BTW News Briefs

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BEA Author Breakfast Emcees Announced

BookExpo America has announced three actors with forthcoming books who will serve as Masters of Ceremonies for the spring trade show’s ticketed author breakfasts.

On Thursday, May 29, Neil Patrick Harris will emcee the 8:00 a.m. Adult Book & Author Breakfast in the Special Events Hall. His untitled memoir will be released by Crown Archetype in September.

Jason Segel, author of September’s Nightmares! from Delacorte Press, will moderate the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast on Friday, May 30.

Not My Father’s Son author Alan Cummings (It Books/William Morrow, October) will host the Adult Book & Author Breakfast on Saturday, May 31. Lena Dunham, whose title Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” (Random House) comes out in October, will join the panel of authors.

World Read Aloud Day to Be Celebrated March 5

World Read Aloud Day (WRAD), coordinated by the nonprofit literacy organization LitWorld, will be held on March 5. The event advocates for the human right of literacy by calling worldwide attention to the importance of reading.

To help share the love of reading, LitWorld is encouraging interested readers to participate in the WRAD Reading Minutes Challenge, which helps raise funds for LitWorld and encourages kids to read; to read aloud over video chat with someone who lives far away; to start meetings at the office with an inspirational passage from a book; to use Skype in classrooms to virtually bring an author in to read to students; and to invite others to the movement by sharing information about WRAD with friends and family. WRAD also provides resource kits to help out with home and classroom activities.

Study Shows Changes in Use of College Course Materials

In the first part of the yearly Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education study from the Book Industry Study Group, research indicates several shifts in content use trends, including:

  • The percentage of students reporting that their courses required no formal course materials increased from four percent to 11 percent between October 2010 and October 2013.
  • Students reported required content to be increasingly of the digital sort, rather than textbooks.
  • Students prefer tablet versions of textbooks, rather than PDFs or print books. Tablet versions can also be less expensive than alternatives.
  • Seventeen percent of students rented textbooks for their classes, down from the 19 percent reported last spring. In October 2013, 75 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with their experience of renting textbooks.

More information about the study is available from BISG’s Nadine Vassallo at [email protected]

Chronicle to Distribute Twirl Books

Chronicle Books will be distributing Twirl Books, a line of educational titles aimed at young readers from Éditions Tourbillion, an imprint of French publisher Bayard Presse, in the United States beginning in March. Abrams & Chronicle Books, the U.K. partnership between the two publishing houses, will handle distribution in the U.K. and Europe, as reported on Booktrade.

“At Chronicle, we aim to surprise and delight our readers with every title we publish, and that’s exactly the kind of energy we see at Twirl. We’re delighted to be distributing board books and formats that are so creative and complementary to our children’s program,” said Chronicle’s Children’s Publishing Director Ginee Seo.

Image Recognition Feature Added to Amazon App

TechCrunch reported last week that Amazon’s iOS app has integrated technology that will allow users to photograph an object and compare prices online. The feature in the main app is called “Flow” and is the newest rendition of a standalone app of the same name that was released two years ago. The feature recognizes packaging, logos, and artwork to identify the product.

“You still can’t take a picture of, say, a pair of headphones you have lying around the house out of box, but for showrooming purposes (its main use case) that shouldn’t matter all that much,” said TechCrunch.

Amazon recently acquired SnapTell, which identifies an item for pricing and rating purposes. The Amazon app already allows users to scan barcodes to compare prices.