Friday, December 31, 2010

ERM> The Case of the Textbook: Open Or Closed?

The Case of the Textbook: Open Or Closed? / EDUCAUSE Review Magazine / January-February 2009 / 44(1) /
EDUCAUSE Values: Openness
The Case of the Textbook: Open or Closed?
As the price of college/university textbooks continues to rise, new electronic models and various 'open' options are being proposed from all sides: by publishers, by students, and by authors and institutions.
Viewpoints from these segments, along with discussions of their solutions, are presented here.
First is an excerpt the 'College’ chapter from the latest edition of Book Industry Trends, published annually by the Book Industry Study Group, the leading U.S. book industry trade association for policy, standards, and research, with a membership consisting of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media.
Second is the “Executive Summary” from Course Correction, published by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) as part of the Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign. Third, authors and higher education institutions are represented by the stories of three open-source textbook authors—Rob Beezer, Robert Stewart , and John Gallaugher and two open-access institutional repositories: CCCOER and Connexions.
Book Industry Study Group: Book Industry Trends: College / Stephanie Oda and Glenn Sanislo
Student PIRGs: Course Correction: Executive Summary / Nicole Allen
Authors & Institutions
The Truly Free Textbook / Rob Beezer
Some Thoughts on Free Textbooks / Robert Stewart
John Gallaugher: Online Textbooks Deliver Timely, Real-World Content / Kim Seidel
It Takes a Consortium to Support Open Textbooks / Judy Baker, CCCOER
Education in the Digital Age / Joel Thierstein, Connexions
Source And Links Available At

HSM > Barriers To e-Texts Usage And What Prevents Mass Customization Of Texts And Teaching Materials

Barriers To e-Texts Usage And What Prevents Mass Customization Of Texts And Teaching Materials / Human Systems Management / June 2009 / 28(3): 123-130 / Ihssan Alkadi and Jason Matthew Johnson


In 2005, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered a report to Congress on the landscape of higher education. The study answered several questions, among which were: how has the cost of college changed over recent years and what factors have contributed to those changes. The GAO found that textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation for the past two decades. In an attempt to expound on the findings in the study and to explore the potential impact an expanded utilization of e-textbooks on the cost of a college education, this paper will examine the current and future use of e-textbooks in addressing the ever increasing costs of a college education.


In recent history, we have seen technology representan increasing percentage of the core competencies of many industries. Though the textbook industry has been resistant to change, it is undeniable that an electronicbook with a plausible and viable electronic distribution scheme is better than a physical book for several applications; however, physical textbooks offer far too many advantages to be deemed unnecessary. This necessity for both forms of media is why I feel that inevitable changes in the industry are less important than how those changes are implemented. This integrated model represents one way that a fairly large change can be made in the current textbook industry with a minimal amount of friction as we approach our digital destiny.


[ ]

MLR > The Future Of Books Related To The Law?

The Future Of Books Related To The Law? / Michigan Law Review / April 2010 / 108 (6): 823-846 / Eugene Volokh


People have been reading books for over 500 years, in more or less the same format. Book technology has changed in some measure during that time. Fonts have become more readable. Books have become more affordable. Still, the general form of the book has remained much the same.

But the arrival of e-readers, such as the Kindle 2 and the Sony eBook, offers the possibility of a major change. First, people may shift to reading existing books on those e-readers. Second, the shift may lead them to change the way they use books, for instance by letting people have many reference works at their fingertips. Third, the shift may change the content of books. And, fourth, the shift may change who publishes books, and sometimes which books are published.


I. Why Legal Books Are Likely To Go Electronic

II. What Manufacturers And Publishers Need To Do To Facilitate A Shift To Electronic Reading

A. Technological Barriers

B. Cost

1. Copyright Law, Books, and e-Books
2. Used Books, Especially Textbooks
3. Libraries

III. How E-Readers Can Change The Content of Legal Books

A. Size
B. Malleability
C. Interactivity

IV. Beyond The Current Publication System

A. Scholarly Books

1. The Authors’ Problem

a. Expense Limits Readership
b. Expense Limiting Book Topics

2. Publishers’ Diminishing Value Added

3. An Alternate Publishing Scheme: Law Journals Moving Into Book Publishing

a. Selection And Signaling
b. Marketing

4. Other Alternatives

B. Textbooks


Source And Full Text Available From




Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inside Higher Ed > E-Textbooks for All

E-Textbooks for All  / Inside Higher Ed / October 7 2008  / Andy Guess

Many observers, both in academe and in the publishing industry, believe it's only a matter of time before electronic textbooks become the norm in college. Some campuses in particular may already be getting a glimpse of the future through partnerships with individual publishers or with consortiums

Such deals tend to offer students a choice in addition to their current options in the hope that they'll opt for the cheaper alternative. In contrast to that model, and through a partnership with the publisher John Wiley & Sons, an experiment soon to be underway at the University of Texas at Austin will shift certain classes entirely to e-textbooks.

 Beginning next semester, for the initial pilot phase of one to two years, the university will cover the electronic materials for the approximately 1,000 students enrolled in a handful of courses in largely quantitative subjects such as biochemistry and accounting. [snip].

Most of the biggest textbook publishers already offer some or all of their catalogs in electronic form, but e-texts remain a relatively small portion of the overall market. What remains to be seen is how the publishing industry alters its business models ... .


Obstacles to widespread adoption range from technology concerns to questions about whether students or, perhaps more importantly, faculty members will warm to the idea of reading (and taking notes) on screens rather than on printed paper. [snip].


So, to test-drive new models and observe students' preferences, campus-wide pilot programs have been cropping up over the past year. Most recently, the University System of Ohio, in a statewide program, is creating a partnership with the publishing consortium CourseSmart, which has deals in place with campuses across the country as part of its effort to jump-start an e-textbook market based on a subscription model. [snip].


"This pilot aims to improve student outcomes, provide students with equity of access to the most current materials and increase faculty satisfaction and efficiency while respecting faculty independence and freedom of choice in the selection of course materials," Bonnie Lieberman, Wiley's senior vice president and general manager for higher education, said in a statement released Monday. [snip].


Students in participating classes will have two ways (besides printing their own copies through the campus store) to access their textbooks electronically. They can download to their personal computer an e-book that will be usable for the duration of the license, or they can access the materials online through a service called Wiley Plus, which offers additional tools for students and faculty. The downloadable e-books have features like searching, note taking and highlighting; the online versions boast added functionality such as interactive tutorials, quizzes and grading tools for faculty.


