Danish Book and Literature Panel’s seminar on e-books and libraries, Copenhagen, May 3, 2016


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Posted for Elena Maceviciute

The Book and Literature Panel (Bog- og Litteraturpanelet) in Denmark was established by the Minister of Culture in April 2014. Its activity is supported and financed by the Ministry of Culture. The panel held its first meeting on 17th, June 2014 and has held a number of meetings since then. The purpose of the panel is to follow the changes in the Danish book market by:

  • Annually reviewing available statistical data of the book market, identifying the gaps and making recommendations for improvements in the statistics.
  • Following the situation of quality literature situation in the light of changes in book market and reading patterns.
  • Promoting the debate on the literary situation in Denmark through seminars and conferences.

The Panel consists of six to eight members who together hold expertise related to book market statistics, international book market development, literature and the sociology of literature, consumer perspectives, and reading. At present the Panel consists of five researchers from Danish universities, one from Lund University in Sweden (Ann Steiner), one doctoral student from Roskilde University, and a publishing consultant and former CEO of the Swedish Norstedt group Kjell Bohlund. The Panel is led by Professor Stig Hjarvard of the University of Copenhagen.

A reference group consisting of the representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Competition and Consumer Board, the Publishers’ Association, the Booksellers’ Association, the Danish Writers’ Association, the Association of Fiction Writers, the Library Association, and the Consumer Council follows the activity of the Panel and participates in it.

In September 2015 the Panel published its first annual report, which can be found here, and which is also available in English. It provides an interesting and multifaceted analysis of the Danish book market.


On May 3, 2016, the Book and Literature Panel organized a seminar on e-books and libraries at the Faculty of the Humanities, University of Copenhagen. The seminar consisted of two parts: a research part and a debate part.

In the first Stig Hjarvard (University of Copenhagen) presented Danish statistics about the e-book market and e-book lending. Prof. Frank Huysman from the University of Amsterdam presented the model of e-book lending practised by public libraries in Netherlands and a very interesting comparative study of e-lending models of public libraries in European countries. He has reviewed several of them showing that all of them are different and in fact there is no a single mainstream model, which was accepted by several countries. To some extent they seem to reflect library traditions with some very open and generous models of e-book lending and some very restrictive and introducing strict limitations into the e-loans. The next presenter was yours truly who presented an overview of the e-book lending situation in Sweden wandering about some stranger aspects of the emerging situation and the positions of different actors.

The second part involved two series of shorter presentations and debate with the audience. The presentations and the discussion were held in Danish and this is not the language that I understand. Most of the passionate and heated arguments and also seemingly fine jokes causing laughter in the public were lost on me. So, I will restrict myself to the factual report. Tine Vind (Head of the Library Unit at the Agency of Culture and Palaces) presented the guidelines of the cultural policy for Danish libraries. Annette Godt, the head of Allerød library talked about the acquisition decisions in the library related both to physical and e-books. blog2Mikkel Christoffersen from Copenhagen Libraries presented a captivating account about the readers of e-books and the role of the library in attracting new readers by providing access to e-books.

The other group of panellists talked about the role of authors, publishers and booksellers on the bookmarket and their relation to public libraries. The group included two representatives of publishers (Jakob Harden and Lasse Korsemann Horne), two persons from two associtations of authors (Morten Visby and Jan Thielke), and Helle Busck Fensvig from Arnold Busck bookselling company representing Danish Booksellers Association. blog1One could feel the tension between the commercial and public distributors of book treasures caused by the digital book, but one also can expect that more events like this one could lead to more understanding and eventually to the resolution of existing problems.

The meetings and discussions with many interested professionals from the whole Danish book sector as well as with colleagues from the research world were both exciting and rewarding. The idea of research led body helping and advising the government and monitoring the developments of book sector could be picked up by other countries.

The presentations made at the meeting can be found on the Ministry of Culture’s Website.


The new course in action. E-books: production, distribution and reading.


