YouTube has an interesting video on some recent research into the use of a university’s alumni magazine. People had been calling for the magazine to go digital, but the University thought that it should check things out. A consultant was called in and he ran a field test, sending the print magazine to some alumni and the e-version to others. The video tells the rest of the story.
Today saw the publication of a new report from Pew Research on the reading and e-reading habits of citizens of the USA. entitled “E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps“.
We have to be careful, however, about the danger of hyperbole – note the careful use of ‘rises’ for e-reading and ‘jumps’ for device ownership. This is clearly deliberate because the report finds that, The percentage of adults who read an e- book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012., in other words, a rather modest 5% increase, while reading print books also increased, by 4%, from 65% to 69%, suggesting that e-books still have a long way to go before the can be called a really serious contender.
And the ‘jump’ in device ownership? That, perhaps is more significant, since ownership of e-readers rose from 19% in November 2012 to 32% in January 2014 – 13% in little over a year and 8% since as recently as September, 2013. Ownership of tablet computers rose from 24% in November 2012 to 42% in January 2014, again with 8% of that increase since September, 2013. Overall, 50% of the US population has either a tablet or an e-reader, a 25% increase since 2012. Of course, if you have a tablet or an e-reader you are more likely to read e-books and it may be that we shall see a further rise in 2014 in the proportion of people reading e-books, but I suspect it will keep on merely ‘rising’, rather than ‘jumping’.
Recently, the news has been indicating a rise in e-reading in other places; for example, in the Netherlands it is reported that 2013 saw a 60% rise in e-book titles, contributing 3.2% to total revenue from book sales. In unit terms, 1.95 million e-books were sold, compared with 1.2 million in 2012. More on that story, for those who read Dutch, at Boek Blad
Since we started the blog, the following table shows the number of views from each of the top 20 countries:
There has been a total of 4,382 page views since we started.
And a Merry Christmas to all
The conference was jointly organized by the Departments of Information Sciences at the Universities of Zadar and Osijek and held during the 19th Book Fair in Pula, Croatia. The electronic file for the abstracts has been made available to us and this report is based on that.
The meeting began with the three papers from the Swedish project, which have been presented earlier in this blog, and will not be described in detail here. However, briefly, Tom Wilson presented the e-book phenomenon as a disruptive technology and the impact of that disruption on authors, publishers, booksellers, libraries and readers. This was followed by Elena Maceviciute’s presentation on the current state of e-book use and the associated problems in public and academic libraries in Sweden (which was jointly prepared with Martin Borg of the University of Borås Library). The Swedish contribution was completed by Stans Kersti Nilsson’s exploration of the implications on the SOM and Nordicom surveys of e-book reading and her own research into the perceived differences of reading printed books and e-books.
Next, Arūnas Gudinavičius, from Vilnius University gave an overview of the digital publishing market in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in which he analysed in various aspects of digital publishing in these countries. Pilot e-book sales research was done and the main e-book sellers and publishers in Baltic countries were identified. E-books in Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian languages available on sale were counted and the differences between printed and e-book pricing were analysed. An overview of the most popular e-book formats and digital publishing situation in universities was given and the role of piracy was explored.
Miha Kovač (Slovenia) and Claire Squires (Scotland) were supposed to tell their story of the similarities and differences of their respective countries – each having carried out research in the other country. However, Claire was delayed because of the storms that had hit the UK and the paper was actually presented later. The countries culturally and geographically different and these differences have an impact on the book market. For example, the Scots publish in English, which provides a global audience, whereas Slovenian is spoken by the two million inhabitants of Slovenia and another half-a-million around the world, making it one of the smallest book markets in the world. Despite these differences, both nations lacked their own nation states for much of their history and both have had to rely on non-statehood means for preserving their ethnic identity. Not surprisingly, books and written lore played important part in these processes.
