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Faculty of Humanities

University of the Free State

Facts about eBooks

Quick facts about e-books that are worth sharing with stakeholders (usually universal and not UFS specific):

  • e-books are more widely available in some fields than in others (not every print book has an electronic version).

  • Many academic titles are released first in print, then only later as e-books (Publisher/Author’s decision).  A publication lag of three to eighteen months is common(Publisher/Author’s decision).  These digital embargoes are usually an attempt to protect print sales, which generate the most revenue for publishers (profit making strategy).

  • “The longer the hardcover edition is the sole source of content, the more money the publisher makes. . . . The timing of each release [hardcover, softcover, and  e-book] is based on a schedule that publishers hope will maximize profit.”

  • Other license terms limit the ways individual patrons can use e-books. Nearly all licenses restrict the extent to which patrons may view, print, and download files. patrons may print up to 10 percent of an e-book, and may copy and paste no more than 5 percent.

  • Note: “The limitations [patrons] encounter when using e-books are … are purposefully imposed & tied to digital rights management…they are essentially economic and legal rather than technological.


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