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At the end of 2014 (December, 2) we have posted a message on this blog about the development of
common Scandinavian course by researchers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark . The initiative is
bearing the fruits as the course is running from the start of spring term 2016 at Oslo and Åkerhus University College of Applied Sciences and University of Borås. We have managed to overcome most of the administrative challenges and to test our ideas.

Of course, life has put in some corrections. The colleagues from Denmark are not running the course because of low interest among their students, but the University of Borås is running three courses simultaneously instead of one: two on reading and distribution of e-books of 7,5 ECTS:

All courses run in a distance mode with meetings in respective universities. The course started with the digital reading part and a residential meeting in Oslo on February 3-5. The main contributions of lectures and seminars were Anne Mangen (University of Stavanger) and Gitte Baling (University of Copenhagen). Adrian van der Weel (University of Leiden) took part in the session held in Oslo University College. The students who could not come to Oslo have taken part in seminars and lectures online that were also recorded and put on the e-learning platforms for further reference. That was an interesting example of using a sophisticated technological tools in higher education. The recordings included what was happening during the lectures and seminars in Oslo, but also what happened in online communication environments. More important is to note that the streaming sessions allowed two-way communication between the audience in Oslo and those participating online.

This week (February 29 – March 4) a residential period for Swedish students is organized at the University of Borås. IntlStudNineteen students have arrived and are working with teachers in lecture rooms and computer labs trying to read and make sense of publishing, book sales and book loan statistics, e-reading devices and delivery platforms, xml mark-up and e-book formats and similar things.Vold Colleagues from Oslo University College Tonje Vold and Tor Arne Dahl have arrived to participate and help with delivery of the materials related to Norwegian book market and e-book production. We will return their courtesy later in April helping with the residential week for Norwegian students.

A highly qualified group of teachers work on the delivery of the course on the Swedish side. The production part is led by Mats Dahlström and Mikael Gunnarsson. threeteachersThe distribution part involves efforts from Skans Kersti Nilsson (leader of two independent and Swedish Master’s programme course), Alen Doracić (leader of the International programme course), and the author of this message.

The administrators are sighing when looking at the costs and calling it the most expensive course over the past ten years. So, just as well that we have received support from Nordplus programme (thanks to UB international coordinator Veronica Trépagny) to implement the teaching of the course for one year and support travelling of teachers around the Nordic countries.

Students have also met Martin Borg who is responsible for negotiating and working with e-books at the University of Borås Library to actually get input about actual professional issues that have to be solved when delivering e-books to academic community.

We are in the middle of the residential week and still have only partial evaluation of our efforts by the students, but most of them seem to be quite attracted by this growing part of book market and what it means to different actors on the its stage.

This course is bringing together a very agreeable bunch of students from around the world and a very creative and friendly group of people from Nordic countries.

Professor Elena Maceviciute

Public library e-book lending in the USA


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There’s an interesting article in Publishers’ Weekly on e-book lending by public libraries in the USA. It focuses on the work of the American Library Association’s Digital Content Working Group, and draws attention to some of the critical issues being explored by the group. These include, the number of platforms that need to be used, the pricing policies for e-books, and the impact of the cost of e-books on the other formats in the collections.

It’s true that e-book lending has gone up in the USA, with Overdrive reporting that 33 libraries in the USA had e-book loans of more than one million – but even that is a relatively small proportion of the total loans. In Sweden, e-book loans are only about 1 or 2 per cent of total loans, so one is left with the question, Is it worth the bother?

In Sweden, public libraries are required by law to make available materials in whatever format they appear, so offering e-books is not negotiable. The law could be ignored in this respect of course, on the grounds that no resources are provided to enable the law to be met, but Sweden is a law-abiding country, so this is unlikely.

In the USA, however, there is no such requirement and it is mainly the librarians’ wish to satisfy as much of the demand from their communities as possible, within the limited resources. In these circumstances, the question is valid. And some questions need to be asked to justify an appropriate policy. For example, are those who download e-books from the library site new users? Do those who borrow e-books use the library for other purposes? Are e-book users also library visitors, or do they never visit the library?