Franjo Pehar and Zoran Velagić, provided an overview of the digital publishing market in Croatia, another European small language market, with focus on basic features which shaped the context of its appearance, first projects, and current state. The e-book business in Croatia has been shaped during the last decade, with the key role of non-commercial publishing. Namely, early projects and initiatives started mainly with the objective of digitising Croatian culture and by making works of literature and required school readings available in electronic format for free. Even today non-commercial publishers are representing almost half of the Croatian language e-books. The emergence of commercial e-book market dates in 2010. Its protagonists have signed agreements with ca. 30 domestic publishers; making another half of the Croatian e-book scene. E-books in Croatian publishing industry are still a new niche segment that has to be considered more of a perspective for future developments than a present reality. Dominant page to pixel model and publishers’ reluctance in developing e-books as new, print-independent products seems to be the main obstacle in building the competitive e-book enterprise at national level.
The presentation by Ivona Despot and Tomislav Jakopec offered a proposal to create a strategy to ensure the necessary conditions for the continuous development of electronic publishing in small markets such as the Croatian. The paper defined the guidelines for the establishment of a stimulating business environment for all interested participants involved in the creation and distribution of creative and cultural content. The strategy is based on creativity and innovation in business and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth following the recommendations of the Digital Agenda for Europe. The revitalisation of publishing content and boosting creativity and innovation in business can stimulate economic growth and generate new, quality jobs, create innovative publishing products and services, taking into account the fact that the developed electronic publishing is the foundation for the preservation of Croatian cultural identity and the support to the promotion of Croatian culture in the future single European digital market.
Aušra Navickienė, from Vilnius University, presented an historical perspective in surveying the work of the 19th century publisher Jozef Zawadzki. He and his family members were among the first to found a private publishing business and contributed a lot to the development of publishing in the former Polish-Lithuanian State and the Eastern Europe region throughout the entire 19th and the first half of the 20th century (before the WW II). Józef Zawadzki, as the owner of the most modern printing house and bookstores in Vilnius and Warsaw and the introducer of novelties in publishing business in the 19th century, has been studied extensively, but there are many unstudied questions about him as the author of the first theoretical work on publishing in the region. Józef Zawadzki’s work The project for organization of polish book production, publishing and distribution, (1818) is analysed, and his understanding of the publishing business and circumstances that contributed to its development in the first part of 19th century are explored.
Ewa Jablońska-Stefanowicz’s presentation, A publisher as a hitchhiker. The Emergence of a new business model began by noting that, today, not every piece of work aimed at readers must have the form of the book. And even if it does, the publisher no longer has to be a part of the process. Along with him, two features of traditional publishing disappear: gate keeping and the guarantee of the quality of the product. The first one is of little importance for digital publishing, and the second is not a priority for the IT companies, which more and more often play the role of weakening publishers. Some examples were analysed and attempt is made to predict what might be the consequences of these processes for the particular elements of the book market.
Zvonimir Bulaja, in Is it all non-commercial? Not necessarily, summarised two decades of e-publishing development in Croatia, including several large-scale electronic publishing ventures on different media and for different projects, both commercial and non-commercial, like “Croatian Tales of Long Ago” and eLektire. Possible modes of collaboration with virtually all national e-book publishers and distributing platforms are explored. The presentation covered experiences, technical issues and fundamental questions, as well the current situation on the Croatian e-book market and its future perspectives and development.
In Design of e-books: readers expectations in comparative perspective, Josipa Selthofer presented the changes of graphic elements in the book design caused by the digital revolution. The paper focused on four main graphic elements: book cover, typography, colour and image, using both p-books and e-books published in Croatia from 2010 to 2012 as a source material. The research involved visual content analysis and interviews. The research results indicate that e-books imitate graphic design of a printed book, since it is still the technology in making. The graphic elements of an e-book highly depend on the features of e-formats and e-readers. Main advantages of e-books are that they are searchable, adoptable, transportable, easily accessible, durable and that they can be easily linked to other digital documents. Still, the majority of interviewees pointed out that reading of an e-book is something new to them. They prefer interaction with the physical printed book and its visual appearance.