The Root of All Prices?

The genesis of the beta test wasn't a corporate board meeting, but an academic with a theory.

Michael Granof is the Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting at the McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin, and himself a Wiley textbook author and chairman of the highly regarded campus book store, the University Co-op. He publicized his diagnosis of the textbook market's ills, at least as perceived by students who pay the steadily rising prices and faculty members who resent churning out new editions every few years, most recently last year in a New York Times op-ed


According to that model, publishers would stop trying to recoup their costs for a book in a single semester and undermine the used book market by releasing frequent new editions and adding CDs with online and multimedia extras, Granof said. Instead, they'd get a steady stream of revenue from legitimately issued licenses, whether in e-book format or as print-on-demand copies.


Looking Ahead

Granof doesn't pin the future of the textbook industry on e-textbooks per se; it's the structure of the market that's the problem, he said.


Instead, Granof predicts that switching to e-textbooks en masse could lead to the kinds of intellectual property issues and widespread piracy seen in the music industry. "So far, students don't like electronic books. My scheme doesn't depend on the use of electronic books. They can get a hard copy," he said.

Frank Lyman, the executive vice president for marketing at CourseSmart, said the benefit of this kind of model is that when institutions commit to purchasing materials for 100 percent of students enrolled in a course, they can get good prices from publishers. There are a "number of institutions kind of looking at the model, and they're going to try and see how students react," he said.

While he said CourseSmart has some smaller-scale pilots in a similar vein at for-profit institutions, the consortium mainly focuses on partnerships in which college students are provided with e-textbooks as another, cheaper, option. [snip].

Added Wiley's McKenzie, "The pilot phase is really proving the concept, and that's why the mutual work we're doing together to evaluate its efficacy is really important, because we have our own internal surveys that show very, very high satisfaction for example with Wiley Plus, and this is really validating that with a major prestigious university ... . [snip]. 



LJ/SLJ Summit > eBooks: Libraries At The Tipping Point

On September 29, 2010, the ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point live virtual event brought over 2,500 public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries (K-12), vendors, thought leaders, and publishers together in a day-long virtual conference environment to discuss the evolving concept of the book in a digital world.

Archive viewing of all of the presentations, panels, and sponsor documents are available through December 31, 2010 to all new viewers for the reduced rate of $19.95. If you wish to view the presentations and materials that were available at the live event, simply click on the registration button.
  • Librarians and library administrators learned about current best practices for library ebook collections and explored new and evolving models for ebook content discovery and delivery.
  • Publishers and content creators learned how to effectively identify and develop the right content offerings for each segment of the relatively untapped library ebook market.
  • Ebook platform vendors and device manufacturers learned just what libraries need and want in this rapidly changing environment.
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AJBE > Methods Of Use Of An Online Economics Textbook

Methods Of Use Of An Online Economics Textbook / American Journal of Business Education  / 3 (11): 39-43 / 2010 / Jon R. Miller, Lori Baker-Eveleth


The rising cost of college textbooks over the last decade provides an opportunity for alternatives. Electronic or online textbooks are an effective substitute to the traditional paper-based textbooks, although students have been slow to transition to the new method. A custom, professor-written online textbook not only addresses the reduction in cost, but also creates a better connection to the material in the course and allows for frequent updates and error corrections. Issues related to reading an online textbook are explored and evidence of methods of student use of the text is provided.

Conclusion And Future Research

We are now in the fifth year of use of a custom, professor- written online text in an introductory economics course. The online textbook has reduced textbook cost, both monetary and non-monetary, performed well (in the opinion of students) as a learning tool; but it has not been read by the majority of students only in an electronic form. Our results confirm, on a very limited scale, the reluctance to read texts electronically mentioned in the emerging literature. Continued research will help to determine whether the trend in electronic reading is upward, in our specific context, and why electronic textbook reading is not growing more rapidly, in general, in an era where print newspapers are contracting daily. We currently are engaged in a university-wide study of the determinants of adoption and use of electronic text methods on our campus and await other studies on other campuses and in other online learning environments.



NY Times > In A Digital Age, Students Still Cling To Paper Textbooks

In A Digital Age, Students Still Cling To Paper Textbooks / New York Times / October 19, 2010 / Lisa W. Foderaro 

CLINTON, N.Y. — They text their friends all day long. At night, they do research for their term papers on laptops and commune with their parents on Skype. But as they walk the paths of Hamilton College, a poster-perfect liberal arts school in this upstate village, students are still hauling around bulky, old-fashioned textbooks — and loving it.


Though the world of print is receding before a tide of digital books, blogs and other Web sites, a generation of college students weaned on technology appears to be holding fast to traditional textbooks. [snip].


For all the talk that her generation is the most technologically adept in history, paper-and-ink textbooks do not seem destined for oblivion anytime soon.

According to the National Association of College Stores, digital books make up just under 3 percent of textbook sales, although the association expects that share to grow to 10 percent to 15 percent by 2012 as more titles are made available as e-books.

In two recent studies — one by the association and another by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a national advocacy network — three-quarters of the students surveyed said they still preferred a bound book to a digital version.

Many students are reluctant to give up the ability to flip quickly between chapters, write in the margins and highlight passages, although new software applications are beginning to allow students to use e-textbooks that way.

“Students grew up learning from print books,” said Nicole Allen, the textbooks campaign director for the research groups, “so as they transition to higher education, it’s not surprising that they carry a preference for a format that they are most accustomed to.”


That passion may be one reason that Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is working so hard to market its new software application, NOOKstudy, which allows students to navigate e-textbooks on Macs and PCs. [snip].

“The real hurdle is getting them to try it,” said Tracey Weber, the company’s executive vice president for textbooks and digital education.


For now, buying books the old-fashioned way — new or used — prevails. Charles Schmidt, the spokesman for the National Association of College Stores, ... . [snip].


A version of this article appeared in print on October 20, 2010, on page A21 of the New York edition.



E-Textbooks To iPads: Do Teenagers Use Them?

E-Textbooks To iPads: Do Teenagers Use Them? / Nieman Reports / 64(2): 31-32 /  Summer 2010  / Esther Wojcicki

In February I happened across Josh Quittner’s story “The Future of Reading” in Fortune magazine and thought students in my high school journalism English classes would enjoy it since they are concerned about the future of journalism. I sensed that his article would be controversial—given his perspective that reading tablets are likely to revive print journalism’s content—but I didn’t anticipate the heated debates we would have about the impact of these emerging digital platforms or the intensity of our discussions about the future of e-textbooks, journalism, and reading in general.