By definition, anyone who borrows e-books can afford at least the basic technology of a smart phone, and most probably have access to a tablet computer or a laptop, so they will be no means be the poorer section of the community. So how about a bit of lateral thinking: the libraries collectively do a deal with, say, Amazon for Kindle Unlimited, and with Scribd, to provide access to these services through the library Website and say to users: We aren’t going to lend e-books, but: sign up to Kindle Unlimited or Scribd and we’ll pay half the annual subscription. That might well turn out to be a great deal cheaper than buying licenses to use e-books. True – users won’t get access to most of the newly published books, but that would reduce the demand for such a service further, as, in all probability, only the enthusiastic reader would sign up.

3rd International Conference on Publishing Trends and Contexts, Zadar, Croatia, 19-20 November, 2015


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The third conference in this series was held this year a little further down the Adriatic coast from Pula, where the previous two conferences had been held, in Zadar, an excellent location in spite of the sometimes wet weather. Over the two days, we heard a rich programme of research on developments in publishing, with particular reference to digital publishing and the e-book phenomenon.

The conference venue

The conference venue

The first session, on Day 1, was devoted to Research methods in publishing studies, with a focus on readers. The first three papers had something in common, i.e., the nature of reading in a digital environment. Christoph Bläsi, from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz reviewed the existing research on the effects of digital reading. He examined the limitations and controversies in the existing research and suggested further directions for the future. He has also emphasized that the publishing industry should change its attitude to readers and book consumers.

In session...

In session…

Arūnas Gudinavičius, of Vilnius University, Lithuania, reported on one such piece of research, a pilot study, carried out at the Cyprus Interaction Laboratory, employing eye movement metrics – this was very much a provisional account, as the work had been completed only a few days earlier! The outcome achieved using this research methodology, however, was quite convincingly demonstrated.

In the same vein, Mate Juric, of the University of Zadar, reported preliminary results from a PhD investigation into reading in print and in the digital evironment. In common with earlier research, Juric found that students preferred the printed text and were able to recall more from such texts than from the electronic equivalent. Ivona Despot and colleagues, also from the University of Zadar reported on an advantage of digital reading that has not been addressed to any great extent previously. That is, the connection between the electronic book and social media. Their report on social reading shows how the social media connection may enrich the reading experience. Finally, in this session, Andrius Šuminas, of Vilnius University, reported on Browsing strategies in online bookstores, again using eye-tracking software. A novel approach was adopted in developing different styles of book cover, to determine the impact of that aspect of the book on browsing behaviour. Different browsing styles and patterns were discovered and interesting differences of browsing strategies between different age groups of readers were discovered.

The second session concerned Terminology, theory, context and began with a presentation by Angus Phillips of Oxford Brookes University of the changing language of publishing through an analysis of the three most recent editions of Inside Book Publishing. He showed how, while the language of publishing remains stable to a significant extent, there has been considerable change in relation to digital publishing. Tom Wilson then followed with a presentation on the various theories of innovation that have been employed in research on the e-book phenomenon, showing that different theories are applicable depending upon the level (person, organizational or societal) at which the impact is found.

Tom Wilson on the floor

Tom Wilson takes the floor

After that, Adriaan van der Weel, of the University of Leiden, asked the question about the future of the longform scholarly monograph, making a plea for attention to be paid to the scholar as ‘consumer’ of scholarly monographs rather than the present focus on the scholar as author. He noted the impact of open access publishing in this regard.

Asta Urbanaviciute, of Vilnius University, reported on her PhD work on literary periodicals in Lithuania and their migration to digital form. The study is based on the interviews with publishers of the cultural periodicals. Though they claim to be in dire economic constraints, they still prefer publishing on paper. She noted the dilemma in which publishers find themselves: the printed text is preferred, because of its physicality and long life, while the digital version has advantages in a world where social communication is increasingly moving to the digital sphere.

Next, Ana Č. Vogrinčič, of the University of Ljubljana, presented a paper on a rather different theme, a socio-historical view of the role of library space in society, drawing attention to needed changes in the light of changing societal practices in the communication of information. This contribution was well thought through and provided an interesting angle for understanding the role of the library.

