National E-Books Observatory Project Studies Free E-Book Use

The JISC National E-Books Observatory Project has begun an in-depth study of the use of free e-books.

Here's an excerpt from the weblog posting:

JISC has funded a collection of e-books that will be freely available to students in all UK universities.

The aim of the JISC national e-books observatory project is to gather much needed evidence:

  • Evidence for publishers about the impact of e-books on traditional print sales to students
  • Evidence for publishers about how to create exciting e-books that will engage the digital native
  • Evidence for publishers and libraries about the pricing models for the future
  • Evidence for libraries about how to promote the use of e-books

The e-books, chosen, include some of the most popular texts in Business and Management Studies, Medicine, Engineering and Media Studies.

JISC is funding CIBER to study just what happens when these books are freely available to students. How will they find them? Will they use them? Will the e-books impact on their learning? Will medical students behave differently to Media Studies students? Will the Business and Management students stop buying from the bookshops? Will Engineering students use the e-books more or less than the other groups?

Publishers are collaborating by providing these e-books via Ingram Digital Group’s MyiLibrary platform and the Books@Ovid platform. Funding by JISC enables these publishers to experiment in a managed environment and mitigates any risk of revenue loss.