Micropublishing E-books for Higher Education


The usual hype about new e-toys is familiar territory with e-books. Writing in 2008, before Kindle was launched (bK), Mark Nelson was writing in Educause that ‘some experts predict 2007 – 2009 will be the transition years for the higher education e-book market’. Obviously this hasn’t happened here, but HE publishers are gearing up for whenever a changeover does happen, with the likes of Coursesmart – a platform for a consortium of education publishers.

While there is no competition with the publishing giants, I think a lot of academics have material that with some amount of work could be presented as an e-book. I am interested in the concept of e-micropublishing, and am beginning a project on how, as a practitioner, content relevant to my modules could be developed and made available to students in e-book format, at low or no charge. I plan to track the development of this project, and you can find posts relevant to it by clicking the Ebooks category.

Issues for consideration

The first thing I thought to do was to address the concerns around the area of e-books, as these will dictate the type of platform required to present and deliver the material.  The following come to mind:

  1. How will students access output – via library web/3rd party
  2. How will students read output – dedicated reader/computer/device
  3. Requirements of content – core/supplementary
  4. Nature of material – text/picture/interactive
  5. Format considerations based on nature of material
  6. Time required to prepare content
  7. Costs of production
  8. IP issues

We’ll see how these pan out. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who has been thinking along these lines.

CourseSmart: http://www.coursesmart.com/

E-books in Higher Education: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0822.pdf

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aquistbe/