Mashup Mishap?

Creativity usually isn’t concocting something totally new. Mostly it is combining two or more pre-existing things never joined before–or never in quiet this way. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is an example to chew on. Or consider the printing press–five hundred years ago it was a delightful combination of books and a wine press. And that’s still a good combo.* Today, we have a name for such inventions–mashups.
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The Future of Free

I just came across an excellent and important article the old fashioned way–someone pushed a piece of paper in front of me. (Actually, the paper got stuck in my in-basket for a few months, and I just unearthed it. Is that an argument for digitization? Not necessarily. I lose things on my computer all the time. But I digress.) Malcolm Gladwell writes a tour de force review debunking Chris Anderson’s new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price (retailing for $26.99!).
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The e-Book Competition Heats Up

Offering competition in the marketplace is the American way–and the Japanese way too, apparently.

Sony has just announced that it will be adopting an open e-book format (called ePub) to help counter the early lead Amazon’s Kindle proprietary format has taken in the market. Those who buy e-books on Kindle can only read them on Kindle (or iPhone). The open ePub format will allow readers to buy e-books and read them on the device of their choosing.
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What Students Want in Used Texts

What do students look for in used textbooks? Well, it’s often more than just paying less money–as important as that is.

Further to my blog about Kindle DX and textbooks, Clive Thompson notes the work of Microsoft researcher Cathy Marshall on this topic. She “found that university students carefully study used textbooks before buying them.” Are they hoping to learn about biology while drinking their triple-shot latte without having to pay for the book? No.
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The Legacy of Benjamin Babbitt

By now we all know that 2009 is the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin (both born on February 12). Book publishers have taken full advantage of this by issuing dozens of new books on these gentlemen. But no book is being published about a man whose two hundredth birthday we will celebrate on May 1, who has also had a profound effect on society. His name is Benjamin T. Babbitt. What did he do?
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