More than a dozen sessions focused on ebooks during the three-day event. Whether addressing acquisitions, platforms, analytics, standards, or marketing, the overwhelming take-away was: Digital book evolution in academia and research turns out to be much harder than it seems. Librarians and publishers alike are fretting over low usage and uneven user uptake of diverse, ever-changing digital book products. This is leading us to a clear inflection point in the scholarly ebook evolution, with less urgency to launch the latest app or widget, and more willingness to slow down and listen to what’s actually helpful to readers in the digitization and reinvention of academic books.
Libraries are navigating administrative pressures to reduce print holdings and move to digital resources – options for which include a great deal of variation in business models, license terms, and interface designs, not to mention options that successfully integrate with local discovery and cataloging systems. Publishers continue to experiment with pricing and product models for ebooks that retain or exceed their print siblings. All the while, faculty and students demonstrate even greater multiplicity in their expectations and preferences for digital books.