The ebook revolution

That familiar lineup of students buying textbooks—the one that bends and winds down the ramp towards Place Riel—will one day become a tradition of the past, thanks to the recently launched Google eBookstore at the U of S.

Launching the online store "was a response to a trend," said Mark Jagoe, director of retail services with the Bookstore. By partnering with Google eBooks, the U of S Bookstore now has millions of titles in its virtual stacks—new releases, best sellers and reference material in every category imaginable—available for download, explained Jagoe. "Still, a lot of course materials and textbooks aren't in digital format yet, but as more textbooks come online we will continue to ensure students get the correct class content. When it is in eBook format, it will be available in our eBookstore."

Jagoe said that about 10 per cent of all textbooks are online right now, with about 25 per cent expected to be online by 2015. "We also partnered with a company called Login Brothers to bring our Medical, Nursing and VetMed eBooks to our Medical Community."

The cloud-based digital system will allow students to access their libraries anywhere at any time and on practically any device,  be it a computer, eReader, smartphone or tablet, explained Jagoe. "This is going to change the bookstore dramatically."

The U of S Bookstore is also set up as a "Google author," meaning it can also upload its own content such as the work of a U of S faculty member, Jagoe continued.

"This provides a system that suits the university environment and meets the needs of students. Textbooks are slower to be adopted online, but the next generation of students will demand eBooks because they are not only convenient and better priced, but can be filled with additional content like videos making them a richer medium for learning."

Jagoe sees the eBookstore adding value to the current operation. "This is just another option for our students. We have a history with them and we are a trusted source of material. That will never change."

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