Nives Tomašević, of the University of Zadar, and one of the conference organizers, examined The Nomenclature of Publishing in the Framework of Creative and Cultural Industry. Creative and cultural industries unify the larger part of creative or cultural activities and lately, they are trying to find an optimal classification for defining their activities, as well as for tracking and directing them. In some countries of the EU, the classification frames are in agreement about the specified division, even though some state requires only nomenclatural solutions. Publishing activity, as well as other activities in the Republic of Croatia, is filed by the National Classification of Activities (NKD 2007 – NN 58/2007) which specifies publishing activity within section 58, with subdivisions book publishing (58.11), publishing of phone books and lists of user’s addresses (58.12), publishing of newspapers (58.13), publishing of magazines and periodic publications (58.14), and remaining publishing activities (58.15). This paper deals with disputes and challenges of agreement between the Republic of Croatia’s NKD and classifications of ESSnet – Culture, as well as challenges of future comparative studies based on (in)consistent classifications.
According to Dubravka Đurić Nemec, the advent of digital technologies and the pressure to develop business models capable of supporting digital content creation and delivery will undoubtedly lead to profound changes in the traditional publishing paradigm. Publishers will have to move from a product to a service mindset, new skills will have to be acquired and new business models developed, taxonomies and stakeholder roles will have to redefined. On the other hand, the technological advance and the emergence of the e-book will impact cultural policies and necessarily bring about a shift in strategic priorities. A brief overview of the models and support measures evolved by the Ministry of Culture to meet the emerging challenges of the Croatian digital market was provided.
In Why do libraries need publishers more than ever? Re-use of publishers’ metadata in national bibliographic centres regarding legal deposit Mirna Willer explored metadata in the context of the role of national libraries. She noted that national bibliographic centres traditionally depend on publishers in providing bibliographic information for legal deposit items. The usual working process of the cooperation is recording of the CIP (Cataloguing-In-Publication) data in a national library’s database or catalogue based on the final editorial (pre-publication) copy of the publication submitted by the publisher. The CIP data or only database record identifier are then recorded in the published item. This process, although two-directional, is in fact one-directional: it is the bibliographic centre that provides bibliographic data – metadata for the publication. The present day technology that impacts publishing process, number and form of publications, and concepts of bibliographic metadata production, requires re-thinking this relationship. She argued that the use of publishers’ metadata standard ONIX has already changed this information flow paradigm – the direction being publisher to bibliographic centre, and that its recognition in developing new ways of relation between publishers and bibliographic centres and national libraries can benefit both parties, as well as users.
Dunja Seiter Šverko, in E-books in libraries: organization of digital contents in National and University Library [NUL] in Zagreb considered that, given increased activity of Croatian publishers in the field of electronic publishing and their need to broaden their cooperation with the NUL to include digital publishing, it is necessary to ensure professional and organisational conditions for collecting and permanently archiving electronic legal deposit in accordance with the legal role and obligations of the NUL. Owing to this, the Library undertook to develop the model and architecture of the Croatian E-book System based on requirements related to the functionality of the national digital library system as well as the functionality related to the permanent archiving of items belonging to contemporary Croatian digital heritage. The establishment of a fully-developed system will provide a modern and user-friendly technological environment for publishers and users which would enable permanent archiving, but also n increased use of Croatian digital resources, while a further development of the aggregator system, i.e. a collecting system that is so far unique in Croatia, will help reinforce the leading role of the NUL in Zagreb in science and culture.
There was one other presentation that dealt with technology use in schools, which has not been covered by this report, with its focus on the e-book.
The Swedish contingent enjoyed the meeting and found it very productive, not least in forging connections that we hope to collaborate with in the future.
The initial talks of the closer collaboration and using unified research instruments for comparative research throughout the smaller countries in Europe were carried out with Croatian, Slovenian, Polish and Lithuanian colleagues. Information about relevant conferences was also exchanged and mutual interest in e-book research expressed. One of the doctoral projects in Croatia on e-book aggregators and their role in the chain of e-book distribution seems to be relevant to a doctoral project in Sweden dealing with broader issues of e-book distribution actors.
The atmosphere of the conference was friendly and creative, the discussions lively and serious that usually happens when participants share research interests and feel cooperative rather than competitive. There were numerous fun and serious working moments during the whole duration of the conference. Some more pictures are to be found here.
