Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kindle DX poses profitability challenge to publishers

An article in Information Week Canada discusses how the Kindle DX could cause profitability problems for textbook publishers. Its interesting how these discussions parallel similar discussions about the music industry when the iPod was introduced. This article also touches on the "green" aspect of ebook reader devices. We have focused a lot of time talking about the competing business cases of digital vs. traditional publishing, but some universities may be looking at how not publishing paper textbooks will help the environment.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

E-textbooks vs. Kindle DX: What will college kids pick?

A recent article in Crave, a blog from cnet magazine, discusses the benefits of laptops and netbooks over the Kindle DX. I think this adds credence to my statement in an earlier blog that Apple may be developing a device that is both a tablet PC (a laptop that recognizes handwriting and has a keyboard) and ebook reader. By and large, laptop use among university students has grown organically. There have been some high profile universities, such as The University of North Carolina, that have been successful in requiring their students to buy laptops; but, by and large, students have realized on their own the gains in productivity they could gain from having a laptop. I'm not saying that the Amazon Kindle DX will fail because some schools tell their students they need to use them, I'm saying that students will use the device that best suits their purpose.

How the iPod changed everything! is becoming a very good source for information about the digital world. When you go to, you'll notice a Technology tab towards the top of the page. There is a very interesting video documentary titled The Decade the Music Died. It is interesting because it features Sam the Record Man discussing what the downloading of music has done to his retail business. I think the two main lessons to be learned from this video are: (1) Don't stick your head in the sand and pretend the changes toward digital aren't happening; and, (2) Publishers will not necessarily partner with bookstores on digital books. Remember what's happened to Sam the Record Man!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Expresso Book Machine at Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is getting an Expresso Book Machine to join McMaster and University of Alberta (the first in a campus store).

Read about it at:

Other Campus Store Blogs Worth Following

We have included two other blogs in our Campus Links section of Campus Store Central (see below bottom right).

Mark Nelson's blog will be useful for those wanting to stay up-to-date on digital developments. Paula Haerr's blog will interest GM buyers.

If you have another blog specifically of interest to campus stores, please add a comment to this post.

Free On-Line Training Videos for Retailers

The Gift and Home Channel has an extensive range of free on-line videos covering a comprehensive list of retail topics. Topics are often covered over a number of videos so viewers can cover a topic in one setting or, more likely, over a number of viewings. Also included in their training collection are retail training videos from the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association.

Students Skeptical Kindle DX Can Replace Paper Chase

This article appeared in and talks about why some students think the new Kindle DX will not replace paper textbooks. Personally, I agree with the student who said students already have a laptop and don't want to be carrying another device. There are rumors Apple will introduce a device much like a tablet PC in which the user can write notes by hand or with a keyboard with the added feature of being an ebook reader. This kind of device would be very popular with students because it can be used to do everything a laptop does, plus be an ebook reader. Apple also has a very strong distribution model with iTunes. It should be very interesting as Apple and Amazon fight each other for market share.

Friday, May 8, 2009

University of Saskatchewan Opens New On-Line Bookstore

The University of Saskatchewan Bookstore has opened a new online bookstore.

This online store differs from a lot of other university online stores because not only can students search for and purchase textbooks, customers will also be able to search by author and title. The aim is to sell more textbooks, but also more general and reference books.

Future versions of this online store will include clothing and giftware and the ability for students to authenticate using a username and password and have all their textbooks displayed.

This online store also gives the UofS Bookstore the ability to sell digital books, since most digital books will be sold over the internet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amazon to Launch Kindle for Textbooks

The Wall Street Journal has reported in an article that Amazon plans today to introduce a new larger screen Kindle ebook reader aimed at students. The article goes on to say that Amazon has worked out agreements with several textbook publishers as well as six universities that will participate in a Kindle pilot beginning this fall.

Textbook News Headlines