One thing librarians are always ranting about is the cost of eBooks. In some instances, the eBook can cost 150-200% of the list price. The Kindle 2 blog just posted an interesting break down on the cost of print books. When it comes down to it, printing costs are only about 10% of the total book cost. Author royalties, marketing, proof reading/editing, cover design and the like all take a piece of the pie as well. These expenses don’t magically go away on the eBook. The 10% printing cost is used to manage interfaces, buy servers, and to pay programmers, which probably costs more than 10% of the book I would think. Ron Boehm, from ABC-CLIO, wrote a nice article about the economics of publishing and ebooks for NSR, it contains more information on the pricing of p vs. e. The question still remains, why are some eBooks priced at list and others at 150 – 200% over list? I think some of this has to do with the number of simultaneous users, 24/7 access, and other value added features that a publisher or aggregator may offer. Recouping costs of development and storage are probably factored in their too. None of this makes it any easier to swallow for those of us paying the higher costs, but one can only hope that over time, as the eBook matures and interfaces are perfected, that the costs will stabilize.
Being part of the Wright State University community has given me a whole new perspective on students with disabilities. Approximately 10% of our population is part of this community. It is very difficult for these students to get their textbooks and other course material in a format appropriate to their needs. That has just been made easier with the announcement of the U.S. College and University Partnership with Bookshare. Bookshare is the largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Their press release contains all the details of this new program. Text of this release is also below, click on more. Continue reading Finally, a Textbook Program for Students with Disabilities
There is a really interesting article (with comments) on the TeleRead blog about the Espresso Book Machine. If you remember, UM purchased the Espresso back in October. This new article, written by Court Merrigan, focuses on the machine’s use in bookstores – store front or in one’s closet. It’s big in the UK, with plans to expand the 500,000 title Espresso offering even further if Blackwell can negotiate the rights to in-copyright books.
Merrigan ponders the future of bookstores, amazon, and the impact of POD to the eBook industry. Comments from publishers offer even more ideas and perspectives. One comment, from Michael Pastore, states “This machine could also be deployed in libraries, and help make some money for libraries, which are much in need right now. And independent bookstores might be looking at this machine reverently, as a mechanical messiah.”
On May 11 – 12th the IDPF will hold its Digital Book 2009 Conference in NYC. The theme is “an eBook Stimulus plan for Publishing.” More information is available on the conference website. Looks like there will be some sessions on DRM, ePUB, XML, and a presentation from Google on the Book Search program. Anyone attending? If so, consider posting your comments here on the blog.
Interesting article in the WSU on eBooks, “How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write.” It focuses on more popular reading than academic sources, but brings out some interesting points about marketing, discovery, and selling pieces/parts of books.
An added FYI, when I find articles related to eBooks I bookmark them on my delicious site, which is linked to the blog. Just go to the homepage to see the recent delicious bookmarks.
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Apr. 20, 2009 – In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is offering free resources on its completely updated Environmental Resource Web site (http://www.galeschools.com/environment/).
We’ve posted a new interview to our interviews page. This time, it’s with Kari Paulson, President of EBL. In this interview, Kari discusses various business models offered by EBL and unique features of their interface. She references some case studies that were done by CERN and Swinburne University. Kari’s interview adds to NSR’s collection of 12 previous interviews. Check them all out on the interviews page.
Michael Pelikan has written an interesting article in Against the Grain about the Kindle Sony ebook reader showdown (Feb 2009 issue, article not available online.) Michael focuses this first article on the personal use market, but I’m (impatiently) awaiting the next installment when he will look at library support for reading devices. Michael is from Penn State where they’ve partnered with Sony to distribute Sony Readers through the library and within selected courses. The article includes interesting comments from faculty about the experience. He also gives a shout-out to calibre, open source ebook management software.