The November session focus was on e-books and online reading devices. As publishers scramble to keep people reading/buying books, bringing all sorts of new devices and formats to the market place, alternatives to the traditional book are catching on in a big way. Carol Daul-Elhindi demonstrated the newest item on library book shelves–the PlayAway, an audio book the user can listen to without needing a CD player or a computer. Marty Judd described his experiences with Kindle, Amazon’s wildly popular e-reader, and Sarah Bearbower treated the group to a memorable reading of a Stephen King novel on her iPod. The bookstore’s Donna White was up next with a discussion of e-text books. As students struggle to pay for conventional textbooks, universities across the country are experimenting with delivery methods for cheaper online textbooks. Barnes and Noble is marketing their reader–the Nook, which Donna will stock in the bookstore. Some university bookstores are working with publishers to provide PODs, print on demand machines that enable students to print out copies of an online textbooks at substantial savings.
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As these new reading technologies proliferate many question arise. Will they actually enhance learning or or will they instead discourage the deep reading skills necessary for academic success? What does the research tell us? Will these devices work for scholars who like to annotate, underline, and generally personalize their reading materials? What will the new business model for distribution of e-textbooks look like? Will faculty and students have more choices or fewer? Use the articles listed below to begin an engagement with the issues:
6 Lessons One Campus Learned about e-textbooks. Jeffrey Young (Chronicle of Higher Education 6/12/09 vol. 55 issue 39, EBSCO Professional Collection)
Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment. Ziming Liu (Journal of Documentation. 2005 vol. 61 issue 6, ProQuest)
Rethinking Online Reading Assessment. Julie Coiro ( Educational Leadership March 2009, EBSCO Professional Collection)
Usability Evaluation of e-books. doi:10.1016/j.displa.2008.12.002