This month we attended the APS 2014 conference where booksellers, publishers and other professionals were discussing the issues facing them right now. Lenart, Eva and I sat on a panel alongside three students from Greenwich University and answered questions on what resources we use, our opinions on e-books and where we obtain resources for our courses. Sitting on the panel answering questions was a completely new experience for me, it was both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. I feel it has helped us to know a little more of what to expect from the three day UKSG conference we will attend in Harrogate next month. We would like to thank all of those we spoke to and with for making us feel so welcome, it was great to be told that our opinion was valued by the audience.
I found that from listening to other speakers at the conference, the main concern this year was the threat of the e-book. Many booksellers and publishers are striving to keep the printed book ahead of the e-book and they wanted to know what makes us as students turn to e-books. This is completely understandable in their trade, however I felt that some were clinging too tightly to the idea of the beloved printed book and not considering innovation and changes in the market (which are ultimately happening whether desired or not). For example, from talking to the Sussex library staff it is clear that the University is investing more in e-books for the library due to price and to provide greater availability for students. This is not to say that the printed book will become obsolete, we all agreed that the majority of those we have spoken to on our courses still prefer them! But it’s essential to realise that e-books can be useful to us too. I agree with what the Greenwich students suggested at the conference; e-books are useful for quick reads and referring back to. Printed books can then perhaps serve a different purpose in the form of text-books and lengthier book chapters. It is not one or the other but a combination of both printed books and e-books which help us in reading for our course and for our pleasure.
The conference itself and the opportunity to present our opinions has been a great experience and we are all looking forward to UKSG conference in April!