E-articles:

Students can now pursue two degree courses at same time

The University Grants Commission has finally given the go-ahead to students to pursue two degree programmes simultaneously.
Giving in to long-standing demands from universities and students, the apex higher education regulator, at a meeting on July 31, decided to accept its expert panel’s recommendations on permitting pursuit of an additional degree programme.
This will allow students enrolled in a regular full-time degree programme to pursue one more additional degree programme simultaneously on open/distance learning mode from the same university or another institution. A student pursuing a regular degree will also be allowed to pursue an additional certificate/diploma/advanced diploma/PG diploma programme simultaneously either in regular or open/distance mode from the same university or another institution.
The UGC expert panel headed by Dr Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, had made these recommendations “in view of the changing scenario and flexible guidelines”. Saying that “more choices to the students need to be given”, the panel was of the view that joint degree programmes need to be encouraged by the UGC.
UGC Chairman Prof Ved Prakash said the idea was to allow new opportunities to students who wish to expand their skill set and have the will to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. Universities have been asked to modify their ordinances to facilitate the joint degree programmes.
Currently, no student in India can legally pursue more than one degree simultaneously either from the same institution or from any other institution. The restriction is applicable irrespective of the mode of pursuing degrees — open/distance learning/part-time/private or full time. To ensure compliance, students are required to submit in the original the migration certificate issued by the previous institute.
While there has been a lot of interest to pursue two or more degree programmes simultaneously to help students improve their knowledge, skill and employability, the present UGC guidelines are silent about the pursuit of a certificate/diploma course alongside a degree programme.
Source | Financial Express | 14 August 2013

Libraries across the world

Libraries across the world

The Taipei Public Library, Beitou, Taiwan has been rated the most eco-conscious building in the country. It is constructed out of wood from sustainably managed forests.

The Picture Book Library, Iwaki city, Japan is meant for preschoolers and has an anti-hushing policy. The architect Tadao Ando was asked to ensure that the covers of the picture books were fully visible.

The Nassau Public Library, Nassau, Bahamas was originally built in the late 18th century as a jail. An octagonal building, it was converted in 1837 to a library.

The Reading Club 2000, Manila, Philippines was founded by Hernando Guanlao (Nanie) as a way to honour the memory of his parents who taught him to love books. Nanie placed old textbooks of his own outside his house to see if people would want to borrow them and they did. His library has about 2,500 books and he runs a book bike service to deliver reading material to the poorest communities in Manila.

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC, is the largest library in the world. It has over 151.8 million items sitting on its 838 miles of bookshelves. Incidentally, it also has the smallest book, a copy of Old King Cole, whose pages you can turn only with the help of a needle!

Courtesy: THE HINDU

Start reading : Article of the week

Discover the joys of reading, an essential part of learning in this information age.

   About a year ago, B. Ekbal, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala, had spoken about the decline in the reading habit in Kerala, highlighting a paradox in the most literate State. The annual per capita spend on books in the State was a dismal Rs. 20, he said, as against Rs. 4,000 on gold and Rs. 1,500 on liquor.

In this information age, no right-thinking society can afford a decline in the reading habit, a critical need for human development. Society has to promote reading for its own good because people who read widely can abjure a narrow-minded, parochial outlook.

Everyone needs to help bolster the culture of reading, starting with the parents. Bedtime stories and reading aloud is a great way to introduce toddlers to the wonderful world of books.

Not all parents will be fortunate enough to spend quality time with their children and some will not have the ability to read. Here the system should chip in.

Good read-aloud books and catalogues in English are available. Not so in the local languages. The language universities, such as the new Thunchathu Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, should take the initiative in that direction. The Anganvadis, the kindergartens and the lower primary schools should nurture in their students an interest in reading through a careful selection of interesting books to begin with and then slowly introducing the children to a wider, relevant content.

We need formal avenues in schools and colleges to foster the reading habit. Introduce dedicated reading hours in which the teacher can supply books and ask the students to spend an hour with one of their choice.

It will be more enlightening than any lecture.

Cut TV time

One of the greatest plus points of the reading habit is that students will spend less time watching television, which kills imagination and creativity and reduces the attention span.

Reading does the opposite as good books hold your attention.

Most youngsters these days have no clue about which career to choose. They do not know about many of the avenues open to them. Neither do most of the parents. This is the prime driver of the scramble for medical and engineering seats.

