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Turn Your Favorite Wikipedia Articles into a Book

This falls into the "it was news to me" category: With Wikipedia's Book Creator tool, you can turn a collection of Wikipedia articles into an ebook or even a print book. You can even post it to the user community of books.  This could be particularly useful if you're gathering research information for a writing project and want to be able to keep it at your fingertips!  For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books

 

More Evidence that Print Books Improve Student Learning

Yet another study, this one from Norway, has indicated that "reading texts in print versus on a computer screen is better for some aspects of comprehension."  The study suggests that when one reads text on paper, one's understanding is "deeper and longer lasting."  The findings were shown both for factual reading and for fiction.  One explanation is that a print book facilitates flipping back and forth, making it easier to follow the information in a longer stretch of text than if one is scrolling on a screen or "flipping" pages on an e-reader.  The researchers plan to continue exploring the connection between the physical use of books and reading comprehension.  For more info, visit
http://sciencenordic.com/paper-beats-computer-screens

 

A New Kindle Book Published Every 5 Seconds

A blogger has recently calculated that a new Kindle title is published every five minutes, meaning as many as 12 new titles are published every hour.  He bases the calculation on the rate at which the number of titles listed as available in the Kindle Store increases by the hour.  The Kindle Store now stocks between 3 and 4 million books.  Since this method can't be used to track books that might be REMOVED from the Kindle store at any time, the results might actually be higher!  Read more at
http://claudenougat.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/to-self-publish-and-perish-buried-under-3-4-million-e-books/



 

3-D Picture Books for Visually Impaired

A team from the University of Colorado at Boulder has developed a means of printing picture books using 3-D printers, so that visually impaired children can touch objects in the story.  The goal, according to team leader Tom Yeh, is to represent 2D graphics in a tactile way that is appropriate for the abilities and interests of young children.  In some cases, this means creating new illustrations specifically designed for 3D.  However, Yeh notes, "Ideally, a parent could choose a book, take a picture of a page, send the picture to a 3D printer, which would result in a 3D tactile book."  For more on this story, visit
http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/06/23/picture-books-visually-impaired-kids-go-3d-thanks-cu-boulder-research-team

Millions of Copyright-Free Historic Images Posted to Flickr

If you like old books, the place to go has always been the Internet Archive.  However, this isn't the place to go for high-quality illustrations from those books.  (Don't even get me started on the lack of decent images in books scanned by Google...)  Researcher Kalev Leetaru has developed a program that goes back to the original scans on the Internet Archive, extracts the images, and saves them in JPG format.  The program also extracts text immediately preceding and following the image, to keep the image in context.  As a result, millions of historic images have been extracted and are now available on Flickr.  The good news is that you can find images going back to the 17th century; the bad news is that the program extracts anything that remotely LOOKS like an image, even if it isn't.  The collection is searchable through the main Flickr search function.  For more details, visit
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28976849

Ursula Le Guin To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

This November, novelist Ursula Le Guin will receive the National Book Awards 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, to be given at the 65th National Book Awards Ceremony.

"For more than 40 years, Le Guin has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction," says Harold Augenbraum, executive director of
the foundation.  "She has shown how great writing will obliterate the antiquated - and never really valid - line between popular and literary art." 

The award will be presented by Neil Gaiman.  For more on this story, visit
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/sep/11/ursula-k-le-guin-genre-medal-for-distinguished-contribution-to-american-letters

New York Times to Launch 12 Monthly Bestseller Lists

The New York Times will soon be featuring 12 monthly bestseller lists covering a range of topics and genres, including: politics, business, travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, religion, faith/spirituality, celebrities, food and fitness, science, and sports.  Additional lists will be added in 2015.  In addition, the NYT will be featuring, on a rotating basis, lists that were primarily available only online.  For more details, visit
http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/galleycat-exclusive-new-york-times-to-launch-12-new-monthly-best-sellers-lists_b90232