This, and similar headlines, have been prominent in various newsletters in recent weeks, although the result seems to have surprised no one. I was astonished that the authors should bring the case against Google, since Google’s efforts to index books and make available clips in response to search enquiries actually makes it more likely that hitherto forgotten works will come to public attention and perhaps sell again.
The judge’s commentary on the value of Google Books to education, research and society at large is worth repeating – here with internal citations to supporting documents removed and slightly reduced:
The benefits of the Library Project are many. First, Google Books provides a new and efficient way for readers and researchers to find books… Google Books has become an essential research tool, as it helps librarians identify and find research sources, it makes the process of interlibrary lending more efficient, and it facilitates finding and checking citations. Indeed, Google Books has become such an important tool for researchers and librarians that it has been integrated into the educational system — it is taught as part of the information literacy curriculum to students at all levels.
Second, in addition to being an important reference tool, Google Books greatly promotes a type of research referred to as “data mining” or “text mining.” Google Books permits humanities scholars to analyze massive amounts of data — the literary record created by a collection of tens of millions of books. Researchers can examine word frequencies, syntactic patterns, and thematic markers to consider how literary style has changed over time…
Third, Google Books expands access to books… [it] provides print-disabled individuals with the potential to search for books and read them in a format that is compatible with text enlargement software, text-to-speech screen access software, and Braille devices. Digitization facilitates the conversion of books to audio and tactile formats, increasing access for individuals with disabilities. Google Books facilitates the identification and access of materials for remote and underfunded libraries that need to make efficient decisions as to which resources to procure for their own collections or through interlibrary loans.
Fourth, Google Books helps to preserve books and give them new life. Older books, many of which are out-of-print books that are falling apart buried in library stacks, are being scanned and saved. These books will now be available, at least for search, and potential readers will be alerted to their existence.
Finally, by helping readers and researchers identify books, Google Books benefits authors and publishers. When a user clicks on a search result and is directed to an “About the Book” page, the page will offer links to sellers of the book and/or libraries listing the book as part of their collections… Hence, Google Books will generate new audiences and create new sources of income.
In summing up, the judge concluded:
In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders. It has become an
invaluable research tool that permits students, teachers, librarians, and others to more efficiently identify and locate books. It has given scholars the ability, for the first time, to conduct full-text searches of tens of millions of books. It preserves books, in particular out-of-print and old books that have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries, and it gives them new life. It facilitates access to books for print-disabled and remote or underserved populations. It generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits.
What are the implications of this ruling for Google’s potential e-book publishing programme? Google already has an e-book store under the Google Play label, where it sells “regular” e-books, i.e., those published by the established publishing houses, along with self-published books and also freely available books. This judgement does not appear to affect the possible selling of so-called “orphan works”, i.e., those for which no copyright holder can be found, but Google might go ahead on this in any event. What the rule may do is persuade authors that they have more to gain through collaboration with Google than through fighting it and, having lost the case, I imagine that many authors will now be looking to gain some income from their out-of-print works, particularly if they hold the copyright and have not signed it away to their publisher. I would expect more news from Google on the e-book front. The judge’s decision, by the way, is well worth reading in full – and one can’t say that often about judicial rulings!
A couple of years ago Felicity Hannah argued that we should stop buying print books and buy e-books instead. Now, she’s changed her mind, and agrees with her opponents of two years ago. She argues that e-books are no longer necessarily cheaper, in fact, an e-book may now cost more than its paperback equivalent. Also, she doesn’t like the fact that she can’t lend her e-books, sell them or give them away: “That makes reading e-books weirdly isolating and more expensive“. It’s also too easy to spend on e-books – see the book online, a couple of clicks and its on your reader – so she’s spending more. Finally, she likes bookshops and finds that too many of them are closing, including ones she frequented and liked.
I must admit that I think her original idea was crazy: I look for the best buy and sometimes it’s an e-book, sometimes it’s a paperback. And if I’m buying a large format collection of photographs, I’m going to get the hardback, since the paper needs the security of a good binding. Horses for courses as they say.
However, I wonder if Felicity’s experience signals the start of a backlash – we’ll find out if the figures show a slower increase in the sales of e-books.
