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Just a few months after Sesame Street launched their Elmo Monster Maker iPhone app, Sesame Street has launched a new eBookstore. SS notes that eBook titles cover 19 subject areas including letters, numbers, counting, colors, and cultural appreciation. You can navigate through the books using page turning navigation or set the book to automatically move forward. Some of the books include audio and animation. Some of the books are available in Spanish.
The titles include: Big Block Party, Eat Your Colors, How to Get Dressed (without wearing a blue shirt), Get Your Grouchies Out and Feel Good and My First Instrument. We got an exclusive on future titles which include: Elmo Teaches You How to Linkbait, Big Bird Gets a Digg Frontpage, Oscar Teaches You How to Quit Facebook and Ernie Creates a Human-Powered Search Engine.
The full Sesame Street eBooks store is available for $24.99 and they will always offer five free eBooks in a rotation.
I would totally buy into this if they: a. removed Elmo and b. added Grimace. I can’t wait to see what the Sesame Street team comes up with for the iPad and other tablet devices.
Could this be the next generation library?
Earlier this year we reported on NY-based book rental service BookSwim expanding to textbooks. Today I have another Netflix-style book rental service to check out. It’s called BooksFree (although the books aren’t free) and in addition to renting books, they also rent audiobooks in a monthly format.
Monthly book rental plans start at $9.99 for 2 books at a time (in batches) all the way up to $47.99 for 15 books at a time (which circulate in multiple orders). Basically the $9.99 means you get two books, you send back two and then they send two more. The multiple orders means you can send back one of the two and get one more and never be without a book.
Audiobook CDs and MP3-CDs rental pricing begins at $22.49/month and goes up to $62.49/month. There are also plans that mix books and CDs.
I did notice that their rotating production offering (displayed below) does not actually work – I wonder if they have lost any customers because the "Sign Up" button doesn’t click to anywhere. With the popularity of Twitter, they might look at allowing their customers to tweet which books they have rented.
The Avid Reader blog has a good review of the service. BooksFree notes that their library has over 170,000 total titles for rent. For heavy readers, it looks like a convenient service and you have a better chance of actually receiving the specific book you want unlike the public library. Now if they offered technical books, that’d be hot. Of course those change so often, there’s probably no market for renting developer manuals, etc.
Blurb is a tool that helps you create your own printed books. It reminds me a bit of NY-based SharedBook. Blurb helps you create books in a variety of sizes and styles including softcover and hardcover. They say the books are bookstore-quality in quality and flexibility. Book pricing starts at $4.95 and go up to $54.95.
Jolie O’Dell sits down with Mike from Blurb to learn more about how Blurb works:
I have started to work on a list of people I’d like to participate in the next Startup Tips Month and since there are so many new CN readers since we originally published our first eBook that I am sharing it again as the information is as valuable today.
If you are a startup entrepreneur and would like to participate in the Startup Tips Month, send in your details – you can also suggest other entrepreneurs as well. We are also looking for one ebook sponsor.
Thanks to all of the awesome entrepreneurs who participated in the first CenterNetworks Startup Tips Month.
The eBook includes tips from:
Alex Bard, goowy
Alex Hillman, WeKnowHTML
Alison Covarrubias, Ladies who Launch
Amy Andersen, Linx Dating
Angie Chang, Women 2.0
Avichal Garg, PrepMe
Ben Elowitz, Wetpaint
Benjamin Gott, Indistr
Craig Walker, GrandCentral
Curtiss Grymala, Ten-321
David Weekly, PBwiki
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
James Thomas, WackyLabs
Jan-Joost Rueb, eBuddy
Mark Polson, Gradefix
Matt Curry, PlanbookEdu
Noah Kagan, OkDork
Patricia Handschiegel, StyleDiary
Peter Glyman/Shawn Ward, Geezeo
Rachel Cook, Minti
Richard Anson, Reevoo
Stephan Uhrenbacher, Qype
Steve Poland, Web2.0forsale.com
Sumaya Kazi, TheCulturalConnect.com
Tara Hunt/Chris Messina, Citizen Agency
Ted Rheingold, Dogster
Yukiko Ohta, One Team Technologies
One of the biggest stories of late is how many people have died and how much destruction due to the Australian brushfires. CNN is reporting that at least 181 people dead and nearly 1000 homes destroyed in bushfires. I’ve never been to Australia but hope to visit one day. My prayers go out to all of the people affected by this tragedy.
The Sitepoint team which is based in Melbourne has put together an offer for their eBooks. They have posted a very good recap of the brushfire issue which is worth reading. To help affected families in the area, Sitepoint has created a way for you to help by purchasing a set of five eBooks of your choosing for $29.95 (normally $150). All of the proceeds from the sale will go to helping victims of the Australian brushfires.
The books include html, css, design, backend development along with business and management offerings. Share the story (using the Sitepoint link not this CN link) to your colleagues and friends and let’s try to help them reach their goal of $50,000 by February 13th.
We initially covered NY-based BookSwim when they launched their application and posted a video demo of their service about a year ago. BookSwim is a book rental service similar to Netflix/Blockbuster for movies.
This week they launched a new rental option: college textbooks. You can now rent college textbooks on BookSwim for either a month or a semester. You can search for your books via ISBN and title search options.
In my testing for a variety of accounting textbooks, the semester-rental price appeared to be about half of the Amazon price. From my days working in the college bookstore, accounting textbooks typically returned 40% if they were going to be used in the following semester. So it looks like the rental would work out to about the same as if you purchased and then returned the book to the store at the end of the semester. The benefit of the rental is that you don’t have to worry that the book won’t be purchased at the end of the semester because then you lost the full value.
Considering the weight of some of today’s textbooks, I can only imagine what the shipping costs must be like for this program. But I like the idea overall and anywhere students can save money is a good thing. Check out more on MediaBistro.