Time for relaxation

Time for relaxation

Finally, Zoran Velagić, University of Osijek, Croatia, explored the functions of the page as a unit of text in both the print and digital spheres. In his witty and intelligent presentation he showed how the concept of page has influenced our thinking about online communication and digital texts. He presented the concept of a page as a foundational one in the philosophy and practice of writing and publishing.

Day 2 began with a session on research methods in publishing studies. Ruediger Wischenbart, perhaps best known for his Global e-book report, gave a very detailed account of the problems of acquiring comparable data from different countries for that report. The lack of standard definitions, and the incomplete nature of the data present real problems in delivering an international picture of the changing world of digital publishing. Ruediger impressed the audience with his detailed knowledge of the publishing world and the sources of information related to it. The lack of uniformity was addressed by Miha Kovač, University of Ljubljana, in his draft of a publishing research Website and his call for international collaboration for the production of such a site.

Elena Macevičiute, University of Borås, and a member of our E-books Research Group, reported on a bibliometric study of the research literature on e-books, showing the spheres of activity in which research is done, from librarianship and information science to the publishing sector. Another member of the Borås team, Skans Kersti Nilsson, presented preliminary results from interviews with Swedish authors on their attitudes towards e-books, which ranged from indifference to enthusiastic embrace.

Elena explains all...

Elena explains all…

Benoît Berthou, Sorbonne Paris Cité University, explored the possibilities for the improvement of publishers’ and libraries’ catalogues in terms of ease of access, interactivity and improved visibility of the content. Finally, in this session, Josipa Mijoč, Nives Tomašević and Jasna Horvat, of the Universities of Osijek and Zadar, proposed the concept of a digital-platform-based market, to replace the existing structures whereby the author’s manuscript reaches the reader, which would allow for direct communication between author, publisher, sources of finance and, ultimately, readers. The concept was elaborated in terms of the publishing situation in Croatia.

The final session of the conferences was led off by Ewa Jabłońska-Stefanowicz, of the University of Wrocław, in a presentation on the state of digital publishing in Poland, based on face-to-face interviews with representatives of the industry. She reported that, after an initial flirtation with digital publishing, publishers in Poland appear to have withdrawn from the area, while new entrants, focusing on products for the educational market, have emerged.

Josipa Selthofer and Ines Hocenski, of the University of Osijek, then presented a paper on current research into the requirements for a university press in the digital age, and the session, and the conference, concluded with a presentation by Franjo Pehar, Nikolina Peša Pavlović and Krešimir Zauder, University of Zadar, on current subject trends and research methods in publishing studies, based on an analysis of papers published in three journals identified as core publishing studies sources.

Informal conversations continue over dinner.

Informal conversations continue over dinner.

The conference ended with a city tour, highlighting the Roman and other remnants of the various civilizations that have taken an interest in this part of the world.

A number of the papers, possibly all, will be published in the next issue of the open access journal Libellarium

A typology of content creation, production, distribution and use



Discussions at the ePub conference in Zadar last week prompted me to think about the terminology of the field at a point where the meaning of virtually every significant term in the publishing industry is becoming very fluid. For example, with the arrival of the e-book, the question of what constitutes a ‘book’ arises: some suggest that the future book may be more like an electronic game than a printed book. With the increased possibility of ‘self-publishing’, and with organizations of all kinds getting into the business of issuing e-books, the notion of ‘publisher’ is fluid. Even ‘reader’ is not without its problems, since we generally use the term to signify ‘book reader’ and today, many people read blogs and discussion lists without ever going anywhere near a printed book or e-book.

It seems, therefore, that the time is right for a typology that, at its highest level, dispenses with the terms traditionally used. The question is, of course, what are the alternatives that could be used. I considered ‘media’ as a possibility, but, apart from the growing tendency to use the word as a singular noun, it has tended by be used to signify modern forms of media, such as films and television. Consequently, ‘content’ is my preferred terms, since it is relatively free of those kinds of associations and is also quite abstract.

