University Presses and eBooks: A New Horizon

ONLINE magazine has a new column called Ebook Buzz.  The column, written by Sue Polanka, features a discussion of university presses and eBooks.  From the text:

“What’s the buzz about? EBook Buzz, ONLINE’s newest column, will discuss and debate the advances of ebooks in libraries and scholarly publishing. EBook Buzz will explore varied topics from a practical perspective, whether celebrating successes, exploring opportunities, or sorting through the challenges of ebook adoption. This inaugural column will explore the transformation to ebooks by university presses.

Academic library monograph budgets tell a bleak story. Discretionary funds and approval plans have slowly decreased, favoring instead subscription products and big deal journal collections. It’s both alarming for librarians to watch and impossible for publishers to ignore. University presses, owners of the academic monograph, are feeling increasingly unsettled in this changing budget landscape. They want to transition to a mixed-model—digital and print—system of content delivery, but they must first overcome a number of challenges.”

The remainder of the column discusses the factors influencing the creation of university press consortia of econtent distribution, briefly compares the four major consortia, and discusses a future of born digital content and enhanced ebooks.

The next eBook Buzz column, slated for the March/April issue will discuss the Internet Archive’s In Library Lending program.