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Electronic Books: A New Publishing Revolution Donald T. Hawkins Director, Intranet Development AndEditor-in-Chief, Information Science & Technology Abstracts.

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Presentation on theme: "Electronic Books: A New Publishing Revolution Donald T. Hawkins Director, Intranet Development AndEditor-in-Chief, Information Science & Technology Abstracts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electronic Books: A New Publishing Revolution Donald T. Hawkins Director, Intranet Development AndEditor-in-Chief, Information Science & Technology Abstracts Information Today, Inc. +1-(215) Not Dead Yet Coming Back


3 A Rocky Road…

4 An Uphill Battle…

5 Lots of Slipping and Sliding…

6 Slow Progress…

7 …Sometimes No Progress

8 Quotes—2002 n “E-books Are Solving a Problem Consumers Don’t Have.” Chicago Tribune, August 9, 2001 n “E-books may be the greatest work of fiction yet.”, May 14, 2002 n “There is absolutely a future for e-books; it’s just a question of how quickly that future comes.” Toronto Globe and Mail, September 18, 2002 n “The e-book market is more of a distant promise than a present reality.” Information World Review, May 2002

9 What Happened?

10 Too Much Focus on the Container n The device? – Standalone readers n The content? – E-text, digitized books –Printed books stored in digital format n Print on Demand? What Is An E-Book?

11 No Standards

12 People Still Like To Read From Paper The biggest hurdles that ebook producers must surmount are:  The quality of print portrayed on screens  The reluctance of users to switch media and read books from a screen Electronic Books: A Major Publishing Revolution Donald T. Hawkins ONLINE 24(4): 14-28 (July/August 2000)

13 Questionable Value Added “The fact that technology is able to represent documents on the screen is clearly not sufficient justification for converting every piece of paper into electronic format.” Landoni, M., et al., The Electronic Library 18(6): 407-19 (2001)

14 Some Current E-Book Market Events

15 Demise of Dedicated Readers Glassbook Everybook SoftBook Franklin EBookMan



18 (Nov. 1, 2002, p. 27)


20 Source: Library Journal, July 15, 2002



23 OEB Consumer Survey Results n 67% would like to read an e-book. n 62% would read an e-book from their library. n 61% said that e-books should be priced the same as paperbacks. n 70% said they would buy an e-book if it could be read on any computer.

24 Major Significant Recent Events n Elsevier alliance with netLibrary n German and French language editions of e-books developed for Palm reader n Cleveland Public Library to integrate e- books and local materials n MS Office adds e-books to its eServices site (

25 Some Current E-Book Marketplace Players


27 Project Gutenberg n Began in 1971 n Free access to books for everyone –Only public-domain material –ASCII text n Over 6,700 books n Staffed by volunteers n





32 netLibrary—Current Status n Now a division of OCLC following bankruptcy n Focused on the library market –Follows the “one copy, one user” model –Considering permitting simultaneous users n Over 42,000 books in collection n Over 7,300 customers (3,000 academic)



35 E-Books In Print???

36 Appropriate Markets


38 The Student Market for E-Books n Many textbooks cost >$100 and weigh 2-3 kg. n Textbooks are a large continuing market. n 62% of students prefer electronic books over print. (Versaware study)

39 Enhanced goReader Pocket PC features Pocket PC features Windows CE operating systemWindows CE operating system IE browserIE browser Modem supportModem support OEB, HTML, and MS Office document capabilityOEB, HTML, and MS Office document capability Full color, high resolution 10.4 inch touch screen Full color, high resolution 10.4 inch touch screen Weighs less than 3 pounds Weighs less than 3 pounds Holds up to 150,000 pages of text Holds up to 150,000 pages of text Designed for Students

40 The Student Market Recent New Cautions n Difficult to utilize during brief periods of time (It’s quicker to just open a book and highlight passages) n Reading experience still inferior to printed books n Some tasks are harder to do with e-books, and less information is retained. ( n Some students printed large portions of e-books.

41 Source: Ariadne, Issue 29, September, 2001 A New Business?


43 Other Appropriate Niche Markets For E-Books n Small publishers (“mid-list”) n Travelers n Technical books/training manuals n Controlled environments –Government –Military –Proprietary n Consumers

44 E-Books In Libraries

45 “Bringing the e-book into existence by attempting to electrify the printed book is turning out to be more complex than anyone had imagined… By putting a printed book into digital form we are unleashing an unknown quantity into the information ecology, and it is difficult to predict whether the consequences will ultimately be positive or negative.” Dennis Dillon, “E-Books: the University of Texas Experience, Part 2.” Library Hi-Tech 19(4): 350-62 (2001)

46 Dedicated E-Book Reader Issues For Libraries n Titles must be purchased for a specific device (Many libraries are using RCA’s REB—a descendent of the Rocket E-Book) n Incompatibilities among reader brands n Difficult and slow downloads n Some users unwilling to assume responsibility for reader n Must catalog both book and reader n Technology problems

47 CDL E-Book Study (D-Lib Magazine, July 2001, n All elements of a viable e-book market are not yet in place. n Need added functionality over printed books (like online databases) n E-books are not a panacea for storage/archive problems “The role of e-books in academic libraries is still not clear, and there is considerable development of standards, technologies, and pricing models needed to make the market for e-books viable and sustainable.”

48 Legal Issues


50 E-Book Market Conclusions n A shakeout has occurred. n Many players have disappeared. n Most dedicated readers are obsolete. n Overly optimistic predictions have been replaced by more realistic ones. n Customer concerns must be addressed. n Some players are still active and are prospering. n Some new players are entering the market.

51 Major Conclusions n E-books will survive and prosper in niche markets where they make sense. n E-books will NOT replace printed books!

52 Encouraging Signs n OCLC’s investment in netLibrary n Major publisher investments n Open eBook Forum industry report and promotion of e-books n OEB customer survey results n Widespread downloading of Microsoft and Adobe readers

53 E-BOOK SALES JUMP CONSIDERABLY According to new data released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), sales of e-books have jumped significantly, to more than $3 million for the month of January 2003, up from some $200,000 a year earlier. The numbers, however, only include the reports of six major publishers: Farrar Straus Giroux, HarperCollins, Wiley, Random House, Simon and Schuster, and St. Martin's. While it's difficult to read too much into the numbers for such a nascent sector, e-book insiders were happy with the news-- especially with the fact that the AAP was now paying attention to e-book sales. "We've had double digit growth in e-book sales for a long time, but these numbers reflect that AAP is really just beginning to get its act together about e-books" said Jeff Gomez, e-book and print on-demand manager for St. Martin's. Gomez pointed to lower pricing, wider distribution, and the increased bundling of Microsoft Reader and the Palm Reader into computers and PDAs as potential reasons for growth. "A year ago all I read about e-books were these death-knell articles," he noted. "This industry is becoming real.“ Source: Library Journal Academic News Wire, March 20, 2003

54 Points to Ponder n Isn’t the Web a gigantic e-book? n What about XML? n Can DRM restrictions be eased? –Will piracy losses be offset by increased publicity? n Will giving away some free e-books enhance sales? n Will tablet PCs solve the small screen problem?

55 “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

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