The dearth of options is a wrongly felt notion because people are ignorant of other worthwhile human pursuits.

Reading can help them know the unknown vicariously. Reading about the life of an executive, a manager, a social worker, a politician, a vocalist, an archaeologist, a scientist, an artist or a sportsman from fiction, commentaries, biographies and magazines can open a new avenue for the youngster.

Good reading skills — capability to read fast with comprehension, ability to make inferences from a passage, usage of contextual clues and so on — will come in handy during competitive examinations. Many students falter in the competitive arena because of poor comprehension.

A good reader will have a larger vocabulary, helping in better understanding the text and thereby academics and life.

Reading is one skill that can be cultivated with a concerted effort and the spark for this has to be kindled at a younger age.

Kishan Kumar V.L.

Co-founder,

Kengcyclopedia.com

In your world of books

A librarian’s job goes beyond just issuing books.

Books are a colossal gateway that leads you to a world full of imagination, ideas and inspiration. It is books that make you curious, wander and wonder. Imagine if you were the royal guardian of these books. Does that excite you? Well, if you love reading books, then being a librarian is a career option for you and that too a fruitful one.
 
Ask anyone what a librarian does, and the answer will be: The librarian issues books, ensures their return and keeps tracks of due dates. Well, that’s just one aspect of what a librarian does.

Who can take it up?

The minimum qualification required to take up a course in Library Science is graduation, that is BLIS (Bachelor of Library and Information Science).
The duration of the course is one year after which you can go on to do a master’s degree. Being a librarian sounds easy, but it entails more than just keeping books or dusting them off. One needs to have a basic interest in books and good communication skills.
 
A librarian should be able to anticipate the reader’s needs. Following up on the trends relating to publishing, books, children’s reading pattern is an integral part of being a librarian.
 
Librarians are keepers of information. Hence, a huge bank of information will have to be maintained, organised, acquired and disseminated.
 
It is a slow but steady process, as you go from being a library assistant to a junior librarian to assistant librarian and eventually a director and head the library. Employment opportunities are available in foreign embassies, information centres, news agencies, universities and academic institutions, private organisations and special libraries.
 
Vani Mahesh, founder of Easy Lib, Bangalore, believes that you can be a librarian only if you are passionate about books. “It is something you’re going to be doing everyday,” she says. “You have to possess a natural love for books. You could be making or breaking into a child’s reading habits.”
 
Mahesh is of the opinion that India needs more libraries, and definitely more librarians. “Take a book shop for example.
 
Most of these bookshop keepers don’t even know the kinds of books they have, which is why I think we need more librarians.” The city is warming up to the idea of developing the skills of a librarian.
 
The Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in collaboration with Hippocampus conducted a Librarian Training Workshop in February in which teachers from over 20 schools participated.
 
The trainers, Eva Von Jordan and Julia Willhem, who were from the Frankfurt Public Library, Germany, taught the different aspects of librarianship.
 
T. Vijayalakshmi, head of the library and cultural centre, British Council believes that inspite of advancement in technologies, libraries are indispensable.
“They are powerhouses of knowledge in a format which is easily accessible to people,” she says.
“If libraries are crucial to house and disseminate knowledge, then librarians are necessary to provide the right guidance on their appropriate use. They will be able to direct a person to the right resource.”
Source | The Hindu | 2 April 2013
 
Regards
Sucheta Chandanshive,
Librarian, kvsc, pune
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
 
18-March-2013 18:44 IST
Copyright Rules 2013
The Copyright Rules, 2013 has been notified by the Copyright Division, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development on 14th March, 2013. The amendments to the existing provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957 and introduction of new provisions under the Copyright(Amendment) Act, 2012, which came into the force on 21st June, 2012, necessitated amendments to the Copyright Rules, 1958. The draft Rules were posted on the website of the Copyright Office on 28th August, 2012 seeking comments of all stakeholders and experts giving a deadline of 20th September, 2012. The Ministry also held a meeting with various stakeholders and copyright experts on 8th October, 2012 to seek their suggestions on the draft rules.
The Copyright Rules, 2013 provide new rules for statutory licence for cover versions and broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recording; compulsory licences for works withheld from public, unpublished and published works, for benefit of disabled; registration of Copyright Societies and Performer’s Right Societies; storage of transient or incidental copies of woks; making or adapting the work by organisations working for the benefit of persons with disabilities; importation of infringing copies and technological protection measures.
The fee for registration of copyright for various works and fee for licences to be issued by register of Copyrights under the directions/orders of the Copyright Board have been increased under the Copyright Rules, 2013. The minimum fee has been increased for registration from Rs. 50/- per work to Rs. 500/- per work and the maximum fee has been increased from Rs. 600/- per work to Rs. 5,000/-. The fee for licences has been increased from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 2000/- per work and the maximum fee has been increased from Rs. 400/- to Rs. 40,000/-. The new fee structure provided under Second Schedule of the Rules is applicable from the date of coming into force of the Copyright Rules, 2013 that is 14th March, 2013. A copy of the same has been made available on the website of the Copyright Office (copyright.gov.in).
R N M
Source | www.pib.nic.in
India
  

