The Future of the Book in the Digital Age

August 9, 2012

Our business manager, Ioan Suciu, published “The Future of the Book in the Digital Age,” an excellent article about ebooks in the Spring issue of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) magazine, College Services. The article offers a wide-ranging look at issues confronting university libraries, departments, and students as they adopt ebooks, and is available online through the NACAS site.  Here are a few highlights:

“The biggest current issue is that there is a lack of publishing infrastructure to take an e-textbook and deliver it against all available platforms and operating systems. Therefore, the question about switching from print to digital in the classroom is: Could providing access to e-textbooks be enhanced by libraries facilitating use of iPads, smartphones, and ebook readers via standardized platforms?”

“Some U.S.-based institutions have started handing out tablets to students pre-loaded with content: others have started renting out e-readers. Sem Sutter, the head of collection development at Georgetown University said the university offers Amazon e-book readers for check out to students, faculty, and staff.”

Library director Sarah Houghton offers another librarian’s perspective, humorously presented on her Librarian in Black blog: “eBooks is to libraries what that awful boyfriend (or girlfriend) was to you. Think about it. And when I say “eBooks” I mean the whole messed up situation–the copyright nightmares, the publishers, the fragmented formats, the ridiculous terms of service, the device incompatibility, the third-party aggregation companies libraries do business with–all of it. eBooks is the guy who takes advantage of your good nature and generosity only to exploit every last weakness you have for his own personal gain.”

The November Charleston conference is always a great place to soak up the perspective of librarians across the spectrum, and many of our friends are presenting this year, including Mark Coker, Peter Brantley, Mike Shatzkin, Doug Armato, and Georgetown University’s former provost James O’Donnell.

-John Warren


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