[Posted for Dr. Skans Kersti Nilsson]
This conference took place in the brand new university library building on top of the hills in the outskirts of Vilnius. Unaware of this, I booked a hotel close to the old university block in the town centre, but had to face realities. Anyway, The International Book Conference has been arranged by the Faculty of Communication and The Institute of Book Science and Documentation at Vilnius University for 23 years. This year it focused on “the issues of publishing in a small market, the actors of the publishing sector and their changing functions and relations, as well as the relationship between advertising and contemporary publishing, the first e-publishing experiences and prospects, traditional and e-book culture, and reading habits in the e-book era”. Publishing is important in a small language culture like Lithuania, which today has several hundred publishing houses and publishers. Swedish publishers use Lithuanian printing houses as they have almost disappeared from the Swedish book market.
Invited keynote speakers were Professor Miha Kovač from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Professor Adriaan van deer Weel from Leiden University, Netherlands, and Professor Clare Squires from the University of Stirling, Scotland. Nineteen speakers from Belarus, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Finland and Sweden participated.
Professor Miha Kovač pointed at international differences in VAT on e-books as important to its implementation in Europe. In Hungary it is 27%, in Croatia, Denmark and Sweden it is 25% whereas in Luxembourg it is 3%. In Croatia, there is a free e-books’ project going on under sponsorship by the Ministry of Culture. During 2013 Croatia has five on-line booksellers for e-books, but Amazon.com is of course a much bigger threat, especially as Amazon does not pay any taxes at all. What might happen to the small languages when the English language take over all areas? The marketing share of the e-books in USA is 25-30%, in UK 15%, in Germany 9%, in France 3 %, in Italy 2%, and in the small countries less than 1%. The EU adopts a dual economy, which is also a problem. The growth of e-book publishing is slow in EU-countries because of higher VAT, higher licensing costs and smaller markets. There will be a global English book market in the future. According to translation patterns, Slovakia is far higher in rate of translations than Germany, Italy and France. Continental and Anglo-Saxon book industries will differ both in formats, distribution and sales channels, and in pricing and marketing politics. This will cause changes in reading patterns.
Professor Adriaan van der Weel talked about the necessity of critical awareness of the effects of the shift from publishing and reading printed texts to publishing and reading digital texts. His latest book, Changing our textual minds: towards a digital order of knowledge (2011), is an example of this. As print-mentality is hierarchical, internal, supporting memory and deep reading, online-mentality is less fixed, with less intention to follow a narrative. Online-reading supports temporary experiences through sampling and zapping. Digital areas replace physical and mental ownership, like libraries, a spotify-concept might as well replace knowledge and cognition. Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield’s book Tomorrow’s people: how 21st century technology is changing the way we think and feel (2003) bears on evidence to this change of mentality. Professor van der Weel emphasized the differences between printed publishing and reading to digital publishing and reading to be of such a great importance that it is not simply a question of replacement, but of loss.
Summing-up the conference made clear the similarities between the European countries facing a new market for digitized books, from publishing as well as in distribution and reading.
Three members of the team have been invited to give papers at the “International Conference Publishing – trends and contexts“, to be held in Pula, Croatia, on the 6-7 December, this year. Below are the abstracts we have prepared for the conference.
The e-book phenomenon: a disruptive technology
Professor T.D. Wilson
The emergence of the e-book as a major phenomenon in the publishing industry is of interest, world-wide. The English language market, with Amazon.com as the major player in the market may have dominated attention, but the e-book has implications for many other languages and book markets.
The pre-e-book publishing world can be seen as a system in which authors delivered texts to publishers, who evaluated, edited, printed and distributed the published text to bookshops and thence to libraries and individual readers. This process has been going on since Gutenberg’s re-invention of movable type in about 1439 (following its original invention in China in the 9th century, and the use of metallic type in Korea in 1234), in other words, for about the past 450 years.
The invention of movable type was an instance of a disruptive technology: eventually putting monastic scribes out of business altogether. Similarly, the e-book has the potential to disrupt the processes for the production, distribution and use of authorial texts, and is already in the process of doing so.
