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My Digital Footprint

John Seely Brown

The web has just begun to have an impact on our lives. As fascinated as we are with it today, we’re still seeing it in its early forms… My belief is that not only will the web be as fundamental to society as electrification but that it will be subject to many of the same diffusion and absorption dynamics as that earlier medium.

The Linking for Learning Blog

Entries in reading (3)


Clouding the ebook sales story



Source:Digital Book World Report 2017

How often do we hear it said that digital publishing is just not taking off?  eBooks are dying before they've really begun and young people are adamant that they prefer the feel of a paper book in their hands in preference to digital.

Whilst some of this feedback is real experience, it's necesssary to look at the statistics from a range of sources  to realise the reports being presented on a regular basis only tell part of the whole story.  As the articles below show, ebook sales statistics are usually taken from data presented by the Big 5 Publishers.  The huge rise in digital publishing, on the other hand, is the Indie and self-published market whose figures are not included in mainstream publishers data.

  • Self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% – 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets; it’s not just a US-only phenomenon. When you also include the uncategorized authors, the vast majority of whom are also self-published, the true indie share in each market lies somewhere between 30% – 40%.
  • Indies are competing particularly well in the Canadian and Australian ebook markets, nearly approaching the level of dominance they currently hold in the US.
  • The Big Five, on the other hand, are letting themselves progressively get squeezed out of nearly every English-Language ebook market. They make up only 38% of Canadian ebook purchases, and that’s the country where they are holding their ground best; in the US, the Big Five now account for barely 26% of all ebook sales.  (

So, rather than being an ebook vs print book debate, like television vs radio, we are finding there is a place for both formats, plus audiobooks which is another story again!  Articles that tell a different story:

From - February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report: covering Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo ebook sales in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

From: Print vs Digital, Traditional vs Non-Traditional, Bookstore vs Online: 2016 Trade Publishing by the numbers

From - Has the print book trumped digital? Beware of glib conclusions by Nick Earls

From - No, e-books sales are not falling, despite what publishers say by Mathew Ingram


Graphic novels as a choice for adolescent readers

The reading habits of today's teenagers have changed but does this mean that they are reading less? Recently I conducted an investigation into the online reading habits of our students having observed them accessing and sharing online graphic novel sites within the library during recess and lunch breaks. While some students read alone, reading and sharing ‘good reads’ is an obvious social activity. 

We already know that these students are avid readers of hard copy graphic novels, so the purpose of this exercise was to establish what they read for recreation online and how this fits with what we provide as a school library.  Do they read online instead of borrowing from the library or is reading online a supplement to their current reading practice?  What is the attraction to reading online?  

The results of this investigation showed that students do not rely on the school library for their recreational reading and that it is worth taking note of their interests when considering collection development.

In addition to the resources included in this investigation are other graphic novel resources on this site. 


Neil Gaiman - Why fiction is dangerous

What is the value of a strong culture of recreational reading within a school?  In this presentation by author Neil Gaiman at Book Expo America 2013 he explains why the value of reading is critically real and important.  Coming from a successful writer of science fiction, it illustrates what is happening in our minds when we, and our students, are reading.  

You can cut straight to the chase at the 23:46 minute mark of the presentation, although having started there, I know you will go back to the beginning to hear what he says about his own writing, specifically his new books: The Ocean at the end of the lane and Fortunately the milk.

In speaking of writing he says:  'Writing is like driving at night.'  Not knowing what's ahead but recognising it once it's lit up with your imagination.  

In speaking of reading, specifically, Why fiction is dangerous, his words are from the heart. He says, fiction is dangerous because it lets you into other peoples' heads; because it gives you empathy; it shows you that the world doesn't have to be like the one you live in.

He explains this through recounting an experience while attending the first science fiction convention in China in 2007 when he asked a party official what had brought about such a change of heart that the government was now hosting such a convention.  While not illegal, science fiction had been frowned upon in China for a long time.  It was regarded as subversive.  What had changed?

The official explained that in China they are good at making things people bring to them, however, they don't invent.  They went to America and talked to innovative tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple asking them what they read as children to be capable now in their adulthood of such innovative and creative ideas.   They all said they read science fiction; they read fantasy.

This is a powerful expression of not only the value but the NEED to take our students into a world that, in many cases, is only available through their English teacher, teacher librarians and passionate librarians.  It doesn't have to be science fiction but we are the ones who give students the opportunity to ignite their imagination through reading.  It is dangerous.  As Gaiman says, it develops creative thought; 'It shows you that the world doesn't have to be like the one you live in.'  Dangerous, but essential.

Focus on the development of creativity has been a priorty for the Chinese government since Gaiman's encounter six years ago.  Much could be said about the complexity of China, however, hosting a Science Fiction Convention was an early step in acknowledging the value of creativity and imagination.

Bibliography: The New Livestream (2013). Neil Gaiman - from BEA Live 1. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 13 Jun 2013].