Leading e-commerce developer Realmdigital has given the Webstore of Van Schaik Bookstores a huge boost with the integration of Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf – an e-book platform that complements the book seller’s educational print catalogue.
Van Schaik will sell and distribute e-textbooks via the VitalSource Bookshelf app, which allows users to access their content offline via a smartphone or tablet app, or online via a browser.
VitalSource Bookshelf is an international educational material distribution platform with 2,7-million registered users on 6 000 campuses.
Research shows that e-books continue on a dramatic growth curve worldwide. Data from the Association of American Publishers shows that in January 2011, US publishers sold 66,6-million e-books for adults, and a year later, 99,5-million.

“Students, educators and institutions are increasingly adopting digital course materials,” says Wesley Lynch, CEO of Cape-based Realmdigital. He says having texts in a range of new e-formats will help students to save and improve study.

“The rise in the use of tablets for reading digital texts has further had a major effect on how people interact with written material,” he says. “Students can access whole libraries in a portable format, and synchronise books across multiple devices. E-textbooks also enrich the learning process with possibilities for embedding audio and video, 3D, scalable content, more interactive content and more liberal use of colour.”

Melvin Kaabwe, digital manager of Van Schaik Bookstores, says the integration of Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf into the publisher’s Web store lets the company sell interactive e-textbooks that help students in their academic career.

“It is the all-round ‘Africa-ready’ textbook solution. Working with Realmdigital has given us access to VitalSource, an international market leader, and the resources to enhance learning throughout Africa and meet the digital needs of the academic community today and into the future.”

During the launch phase, Van Schaik will sell books from big publishers such as Juta, Wiley, LexisNexis, and Elsevier. Books from Oxford University Press and Van Schaik will be added soon.