First, the phenomenon of self-publishing has emerged as a serious contender to the more formal process; secondly, publishers may derive significant economic benefit from the reduction in printing and distribution costs, as well as the ability to sell directly to the consumer through their own Websites; thirdly, the impact on booksellers may result in a further reduction in the number of independent stores – a decline already in process as a result of online bookselling; fourthly, user demand is resulting in libraries wrestling with the problems of how to manage e-books within their collection development and management processes; and, finally, the behaviour of readers is changing as the devices available for using e-books become more numerous and cheaper.
Only someone blessed with absolute certainty in forecasting the future can know exactly how things will change, but there is little doubt that the development of the e-book will bring about substantial changes in the processes of book production, distribution and use–and many of these changes will surprise us.
Posted for Elena Macevičiūtė, Arūnas Gudinavičius
Apple has offered to the users of tablet computers the iPad, which has intuitive management features, is light, mobile and offers easy browsing features as well as the possibility of reading digital books and other publications. In addition it makes possible the use of specific features of the tablet computer in these publications. Thus, Apple stimulated book publishing and distribution on and through tablet computers.
This year several students have defended theses on publishing on tablet computers in the Faculty of Communication at Vilnius University under the supervision of A. Gudinavičius. Here we are presenting the results of two of these studies: “Lithuanian publishers on the Apple App Store platform” by Alisa Žarkova and “Application of the specific features of tablet computers for children’s book publishing in Lithuania” by Alina Kazakevič.
The analysis performed by Alisa Žarkova in her Bachelor’s thesis shows how Lithuanian publishers use the possibilities to broaden the market for books throughout the world using the Apple App Store platform. According to the data of this platform, on the 20th of March, 2012, it offered 183 Lithuanian digital books. The growth of their number in 2011-2013 is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The number of Lithuanian language titles on the Apple App Store platform. (2011-2013 Ist. quarter)
2011 was the year when the first five Lithuanina book appeared on the Apple App Store platform, i.e., within a year of the appearance of iBooks in the Store. The first book in Epub format appeared on the 19th of May, 2011. These were the Anglo-Lithuanian jokes by Jeremy Taylor (price €2.49). But before that, in April 2011, the first interactive Lithuanian book (an app) for children was published for iPads only. It was “Smiley Mouse and the rescuers” by Jurga Sakalauskaitė and Donatas Malinauskas. The action and the content of the story in it changes depending on the reader’s geographical position, time and weather. This feature is based on the GPS usage. The book also features animation and gyroscope, which makes the tablet vibrate if it is positioned at a certain angle. The book was created together by the publisher Realverus and the Gaumina company.
During 2012, fifty-seven other digital books were published on the Apple App Store platform. The most important events of that year were: the appearance of an independent distributer of digital books Prodigita, and the creation of the companies iKalvis, Apps Libri and Interactive Marketing Partner Baltic producing digital books for the Store.
During the first three months of 2013, there were already 106 digital books, i.e. three times more than in 2012. In 2013 the biggest Lithuanian publishers, such as Versus Aureus, Vaga and Svajonių knygos started distributing their books through the Store. The books published by Alma Littera can be accessed through a mobile app 100knygu.lt.
Publishers. Twenty-seven different publishers have published at least one book through the Store. On average, each publisher has produced 6.7 digital books. The leader with the highest number of distributed digital books is the publisher Svajonių knygos, which has seventy different digital titles. This is almost 38% of all Lithuanian digital books on the platform and exceeds three times the amount distributed by the second biggest Lithuanian publisher on the Store – Vaga.
Authors. Lithuanian books on the Store are written by ninety-seven authors. Mostly there are only one or two books by the same author (of 81 authors). But some authors have more books in the Apple App Store: Vytautas V. Landsbergis (10 titles), Rasa Joni (9 titles) and Jonas Mačiukevičius (8 titles).
Genres. The genres were identified according the official twenty-four genre categories used by Apple. By category, the distribution of Lithuanian digital books is: romances, sixty-nine titles (37.7%); general fiction, fifty-one titles (27.9%); and children’s literature, thirty-nine titles (21.3%).
