Tuesday, April 01, 2008

BPN 1055 First Dutch university on eBook

As the first Dutch university the Open University offers its course material on eBook readers. Students in the management Studies department, taking HRM courses, receive an eBook reader for free with a substantial part of the course material. The offers fit in the OU’s strive after time- and place independent studying facilities.

With the eBook project the OU looks for sensible solutions using new methods, tools and technologies. The eBook reader can contain a complete cupboard with books and reads as well as a printed book. The OU has chosen after a trial (see photograph) for the Hanlin V3 for its stability and user friendliness. The battery life is 8.000 page flips long. And interesting is the facility on which mp3 files can be played. With the experience of using the eBook readers the university is able to continue its policy to use, extend and optimise e-material. Also course material as mp3 file is seriously researched. It can save time, while also visually impaired students can participate.

The OU is the first university to offer its material digitally for eBook readers, as the OU develops most of its content itself and digitally. It converts also the content with text-to-speech material, so that the texts can be read and listened to. Other universities are more dependent on publishers, who are more cautious and wait for a standard to crystallise.

It looks like eBooks and eReaders are slowly making inroads, despite a recent marketing survey, basically telling that only 2 per cent of 600 respondents will buy an eReader and 16 per cent might do so. But eReaders and especially the digital paper ones, are products of national pride, as in The Netherlands three companies, all Philips spin-offs, are actively developing digital paper eBook readers. iRex Technologies has brought the second version of the iLiad wireless eReader. Polymer Vision is still developing the mobile phone Readius, while Liquavista has just taken the colour digital paper, based on the technical principle of electrowetting from the drawing board in Eindhoven (The Netherlands) to start industrial production in China. In terms of sales The Netherlands is starting up. Last year the book chain Selexyz started to sell the iLiad and has sold 273 units till March 2008, while 50 Dutch language eBooks were available. A pilot was held at a secondary school. This year so far the Dutch quality newspaper NRC Handelsblad started its ePaper edition and sold in two weeks more than 500 iLiads. The Dutch language eBooks have doubled since last year to 100 titles, while 279 Dutch language eBooks are in the public domain. Also the libraries subscribers can now borrow eBooks. The consultancy PWC expects this year a turn over of 0,5 mln euro.

Blog Posting Number: 1055

Tags: eBook, eReader, , ,

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