Kendriya Vidyalaya students to get life, accident cover

By, TNN | Mar 8, 2013, 01.35 AM IST

Kendriya Vidyalaya students to get life, accident cover
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) will set apart Rs 4 crore as annual premium for insurance for its 11 lakh-odd students in the 1,086 schools across the country.
CHENNAI: Kendriya Vidyalaya schools, long known for quality education at affordable cost, will be offering accident and life insurance coverfor all its students from the coming academic year.Sources said the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan(KVS) will set apart Rs 4 crore as annual premium for its 11 lakh-odd students in the 1,086 schools across the country. Each student will have a cover of Rs 2 lakh in case of an accident and Rs 3 lakh in case of death.”We may charge Rs 70 to Rs100 per student per year towards premium. The exact amount will be decided after we get expressions of interest from insurance companies,” said a KVS official.KV school heads are as excited as the parents. In Tamil Nadu, there are 40 KV schools and each class has 40-45 students. “We’ve received the notification and it’s a fantastic initiative,” said Prasanna Kumari, principal of KV, Ashok Nagar. “It will encourage students and parents to be associated with KV schools.”With students spending most of their time in school, their safety has become a big concern for school managements. Some private schools in cities have introduced accident and illness insurance cover for students with a ceiling of up to Rs 10,000, but none covers life and for such an amount as KVS proposes to do.”Every parent is worried about children running into some trouble,” said Meena Kumari, the mother of class 9 student. “An insurance cover is a financial solace,” she said, for middle-class families as hers. Her son had met with an accident recently and she had to foot a hefty bill.An insurance company official said his firm has got inquiries from private schools, too. “So far we have been tying up with schools for medical check-ups and insurance. Life insurance for school students is an emerging trend,” he said.

 

 

 

 

DNA | Friday, March 8, 2013

 Women’s Day Special: What do successful women do right?

As women on the path to success, we expect to feel a sense of achievement when we see that we have reached the top, where we wanted to be. How does it look from there? Will the world around you look beautiful? Will the journey to the top be pleasant and memorable?

For so many women who I have met, this journey has certainly not been easy. It is not always a journey of mutual support, upliftment and friendliness. Instead, you have to be careful about who is conspiring to push you down. There are many challenges, not just due to gender bias, but also because of unhealthy competition and jealousy from other women! This kind of journey can be very stressful and takes a toll on our body and mind.

Sri Sri says that one who manages all challenges that life gives is successful. But what skills do we need to be able to do this and succeed?

Commitment
: One failure can lead to another success later. We should not be deterred by failures.

Time: It is not sufficient to just invest money to nurture or develop anything. We have to give it our personal time and attention.

Setting an example
: A successful woman doesn’t just show you the way, she also walks the talk.

Teamwork: Make others feel involved, inspire participation and contribution.
Silence: Nurture quietude and calmness.

Reflection: Sit quietly at the end of the day, looking back at all the day’s activities, seeing where we made a difference. Reminding ourselves of the successes, it can inspire us to do more.

A woman has to balance her family, relationships, work, interests — all of these and more on the road to success. When you realise that you are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, you can multi-task. This realisation comes when you are in a serene state of mind, achieved through meditation.

When you meditate, the task that you performed in four hours earlier gets done in two hours. It is necessary that you give prime time to yourself, to relax yourself, to realise your potential to do better. Otherwise, you limit your capabilities. When you meditate, you realise the expansion within you, that limitlessness within you.

The meditative woman is successful. Belongingness, commitment, connectedness — all these qualities are a byproduct of meditation. Sri Sri often says, “Success means strength, an unshakeable smile that nobody can take away and a courage that does not diminish. It does not mean having a big bank balance. There are some very rich people who do not have the strength of character. They don’t have a sense of belonging or love. They are unable to appreciate the subtleness of life.”