Students hold strong and passionate opinions about e-textbooks. [snip].

Perhaps I should have predicted such a reaction given that early in the school year many of these students had written a fiery editorial about e-textbooks in their social studies classes. In part it read, “… online textbooks hinder study habits and force the use of computers. … and are detrimental to learning and inconvenient.” [snip].

I thought things had calmed down in the intervening six months as the students had become accustomed to using e-textbooks. Soon we discovered that was not the case. Several students said that the only reason they would want an e-textbook was if it has “added value, like videos or interactivity.” “We learn better from real textbooks,” most of them said. [snip].

At one point, we did a straw poll with the option of a free Kindle with all their books loaded on it or their old textbooks. The result: 100 percent voted for their heavy, old textbooks.

This overwhelming show of support for print on paper shocked me.

Students were adamant that it was “much easier to learn” from a textbook. (Several students did say that they don’t like carrying heavy books.) With hardcover books, they told me, they can highlight sections and flip through and scan pages more easily; reviewing the highlighted pages helps them remember facts. [snip].

Meet the Skeptics: Teenagers

I grew concerned that the students were classifying all reading material into the same category so I decided to break our discussion into four parts—textbooks, news, magazines, novels. This helped to clarify the issues and calmed the conversation. Here’s their view of the other categories:
  • News: My students overwhelmingly preferred the Internet. [snip]. Kids claimed they read a greater variety of articles in newspapers; online, they read just what they target.
  • Magazines: Timeliness was not an issue. “Who would want to snuggle up with a laptop on the beach or in bed to read a 2,000-word article?” they asked rhetorically. The answer among them was no one. They all liked the feel of paper and being able to flip through the magazine. [snip]
  • Novels: Opinion was split on novels. [snip]
Our discussions began before the iPad was released, and few students could afford to buy one once they went on sale. [snip].

Even Steve Jobs has indicated that he isn’t sure what consumers are going to use the iPad for, according to Lev Grossman in Time magazine. Those few students interested in buying one said things like they “want to be the first one to have it” or “it looks cool for games.” But none want to read magazines or novels on it or get their textbooks on it. They don’t see it as a “game changer,” as Walt Mossberg wrote in his gushing column in The Wall Street Journal, “Apple iPad Review: Laptop Killer? Pretty Close,”  ... . [snip].

These kids do not see it as a replacement for their laptop or netbook but as a separate digital species that was as yet unclassified. Their main complaints are its size (too big) and that it isn’t a phone. They see the iPad as a good device for games ... . [snip].

As I listened, I wondered why they are so reluctant to progress. [snip]..

I asked my son-in-law, Gregor Schauer, an Internet analyst, for his thoughts on what I am hearing. “They are just wrong. … just plain wrong. They don’t know because they can’t even conceptualize what is coming,” he said. [snip].




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

PW > College Bookstores Head Back To Class

College Bookstores Head Back To Class / Publishers Weekly / 257 (42): 4, 6 / Oct 25 2010 / Judith Rosen

Textbook rentals, digital texts force an examination of business models

"We think the August pop is done. It’s a different world,” said Mark Mouser, manager of general books at University Book Store in Seattle. He’s not alone. With Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Follett Higher Education Group, and Nebraska Book Company all pushing textbook rental, not to mention online players like and, 2010 is shaping up to be the year of the rented textbook. Add to that digital textbooks, which, according to Jade Roth, v-p of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers’ books and digital strategy, are gaining traction for the first time, and college bookstores are facing new pressure to abandon old business models that relied on sales of printed texts.


Still, digital and open-source textbooks could become game changers. E-books now account for 2.8% of course material sales, according to NACS’s Schmidt, who predicted that they will grow to 10%–15% by 2012. Although Flat World Knowledge is currently the only publisher to offer open texts, which allow free digital access and low-cost printing, it is the option of choice of the Student Public Interest Research Groups, headquartered in Chicago. “Rental is a great way to reduce costs in the short term. It’s not a long-term solution,” said Student PIRG’s textbook advocate, Nicole Allen. As she sees it, the role of the bookstore is going to change, and stores like Arizona BookStores and University Book Store, which have Espresso Book Machines, are positioned to take advantage of professors’ ability to customize open-source books.






FM > A Sustainable Future For Open Textbooks? The Flat World Knowledge Story

A Sustainable Future For Open Textbooks? The Flat World Knowledge Story / First Monday /  v. 15 no. 8 (August 2 2010) / John Levi Hilton III; David A.Wiley


Many college students and their families are concerned about the high costs of textbooks. E–books have been proposed as one potential solution; open source textbooks have also been explored. A company called Flat World Knowledge produces and gives away open source textbooks in a way they believe to be financially sustainable. This article reports an initial study of the financial sustainability of the Flat World Knowledge open source textbook model.


Electronic textbooks are a new and potentially exciting development in the textbook industry. Though electronic texts represent less than 10 percent of existing textbook sales (Butler, 2009), this market is poised to increase dramatically. From the viewpoint of students and faculty, free online textbooks of acceptable quality may be particularly attractive. Data from the FWK beta test suggest that even when free online textbooks are available many students will still purchase printed versions of the books. Results from the beta test also indicate that students are interested in supplementary products such as flashcards.

Although “free” is an alluring adjective, it is not always a good business model (Anderson, 2008). As FWK moves forward it may encounter challenges in getting its textbooks adopted, it may struggle to be profitable if a large number of students choose to utilize only the free resources, and may encounter other, unforeseen problems. Nevertheless, FWK demonstrates a business model for developing and releasing open textbooks that initial data indicate appeals to faculty and students, and that may be financially sustainable.

Should FWK — or any other company — build a sustainable business that includes offering free online textbooks, that success will have important implications for the future of the textbook industry. In the future, it may be that textbooks will not represent a substantial portion of the cost of higher education. It is also possible that free digital textbooks with inexpensive printed versions will become mainstream in primary, secondary, and post–secondary education. If free and open textbooks can be financially sustainable the ripple effect throughout the publishing industry and the education community will be large indeed.

Source And Full Text Available At


Student Use Of An Online Textbook: Even If It's Free, Will They Buy It?

