Do publishers take electronic books seriously?

A while ago John Dupuis did a great post on Ebook business models. In the comments a few additional suggestions were made to improve on his really well thought list of bullet points. Today I ran into yet another addition for his list.

Elsevier send their fourth installment of the Books Connect newsletter. As a Life Science institution we are certainly interested in their new Encyclopedia of Ecology. When you follow the link to the website for this reference work you end up on a site that only refers to the paper edition of this encyclopedia. No mention of an electronic version. This explains the title in the post, does this publisher take ebooks seriously?

When we want to grow the acceptance of ebooks, the reference works are the ideal place to start. Quick reference, fact finding, ideal in the electronic format. Exactly what our users scattered all over Wageningen and far beyond want.

Okay, backtrack for a moment. Look again at the BooksConnect newsletter. There is this banner add on the newsletter that says “available 2008 on ScienceDirect“. have a look at that and you’ll be disappointed again. The encyclopedia is not to be found on the page for reference works nor on the page of forthcoming reference works. Simply it is not there. Which is a pity.

So another bullet on the list for John would be:

  • e-books should be published on time. They should become at least available when the print edition is published. Preferably an electronic edition should be available before the paper edition comes out.

One thought on “Do publishers take electronic books seriously?”

  1. Unfortunately, I think that a lot (most?) publishers still see the ebook version as gravy. In other words, a way to suck extra cash out of an essentially print work rather than as an important expression of the work itself.

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