January 27, 2012
Preteens Like eBooks (and some of them will be applying to law school in about ten years)
According to recent surveys connduct by RR Bowker’s PubTrack Consumer in October and November of last year, preteens find eBooks "fun and cool." Apparently, some are introducted to eBooks in the home when their parents hand down their eReaders after they upgrade to new ones. Unlike teenagers surveyed, preteens are not as concerned about the restrictions on sharing digital content or on e-Books not being a social technology. For a recap of the survey results, see paidContent's Laura Hazard Owen report, New Stats: Kids Find E-Books ‘Fun And Cool,’ But Teens Are Still Reluctant.
One should also note that preteens are more likely to be exposed to enhanced e-textbooks than any other pre-college age group because the interactivity and multimedia being embedded in enhanced e-textbooks for grade schoolers improves the learning process. No doubt this will have a trickle up effect all the way to enhanced law eBooks used in legal education. Apparently, TR Legal doesn't want to take a long-term perspective on the law school publishing market.
TR Legal did make a stab at offering some unenhanced law school eBooks to students by way of law library purchasing last year. My understanding is that it was a flop because the cost to academic law libraries approached the prices some (many, most, all?) paid for Weslaw. Oops. Haven't the gurus in the Land of 10,000 licenses who are running TR Legal into the ground heard about academic law library budget cutbacks yet? My bad, it's all about the "guaranteed revenue stream" at TR Legal. Just keep repeating that mantra as if it is working as well as now as it formerly did before the recession.
Whoa. Any chance TR Legal wants to unload its current law school publishing assets now and then use the proceeds to develop a new product line of enhanced law school eBooks that could be launched in several years? Perhaps we will be seeing student editions of practitioner-focused ProView-ed editions in the not too distant future. Pure speculation on my part but when one can't trust what a legal publisher like TR Legal says, such speculation is warranted. Potential buyers of TR Legal's academic legal publishing assets, if there are any, beware. [JH]