Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Another decrease in the amount of print coverage that books get in print newspapers. This leaves only the NYT and the SF Chronicle with significant original reviews of books. The content of the Bookworld section will be split between two other sections of the print paper, but the equivalent number of pages of book reviews will be cut from 16 to 12. As with the recent announcement of the layoff of PW's editor and the consolidation of staff at Reed, I think this is more a symptom of the decline of print rather than a decline of interest in books.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Article by Calvin Reid on Amazon's narrowing of its offerings. The flip side, of course, is that if you want Amazon to sell your ebooks, you have to provide them in their Mobi and Kindle formats.
More bad news in the world of publishing...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
More sanity, at least temporarily, about the lead in kids' books issue.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Terry Nathan at IBPA
Date: Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 5:09 PM
Subject: New Child Safety Act - Update (long)
Information about the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act continues to roll in, and the outcome is anything but clear. One thing that does seem clear is that this Act applies only to books manufactured after February 10, 2009.
I encourage you to 1) contact your printer for input on this issue, and 2) contact your representatives in Washington, DC to voice your concerns. I am including a list of representatives below.
We have been reaching out to our colleagues in various key segments of the industry for information and are continuing to monitor this issue on a daily basis. We will keep you updated.
Below are some of the more useful bits of information we have been gathering. Note that the message from Joe Upton of Malloy is lengthy, but we felt the information contained therein from a printer's perspective was important to include.
Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly PMA)
From Bookselling This Week: http://news.bookweb.org/6534.html
From PW Children's Bookshelf: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6629950.html?nid=2788
SPAN Website: http://www.spannet.org/cpsia-info-2009.htm
In addition to your own representatives, here is a list of others to contact:
1. Sen. Chuck Schumer, NY - -represents most publishers. 202-224-6542.......local 212-486-4430 (folks aren't having much luck with this one; best to try the DC one)
2. Sen. Diane Feinstein, who has been influential on the issue 202-224-3841
3. Sen. John Rockefeller, who will soon oversee the committee of jurisdiction, 202-224-6472
4. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who will also oversee committee of jurisdiction 202-224-3934
5. Cong. Henry Waxman, the new chair of the House Committee of jurisdiction 202-225-3976
6. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, 202-225-0100
With permission from Joe Upton of Malloy, Inc., dated 1/12/09
I can share what we have learned at Malloy about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). For those of you who don't know Malloy, we are a book printer in Ann Arbor, MI.
Unfortunately, the CPSIA is a concern to the entire book industry. Printers need to verify that the books they produce are compliant with the new law; publishers and booksellers, along with printers, face significant legal consequences and supply interruptions if products do not comply with the law. In addition, if the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) insists that every print-run (e.g., 1000 copies of a simple 64 page, saddle-stitched, one-color children's workbook) has to be tested and have a Certification of Conformity (COC), the cost of manufacturing books will increase by the cost of those tests, which run in the hundreds of dollars, and print schedules will be extended by the time it takes to perform the tests.
Malloy has been tracking this issue for several weeks. Unfortunately, the CPSC is still not able to answer many key questions. I'm hesitant to make definitive statements on the CPSIA, because we're getting a lot of conflicting information. However, here is some of what we know at this point:
The Book Manufacturers' Institute (BMI), AAP, and Printing Industries of America (PIA) are working in concert to present the concerns of the book industry to the CPSC. I've attached a letter sent by AAP to CPSC on Dec. 4, asking for books to be exempt from the new law (as they were under the old regulations) and seeking clarification on how the law will be applied if books are not exempted. The response from the CPSC on Dec. 23 is attached as well. The response from the CPSC on what constitutes an "ordinary book" and a statement that the law does not apply to "ordinary books" are reassuring.
Information being collected by BMI, AAP, and PIA can be found at the following web site hosted by RR Donnelley: http://www.rrd.com/cpsia. This is a good resource to learn more about the CPSIA and the ongoing effort to understand how the regulations will impact the book industry. Please note that the test results posted on this web site show that the levels of lead and phthalates in books are well within the bounds of the law.
Regarding the importance of the Feb 10 deadline, here is the link to an article in Booksellers This Week: http://news.bookweb.org/6515.html An encouraging point in the article is made by Julie Vallese, director of information and public affairs for the CPSC: "The Certificate of Conformity (COC) is necessary for those [children's] products [for children up to age 12] manufactured after February 10."
Vallese stressed that COCs will have to accompany children's books that are manufactured on or after February 10, but not books that were manufactured before that date -- even if the bookseller is ordering them after February 10. But, booksellers must have a "level of confidence" that the children's products they are selling comply with the law.
At the very end of the article, there is a quote from Allan Adler of AAP that pretty well sums up the current situation: "At the very least, publishers need clarification on various aspects of the law from the CPSC. 'We're trying to make it clear to the people on the Hill that, if books are an issue, they have to be explicit on how the law applies to books. How do you test books? What parts? At what point in the assembly process? We need a straightforward statement to the book publishing industry about what testing is required of books.'"
Consistent with the comment from Mr. Adler, we (Malloy) have found two labs capable of doing the testing for us right now, but they are scrambling to have the correct certification. They are CPSC accredited, but in addition to that accreditation, they need certification for the specific tests involved. Since the CPSC hasn't definitively set the tests, that is hard to achieve. One of the tests the government recommended is actually obsolete and no longer accepted by the analytical community.
