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STS Publisher Vendor Relations Discussion Group, "Platforms and Partnerships: surveying the academic ebook landscape" June 29, 2013

STS Publisher Vendor Relations Discussion Group
June 29, 2013
McCormick Place N137

"Platforms and Partnerships: surveying the academic ebook landscape"

Moderator: Scott Warren, Syracuse University

Panelists: Matt Barnes, ProQuest/ebrary; Scott Wasinger, EBSCO; Bob
Boissy, Springer; Chuck Withington, Elsevier

Many thanks to Elizabeth Wallace for putting this panel together.
There were 62 people in attendance.

Each panelist spoke for five minutes to address their company's
involvement in ebooks, what vendor/publisher partnerships mean to
them, and where they see ebooks going in the future.

Matt Barnes of ProQuest/ebrary kicked off the discussion with a bit of
history of his company's ebook history. He also discussed their future
in combining the bel and ebrary platforms to better address the
challenges of a changing landscape that includes patron driven
acquisitions, among many other important issues that surround the user
experience.

Scott Wasinger of EBSCO next talked about his company's three year
ebook history and the evolution of their collection development and
ordering options. He also discussed his view that there are several
key issues for the future of ebooks, including unlimited concurrent
use and digital rights management.

Bob Boissy of Springer then spoke about their mandate to have a
simultaneous publication of the print and ebook versions of each book
they publish. He also spoke about the importance of their providing
MARC records with table of contents for each of their books to make
the acquisition of their books easier for libraries. In the future
Springer would like to do the majority of their business in ebooks,
and they would like libraries of all sizes to be able to collect
ebooks.

Chuck Withington of Elsevier concluded the panel remarks by discussing
the continuous shift from print to ebooks and from a medium to a
content focus.  Elsevier is also rethinking their platform to provide
more of what users expect to be able to do with ebooks, including the
modularization of books.

The session then turned to an open discussion moderated by Scott
Warren. The discussion was a mix of moderator and audience generated
questions. These questions included:

Where is the future going with intelligent ebooks, including what is
technologically possible and what users want?
--Answers included discussion about video content embedded in books,
e-textbooks, digital rights issues for added media content and how
these might increase ebook prices, and how we might integrate content
libraries already own into ebooks to enrich user experiences. The need
to consider the common technical denominator, now PDF, when creating
these resources and building from there.

How are you addressing students not really caring about the
format-origin of the information?
-Answers included discussion about changing how content is developed
and optimizing content for discovery in web scale discovery tools.

How are your companies responding to/monitoring the global ebook
markets, and how does the US market fit into that?
-Answers included mention of up and coming schools developing
substantial ebook collections, especially places that would never be
able to build such print collections. Libraries in Australia and New
Zealand have lead the world in ebook collecting and PDA model use.

How are you planning to make enhanced content available to libraries?
Now some content is only available to individuals rather than
libraries? Is this a standardization issue?
-Answers included a statement that once content is part of the book
that content should be included no matter the format, no matter the
platform. Epub3 standard was also mentioned in helping to overcome
this issue.

What sort of provisions are in place to prevent publishes from
dissolving partnerships and pulling their content from a platform?
-Answers included the idea that incentives need to be created for
publishers to keep their content in aggregated subscription
agreements. Purchasing models, subscription vs purchase, were also
discussed.