True success extends to both the material and inner realms. Are you enjoying the little things in your life? Have you observed the glistening dewdrops in the grass lately? The birds chirping, the sparrows drinking water, the eagles circling overhead? Have you cleaned your window pane, watered the small plants in your garden? Have you observed the lucky bamboo with two more leaves, enjoyed the craftsmanship on your carpet, made a new salad dressing, experimented with your sandwich? These are the signs of a successful woman — living every moment to the fullest.

I believe that a woman is the heart of the family — she keeps everyone together. A woman is the heart of society — when you empower women to succeed, you are enabling society to prosper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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????????????? ?????? ??? ????? 2012???? ??????? ?-???????????? ????? ????? ???????????? ????? ??????????? ????? ????. ?????????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ?? ????? ???????? 2011 ?????? ??????? ????. ???????? ??? ??????? ????????? ?? ??????? ???????? ????? ???????? ??? 2011???? ??? ???????????? ??????? ??????????? ?-??????? ????????? ??????? ????? (??? ????? ??????????) ??????????? ????? ?????????????? ???? ???????? ????? ???? ???.

?-????? ?????? 40 ??????????? ???? ???. 1971 ????? ????? ??????? ????????? ?????????? ?????? ????. ?? ??????????????? ???? ????? ??????? ??????? ???????? ????. ???????? 1998 ????? ????? ?-??? ????? ????, ??? ??????-?-???????- ??????????? ??????? ???. ??????? ???? ???? ????? “?-?????? “????? ???‘; ????? ????? ??????? ?-?????????? ???????? ????? ?????? ?? 2007 ?????. ?????? ??? ????? 19 ????????? 2007 ???? ????? ?????? ?-??? ???? ??????? ????. ?????? ??? ??? ?? ????? ??????????? ??????? ???? ?????; ????? ??, ????? ??????? ???????? ?????????????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ??? ???????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ??? ??????? ???????? ????? ????? ??????, ?? ???????? ???? ????. ???? ???? ????? ??????? ???, ?????? ?????????? ?????? 90,000 ??????? ??????? ????. 2009 ????? ?????????? “????? ??? ?????? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ???????? ????????? ????:?? “????? ?-?????? ???? ??????????? ??????? ????. “????? ??? ?????? ????????????? ????????? ???????? ????????? ??????????? ???? ???? ???? ???????????? ? -??????? ??????? ?????? ???? ??????. 2010 ????? ????? ?? ????, ?? ??? ????????? ??? ?????????? ??????. ??? ??????? ????? ?? ?????? ??????????? ????? ??????? ??? ???????? ??? ????? ????. ???????? ?? ?-????? ???? ???? ??????? ????. ???????? ???????? ?? ?????? ????????????? ????? ?????????????? ????? ?-??????? ?????.

 

??? ????????????? ??????? ????????? 2010 ????? ?????? ???????? ??? ??????? ???????? ????. 2004 ???? ??? ????????????? ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ?????? 82,500 ??????? ???????? ????. ??? ???????? ?????????? ???? ??????? ???????? ??? ?????, ?????? ??????? ?????? ???. ?? ????? ?? ???? ??????? ???????? ??? ?????, ?? ?? ??????? ????????? ??? ??????? ????? ???? ??????? ???. ???? ??????? ??????? ??????, ??? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ???? ????????? ??????????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ???????? ?????????? ???????? ????. ?????? ??? ????? ??????????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ????. ????????? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ?????????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ???????? ????? ????? ????? ????. ???????? ?????? ????? ????, ??? ?????? ???????? ??????? ?-?????? ???????? ???? ????. ????? ?????? ????????? ??? ?????????? ??????? ?-??????? ??????? ???? ?? ?-??????????? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ????.

