Today sees the publication of a new JISC blog post, “How important are open ebook standards to universities?” and podcast featuring Ben Showers, JISC Programme Manager for Digital Infrastructure, discussing the Digital Monograph Technical Landscape: Exemplars and Recommendations Final Report.
We first published the report in November 2011 and, as the JISC post discusses, we have already seen several major ebook announcements. This has included Apple’s launch of iBooks2, significant news for the whole education sector since the software allows embedding of multimedia and more transliterate(1) ebook design. It was launched with a number of innovative and visual textbooks giving a sense of how the ePub format can be creatively exploited.
The Apple news followed a bumper Christmas for ebook reader sales, particularly of the Kindle and iPad, indeed according to an estimate (based on a YouGov poll of 2,012 adults) reported in Pocket-lint:
“A staggering one in every 40 adults in Britain woke up to find an ebook reader under the tree on Christmas morning”
Even the Man Booker jury have reportedly adopted Kindles to assess the nominations this year.
These developments not only bring ebook readers into the mainstream but they also mean that an increasing number of students and academic staff will be adopting these tools making it an ideal time for universities to focus on how they can better engage ebooks, whether supporting their community or taking a lead in adopting and publishing directly. The timing could not be better to read or take another look at our Final Report on ebook publishing and the implications for Higher Education.
As Theo Andrew, Project Manager for this work says:
“Over the last year or so ebook devices have really grabbed the attention and imagination of the general public. The academic community now has a good opportunity to utilise these technologies to present their work in new transformative ways. This timely report describes the current scene and highlights some of the key challenges that the sector faces with adopting and creating content for consumption on ebook readers. It finishes by making some specific recommendations on what actions are needed for the sector to fully take advantage of the many opportunities that ebooks provide.”
So, do take a look at the JISC post and podcast, read the report – which is available in various formats of course – and share your thoughts on the Final Report page or right here. We’d be particularly love to hear your own thoughts and experiences of reading and interacting with higher education related ebooks.