Tuesday, November 06, 2012

eBooks and Printed Books

I recall back in the early days of our vle here at College one of my selling points was that having materials in digital form would save not only on paper, but also those trips to the print room, and indeed this remains the case.

With all this in mind I was pleased to come across an infographic from onlinecolleges.net that extended the reasoning along with a host of  statistics on the benefits digital text including eBooks. For my own classes this academic year, I have provided links to both eBook libraries and specific publications with the result that predictably, perhaps, very little by way of actual physical books appearing, but is this always the case. While it would seem to be the case that an eBook would represent a saving in raw cash terms, this may not be the only of most important deciding factor, and so I decided to look (surf) around and get a view.

In the New York Times Business Day Technology  a very interesting piece By Claire Cain Miller and Julie Bosamn entitled "E-Books Outsell Print Books" , reports some very convincing sales statistics from Amazon, though I am drawn to the fact that much of the sales trend would not possible be representative for HE requirements, non the less, a powerful message here.

From StandarSpeaker.com in the article "Colleges adapting to influx of ebooks" by Amanda Christman, sites that according CourseSmart, the publishing industry has seen e-textbook sales double each semester over the past two year; not sure how sustainable this would be but even so the uptake is undeniable.

However now balance this with a more student oriented view in "Why Aren’t Students Using E-Books?" by Audrey Watters from KQED, and you begin appreciate some interesting points, and I quote "But students also share their textbooks because they are so incredibly expensive. And as the digital rights management (DRM) restrictions on e-books makes lending someone your copy difficult if not impossible, students are likely steering away from e-books because they simply don’t work for them — practically or economically. After all, there is little savings to be found in many digital textbooks. They cost roughly the same as print, but come without the ability to sell back a used copy at the end of the semester".

So where does this leave me, well one thing is for certain, and that is we are not about to witness the demise of printed materials, and for me as both an educator and eLearning Development Coordinator ,will have some impact upon assumptions that I may have otherwise drawn regarding my approach to course content, how about you? Please feel free to comment.


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