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?? ???????? ??????? ?-?????? ???????????: ??? ???????? ?????. ????? ?????? ?????? ?-??? ??????????. ??? ???????? ??????? ?????????????? ????. ?? ??????? ????? ??? ?????. ?? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????? ???? ???????? ?????? ???? ?????. ???????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ???????? ?????? ????. ??????? ?????? ?????? ?- ???? ?????? ??????? ?????. ????? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?????????? ????. ???? ??????? ??? ????????? ????????????????? ????? ? ??????? ????? ?????? ????. ?? ?-??? ?????? ???????? ??????? ????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ??? ????. ?? ???????????? ?-?????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ????????? ???? ??? ?????. ?????? ?????????? ?-????????? ?????? ??? 3-?? ?????????? ???????? ???? ??????. ?????? ????????????? ??????? ?- ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???, ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?????. 3-?? ?????????? ???? ?-????????? ????, ??????? ????????????????? ?????? ?????, ??? ??????????? ??????? ??????? ???? ?????. ??? ????????? ??????????? ?????????? ???? ??? ?????. ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ?-?????? ????????? ??? ??? ????. ????????? ?? ?-???? ?????????? ????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ?????.

 

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???????-???????????? ?-??? ???????? ?????????? ???? ????? ????. ???? ???? ???????? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ????? ??? ????. ??????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?????????? ???????? ??? ?????? ?-??? ?????? ???? ?-??? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ????. ?????? ????? ????????? ?????? ????? ??????: ????? ??????? ?-??? ???????? ????, ?????? ???, ?? ?????? ????? ????. ?-??? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ????????? ??????? ????. ????????? ??????? ?????? ????? ??? ???. ???? ?????????? ????? ???????? ??? ?? ????????? ????????? ??????? ??? ??????????? ????????? ????????? ????? ????. ??????? ?????????????? ??? ???????? ??? ?? ????? ?-?????? ???? ?????????? ??? ???? ????. ??????? ???????? ????????? ???? ?????? ??????? ??????? ???? ????? ?????. ????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ??? ??????? ??? ???????? ?????????? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ???. ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ????, ????, ??????? ??????? ???? ????????? ??????????? ?-??? ????? ????????????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ???. ???? ?????? ??????? 2012 ???? ????????? ???????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ???, ?? ?? ??? ?-??? ?????? ??????? ??????, ?? ?????????? ??????? 24 ??????? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ?? ??????? ???? ????? ??????? ??????. ???????? ?-??? ???????? ??? ???? ??????? ???? ????? ????, ??? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ????.

 

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???????? ???????? ??? ?-??? ??????? ?????? ???? ???. ???????? ????? ???????? ????? ??????????? 2010???? ????? ????? ?????????? ????? ??????? ????? ??????? ??? ?????? ???????, ?????? “??????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ????. ?? ????????? ?????? 75,000 ????? ? 5,500 ?-??????? ?????? ????. ????????? ????: ?-??? ???? ????????? ????? ????, ?? ????? ? ?????? ?????? ???. ????? ?? ????????? ???????????? ?????? ????? ???. ?? ????????????? ???????? ???? ??????? ??????? ????? ?????. ???????? ??????? ???????? ???? ???? ??? ?????. ????????? ???????? ?-??? ?? ????????? ?????? ????. ?? ??????????? ???? ?-???????? ??????????? ?????? ?????? ???. ??????? ???? ??????? “???? ??? ??? ??????? ?-???????? ??? ???????????? ??????? ??????? ??????. ????? ??????????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ?-??????? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ???. ???? ?????? ???????? ?-??????? ????????? ?-???? ????????????? ?????? ???? ???????? ??????? ???? ???.

 

???? ????? ?????? ??????? ?-??? ????????? ?????. ????? ??? ????? ???????? ????????? ???; ?? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????; ?? ?? ?? ??????? ??????? ?????. ??????? ?????? ?????. ???? ??????? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???????? ?????. ?? ?? ?? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?????.

 

The future of the e- reader

February 06

The year 2012 put a new spin on the e-books versus the traditional printed word debate. If the past few years saw speculative obituaries on books, as e- readers, running on dedicated reading devices, surging ahead, the past year witnessed the beginning of a new wave – the rise of the tablet. Sounding the warning bell for e- readers are a plethora of market surveys that are reporting a decline in e- readers shipments (IDC estimates the decline at 28 percent in 2012) as well as registering a shift in consumer preferences. Take for instance, the Pew Research Centers 2012 survey: while in 2011 the tablet was playing catch up with e- readers, this trend was set in stone in 2012. While both gadgets grew, tablets surpassed the e-reader by six percentage points, compared to 2011. And there is no space for the gadget versus paper pulp debate here, for, clearly the numbers of respondents opting for devices rose from 18 to 33 percent over the same period.