My proposition, therefore, is that a typology using a facet structure might be formed out of the terms:

content creator;
content producer;
content distributor;
content user

At the next level, content creator would include:

printed book author
e-book author
blog writer
discussion list contributor
film script writer
TV programme writer
etc., etc.

Content producer would include:

printed book publisher
e-book publisher
magazine publisher
film production company
TV production company
TV news programme
radio network
Website owner
etc., etc.

Content producer would probably also need some additional facets, e.g.,

Content editor
Content designer

Content production process (e.g., print production, or digital production)
Content container (e.g., digital download file, DVD, CD, USB file, etc.)

Content distributor would include:

on-line bookseller
public library
academic library
subscription service (e.g., Scribd or Skoobe)
publisher (who distributes from own Website)
newspaper company
TV company
radio network
individual (e.g., self-published author who distributions from own Website)

It might also be useful to have a facet for

Content distribution channel, which would include, for example:

digital download site
physical distribution and delivery network (e.g., Royal Mail, DPD, etc.)

Content user would include:

reader – one who reads any kind of content acquired personally. Subcategories might be needed such as:

book reader
e-book reader
newspaper reader
TV news viewer
radio listener
library user
subscription service user

The top-level typology would then look like:

  • Content creator
  • Content producer
    • Content editor
    • Content designer
    • Content production process
    • Content container
  • Content distributor
    • Content distribution channel
  • Content user
  • The typology presented here has no intention of being exhaustive – additional facets and/or sub-facets may well be found necessary, but it has the advantage of being expansible along with the advantage of being hospitable to existing concepts. Some facets might need to be repeated, e.g., content designer could be a top-level facet, since that role, today, is often outsourced by content producers, and independent designers are also used by self-published authors. It is also clear that some actors might be represented in more than one channel depending on the role, e.g., the Swedish media company Bonnier is a content designer (e.g., through its service for self-publishing), a content producer (as a book, magazine and e-book publisher), and a content distributor (e.g., through its proposed e-book subscription service, BookBeat).

    My ideas benefited from discussions with Elena Maceviciute and Kersti Nilsson, en route from Zadar to Munich.

The Research Group in Spain



Last week we all went off to Torrevieja (which has so many Swedish inhabitants it might be called “little Sweden”!) to work collaboratively on the monograph we have promised the Ventskapsrådet at the end of the project. Such a “writing week” is, apparently, a fairly normal practice among academics in Sweden – and possibly elsewhere for all I know.

We worked collaboratively on the overall structure of the book and the individual chapters, pulled together papers and reports we’d already written and wrote new material on a variety of topics. Anyone who has looked at the publications list in the previous post will realise that the availability of such a body of work makes the writing of a book, if not easy, then at least a less-fraught enterprise.

On Thursday we went to Murcia – about an hour away from Torrevieja – to give a presentation on the project. As an honorary PhD of the University of Murcia, I was very honoured that the event was billed as the first in a “Meet our honorary doctors” series. The event was chaired by the Vice-Rector for Communication and Culture, Mónica Galdana Pérez Morales, and the Rector, Professor Jose Orihuela Calatayud, joined us for an excellent lunch at a nearby 18th century palacio, the Torre de Zoco, the picture below (by Lars Höglund) shows the happy post-lunch faces.


An updated list of publications from the project



Research papers

Bergström, A. & Höglund, L. (2015) E-boken – i skuggan av den tryckta. I Annika Bergström, Bengt Johansson, Henrik Oscarsson, och Maria Oskarson, (Eds.). Fragment. Gothenburg, Sweden: SOM-institutet, Göteborgs universitet. (SOM-rapport nr 63.)

