Since 2007, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK has been working on a national e-books observatory project to learn more about the impact of e-books and to develop new models to stimulate the e-book market. From November 2007 to December 2008, students at 127 universities in the UK were given access to 36 science, technology, and medical e-textbooks. The results from the study showed that giving students access to e-texts may not have an effect on print sales.
According to a posting on the JISC website, the committee is now exploring the co-existence of e-textbooks and paper textbooks, and evaluating potential business models. Trials will be conducted this fall to access the sustainability of offering access to e-textbooks via aggregated platforms or publisher-specific platforms, determine the impact that e-access via libraries has on the sales of print textbooks, and determine if online access through libraries improves sell-through of existing adoptions. During the trials, students will be given a variety of access options including complete e-textbooks, chapters, short-term rentals, and the ability to purchase the print version. The trials will run through May 2010 and a final report of the results will be published in August 2010.