Buying books online

We always have a look at Booko first to find the best price and usually find Book Depository is the cheapest, also AbeBooks & Fishpond. Amazon bought out Book Depository last year. With reduced budgets we have to make our money go further and look for online savings. Sad but necessary.


Interesting to read the article by author & editor Duncan Lay (“Death of the bookshop?” (Sunday Telegraph 5/8/12 – not available freely online anymore). He has seen many bookstores close down and recommends that we buy any eReader except the Kindle! Don’t give Amazon the monopoly on ebooks.


In the same article, Jon Page (great name – president of the Australian Bookseller Assoc and bookshop owner) stated that Amazon is the biggest threat to bookstores. They sell books at a loss to grab market share and to avoid paying sales tax; they also charge for including books on their recommended lists and “customers who bought this…” lists. If publishers don’t pay Amazon then their books are not easily discoverable. He said Australian authors are never on Amazon’s front page. Page believes ebooks are not the threat but Amazon & Kindle are.


To compete more with online sales, Australian publishers dropped the recommended retail price of books last year by around 7%.


Dymocks managing director Steven Cox said the company had benefited from the Borders/A & R collapse – they opened 8 new stores in 2011 with several more this year. He is less concerned with Amazon and believes bookstores offer service and expertise, but he believes that import laws must change in order to compete with online retailers. The lack of parallel imports inhibits the ability to deliver books on time and at a good price.


In June 2012, the Speed to Market Initiative was introduced (agreed to by Aust. Society of Authors, Printing Industries Assoc, Aust. Literary Agents Assoc, Aust. Publishers Assoc & Aust. Booksellers Assoc). Publishers, in exchange for the government’s  blocking of parallel imports, will ensure local versions of overseas titles are brought out within 14 days.


And self-published ebooks? Out of an average 400 new ebooks available on Amazon each month, more than half are free or less than $2. Authors have the chance to write and sell, but if the quality isn’t there then few people will buy.


Refugees in Australia

Many schools are probably recording the Go back to where you came from TV series.

 Lots of teaching resources available here, including video clips after each episode & factsheets.

GetUp! have developed an interesting infographic that helps explains where asylum seekers come from and why:

Factsheet on global refugee statistics:

From GetUp!: “Dr. Martin Luther King once said that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ History shows us that policy and laws become more just when a tipping point of hearts and minds is opened, and the differences we’ve used to justify denying the humanity of another no longer seem that vast. That’s where sharing stories & culture are so important”.

 National Anti-Racism Strategy

Launched on 23 August and developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission & the government. It aims to raise awareness of racism and the harm it causes, and empower individuals and communities to take action against it. It will focus on 5 key priority areas over the next 3 years: schools/higher ed, media, govt services, workplaces & the internet. The first step is the public awareness campaign Racism. It stops with me.





Book Week and great books

It’s Book Week and the Children’s Book Council of Australia has announced the winners. Books in the Older Readers category are very suitable for colleges. We have the winner of this category – The dead I know (Scot Gardner) and 2 Honour Books – The dream of the thylacine (Margaret Wild) and The happiest refugee (Anh Do). The picture books are used by students in Children’s Literature classes; you might also be interested in the list if you have young children. Students are having fun with the Trivia Quiz this week with prizes for each correct answer to the 10 daily questions. We are also photographing students reading – books, magazines, computer screens, phones….! and we will display the photos in the library.
Children’s Book Council of Australia


Notable books:

Looking for reading suggestions? So many books, so little time!

 Dymocks’ 101 best books 2012

Try a book from this list, as voted by 15 000 Aust. readers.


The largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world – a great place to find out about excellent books, popular books, genres, quizzes and quotations.

The best 100 opening lines from books

Click on the book covers to reveal the lines from excellent books, old and new.

100 best closing lines from books:

100 best films based on books:

Literary Awards Australia

Award-winning books – gateway to 300 Aust, US, British, Canadian, NZ & Irish awards. Currently being updated.

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Winners and shortlist for 2012.

 Australian Independent Bookseller

Weekly Top 10 bestsellers; book news, Indie Awards chosen annually. This year’s Indie Award: All that I am by Anna Funder (also won the Miles Franklin Award).

National Year of Reading

More links about reading:

 The Indigenous Literacy Foundation

This term the library is fundraising for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The ILF helps to raise literacy levels in remote indigenous communities by donating books and supporting community literacy projects. Over 60 000 books have been donated to over 200 areas in the last few years and some stories have been translated into indigenous languages. Students who donate 50 cents choose a chocolate and help raise funds for this valuable program. The Indigenous EOC committee will also hold a small morning tea in Sept (on an alternate morning tea week).





