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S. Carliner

Concordia University (CANADA)
Publishers of educational information have been providing texts in formats other than print for several decades. Audio books were once the third most popular training medium (TRAINING 1990). Until 2008, the impact of non-print publication was not felt extensively in textbook publishing. The technology for electronic reading devices was not ready. Manufacturers needed to improve the technology to mimic the most important features of books; improve manufacturing processes, (Stone & Rich 2008, Stone 2007) and produce e-readers at affordable prices. Sony was the first to market with its e-reader, though Amazon’s Kindle is given credit for popularizing the device. The financial crisis of 2008-2009, could play a more significant role in the emergence of e-books . “Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web” (Lewin 2009). Cash-strapped California has considered foregoing textbook purchases and going electronic. Publishers are therefore preparing for rapid growth in e-book- and e-article sales. This paper explores some possible impacts and suggests how they might affect higher ed. Anticipated impacts include. 1: Books will not die. But experts predict e-books will gradually dominate the market (Lewin 2009). 2: When buying texts online, customers might likely purchase micro-content--individual articles and single chapters of books, rather than entire books (Baber, Bradley & Childress, 2008). This downside will hurt book sales will let instructors more easily create customized “textbooks” from diverse sets of materials, transforming course packs from compilations of supplemental readings to customized primary textbooks. 3: The reading experience will change. Other research on online reading suggests that reading online is slower than in print, and that reading accuracy online is reduced over print. e-Books also provide features that could enhance the reading experience, such as allowing for a voice reading of the text and, although not standard now, electronic translation. 4: Book designs will need to adjust to the smaller and fixed size of e-readers. In print, different types of books serving different purposes are printed in suitable sizes, like coffee table and quick reference books. In contrast, all online books must conform to the size of the reader, even though individual readers have different sizes. e-Books have implications for teaching: (1) To reduce the high cost of textbooks, (Lewin 2008), instructors will be under increasing pressure to use less costly e-books; environmentalists might also pressure instructors; and (2) instructors will need to teach students how to write material for reading on e-book readers. Implications to research and theory include (1) the need to study reading patterns on electronic reading devices, (2) a need to study the process of process of adopting e-books for, at the least , historical purposes but, at the most, to understand the cultural change wrought by this phenomenon and (3) given the potential to create new books from segments actually written and published by others, some thought must be given to the what makes an original book and definitions of plagiarism and copyright (Reyman 2007).  
keywords: e-books.