Who is Smik?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

So you're thinking about e-text books? 2011 may be too soon... in Australia anyway

Many teachers and librarians have told me their principal has asked them to investigate the possibility of using e-text books in 2011.

Now, we've been trying to get our heads around at least a couple of stumbling blocks and now at least one more has cropped up.

The 2 issues we've been trying to get our heads (previous posts) around have been

  • which device to buy?
  • what format for the e-books? (very much determined by the device)

and the 3rd one: how do we lend e-books either as library books or text books?

Currently many libraries are resorting to lending the device, in the absence of affordable schemes  that facilitate the lending of the e-books themselves. It seems there are schemes (like Overdrive) available if you are willing to put all your eggs in one basket, and cut your cloth to what they can provide. - mixed metaphors I know, but the end result is that you are severely limited in your purchase to what they can provide, not what you want to buy.

Now a 4th obstacle has come up:
geographic restrictions on sale of e-books by publishers. It is yet another illustration that publishers do not "get" the requirements of the e-book market.
An Australian friend has until yesterday been able to buy e-books for her Sony reader through Waterstones UK. Yesterday she was notified by them that they are no longer allowed to sell e-books outside the UK and Ireland.

I have been used to encountering this problem with buying books through Amazon, but had not realised the extent of it until now.

In the course of my investigations this morning I have come across a useful site. Three posts have caught my eye:

The upshot of it all, is that, considering where we are in the school/academic year in Australia, if you were thinking of bringing e-text books in at the beginning of 2011, there are probably just too many imponderables, too many unresolved issues.

If you've made a decision on the device, then that probably determines the format of the e-books you will purchase, then you are only part way through finding a solution.
The main question then becomes one of whether you can get the text books you want as e-books. If you are talking English novels and your students read a number of the "classics", including Shakespearian plays, then you can probably get some of them free through the Gutenberg Project Magic Catalog, but that is not going to help in major areas.

I'm sorry to sound like a Jonah, and I'd love to be proved wrong, but I think 2011 is just too early.

Posted via email from You Are Never Alone (on posterous)

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