consumption _opportunities_convenience

Key convenience issues

  • All books in one (portable) place
  • Work anywhere
  • Download =no need for network access
  • Re-use-copy and paste
  • Usability for disabled users


All books in one (portable) place

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education. November 2012.

[page 47]
Using a mobile device and ebooks means that students can carry a range of books with them and possibly have access to many more through an ebook platform. Various mobile devices are able to read ebooks, either as native ebook devices, or as an app on an existing device. The increase in smartphone ownership and the increasing popularity of tablets means that many more learners have devices capable of reading ebooks. Many of these devices have wifi or 3G and, as a result of this remote connectivity, it has become easier to access ebook platforms and collections whilst on the move.

Work anywhere

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education. November 2012.

[page 31]
Remote access is becoming more important to learners: they want to be able to access resources at a time and place to suit them, often on a device of their choosing. This places demands on platforms in terms of access, authentication and usability. As well as Web platform limitations on offline reading previously mentioned, some ebooks protected by DRM require online authorisation before the ebook can be opened.This can be problematic if there is no connectivity for the authorisation process when attempting to read an ebook remotely.

Download =no need for network access

University of California Libraries UC Libraries Academic e-Book Usage Survey. Springer eBook Pilot Project. May 2011
[page 5]
The ability to download the entire e-book to a device for later use is a highly valued feature. Respondents expressed frustration with those e-book vendors that restrict downloading or printing to chapters or other pre-defined sections.

[page 16]
Downloading Content
The ability to download chapters or portions of the  e-book to a device for later use is a highly valued feature, with 93% of respondents rating it as very or somewhat important. However, respondents  expressed frustration with those e-books that restricted downloading or printing to chapters or other  defined sections

Re-use-copy and paste

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education. November 2012.

[page 46]
With traditional books, it is very easy to make and share copies using a photocopier. As might be expected, users often want to do similar things with ebooks. Different ebook licences allow users to undertake different kinds of copying, but there is an inconsistency in how these licences work and whether the copying is for personal use or for use with learners. Some ebook licences allow readers to make PDF copies of part of a book, which can then be distributed to others. However, some licences only permit users to make PDF copies for personal use. Copying an entire ebook and transferring it to a mobile device (or another computer) is another activity that may be prohibited by the ebook licence. Some ebooks can be transferred via a central service. Other ebooks can be downloaded to users’ computers and then copied and transferred to their mobile devices.

Usability for disabled users

From: JISC TechWatch: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education. November 2012.

[page 34]
Managers within institutions should be aware of the need to consider the position of staff and students with disabilities. “Accessibility is important for all partners. For the JISC partners it influences an institution’s exposure under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)” (JISC TechDis, 2010a, p.1) . Early adopters are already discovering that ebooks can be a source of added support for students with print impairments. According to JISC TechDis (2010a, p.1), the situation where lamentably low numbers of print books are available in alternative ebook formats (about 5%) is undergoing a sea change with the advent of ebooks. While these alternative formats are still in need of development to extend their accessibility to readers with print impairments, they are already improving matters considerably. The availability of a work in ebook form tends to empower many readers with print impairments, so these learners are less likely to request assistance in either large-print or personal form. This is a welcome development for learner independence as well as in terms of reduced demand on institutional support services. It is important therefore to ensure that institutional procurement policies and planning in respect of ebooks and ebook platforms take proper account of the requirements of readers with print impairments. Consideration should be given to the capabilities of different systems and how well those systems can serve the needs of visually impaired readers. For example, in the matter of magnification (a key functionality for many) some e-readers support magnification greater than font size 30, whereas others fail to meet this basic requirement of some learners with print impairments.

[page 40]
The traditional paper book is for some students an inaccessible format that can hinder their learning. Providing ebooks can improve access to content through the use of text-t -speech (TTS) functionality for those with a visual impairment. Likewise reflowable text allows users to increase the size of the font without causing too many problems with how the text and structure of the page will appear on the screen. Often institutions may need to refer to the publisher for a non-protected version of an ebook to enable it to be converted to an alternative format or for use with text-to-speech systems. For reasons of accessibility you may want to convert an ebook protected by DRM. In these cases, the process is to contact the publisher or the ebook platform and ask for the ebook to be converted into an accessible format.