GW Cohort 9 Publishing eNewsletter

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Cohort 9 eNewsletter: Issue 7, October 21, 2013

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This week’s theme is the role of libraries and are children being forced into the digital age. Interestingly enough, we picked our theme separate from last week’s lectures.

Articles in this issue include:

“Books to Advance Brand for McDonald’s”
“The Digital Age is Forcing Libraries to Change. Here’s What It Looks Like.”
“Bringing Up an E-Reader”
“Do You Want Your Kids To Succeed in School?”
“Apple and Textbooks”
“Free Calvin and Hobbes Comics Online”

Quotes, comics, decor ideas and timeline included.

Group members: Judith Gaman, Taryn Gutierrez, Mary Keutelian, Elise Ricotta

Books to Advance Brand for McDonald’s
By: Judith Gaman

If you can’t take the fat and salt out of the meal, why not create a distraction.  That’s exactly what McDonalds is doing starting November 1, 2013.  Every marketing genius knows two things: tie a new idea to national holiday to gain an advertising boost and make your product appeal to the person who is actually purchasing it.  Looks like they will be accomplishing both as Happy Meals will come with books, not toys, starting on, yes you guessed it, National Literacy Day.  This feels like a switch and bait.  Maybe the parents will feel good about giving their child a book, thus taking the focus off of the 500 calories and 875mg of sodium inside that little “happy” meal.

It’s hard to believe that McDonalds could soon be the largest distributor of children’s books.  Their four original publications will be distributed to the tune of 20 million copies.  I wonder if that number will also make it to their golden arches sign.  I can see it now ‘Over 20 Million books read.’  What a way to take the focus off of this nation’s obesity crisis.

Maybe the real story is in how the book distribution is only the beginning.  In 2014-2015 they will change from printed books to e-books.  Is McDonalds for kids like Oprah was for adults?  Can they shape an entire generation by encouraging, or possibly forcing them, to step into the electronic age?  At closer look, it’s really more of that marketing genius because in order to get the e-book the consumer must subscribe to the McDonalds app or visit their website.

Read more about the McDonald’s Book Distribution.

“I can’t live without books.” —Thomas Jefferson

“The digital age is forcing libraries to change. Here’s what that looks like.”

By: Taryn Gutierrez

Technology has been changing the way people have done research at home in recent years and now it is making its way into the public sector. While computer labs and WiFi hubs have existed for years, the Digital Commons space at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. has the potential to change the design of libraries as we know them. The Digital Commons has created a space for patrons to use digital device for research, leisure reading, employment searches, and even develop their own innovations. Could this be the future for all libraries across the nation? The popularity of the “dream space” and the 50 % annual growth of eBook rentals seems to suggest so. With constant technological advances “traditional” libraries may no longer have a place in our fast pace world. As we develop technologies, the technologies also change our own perceptions and practices. Is there still a place for book filled libraries or is digitizing the new Gutenberg?

Read the original Washington Post article.

Meet the eAuthor; Image source

Bringing Up an E-Reader
By: Taryn Gutierrez

Discussion on the possible detriments of e-books has been ongoing since the e-reader boom began with the creation of top selling brands such as Nook and Kindle. Studies are being conducted with Kindergarten through Second grade classrooms to study the different effects between e-readers and paper books. Can e-books compare to paper books in terms of fostering reading skills and child engagement? Early speculations say possibly not. Lisa Guernsey, director of the early education initiative at the New America Foundation states, “We are seeing some evidence that parents expect the e-books to do it all and are stepping back from the engagement with their children.” Because e-books have many interactive features parents may be relying more heavily on the technology versus open dialog. However, others look at e-readers as beneficial to young readers and feel that the interactive features encourage a love of reading. The question is whether or not the features are engaging young readers or distracting.

Read the original New York Times article here.

Do You Want Your Kids to Succeed in School?
By: Mary Keutelian

A study between Stanford University and the University at Munich has found that a certain item within the home serves as an indicator on your child’s performance in school: the bookcase. In fact, it’s said that a home with two bookcases (and, presumably, well-read parents) has children that will perform three times better than children with fewer books or bookcases. Ludgar Woessman, a research partner in the study from the University of Munich, writes “Books at home are the single most important predictor of student performance in most countries.” What could this mean for American students and the population as a whole?

It’s already proven that European students perform better on tests than American students, although there has been some improvement over the last few years. However, with the general public into more gadgets and technology, especially when it comes to books, could this be moving us backwards? For parents who still treasure and value books, whether it’s for sentimental value or their actual entertainment purposes, they may benefit and feel proud because of this study, yet those parents who may focus on getting their kids the latest toy or gadget might not. Regardless of parent controls on tablets, ereaders and electronics, there’s still an issue that that’s how we’re raising and entertaining our children. Rather than getting them physical books, it’s ebooks. While epublishers are looking for new ways to engage the shortened attention span of today’s technology users, especially children, reading a physical book with your child may be a better solution and foundation for their studies in school.

Don’t let books just collect dust on your bookcases either. It’s important that they be read and read often. As your children grow, swap out books that are in line with their level of reading.

Read the articles from Core77 and Publishing Perspectives. The full study report is linked at the end of both articles.

Apple and Textbooks
By: Elise

The Apple and Textbooks article really hit home to how I’ve been feeling about the e-book challenge that is presented to people who grew up having a physical book, yet are excited about new technologies. Even though Apple is not a publishing company (and I agree with the article probably never will or at least never have it be a main focus) it is interesting to see them thinking in terms of types of publications and who to market too. College would be the place I would have thought Apple would focus, but the article makes a good point that those texts are not usually bought more than once, so the people who might be able to afford an iPad (or make it worth its value) take themselves out of the running. Instead students K-12 are the targeted market and they do not get a choice in what learning tools are presented to them (not counting private education). As it is my baby cousins can use tablets and other technology better than I can, or was even capable of at their age; while they have technological skills I never had as a kid, I have noticed that many of them have never learned skills I did at their age. The article nails it on the head stating “part of the real world navigation involves interacting with other human beings. The more we encourage them to interact via online social networks at an early age the more we may be stunting their social development.” I do believe that eBooks and new technology is incredible but we need to “use technology in the appropriate places, rather than across the board to best suit a private company’s business model.”

“Free Calvin and Hobbes Comics Online”
By: Elise Ricotta

The main thing that drew me to this Calvin and Hobbes article was nostalgia. I can remember as a little kid loving to read these little comic strips in the paper or going to a bookstore and buying a book of the strips put together, yet kids now only have to log onto the Internet to find these little gems. I am glad that such stories as C&H are still accessible to kids of all ages, yet saddened that the experience is lost.

Read the GalleyCat article and feel the same nostalgia here.

Author: Mary

Contributing editor at Niche Literary Magazine (, copywriter, freelancer, occasional blogger, constant reader.

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