Student Use Of An Online Textbook: Even If it's Free, Will They Buy It? Allied Academies International Conference.Academy of Educational Leadership. Proceedings / 15 (1) / 2010  / pp. 44-49 / Sherry Robinson
The amount of money that university students spend on textbooks each year is a major concern to many groups, from students, to parents, to teachers and school administrators. One possible solution to this problem is the use of lower cost electronic textbooks. This study examines the practices of students who were offered a free online textbook or a low-cost paper version of the same book. The results show that many students did not use the book even when it was offered at no cost, and the majority of those who used the book purchased a paper copy.
Although students frequently express concerns about the price of textbooks, and many say they cannot afford to buy a given textbook for a class, almost half of the students in this survey still did not use the book even when it was offered free of charge. On the other hand, one-third of the students still chose to buy the book in order to obtain a paper copy. This is similar to Allen's (2008) findings that 60% of students would still buy a textbook even if a free e-book were offered if the paper copy was available for $30-40. It is also consistent with Vernon (2006) who expected that students would prefer the cost-savings of an e-book, but found they would rather spend money to read from paper
This research was limited to two small sections of a course given in a single semester. Future research should further examine student use of textbooks and their preferences for various formats given various prices. As e-books become more common and the technology to read them develops so that physical discomfort is reduced, readers preferences may change.
Source And Full Text Available At

D-Lib > It's Time For Wider Acceptance Of e-Textbooks [Editorial]

D-Lib Magazine / v. 15 no. 9-10 / September-October 2009 / Bonita Wilson


Fourteen years ago, when I was completing my library and information science degree, a hotly debated class topic was whether electronic books would ever replace printed books. Considering the rapid pace of technological development in the intervening years, it is somewhat surprising that there hasn't already been wider acceptance of electronic books – especially e-textbooks – than exists today.

E-textbooks offer many features and functions unavailable with printed textbooks. In addition, e-textbooks cost less and are supposed to be more environmentally friendly. [snip].

Most e-textbook devices have been improved over the last few years, but some could still benefit from improved software and design. [snip].

Because the printed book is such a perfect technology, print books will surely continue to be produced and purchased, especially for leisure reading. But the time has come for greater use of e-textbooks for educational purposes. [snip].

Bonita Wilson
Editor / D-Lib Magazine



ACRL 2011 > The Digital Textbook Movement: Opportunities And Challenges For Academic Libraries

Saturday / April 2 2011 /  9:00 AM - 10:00 AM  / Room: 103 C 

Program Description 

Digital textbook sales are set to explode. Is your campus ready? Find out what fee based and open source textbook options are available, how content can be effectively delivered, and how librarians can lead in the adoption of digital textbooks on their campuses.


Sue Polanka, Head, Reference & Instruction, Wright State University 
Marilyn Billings, University of Massachusetts 
Michele Sordi, SAGE Higher Education Group 
Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge 
Steve Acker, Ohio Board of Regents/The Ohio State University 



Conference Site


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PR > Kno Begins Shipping Groundbreaking Educational Tablet For Students

Santa Clara, California – December 21, 2010 – Kno, Inc.[], the new educational tablet that revolutionizes the way students learn, today announced it has begun shipping its highly anticipated product to pre-order customers. The first Kno tablets will begin arriving on doorsteps this week.


Kno, short for knowledge, is a unique 14.1 touch-screen tablet that blends textbooks, course materials, note-taking, web access, educational applications, digital media, sharing and more into a more powerful and engaging educational experience.

Kno also offers a digital bookstore  [] which includes tens of thousands of textbooks from most of the major publishers, with new books being added regularly. [snip].

The Kno tablet is available as a single and dual 14.1 inch screen and costs $599 and $899, respectively. Currently, the Kno tablet is available in limited quantity and is now available by invitation only. [snip].




Digital Textbooks Google Group Launched

A new Google Group named Digital Textbooks has been created at

Digital Textbooks is devoted to discussing significant initiatives that relate to any and all aspects of Digital Textbooks, most notably their use in higher education.

While major cites/sites about e-Books are of interest, only significant / substantive news about e-Books are of primary interest.

Anyone can join and anyone can view postings. However, only members can post or view the members list.

One can subscribe to a group through our web interface or via email.

To subscribe to a group through our web interface, simply log in to your Google Account and visit the group

Then click the "Join this group" link on the right-hand side of the page under "About this group."

To subscribe to a group via email, send an email to

NOOKstudy™ > Barnes & Noble Study Platform and Software For eTextbook and Digital Content Management

NOOKstudy [] by Barnes & Noble, ... is a "new, free, innovative study platform and software solution that gives college students the freedom and flexibility to access eTextbooks, other digital content and organizational tools to learn more efficiently,
collaboratively and across content sources and formats, using technology they already own – their PC or Mac®. "

Some of the innovative features of NOOKstudy include:
  • Instant access: Download a large, versatile selection of eTextbooks, academic and trade titles in seconds.
  • No backpack required: Access all related materials – eTextbooks, lecture notes, syllabi, slides, images, trade books and other course-related documents – all in one place, so students’ digital libraries go wherever they go.
  • Save time and money: Save up to 50 percent on eTextbooks. Both students and faculty can enjoy a free 7-day trial for eTextbooks, as well as free samples of trade books and access to over 500,000 free eBooks.
  • Study effectively and efficiently: Open multiple eTextbooks and sources at one time, have class notes available while reading, and zoom in on full-color images.
  • Organize and categorize: Take notes directly in eTextbooks, tag content, highlight and make annotations that are customizable and searchable, and even integrate Web research. Drag and drop content and relevant materials around courses to easily and intuitively organize the library.

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JIS > E-Textbook Use, Information Seeking Behaviour And Its Impact: Case Study Business And Management

E-Textbook Use, Information Seeking Behaviour And Its Impact:: Case Study Business And Management  / Journal of Information Science / April 2010  /  vol. 36 no. 2 / pp. 263-280  / David Nicholas, Ian Rowlands, and Hamid R. Jamali


This paper evaluates the e-book usage and information seeking and reading behaviour of thousands of business and management students. Comparisons are made with students in other subjects. The data largely come from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)-funded National e-Books Observatory (NeBO) project as well as the JISC User Behaviour Observational Study.

The main sources of data were:

a) transactional logs obtained from the MyiLibrary platform regarding 127 UK universities;
b) questionnaire data for more than 5000 students and staff at these universities;
c) hard-copy library circulation and retail sales data; and d) focus groups held with 50 staff and students from selected universities.

