape into the world of vampires and zombies, Oregon State University is loaning out Amazon Kindle electronic readers stocked with the latest in popular books.

The Corvallis, Ore.-based university has found it too expensive to fill its Valley Library shelves with fiction and nonfiction books that students would read for fun, not homework assignments or upcoming exams. So in November, the university began lending Kindle eReaders to students and faculty willing to part from traditional page flipping and embrace a technology being tested on campuses nationwide.

The immediate demand for the electronic books forced Valley Library officials to alter Kindle policies created by a campus task force last summer.…Read More

Princeton students, profs give Kindle mixed grades

One Princeton student surveyed said the Kindle was "difficult to use."
One Princeton student surveyed said the Kindle was "difficult to use."

Princeton University has released findings from its semester-long pilot of Amazon.com’s Kindle DX electronic reader, and the results appear mixed: While students reduced the amount of paper they printed for their classes by nearly 50 percent, some students and professors said they felt restricted by the device.

“e-Readers must be significantly improved to have the same value in a teaching environment as traditional paper texts,” a university press release said.

Students and faculty who were surveyed after the pilot program ended said they appreciated the portability of the Kindle DX, and the fact that it greatly reduced the printing and photocopying they did for their courses. But they said they missed the ability to highlight text directly, take notes, and flip back and forth through pages of their textbook easily.…Read More

Apple and e-book DRM: Will they? Should they?

With Apple already firmly entrenched in the realms of digital music and video, it was only a matter of time before the company got into the future of the printed word, reports Macworld. But aside from the few hints Apple CEO Steve Jobs dropped at the iPad unveiling last month, relatively little is known about the company’s forthcoming iBookstore. Case in point: will the e-books that Apple sells contain digital rights management? And, given that Apple has made such a big push to sell music free of DRM restrictions, should the company enforce it on books? Will they?

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Publishers win a bout in eBook Price Fight

With the impending arrival of digital books on the Apple iPad and feverish negotiations with Amazon.com over e-book prices, publishers have managed to take some control–at least temporarily–of how much consumers pay for their content, reports the New York Times. Now, as publishers enter discussions with the Web giant Google about its plan to sell digital versions of new books direct to consumers, they have a little more leverage than just a few weeks ago–at least when it comes to determining how Google will pay publishers for those e-books and how much consumers will pay for them.

Google has been talking about entering the direct eBook market, through a program it calls Google Editions, for nearly a year. But in early discussions with publishers, Google had proposed giving them a 63 percent cut of the suggested retail price, and allowing consumers to print copies of the digital books and cut and paste segments. After Apple unveiled the iPad last month, publishers indicated that Apple would give them 70 percent of the consumer price, which publishers would set.

According to several publishers who have been talking to Google, the book companies had balked at what they saw as Google’s less generous terms, and basically viewed printing and cut-and-paste as deal breakers……Read More

Educators intrigued by Apple’s iPad

The Apple iPad will start at $499.
The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.

Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, could push other companies to bring more color-capable eReaders to the market in a move that could make digital books more commonplace on school campuses, educators said after the long-awaited release of the technology giant’s latest product.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad Jan. 27, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

The iPad, which is Wi-Fi enabled, has 10 hours of battery life, features a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 lbs, and will use the iPhone operating system, meaning education companies that have made iPhone apps can make their technology available for iPad users.…Read More

The top higher-ed tech stories of 2009: No. 1

Amazon's Kindle has the power to transform education.
Does Amazon's Kindle have the power to transform education?

Schools’ use of digital textbooks began before 2009, but it was a watershed year for this emerging trend in higher education: Inspired by the introduction of a Kindle electronic reader designed specifically for textbooks, several colleges and universities announced pilot projects to see how well the technology meets students’ needs.

This fall, at least five colleges and universities began piloting Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device, which is designed specifically for reading textbooks.

The Kindle DX, unveiled during a May 6 press conference at Pace University in New York, sports a 9.7-inch screen, compared to the 6-inch screen on the original Kindle. It also features a built-in QWERTY keyboard for note taking. The handheld reader will let users read magazines, newspapers, and textbooks complete with images and graphics. Users also can read PDF files on the Kindle DX–a selling point for faculty members whose courses regularly assign class readings on PDF files.…Read More

The top higher-ed tech stories of 2009: No. 1

Amazon's Kindle has the power to transform education.
Does Amazon's Kindle have the power to transform education?

Schools’ use of digital textbooks began before 2009, but it was a watershed year for this emerging trend in higher education: Inspired by the introduction of a Kindle electronic reader designed specifically for textbooks, several colleges and universities announced pilot projects to see how well the technology meets students’ needs.

This fall, at least five colleges and universities began piloting Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device, which is designed specifically for reading textbooks.

The Kindle DX, unveiled during a May 6 press conference at Pace University in New York, sports a 9.7-inch screen, compared to the 6-inch screen on the original Kindle. It also features a built-in QWERTY keyboard for note taking. The handheld reader will let users read magazines, newspapers, and textbooks complete with images and graphics. Users also can read PDF files on the Kindle DX–a selling point for faculty members whose courses regularly assign class readings on PDF files.…Read More