Malloy's suppliers of ink, paper, film lamination, and adhesives have certified that the materials they supply to us are well within the requirements laid out by the CPSIA. It is important to note that this assurance, though encouraging, does not allow us to provide a COC that complies with the law. As stated in the CPSC's 12/23 response to the AAP letter, testing of components does not meet the requirements of the law. It is the end product that must be tested, and we can not conduct certified end product tests until CPSC specifies the testing procedure. However, the assurances we have received from our suppliers, like the test results posted on the RR Donnelley website, can give publishers and retailers the required "level of confidence" to be able to sell books currently in inventory and those produced prior to February 10th.
Our hope is that the industry will prevail on the CPSC to exempt printed books from the requirements of this legislation, as was the case for books under the prior CPSC regulations. Like all parents, we are passionately concerned for the safety of our children; however, there is no record of a child in the U.S. ever having been poisoned by a paper-based book. The test results posted on the RR Donnelley website demonstrate that this safety record isn't simply the result of good luck - books are a safe product for children. The current effect of the law is to keep children from obtaining books. When applying this law to paper-based books provides zero additional safety to our children, how can such an effect be in the public interest?
In the event that the industry is not able to have books reinstated as an exempt product under the CPSIA, our hope is that Congress and the CPSC will allow us to use data from the components that go into books to certify their safety. Such a process would be similar to that which is used to ensure chemical safety in the workplace. Documents similar to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) could accompany shipments of the components we use and enable us to certify the safety of the end product. (This would be more than sufficient. Book manufacturing is not alchemy. There is nothing in the process of combining the components of a book that creates lead or phthalates.) Developing an MSDS-like process will require additional time, so we also hope that Congress and the CPSC will postpone the current February 10th deadline to make it possible to develop a workable process.
We'll keep the group tied into this email informed of developments on this matter. We'll also begin very shortly to post relevant decisions on our web site.Regards,
Vice President Sales and Marketing
Update from 1/14/09:
On January 9, 2009 Pat Schroeder and Allan Adler from AAP were able to meet again with G.C. Falvey of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Falvey agreed to issue a follow-up letter clarifying her original opinion letter. She will clarify that, with respect to the February 10 deadline for total lead content certification, we are not dealing with accredited third-party testing under Section 102(a)(2) - which has not yet gone into affect due to lack of accreditation standards - but only with general conformity certification (GCC) under Section 102(a)(1). Section 102(a)(1) allows GCC to be based on either the kind of tests that we submitted with the industry's original request for exemption from the CPSC (and are posted on http://www.rrd.com/cpsia) or on results obtained through a "reasonable testing program" that she will further explain is whatever testing program the manufacturer believes is reasonable based on their knowledge of the product and its components. She will indicate that book manufacturers can confidently issue GCCs based on the kind of test results posted on the website and can even use soluble lead testing results as supportive evidence.
Although efforts continue to gain a full exemption for "ordinary books", this will certainly not happen prior to the February 10 deadline. Each book manufacturer must issue a GCC for each book title they produce beginning 2/10/09. In most cases, the GCC would certify that the book title adheres to the "CPSIA 2008 - Lead in Substrate of Children's Products" regulation. If the book has "some inherent play value and constitutes a toy or has toy like features," the book may also have to be certified for the "CPSIA 2008 - Phthalates in Children's Products" requirement as well.
The GCC certificate must "accompany" each shipment of a book title. To meet the "accompanying" requirement, the certificate can be in a hardcopy paper format or available on the WWW in an electronic format. Malloy will link the GCC to the job through our Online Status Report.
The CPSIA provides that a book title can be certified through a "reasonable testing program." Each printer must come up with their own "reasonable testing program." We have established such a program at Malloy and will be prepared to issue a GCC (a form that was developed by a group of BMI members and likely to be used by most book printers) with each job we run on or before 2/10/09.
So, it appears that the industry now has a relatively inexpensive way to comply with the regulation that goes into effect on February 10. It remains to be seen whether our good fortune holds for the next deadline in August.
Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: - American Foundation for the Blind
Here's the catalog copy:
Assistive technology is essential in today's world to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to participate fully in school, work, and life. But how can you keep track of all the devices and software and each one's function? And what assistive technology tools are right for your students? If you’ve asked yourself these questions or others like them, this comprehensive handbook is the resource you need. You'll find a wealth of technical information translated into clear, user-friendly terms in Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment, including:
• An overview of the full range of assistive technology that students can use to manage information in print or electronic formats—whether they use vision, touch or hearing to access information
• How to select appropriate tools and strategies
• A structured process for conducting a technology assessment
• A detailed assessment form that can be used to determine students’ technology needs and solutions to address them
• Advice on writing up program recommendations based on assessment results
You’ll also find:
• Tips and insights on working with technology effectively
• A summary of laws and regulations relating to assistive technology
• A resource section of assistive technology producers
• Readings about technology instruction
• Reproducible, blank assessment forms
Essential for teachers of students with visual impairments, members of the IEP team, administrators, technology professionals, and anyone who needs to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This is not about technology but it does have a lot to do with publishing, education and making the world better. Please join me in supporting this group and their message.
Friday, January 9, 2009
This post courtesy of Talking Books Librarian.
Error Correction of Project Gutenberg eBooks by PG Volunteers | Project Gutenberg News - The News Portal for Gutenberg.org
This post from PG details their accuracy standards, which are quite high. Nearly every book has at least a few typographical errors in it, and I feel encouraged to know that PG is working on eliminating them in theirs.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Interesting article on TV Raman, Google's expert on assistive technology, and some of his adaptations for blind users.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The relative quiet of the Prius and other electic vehicles seems wonderful until you think about how this quiet makes them invisible to those who see with their ears. My eyes are fine, but I, too, have to admit to being taken by surprise several times by electrics when I have been walking by the road. Here's a clever technological solution to this problem, in development by two college students.