Gudinavičius, A., Šuminas, A. & Maceviciute, E. (2015). E-book publishing in Lithuania: the publisher‘s perspective. Information Research, 20(2), paper 672. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/20-2/paper672.html

Macevičiūtė, E. (2015). Conference report: International Conference ‘Publishing Trends and Contexts 2014, Focus: Digital Authors and Electronic Books’, 8-9 December, 2014, Pula, Croatia.Information Research, 20(1), paper 653. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/20-1/paper653.html

Maceviciute, E., Wallin, B. & Nilsson, S.K. (2015). Book selling and e-books in Sweden. Libellarium, 8(1), 15-29. Retrieved from http://www.libellarium.org/index.php/libellarium/article/view/211/303
Maceviciute, E.; Borg, M.; Kuzminiene, R. y Konrad, K. La adquisición de los libros electrónicos en las bibliotecas de los centros de enseñanza superior de Suecia. Anales de Documentación, 18(1). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.6018/analesdoc.18.1.224341

Nilsson, S.K., Maceviciute, E., Wilson, T.D., Bergström, A. & Höglund, L. (2015). The tensions of e-book creation and distribution in a small-language culture. Northerns Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook, 13, 29-47.

Wilson, T.D. (2015). E-books: the publishers’ dilemma. Libellarium, 8(1), 5-13. Retrieved from http://www.libellarium.org/index.php/libellarium/article/view/210/298

Presentations in conferences and seminars

Bergström, A., and Höglund, L. (2015). E-books – in the shadow of print. In NordMedia Conference, Division 5, Session 7, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, August 13-15, 2015.

Bergström, A., Höglund, L., Maceviciute, E. och Wilson, T.D. (2015). Vem älskar e-böcker: seminariet på Digitala Torget i Göteborgs Bokmässan, 24 september, 2015. Programm på http://www.bokmassan.se/en/programme/participants-2015/?person=114255

Maceviciute, E. (2015). Publishers’ dilemma and trouble for librarians. In Nordic E-book Conference “Scholarly e-books in your native language – Why, why not or when?”, October 1-2, 2015, DFFU, Copenhagen. Retrieved from http://www.dfdf.dk/images/2015_-_Scholarly_e-books/Elena.pdf

Maceviciute, E. and Wilson, T.D. (2015). Ebooks in academic libraries – the Swedish perspective. In International Symposium “By the Book: Books and Reading in the Age of Media Overload”, Florence, June 18-19, 2015.

Maceviciute E. and Nelhans, G. (forthcoming). Examining research literature on e-books: quantitative and qualitative approach. In 3rd International Conference on Publishing Trends and Contexts, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia, 20th November, 2015.

Nilsson, K. (forthcoming). Authors opinions about e-book. In 3rd International Conference on Publishing Trends and Contexts, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia, 20th November, 2015.

Wilson, T.D. (forthcoming). Theoretical approaches to e-book research. In 3rd International Conference on Publishing Trends and Contexts, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia, 20th November, 2015.


Holmstedt, Linn och Topelius, Stefanie. (2015). E-böckernas vilkor: en fallstudie av biblioteken i Solentuna. Borås: Högskolan i Borås (supervisor E. Maceviciute).


Balling, G., Dahl, T.A., Mangen, A., Nilsson K., Lund, H. and Höglund L. (2014) E-bogen. Skandinaviske perspektiver på forskning og uddannelse. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Informationsvidenskab og Kulturformidling, 3(1), 5-19.

Bergström, A. & Höglund, L. (2014). A national survey of early adopters of e-book reading in Sweden. Information Research, 19(2) paper 621. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/19-2/paper621.html

Bergström, Annika och Höglund, Lars (2014) E-boken: möjligheter och hinder. I Bergström, Annika och Oscarsson, Henrik (red). Mittfåra & marginal. (pp. 239-252), Göteborg: SOM-institutet, Göteborgs universitet. (SOM-rapport nr 61).

Maceviciute, E., Borg, M., Kuzminiene R. & Konrad, K. (2014). The acquisition of e-books in the libraries of the Swedish higher education institutions. Information Research, 19(2) paper 620. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/19-2/paper620.html

Maceviciute E., Nilsson, K., Wilson, T., Bergström, A. and Höglund, L. (2014). The case of the e/book in “small language” culture: media technology and the digital society. Knygotyra, 62, 73-93.
Nilsson, Skans Kersti. (2014). Reading in changing society: Some impact in the Swedish context. In Lauristin, M. and Vihalemm P. (eds.) Reading in changing society, (pp. 118-132). Tartu: University of Tartu Press.

