Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Knowing where the digital market share is going...

I read an article (reads like a press release) this morning about some new offerings by ebrary. ebrary is just one example of many companies in this space, but they are a good example of the types of companies college stores should be more aware of in the digital content space. They have a software-based e-reader technology and likely work with many of our campus libraries. While the article spoke mostly to new content databases being offered to the corporate community, what is of interest is what content was being offered. The articles notes:
ebrary(R) today announced the availability of two new subscription databases of e-books, manuals and other authoritative content in Engineering and Business. With contributing publishers such as Elsevier, CRC Press, Pennwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Woodhead Publishing, Gulf Publishing, and World Scientific, ebrary's new Engineering Database features popular handbooks, manuals and other technical titles spanning a wide range of engineering topics such as Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Electronic, Environmental, Materials, Mechanics, and Petroleum Engineering. ebrary's new Business Database covers key topics in eadership, Management, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, Finance, Investment, Accounting, and General Business Skills from such esteemed publishers as AMACOM, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Kogan-Page, Ltd., and Dearborn Trade Publishing.

Do the publishers and content areas sound familiar to to any of the college store readers of this blog? If about a third of students are getting their digital textbooks from libraries now (from the NACS 2008 StudentWatch study), then do you know what digital textbooks your library really offers? Here is an area where you can start to interact with your campus librarian. Do some background research to see what titles they may be offering, and what the readership is like. As we talk about competitive intelligence and understanding what market share we are losing (and where we are losing it), then here is a source of potential information. There may be opportunities for us to work with campus libraries and this information--and there may be opportunities for college stores to work with ebrary and similar offerings as well.

Course material content licensing by campuses is not a new phenomenon, and it is a trend that is likely to grow. Store textbook managers should be monitoring this trend closely and considering ways to work with other campus constituencies and this content.

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