The main findings were that e-textbooks can prove to be extremely popular and widely used, mainly for obtaining snippets of information and for fact finding. The main reason for using e-textbooks was ease of access and convenience.


The e-textbook behaviour of students and the impacts of this behaviour have been investigated in considerable depth. NeBO proved to be a big success, with virtually every university in the country joining together in a hugely strategic and methodologically innovative study; a study in which hundreds of thousands of students, nationwide, were provided with e-texts which they consumed with great alacrity, recording more than three quarters of a million page views in the 14-month experiment.

The level of interest by students and staff was demonstrated by the fact that more than 50,000 of them responded to the questionnaires.

Clearly the main lesson learnt was that if e-textbooks are of good quality, lecturers recommend and reference them in their e-reading lists and if they are made widely and easily accessible they will be used in large numbers. And the very large volumes of use (82,787 page views) associated with Organizational Behaviour and Analysis: An Integrated Approach is very much proof of that.

The results of this study confirmed what we have found in the literature that business students are major and significant users of e-books and e-textbooks in that they view them more frequently, spend longer viewing them, view more of them and use is increasing fastest. Popularity could be put down to a number of factors: a) the books were more attractive to university users; b) the nature of business studies means that e-books are especially attractive; c) staff and librarians promote them more; and d) there are more business and management students.

The other key findings of the study were:

  • E-textbook use did not appear to have a negative impact on hard-copy sales.
  • There was a relatively high concentration of use. Thus, in the case of Management Concepts and Practices the top 10 (of 127) universities accounted for 36% of its use.
  • A high proportion of e-textbook use came from the newer universities (and this was true for other subjects too).
  • Business students were the least likely to have bought their own copy of a textbook or to haveobtained one from the open web.
  • Business e-book users tended to search off campus and were more likely to access the books via Virtual Learning Environments.
  • Multiple routes to e-books confused students and the library catalogue/OPAC was the main means of accessing e-textbooks.
  • E-textbooks were mainly used for obtaining snippets of information and fact finding. Power browsing of multiple e-textbooks was characteristic, a function of massive choice. There appeared to be very little extended reading of e-books.
  • The most important reason for using e-books was convenience – of transporting and accessing them.
  • The main problems encountered were: a) lack of e-book titles; b) access and navigation; c) reading electronic text; and d) poor promotion.
  • E-textbook searching in business is less tied to the rhythms of the teaching year than other subjects and this could be because students have more project work or because of the large postgraduate numbers in the field.
  • Business e-book users tend to search off campus (the fact that many are part-time provides part of the explanation).
  • Business students clearly substituted print in favour of electronic in the library context and still bought the books.
Source And Link


Monday, December 27, 2010

CW > Education Reform: Let's Start By Burning All The Textbooks

Education Reform: Let's Start By Burning All The Textbooks / The World Is My Office blog / March 26, 2009 - 4:27 P.M. / Mike Elgan

[snip]. Here's one modest proposal from the tech blogosphere: Get rid of paper textbooks in favor of digital books and materials for high school and college students as a way to both improve education and cut costs.

Paper textbooks are problematic in two ways: First, they're paper. Second, they're textbooks. Let me explain.

What's Wrong With Paper?

All the standard arguments against paper books are especially true for textbooks. Paper requires the cutting down of trees, transport of trees, paper, then books and the use of toxic inks. Paper books are bad for the environment. But textbooks are constantly being replaced with new editions, with the old ones rendered unusable, and can't be sold used or even stocked in a library. Because teachers require new editions, the old editions are useless and end up in landfills.


What's Wrong With Textbooks?

Textbooks can cost a fortune. A typical textbook that might cost $24.99 at Barnes & Noble might be sold to schools or directly to students in college bookstores for $200. [snip].

The high cost has little to do with the cost of production, and everything to do with monopoly pricing. [snip]

But the worst thing about textbooks is that they've evolved into bland, unreadable products of interest group politics. Schools are trying to teach students to be literate, and to develop an ear for good language, then we force-feed them these hideous textbooks, ... .


Of course, electronic books wouldn't stop controversy. But it could push the controversy down to the local level. Rather than tiny minorities of religious people, politically sensitive people or other groups forcing blandness and stupidity on an entire state, only the local school districts should be having these battles in the places where those interest groups exist. Elsewhere, schools could be free to assign real books.


Why Electronic Is Better

Students are already online and electronic. They're mobile and digital. An electronic book can be read in more places. [snip].. They can read on their iPhones on the bus, or read in hundreds of other situations where they wouldn't have their giant, bulky textbook.

The text size can be increased, which helps visually impaired students.

Electronic editions could be updated at nearly zero cost. They could be subscribed to by schools, saving taxpayer money. That way, a college teacher wouldn't have to require the bookstore to stock the new version and dump all the used books. The electronic version would always be updated.


Some of the best universities in the world place complete course materials, including video podcasts of lectures, online. What possible reason would some podunk college have to not take advantage of course material from, say, MIT, whenever possible ... . [snip].

So that's my proposal: Ban all paper textbooks and go electronic. Students could choose to read on PCs, phones or Kindle-like readers. If students don't have some kind of reader, libraries and computer labs do.

And once schools go electronic, let's stop torturing students with textbooks, and introduce them to the real world of intellectual content out there.


A global recession and educational funding crisis makes the perfect time to wrench our children's minds away from the textbook industry, the politically correct anti-intellectuals, special interest groups and the bureaucratic mindset that is wrecking education.

Let's burn the textbooks and go electronic. 



Information Automation Ltd > Resource Centre > e-Book Bibliographies > 2000 - Present

Information Automation Limited is a consultancy, research and training company, founded in 1987 and specialising in the areas of information creation, use and management.

We have decided to focus on the one aspect of electronic publishing in which we are currently doing most of our work: e-books - it is a summary of writings related to e-book, e-textbook and e-monograph publishing and use.

For convenience it is divided into separate annual files; the current year's bibliography is regularly updated.

Source And Links


NLW > E-Book Readers And College Students

E-Book Readers And College Students / New Library World 111 (7) ( 2010):  347-350  / Bruce  E. Massis


There is evidence that the percentage of students in the higher education environment in the USA who will be using technology everyday in 2010 could reach nearly 100 percent. With such a possibility looming, will the plethora of e-book readers or hand-held multi-functional devices designed to download and read e-books change the reading habits of our students? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the present state of e-book readers and consider their potential impact on the academic environment.