Special issue of Information Research (ed. T.D. Wilson), 2014, vol. 19, issue 2.

Wilson, T.D. (2014). The e-book phenomenon: a disruptive technology Information Research, 19(2) paper 612. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/19-2/paper612.html

Presentations in conferences

Maceviciute E. and Wilson T. The e-book phenomenon in Sweden. In Publishing studies conference “By the book: the book and the study of its digital transformation”, 23-24 May, 2014, Vila Finaly, Florence, Italy. Retrieved from http://publishing.brookes.ac.uk/resources/florence2014/maceviciute_the_ebook_phenomenon_in_sweden.pdf

Wallin, Birgitta and Maceviciute, Elena (2014) Main actors in provision of fiction e-books in a small language market: a Swedish case. In ELPUB2014. Let’s put data to use: digital scholarship for the next generation, 18th International Conference on Electronic Publishing 19-20 June 2014, Thessaloniki, Greece. http://elpub.scix.net/cgi-bin/works/Show?113_elpub2014


Kuzminiene, Ramune. (2014). E-books in Irish university libraries: changes and challenges in collection development and acquisitions. Unpublished Master’s thesis. (Supervisor E. Maceviciute) Retrieved from http://bada.hb.se/handle/2320/13840

Zemaityte, Justina (2014). Skaitmeninės knygos galimybės ir grėsmės: rašytojų nuomonė ir patirtys (Opportunities and threats of digital books: writers’ opinions and experiences). Unpublished Bachelor’s thesis. Vilnius: Vilniaus universitetas. (Supervisor E. Maceviciute)


Research papers

Bergström, Annika and Höglund, Lars. (2013). Tidiga läsare av e-böcker. I, Lennart Weibull, Henrik Oscarsson, and Annika Bergström (red.) Vägskal. (pp. 357-367). Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet Som-institutet.

Maceviciute E. and Borg M. (2013). The current situation of e-books in academic and public libraries in Sweden. Libellarium, 6(1-2), 13-28. Retrieved from http://www.libellarium.org/index.php/libellarium/article/view/181/195

Macevičiūtė, E. & Wilson, T.D. (2013). E-books in Swedish public libraries: policy implications. In, T. Aalberg, C. Papatheodorou, M. Dobreva, G. Tsakonas, G. and C.J. Farrugia. (Eds.) Proceedings of the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries: Sharing Meaningful Information, Valletta, Malta, September 22-26, 2013. (pp. 29-34). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Verlag. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 8092).

Wilson T. (2013). The e-book phenomenon: a disruptive technology. Libellarium, 6(1-2), 3-12. Retrieved from http://www.libellarium.org/index.php/libellarium/article/view/180/203

Presentations in conferences

Höglund L. Presentation of the project in Oslo, 2013, June.

Höglund, L. & Maceviciute E. E-book project: e-bokens framväxt i ett litet språkområde: media, teknologi och effekter i det digitala samhället. Internationella jamförelse: små och stora språkområde. SOM-institut möte, 2013, April 13.

Macevičiūtė, E. & Wilson, T.D. E-books in Swedish public libraries: policy implications. In International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries: Sharing Meaningful Information, Valletta, Malta, September 22-26, 2013.

Maceviciute E. & Borg M. The current situation of e-books in academic and public libraries in Sweden. International Conference “Publishing Trends and Contexts“, Pula, Croatia, 6-7 December, 2013.

Maceviciute, E., Nilsson K., Wilson, T.D., Bergström, A. and Höglund, L. The case of the e-book in “small language” culture: media technology and the digital society. 22nd International Book Science Conference “Traditional and electronic publishing in a small country: experiences and perspectives”, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 26–27, 2013.

Nilsson K. The Impact of e-books in a small language culture: readers and reading. International Conference “Publishing Trends and Contexts“, Pula, Croatia, 6-7 December, 2013.

