Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has also posted a video and a summary of the Copyright, Content and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement event held last week at the Library of Congress. Participants in the panel included: Dr. Alan Inouye, Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Poicy; Dr. Daniel Clancy, Engineering Director for Google Book Search; Allan Adler, VP of Government Affairs for the Association of American Publishers; and Peter Brantley, Director of Access for the Internet Archive.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In addition to acquiring Lexcycle, it was recently reported by Barron’s that Amazon could be responsible for about one third of all U.S. e-commerce. RBC Capital analyst Stephen Ju performed the analysis and his data suggests that U.S. e-commerce through Amazon was about 34% in Q4, up from 27% a year earlier. Ju’s analysis concluded that Amazon is continuing to gain share in the U.S. and there is opportunity for further gains in international online retailing. A posting, from the Amazon blog on Seattle P-I notes that the lack of online sales tax in most states could be a large factor for Amazon’s growth in sales during a recession.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
CACS conducted an informal survey regarding the availability of E-books offered by higher education institutions and the demand for E-books by higher education students in California for the spring semester or winter quarter of 2009. It was compiled for Don Newton, who as CACS legislative liaison was asked for the information by Senator Elaine Alquist who sponsors SB 48 which “will be mandating that publishers provide both a print & full electronic version of a textbook along the following timeline; 50% of textbooks must have a full electronic version by 2015 and 100% by 2020."
The general comments are based on responses from seven California Universities and twenty Community Colleges. Universities responding were: SDSU, CSU Fresno, CSU Fullerton, UC Riverside, UC Davis, UCLA, and Cal Poly. Community Colleges responding were: Los Medanos, Ohlone, Santa Barbara, Fresno CC, Citrus, LATT, San Diego (3), Solano, San Mateo (3), Cabrillo, Foothill, Fullerton, Chaffey, Modesto, Coastline, and Chabot.
Respondents were asked three questions:
- How many E-books do you have available to sell (generally) this semester?
- How many are you selling?
- What is the student response to E-books?
Three of the seven Universities surveyed offer approximately two hundred titles, and two offer a hundred titles this term. One University offers nine titles this term, but usually has thirty. One University offers none citing no student requests. Sales results are mixed with SDSU reporting sales of a thousand E-books this term, CSU Fullerton and Cal Poly sold about two hundred, Fresno State sold thirty five, and UC Davis and UCLA sold less than ten.
Eight of the twenty Community Colleges surveyed offer more than twenty titles with no one offering more than sixty five titles. Two colleges offer ten titles this term, two colleges offer one title, and the remaining eight colleges offer none. Top sellers for E-books this term were SDCC and Coastline who each sold one hundred and fifty, Foothill sold seventy five, Chabot sold forty three, Chaffey sold twenty, Santa Barbara sold nine, with the remaining ten colleges reporting no sales.
Positive bookstore comments about E-books:
- 70% of students surveyed at a University would buy another E-book.
- 33% of students surveyed at different University would buy an E-book again, and 25% thought the E-book was better quality than the textbook.
- Demand is increasing as the supply increases.
- Students are satisfied and demand is growing.
- It is important to offer students many choices of course content.
Negative bookstore comments about E-books:
- Half of all the bookstores surveyed experience indifference to Ebooks or no demand yet from students or faculty, even if they offer E-books for sale.
- Cannot sell E-books due to district firewall connectivity problems.
- E-book prices may be too high. Students know that buying a used book and selling it back to the store at the end of the semester is less expensive than buying an E-book.
- There are some problems with downloads and refunds, but the technology is improving.
- Publisher representatives do not push E-books.
- Logistically carrying around a laptop instead of a book is cumbersome, and it is expensive to print out the book.
- Students and faculty are more interested in free, Open Educational Resources than E-books. (Comment from only one of the respondents.)
The sources of the E-books offered were Jumpbooks, MBS Universal Digital Titles, CourseSmart, and Follett. It does appear that the E-book market is a fledgling industry and that demand is increasing as the supply increases for students comfortable with technology. Fewer titles are available for Community Colleges at this time.
Don Newton added the following comments to the E-book survey results sent to Senator Alquist: “I think your goal of 50% availability by 2015 is certainly doable. However publishers are mostly moved by marketplace acceptance. Much work needs to be done to make electronic titles popular enough to warrant the investment required for publishers to make more electronic titles available.”