Hindu, 6th February 2013, (Page 15)

Colour, e- ink’s final frontier

February 06

The printed book, which has not faced a serious contender since the 15th century, now faces serious competition from e- readers. The recent announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 that e-ink technology is on the verge of cracking the problem of electronically rendering in colour offers some hope that the upstart is at the final frontier of its assault on the printed word as we have known for centuries. Despite the spectacular rise of the tablet, the e- reader still offers some compelling advantages. Fundamentally, this has to do with what reading is all about. You read, not watch, as you would a movie, for instance. The LCD screen, which is what goes into most display devices, is more suited to displaying graphics, which e- readers have been unable to thus far; this is why the recent announcement at CES 2013 is so exciting. The fact that when you read, you linger on a page till you have actually read it, means that the device, unlike a tablet, is much less demanding in its energy requirements – implying much longer battery life. e-ink displays, which do not use any backlight, but only the ambient light as in case of paper puts reading on screen back to the soothing experience. Moreover, unlike tablets, which require to be charged every day, e-book readers like Amazons Kindle and Barnes & Nobles Nook are normally good enough for two weeks on a single charge.

Hindu, 6th February 2013, (Page 15)

Google re-launches Good to Know website

February 06

Days after The New York Times and Wall Street Journal said Chinese hackers had infiltrated its computers and hacked email accounts of its reporters, search engine giant Google said it has updated its ‘Good to Know’ website with the latest information on web security and threats. Google said its efforts are primarily aimed at helping web users stay away from malicious content and online criminals by offering tips and advices through the re-launched website. “Everyday we warns our users about thousands of malicious websites, but the thing is you don’t have to be a computer scientist to understand these and stay safe online. The ‘Good to Know’ website will have recommendations, advices, and other information about the internet and it’s security” said Eddie Chung, program manager at Google Security team.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Google-relaunches-Good-to-Know-website/articleshow/18350226.cms

 

Ebook Trends 2013—The New World of Ebook Publishing

In the past few months, pricing of ebooks and issues of competition are coming into sharper focus. Changes are coming much faster in the publishing world today—prices for titles are dropping and we are seeing the development of new models and channels for publishing, distribution, and sales.

Ebook Prices Continue to Fall

 

With the settlement of the Department of Justice case with the Big Six publishers and Apple behind them, publishers are now allowing their retailers to discount their ebooks as much as they need. Jeremy Greenfield, blogging at Digitalbookworld.com presented information showing a steady decline in the average price of an ebook best seller over the past few months. “Part of the reason is the continued success of self-published ebooks, which are usually priced at $2.99 or lower,” Greenfield notes. “But another part of it is the discounting of the $14.99 or $12.99 ebook to under $10. It’s a lot of the same books but at lower prices.”

The situation for libraries remains unclear, with many publishers continuing to require hefty payments for accessing their ebooks. The ALA, which meets soon for its Midwinter meeting, can be expected to take up this issue yet again. The current president, Maureen Sullivan, released a message to members earlier this week explaining, “what you can do about ebooks and libraries.” Without concessions by publishers, however, the answer would appear to be “not much.”

 

However, self-publishing and other innovations are on the horizon today that may bring major changes that not only disintermediate publishing, but create new models that would better reflect the needs, interests, and technologies of today and tomorrow.

The Rise of New Ebook Models

 

In addition to the “big box” distribution offered by companies like Amazon and bn.com, new types of integrated models are arising that work to disintermediate even these middlemen from the ebook cycle.

 

Smashwords has been around since 2008 and now offers 120,000 titles through retail partners and more than 160,000 titles through its website. Its ebook publishing and distribution platform now covers more than 55,000 self-publishers, as well as hundreds of small indie publishers. Founder Mark Coker claims that the company is “the world’s leading ebook publishing platform for indie authors and independent presses” today. Its current dominance is clear; however, success breeds competition and plenty of new ideas and companies have arisen in the past few months.

Zola: Covering Publishing From Soup to Nuts

 

Zola Books was announced in late Summer 2011 and formally launched as a beta in June 2012. Joe Regal, co-founder and CEO explained that until Zola appeared, there was “no single site where readers, writers, booksellers, reviewers, bloggers and publishers can gather in one place to connect naturally around the books they love. These social connections form in the real world at bookstores, book clubs, and more. Why can’t they happen online?” Zola has begun selling a limited selection of ebooks as well, but has been waiting for the dust to settle on the DOJ/Apple collusion suit before offering a full catalog of titles.