Nilsson K. Young adults reading. Conference “Reading in Changing Society”, Tartu, Estonia, 31 October – 1 November, 2013.


Konrad, Katherine. (2013). Old habits in a new world? E-book management techniques at an academic library. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Borås: University of Borås. (Supervisor E. Maceviciute). Retrieved from http://bada.hb.se/handle/2320/12674

News from elsewhere


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Given the parochialism of the press in the USA and the UK, every little variation in the sales of printed books and e-books is taken as a preliminary to some global catastrophe. Even when the statistics are, to say the least, incomplete, we get headlines like, “Printed books power back!”, “Collapse in e-book sales”, or similar hyperbole. What is happening in the rest of the world appears to be of no interest whatsoever to the journalists putting out this kind of nonsense. The winding up of Oyster, the e-book subscription service, widely touted as the “Netflicks for books”, is taken as indicating that the model will not work anywhere, in spite of the fact that what happened is that the founders and CEO of Oyster, along with some of their staff got a better offer from Google and decided to wrap things up – nothing whatsoever to do with a failure of their business plan (since no one knows what that was, in any event, being commercially confidential). The fact is that there is not a single market for e-books that can be measured by the sales of AAP publishers in the USA. Different countries and different languages are experiencing different trends and subscription services (including Scribd in the USA and the UK) seem to be doing very nicely, thank you.

Consider Germany, about which there have been a few news items over the past week. First, a report cited by Nate Hoffelder on the Digital Reader blog:

GfK has released some results from its survey of German consumers. It has found that in the first half 2015, an estimated 2.9 million Germans over the age of ten paid for an ebook. They spent a total of nearly 95 million euros. This represents an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period last year…

This follows on from an earlier report from Bitkom to the effect that

A quarter (25 percent) of Germans read digital books (e-books). This is an increase of one percentage point compared to last year. The share of e-book users in the book-reader population is as high as 33 percent. This is the result of a representative survey… among 2,325 people aged 14 and over. “E-books are now an integral part of the digital media world and reach a mass audience,” said Bitkom vice-president Achim Berg in advance of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Here this market is still far from having exhausted its potential. According to the survey, 35 percent to those who currently do not read digital books, imagine doing so in the future.

and there’s an interesting bit about the different age groups:

According to the survey results e-books are almost equally popular across the various age groups. 32 percent of 14- to 29-year-olds and 30 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds read e-books. Among 50- to 64-year-olds it is 28 percent. Only in the age group from 65 years is the use 11 per cent, well below the average.

Hoffelder notes that the spend on e-books in Germany, while significant at 95 million Euros, compares with the $730 million spent on e-books in the USA for the first half of 2015 – and that is only the spend reported by the AAP which accounts for only half of the publishers in the USA, so, crudely scaling up, with lots of unwarranted assumptions, the actual annual spend could be something in the order of $2 billion. That doesn’t seem too bad for a “collapsing” e-book market 🙂

In a report on the Frankfurt Book Fair, the CEO of the German subscription service, Skoobe, commented:

Our business model is sound and sustainable. The catalogue is growing, and all partners who have signed with us since the start are still on board. Publishers are growing their title base constantly and are establishing strategies on how best to use the potential of subscription services. Skoobe is proving to be a great opportunity to market titles, especially from the backlist, and new authors alongside bestsellers and new releases. As the overall quality of the catalogue is very high, customers are eager to discover new authors and genres. Some 80% of our customers rate the quality of our book catalogue with “very good” and more than 80% have recommended books that they have read through the service to others.

All of this leaves aside the continuing growth of e-book use in education, and particularly in higher education, and the growth in the developing world. So, next time you see reports of the collapsing e-book market, ask, “Where is this going on?” and “Show me the numbers”.

My bet is that e-books, in their evolving form, are here to stay, although, as I have said before, I don’t expect them to take over from printed books any time soon and that for the consumer market, things are likely to settle down to approximately the Pareto distribution of 80% printed and 20% electronic.