The approach taken is a literature review and commentary on this topic that is now being addressed by cost-conscious colleagues.


The e-book reader that becomes the standard will win the day appealing to college students by virtue of its cost and the variety of features that allow them the ability to retrieve the largest number of accessible materials to support their coursework.


The value is in addressing this issue is to keep fresh the discussion on this topic and its potential impact on college students.

Source And Link


SLJ > Turning the Page: .... Digital Textbooks Are The Future

Turning The Page: Forget About Those Bulky Backbreakers, Digital Textbooks Are The Future  / School Library Journal 56 (10): 24-27  / October 1, 2010  / Rebecca Hill


Over a year ago, California entered the fray with its free digital textbook initiative, and Texas, always a textbook trendsetter, is making its move to digital materials with new initiatives starting in 2011. Indiana, Virginia, Florida, and other states are also slowly inching closer to a shift in that direction. Good thing, because with the never-ending explosion of tech devices like iPads, iPhones, and Kindle DXs, kids now expect a variety of fun ways to read, study, and graze the Internet.

The Digital Textbook Movement

There’s no denying that economics are fueling the move toward digital materials, but it’s also about staying on top of what keeps students actively engaged. [snip].

Stepping up smartly means turning individualized learning on its head with digital materials. With econtent, it’s easier to customize student learning on all levels. In fact, with digital materials, says children’s book author and editor Marc Aronson, we wouldn’t be talking about a “class” at all. [snip].

But for some, it’s not that easy. “Digital textbooks will not change teaching unless the methodology is changed to go beyond the material provided in digital textbooks,” says Todd Whitlock, technology coordinator at Indiana’s North Daviess Schools. “Digital textbooks themselves will not do any more to prepare our students for the future than the same material that is bound in a book,” says Whitlock. [snip].

Implementing A Digital Textbook Program

One important way to transform how instruction is delivered is by training the teaching staff. And as nationwide 1:1 laptop initiatives have shown us, training is a key to success.

Some school districts are easing into digital content, while others, like California’s Riverside Unified Schools, have hit the ground running, given the experience and knowledge of their staff and students. And at schools like Arizona’s Empire High School and Maine’s Casco Bay High School, in-house teams of teachers have offered their colleagues expert training.

Of course, nobody ever said change was easy. In some cases, integrating digital content into the existing curriculum has made educators anxious. At Virgina’s Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), most staffers were excited about the digital textbook pilot program. “But some teachers were hesitant about how this will impact lessons they have already developed,” says Peter Noonan, FCPS’s assistant superintendent for instructional services. [snip].

Florida’s Lake Weir High School initiated a digital textbook pilot program last fall with its freshman English classes. The limited launch was beneficial, says Principal Cynthia Saunders, because the administration was able to get feedback before it introduced the program to a large number of students. [snip].

Another critical advantage? The digital expertise of students themselves. As some educators see it, many districts are merely catching up with their incredibly tech-savvy kids. “Students are coming to school with different skill sets,” FCPS’s Noonan says. “We need to meet them where they are and use technology for learning.” [snip].

One issue that continues to arise is student access, to both hardware and the Internet, although the issue is likely to become less urgent as states begin to change their formulas for distribution of textbook monies, or, as in the case of North Daviess, schools find local funding for technology. [snip]

The Digital Textbook: It’s Evolving

Digital textbooks themselves are rapidly evolving. Initially (and even now) publishers provided a PDF of a textbook so schools could have both a print version and a downloadable version. But this method isn’t always cost efficient, says Alice Owens, director of technology for Texas’s Irving Independent School District. [snip].

PDF to a more pliable resource that can incorporate other electronic options. One model is flexbooks, digital textbooks that utilize a web-based collaborative model, include open educational resources, and enable educators to customize and produce their own textbooks. The CK-12 Foundation, a nonprofit group, created this model ... .[snip].

What makes the flexbook unique is that using it, teachers can integrate a variety of tools and information like videos, hyperlinks, or simulations to make their lessons more interactive. At California’s Leadership Public Schools, where 54 percent of the ninth graders read at a fourth-grade reading level, teachers incorporate literacy lessons into their math and science content. [snip].


But if the flexbook goes so far as to incorporate author’s materials, as well as open educational resources, it begs the question: Why not just use open educational resources? Some schools, like Empire High School, have been pursuing this model. But most digitally inclined schools believe in a variety of options. Riverside’s McPhail reports that they use a combination of open source textbooks from CK-12, content from iTunes University, and other open source materials. [snip].

While a flexbook or even a digital textbook provides an organizational structure from which to plan lessons and teach, the vastness of open educational resources can be overwhelming. Who should organize and cultivate the resources to use with digital textbooks or to incorporate into flexbooks?

The School Librarian As The Digital Resource Provider

Marcia Mardis believes it’s the perfect time for library media specialists to assume their place at the digital learning table. After all, says Mardis, a professor at Florida State University, they’re the most qualified for managing this constantly evolving environment. [snip].

Currently, Mardis is exploring how K–12 media centers are fitting digital resources into their collections and how librarians are supplying these services. [snip].

Sharnell Jackson, a senior fellow at the Center for Digital Education, agrees. According to Jackson, the time is right for librarians to step up and support curriculum instruction through open source content and the latest technology. [snip].

Librarians like Tom Corbett of Cushing Academy, a prep school in Ashburnham, MA, are taking an even more radical approach. Last year Cushing Academy’s library redistributed all of its print books to the classrooms. The library transformed itself into a digital hub, a portal where students can find and use digital content. [snip].

“Librarians need to move from a gatekeeper role to more of a facilitator, collaborator, and participant in the student’s research process,” he says. [snip].


As more digital learning environments emerge, they’ll need to be effectively managed. School librarians, in particular, Mardis says, must demonstrate their unique resource expertise and skills in content management. If not, it may not get done and we’ll likely find that the promise of digital textbooks and flexbooks will never be realized.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

450 U [Of Minnesota] Students Hit iPad Lottery,To Learn

Star Tribune / Last update: October 6, 2010 - 12:00 AM / JENNA ROSS

All freshmen in the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development will get free iPads soon. The handout will also allow for research on whether the devices help students learn.

Forget notebooks.

Laptops? Passé.

Soon, about 450 University of Minnesota students will pull iPads out of their backpacks.

The U's College of Education and Human Development will give all its freshmen free iPads this month, joining several colleges and universities across the country in bestowing the Apple devices on their students.

