Electronic Books

2010 Final Topic and 2010 Short LIst: Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years
New topic in 2010.

Electronic books are now accessible via a wide variety of readers, from dedicated reader platforms like the Kindle to applications designed for mobile phones, and are enjoying wide consumer adoption. As screen technology has become more sophisticated, the experience of reading electronic materials has become more comfortable, and the popularity of e-books has increased. Electronic books can be a portable and cost-effective alternative to buying printed books, although most platforms lack features to support advanced reading and editing tasks such as annotation, collaboration, real-time updates, and content remixing.

Electronic books have entered the mainstream in the consumer world and are beginning to make inroads on campuses. The potential for education includes the obvious advantages of lowering costs and making it easier to carry the information contained in several heavy textbooks, but electronic books and readers are also raising questions about the textbook and publishing industries that may have deeper implications in academia.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • Princeton University—which spent over $5 million on paper last year—issued a Kindle to each student in an effort to eliminate a portion of the paper waste. In addition to e-books, the University plans to digitize much of its library.
  • Seton Hall University's Teaching, Learning & Technology Center found that students appreciated the ability to store and review a semester's worth of material in e-book form.
  • Amazon's Kindle accepts emails of PDFs and .doc files, which provides students and faculty a convenient method of transporting and reading academic journals.

Examples


For Further Reading

E-Books in Higher Education
http://ici9.oum.edu.my/pdf/paper06.pdf
(Jim Sinopoli, for the International Conference on Information, August 2009.) This paper briefly discusses the environment necessary to optimize e-books in higher education.

Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-06/st_thompson
(Clive Thopson, Wired Magazine, 22 May 2009.) Thompson makes a case for digitizing books: in addition to enhancing sales of the printed book, e-books enable ongoing reader dialogs.

Librarians desperate for e-books as demand outstrips supply
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=408039
(Rebecca Attwood, Times Higher Education, 10 September 2009.) Publishers needn't worry that e-books will replace paper textbooks: a UK study found that students and faculty prefer to use the e-books as a supplement.