 

Zola is unique in that it seeks to provide a common platform for authors to create/sell their wares, for book buyers and bibliophiles to communicate about their shared interests and, eventually, a unique “ereader app that will let buy you read ebooks on any device without worrying about file formats.” The Social Reader is intended to work on Kindle Fire, iPad, and Nook systems as well as HTML5 app systems for broad distribution.

 

Zola boasts key staff from the literary world as well as seed funding from key authors and others in the industry. Instead of replacing existing components of the publishing cycle, Zola instead seeks to create a single ecosystem that incorporates all. Social recommendation (from buyer/user comments), publisher data (from sales) and, once the eReader is available, the company will also be able to marry this to detailed information on the use patterns of readers in their titles. The site uses both standard algorithmic recommendations (such as Amazon invented) balanced with human curated/created suggestions—all of which will be captured as analytics for publishers, authors, and marketers. If such a holistic system were created, giving Zola even more powerful relational analytics than Google Books, the only key issue to be worked out is a fair and reasonable privacy policy to guard against abuses or theft of key personal information. Zola has a privacy policy in place, but until the final system is up-and-running, it will be difficult to see if the policy has the power to proactively safeguard the interests of all concerned. Some in the industry see Zola as the strongest contender against Google, Amazon, and Apple today.

A Free Ebook Library in the Clouds

 

Booki.sh, offering users “your own ebook library in the cloud, accessible from anywhere and almost anything,” including web browsers, does require either downloading or the availability to use a web browser in order to function. Their book page numbering system is a little bizarre and you aren’t able to print books purchased through Booki.sh, and only a limited number of retail partners are currently involved. However, it represents another interesting interface and cloud-based storage system for your ever-increasing collection of electronic materials. The privacy policy does outline the types of data they collect and how they would intend to use that information that you provide in lieu of payment for the cloud storage.

Finding Free or Discount Ebooks Fast!

 

In June 2012, BookSliced launched, a “price tracking service that helps you find free ebooks and discover discounts. Rather than highlight every price change for every book, our algorithm filters out minor prices changes while only showing books that surpass a certain popularity threshold. The end result is a constantly updating list of quality books with actual discounts.” Users of the system can get money by referring new users as they network with other users of the system. Data on use/preferences maintained by BookSliced—check those privacy policies, please—is used to give buyers discounted prices on book titles in their areas of interest. Currently only working with Kindle books from Amazon, they “hope to add Nook, Sony, and iBooks options in the future.” An interesting aid for book readers; however, this website enters an area already crowded by Goodreads, eReaderIQ, and others.

 

In another effort, Freebook Sifter launched this month as “a free tool which makes it easy to find free e-books for Kindle on Amazon.com. We update our database daily, removing books which are no longer free and adding any which have just come in.” Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive,and Online Books Page provide some good sources, though none of these provide the same level of information on what is available, in full text, through Google Books. Perhaps Freebook Sifter will provide another channel for readers.

A Redbox Alternative?

 

In August 2012, reKiosk opened for business using the model of the freestanding kiosk as their digital storefront. Much like the RedBox DVD kiosks, these systems require little start-up funding and are structured to allow for the sale of music or ebooks from “individuals, publishers and record labels, to sell their entire catalogs, no matter how large or small.” reKiosk also has a social media aspect, allowing people to add their comments/recommendations allowing “curators with similar tastes and passions the chance to discover great new indie bands of lesser-known authors,” DigitalBookWorld reports. “reKiosk allows publishers to open digital kiosks, while providing buyers with a central, secure, and shareable umbrella site,” notes founder Aziz Isham. “reKiosk is the first platform of its kind to provide an easy, free and shareable way to sell digital files online—whether it’s your own original work or someone else’s.” Membership is free and if you join, you are able to set up your own kiosk (personal storefront) and sell up to 15 products. Direct sales from authors or independent presses is set at 95% to the author/publisher and 5% to reKiosk. For reselling (they don’t accept DRM products) the split is 70% to the creators, the reseller gets25% and, again, reKiosk gets 5%. This is a relatively simple formula that has already attracted many small publishers and even Julian Assange as an author.

Moving From E-Reader Into Full-Service Customer Support

 

Kobo, famous for its Kobo eReader, and “inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy and a passion for innovation,” is now offering a service that allows users “the freedom to read any book, anytime, anyplace—and on any device.” kobobooks.com offers more than 2.5 million ebooks in more than 170 countries. Referring to this as their “end-to-end Kobo reading experience,” Kobo appears to be looking beyond the era of e-readers to serving the needs of readers in whatever viewing format they choose.