“The investment needed to make electronic books available is not in getting content in an electronic file. The problem is with securing the intellectual property from piracy and maintaining that security. In addition, as some of our comments show, publishers will need to make it more convenient and more reliable.”
“If publishers need to oppose your bill it will probably be for customer lack of demand, not for their inability or unwillingness to have the product in e-formats. In a few years we will see what direction customer demand leads e-book publishing availability. I am sure publishers will be speaking with you about this. Thanks for your time and please remember CACS members are ready to help with any information we have.”
Many thanks to all who responded so quickly to my request for information.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Last week at the London Book Fair, the JISC discussed the initial results from their observatory project which provided UK university students with free access to 36 science, technology, and medical e-textbooks for two years. The results of the study show that giving students access to the e-texts did not have an effect on print sales and e-textbook usage was strong across all age groups. The study also revealed the current challenges with e-books including: students and administrators dislike for DRM restrictions and their dissatisfaction with the current purchasing model for e-books. The full report will be released in June and the results will be shared with participating publishers and academic institutions in an effort to help the market develop, and to help target the current pricing and licensing issues for e-books.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
In an article from this month’s Fast Company, Steve Haber, developer of the Sony Reader said, “E-book readers will largely dominate the industry, and it could happen in less than 10 years. Every time I give a Reader to someone to test, I never get it back. It's just like when TiVo or digital cameras came out. At first, people didn't know they needed it. But once they have it, they can't live without it.”
Richard Doherty, an analyst from the Envisioneering Group expressed a similar thought in a New York Times article a few months ago when he said, “I have not interviewed any owner of an ebook device who says that I should not have bought the thing.”
Steve Pendergrast, co-founder of Fictionwise, recently predicted that by 2010 there will be a “huge surge in e-book sales” and the “tipping point” of e-book popularity will occur as consumers see more users reading e-books on planes and subways. He added that Fictionwise’s typical customer has transitioned from men to women providing “evidence that e-book sales have shifted away from the early-adopter stage” and that e-books will become more widely accepted on the mass consumer level as technology improves.
Pendergrast’s prediction is in line with the comments by Russ Wilcox, president and CEO of E Ink, at the Tools of Change Conference in February. Wilcox said, “In 12-18 months, 2-3% of American households will own e-readers.” This prediction is significant because it is at that point that everyone will know someone who owns an e-reader which will lead to the tipping point. As we begin to see more sources with corroborative data, it provides better evidence that we are in fact nearing the tipping point for e-books and e-readers.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
In other news, there will be a significant number of EBM installations occurring in the U.S., as Lighting Source prepares to launch a pilot program that will let select publishers offer their titles on Espresso Book Machines located in bookstores across the country. Publishers participating in the pilot include: Simon& Schuster, Jon Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, University of California Press, and Norton. It is expected that 85,000 titles will be available for printing when the pilot begins next month.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
As mentioned previously, there is also speculation that Apple is working on a large screen device that could be released this fall. If these rumors are true, then both companies and perhaps others could become viable competitors in the textbook market later this year. This is just another sign that the e-book space is starting to heat up and that we may be passing the “knee of the curve” when it comes to e-books.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Myth: E-books and electronic publishing are killing the print publishing industry
Truth: Print publishing is struggling for many reasons. The print publishers that survive will need to embrace electronic publishing, transform their business models, and renew the original vision of publishing, where books are published not for profit only, but to enrich and renew our culture.
Myth: Buying e-books instead of paper books does not really help the environment
Truth: E-books save trees, energy, transportation costs, and reduce pollution. To produce one weekly issue of the Sunday New York Times 75,000 trees are consumed. To produce one year’s worth of Sunday papers, more than 3.9 million trees are consumed.
Myth: E-books are not ready for prime time: the digital reading revolution is years away
Truth: E-books and electronic publishing are young but e-book sales will surpass 100 million dollars this year. (And this does not account for rapidly-increasing influx of "free culture" works: more than two million e-books and electronic publications that are available at no cost.) That 100 million dollars is still a small part of total print publishing sales. Yet e-books are by far the fastest growing segment of this otherwise-troubled industry.