New films and TV shows

Puberty blues
The new 8 part series begins Wed 15 Aug 2012 at 8.30, Ch. 10. Stars Claudia Karvan and Susie Porter.
The 1979 coming-of-age novel by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey about two teenage girls growing up near Cronulla  has been expanded to offer a wider look at Australian society and issues in the lives of the parents. There is also more of a young male perspective. The first episode was released in full on Channel 10’s Facebook page as a preview, showing the increasing importance of social media for creating social buzz. The series appears to be of a much higher quality than the awful 1981 film by Bruce Beresford and thankfully the girls’ ages have been increased from 13 to 16 ish! Lette and Carey were consultants.

Kath and Kimderella
At last…more Kath, Kim , Kel and Sharon. A ritzy fairytale of love, lust and revolution as the girls head overseas. Great for comedy, satire and bad clothes. Oh and Trude and Prue. Thankfully bananas are no longer $14/kg. Opens 6 Sept.
Chill the cardonnay! Kath and Kim: the souvenir editions will also air soon on Ch. 7 – favourite episodes with new introductions and extra footage.

Lots of great dance shows on now or soon: Everybody dance now;  I will survive.
Drama, airs Aug/Sept on Ch. 7. Glee for grown-ups – the saga of a Broadway musical in the making. Characters vie to be included in a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Stars Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston. Has already aired on pay TV – great for fans of musicals.

Olympic trivia memes

Olympic rings and inequalities
Artist Gustavo Sousa uses the Olympic rings to show discrepancies between participating regions – population, military expenditure, obesity, HIV, carbon emissions etc. He says: “The rings represent healthy competition and union, but we know the world isn’t perfect.” Scroll down to the the 1:36 min. video to see how the rings change. No mention of where the statistics come from, but interesting nonetheless. Hope the IOC doesn’t mind the use of the rings!!

20 fun Olympic memes
Have a laugh (language warning). Look in Google images for more Olympic memes….or Facebook or Twitter.

Faster and faster
An interesting little interactive to show how fast we have become over time in 100m sprint and other events at the Olympics. Good questions – why and how?

The Olympics in Lego: Watch events brick by brick

Medal tallies through time: Cool visual of the medal tallies for each of the modern Olympics. Use the slider to find a year.

How badly would Usain Bolt destroy the best sprinter of 1896? (other sports too)

Usain Bolt inspires “bolting” and internet meme
You’ve seen the pose – now do it and post it online! More impressive than planking.

How the young create memes easily
Meme: “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. (Term coined by Richard Dawkins in The selfish gene – 1976).

New Google Earth feature

Time-explorable Google Earth

Google have created a new tool for observing the changing Earth, which enables users to view time-lapse videos of how certain areas of the world have evolved over the years. You can go to a point on the globe and move back and forth in time. Time-explorable Earth is available now on Chrome and Safari.

Google worked with experts at the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics institute.

The online tool contains more than 13 years’ worth of satellite data, compiled by the Landsat satellites operated by the USGS. The satellites provide images of deforestation, urban sprawl, land use, agricultural patterns, changing seas etc Examples here eg. Amazon deforestation, drying of Aral Sea:

The value of games and gaming


Game-based learning has appeared as an important emerging technology in recent K-12 Horizon Reports (2010, 2011, 2012) – with a 2 to 3 year time to adoption. Schools have had success with the gamification of learning, using World of Warcraft and Minecraft to deliver curriculum:

Jane McGonigal – games designer and evangelist
You have probably seen her 2010 TedTalk Gaming can make a better world – viewed by over 2 million:
Her 2011 book Reality is broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world looks at gaming through the prism of positive psychology. Gamers tap into traits such as optimism, resilience and learning from failure – very useful when you face tough challenges. Games can provide solutions to real world problems (eg. her World without oil game).

She has recently developed SuperBetter – an online self-help game that helps users deal with personal challenges. Points and medals are awarded in the pursuit of recovery – an “epic win”.

Watch her TedTalk posted last week: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. She explains how games can boost resilience, happiness and mood and even lead to a longer healthier life. A bit gimmicky but interesting and entertaining with some quick ideas for the classroom about boosting your physical, mental, social and  emotional resilience (eg. experience 3 positive emotions for every negative emotion in your daily life).