But the University of Minnesota's iPad pilot might be the largest ever done by a major research university.

Research will be a big part of the project. The college will study how the iPads change -- or fail to change -- how students learn and classes are taught. Those are topics its professors study anyway.


The college notified its first-year students late Tuesday night that they'd get the iPads -- plus a training session -- at the end of the month.


"We really hope the students and faculty will help us to figure out new ways to use this tool," she said.

Lighter On The Budget, Too

The iPads also have practical purposes: The college hopes that accessing e-books and other texts via iPad will help students save on textbooks and printouts.

Plus, the iPads are lighter than laptops, so students might be more likely to bring them to class each day.


David Arendale, a lecturer and researcher in the CEHD's Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, teaches about 80 students in a first-year history course. [snip].

He's excited about the documents and apps the class will be able to explore when each student has an iPad, and he's interested to see how they'll use that device, vs. a laptop.


Who Pays? It Varies

Although the College of Education and Human Development is providing the iPads for free this year, eventually it might ask future classes to buy the tablets at a reduced price, ... .

Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania made headlines last spring when it announced that each full-time undergraduate would get an iPad and a Macbook laptop as part of a bigger technology project. "An iPad for Everyone," its website boasts.


Seton Hill's 1,850 undergraduates pay for their iPads through a $500-a-semester technology fee, ... .

Komarny said that although the university has been accused of bribing students with toys they later pay for, the iPads were part of a larger, longer project to bring needed technology into the classroom.

"We've built a model here," he said, "not just on how to integrate the technology, but to actually teach with it."

Seton Hill student Abigail Sloan loves her iPad. "It's very handy for taking notes, e-mails, and is a lot easier to carry around than a laptop. I also like that some of my textbooks are on the iPad because they are sometimes half as expensive .... .

Faculty Is All For It

.... [A] 2009 University of Minnesota technology survey showed that a growing number of students -- in 2009, 79.6 percent -- "strongly supported the use of a large to moderate amount of technology in their classes." They also insist that instructors use that technology in constructive ways. [snip].

The survey also shows "strong support" for mobile technologies. The number of students reporting they "aspire to own" a smart phone, for example, rose dramatically over the past few years.

Professors, too, are showing interest.

At a recent meeting, [Jean] Quam, [the College of Education and Human Development dean] and other leaders told the group of professors gathered that teaching with the iPad was not mandatory. If they were interested, they'd get an iPad and the college's support.

"We had 24 faculty calling within the first 24 hours, which is practically the whole department," Quam said. "A couple people are teaching courses that don't quite fit, of course, and a couple professors don't feel ready.

"I equate it, back in the old days, to when some faculty would use video, or invite a guest speaker, or eventually, create a PowerPoint. It's just one more very exciting tool we can use."



MSNBC.COM: More Choices Alter College Textbook Landscape

AP / Updated 08-08-2010 / 10:41:34 AM ET / ERIC GORSKI


The prospect of digital books and slow-but-steady growth in free online "open" content loom as developments that could upend the textbook landscape and alleviate the perennial problem of rising prices.

"Change is coming, but it's not going to happen immediately," said David Lewis, dean of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University Library and assistant vice president for digital scholarly communications at Indiana University. [snip].


Like the music and media businesses, the textbook industry has been revolutionized by the Internet.

Although used books have long been an option for students, the Web opened up a world of bargain-hunting beyond the campus bookstore.


Open access textbooks pose a bolder challenge to the status quo. The startup Flat World Knowledge contracts with authors to write new textbooks and publishes them for free under an open content license, allowing professors to edit the raw material and add their own contributions while giving students
access to a Web-based HTML book.

Last fall, about 480 professors adopted one of the company's initial 10 business and economics titles, said co-founder Eric Frank. About 1,200 professors are expected to use 22 titles to teach 95,000 students this fall.

The company is betting students will pay a reasonable price for greater convenience. Flat World's revenue comes from selling everything from $30 black-and-white copies of its books to $3 audio chapters, as well as study aids like digital flash cards.[snip].

So far, the main drawback to open access is the dearth of titles, said Albert Greco, a professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Business Administration and an authority on the textbook publishing industry.

Greco and others forecast a major shift in the next five years to digital textbooks, which already cost about half as much as new print editions on, a kind of textbook iTunes launched in 2007 by the major textbook publishers.

That would doom the used book and print rental marketplace, Greco said. [snip].




Monday, December 20, 2010

Publishers Take Note: The iPad Is Altering The Very Concept Of A 'Book'

The Observer / Sunday / 19 December 2010 / John Naughton

If the success of Amazon's Kindle has made print publishers relax, they're in for a nasty surprise.

One of the glories of our print culture is the Economist, a magazine that combines eccentric, neoliberal editorial views with excellent, well-informed reporting. [snip].

In November 2009, I went to a talk given by Andrew Rashbass, CEO of the Economist, about the company's digital strategy. He related how he had commissioned research in a large number of countries into how subscribers in those territories used the publication. [snip].

Under questioning, Rashbass was coy about what his digital strategy involved, but it was clear to all in the room that he was pinning his hopes on what was at the time a purely mythical product, the device that eventually materialised as the Apple iPad.

Almost a year to the day year after Rashbass's talk, the Economist launched its iPad app. It's free, in the sense that anyone can download it. But to get it to download actual content (over and above a few free articles) you have to be an existing print subscriber or take out a digital subscription, ... .

[snip]. The iPad has delivered a genuinely "immersive" reading experience. In part, this is a reflection on the device's screen technology and interface. But it's mainly down to the quality of the app's design.


Coincidentally, another interesting app arrived on my iPad last week. Actually, it's a book in app's clothing. It's David Eagleman's Why the Net Matters (Canongate), an eight-chapter manifesto that seeks to explain the significance of the internet for our future. As with the iPad edition of Stephen Fry's latest book, Eagleman's essay can be read non-sequentially. Each chapter splits the screen. On one side is conventional text. On the other are illustrations, photographs, animations and 3D models that the reader can manipulate. [snip].

These two developments – the Economist's app and Eagleman's "book" – ought to serve as a wake-up call for the print publishing industry. [snip]

[snip]. The concept of a "book" will change under the pressure of iPad-type devices, just as concepts of what constitutes a magazine or a newspaper are already changing. This doesn't mean that paper publications will go away.

But it does mean that print publishers who wish to thrive in the new environment will not just have to learn new tricks but will also have to tool up. [snip].

