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“The ebook juggernaut is moving along like a train with no brakes, and it's raising so many issues…”
In an article in the latest online Connections magazine from SCIS, Stephen Abram looks at ebooks in the wider context. Rather than focusing on the merits or otherwise of e-readers and other devices, or the Digital Rights Management issues that are often the focus of articles on this topic, he views ebooks in the wider context, starting with a taxonomy of ebooks.
He describes ebooks as a subset of ‘e-resources’ – which librarians and educators have long been using and promoting: databases (think EPIC), websites, articles, audio, video, podcasts, and more.
In addition, e-books are a format of books in general – and these too come in a variety of subtypes (encyclopedias, audio books, large print, Braille, non-fiction books, fiction, and so on)
Abrams then turns the spotlight on some of these categories of books, to explore how they are intended to be read or used, and how the ebook format can impact on the reader’s experience.
Fiction, he says, is one of the few book genres designed to be read sequentially, from beginning to end. Non-fiction is much more of a mix, with some (such as biographies, diaries, and self-help books) also intended to be read from cover to cover. Others are designed for the reader to dip into, to read just the piece of information required.
However, it is Reference books that can shine as e-resources. No longer bound by the conventions of page order, electronic versions are able to add functionality and search features to enable the reader to discover and experience content in whole new ways.
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