Despite having been around for years, ebooks are still very underutalised in education. There are two types of ebook to consider. Firstly, those books made available from the publishers and other writers. Secondly, self-published books that you produce yourself. I am not sure how much we can shape the path that the academic publishers are on at present so will focus on self-publishing of digital books.
There are plenty of uses for print books in education and currently the main driver for education ebooks is to replicate existing print books in digital form.
For the most part this means simply scanning print books and using Adobe PDF as the ebook file format. The scans are often of poor quality and do not take advantage of the power features of the format.
This underlying theme will continue but the most exciting area will be finding new uses for books that take advantage of what being digital can offer.
The growth of commercial ebooks led largely by the ease with which we can now distribute and view ebooks on our mobile devices (laptops, phones and dedicated readers) has shone a light on applications for education.
There hasn’t been much recent research on producing digital books for eduction so I hope posts like this and the work JISC will be doing this year will contribute to the start of something bigger.
ebooks can be accessed and read across multiple platforms:
- There are dedicated ebook readers (to remain niche?)
- Mobile phones
- Computers and tablets
- Printed out
Uses for digital books
- Text books (ebooks textbooks)
- Course supplement
- Promotional books e.g. prospectus
- Course handbooks
- Reading lists
- Reference book
- Research e.g. journals
- Collecting themed work e.g. blog posts
In a future post I will explore the unique opportunities that digital books can offer.