Barnes & Noble’s College Humor

February 27, 2015

There’s no question that Barnes & Noble is making the right move in splitting its placid college bookstore division from its tumultuously flailing NOOK division. The only question is why the heck they merged the two units in the first place. (more…)

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Wanna Buy a Used Textbook Company?

August 22, 2013

I should be more polite: Would you like to invest in a 181-year-old company that publishes textbooks for kids? (more…)

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Google’s New “In-Depth Articles” Feature a Boon to Book and Periodical Publishers

August 10, 2013

Google just announced that they will reward the authors of the very best in-depth articles on popular search topics by highlighting the top three in page 1 search results. Google offers a range of sample topics in its announcement: censorship, Gloria Steinem, Lego, the NSA, the United Nations, and Taylor Swift. I’d bet that the criteria is two-part: an unambiguous subject, one that’s in reasonable search demand. Think not only “the Bible” but also the “New Testament” and the “Old Testament.” Then “Genesis”, “Exodus”, “Leviticus” as well as “Matthew”, “Mark”, “Luke” and “John”. You get my drift. (more…)

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Inside the Cengage Bankruptcy

July 2, 2013

Bankruptcy filings amount to hundreds of pages. If you’re interested in Cengage Learning’s bankruptcy and want to read the source documents start at the Cengage site on a page called “Information About Our Restructuring.” At the bottom of the page you’ll find a link to “Claims Information & Court Filings,” where many of the meaty documents reside, including a set of “Court Docket” filings. The first reveals that the Chapter 11 voluntary petition fee is $1213. Not bad, given that investors are facing a write-off of some $4 billion of the $7.75 billion spent to acquire Cengage from Thomson in 2007. (Three days later Thomson announced it would buy Reuters for $17.2 billion and it was then obvious that a grand plan had motivated the sale of the Thomson educational publishing division.) (more…)

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A Digital Education, Part II

June 27, 2013

I continued to be amazed by contents of the Wired 20th anniversary edition. The full extent by which the history reported in Wired over the past two decades mirrors the most important developments in digital technology is uncanny. The magazine experienced an editorial crisis when in 1998 it became a part of private company Condé Nast, best known for running The New Yorker (and Architectural Digest, GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue). But it recovered and continues to be one of the top sources of first-class journalism and in-depth analysis of our changing digital world. (more…)

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