Since 2007, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) national e-books observatory project has been working to explore the impacts, observe the behaviors, and develop new models to stimulate the e-book market. Throughout the project, more than 40,000 students from across the UK have been observed to determine how they access, use, and download e-books.
Recently the JISC released the initial results from their first user survey. The results suggest that giving students access to e-books does not affect print sales and e-books actually supplement traditional textbooks. In addition, e-books improve the way students learn by broadening their analytical and evaluation skills. The JISC has also released an analysis of two open ended questions from the survey. The analysis shows that accessibility is the main attraction for e-books and students enjoy the ability to access the books at any time, wherever they are.
In addition to the surveys, the JISC has also announced that they will partner with the Learning Skills Council (LSC) to fund an e-books for further education project. For the next five years, the project will make 3,000 e-books freely available to every college in the UK. The titles will cover a variety of subjects including: Heath and Social Care, Engineering, Fashion Design, and Automobile Electronics. The students will be able to access the e-books at any time through an ebrary e-books platform. Colleges will also be able to purchase additional e-books at discounted rates to build their digital libraries to meet the specific needs of students on their campus.