Will Ebooks Always Make Us Dumber? No

shutterstock_178612523A new study out suggests that e-reading doesn’t provide the same brain nutrition as reading print books. It’s the latest in a long line of attempts to tackle the issue of how e-reading is different (or not) from print reading.

Unfortunately, like so many similar studies, it’s quite limited in what it really can say. Further, there’s a history of studies of new reading technologies giving evolving results as more people adopt the technologies. Ebooks are very new and less than a third of people have read one. This study in particular suffers from this issue: less than 10% of the group of ebook readers had ever used a Kindle, the device used in the lab.

Will ebooks make us dumber? It’s a complicated question, and one that deserves a nuanced answer – or no answer…for now.

Much more.

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Barnes & Noble’s New Tablet (DBW)
At an event at Barnes & Noble’s flagship location in Union Square in New York City, the company unveiled its new tablet device, its first in over a year. More.

Will the New Nook Help Turn the Tide for Barnes & Noble? (Forbes)
Barnes & Noble’s Nook digital device and content business has been in decline for several years, but a new device and a splashy launch offer hope for the beleaguered unit. More.

A New Partnership to Challenge Amazon? (Idealog.com)
A partnership between Google and Ingram could be a challenge to Amazon’s dual dominance of print and ebook retailing, theorizes Digital Book World conference chairman and industry consultant Mike Shatzkin.

Congressman Paul Ryan Weighs in on Amazon-Hachette…Or Doesn’t (CNBC)
Congressman and Hachette author Paul Ryan called the Amazon-Hachette dispute “very frustrating” but refused to go any further for fears of impropriety.

Textbook Showrooming App (DBW)
A textbook price comparison app now has a new feature that allows students to scan barcodes or enter ISBN numbers right in the store and then make the purchase elsewhere, all from their mobile devices.

More Bundling for HarperCollins (DBW)
The big publisher continues to engage in little experiments in selling digital content, this time with Humble Bundle. Readers will be able to pay what they want for a bunch of HarperCollins ebooks for a limited time.

Free Webcast: Royalties and Rights in the New Author-Publisher Dynamic (DBW)
Royalties have long played a central part in authors’ decision-making during the rise of self-publishing. Now, with the Amazon-Hachette dispute showing how traditional revenue streams can be affected by changes in the digital distribution landscape, publishers and authors are alike reconsidering their business interests and their means of securing them. Learn how new approaches to royalties, management, rights sales and more can lead to better partnerships with authors. Register.

What Does It Cost to Self-Publish? (ConsumerReports.org)
It’s not clear that Consumer Reports is the best place to get the answer to that question. It estimates that out-of-pocket costs could start at around $6,500. Seasoned self-published authors and industry professionals know that this is wildly off the mark. It’s interesting to see, though, what this consumer-facing magazine has to say about it.

Disaggregating Books (PW)
Books are often made up of chapters, which are made up of sentences, which are made up of words. New technologies are making it possible – and likely – that books will increasingly be consumed in chunks rather than as a whole.

Hachette UK Snags Penguin Random House UK Exec to Run International Sales (Pub Lunch)
The new Hachette UK international sales division will be run by Ben Wright, who is currently director of digital sales and channel development at Penguin Random House. The new group reflects Hachette UK’s “international reach and our very strong links with our sister company Hachette Book Group.”

Parents Are Role Models for Young Readers in the Summer (The Digital Reader)
Parents who want their kids to continue reading all summer should do so themselves. Phones may be a key to encouraging kids’ reading in the have-fun-and-play-outside months.


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