E-books and E-readers

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What is an eBook?

Definition of eBook from Wikipedia: [1]

Watch the video

What is an eReader?

An eReader can be a dedicated device such as Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, a program one can add to a PC or Macintosh, or an 'app' for mobile devices, cellphones, and there are add-ons for some browsers such as Firefox. We can expect that there will be eReading devices and programs in almost any form that renders readable text.

  • Barnes & Noble nook
  • BeBook
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3, Cybook Opus
  • eSlick
  • Hanlin eReader
  • Hanvon N516, N518, N520, N526
  • Apple iPad; iPhone and iPod Touch (Lexcycle Stanza, Glider or iPhone OS 4.0+)
  • iRex Digital Reader 1000
  • iRex Digital Reader 800
  • iRiver Story
  • Phones/devices using Android (using WordPlayer, FBReader, Aldiko)
  • Plastic Logic
  • PocketBook Reader
  • Sony Reader
  • Ctaindia's eGriver Ebook Reader

(There will be a row of thumbnail images of eBooks here)

What are some of the merits of an eReader?

  • It is economically feasible to publish low demand titles (the Long Tail [2])
  • No shipping and handling charges when purchased online
  • eBooks never go out of print
  • Authors have the ability to self publish and distribute their own books inexpensively
  • eBooks may be download quickly at home, or kiosk in store, via an Internet connection
  • eBooks usually cost less than traditional books, however the discount for some ebooks is equivalent to used paper texts
  • Look up words with dictionary software (included with most eBook readers)
  • Search for specific text - find that quote in seconds
  • Annotate or highlight text
  • Teachers may prepare customized e-Textbooks for their students
    • True if publishers permit insertion/commingling of purchased eBook parts
  • Read in the dark or low light conditions
    • Not on all eReaders
  • Carry several (hundreds to thousands) of books in one small package
  • Subscribe to magazines, newspapers, and other periodical content
  • Choose different fonts (text) sizes in which to read
  • Copyright protected through software (prevent unauthorized duplication of eBook content)
  • eBooks may be customized to suit an individual's specific interests and tastes
  • Save eBooks on the Internet or Personal Computer (create your own virtual library)
  • Create links between multiple eBooks
  • The visually impaired may switch to audio mode and have en eBook read to them.
  • Reduce environmental waste (save trees, and reduce pollution from delivery trucks)
    • (Mild disputation - eReader manufacturing is not green)
  • Reference material in eBook format may be easily updated
  • No expense for overstocking or missed sales from out of stock books
    • ( October 1999 by the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC.com) )
  • It is possible for a publisher to issue regular errata notices automatically and quietly, and to fix the error in the text.
  • It is possible to have a much larger, more complete eBook than a paper book because material expenses of paper/printing are obviated.
  • A publisher can offer to reload your books if a catastrophic loss of your eReader occurs.
  • eBooks can include multimedia such as still images, sound and video.
  • Library loans will have no late fee because eBooks can have expiration dates. The eBook simply disappears from the eReader at the expiration date. (Certainly, extensions can be offered.) Presumably mark-ups will be stored separately so that deletion of a book does not, by default, remove mark-ups.

What are some of the disadvantages of eBooks and eReaders?

  • They are not a panacea. Some people simply enjoy reading from a conventional book
  • At this time only one eBook can be open at a time which discourages comparative reading.
  • You cannot press flowers in an eReader.
  • An eReader is more fragile than a book.
  • Book Burnings have a whole new character. </s>
  • Archival issues - we do not know how long any eBook will be maintained. We do know the archival lifetime of paper books.
  • Expiration issues - some ebooks, especially for classes (ironically called ebook textbooks) expire but are required as references for subsequent classes. An example is where inorganic chemistry is preceded by organic chemistry, and the organic chemistry book expires.
  • Students who repeat a class might have to repurchase an ebook because it had expired after the first year.
  • There is a question whether an ebook which has expired also takes away margin notes.
  • Anthologies comprised of sections from disparate publisher are problematic, usually not possible.
  • There are concerns regarding stable sources of authority when an eBook can be modified at-will. Security issues abound in all computer mediated forms. An ebook is likely to be subject to malicious modification without the knowledge of the owner or user. A printed book is not so vulnerable.
  • Today (but probably not for long), marking up eBooks and then sharing those mark-ups is difficult.
  • When the eBook publishing business becomes entrenched, paper books will likely become forbiddingly expensive.

What are some concerns of students regarding eBooks and eReaders?

  • + Money! Books are discouragingly expensive.
  • + Portability - no schlepping around backpacks full of paper.
  • - Cannot (usually) share anything but free eBooks among two or more eReaders.
  • - When the eBook publishing business becomes entrenched, paper books will likely become forbiddingly expensive.

What are some concerns of faculty?

  • - Some are concerned that an eReader in class offers too much distraction because it can usually do more than just display a book.
  • - Issues concerning the source of authority
  • + Because eBooks are less expensive than paper books, instructors might be encouraged to require more eBooks per class.
  • + Instructors can produce personal anthologies made up of several sources, if/when publishers offer just sections of eBooks which can be combined.

Stories - Some accounts of instructors and Book Store managers of ebook complications and merits

(to be continued)

News, Updates, Comments from experts, surveys, white papers

Winona State University Department of Teaching, Learning and Technology (Ken Graetz)

Survey (ongoing) http://winona.qualtrics.com/CP/Report.php?RP=RP_2lCiXmK335V0rJO

"Overall, the survey results indicate that eBooks are best suited for research purposes or in a search environment where the user needs to locate specific information. Users are not reading eBooks cover-to-cover in the traditional sense but instead approach them as a resource for finding answers to research questions." (Springer.com) [3]

See this excellent article What it will mean when the ebook comes first [4]

iPad and Kindle Reading Speeds [5] July 2, 2010

News Articles

Which eReader is right for you? eCampus News, May 2011

  Find Used Textbooks - good for price comparisons | [6]
  Insanely expensive books | [7]
  $200 Textbook vs. Free | [8] August, 2010
  Why Kindle Flunked Out | HigherEdMorning.com [9] July, 2010
  E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon | [10] July, 2010
  New Reading Tech is Difficult [11], Asgar's Story.
  The Real Cost of College Textbooks [12]
  Discussions of Real Cost [13]

Free eBooks

  Project Gutenberg | [14]
  Curriki | [15]
  Flat World Knowledge ("free mixable textbooks by experts")| [16]
  MIT Open Courseware | [17]
  COM Library (scroll down for list of free books) ([18]
  iPad and Kindle users cannot borrow ... [19]
Free For All (Google Search)
  Google Free Textbooks | [20]
  Google Free (General) |[21]