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, October 2, 2012

University Presses Give Short-Form E-Books a Try

Short-form e-book programs have been attracting attention among university presses as a way to provide in-depth, quality content in a brief format. Princeton, following the lead of Amazon’s Kindle Singles format, launched Princeton Shorts last year, with Stanford and the University of North Carolina presses getting into the business this past spring.

It’s hoped the shorter works will hook readers into buying the original, much longer version. The titles could also be a useful format in course adoptions where instructors want to assign chapter-length reading material. Or it may show how university presses can stay ahead of the technological curve, according to a post by the American Association of University Presses.

While it’s still too early tell, short-form e-books have so far not stopped people from buying the complete work. at least not at Princeton.

“The paperback of [best-selling economics book This Time is Different] has been selling well and steadily since its release not long before the release of the short,” said Rob Tempio, editor in charge of the Princeton Shorts project. “Did sales of the Short drive that? Doubtful. Did sales of the Short detract from the sales of that? Almost certainly not.”

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