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Weekly News Digest

March 8, 2010 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Two New Ebook Surveys Highlight Interesting Trends

Survey of Librarians

HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, has released the full results of a fall 2009 survey of librarians on their attitudes and practices related to ebooks (http://highwire.stanford.edu/PR/HighWireEBookSurvey2010.pdf). The survey was conducted as part of HighWire's ongoing exploration of the fast-growing scholarly ebook market.

The results and accompanying analysis draw together the input of 138 librarians from 13 countries. The responses underscore the significant growth librarians expect in ebook acquisitions and point to their current preferences and possible trends in this evolving area. Through a series of interviews, surveys, and data collection activities throughout 2010, HighWire will continue to help its scholarly publisher customers understand the evolving needs of libraries and individual readers.

The survey data was analyzed by Michael Newman, Stanford University's Head Biology Librarian, and the report presents his perspective on what his librarian colleagues had to say about ebooks. The report espouses some familiar and consistent themes:

  • Simplicity and ease of use seem more important than sophisticated end-user features.
  • Users tend to discover ebooks through both the library catalog and search engines.
  • While users prefer PDFs, format preference will likely change as technology changes.
  • DRM seems to hinder ebook use for library patrons; ability to print is essential.
  • The most popular business model for librarians is purchase with perpetual access.

Survey of Publishers

A recent survey by Aptara Corp. (www.aptaracorp.com) of more than 300 U.S. publishers across the trade, professional, and educational markets reveals that a significant percentage of publishers are missing the opportunity to capitalize on the increasing market momentum of ebooks (www.aptaracorp.com/images/pdf/Aptara_eBook_survey_1.pdf). The survey is the first in a series planned by Aptara to document the evolution of book publishing in the face of society's changing content consumption behaviors. The collection of data from a range of markets and participants is also intended to uncover the real impact of new media on publishers' operations.

This first survey has revealed two major findings:

  • Most publishers are selling ebooks through their own ecommerce sites and are missing the vast consumer audiences provided by major distribution channels.
  • Publishers are producing ebooks that cannot be read on most mobile devices, limiting the opportunities for wider consumption.

"It will take some time for the eBook market to shake out and for any one device or platform to be deemed dominant," predicts Dev Ganesan, president and CEO of Aptara. "For this reason alone, publishers need to recognize the importance of creating device-agnostic eBooks. This is precisely why we're helping our customers prepare content with a device-neutral production approach. It's the only way for publishers to have flexibility and future-proof their content for delivery to any device, platform, or new medium."

Other findings include the following:

  • 53% of publishers who responded are offering titles in ebook format.
  • 60% who do not currently offer ebooks plan to do so in the near future.
  • 65% of publishers are producing ebook versions of titles that are also offered in print.

Sources: HighWire Press and Aptara Corp.



Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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