Language. Most of the books analysed are published in Lithuanian language (166 titles or 90.7%). Nine books are published in English (4.9%), two in German and one title in each of Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, and Russian.
Price. More that a half of all Lithuanian digitial books in the Store cost from €1 to €3 Euros. A smaller percentage costs between €3 and €5, roughly the same amount from €5 to €10. Almost 10% of the titles are free of charge and 5% cost less than €1.
Format. 84% (153 titles) of Lithuanian digital books distributed through the Store are published in EPUB format. Only 16% (30 titles) are apps.
The analysis shows that though Lithuanian publishers are rather wary of the digital book publishing, but this type of activity is likely to grow in the near future.
Alisa also studied who is a typical reader of Lithuanian digital books from the Store. This reader is a young person of 18-24 years of age, studying or a recent graduate, interested in modern technologies, loyal to the Apple company and an owner of a tablet computer for reading fiction in English and Lithuanian. This reader often downloads free digital books, but is prepared to pay €3 to €5 for Lithuanian books if their assortment increases.
Alina Kazakevic in her work has analysed how tablet computers can be used in publishing children’s book in Lithuania. She has identified specific features that can be applied to publishing these books (see Table 1)
Application in publications
|Accelerometer (G-sensor)||Sensor meas-uring acceleration of changing linear orientation of the device
|When the device is rotated the orientation of the content changes, used in manip-ulation of animated objects|
|Gyroscope||Sensor measurng angular velocity and orientation
|When the device is rotated the images and direction of moving objects changes, used in animation.|
|Global Positioning System||Identifies the coordinates of an object in any place of the world||Content changes in relation to the place of the user on the Earth
|Magnetometer||Sensor identifying magnetic fields of the Earth||Content changes in relation to the direction of move-ment of the user|
|Ambient light sensor||Sensor meas-uring the intensity of external light||Content is adapted to reading in different lights, the time of the day is identified|
|Touch-screen||Data input in-stead of a mouse or a keyboard||Direct manage-ment: can imitate turning of pages as in a printed book|
|Headphones||Input and output of sound||Ensures the recep-tion of audio infor-mation|
|Speakers||Output of sound
|Ensures the recep-tion of audio infor-mation without headphones|
|Micropgone||Input of sound||Enables content management by voice|
|Camera||Photographing and filming, helps recognition of user behaviour||User can create or expand the content with self-created images and interact with the public-ation. Can be used for data scanning (e.g., QR codes)|
|Network Connectivity||Possibility to connect to the internet(by Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G)||Update of content, communication and sharing possibility, scanning user information|
Table 1. Specific features of tablet computers and their application in digital publications
The author focused on the application of these functions in children’s books published in Lithuanian.
In March, 2012, she identified thirty-one digital books for children in the Store, designed for tablet computers and published in Lithuanian by Lithuanian publishers. Eleven publishers produced these books. O-press produced eleven books – more than any other. The authors with highest number of books were Vytautas V. Landsbergis (eight) and K. Kasparavičius (three). The usual price of the book was from €0.99 to €1.49 Euros. The publishers pricing strategy was to keep prices low – not exceeding €4.
The application of specific features of tablet computers was analysed in six publications. The author concentrated on interactivity and emotional design. She found that interactivity is usually created by applying the accelerometer for turning the pages, for browsing, and moving book characters in animation. Audio features are also used in addition to the touch-screen, without which nothing happens at all.
The first book in Lithuanian for iPad “Smiley Mouse and the rescuers” can be seen as a phenomenon in Lithuanian publishing from the point of view of application of specific features. It used almost all of them and, therefore, is an exception to many other publications on the Lithuanian and international market.
The author has noticed that the gyroscope, widely used in games, is only rarely used in children’s books and with limitations. The use of GPS, computer compass or network connectivity are also applied rarely for identification of place. This possibility was only used in “Smiley Mouse and the Rescuers” where it helps to identify the place, time and weather in a particular place where user resides. These data influence the content development in the book.
The digital book “A frog in a hopper” uses network connectivity for the function of dictionary and directory. The input devices such as microphone and camera are not used in children’s books at all. Only one publication uses the ambient light sensor to regulate the light intensity on the screen.
