Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Machine of Death,” goes Creative Commons

Jane Park, November 24th, 2010

It’s happened before with music albums, where releasing work openly online did not hurt actual sales of the product. The authors of Machine of Death clearly get this. They explain why the science fiction anthology of stories about people who know the manner by which they die (but have no idea when), has been made available online under CC BY-NC-ND:

Why are we doing this? Aren’t we worried about hurting our book sales?

In a word: no. You have proven time and again that you are willing to pay for content that you find valuable. You have shown that you are driven to share material that you fall in love with. And we are committed to ensuring that you can experience our work whether you can afford to buy a book or not; whether you live in a country that Amazon ships to or not; whether you have space in your life for a stack of paper or not.

Please, download, read, share and enjoy!

In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.

As of right now, Machine of Death is the #1 bestselling science fiction anthology on Amazon, and has also made their Best Books of 2010 list. For more information, see Boing Boing and the Machine of Death website.


Solution is Open Textbooks

Jane Park, August 26th, 2008

In January, the Student PIRGs launched the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign “to encourage faculty to adopt open educational resources in their classrooms” in the form of open textbooks and other classroom materials. Read ccLearn’s post on it from January.

Recently, the Student PIRGs released their findings after examining digital textbooks and surveying 500 students in the following report: “Course Correction: How Digital Textbooks are Off Track and How to Set Them Straight“. Nicole Allen, the campaign’s director, writes:

“I think this report helps draw a brighter line between the good and bad of digital textbooks. I think open textbooks too often get lumped into the overarching category of digital books, which does not do them justice as a solution.  We hope it will help refocus all of the momentum for digital textbooks toward the right kind of digital textbooks – open.”

The report highlights the defects of e-books offered currently by commercial publishers. (See the LA Times and The Wired Campus articles.) In addition to being expensive, they are accessible by students for only a limited time and cost a great deal for those who would like to print them. Open textbooks, on the other hand, are free and downloadable, giving students access to their own copy forever in addition to the abilities to reuse, remix or repurpose them under the terms of an open license.

The report itself is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. You can download a copy.

One example of a commercial entity releasing an open textbook: Quirk eMarketing released “The Essential Guide to Online Marketing” last month under CC BY-NC-ND.

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ZaidLearn Publishes “69 Learning Adventures in 6 Galaxies”

Jane Park, August 11th, 2008

One of my must-read blogs on technology and education, ZaidLearn has been rating various learning tools since July of last year. The blog was started by e-Learning Manager for INCEIF, Zaid Alsagoff, who has done research in the areas of “educational gaming, role-play simulation, virtual classrooms, learning (content) management systems, e-learning standards” and “instructional design and courseware development.”

Recently, OpenEducation.net alerted me to Zaid’s first e-book, “69 Learning Adventures in 6 Galaxies,” which compiles and examines the various “learning nuggets” that have been posted on ZaidLearn for the past year. The 267 page book contains a wealth of information regarding the internet and education, espousing some interesting theories like George Siemen’s Connectivism and lines of thought from famous persons like Albert Einstein and Henry Ford.

The book is available for download at ZaidLearn and Scribd, licensed under CC BY-NC.

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