If they don't do it, then someone else will. There will always be "books". The question now is: will there always be publishers?



Sunday, December 19, 2010

IT > Ebooks: A New School Of Thought

Baumann, M. (2010). Ebooks: A new school of thought. Information Today, 27(5),  pp. 1, 44, 46, 48

Abstract: Mainstream educators are beginning to replace paper textbooks with ebooks, a technology that many publishers see as the way of the future. Ebooks eliminate the bulkiness of their paper counterparts. In switching from paper textbooks to electronic, mainstream publishing houses have been experimenting with ebooks for the academic market. Rather than pages of text and photos, ebooks increasingly include video clips, links to Web sites, and more sophisticated pictures and graphics.

The creation of customized copies eliminates the used etextbook market, where authors watch their books get sold over and over without getting paid. There are some potential roadblocks to an electronic textbook paradigm. The first comes from a simple economic principle: While there is a market for etextbooks, colleges and students aren't clamoring for them in a way that puts much pressure on publishers to provide them. The lack of electronic standards is another issue. Pricing patterns are also going to be an issue.



[snip]. Mainstream educators are beginning to replace paper textbooks with ebooks, a technology that many publishers see as the way of the future. Ebooks eliminate the bulkiness of their paper counterparts; the Amazon Kindle DX can hold more than 3,500 titles, for example. [snip].


McGraw-Hill reports that it intends to expand its digital presence, according to Tom Stanton, director of communications at McGraw-Hill Education. Today, 95% of McGraw-Hill Education's offerings are available electronically, ... .

"Currently, ebooks represent a small but rapidly growing percentage of our overall revenue in the higher education market," says Stanton. "As more students gain a greater comfort level with the interactivity, media-rich content, search capability, and note-taking functionality available with ebooks, we see them and other digital learning tools becoming more widespread."

Built For Speed, Not For Comfort

In switching from paper textbooks to electronic, mainstream publishing houses have been experimenting with ebooks for the academic market. This doesn't just mean putting text on an e-reader screen instead of a page; it means incorporating rich media into the product. [snip].


Caren Milloy is a senior project manager at JISC Collections, a British academic consortium whose goal is to support the spread of digital content in higher education across the U.K. [snip].

JISC's national ebooks observatory project contains data from interviews, focus groups, and surveys that generated more than 52,000 responses; the project is purported to be the largest study of ebook use ever undertaken. [snip].


A Shift In Direction

If academic users are more concerned with efficiency than bells and whistles, publishers intent on filling etextbooks with rich media may be taking the wrong approach. Eric Frank, founder and president of Flat World Knowledge, a digital academic publishing company, is counting on this.


Digital Textbooks And Robin Hood e-Commerce

Not only does Frank take a contrary view on rich media's place in ebooks, his company is taking a new approach to academic publishing.

Flat World still signs authors, and all articles undergo a peer-review process, but the similarities end there. Flat World books are designed to go on the web from the start, and they are offered in several formats: a free online-only version, a range of electronic formats that can be bought and downloaded to a computer desktop or e-reader, or a printed copy that can be produced and shipped on request.


In order to combat the cannibalization of print sales, many publishers are offering their digital textbooks on a rental basis with DRM restrictions. Rather than paying full price for a textbook, students can rent a digital copy for a few months at a reduced price, mimicking the common practice of buying a textbook at the beginning of a semester and selling it back to the bookstore when it is no longer useful.


What About 'Free'?

Even a reduced-price rental pricing model is too restrictive for Frank, who predicts that content pricing trends have only one endpoint: free. PDF copies of popular textbooks can be downloaded for free through illegal torrent sites, and Frank says customers will be more willing to break the law if etextbooks are too expensive or their DRM restrictions are too harsh.


Even though Flat World textbooks are available for free online, customers are still paying a premium to publishers for the convenience of having a digital or print copy at their disposal anywhere, at any time. [snip].


The Social Side Of Etextbooks

Copia, a DMC Worldwide company that offers an online bookstore and the Ocean and Tidal series of e-readers, acknowledges the social aspect of the educational experience. In addition to incorporating social media features for the Copia ebookstore, Copia users can link their accounts to Facebook, Twitter, and other existing social media networks. [snip].

"How powerful is it if you're reading whatever textbook you're reading and you're on chapter 12, and it's late at night and we're all studying from our own locations, to know where each other is at exactly, what page we're at?" Antolino says. "You can say, 'Did you capture that? I think that's going to be real important.' Or, 'Let's talk about this for a minute because this is an insightful passage,' and be able to socialize that in real time."

Copia is a seller and not a publisher, but publishers can get in on the social capabilities of digital publishing as well. Flat World is making customization a hallmark of its publishing process. Professors have the ability to edit, rearrange, and add comments to Flat World digital books for their classes, and user feedback from the website often factors into edits for future semesters.


Customizability is a necessary feature for any company that wants to sell ebooks in the academic market. Very few students and professors expect to access web links or listen to audio clips from their textbooks. But if they can take notes and highlight important passages in the book itself, this is something many users take for granted.


Fitter, Happier, And More Productive

A student wants the same things from his or her educational experience that he or she wants from a used car—it should be cheap, simple, efficient, and should fit his or her personality. There are signs that digital and textbooks are moving in to fit these needs; the e-reader market seemingly has new options every day, and Flat World Knowledge has signed a deal to put printed versions of its textbooks in 3,000 college bookstores, including the University of Washington and San Diego State University.


There are some potential roadblocks to an electronic textbook paradigm. The first comes from a simple economic principle: While there is a market for etextbooks, colleges and students aren't clamoring for them in a way that puts much pressure on publishers to provide them.


The Need For Standards

The lack of electronic standards is another issue. Flat World produces its books in multiple formats because, while PDF and EPUB are slowly taking over, there is still not an agreed-upon universal file format. [snip].

"Probably the biggest barriers to ebooks penetrating the university marketplace are standards, pricing and procurement strategies," Blossom says. 'While PDF and ePub formats are common for many ebooks, there are no ebook standards today that can allow them to be used across a wide variety of devices as well as to support effective markup and note-taking. [snip].


"I think that it will take around five years for many of these basic issues to be settled between universities and major university-oriented textbook publishers," Blossom says. "In the meantime, while there will continue to be some successful experiments with ebooks in the classroom, most ebook purchasing in universities is likely to be focused on increasing library acquisitions."