Van Schaik Bookstores has launched a new e-textbook offering that provides an interactive educational tool for students, lecturers and other professionals – and makes many of the locally prescribed textbooks available as e-textbooks.
“Until now, very few locally prescribed textbooks were made available as e-textbooks in South Africa. And those that were made available were simple PDF’s or exact page-by-page copies of the physical book,” explains Melvin Kaabwe, digital manager of Van Schaik Bookstores.
Using Ingram’s Vitalsource Bookshelf platform, the Van Schaik Bookstore e-textbook goes beyond being a copy of the physical book. It becomes a tool for educational engagement using embedded media such as audio and video, 3D diagrams, scalable charts and graphs as well as virtual experimentation pages.
VitalSource Bookshelf, with 2,7-million registered users on 6 000 campuses worldwide, is the preferred and most used e-textbook delivery platform in higher education today.
“E-textbook use in higher education continues its dramatic growth worldwide as more students, educators and institutions adopt digital course materials for study.
“Coupled with this, the rise of the tablet for reading books has had a profound effect on how people interact with written material. In the digital age, there are many options for publishers to present their content in ways that provide a richer experience than on paper,” says Kaabwe.
Where plain black-and-white e-readers are fine for general reading, an academic textbook for study purposes requires a more comprehensive use of digital technology. The ability of tablets, cell phones, laptops and PC’s to render images and run apps that allow for a reader to engage with the material in new ways, offers a more complete learning tool in the form of e-textbooks.
“There is tremendous educational value of being able to conduct experiments in virtual laboratories within the science e-textbooks, or for entrepreneurs to evaluate business profitability using cost-volume-production graphing techniques or even for medical students to see the inside of a human heart in 3D,” says Kaabwe.
Using the VitalSource platform, best-selling titles from local and international publishers, are now available for students in South Africa as e-textbooks through Van Schaik Bookstores.
In the launch phase, popular books from publishers such as LexisNexis, Juta, Wiley, and Elsevier are available to buy and keep. Books from other publishers like Van Schaik publishers and Oxford University Press will be added in the near future. The books can be read online, on a cell phone or offline via the Vitalsource Bookshelf app, which is available at no cost for the latest Windows, iOS and Android devices.