Though the features of tablet computers are not yet intensively used in publishing of children’s books, they have influenced media use and presentation of the content to the user as well as its perception.
Further, the author investigates the relationship between the experience of interactivity and emotional design that helps to assess the value of a digital publication of this kind for a user. She has used the model of three levels of emotional design (visceral, behavioural, and reflective) developed by D. Norman (2004). The case study of the interactivity of digital books conducted by Ching-Hua Huang su Chao-Ming Wang (2012), who have investigated the effects of sensors, gestures and emotions in children’s digital books) has also become a background for this assessment.
After summarizing the data on the quality of emotional design in children’s digital books Alina concludes:
- Publications, in which a wider range of specific features of tablet computers is used have higher quality of emotional design. These publications are distinguished by high level of reflectivity, which is expressed in the content to the maximum level. Their potential to transmit a specific message to the target audience is higher than in other publications.
- Digital publications, in which a minimal number of tablet computer applications are used are less functional on the reflective level. One or another function of the children’s book is less prominent in them, therefore its value and usefulness for users is fuzzy. The publisher experiences problems in positioning the book in relation to its features (it is indistinctive from the point of view of its size, colour, speed or any other characteristic). The more specific features of tablet computers are used in publications the more visceral becomes the interaction of children with the book.
The survey of Lithuanian publishers of the books for children have revealed that publishers themselves agree that usage of specific features of tablet computers in books increase the value of this media. It broadens the content and functions of the book and influenced the behaviour of users. On the other hand, the publishers are anxious that the higher the use of these features the more blurred the boundary between the book and the game becomes in the perception of children.
Norman, Donald, A. (2004) Three levels of processing: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. In: Norman, Donald, A Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books, 2004. p. 21–29.
HUANG, Ching-Hua; WANG, Chao-Ming. A study of interactive experience and emotional design on mobile eBooks. Taiwan: University of Science and Technology, 2012. Retrieved 18 March, 2013 from http://www.keer2012.tw/sites/default/files/fullpaper/user/1010317.doc
Another story of a reader losing his ebooks.
While traveling to a library conference in Singapore Jim O’Donnel’s Google Play app on his iPad asked for an update. O’Donnel naturally updated the app and in the process removed the 30-40 ebooks he had previously bought. He was not able to re-download them as Singapore is not one of the countries where the Google Play bookstore is active.
He wrote about his experience on the Liblicense mailing list:
I’m in Singapore attending the IFLA meetings. Long trip, but I made a bold and brave decision to depend for my reading material on this trip entirely on my iPad — Kindle, iBooks, and “Google Play” (formerly known as Google Books). A single slim volume of Shakespeare’s Sonnets accompanies me in codex form to give me something to read during the ritual shutdown of electronic devices on the planes.
So when I got here, I noticed that several of my iPad apps had updates on offer, so I clicked and approved. One of them was Google Play. When it finished and I went to open the app, it told me that it needed to update my book files and this might take several minutes. Time passed and the screen filled in the covers of the 30 or 40 titles I keep live on the machine. Two of them were books I am actively reading for my teaching this fall.
But all of my books had un-downloaded and needed to be downloaded again. The app is an inefficient downloader, almost as bad as the New Yorker app, so I dreaded this, but clicked on the two I needed most at once. (I checked the amount of storage used, and indeed the files really have gone off my tablet.)
And it balked. It turns out that because I am not in a country where Google Books is an approved enterprise (which encompasses most of the countries on the planet), I cannot download. Local wisdom among the wizards here speculates that the undownloading occurred when the update noted that I was outside the US borders and so intervened.
Atypically, Google has Google Play help service available by email, but a series of exchanges demonstrated that the droids at the Android Store were neither able to comprehend my issue, sympathize with my plight, or offer a remedy. I must return to the US to be allowed to spend a few hours redownloading “my” books before I can read them again. At one point they asked what features I might suggest be added to Google Play. I suggested “Don’t Be Evil”, but got no response.
Fortunately, archive.org had a non-Google scan of the 19th century book I needed most; it downloaded just fine and I’m reading it in GoodReader, which appears not to care what country I am in.