This blog is intended to bring news of developments on the e-books project, a four-year programme of research into the role of e-books in Sweden, funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).

The project team consists of, at the University of Gothenburg: Professor Lars Höglund and Dr. Annika Bergström; at the University of Borås, Professor Elena Maceviciute, Dr. Kersti Nilsson, Professor Tom Wilson and PhD candidate, Birgitta Wallin; and, at Chalmers Institute of Technology and the  University of Borås, Dr. Matthias Klang.

We shall all be blogging over the life of the project, and invite others to join the blog community and contribute their comments and ideas.

A little about the Project, the full title of which is, The case of the e-book in “small language” culture: media technology and the digital society, or, in Swedish, E-bokens framväxt i ett litet språkområde: Media, teknologi och effekter i det digitala samhället

Our aims, as stated in the original proposal to Vetenskapsrådet, were:

to investigate the impact of modern information and communication technologies, as represented by the electronic book (or e-book), in the book publishing, distribution and use system in Sweden and the changing book culture in Swedish digital society.

We suggested that the situation in Sweden could be different from other countries:

The situation in Sweden with regard to the successful introduction of e-books into the national ‘book culture’ is complicated by a number of factors, not least of which is that Sweden is a so-called ‘small language’ market, but with a technologically literate population, many of whom also read English or other European languages.

and that:

One of the consequences of the ‘small language’ phenomenon is that the Swedish book industry is prey to the negative effects of globalization, since books have an international market and a Swedish multilingual citizen can buy e-books from the UK, or Germany or France, if the book they want is not available in Swedish.

These statements set the background for our investigations, which we shall pursue using a variety of methods, including use of the Swedish national SOM and NORDICOM surveys.