Liberate Reading—With a $13 Reader While Shopping for Groceries?

 

In another effort to “liberate reading,” txtr is a free service that “manages your personal documents online” allowing you to purchase books from their Store icon and uses a Facebook plugin to allow you to share your thoughts and comments with other readers. The txtr bookstore currently carries more than 700,000 titles—not that much less than Amazon. Titles appear to be more international in scope and focus and the pricing seemed comparable to Amazon on the titles I checked. Headquartered in Berlin, the company made a splash recently in announcing a $13 bare-bones txtrbeagle, “the lightest and smallest ereader” to be available later this year. An early review in the London Guardian was very favorable of the reader, which operates for an estimated year on two on AAA batteries.

 

Earlier this month, Txtr began selling its ebooks in the U.S., in partnership with ReaderLink. This partnership is looking to new sales outlets for ebooks and other electronic material. “This partnership opens up an entirely new sales channel for our retail partners,” noted ReaderLink Digital President David Barker in the press release. “Whether they are mass merchants, warehouse clubs, grocery chains, drug stores or department stores, they can quickly and easily begin offering ebooks to their customers.” Sound a bit far-fetched? ReaderLink already has distribution for print books with such retail titans as BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. This is clearly a product and a company to watch.

Streamlining the Process of Ebook Purchasing

 

Taking another tack at making ebooks easier to find, buy, and use is EZBuyButton, a widget “poised to revolutionize the world of online book sales,” focusing on independent authors and publishers. Founder (and independent author) Jay Siva notes that “we make it free for authors and publishers, worldwide, to quickly and easily create and use our EZBuyButton widget to place on their website or blog to immediately increase the sales of their books, especially if their books are listed for sale in more than one retail store.” Making the selection of ebooks easier to transact is another plus, especially for the indie and self-publishing authors.

The Market Expands—China, Japan, Russia & India

 

Kobo’s director of merchandizing, Nathan Maharaj noted recently that the “next frontiers” for ebook publishers in 2013 will be China, Russia, and India, “all of the places we’re looking out to now where ebooks haven’t penetrated yet.” China will represent an interesting puzzle. China Perspective’s Yin Guang recently predicted that “the number of China’s internet users is expected to reach 800 million by 2015 as the nation unfolds its ambitious nationwide broadband project.”

Earlier this week, however, the Central Propaganda Department declared that Communist Party control over Chinese media is “unshakable,” as it faced protests from reform-minded journalists. Hardly the kind of environment to encourage something like ebooks from across the globe.

 

However, just last week, the official Xinhua News Agency announced their desire that Chinese publishers focus their efforts on competing globally—the agency stressing the need for reforming operations, better promotion of their media and continued efforts to acquire equity stakes in foreign businesses. Looking outwardly, China has set up an English-language channel (CCTV America) and English-language editions of their papers. However, internal access to the world’s literature for their own citizens may be a while in coming.

 

India has been easier for major publishers and aggregators to approach. Ebookstores, such as India Ebooks have thrived selling ebooks, both self-published or from local publishing houses. Penguin, Pearson and other publishers have maintained an online presence in India for some time. In Russia, a country that has produced some of the greatest writers of all-time, physical distribution of books has been an issue. Two major distributors estimate that “80 percent of books in Russia are sold in Moscow and St. Petersburg, with only 20 percent sold in the regions.” Getting better distribution and access to this huge country—as well as former soviet republics with Russian-speaking populations is key. Last year Simon Dunlop of Bookmate.ru noted that “with digital media, there are no border controls, no customs and no transport costs,” making ebooks a clear opportunity. “As long as people have an internet connection you can start to use the power of technology to crack open new markets,” Dunlop noted.

 

Apple announced in January 2013 that it will begin selling ebooks in Japan this year. Blogging at paidContent, Laura Hazard Owen noted that “Japan has been slow to embrace ebooks, with manga dominating the ebook market and publishers reluctant to digitize books in fear of cannibalization of print sales.” PublishingPerspectives reports that Apple has agreements with “a range of top publishers” and that the initial iBookstore will sell approximately 80,000 Japanese-language ebooks. Although a tech-forward country, Japanese publishers reportedly “continue to remain reluctant to convert their books into digital formats due to cost, as well as their own ongoing fears about digitization.” However, clearly they are now willing to give it a try.

 

Source | http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com

 

 

 


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