Answered By: Rebecca Kemble
Last Updated: 30 May 2017     Views: 58

It is the publisher or vendor that deems the books status. A title's status as e-book versus e-textbook will determine whether:
•    libraries are able to buy it;
•    how much of its content they will be able to buy (e.g. the assessment components?) and
•    if it will be available for sale to individuals only.

This has implications for students:
•    can they rely on access via the Library?
•    must each student purchase access?

If available via the Library, considerations include:
•    is access limited to one person at a time - and how long are others locked out (1 day, 3 days, 14 days?)
•    is content complete?
•    how much may be printed or downloaded within a stated period?

Some publishers or vendors generate unique user IDs the first time a reader accesses a title. They are then able to track and block the amount of reading, printing and downloading performed by that user.
So, an e-textbook differs from an e-book at the publisher's discretion. As described earlier, an e-textbook is often defined by its print equivalent status, or by the publisher's assessment of its application to teaching. If a publisher representative partnering with an academic has one of their titles listed as required reading on a course outline, that title will be deemed an e-textbook. This preserves the sales/usage ratio of 1:1, rather than 1: many.

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