Ebooks on JSTOR?

September 7, 2010
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Over the last decade or so digital content archives like JSTOR and Project MUSE have become indispensable resources in the academic community, allowing students and professors to easily sort through and access literally tens-of-thousands of journal articles with the click of a mouse. However, for those working with scholarly monographs and other book-length works, usually a trip down to the library and more than a few minutes spent digging through the stacks has been necessary. But an article in this morning’s Chronicle of Higher Education points out that this may be coming to an end. According to the CHE “Next year, Project MUSE plans to expand beyond journals into digital monographs with a venture called MUSE Editions. And JSTOR is having its own conversations with press directors [including the University of Chicago Press’s Garrett Kiely, quoted throughout the CHE article] about the feasibility of its building a mechanism to get scholarly e-books into library hands, as it already does with journal content.”
But the word is still out on whether full-length e-books have as bright a future as journal articles on library platforms like JSTOR. The CHE article cites Kiely remarking that “eighty percent of Chicago’s e-book sales last year came from consumer sales through so-called e-tailers and only 20 percent from sales to libraries.” The article continues, “That’s probably not a typical split for university presses, but it is a reminder that libraries are by no means the only or even the chief driver of presses’ e-book sales.” Still, if past successes in the distribution of online journal articles is any indication, in the not too distant future libraries might have many fewer students browsing through the stacks, and many more checking out library books with their ipad.
Read the complete article online at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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